GDR Culture Centre catalogue upgrade

**Detta blogginlägg på svenska**

The GDR collection catalogue at Linköping University Library has been given an overhaul. Info and help texts have been updated. The interface, available in a Swedish version and in English, has been given a new look. The catalogue has also been provided with a new order feature.

A card from the GDR catalogue
An example of a catalogue card with the order feature in the top right corner.

The GDR collection originates from the GDR Culture Centre (DDR-Kulturzentrum) in Stockholm, which was the German Democratic Republic’s official culture institute in Sweden, established in 1967. The institute was closed after the reunification between West and East Germany in 1990. Its collection of books and journals was acquired by Linköping University Library and is today kept in closed stacks at Valla Library in Linköping. Via a digitized card catalogue, available online, it is possible to search and order books included in the collection.

The GDR collection comprises books in German in a wide range of subjects. The fiction section holds many twentieth century classics, but also older fiction. Most of them are by German-language authors, but there are also translations from other languages into German. As a whole, the collection mirrors culture and society in the former German Democratic Republic. Subjects such as history, comparative literature and art history are especially well represented.

The catalogue available online is a scanned replica of the original card catalogue that was used by the GDR Culture Centre. Its book collection was classified according to Klassifikation für Staatliche Allgemeinbibliotheken und Gewerkschaftsbibliotheken (KAB), a classification system in use in East Germany from 1978. In a similar way to many other classification systems, such as the Dewey Decimal Classification System, the KAB System orders books by subject. As with all classification systems, the historical context is discernible in its structure. For example, the first subject category (A), and presumably the most important subject in the GDR, was Marxism-Leninism. In comparison, the Dewey Decimal System assigns Marxism-Leninism a much lower priority (the equivalent DDC code is 335.43).

The catalogue is a fascinating relic from yesterdays libraries and the GDR itself. By browsing it, you can find out which of your favourite authors that were published in the GDR, or which hobbies the culture centre had books on. You can find guide books to a country that no longer exists. If you are a fan of the iconic East German car Trabant, you can find books on that subject as well.

Search the catalogue

By: Peter Igelström, librarian, Valla Library

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