Mission and collections of the ZBW

The ZBW is a central information infrastructure for economics and business studies. In this capacity it is our mission to procure, index and archive theoretical and empirical literature in economics and business studies and to provide acces to this literature sustainably and permanently. In addition, we also purchase all publications of neighbouring and ancillary disciplines whose main focus is on economics, in order to take due account of the increasingly interdisciplinary approach to economic research.

These collection emphases of the ZBW are part of the supraregional literature supply system of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

We collect subjects as they are represented in the Standard Thesaurus for Economics (STW).

Principles of collection structure and selection criteria

Our collection management is organised along a regional ranking, the ZBW country ranking:

  1. Germany
  2. United States of America, United Kingdom
  3. Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand
  4. Latin America
  5. Asia
  6. Africa

Within the country ranking, the decisive criterion for the selection of literature from economics or business administration is the academic significance of the publication, or the national or international reputation of the author(s), publisher(s) and/or editor(s). The relevance of the material for research and development or teaching and studies is also essential. The acquired material must be relevant to research, e.g. by reporting research findings or facilitating research. We acquire publications in the respective national languages, but in principle we prefer literature in German or English.

We try to acquire all literature in economics and economic theory published in Germany. We purchase all publications from the United States or the United Kingdom as far as possible. Publications from other countries are purchased selectively.

Empirical and industry-specific publications, as well as those dealing with particular regions, are collected completely if they are relevant to economics and published in Germany. We also acquire literature from and about individual German regions if economically relevant. We collect nearly all empirical and country-specific publications from the USA and the UK if they are relevant to economics. Publications from other countries are acquired selectively and in accordance with our country ranking. We acquire country-specific publications from the countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa selectively and in either English or the respective national language only.

We collect practical literature for all countries only in selection and in accordance with our customers’ wishes. We define relevant literature in business practice as part of business administration (e.g. personnel management, accounting law). Our criteria for selection are the relevance to research in business administration and the publishers’ significance to economics. Publishers with a special focus on business practice will be considered if there is demand for this material and if it is relevant.

Collection emphases

One particular emphasis of the collection is on publications of the following international economic organisations:

As a European Documentation Centre (EDZ) we hold all economically relevant publications of the European Union (EU) and its organs, such as the publications of the Committee of the Regions, the CEDEFOP, the European Investment Bank, the European Environment Agency, the European University Institute, Eurostat and the European Central Bank (ECB).

We also hold complete collections of economically relevant publications of the OECD and the relevant publications of the United Nations (UN) and its specialised agencies. We acquire, for instance, selected publications of CEPAL, FAO, ILO, UNCTAD and WHO. We are a depositary library for the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We try to collect all publications of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, where we put particular emphasis on working and discussion papers and the country reports on individual countries and regions.

Another emphasis of our collection is to acquire all publications of the world’s leading business schools and economic research institutes.

Publishing types and formats

We procure all publications of our remit regardless of format, in printed or digital form.

We consider it particularly important to acquire so-called “grey” literature, that is material not published by publishing houses. For instance, we procure all publications of central banks, as far as possible.

We procure almost all economic journals in accordance with our country ranking and various journal rankings. We procure selected industry-specific journals in accordance with our country ranking.

Statistics relevant to economics constitute an important part of our holdings. We collect statistics from Germany, including regional statistics, completely. We acquire regional statistics from other countries only selectively and depending on their relevance for economics. Statistical publications of international economic organisation are of particular relevance. We therefore procure them widely and as completely as possible.

We collect market and industry studies selectively according to our country ranking and depending on their accessibility to the public or to libraries. We prefer studies in German or English language. We do not systematically acquire market studies with restricted access.

We collect all PhD theses published in Germany and in selection from other countries according to our ranking. We only procure diploma theses in individual cases and if published by suitable publishers. We collect all working and discussion papers published in Germany and those from other countries in selection.

Conference proceedings published by German publishing houses are collected completely, those from other countries in selection according to our ranking. Conference proceedings published outside the publishing trade are collected selectively. The selection depends on the reputation of the conference or its hosts and on our customers’ demands.

We collect all textbooks published in Germany as well as English-language textbooks published by renowned international publishers. Handbooks and encyclopedias in German or English are collected completely in accordance with our country ranking. We only collect practice-oriented guide books and manuals selectively if there is demand for them.