Heidelberg University Library Second Best in Germany

15 07 2008
Outstanding 2nd place in national comparison of academic libraries
With book-loan and visitor figures constantly on the rise, the innovative services provided by Heidelberg’s University Library are rapidly making it Germany’s most frequently used library. The renowned Library Index, which compares the performance of the major academic libraries in Germany, has accorded Heidelberg’s University Library an outstanding 2nd place for the year 2008. This library ranking measures and compares libraries with respect to offerings, usage, efficiency and development potential.

High user count

The outstanding 2nd place indicates the excellent supply of literature for research and teaching at the University of Heidelberg. With over 1.6 million loans and almost 2 million visitors per year, Heidelberg’s University Library actually came out on top in the user category.

In the last few years the already excellent showing has been enhanced with a number of service improvements. The number of loans has increased by 30 percent since 2002, and longer service and lending times have stepped up user frequency by over 40 percent in the last three years. This is a clear indication of the University Library’s constantly increasing significance as a location for working and learning.

Outstanding innovation potential

“The only way to achieve such impressive improvements in performance with the same number of staff is to subject all operations to consistent efficiency criteria,” says Dr. Veit Probst, director of Heidelberg’s University Library. “That in its turn is dependent on highly motivated, economically minded staff who regard performance indicators as an incentive to do even better rather than as a control instrument. Here I should like to express my profound gratitude to them all.”

This is the basis for major innovation potential and future-oriented developments that have brought the University Library major national and international acclaim. With its high-performance search-engine technology the Heidelberg Library now has the most powerful online catalogue anywhere in the country. This “next-generation” online catalogue offers all the assets typical of search engines in general – super-fast performance, intelligent ranking, Google-style search.

For its special subject collections funded by the German Research Foundation (Egyptology, European art history, classical archaeology, South Asia) the Heidelberg University Library operates three virtual specialist libraries. Highly convenient search functionalities provide direct electronic access to specialist academic information – an important contribution to top-quality research. Unique in Germany is the digitisation of the Bibliotheca Palatina, one of the most valuable collections of German-language manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the early modern age. The quality of the digital presentation and the academic precision of the access to picture and text material supplied by HeidlCON, the Heidelberg picture database, have ensured the Heidelberg University Library a pioneering role in the library and research landscape.

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Volker Wittenauer
phone: 06221/542387

Journalists are invited to address more general inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Irene Thewalt
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

Editor: Email
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