Biology - History of the collection, from 1948 to 2014
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Biology - History of the collection, from 1948 to 2014

© Christian Vas

Special Subject Collection 12 of the DFG: Biology, Botany, Zoology

When, in the post-war period, the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) established a system of Special Subject Collections, the subjects of biology, botany, and zoology were assigned to the Senckenbergian Library, building on its previously formed importance as a library for descriptive sciences.
This was closely linked to the aim of acquiring, for German researchers, all availble publications relevant to research, irrespective of the geographical place of publication, as long as they were written in widely used languages.
Since 1951, the DFG co-funded the purchase of literature on a regular basis, accepting 75 percent of the costs for foreign literature. Thereby, the Biology Collection reached high growth rates. When, in the 1980s, the total of all holdings of the Senckenbergian Library surpassed 1 million volumes, it could be assumed that far more than 500,000 volumes represented biological content.

Collection profile of the Special Subject Collections

The collection profile of the Special Subject Collections comprises the following subdisciplines and research topics: general biology, anatomy and morphology of plants and animals, plant and animal physiology, cytology, histology and developmental biology; furthermore, biochemistry, biophysics, biocybernetics and molecular biology as long as related to either plants or animals, or to the comparative study of humans and plants/animals (otherwise assigned to anthropology or medicine); furthermore, genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, biology of soils, marine biology, hydrobiology, vegetation science, community ecology, biogeography, microbiology (unless relating to medicine), systematic botany and systematic zoology (systematics and taxonomy), ethology, conservation biology, and biological aspects of environmental science.

In the year 2005, the Senckenbergian Library and the City and University Library (Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main) were merged to form one institution. The newly formed University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg continued the Special Subject Collection in biology, botany, and zoology. In the middle of the last decade, the number of biology print journals held continuously was about 3,500 (including c. 2,000 journals purchased on subscription, and c. 1,500 journals via exchange). For monographs the yearly increment was about 5,000 titles. The purchase of large parts of the Royal Garden Library Herrenhausen (Königliche Gartenbibliothek Herrenhausen) in 2007/2008 led to a significant extension of the historical holdings of botanical literature.

Virtual Library of Biology: vifabio

With the aim of enhancing visibility and accessibility of the Biology Collection the Virtual Library of Biology - vifabio - was established, co-funded by the DFG. Since 2007, library catalogue data, selected internet sites, journals, databases and full-text documents are available in one virtual location: in vifabio. Within the scope of the DFG project German botanical journals (conducted 2011-2013) more than 1,400 journal volumes from the period 1753-1914 were digitised and indexed.


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