What is a Special Subject Collection?

History of the Origins of the Special Subject Collections

In post-war Germany, instead of a national library comparable to the British Library or the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, a cooperative system of "Special Subject Collections" was founded that as a whole is to ensure the supply of literature to science. Several libraries were commissioned to purchase international literature on special subjects or regional focus points and with the demand for completeness. After the German Unification, the system was restructured. In this context the Humboldt University Library was made responsible for its Special Subject Collections social anthropology and folklore studies.


Fields of Responsibility of the Special Subject Collections

The responsible department purchases monographs, academic journals, grey literature, databases, in short: preferably all available literature of relevance to the subject fields of folklore studies and social anthropology. Presently the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / German Research Society) is funding about 50%. The books are incorporated into the inventory of the central Humboldt University Library and can be ordered and borrowed to the usual conditions via the online catalogue.

All that literature is also available via EVIFA. Users from outside Berlin can make use of the interlibrary loan or order directly on demand.

In addition to the purchase of literature, it is the vital task of the Special Subject Collection to be a central contact point for all questions concerning the retrieval of information or literature. The aim is to establish examplary information, training and consulting services in social anthropology.