Collection profile of the ZBW

1. Purpose and scope

The collection profile provides a binding framework for the acquisition of publications.

The collection profile sets priorities and defines selection criteria; it is relevant for the description of internal decision-making and work processes.

Acquiring in the sense of the collection profile includes all types of acquisition, including purchases and gifts, and refers to analogue as well as digital publication formats. It includes the licensing of online resources just as much as the extension of usage rights, the consideration of research data and the support of an Open Access transformation.

The collection profile applies to all acquisitions and licensing of publications and sources of information carried out at the ZBW within the framework of the foundation's purpose.

Separate guidelines apply to retrospective collection development, especially in the case of withdrawal of items.

2. Principles of acquisition

The collection profile is derived from the foundation's purpose and the strategic orientation of the ZBW.

The ZBW acquires and makes accessible economic literature published worldwide and sources relevant to the economic sciences. It enables access throughout Germany. It is actively shaping the transformation to Open Access and supports Open Access for economics publications from German scientific institutions.

The distinct disciplines of economics and business administration are taken into account in equal measure. The disciplines of economics are presented in differentiated form in the Standard Thesaurus for Economics (STW). Acquisition at the ZBW also takes related disciplines into account, in the sense of interdisciplinarity and auxiliary sciences relevant to economics.

The publications acquired will be indexed in the ZBW specialist portal EconBiz and in other information services.

Acquisition decisions are made on the basis of the collection profile by the subject specialists.

In acquisition, the ZBW works under consideration of the organisational and structural framework conditions. It cooperates with other libraries and infrastructure institutions within the framework of specialist information services, consortia and library networks.

Acquisition processes and licensing follow the principle of the greatest possible transparency and comply with the ZBW's compliance guidelines.

3. Geographic focus of the collection

In general, the ZBW acquires publications in the field of economics and sources relevant to economics without geographical restriction (worldwide). The acquisition intensity of the ZBW reflects the importance of research results from scientific institutions, and is graded according to countries and regions, which are collated in the following groups:

Germany, United States of America, Europe, Australian, Canada, New Zealand, Latin America, Asia, Africa.


For Germany, the aim is to acquire as much of the literature published in the field of economics as possible. The acquisition of sources in the field of economics is comprehensive. Acquisition of source literature can be dispensed with if permanent accessibility via non-commercial institutions in Germany is ensured and a record is kept in EconBiz.

The aim is to create a collection segment in which all research-relevant economics information published in Germany is comprehensively acquired and indexed.

United States of America

A comprehensive selection of economics publications is acquired from the United States of America. A selection of literature related to individual regions of the country and sources relevant to economics is acquired.

The aim is to have a collection segment that contains the majority of economics information published in the United States.

Other regions of the world

For all other regions of the world, a representative selection of economics publications is acquired. Theoretical economics literature from other regions of the world is usually not acquired. A rigorous selection of empirical business literature is also acquired. Country-specific literature as well as economics relevant sources are acquired as part of a selection (3) or rigorous selection (4-6), according to the geographical focus of the collection.

The aim is to create a comprehensive collection segment containing the general economic information published in the countries and regions as well as selected information on specific topics relevant to economics.

4. Institutional focus of collection

The publications of the following international economics organisations form a collection focus.

The ZBW is a European Documentation Centre (EDZ) and acquires a comprehensive selection of publications relevant to economics from the European Union (EU) and its institutions.

The publications of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are acquired in full.

As the depository library of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the ZBW acquires all WTO publications.

The publications of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are acquired as fully as possible. Discussion papers, working papers and reports on individual countries and regions are of particular importance in this respect.

A selection of publications of the United Nations (UN) and its main and subsidiary economics-relevant bodies as well as specialised agencies is acquired.

Another special collection focus concerns publications of the leading business schools, business schools and economics research institutes internationally and the national central banks, which are comprehensively acquired.

5. Content and formal selection criteria

Economics publications, research literature

The ZBW acquires scientific publications across the entire discipline spectrum of economics. The focus of the acquisition is on economics research literature. The acquisition takes into account quality standards for scientific publications as well as considering the scientific reputation of authors, publishers and publishing institutions.

Sources, practice-based literature

The ZBW acquires sources relevant to the field of economics, depending on the source value for the economics research. The same applies to practice-based literature, a selection of which is acquired, according to its relevance for business research. Information on individual economics sectors, countries and regions is primarily acquired in aggregated form, for example as industry reports.


Publications for study and teaching are acquired in order to document academic training in economics. Textbooks published in Germany and textbooks from renowned international academic publishers are acquired for reference purposes. As a rule, multiple copies and unrevised editions are not acquired.


The acquisition of journals takes place in consideration of the rankings used in economics. In addition to relevance to economic research, the acquisition decision also takes into account compliance with scientific standards. Journals are subject to regular evaluation.

Publisher's publications, grey literature

For the purposes of acquisition, it is irrelevant whether the publications are published by a publishing house or outside a publishing house (grey literature). Due to the specific publication culture in economics, a special focus is placed on the acquisition of working papers.

University publications, examination papers and final theses

Dissertations and postdoctoral theses in economics published in Germany are acquired in selection.

A selection of these publications is acquired from the other countries, according to the collection's focus and taking the scientific reputation of the academic institution into account.

As a rule, published theses (bachelor, master) are not acquired.

Conference papers

Conference papers are acquired according to the geographical collection focus. Apart from Germany, conference papers are acquired on a selective basis and depending on the respective reputation of the conference and the organiser.

Statistics, statistical databases

A selection of statistical reports from Germany, both at the national and regional level, is acquired, taking into account assured availability elsewhere and relevance to economic research. Statistics from other countries are acquired at national level; a selection of regional statistics is acquired, taking into account the economic importance of the region and economic relevance. The statistical publications of European and international economics organisations are acquired as fully as possible.


The ZBW primarily acquires publications in German and English.

A selection of publications in other languages is acquired according to the geographical collection focus. The focus is on economics literature.


The ZBW acquires publications that have been published as online resources or as printed publications. If a publication is available in both formats, the acquisition of the online resource is preferred, taking the licensing conditions into account.

Microforms (microfiche, microfilm) are not required because of limited usability. Media forms like CD, DVD and other audiovisual data carriers are not acquired generally or only as a supplement to a printed publication.

6. Permanent availability, archiving

The ZBW strives for permanent availability and comprehensive archiving of its acquired publications. The archiving of online publications depends in individual cases on the technical, institutional andlegal framework conditions.

For online publications, extensive rights of use are sought for the ZBW in order to ensure indexing, supra-regional supply and other services.

Online publications are also acquired if the ZBW cannot achieve permanent availability, archiving or specific rights of use. The acquisition is then carried out in consideration of the economic relevanceand immediate need.

The ZBW does not strive for the archiving of aggregated databases.

7. Final remark

The collection profile of the ZBW is regularly monitored at multi-annual intervals in order to follow new developments in the publication market or to take other changed framework conditions into account.