Frequently Asked Questions

What can you find in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

You can find digitised historical newspapers from German cultural and scientific institutions in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal (German Newspaper Portal), which are made available to the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library) by our data partners – for the most part libraries.

We link the digital holdings of our partners – German cultural and scientific institutions –, which are responsible for the information and its correctness and likewise for the digitisation of the newspapers. Our partners decide whether and what newspapers or newspaper issues are made available and also whether or what holdings are available as full texts, with the result that the holdings available in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal do not constitute a representative selection. The Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek does, however, undertake a technical inspection as to standards and quality. At the time of its launch in October 2021, the Deutsches Zeitungsportal contained 247 newspapers from nine libraries, which covered a period of three centuries. 84% of all available newspaper pages had full-text indexing. The oldest newspaper at this point in time, “Il corriere ordinario”, was published on 26 December 1671; the most recent, the “Badische Neueste Nachrichten”, is from 1950.

Our partners are continually making new newspaper collections available, and as a result the volume of newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal is constantly growing. You can find an up-to-date alphabetical list of the titles contained in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal here.

The Deutsches Zeitungsportal is not a lending library, but it makes the digitised newspapers of its partners available centrally on a portal.


What is the objective of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

The objective of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal is to bring together in one portal all the collections of digitised historical newspapers found in German cultural and scientific institutions – these are for the most part libraries and archives – and to make them searchable. This is a process that will last for many years. Our partners are continually making digitised newspapers available, and as a result the content of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal is constantly growing.


Finding newspapers – how does the search work in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

You can search in and for historical newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal.

Searching in newspapers

The search field on the homepage allows you to make a full-text search in the newspapers which have full-text indexing.

Not all of the newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal have full-text indexing. At the launch of the newspaper portal in October 2021, 82% of all newspaper issues in the newspaper portal had full-text indexing. It is also possible that only individual issues of a newspaper have full-text indexing.

Searching for newspapers

All newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal can be found via their title – “Zeitung über Titel auswählen" (“Browse newspaper by title”), their place of distribution – “Zeitung über Ort auswählen” (“Browse newspapers by place”), or their publication date – “Zeitung über Datum auswählen” (“Browse newspapers by year of publication”).

You can find more information on the search functions here.


Why is the newspaper I’m looking for not in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

There can be several reasons for this. For example, the majority of historical newspapers has not yet been digitised. Digitisation is the responsibility of our partners, the cultural and scientific institutions, and it is a complex and expensive process. Some digitised newspapers cannot be displayed for legal reasons; others do not meet the minimum technical standards. It is also possible that the newspaper belongs to the holdings of an institution which does not yet participate in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal.


Which newspapers are available as full text?

Newspapers marked with the symbol Volltextsymbol have issues which are available with full text. You can find the symbol in the alphabetical list of titles, in the list which sorts the newspapers according to their place of distribution and in the search result view.

Not every newspaper marked as full text has full text available for all issues. It depends on the institution which has digitised the newspaper as to whether a newspaper is available with full text.


Why are there big differences in the full text quality?

The Deutsches Zeitungsportal brings together the digitised newspaper collections of diverse cultural and scientific institutions. The digitisation of the newspapers, i.e. the scanning and also the recording of the full texts, is the responsibility of our partners, who use different softwares and standards. The digital copies and full texts created by our partners are transferred into the Deutsches Zeitungsportal without modifications, and as a result full texts of different quality can be found in the newspaper portal.

The time of creation of the full texts can also be relevant: there have been large technical improvements in the last few years, with the result that full texts which have been created by more recent digitisation projects often show significantly better quality than older full texts.

In the second phase of the project, it will be examined whether full texts with low quality can be improved by the Deutsches Zeitungsportal.


How can the contents of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal be re-used?

All newspaper issues found in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal are marked with a licence or a legal status information, which stipulate how users may use the newspaper issues. For individual newspaper pages the same licences or legal status information apply as for the complete newspaper issues.

Individual pages, individual issues and the related full texts can be downloaded via the download function – it is our data partners that decide which of these download options are available.


How does the Deutsches Zeitungsportal deal with newspapers from the Nazi era?

The newspaper portal includes newspapers published between 1933 and 1945, in the years of National Socialist rule, and newspapers which were issued by National Socialist party and state organisations. Making these newspapers accessible serves purposes of civic education, of communicating knowledge as well as the transparent reappraisal of the NS dictatorship.

The Deutsches Zeitungsportal expressly distances itself from all racist, antisemitic and other discriminatory content as well as from propagandistic presentations and those glorifying violence contained in these newspapers. Before you open a newspaper issue which was published between 1933 and 1945 and/or which was issued by a Nationalist Socialist party and state organisation, a pop-up window will appear which points out these connections and which must be actively confirmed by users before the newspaper issue will be shown. For further contextualisation, the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek has created a virtual exhibition on the topic “Presse in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus” (“The Press during the National Socialist Era“) (available in German only).


Is there a public programming interface via which the newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal can be accessed?

Yes, users can access images, full texts and metadata via an API (Application Programming Interface). The API of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek is documented using an OpenAPI specification.

An interactive representation can be found here. Open the accordion /search/index/{indexname}/{requesthandler} to access the two Solr-search indices newspaper and newspaper-issues. The search index newspaper offers information on the newspapers in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal, the search index newspaper-issues offers information on the available issues. This website offers the possibility to send queries and get the results – after authentication with your API key (see below). The labels used in the search indices can be looked up in the Solr schemas. The small library ddbapi which is available on PyPI (source code) provides a wrapper for using the API with the programming language Python.

Authentication in the form of an authentication key (API key) is necessary for using the API. An authentication key is a uniquely assigned character sequence which must be transferred to the API on every request for the purpose of authentication. Registered users of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek can have an authentication key generated to use the API. This is done via a user account in the section “Meine DDB” (“My DDB”). Setting up an account is free of charge and not subject to any conditions.


What further developments are planned for the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

After an initial build-up phase, the Deutsches Zeitungsportal was launched in October 2021. A second build-up phase will follow this, in which the contents and functions of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal are to be optimised and expanded. By doing so, archives, for example, are also to be given the possibility to integrate their collections into the Deutsches Zeitungsportal. A function for creating and exporting individual newspaper corpora is to be introduced and new interfaces for searching and harvesting are to be implemented.


What is the connection between the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek and the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

The Deutsches Zeitungsportal is a “sub-portal” of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (DDB), in which there are exclusively newspapers and which offers genre-specific searches and object displays. All of the newspapers can also be found in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. But only in the newspaper portal can you search in newspapers (so-called full-text search); it is only here that you can browse entry points according to the title, place and date of a newspaper and only here are full texts accessible, if our data partners have made these available.


What is the connection between the Deutsches Zeitungsportal and the Zeitschriftendatenbank?

The Zeitschriftendatenbank (ZDB – German Union Cataloque of Serials) lists newspapers and periodicals which can be found in German and Austrian libraries and archives. In doing so, it assigns identifiers (ZDB-IDs), which make every newspaper or periodical uniquely and permanently identifiable. The Deutsches Zeitungsportal uses these identifiers to uniquely identify the newspapers. Moreover, other metadata of a newspaper such as, for example, its publication history and publication frequency, is taken from the ZDB via the ZDB-ID and displayed in the newspaper portal.


How can institutions deliver their newspaper collections to the Deutsches Zeitungsportal?

Currently, it is only libraries or institutions which can deliver their metadata in METS/MODS format that can deliver collections to the Deutsches Zeitungsportal. You can find more detailed information and contact partners here (information available in German only). A delivery route for archives (EAD format) is in the process of being set up.


Who can I contact at the Deutsches Zeitungsportal if I have any questions?

Users of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal can contact the DDB-Servicestelle (service desk) if they have any questions.

Institutions that wish to participate in the Deutsches Zeitungsportal with their collections can contact the DDB-Fachstelle Bibliothek (service desk for libraries). Click here for initial information and contact partners.


Where can I find further information on the Deutsches Zeitungportal?

Further information, e.g. on the background of the Deutsches Zeitungsportal, on the composition and quality of the content as well as on the backend architecture and the metadata schema, can be found in the Atlas of Digitised Newspapers and Metadata – in English. The DFG applications including the work schedules for the first and second build-up phases are available here.