What we do - providing resources, improving access, supporting research, making research results more visible


The Specialised Information Service for Social and Cultural Anthropology (FID SKA) supports researchers in cultural anthropology by providing information resources and research access. In addition, we deal with infrastructural issues at the interface to research, strive to find solutions appropriate to research and accompany, moderate and support discussion and positioning processes in the subject.

The University Library of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Qualiservice – the Data Service Center of University of Bremen are jointly responsible for the FID, advised by an academic advisory board. All services and projects are developed in close consultation with the academic communities, which, in addition to the advisory board, are in particular the two large specialist societies in Germany: The German Society for Folklore (dgv) and the German Anthropological Association (GAA). In the run-up to applications, additional representatives of the disciplines are invited to consultations - take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the work of the FID!

Your suggestions and wishes for the work of the FID are always very welcome, even beyond these dates!


In addition, the FID SKA co-ordinates with related specialised information services, research and infrastructure institutions (e.g. museums or Max Planck Institutes) as well as with other actors in the national and international research landscape (e.g. consortia of the National Research Data Infrastructure - NFDI) and works together in working groups, networks and specific projects. The services of the Centre of Competence for the Licensing of Electronic Resources (Kompetenzzentrum für Lizenzierung, KfL) are used for the licensing of electronic resources. The search index for the Subject Portal Ethnology EVIFA is set up and maintained jointly with the Co-operative Library Network Berlin-Brandenburg (KOBV). The FID SKA is part of and co-organiser of the network Colonial Contexts, which was launched in 2020.

Fields of activity

Within the framework of FID funding by the DFG, the FID SKA is currently primarily active in the following fields for ethnological research:

  • Acquisition and provision of information resources according to the collection policy. However, the FID is also open to other acquisition requests from the research community. Please use the order form for this.

    In addition, supra-regional licences for electronic resources (journals, e-books, databases) are negotiated. Details on licences and registration can be found here.

  • Research data 

    Another focal point is to accompany the discussion on the handling of research data and research data management in anthropological disciplines, as well as the development of archiving and re-use options for qualitative data at Qualiservice – the Data Service Center in Bremen. The centre also develops advisory services for researchers on how to deal with data archiving in practice. 

  • Academic estate

    In order to make resources for research more visible, the academic estates of anthropologists that exist in Germany, but are not sufficiently recorded, are also listed in the Kalliope academic estate directory.

  • Subject vocabulary of the Integrated Authority File (Gemeinsame Normdatei, GND)
    In this project module, the possibilities of indexing ethnographic literature and data are improved by revising and supplementing the Integrated Authority File (GND). Strengthening anthropological terms in the GND - a widely used, sustainable and technically well implementable vocabulary for keywording in the German-speaking library space (and increasingly also in the museum and archive space) - enables better visibility of subjects in reference tools and improves the linkability of different data holdings.

Digitalised Items

In separately funded projects (DFG funding line for digitisation and indexing) we deal with the (retro-)digitisation of subject-specific literature. Since 2013, the University Library of HU Berlin has been continuously digitising German-language core journals in social and cultural anthropology, as well as an increasing number of monographs from its collections, and making them freely accessible online.

EVIFA Subject Portal Ethnology

EVIFA is constantly being developed as a central Subject Portal Ethnology for searching for anthropological information and accessing licences and digital copies from our digital preservation projects. In addition to the research tools, you will also find a news section and information material that will help gain an overview of the FID’s activities. The functionalities - especially the database and the search comfort - will be further improved and modernised.


The Specialised Information Service for Social and Cultural Anthropology (FID SKA) is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) on a project basis as part of the funding line for Specialist Information Services for Science. It has been operated since January 2016 as the successor to the Special Subject Collection Folklore and Ethnology (Sondersammelgebiet Volks- und Völkerkunde, SSG) at the University Library of HU Berlin, also funded by the DFG.  Since January 2019, the FID SKA is in a second funding phase, this time as a cooperation between the UB of HU Berlin and Qualiservice – the Data Service Center of the University of Bremen (until the end of 2021). The application for a third funding phase 2022-2024 is in preparation.

From 1998 to 2015, German-language and international literature from social and cultural anthropology was collected as completely as possible within the framework of the SSG Volks- und Völkerkunde and made available throughout Germany via interlibrary loan. Between 2003 and 2007, EVIFA - the virtual library for social and cultural anthropology was also set up, which is still maintained and further developed today.

In particular, the old holdings from the Academy of Sciences of the GDR (Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR) - whose library had already maintained a collection focus on folklore - provide a very good basis for the development of a comprehensive anthropological collection at the UB of HU Berlin. In addition, there are the old folkloristic and ethnological holdings in the Central University Library itself, as well as the excellent holdings of the former branch library of European Ethnology of the HU Berlin. Since 2009, these collections have been housed in the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum in Berlin-Mitte.

Folklore and Ethnology were administered separately in the SSG system for a long time, with Folklore - for reasons of subject history - being assigned to German Studies. The separate administration corresponded to the situation of the subjects European Ethnology/Empirical Cultural Studies/Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology/Social and Cultural Anthropology, which are institutionalised and structurally anchored in Germany as separate disciplines with independent research traditions - precisely folklore and ethnology respectively. At the same time, the allocation of international literature also had to be done rather arbitrarily, because there are sometimes considerable overlaps with regard to the methodological and theoretical approaches of the two subjects. For this reason, the SSGs were merged in 2004, at least in administration and reporting; since then, the SSG Folklore and Ethnology has been responsible for both subjects. The FID Social and Cultural Anthropology reflects these subject traditions in its name and manages a portal with dual responsibility with EVIFA – the Virtual Library of Social and Cultural Anthropology.