British Library

Most people who know about the library landscape in the United Kingdom will know of the British
Library, and that it is the National Library of the United Kingdom. By law, the Library receives a
copy of all books published in the United Kingdom, so our holdings of British material on German
studies topics are comprehensive.
However, it is probably less well-known that the British Library has also been an international
research library since its earliest days, and we continue to acquire books from all over the world,
including the German-speaking countries. Our historic holdings of German books from the dawn of
printing onwards are among the strongest in the world, with roughly 115,000 items printed
before 1800.
We continue to acquire new scholarly and literary texts from the German-speaking countries and
to purchase relevant second-hand and antiquarian material to complement existing holdings. We
also hold scholarly periodicals, in both printed and, increasingly, online form, and our Newspaper
Library in Colindale holds both historic and current German newspapers and magazines. Other
departments within the British Library, such as Manuscripts and the Sound Archive, also hold
some material in German or relating to German studies.
GRIB will give the British Library a chance to promote the idea that we are also an important
research library and repository for non-UK publications relating to German studies, literature and
culture. Instead of a flat, catalogue-based means of retrieval, GRIB offers to present the British
Library's German Collections to a readership which has not thought of our collection as a place to
study German materials. Worldcat, KVK and COPAC are good in informing the researcher who
knows what s/he is looking for, that a book is at library x, y or the British Library, but for a more
holistic approach GRIB will highlight the German Collections and suggest that we might be a good
starting point for any German studies project; however, it will also show where other institutions
might be more appropriate than the British Library for their needs (for example, as we do not hold
many text books and also users/researchers cannot borrow items, some of the partner institutions
within GRIB are much better placed to help the researcher than the British Library). So in this way,
GRIB will also be able to 'deflect' a potential new user to an institution more appropriate for
their needs.

By Clemens Gresser, Curator, German Collections, British Library


St Pancras
The British Library
96 Euston Road




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