Research focuses

The research focuses are determined by the holdings of the Departments and the museums as well as by the collection task allotted to the Austrian National Library (ANL). The research focuses are located in the social sciences, cultural studies and in the history of science and library studies. In addition there is basic technological research in the area of the Digital Library and of conservation.

Editing projects

Editing projects constitute an important part of the research activities at the ANL (e.g., editing of papyrus texts from the “Senuthios archives”, the historico-critical edition of the works of Ödön von Horváth, the student’s edition of Albert Drach’s works). They serve for the publication of texts, photographs, maps, music manuscripts, and audiovisual documents in the holdings. Apart from editions in book form in future there will be more and more hybrid editions (as classical printed publication and in digital form) and digital editions. The ANL participates in international discussions on questions of editing research and has at its disposal rich experience in the publication of the most varied source materials.

One of the trend-setting aspects of editing projects is their link with questions of textual and cultural studies. The ANL strives to accentuate particular aspects in this field (e.g., the research platform on Peter Handke).

Cultural studies projects

The source material, which is extraordinarily varied from both a historical viewpoint and in its physical qualities, offers research perspectives above all for work on media, gender,  culture and history (e.g., the notary’s office in late Antiquity, the Fugger newspapers, the private library of Emperor Franz I. of Austria, women’s movements – women in motion, or history and theory of biography).

Specifically library research

This includes the fields of the history of books and media, research on readers, historical studies on libraries and on the provenance of holdings (e.g., “The ANL in the Nazi Period”), research in the field of book technology and conservation, and in the field of auxiliary studies, in this context particularly research on paper and binding. One focus is provenance research with special emphasis on the origins of old books and old manuscripts (e.g., reconstruction of historic libraries).

Cataloguing projects

Making accessible its holdings is the central task of the Austrian National Library. The material cannot be known until the holdings are registered and are made available for more profound research. Cataloguing projects on a scholarly level are at present being carried out in the framework of FWF – Austrian Science Fund projects in collaboration with the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Vienna, and institutes of the extra-university Ludwig Boltzmann Society. The aim is to reproduce the results of the research projects directly in the catalogues.

Development of technology and tools in the framework of the Digital Library

The focus of the research work is in the fields of digital long-term archiving and OCR (optical character recognition) in mass digitisation. In addition, projects are being carried out in the fields of the semantic web and digital humanities.

last update 9/3/2015