Since 1992 Ariadne has been offering the help of librarians and documents for those who are in search of guidelines in the labyrinth of women’s and gender studies; hence the choice of our name.
The literature on women’s and gender studies grew enormously in the last three decades of the 20th century, that is, since the beginning of the New Women’s Movement. That is chiefly a result of development in the 1970’s on the part of progressive women of a new interest in women’s history, but also in the current social, cultural, and political conditions in the lives of women. These topics gradually became a standard part of discourse in universities and non-university educational institutions, but also in political forums. There was an expansion of publication that spread from Anglo-Saxon areas and was later taken up in continental Europe. Libraries reacted to that development with some hesitation, partly because the literature of women’s studies appeared at first mainly as contributions to women’s and other periodicals, congress writings, and exhibition catalogues, or else as “grey” literature. Only with the spread of databases supported by computers in libraries was it possible to treat professionally and make accessible this so-called “eclectic” literature (i.e., essays in compendia or periodicals). A feasibility study set up in the middle of the 1980’s on information and documentation on specifically women’s topics (done by Andrea Fennesz und Christa Wille) was the first examination of the framework and requirements of a place of documentation. When, at the start of the 1990’s the Federal Ministry for Science and Research gave the green light for the installation of such an institution in the Austrian National Library, “Ariadne” could be embedded in the organisational chart and staffed with two women (Helga Weinberger and Christa Wille).

Main work areas (Collecting - documenting - informing - digitising)

 We take care to purchase publications dealing with the following fields:

  • Bibliographies and reference works
  • Biographies and women’s literature
  • Standard literature on feminist theory (apart from German, especially that from the Anglo-American countries)
  • Results of research on the topics: history of women, history of the sexes, philosophy, women’s movement, politics and society, socialisation and sexual differences, psychology, feminist theology and religion, language and literature, art and culture, education and science, etc.
  • Scholarly periodicals on women and gender research
  • Since 1992 we have been working on building up an Ariadne database on eclectic literature (review articles, contributions in compendia, etc.). Thereby we document the holdings of the Austrian National Library with the following main areas of interest:
  • “Austriaca” (= literature on/by Austrian women or on Austria)
  • Standard international works, particularly from the field of humanities
  • “Grey” literature (works that appear outside the standard publishing industry)
  •  The database items are formally indexed and particularly according to content (feminist catchwords, systematics, partial abstracts and commentaries). Our sources are principally German and English, but also from other European languages.
  • We offer clients searching for information the following services:
  • General introduction to looking for specifically women’s literature
  • Advice and help with difficult research
  • Referral to specifically women’s holdings in other libraries and targeted referral to other sources of information and documentation on women both in Austria and in foreign countries.
  • Aids in bibliographical work

Ariadne began some years back to digitise and put online the full text of historical documents relevant to women. Please visit our links “Documents online” and “Ariadne projects” (there you will find “women in the movement”, “women’s works” and “cherchez la femme”).

Frequently asked questions

I need more detailed advice and help with my research. How can I contact Ariadne?
Of course we're happy to help you with complicated research. It is advisable to ring us first or to contact us by e-mail so we can have a thorough discussion of your research or make an appointment with you.

If I have found in the Ariadne database books or essays I want to explore, where do I turn to?
periodicals and books evaluated in our database belong to the general holdings of the Austrian National Library or to the holdings of the individual departments (see the call number supplement). Order those books or periodicals as usual. Apart from reference books on women's matters (e.g., Ariadne 120) and so-called "grey literature" (Ariadne 06.18), there are no books or periodicals to be found in the "Ariadne" room!

Some essays from your database or some books mentioned in your newsletter would be very interesting for me. But I do not live in Vienna or surrounds and so I cannot visit the National Library. How do I get hold of such literature?
The way of doing it is this: find out first of all if a library in your area has the desired book/periodical in its holdings. If that is not the case, turn to the closest borrowing section (at every big library) and have the literature requested. But you can also send orders directly to the borrowing section of the Austrian National Library.

I am looking for biographical details on particular women or technical lexicons or bibliographies on women and gender studies. Can I find them at your institute?
Reference works on persons and topics (so-called "Kat" call numbers) can be consulted in the catalogue section of "Ariadne" (Heldenplatz, 2nd floor) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. But it can happen that reference books are situated in the individual departments of the Austrian National Library (please take note of the call number supplement).



Josefsplatz 1
A-1015 Vienna
Tel: (+43 1) 534 10-487, 457
Fax: (+43 1) 534 10-437

  • Access: Heldenplatz, 2nd floor


Opening hours

Mon - Fri 9 a.m. till 4 p.m.

last update 10/7/2013