Skip to content




  • FAQ - Frequently asked questions

    If you require more information or would like to make any suggestions, please contact the ZDB team. We will be pleased to help.

    Question: Can I search for articles in the ZDB catalogue?
    Answer: No, the ZDB catalogue does not contain any references of single articles.

    Question: Can I restrict my search to journals being available online?
    Answer: Yes, you can use the filter "online available free of charge" in the search hit list.

    Question: Do I also find daily newspapers in the catalogue?
    Answer: Yes, daily papers are included and may be located by using the filter „Frequency" in the search hit list and choosing "daily".

    Question: Are titles also displayed in original font?
    Answer: Yes, click on the title in the search hit list to display Detailed title record information. There you can find the button "Options" Button "Options" which offers the option "Original font" if applicable.

    Question: Can I display a title in PICA internal format?
    Answer: No. MARC21xml, JSON-LD, Turtle and RDF / XML are the available display formats.  Click on the title in the search hit list to display Detailed title record information. There you can find the button "Options" Button "Options" which offers the available formats.

    Question: How is the session timeout set?
    Answer: The session timeout is set to 60 minutes.

    Question: Why is a correction made in WinIBW not immediately visible in the catalogue?
    Answer: The current update interval is 10 minutes. Additionally a session timeout of 60 minutes is set, so that there can be a maximum delay of 70 minutes until the title correction becomes visible. You can reduce the waiting time to 10 minutes by clearing your browser cache so that the session timeout does not have to be worn out.

    Question: Are features disabled for some browsers?
    Answer: The functions of the ZDB catalogue should work in all common browsers. If you find that some features are not working, please check your browser settings to make sure cookies are enabled.
    If the malfunction persists, please contact the ZDB team.

    Question: How can I link from my system to the ZDB catalogue?
    Answer: Detailed informations are available in section Technical data (URL-referencing).

  • Simple search

    Enter a search query in the query box

    Select a search key

    Use the dropdown menu on the right of the search box to restrict the search to a special search key (e. g. "Title keywords" or "Corporate body").

    Restrict the year of publication

    To restrict the year of publication you can use the input fields "from" and "to" below the search box or the sliders in the timeline.

    Please note: If you search for a special volume in a library, click on the corresponding title in the hit list to display Detailed title record information. There you can use the filter "Year of publication" on the left of the holdings.

    Restrict the country of publication

    In the pull down menu "All countries of publication" on the right of the timeline you can restrict the country of publication. The restriction works in two steps. First you can choose a continent or area. Then all belonging countries are displayed. You can deselect individual countries by clicking on the close icon Close icon .

  • Operators, wildcards and phrase search


    You can use the operators AND, OR and NOT. Capitalization is necessary so that the terms are interpreted as operators. Use small letters if you want to use one of these terms as search term.


    The search for title keywords with the search query "home and garden" (without quotes) results in 15 hits. Each of the titles contains every of the terms "home", "and" and "garden".
    In contrast the search of title keywords with the search query "home AND garden" (without quotes) results in 20 hits. The titles don‘t have to contain the term "and" necessarily.

    The meaning of operators is as follows:

    Objective of your search   Operator

    All search terms should appear in the title record

    Example: Haus AND Garten

    Only title records containing both entered terms will be searched for.

    If multiple terms are entered without operators, the terms are interpreted as beeing linked by the operator AND.

    Example: Haus Garten


    At least one of the terms should appear in the title

    Example: Haus OR Garten

    Titles in the hit list contain the term "Haus" or the term "Garten" - possibly both terms.

    A particular term should not appear in the title record

    Example: Haus NOT Garten

    The term "Haus" should always appear in title records searched for in this manner but never the term "Garten".

    Wild card character for any number of characters

    Example: fähr*

    Titles containing the keywords Fähre, Fährte, Fährbrücke etc. will be found


    Wild card character for exactly one character

    Beispiel: fähr?e

    Titles with the keyword Fährte will be found, but not Fähre, Fährbrücke etc.


    Phrase search

    If you quote several consecutive terms (e. g. "home and garden"), this phrase will be handled as a single search term and the exact match will be searched. Therefore a phrase search is generally helpful to restrict the number of hits.

    Example 1: By choosing the search key „Title keywords“ and entering the terms "home and garden" (without quotes), the search will result in fifteen hits, among them even the title "American farm journal : devoted to farm, garden and home interests" (with search terms in reverse order). By entering the search terms as search phrase (with quotes), the hit list will show only five titles - each of them contains the strings "home and garden" respectively "home & garden" in exact match.

    Example 2: By choosing the search key "Title keywords" and entering the terms "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe" (without quotes), the search will result in 45 hits, among them even the title "Erläuterungen zu den Vorlesungen in den Fächern Physik, Mathematik, Chemie an der Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. . ." (without "von"). In contrast you will receive 20 titles containing the exact string „Johann Wolfgang von Goethe" respectively "Johann-Wolfgang-von-Goethe" by entering the terms as search phrase (with quotes).

  • Search keys
    Search keys of the simple search
    All fields The search will be performed over all fields.
    Title keywords Title keywords are searched in titles.
    Exact title Searches for the exact wording of a title. The title has not to be entered in full, alternatively the wildcards "*" or "?" can be used.
    Corporate body Keywords from names of corporate bodies: organisations, companies, parties, clubs, church communities, states, municipalities, public authorities, universities, etc. are considered as corporate bodies.
    ISSN ISSN = International Standard Serial Number. The ISSN may be entered with or without a hyphen.
    Place of publication Keywords from places of publishers
    Place of distribution newspapers By using this search key, you can look up places of distribution of newspapers. (Note: places of distribution and places of publication may, but need not be identical.)
    CQL syntax (expert) You may formulate queries using CQL syntax.

    Additional search keys can be used in the advanced search:

    Additional search keys of the advanced search Description
    Publisher Keywords from publishers’ names
    Standard numbers Any identifier or number relating to a specific item: Note that a separate index for ISSN is available.
    DDC If the search key "DDC" is selected and the input field is clicked, an input help offers the choise to display DDC subject groupsy sorted by name or DDC subject groups sorted by code.
    ISIL ISIL = International Standard Identifier for Libraries and Related Organizations, e.g. DE-1a
    Library (name) You can search with keywords from library names. Result: all titles that are in stock of a library
    ZDB-ID ZDB identifier of a title record
    IDN PPN (PICA identifier)
    Country of publication If the search key „Country of publication“ is chosen, an input assistant offers support. You can select to display countries of publication sorted by name or countries of publication sorted by code.
    Person Keywords from personal names, for example names of editors
    Shelfmark Shelfmarks must match completely and should be entered by using quotes.

    Example: „Z 2013 A 1068“

    The expert search offers some more special search keys.

  • Advanced search

    Search keys may be combined in the advanced search.

    Example: Example for combining different indexes in advanced search

    This search query will result in a list of all titles that include the term "Katze" and that are published in Nürnberg.

    Click on the plus-symbol Plus icon behind the input field to add new input fields. One of the operators "AND", "OR" or "NOT" can be selected for each new input field. In the CQL syntax, "NOT" is to be understood as "AND NOT". All operators have the same priority and are evaluated from top to bottom.

    Restrict the year of publication

    You can restrict the year of publication by using the input fields "from" and "to" or by shifting the sliders in the timeline.

    Input fields and sliders in the time line

    Search newspapers only

    You can restrict the search to newspapers by activating the checkbox "newspapers" Checkbox "Newspapers".

  • Expert search (CQL syntax)


    With the expert search, search requests have to be formulated in CQL-syntax (CQL = Contextual Query Language). The query of an individual index is formulated as a pair of coded search key an associated search term, the search key code and the search term being linked by an equal sign. An overview of the search keys is provided in the table "Search keys of the expert search".

    Example:   tit=abacus

    Note: The equal sign is never followed by a blank. The encoded search keys can be written in upper case or lower case letters.

    Any number of search keys can be combined by Boolean Operators "AND", "OR" and "NOT". In the CQL syntax, "NOT" is to be understood as "AND NOT". All operators have the same priority and are evaluated from left to right.

    Example: sgn="Z 4' 58/138" AND bib="Bonn ULB"

    A search string for an index must always be placed in quotation marks if it contains a blank

    Examples: sgn="DZb 90/766"
                        tst="geliebte Katze"
                        koe="Deutscher Alpenverein"


    Search keys of the expert search

     Search key


    Title keywords


    The keywords in the titles are searched for.

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    tit=geliebte AND tit=Katze


    Exact title

    tst="Jahrbuch für Geschichte"

    Searches for the exact character sequence in the title, in the supplement title or in the subtitle.

    The full title does not necessarily have to be entered:

    Alternatively, * can be used as a placeholder at the end.


    Corporate body


    Corporate name keywords. Corporations are organizations, societies, associations,
    parties, companies, churches, states, communities, authorities, universities, etc.

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    koe=Verein AND koe=Ingenieur




    ISSN=International Standard Serial Number. The ISSN can be entered with or without a hyphen.




    ISBN=International Standard Book Number. The ISSN can be entered with or without a hyphen.


    Place of publication


    Keywords from places of publication

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    ort=Berlin AND ort=London




    Keywords from publisher

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    ver=Hochschule AND ver=Polizei


    Standard numbers


    for example foreign newspaper codes or China magazine numbers




    DDC Codes


    Place of distribution (newspaper)


    You can use this index to search for newspapers from a specific place of distribution.

    (TIP: Places of distribution and places of publication can, but do not have to be, identical)

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    voz=Berlin AND voz=London




    Identification number of a data record




    PPN (PICA production number)


    Country of publication


    Codes of the countries of publication









    Codes of languages




    Codes for appearance frequency


    Specialised Information Services


    table of FID


    Special subject collections


    table of SSG


    First year of publication


    The first year of publication can be requested using the relational operators: = (equal),
    < (less than), <= (less than or equal to), > (greater than), >= (greater than or equal to).

    The search term is expected to be a 4-digit number.


    Last year of publication


    The last year of publication can be requested using the relational operators: = (equal),
    < (less than), <= (less than or equal to), > (greater than), >= (greater than or equal to).

    The search term is expected to be a 4-digit number.


    Electronic Address


    The quotation marks are necessary. You can also search without "http://".


    Open Access

    oa=1  search for Open Access marking "OA"

    oa=0  search for Open Access marking "nOA"






    sgn="hsa 8 z 11" or sgn=hsa8z11

    Shelfmark of a holding. Shelfmarks must match exactly and should be given in quotation marks.





    Library (name)

    bib="ub passau"

    You can search using keywords from the library name.

    Hint: Several keywords must be linked with AND:
    bib=Stuttgart AND bib=Chemie



    per=Goethe oder per="Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von"

    Keywords from personal names of editors, etc.


  • Sorting and filtering the results list

    Sorting the hit list

    Titles of the hit list are sorted alphabetically in ascending order by default. The menu "Sorted by" offers alternative sortings: titles arranged in alphabetical descending order or year of publication in ascending or descending order. "Year of publication" is understood to mean the first year of publication.

    Filtering the hit list

    You can refine the hit list by using the filters on the left side of the hit list. By pressing the button "Reset filter" you can reset active filters.

    Filters Description
    Year of publication Time period "from" – "to". When searching for a specific year, "from" and "to" have to be set to the same value.
    Online available free of charge Search results will be restricted to those titles being freely available online.
    Language Multiple selection is possible.
    Country of publication Multiple selection is possible.
    Media type There are several forms of media types: Print, available online, CD/DVD, Microform, Map, Sheet music, Sound carrier (speech), Sound carrier (music), Video, Braille, weblog.
    Frequency Frequency of publication, e.g. daily, weekly, monthly etc.
    Manifestation There are the several types of publications: newspaper, journal, series.
    Digitisation digitised: A journal or newspaper has already been digitised.
    planned digitisation: The digitisation of a journal or newspaper is intended.
    Place of distribution Places of distribution exclusively of newspapers. Menu items are sorted by frequency of occurrence. Note that only the first 2000 locations are listed in the menu to ensure adequate performance.

    Active filters are displayed above the hit list. Every filter can be inactivated solely by clicking on the corresponding button. Note that filters remain active in a new search.

  • Options of the hit list: Search history and watchlist

    Search history

    At the top right you will find the "Search history".
    In the search history you can look up the exact formulation and the number of hits of your previous search queries. Simply click on the search query to run it once again. The search history will be deleted automatically when you quit the browser session.


    At the top right you can find the link "Watchlist". Use this link to display the entries of the watchlist.
    In the hit list you find a bookmark icon combined with a plus on the right of every title. By clicking on the icon, the corresponding hit will be added to the watchlist, whereby the plus in the icon will be replaced by a minus. By clicking on the bookmark icon combined with a minus you can remove a title from the watchlist.

    You can also select several titles simultaneously via the checkboxes and save them with one click via the option "Place selected title records on the watch list" below the list.

    The watchlist will be deleted automatically when you quit the browser session.

  • Export: Options and formats

    Export options

    The export options are displayed

    • below the hit list or below the watch list. In order to use this function, checkboxes in front of the corresponding titles must be activated.
    • in Detailed title record information when you click on the "Options" button  and select the "Export" entry.

    In the export dialogue you can select the desired amount of information: "Title short text", "Title long text" and "Title long text with holding data". You can display a preview. The export formats "email" and "download as txt-file" are available.


    Furthermore you can download the metadata via the button "Options" in the Detailed title record information in several formats:

    • For title and holdings information select the metadata format MARC21xml.
    • Title information (without holding information) is also available as JSON-LD, Turtle, and RDF/XML.
  • Information on individual titles

    Only most important informations on titles are displayed in the hit list. When clicking on the appropriate link "More title information" that particular title record will be displayed. You have to click on the title to display detailed title record information where you can look up informations about availability of publications (holdings), parallel editions, related titles and supplements.

  • Detailed title record information

    You can access the "Detailed title record information" by clicking on a title in the hit list.

    When clicking on the link "More title information" that particular title record will be displayed. You can export this information in various formats using the "Options" button  . Via the button "Order options"  you can display the order options.

    "Detailed title record information" offers information about the avalability of publications (holdings). On the left hand you can use several filters.

    You can use the title history and title relations to look up corresponding titles (predecessors, successors, supplements and parallel editions).

  • Filters of the holding list

    By using the menu "filter holdings" on the left in the Detailed title record information you may search the holdings for a specific annual volume. Filtering by a specific place or an interlibrary loan region is also possible.

    Please note: In the ZDB catalogue information about holdings can only be displayed if it is machine readable.

    If the search for a volume does not yield any hits, please check the availability of publications (holdings) in the "Holdings" tab. You may have to look directly for the year in question in the individual library catalogues.

  • Availability of publications (holdings)

    The availability of a specific publication may easily be checked in the Detailed title record information via the "Holdings" tab below the bibliographical data.

    Please Note: In the tabs "Holdings overview" and "Holdings map" informations about holdings and libraries can only be evaluated and displayed if the data is available in standardized format (e. g. holdings in machine readable format, geographic coordinates for the map representation of libraries).


    Tab "Holdings"

    The holdings of all libraries in which the publication is available are listed in the "Holdings" tab (independent of standardized data). Sorting by library name is the default. Alternatively, you can sort by interlibrary loan region or ISIL. "Display all holding information" will display the holdings of all libraries in question, while clicking the button "Holdings" on the right side of each line will inform you about the holdings of a chosen library. In the stock data the label “holdings” presents non-standardized stock history data.

    A click on the i-icon  in the middle of the row will display the library on a geographical map and the respective contact details.


    Tab "Holdings overview"

    You can easily see where specific volumes and editions of publications are available via the "Holdings overview" tab. Libraries and holdings are only displayed if the data is in standardized format.

    The holdings of each library are displayed as a separate timeline. The grey sections represent years with available holdings, while the white sections represent years without holdings.

    By default the ten libraries with the richest holdings are displayed. You may add more libraries with the menu "Selected libraries" .


    Tab "Holdings map"

    The holdings map informs about the geographical distribution of holdings of a specific title. When using the timeline, libraries and holdings are only displayed if the data is in standardized format.

    Entries with alphabetical characters represent single libraries which are also present in the list on the right side of the map. Entries with numbers represent the appropriate number of libraries. By a click on such an entry a list of libraries represented by this entry will be displayed. You can change the content by zooming in or out  or scrolling the timeline. Via a library in the list on the right of the map you can display the library on a geographical map and get access to the corresponding contact details.

  • Title history and title relations

    Many titles in the ZDB catalogue are related to other titles. Possible relations are:

    • has-predecessors and has-successors
    • has-supplements and is-supplement-of
    • has-parallel-editions

    Parallel editions are only displayed in the tab "Title relations", while the amount of displayed titles can only be restricted via the timeline in the tab "Title history".

    Unique options of the tabs "Title history" and "Title relations"

    The tabs "Title history" and "Title relations" share the following buttons:

    • "Show titles as list" : displays all titles of the graphic in a list. Supplements in the "Title history" are only taken into account if the supplements history is unfolded. Then all supplements are included - even those that are only visible when clicking at "more".
    • "Print" : displays the print view. The printing area is marked by grey background colour. You can arrange the desired elements in the printing area as you like.
    • "PNG" : offers a download of the grapic as png-file.
    • "Expand" : changes into an expanded view with extended display range.
    • "zoom in"
    • "zoom out"
    • "Center" : brings all open titles into focus and centers them.

    Tab "Title history"
    The tab "Title history" visualizes the development of a specific title and its supplements graphically. Frequently occurring changes of newspaper and journal titles often result in a title split, i.e. a new, additional title record will be created in the ZDB catalogue. Such chronological relations between predecessors and successors are displayed. The chosen title is displayed in magenta.

    The plus sign  in a single box of a title indicates corresponding supplements. By clicking on this symbol, the supplements history will be invoked. In the supplements history each supplement is displayed with a timeline. The grey sections represent periods when the title and supplement were published concurrently.

    You can use the timeline to restrict the displayed period of the title history.

    Tab "Title relations"
    The tab "Title relations" offers a graphical representation of several types of relations between the invoked title and other titles. Thereby the actually invoked title is presented in magenta. A click on a related title will invoke its Detailed title record information. The complexity of the graph can be customized by clicking on the button "More relations" or "Less relations" .

    With the plus sign or with the minus sign on a title all relations of the title can be shown or hidden. With the plus sign or minus sign on an individual relation the titles of this particular relation can be shown or hidden.

  • Order options

    Ordering of journal articles

    Copies of articles may be obtained directly via the ZDB catalogue.

    Please note: Please check firstly the availability of a specific article in a library of your hometown. In such cases an interlibrary loan will not be executed. The document delivery service Subito will still accept your order but will charge much higher fees than the conventional interlibrary loan service.

    Difference between interlibrary loan and the document delivery service Subito

    1. Interlibrary loan

    When using the interlibrary loan, you will be forwarded to the website of a selected library network. You have to use the account data of your home library which is required to be a member of that library network.

    Your regional library or the electronic interlibrary loan system decides which library will be asked for the missing media. You will not become a client of another library. Your own library account will be charged with the respective service fee.

    Overview of library networks:

    • BVB - BibliotheksVerbund Bayern (Library network of Bavaria)
    • kobv - Kooperativer Bibliotheksverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (Library network of Berlin and Brandenburg)
    • hebis - Hessisches BibliotheksInformationsSystem (Network of scientific libraries of Hesse and parts of Rhineland Palatinate)
    • GBV - Library network of the federal states Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia and of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz)


    2. Document delivery service Subito

    Subito is a document delivery service of  scientific libraries of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and China. Anyone can use this service following online registration. After submitting an order, a list of libraries that own the desired resource is displayed. You may then select a library and will become a direct customer of this library.


    DigiBib is a public online-catalogue for access to scientific informations. It is operated by the University Library Center of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (hbz) in cooperation with the university libraries in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. Libraries of several organisations are associated. Every participating library offers free access to free or licensed titles to its users. Access for users that do not belong to an associated library is restricted to titles that are available free of charge.

    Delivery services

    Delivery service

    Informationen about the service provider Preconditions Price Payments Time of delivery Delivery
    Subito Document delivery service of scientific libraries in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and China. None. Free registration required. Differs according to user group and type of delivery starting at 5 Euro per article. Monthly invoice Within 3 work days, express delivery (an extra fee will be applicable) within 1 work day Copies: Mail, fax or e-mail Books: Mail
    BVB Bavarian Library Network (BVB) Library card of a participating BVB library. At least 1,50 € fee per request. Prices vary according to the length of an article. Additional fees claimed by the respective libraries may occur. vary by library 1-2 weeks. The documents will be delivered to your library
    DigiBib Digital Library North Rhine-Westphalia Library card of a participating GBV library and registration for online interlibrary loan.
    GBV Common Library Network of the German States Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thüringen and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Library card of a participating GBV library and registration for online interlibrary loan.
    HeBIS Hessian library network (HeBIS) Library card of a participating HeBIS library and registration for online interlibrary loan.
    kobv KOBV library network of libraries in Berlin and Brandenburg. Library card of a participating KOBV library and registration for online interlibrary loan
  • Technical data (URL-referencing)

    There are several options for providers of other online-catalogues to link to the ZDB catalogue.
    You can download detailed informations as PDF document.