Library of Art History at the Kulturforum © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Achim Kleuker
The Kunstbibliothek user guidelines are laid down in the library’s current conditions of use [Download PDF], last updated on 8.11.2012. Please be aware: the German version is legally binding, the translation is a service for our visitors.
Use of the Kunstbibliothek is free of charge and can only occur once the user has been issued with a library pass. Use of the library is granted to natural persons, not legal persons. Users must be aged 18 and above.
Library passes are issued during opening hours at the entrance or from the bibliographic information desk in the catalogue room.
After presenting their official identity card – 'Ausweis' – or passport (driver’s license and student ID are not sufficient proof of identity), users receive a library pass which grants them admission to and use of the library. This pass and user number are non-transferable and must always be shown upon request. By signing the card and accepting the library pass, the user agrees to comply with the conditions of use. At the same time, the user agrees that electronic records will be kept of the following personal data: name, date of birth, address, profession (in the case of students, major field of study).
The library pass is valid from the date of issue until 31 December of each year. An extension may be requested upon presentation of the forms of ID detailed above.
Library passes are issued only upon presentation of official ID (passport or 'Ausweis' identity card). Student ID cards are not sufficient proof of identity.
Coats and bags are to be handed in to the cloakroom before passing the library entrance, or may be placed in the lockers available (limited number of lockers). Belongings may not be left in lockers overnight. The user is responsible for the cost of replacing lost keys.
The Kunstbibliothek is a reference library. Our holdings can only be used in the reading room or in the Lipperheide Costume Library’s study room. The Kunstbibliothek is not a lending library.
For conservation purposes, the photocopying and scanning of any items whose date of issue or publication is prior to 1950 are strictly prohibited. Rare books and publications relating to general art history and works from the special collections may not be photocopied or scanned. A maximum of 50 pages of each volume, book, or publication may be copied or scanned for private research purposes. Readers bear full responsibility for complying with copyright regulations.
Black-and-white photocopies of items that are not subject to copying restrictions can be produced by readers themselves, using the coin-operated photocopier in the catalogue room. The Kunstbibliothek reserves the right to deny permission to users to photocopy items, on an individual case-by-case basis, for conservation or copyright reasons. A copy service is also available for black-and-white photocopies, made to order by Kunstbibliothek staff and requiring advance payment at the issue desk in the reading room.
Colour copies must be ordered and paid for in advance at the issue desk in the reading room. Copies are usually ready within three hours, but may take longer, depending on the volume of orders at any given moment. Once ready, copies can be collected at the registration desk in the catalogue room. For users outside Berlin, copies can be made on request and dispatched for a fee (copy price + postage + packaging).
Prices for scans and photocopies
Black-and-white scans and copies on USB: 5 Cent
Colour scans and copies on USB: 5 Cent
Black-and-white copies A4: 10 Cent
Black-and-white copies A3: 20 Cent
Colour copies A4: 50 Cent
Colour copies A3: 1 Euro
The use of conventional table-top scanners is possible, in the right-hand reading cabin only (prior permission required). The Kunstbibliothek reserves the right to deny permission to users to scan items, on a case-by-case basis, for conservation or copyright reasons. Readers bear full responsibility for complying with copyright regulations. By signing the necessary documentation, you confirm that the digital reproductions made by the Kunstbibliothek on your behalf are intended for private use only.
The use of conventional digital cameras without tripods, flash, and other artificial light sources is possible in the reading and study room. The Kunstbibliothek reserves the right to deny permission to users to photograph items, on a case-by-case basis, for conservation or copyright reasons. Readers bear full responsibility for complying with copyright regulations. By signing the necessary documentation, you confirm that the digital reproductions made by the Kunstbibliothek on your behalf are intended for private use only.
Ordering digital photographs and reproductions
Orders for professional photographs or copies can be placed with our staff and are subsequently passed on to an external photographer. The necessary forms (ordered according to commercial or non-commercial purposes) are available at the information desk and at the issue desk, where you can also attain copies of the price list. Orders customarily take between two to three weeks. In exceptional cases, orders may be fast-tracked.
The use of conventional cameras without tripods, flash, or other artificial light sources is possible in the reading and study room. The Kunstbibliothek reserves the right to deny permission to users to photograph items, on a case-by-case basis, for conservation or copyright reasons. Readers bear full responsibility for complying with copyright regulations. By signing the necessary documentation, you confirm that the photographs you produce are intended for private use only.
Ordering professional photographs and reproductions
Orders for professional photographs or reproductions can be placed with our staff and are subsequently passed on to an external photographer. The necessary forms (ordered according to commercial or non-commercial purposes) are available at the information desk and at the issue desk, where you can also attain copies of the price list. Orders customarily take between two to three weeks. In exceptional cases, orders may be fast-tracked.
Users can browse the Kunstbibliothek’s main catalogue via the SMB’s online catalogue, with the URL http://opac.smb.spk-berlin.de. To place an order for an item from our holdings, all you need to do is enter your library pass number and the first three letters of your surname. The searchable database is a subsection of the GBV Common Library Network database. The online catalogue contains all journals, all monographs acquired since 1995, and all articles catalogued since 2004, held at the Kunstbibliothek. We are currently in the process of adding older titles to the online catalogue. The OPAC also contains all monographs and magazines acquired since mid-2003 currently held at the specialist departmental libraries of the many institutions and museums that make up the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. For information on the possible search options, please turn to the catalogue help pages.
Traditional cataloguing system (cards and microfiche catalogues)The Kunstbibliothek’s traditional card catalogue system consists of ‘formal’ catalogues and subject catalogues. 'Formal' catalogues provide access to formal features of books (author, title, publisher/museum/gallery, etc.). They provide the answer as to whether a library owns a particular book, and which books by a particular author are held at the library. Subject catalogues are ordered according to the contents of books (person, place, object, topic, etc.). They provide information as to which books a library has on a particular topic. Which kind of catalogue you should consult depends on the kind of information you are looking for.
The following formal catalogues are available for use within the Kunstbibliothek:
* Alphabetical author and title catalogue (Verfasser- und Sachtitelkatalog), abbreviated: AK. Compiled and ordered according to the 'Preussische Instruktionen' (Prussian Instructions, a historical cataloguing system), includes the holdings of the Kunstbibliothek, the Lipperheide Costume Library, the Grisebach Collection, and the Collection of Book Art and Media Art. Not included in the catalogue are auction catalogues, and storeroom catalogues, and our holdings of ornament prints. Exhibition and collection catalogues are only partially included.
* The catalogue of exhibition catalogues, (Katalog der Ausstellungskataloge), abbreviated: ZA. Sorted first by place, then by year of publication. For places with an especially high number of titles (for example Berlin), the publishing institution (usually the museum or gallery holding the exhibition) is included, followed by the year, listed in chronological order.
* The catalogue of the collection catalogues (Sammlungskataloge), shortened: ZS. It is sorted by place, then publishing institution, then year.
* The catalogue of inventory catalogues of art dealers (Lagerkataloge von Kunsthändlern), abbreviated: ZL. Sorted alphabetically according to name (gallery or art dealer), then chronologically by year.
* The auction catalogues of auction houses (Versteigerungskataloge von Auktionshäusern), abbreviated: ZV. Sorted alphabetically according to name (auction house), then chronologically by year.
The following subject catalogues are available for use within the Kunstbibliothek:
* The systematic catalogue (systematischer Katalog), abbreviated SyKa. The SyKa uses pre-coordinate indexing by subject group. It also acts as a shelf-list catalogue with entries sorted in the same order as the items were shelved, until the changeover to an accession number system (in 1992). It is indexed through a keyword catalogue, a place catalogue, and a name catalogue containing the names of non-artists.
* The systematic catalogue of the Lipperheide Costume Library. Alphabetically sorted according to keywords.
* The artist catalogue. Alphabetically ordered according to the name of the artist discussed in the text (monograph, article in journal, or exhibition catalogue), then chronologically by year. Names appear as printed in Thieme-Becker and Vollmer (standard encyclopaedias of artist biographies). The artist catalogue contains copied main entries from the AK, which state the shelf number for the item. In essays published in journals, the artist catalogue only provides a reference to the magazine or journal in which the essay features. For the shelf number of the magazine or journal in question, please refer to the AK.
* The collector’s catalogue. Contains copies of index cards from the AK and references to the catalogues ZL, ZV, and some parts of ZA. First sorted alphabetically according to the collector’s name, then chronologically per year.
Important abbreviations on the catalogue cards:
Relating to collection:
* Gris = Grisebach Collection (use in study room)
* Lipp = Lipperheide Costume Library (use in study room)
* LS = Lesesaal 'reading room' (own AK and shelf-list catalogue)
* NB = Sammlung Neue Buchkunst – Collection of Book Art and Media Art (use in study room)
* Mack = Mackowsky legacy (use in study room)
* PER = current periodical subscription
* R = rare item (order requires special form)
* So.Dr. = (Sonderdruck) special printed edition
* StudS = study room (Lipperheide Costume Library)
kl = (klein) small
mtl = (mittel) medium
gr = (groß) large
ügr = (übergroß) extra large
quer = (quer) horizontal format
The holdings of the former Museumsbibliothek Dahlem and the former Zentralbibliothek Museumsinsel were relocated to the Kunstbibliothek’s main building in 1998. They are indexed in microfiche catalogues and can be ordered in the reading room. Items from these collections must be ordered one day in advance. Items with museum abbreviations on the catalogue cards are held externally and can only be viewed in the respective museum. In the Kunstbibliothek’s main collection, most cards are marked with a handwritten X. When this sign does not appear on a card, it indicates that the item was lost in the Second World War. If it appears that the book you are looking for is not held at the Kunstbibliothek, we strongly advise making a search in the MF catalogues of the individual museum libraries, whose holdings supplement the Kunstbibliothek’s.