German National Library of Economics

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German National Library of Economics
Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften (ZBW)
ZBW außen.jpg
ZBW main building in Kiel
Country Germany
Type National library, Research library
Scope Economics, Finance, Business
Established 1919
Location Düsternbrooker Weg 120, 24105 Kiel
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg
Items collected books, journals, electronic media
Size 4.38 million items[1]
26,491 journal titles
Access and use
Population served researchers, business clients, students, public
Other information
Budget € 22.3 million[1]
Director Klaus Tochtermann
Staff 265[1]
ZBW building, Hamburg
ZBW building interior, Kiel
Prof. Dr. Klaus Tochterman, ZBW Director

The German National Library of Economics (German: Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften), abbreviated ZBW, is the world's largest library for economics.[2][3] It also bears the suffix "Leibniz Information Centre for Economics" and is part of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community (WGL). The headquarters of the ZBW is in Kiel, Germany with additional offices in Hamburg.[1]

The ZBW is jointly funded by the German Federal Government and States of Germany. Its mission is to procure, index, archive and provide literature on economics and business fields to researchers and the general public. It is a depositary library of the World Trade Organization and maintains a European Union Documentation Centre at both locations.[4] It also collects all official publications of the United Nations, OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.[5] The ZBW is headed by Klaus Tochtermann.


The ZBW has its roots in a library established in 1919 at the "Royal Institute for Maritime Traffic and World Economy" (German: Königliches Institut für Seeverkehr und Weltwirtschaft), which later became the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The institute’s founder, Bernhard Harms, intended for the library to contribute to research in economic geography, trade politics, colonial economics and transport policy. By 1924, the collection had already reached 70,000 volumes.[6]

After the Nazi Seizure of Power in 1933, "Jewish" and social democratic workers were expelled from the Institute under the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service." The National Socialist regime did permit the library to keep its collections and even continue the procurement of foreign literature.[7] Unlike many libraries during World War II, it did not suffer any losses thanks to the books being moved to safety into the Cathedral of Ratzeburg. As a result, in postwar-torn Germany it had a uniquely comprehensive and valuable collection. In 1966 the German Research Foundation (DFG) designated the ZBW as the central library for economics in the Federal Republic of Germany. Since 1980 it has been a member of the Leibniz Association.[6]

In 2007 the library of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA) merged with the ZBW, creating the largest economics library and information provider in the world.[8] At the same time, the ZBW was incorporated as a foundation under public law independent of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Since then, the ZBW is additionally known as the "Leibniz Information Centre for Economics".[6]


The ZBW acquires theoretical and empirical literature in economics, business and related disciplines such as economics education and psychology. All economics-related literature published in Germany is purchased, as well as most of the literature from the United States and the United Kingdom. Publications from other countries are purchased selectively. One emphasis of the ZBW is to acquire all publications of the world’s leading business schools and economic research institutes. In 2014 the collection consisted of:[1]

  • Books and other publications: 4.38 million
  • Current journal subscriptions: 26,491 titles
  • Increase in books per year: 37,202
  • Increase in working papers per year: 21,183

The library's physical collection occupies nearly 80 kilometers of shelf space and 37,000 volumes are added each year.[9] Anyone may visit the library site, read journals and borrow books free of charge. Users can also access databases and electronic journals which are not freely available on the internet. Document delivery services are available to deliver books and articles directly to users' workplaces, homes, or local libraries.[10]


Official depository library

The ZBW is a depository library of the World Trade Organization. All WTO publications are collected and made available.[11] It is also designated a European Documentation Centre (EDC), receiving all official publications of the European Union and its organs, including the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Court of Justice (ECJ).[12] The ZBW also collects and makes available the publications of the United Nations Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.[5]

Research Guide EconDesk

The ZBW offers EconDesk, a free reference desk that will answer short, factual economics questions via phone, email, or online chat. Questions can be about statistical data, economic definitions, or specific country information. This service is available to the public worldwide without charge.[13]


EconBiz is a search portal for economics. It aims to support research in and teaching of economics with a central entry point for all kinds of subject-specific information and direct access to full texts.[14]


ECONIS is the ZBW's online catalog of indexed economics literature. It includes title records for books, journals, papers, dissertations, statistics, and as well as subject-specific data. In 2014 ECONIS had 5.5 million datasets.[1] Over 208,000 titles in ECONIS are linked to full-text, permitting library users to access them over the internet.[15]

Digital Object Identifier registration

The ZBW operates da|ra, a service operated through the DataCite consortium, to provide Digital Object Identifier (DOI) registration for all German research centers in the fields of social sciences and economics. It also operates a comprehensive metadata schema to ensure proper citation of registered social and economic data.[2]

Open Access

With its publication server EconStor the ZBW provides an infrastructure for the free publication of scholarly literature in economics and business administration. The mission of EconStor is to make research findings in economics accessible in Open Access and thus internationally visible. In addition, the ZBW produces the peer-reviewed journal Economics in cooperation with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The Journal is based on the principle of Open Access and Open Assessment and listed in SCCI. The ZBW is active in national and international bodies in order to foster the idea of free dissemination of research findings. Among these bodies are COAR, DINI or the Priority Initiative "Digital Information".[16]


Since 1 January 2007 the ZBW serves as editor of two economic journals:


Wirtschaftsdienst, edited by the ZBW

Wirtschaftsdienst – The Journal for Economic Policy (German: Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik) is an academic journal that has existed since 1916. It is published monthly by Springer Science+Business Media (ISSN 0043-6275) in German. The journal presents articles on current issues in German and European economic and social policy.[17]


Intereconomics, edited by the ZBW

Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy publishes papers dealing with economic and social policy issues in Europe. It has existed since 1966 and is one of the oldest journals covering macroeconomics. It is published bimonthly by Springer Science+Business Media (ISSN 0020-5346) in English. Since 2009 it is edited in cooperation with the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels.[18]


Goportis library network

The ZBW is one of three partners in the Goportis consortium, the Leibniz Library Network for Research Information, which includes the German National Library of Medicine (ZB MED) and the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB). This initiative develops and operates online search services, online full-text delivery services, licensing agreements, non-textual materials, document preservation efforts, data storage, and open access.[19]

International cooperation

Cooperation partners in the EU project EEXCESS:[20]

Important cooperation partners in other research projects include:[20]

EconBiz Partner Network:[20]

Other affiliations

The ZBW is a member of a variety of national and international organizations, including:[21]


As part of the German national research infrastructure, the ZBW also conducts its own applied research. Some of the more notable projects include:[22]

  • EEXCESS: the vision of this European project is to reveal and interconnect the treasures of European culture, science and education
  • EDaWaX: a project which deals with the management of research data in economics journals
  • ZBW Labs: a workshop for development of applications and services

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 German National Library of Economics: Facts and Figures retrieved 24-June-2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 DataCite retrieved 28-May-2012
  3. Dagmar Giersberg: Wherever the User Is – The ZBW. (Munich: Goethe-Institut, 2011) online (English) retrieved 28-May-2012
  4. Innovations Report: The German National Library Economics online summary retrieved 02-Jun-2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 German National Library of Economics: Collection Criteria retrieved 24-June-2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 German National Library of Economics: History retrieved 28-May-2012
  7. Ash Working Group: Antifaschistische Stadtführungen: Kiel 1933-1945. Stations in the History of National Socialism in Kiel. Kiel 1998, p. 38f
  8. Weltweit größte Zentralbibliothek jetzt noch größer. Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften integriert die Bibliothek des Hamburgischen-Welt-Wirtschafts-Archivs, in: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie, 54, 2007, 3, p. 143 (German)
  9. Zahlen und Fakten (German)[1] retrieved 24-June-2015
  10. German National Library of Economics: Search retrieved 24-June-2015
  11. World Trade Organization: Depository Libraries online listing retrieved 28-May-2012
  12. German National Library of Economics: European Documentation Centre retrieved 28-May-2012
  13. Research Guide EconDesk retrieved 24-June-2015
  14. EconBiz retrieved 24-June-2015
  15. German National Library of Economics: Annual Report (German) retrieved 24-June-2015
  16. Open Access retrieved 24-June-2015
  17. Springer Verlag: Wirtschaftsdienst – The Journal for Economic Policy retrieved 28-May-2012
  18. Springer Verlag: Intereconomics retrieved 28-May-2012
  19. German National Library of Science and Technology: Goportis details retrieved 28-May-2012
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 The German National Library of Economics: Cooperation partners retrieved 24-June-2015
  21. The German National Library of Economics: Affiliations retrieved 24-June-2015
  22. The German National Library of Economics: Research Projects retrieved 28-May-2012

External links

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