Search Tips for Getting Started

Are you new to our site and would like to receive suggestions on how to use the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library)? Then this introduction is just right for you.

Based on two example searches, we will show you how to proceed with a search. You will also learn how you can browse freely in the database without a specific search term.

Why is it worth researching in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek?

You can use our portal for various purposes: for searches in museum collections, travel preparations, family research, research for school and science or simply to browse.

The Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek makes Germany's cultural heritage digitally available. In concrete terms, this means that you are looking not only in a single collection, but in collections of very different kinds. Museums, archives, media libraries and other institutions make their data visible in our portal. In so doing, they can be found in a central location. The objects listed are as different as our cooperation partners. We have books, artworks, archives, audio documents, videos and much more. More than a third of these entries are also available as digital copies. This allows you to access a digitised version of an object online without having to go to libraries, museums or archives. In addition, these are repeatedly checked data that are clearly marked with regard to their origin and rights of use.

Let's take a closer look!

You are interested in Marlene Dietrich and fashion. For a private lecture at your film club, you are looking for photographs of the film diva in elegant evening dresses. You can do a standard search in the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek. You can then narrow down the search results found in this way step by step. We'll show you how!

Start search

You select the Standard search and below the Objects tab, because you are interested in photographs (= objects). Then you type your search term "Marlene Dietrich" into the search form directly below. Check Digitized objects only. You will now only be shown objects that can be retrieved in digital form.

Suchbegriff eingeben
Suchtipps für den Einstieg per GIF anschauen

Filter results

Your search for “Marlene Dietrich” yields more than a thousand unfiltered object entries. Reduce these with our search filters, which can be found at the top of the page.

For example, if you are interested in certain items of clothing, the Object Type filter is right for you. You enter "dress" in the search bar and you will be shown all the objects associated with the word or word part "dress". You can also filter and add more terms, such as "costume(design)". Now you have clearly narrowed down your search results!


Suchergebnisse filtern

Straight to the object and legal notices

You have found the object/motif of your choice and now click on it to be able to take a closer look at it on the so-called object page. Here you first see a larger version of the thumbnail.

Attention: If you want to reuse an image, you have to check two things: 1. the legal status and 2. possible further information of the data partner. For more information, see our Tips for use and our notes on using search results.

Objekt anzeigen

Object Information

Scroll down for more information about the image. Open the individual information categories with a click on the plus sign (Classification and Topics; Contributors, Location and Time; Further Information).

Important: The digitised work is not provided by the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, but by the institution that owns the object. In our example, the Deutsche Kinemathek owns both the dress and the digital recording of it. You can usually find the object at the data provider in a higher resolution digital version. You scroll up to the object at the data provider and click on the red button Show original at data provider. This will allow you to leave our portal and go directly to the website of the data provider.



Search 2: Historical film records – no matter what topic

With the second example search, we introduce you to a different approach to research: You start your search without a search term! Click on Enter or the magnifying glass icon on the right edge of the search slot without first typing an entry in the search box. All objects listed in our portal are displayed in the list of results. Since you are only looking for content available online for your project, you check digitized objects only.

Offene Suche

Filter by media type "video" and "year of creation"

Since you are interested in film records, the media type video is interesting for you. Filter your search results by first clicking on the search filter media type. From the drop-down menu, check video and select Add filter. From several million, a few thousand object entries for the media type video are created in a matter of seconds.

Narrow down your search results further: Search for videos from a specific period of time and add another filter to do so. Click Display more filter options. In the bottom column, set a time period.

Attention: You need to set both a specific start and end date – in the case of our example search from day 1, month January, year 1910, to day 31, month December, year 1920. You are now looking exclusively for films made between 1 January 1910 and 31 December 1920.

Weitere Suchfilter

A tip at the end: Browse through exciting topics with our discover entries and dossiers!

Would you like to find out quickly and easily about the various contents and topics of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek? We have prepared something for you.

We have stored various searches on interesting topics in our portal for you: Open the search mask with a click on the search bar at the top of the page and select the Discover tab. It opens a variety of preset topic searches that you can perform with a single click.

Through our homepage you also have access to numerous dossiers compiled by us: You will find virtual exhibitions, articles, picture galleries and interactive content thematically summarised here. Visit our collections on the Weimar Republic, the First World War, National Socialism, the division of Germany, visual arts, the history of literature, the wonders of nature and much more.

Have fun discovering!