Frequently Asked Questions
... and our answers.
Who can use the Heidelberg University Archives’ services?
The Heidelberg University Archives is a public institution, so everyone who is interested may use its services. However, its main purpose is to support academic studies, teaching, and research, as well as collecting administrative documents.
Documents stored at our archives can only be accessed on site in the reading room. In this regard, if you have a specific enquiry, let us know in writing by letter, fax or e-mail and we will respond in the same way.
What kind of documents can I find at the archives?
Provided they are of lasting value, all documents belonging to the university and its institutions are stored, preserved and made accessible at the University Archives. The collections include important charters, files, registers, account books as well as various items, such as photographs, seals, flyers and more. Our oldest holdings go back to the 13th and 14th century.
Our reference library contains basic literature on the history of Heidelberg University and is freely accessible to anyone interested. However, please be aware that our books and archival material cannot be loaned to the public.
Transfer and delivery of record copies
If coffered materials from the University Archives were of substantial relevance or importance to their research, users of the Heidelberg University Archives are obligated to provide the Archives with an unsolicited, complimentary copy of their finished work.
In the event that returning a complimentary copy of the finished work to the University Archives is unreasonable (especially for reasons concerning a low number of available copies or high printing costs), the author may choose to relinquish a copy of his/her work to the Archives and request that the Archives create a duplicate. Alternatively, the author may choose to copy his/her work independently and request reimbursement from the Archives for up to half of the work’s retail price. The same is true for publications in compilations, periodicals, and printed excerpts from larger collections/offprints.
The administration of the Archives can exempt an author from the obligation to relinquish a copy of his/her work.
It is also possible for the author to submit a PDF (or other file format) copy of his/her work.
The submitted copies of works are available for perusal in our reference library and are also listed in the library database ‘‘HEIDI‘‘.
We seek to attain written consent from authors who submit their otherwise-unpublished works (for example, theses and degree-completion works) to the Archives for perusal by all third parties (LArchG § 6, Abs. 7 Satz 5).
Citation methods for our records
Using specific, correct citations helps greatly in the process of finding and retrieving archived records. Outside researchers can verify source origins through the correct use of citations.
The most frequently-used abbreviation for the Heidelberg University Archives is ‘‘UAH’’. However, there are two other abbreviation variants that one may choose to use: ‘‘UA Heidelberg’’ or ‘‘Universitätsarchiv Heidelberg’’. We ask that you choose to adopt only one of these abbreviations in order to avoid misunderstandings.
Following the abbreviation, there will be an archive call number (for example, B, H-II, PA or RA, and the following number).
Where applicable, also cite the folio or page number of the referenced material, provided that an appropriately citable folio or page number exists on file.
We recommend the following citation methods (examples):
Example 1: UAH B-XXXX
Example 2: UA Heidelberg RA XXXX
Example 3: Universitätsarchiv Heidelberg H-II-XXX / XXX
Is there a car park nearby?
Unfortunately, free parking is not available in the immediate vicinity. We recommend that you use one of the multi-story car parks nearby, which are easily accessible. You can choose between the P7 (Kaufhof), P9 (Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage/Plöck), and P10 (Friedrich-Ebert-Platz) car park. Just follow the signs in the city centre for directions.
Where to find us: map of the area.
Can I obtain a Certificate of University Studies at the archives?
Yes, you can. Your inquiry should be in writing (preferably by letter with a stamped self-addressed envelope enclosed) including your surname (maiden name if applicable), first name, date and place of birth as well as an indication of the period you were studying at Heidelberg University. Please tell us where you would like us to send the certificate (e.g. your home address).
Can I take a look at the Archives’ records online?
Unfortunately, original documents cannot be accessed online at this time; nevertheless, on our website you will find a summary of records and several finding aids. We are constantly working on completing these online finding aids so you can read up on our records before you come by. Once you have found what you are looking for, please let us know by letter or e-mail the item’s detailed reference number as well as the date you are planning to pay us a visit.
Example of a citation: => Rep 141/5
Do I have to make an appointment in order to visit the Archives?
You can usually use the Archives’ services without making an appointment. Please take note of our opening hours. As our records need to be fetched from our storeroom before they can be examined in the reading room, you can spare yourself a lot of waiting time by telling us in advance what archival documents you need.
How can I prepare for a visit at the Archives?
The more detailed the information you can give us on your topic of research, the better we will be able to help you. This greatly enhances your chances that we can provide you with the right documents. Moreover, it helps considerably when you collect as much information as possible, e. g. the most relevant literature, before you visit us.
Will I get charged for using the Archives’ services?
For the most part, the Heidelberg University Archives’ services are free of charge. This includes assistance and access to our finding aids. However, in accordance with our list of fees we will charge you for exceptionally time-consuming research and all expenses incurred (e.g. scans, photocopies etc.).
Can I obtain copies of archived material?
Provided the items concerned are not at risk of being damaged in the copying process, and that no copyright or privacy is infringed, our staff can make copies (either in print or electronic form) of books or archived material. However, please be aware that if your request is too extensive and time-consuming it might not be fulfilled. You may take photographs with your own camera only by special arrangement with us. Please see our list of fees.
Are there any restrictions on the access to or use of records?
Both reasons of preservation as well as legal restrictions can interfere with your usage of our records. Generally, administrative documents become accessible to the public after a period of thirty years. There is a ten year waiting period before the personal materials of deceased people may be accessed. If you would like to look at any documents relating to a person that is still alive, you will have to get their permission first.
Can I use my laptop in the reading room?
Yes, you can.
How am I supposed to handle archived material?
No food or drinks may be taken into the Archives’ reading room or offices. Smoking is prohibited as well. Although it is impossible to guarantee an utterly quiet working experience, we ask all our users to do their best to maintain a quiet atmosphere by keeping the noise level to a minimum. Although you may order as many documents as you would like, you may only examine five at a time. When you return them, you may receive the next five.
Taking notes on archival documents, using them as blotting pads, or tracing their contents etc. are not allowed. Moreover, archival materials must be handled with care, ordered in exactly the same way as they were before, and may not be altered in any way.
One last piece of advice!
Do not forget to take short notes on all reference numbers and titles of the documents you work with. It is quite likely these notes will turn out useful at some point.