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Historical knowledge repositories und encyclopaedias

Welcome to the Enzyklothek, the library of historical knowledge repositories.

The encyclopaedia invites you to go on a journey of discovery. Browse through the reference works of past centuries. Find out what was considered worth knowing at different times. Discover what knowledge was taught about a wide variety of subjects. Explore how social attitudes and values have changed. Learn how technologies, professions, farming methods, political orders, or legal systems changed. Use the encyclopaedia to look up people or historical information about which you will find nothing or insufficient information in modern encyclopaedias. Enjoy the artistic and typographical design of many works.

What is the Enzyklothek?

  • The Enzyklothek is a literature database that documents as comprehensively as possible the reference works written from classical antiquity to about 1920, with their various editions and prints. A wide range of works is included: alphabetical and systematic reference works, handbooks, guidebooks, literary works, florilegia, or miscellaneous literature. Systematically recorded are works in (ancient) Greek, Danish, German, English, French, Italian, Latin, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Spanish. In addition to prints, manuscripts of ancient and medieval works are also considered, if digital copies of the manuscripts have been identified. Modern reprints of historical works are usually disregarded, especially if they are mere reprints. Recent reference works and databases freely available on the Internet are included, but not systematically. In contrast to conventional library catalogues, the titles of the early modern period are reproduced as completely as possible, including information on the authors, and are supplemented by an illustration of the original title page. The names of authors, editors, publishers and publishing places are standardized. In order to facilitate the search for authors and editors, name variants are deposited, so that the search should also lead to success under another spelling or another name.
  • The Enzyklothek is a collection of bibliographies of historical knowledge repositories. It provides its information in a structured way. The category system provides direct access to the corresponding bibliographic information. In cases of doubt an assignment to several categories is made.
  • The Enzyklothek is a virtual library that networks the holdings of worldwide digitization projects and makes them directly accessible via appropriate linking, so that you can read and research the corresponding works directly. Commercial projects are only included to the extent that they are easily accessible via national licenses or broadly distributed library licenses.
  • The Enzyklothek is an information library. It wants to make historical developments and the mutual influence of cultures visible. It therefore deliberately does not limit itself to a specific historical period or works of a single language. The Enzyklothek links the purely bibliographic data with additional information and references to the life and work of the authors. The consistent linking of the data with the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND), the Virtual Authority File (VIAF) and Wikidata ensures that the additional information is kept up-to-date. Furthermore, the bibliographic information is linked to tables of contents so that the structure and content of the works can be easily accessed. The information on the German-language general reference works is also supplemented by the addition of the forewords.
  • The Enzyklothek is a service-oriented library. You can transfer the most important bibliographic data directly into your Citavi or Zotero databases.
  • The Enzyklothek is a library under construction and in constant change. Given the scope of the project, the information can only be made available successively. Any errors in the collection of data must be continuously corrected. Moreover, given the volume of information compiled here, it is almost a given that works or editions of a work will be overlooked and thus have to be supplemented. The inconsistency of the information offered causes problems again and again. Once information has been made available, it is taken off the net again or provided with other links. Even so-called permanent addresses are not exempt from this. The linking of the titles available in the database is therefore subject to regular updating.
  • The Enzyklothek is a participatory library. It invites you to participate. Report faulty or missing links, editions or works that are not included. The originally planned opening for direct collaboration on the database unfortunately had to be abandoned due to widespread misuse.