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  • FAQ - Frequently asked questions

    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, a corresponding filter is available.

    Question: Do I also find daily newspapers in the catalogue?
    Answer: Yes, daily papers are included and may be located by using the filter (publication) Frequency and chosing “daily”.

    Question: Are titles also displayed in original font?
    Answer: Yes, click the button "Options" -> Original font.

    Question: Can I search (truncate) original font with wildcards?
    Answer: Yes.

    Question: I miss the "scroll index" function.
    Answer: The option "Scroll index" that was available in the old ZDB-OPAC is replaced by the following functions:

    Autosuggest offering appropriate suggestions & choices
    Excplicit indices for "DDC categories" and "Countries of publication" in the advanced search (index for text string and codes searches)


    Question: Can I display a title in PICA internal format?
    Answer: No. MARC21xml, JSON-LD, Turtle and RDF / XML are the available display formats ("Options" button in the full view of a title). Information on the timestamp of a data record (last changed) can be found in field 005 of the MARC21xml format.
    Example: 20160916085527.0 .

    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 mins. Additionaly 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.

    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 hotline

    Question: How can I link from my system to the ZDB catalogue?
    Answer: For information see (in German).

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

  • Simple search
    • Search terms are case-insensitive.
    • Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT (please mind case-sensitivity) may be used.
    • Several search terms set in quotation marks (for example "Aberdeen Daily News"), will trigger a phrase search.
    • By using the drop-down menu right to the search field, queries may be restricted to a specific search-index (for example title or corporate body).
    • Search results may be narrowed down by the use of specific filters.
  • Operators and wildcards
    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.

    Boolian operator AND UND AND

    One or another term should appear in the title

    Example: Haus OR Garten

    Title records containing either the term Haus or Garten or both terms will be searched for

    Boolschian Ooperator OR ODER OR

    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.

    Boolian operator NOT NICHT NOT
    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.
  • Search fields
    Standard search fields Description
    All fields The search will be performed over all fields
    Title keywords Title keywords
    Title exact Searches for the exact wording of a title. The title does not need to be entered in full, alternatively the wildcard * can be used.
    Corporate body Keywords from names of 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 Keywords from places of distribution (Note: places of distribution and places of publication may, but need not be identical.
    CQL-Syntax (Experte) You may formulate queries using CQL syntax

    Additional fields in the advanced search
    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 DDC subject goups used in the ZDB.. An overview of the DDC classes may be here
    ISIL ISIL = International Library Standard Number, z.B. DE-1a
    ZDB-ID ZDB Identifier of a title record
    IDN PPN (PICA-Identifier)
    Country of publication You may either enter the country name or the 4-digit code of DIN-EN-ISO 3166-1:1998.
    Person Keywords from personal names, for example names of editors
    Library (name) You can search with keywords from library names. Result: all titles that are in stock of a library
  • Advanced search

    Search fields may be combined in the advanced search.

    Example: title Katze AND place of publication Nürnberg

    Clicking the plus sign behind a search field will add more search fields.

    Pending digitisation acitivties of German libraries, may be located by a simple tick box.

    By activating the tick box “Newspapers” you can restrict your search to 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 publicatioen 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 publicatioen 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" oder 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 search results

    Search results will automatically be sorted alphabetically by title. The menu “Sorting” additionally enables sorting by first year of publication.

  • 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 possible.
    Country of publication Multiple selection possible.
    Media type There are several forms of media types: print, online, CD/DVD, microform, maps, sheet music, sound carriers, videos, braille.
    Frequency Frequency of publication, e.g. daily, weekly, monthly etc.
    Format There are the several types of publications: newspaper, journal, series.

    True layout: Prints were scanned and image files were generated.

    Master: A digital master file (raw version of the digital file resp. the original file) is available.

    Planned: The digitisation of a journal or newspaper is intended.

    Place of distribution newspaper Places of distribution exclusively of newspapers. Note that the attributes of this filter are restricted to 2.000 to ensure adequate performance.
  • Search history and watch list

    You will find the links “Search history” and “Watch list” on top of the website, on the right.

    The search history shows the queries you have performed so far, how these were formulated and how many results were found. When clicking on a particular query, the search will be performed again.

    In the watch list you may collect title records in order to view them again at a later stage. Titles may be added to the watch list by clicking on the bookmark icon combined with a plus . When clicking on the icon with a minus sign after selection, the title will be deleted from the watch list.

    It is possible to export titles from the watch list for provision via email or as a txt-download.

    When closing your browser session, all entries in the search history and the watch list will be automatically deleted.

  • Information on individual titles

    When clicking on a title in a results list, that particular title record will be displayed offering further information like availability, parallel editions, related titles and supplements via the tabs “Title history” and “Title relations”.

    Export of title data

    It is possible to export titles from the full view representation for provision via email or as a txt-download via the button "options".

    Other data formats

    For title and holdings information select the metadata format MARC21xml. Title information is also available as JSON-LD, Turtle, and RDF/XML. All formats are available from the full view representation via the button “options”.

  • Availability of publications

    The availability of a specific publication may easily be checked via the "Holdings" tab in the full view: here you will find an alphabetically sorted list (sorting by interlibrary loan region and ISIL may be manually selected) of all libraries that own the respective publication. “Details for all” will display the holdings of all libraries in question, while clicking the arrow on the right side of each line will inform you about the holdings of a chosen library.A click on the i-icon will display the library on a geographical map and the respective contact details.

    By using the menu on the left-hand side (holdings filter), you may search the holdings for a specific annual volumes. Filtering results by a specific place or an interlibrary loan region is also possible.

    Please note: If you do not find the desired annual volume in the ZDB, you should still check the catalogues of individual libraries that have reported holdings of a particular publication, since there is a slight chance that only the local catalogues offer the details holdings information.

    This restriction also applies to the following functions: Information on titles, holdings and libraries can only be displayed if the data are available in machine-readable form.

    When using the tab Holdings overview, you may easily identify where specific volumes and issues of publications are available. Under the default setting the four libraries with the largest holdings are displayed if less than 50 libraries have holdings. You may add more libraries with the menu Libraries.

    The Holdings map informs about the geographical distribution of holdings of a specific title. You can change the content by zooming or scrolling the time bar.

    The Title history provides a graphical representation of the development of a specific title and supplements over time.

    The Title relations graphically illustrates related publications. A click on any of the titles will trigger a corresponding title search.

  • Copy ordering

    Ordering of journal articles

    Copies of articles may be obtained directly via the ZDB-OPAC. 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 ILL service.

    What is the difference between interlibrary loan and the document delivery service Subito?

    1. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

    Only registered users of a library can place interlibrary loan orders. 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.

    2. Document Delivery Service Subito,

    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.

  • 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