The Press Collection consists of a newspaper collection and a press clippings archive. The newspaper collection comprises press publications since 1945 from Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia or, as the case may be, the Soviet Union. It also contains regional newspapers from towns and regions of the historical German Eastern territories. The press clippings archive is divided thematically according to country, people and locality. A special holding contains press clippings from the inter-war period.
Since 1950, we have been building an extensive Press Collection. It encompasses titles from Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic (until 1992 Czechoslovakia), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Russia (and the Soviet Union). It represents a unique resource for the contemporary history of eastern Central Europe. Specifically, it comprises a sizable range of newspapers currently in circulation (for example publications for minorities) as well as a stock of newspapers of over 700 titles, stored in around 12,500 volumes or bundles. The contents of the collection are documented in the national newspaper database.
Various important newspapers could be supplemented on microfilm for the years after 1945. Among the regional newspapers are newspapers from towns and regions of the historical German Eastern territories. Complementing, and parallel to the newspaper collection, we maintain a press clippings collection.
In the Press Clippings Collection, the Herder Institute's Press Collection contains, among other things, around 200.000 dossiers relating to prominent public figures of Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic (until 1992 Czechoslovakia) as well as of the Baltic states. Alongside articles written about and by these people, these dossiers also contain announcements regarding official appointments, death notices, awards ceremonies and publication advertisements.
These materials represent a unique resource for contemporary political history and modern social and economic history. In order to allow better access to it, we have recorded the most useful and fruitful of these dossiers – around a quarter of the whole collection – according to 16 descriptors. As well as identifying the person, these provide information about their most important functions in various different sectors of public life as well as giving information on the kind and number of corresponding press clippings.
To date, we have been able to publish descriptions of around 18.000 of these dossiers on prominent Polish public figures 1998-2008 in book form.
We have also been able to make them searchable via our Central Personal Register along with just under 4.000 descriptions of the dossiers of prominent Estonian public figures.
The first 34 files from the personal archive holdings, which comprise, in total, around 4.650 files containing around 1.5 million clippings, are accessible via a database. From the holding: P0301, 46 files (letters A-F) have thus far been digitalised. The holding P0301 (in total 186 files) contains, in alphabetical order according to surnames, press clippings relating to German individuals, who (predominantly prior to 1945) had a connection to the area that is today Poland as well as to Germans evacuated from this region.
A database was set up in cooperation with the Society for the Promotion of Applied Computer Science in Berlin to allow the press clippings to be searched in the most user-friendly way possible. At present, a simple search for people, newspaper titles, authors and dates is possible. An advanced search option is currently at the planning stage. The available test version contains the first 34 fully documented files using automatic OCR recognition technology (letters A-Dol) – in total around 9.000 cuttings.
Due to the applicable copyright legislation, research using the database is currently only possible within the Herder Institute, and within the OCR recognised texts. An integration of the available images from articles as PDF files is being planned. Copies of archive materials can still be ordered via the library.
Feedback and suggestions for improvements are gladly received by Dr. Jan Lipinsky.