Specialised Information Service for Northern Europe

At the beginning of 2016, the Specialised Information Service (FID) for Northern Europe took over the special subject collection (SSG) "History, languages and literature of the Nordic countries" at Kiel University Library, as part of the nationwide Specialised Information Services programme (Fachinformationsdienste für die Wissenschaft) run by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The FID Northern Europe collects scientifically-relevant literature on Denmark, Norway (including Svalbard), Sweden, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Finland (through the FID Finno-Ugric / Uralic Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the Göttingen State and University Library). Beyond this, the FID's research portal is the vifanord Virtual Library of Northern European Studies (vifanord).

Please address related enquiries as well as general research questions on the subject of Northern Europe to Dr. Ruth Sindt.

Brief History of Specialised Information Service

The historically-developed close relationships with the Nordic countries have had a lasting influence on the inventory history at Kiel University Library. After the Gottorp share of the Duchy of Holstein was ceded to Denmark in 1773, the library profited from receiving duplicates from the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and in particular from numerous gifts of money from the king. In 1811, the year of appointment of the first associate professor for Danish Philology, the poet Jens Baggesen (1764-1826), special funds were first granted for procuring Danish books.

First full professorship for Theodor Möbius

The first full professorship in Nordic Philology was awarded to Theodor Möbius (1821-1890) in 1865. Thanks to him, the library has its basic stock of approximately 1,100 Icelandic volumes, which was a significant collection before the Second World War.

In the framework of the acquisition agreements between the Prussian university libraries valid from 1910, Kiel took over the area "Nordic Philology", and together with Göttingen, Bonn, Breslau and Königsberg was one of the first five libraries which had clearly-defined collecting tasks assigned to it. After the founding of the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft (Emergency Association of German Science) in 1920, Kiel's collecting task was defined as the Nordic "cultural circle".

After the Second World War

During the Second World War, around 250,000 volumes - half of the library's total inventory - were destroyed by bombs, including about 30 percent of the Icelandic inventory (in comparison with the 5,478 titles in existence until 1942/1944, recorded in the Iceland catalogue published by Olaf Klose in 1931). The library's contacts with the Nordic countries facilitated the resumption of collecting, and making the required replacements to the old inventory after the war losses. In the framework of the special subject collection (SSG) plan of the German Research Foundation (DFG), Kiel University Library was allocated responsibility for subject collection 7,22 Scandinavia. Against all tradition, the 'Sweden' section was removed from the plan in 1949, and assigned to the SUB Hamburg. The original state was restored in 1963.

In the context of the nationwide funding programme "Specialised Information Services", the SSG was replaced in 2016 by the Specialised Information Service (FID) for Northern Europe, which will provide scientists in Germany largely location-independent access to literature and online resources on Northern Europe in future. To this end, it not only continues to carry the extensive inventory of the SSG, but the focus is increasingly on developing online databases, journals, full texts and other digital resources.

185,000 volumes and a growing portfolio of online journals

The inventory of the FID Northern Europe currently comprises approximately 185,000 volumes, and is growing at an annual rate of approximately 3,000 volumes. In addition, there are around 700 continuously-held print magazines and yearbooks, as well as a constantly-growing portfolio of online journals in the Electronic Journals Library (EZB). Also, since 2006, online freely-accessible full texts have been collected and catalogued according to scientific criteria. Furthermore, the FID maintains approximately 500 databases in a separate section in the DBIS database information system.

More information is available in the Podcast: Das Sondersammelgebiet Skandinavien an der Universitätsbibliothek Kiel. As part of the university's 350th anniversary, Kiel University Library's special subject collection "History, languages and literature of the Nordic countries" presented a special exhibition:  Von Fanø bis zur Nordkalotte (From Fanø to Cap of the North).