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German Genealogy: Guide to Libraries On-line



Have you found an interesting looking book somewhere on this web site or in a soc.genealogy.german posting, but it is out of print and not for sale? Why not try the library? It's not at your local library? How about searching one or more libraries from your computer? Several of the world's best collections now have placed their catalogs online, some in the form of HTML, others accessible only via gopher or telnet.

Telnet can be used on Netscape and other browsers if it is established as a "supported application", the same for gopher, etc. For example, on Netscape 3.0, this means going to Options, then General Preferences, then Apps and adding your telnet application (which you may need to get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP)). If you are using AOL or another online service, they may (or may not) have a way to support telnet.

What you want to do is to search the fewest number of databases that will give you the best results. So you need the largest databases, i.e., library catalogs. The largest single catalog is the Library of Congress, which is available via gopher or telnet. But there are other library networks which also are useful.

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Some of the German libraries listed below support gopher, all support telnet.

Other sites which catalog libraries in Germany offering online access include:

For help in interpreting expressions used in German book titles, consult Headwords for Online Library Research presented by Andreas Hanacek.

Individual Libraries
Note: if requested to supply a login, type opac and simply type the Enter key for the password.

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Switzerland Schweizerische Landesbibliothek (National Library of Switzerland)

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United States

In the United States, books may be requested via Interlibrary Loan. This program allows you to borrow books from remote libraries simply by applying through your local one. Usually there is a nominal fee and sometimes there are restrictions on what you can do with the book, for example, not being allowed to remove it from library premises. Ask the Reference Desk at your local library for more information.

In addition to the individual libraries listed below, there are several sites which offer directories of multiple US libraries including:

Individual Libraries
  • Family History Library On-line
    The Family History Library (FHL) does not honor interlibrary loan requests, but has vast holdings on microfilm and microfiche which may be ordered through Family History Centers throughout the world.

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    Last update: 06-Sep-2000 (jre)

    Gordon McDaniel contributed the original draft of this page.
    Dennis Bauer, Jim Eggert, Monika Ferrier, Hans-Ulrich Kamke (edited from soc.genealogy.german), Volker Milbrandt, Dora Selig, and Michael Stamm have contributed to this page.
    Created by: Rick Heli
    Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-page to WebMaster