Collection Policy

What we collect - content focus, languages and formats

Content ‘Collection Policy’

The focus of our collection policy is on publications from the disciplines of Social and Cultural Anthropology/Ethnology and European Ethnology/Folklore or Empirical Cultural Studies as well as their international equivalents. These publications are acquired comprehensively in order to keep fundamental academic discourses available. This includes in particular the areas of

  • Theories and Methods
  • Cross-Cultural Comparative Studies
  • Subject history and academic research on the disciplines
  • Professional Fields
  • Subject-specific university didactics

For the area "Theories, Methodology; Subject History" (RVK areas LB 19000, 24000 - LB 33999), comprehensive national and international literature is acquired. In addition, we collect dissertations and postdoctoral theses from German universities in order to document the state of research and to be able to make the media available for interlibrary loan - in contrast to the German National Library (DNB). Provided that the university publications are available electronically, publication via the document server of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is envisaged in the future.

Regional literature: demarcation from the FIDs of area studies

In addition, regional research is part of the FID’s collection focus, especially social and cultural anthropological works on the German-speaking region (which must be available for interlibrary loan/national access). Publications with other regional references are collected in the respective area studies FIDs (or, as in the case of history or American/English studies, Anglistics: subject FID). In distinction to these regional or subject-related FIDs, the FID Social and Cultural Anthropology only acquires those regional studies and, if applicable, studies in the respective (non-common) regional languages, that are of fundamental importance or general interest for the overarching academic discourse, especially if they tie in with the above-mentioned areas. Corresponding agreements have been made with representatives of the area studies FIDs. Exceptions can be predominantly anthropological titles with such regional references that either cannot be assigned to a ‘separate’ area studies FID, or in the case that area studies FIDs, do not acquire ethnological literature. This concerns Spain and Portugal in particular, as well as anthropological literature on Oceania and on indigenous communities in North America. Here, the FID SKA would acquire appropriate specialised region-related literature on request (please use the order form for this).

In consultation with the Specialised Information Service for Historical Studies and the regionally oriented FIDs concerned, it has also been determined that literature on the overarching history of migration that extends into the present, as well as on colonial history - insofar as it deals with interrelationships in the colonies, the everyday life of indigenous populations and ethnological expeditions and research in the context of colonial rule - will be collected and/or made accessible in the FID Social and Cultural Anthropology.

An overview of the other specialised information services and entry points to their offerings can be found here.


In addition to German-language literature, emphasis is placed on works in the central academic languages (English, French, Spanish); other languages may be considered in the case of acquisition proposals. The evaluation of English and American national bibliographies is the main focus. There is also an approval plan for Spanish and French literature.


With the aim of providing added value to the scholarly community through the FID, the acquisition of journals concentrates on (current) journals that are rare in Germany and are available a maximum of three times, preferably as online editions. Subscriptions are also taken out for journal titles that have been in high demand in interlibrary loan in recent years. All rare subscriptions will continue to be held in the FID - even if supra-regional licences are not obtained. If contractually possible, orders will be realised via electronic interlibrary loan. The FID will endeavour to realise national access in constant feedback with the Licensing Competence Centre (KfL). For example, the FID supports access to anthropological journals published by Berghahn by participating in their open access pledge via the Knowledge Unlatched initiative and concluding an FID licence with the publisher in the event that this does not materialise.

FID licences

Efforts are being made to make high-priced databases that have hardly been available in Germany, available as FID licences via the Competence Centre for Licensing (KfL) - provided that a corresponding demand has been formulated in the community. The supra-regional electronic resources of the FID are made available via the Competence Centre for Licensing (KfL) - unless they are open access offerings or the FID’s own retro-digitised materials. In most cases, registration is required for these resources. More information on this can be found here.


The Specialised Information Service is involved in the so-called retro-digitisation of anthropological literature, i.e. digitising printed materials in order to make them more easily (or completely) accessible and usable free of charge. In addition to larger-scale digitisation projects, individual titles are also digitised, e.g. at the suggestion of the authors themselves. For older literature of the FID SKA that is not currently part of our digitisation projects, you can use the e-book on demand service (eod) of the University Library of the HU Berlin.

Open Access

On the EthnOA - Open Access Publication Server, digital resources are stored that have been assessed as academically relevant and of lasting interest after a qualitative review by the EVIFA editorial team. So far, these are mostly not first publications, but publications that have already been published on other servers and are merely mirrored by us. For the storage or mirroring of these documents, consent is obtained from both the authors (rights holders) and (optionally) the server operator who makes the first publication available. The authors sign an agreement in which they agree to make the work publicly available under a Creative Commons Licence.

Collection profile of the former SSG

The collection policy or collection mandate for the Special Subject Collection Folklore and Ethnology Studies (Sondersammelgebiet Volks- und Völkerkunde, SSG, until 2015) comprised publications of general, theoretical or methodologically fundamental content from the disciplines of Folklore and Ethnology as well as the subjects of Ethnology, European Ethnology, Empirical Cultural Studies or Social and Cultural Anthropology in their tradition, as well as their international equivalents.

This included in particular publications in the areas of

  • Theory and method
  • Comparative Cultural Studies
  • Historical Studies
  • Professional Studies and Subject Didactics
  • Publications on Ethnology/Folklore/Open-air museums and Museum-ethnological discussion
  • Applied anthropology (also Action Anthropology, Developmental and Organisational Anthropology)
  • Visual Anthropology/Ethnological Image Research
  • Ethnosociology/Ethnicity Research
  • Ethnopsychology/Cognitive Anthropology

as well as ethnological publications, especially in the sub-fields

  • Social relations/society
  • Economy
  • Politics
  • Law
  • Religion
  • Music
  • Art
  • Theatre and dance
  • Language and Literature
  • Material culture

For historical reasons, the SSG also included publications on

  • Sinti and Roma (culture, society, way of life)
  • Colonialism

Anthropological work on Germany formed a special collection focus. In addition, publications with regional relevance were collected in the respective regional SSG. However, the University Library also acquired regional studies of fundamental importance or general interest for the subject discussion within the framework of the SSG Folk and Ethnology. Publications on Medical Anthropology and Ethnomedicine were collected if they were trend-setting for the theoretical debate in the ethnological fields of work.

Other special collections included