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Finding Resources

In our departmental libraries books dealing with the same subject matter are shelved together. This is called "systematic" arrangement.

Each book bears a call number which consists of letters and ciphers. This code represents the textual affiliation to a subject and thus the position on the shelf.

The photo on the right shows a book with call number GA079 H2G3I .
The structure of the call number is as follows:

  • The first two characters (GA) indicate the subject. GA represents i.a. the code for "General works" in the subject area "Earth Sciences".
  • The next three characters (079) indicate the subdivision. 079 represents "Encyclopaedias, Textbooks".
  • The last part of the call number is composed by the initial letter of the author's last name or the title (here H for Handbook) and a code which supports the alphabetic sorting.
  • White call number labels on the spine mean that these items circulate, yellow labelled ones do not.

To find out where the subjects and call number areas are located you can use the local Site map of the departmental libraries or consult the website displaying the Site Map of the Departmental Libraries.

There are several ways to seek and find a book in the library.

You can search the classification to find out where the subject area is located and then browse the shelves for suitable literature. Nevertheless, it is advisable to search the library catalogue first as books of the same subject are not necessarily located at one place or specific books might have been placed e.g. on course reserve or in a textbook collection or even are on loan. Only a search query in the library catalogue provides this information.


Where do I find …?

New Books

Some departmental libraries display new books on special shelves. These are generally located in the foyers.

The books remain displayed for one to four weeks until they are shelved at their final position. Whether the books can already be borrowed or reserved is indicated on the shelf labels or can be inquired at the circulation desks.

A new acquisitions list (purchase, gift, exchange) of the last four weeks and sorted by departmental libraries is available (New Acquisitions of the last four weeks). A QR-code is tagged on the special shelves so that you can open the relevant list on your smartphone.

If you would like to suggest a book to be purchased, please fill in the form provided at the circulation desk or online Purchase Suggestion.

New Journal Issues

The journal display shelves contain the unbound issues of the current volumes, arranged by alphabet.
The individual issues are not circulating, since these are highly topical and needed by a lot of users at the same time. Of course, you can read and copy them at any time.

To find out if a journal is available online and in full text you may search the journal title.

Back volumes (bound) are shelved by call number which you can find in the library catalogue and on the label on the display shelf.

Textbook Collection

In the departmental libraries frequently used textbooks and other basic course material is grouped together and shelved separately in the textbook collection.
Each book title is held in several generally loanable copies.

The call number of the textbook collection in all departmental libraries normally is 080 (e.g. QA080).
If all copies are on loan you can check the Catalogue.plus! for further copies that may be shelved in other departmental libraries.

Course Reserves

The course reserves include the basic literature which is required for particular courses.

They have been compiled by the lecturers themselves and arranged alphabetically by the lecturer's name on a separate shelf.

The items placed on the course reserves can only be borrowed with a written approval of the lecturer in charge. An appropriate form is in reach at the circulation desk of the particular departmental library. However, this literature can be used at any time in Individual Study Zones and copies can be made as well. Usually the course reserve is kept in place for the duration of the course. After that the reserves are cleared and the items are shelved at their original location.


Local, national and international daily and weekly newspapers are displayed in the Journal Reading Corner of the Reference Department (U0, entrance via U1), while some are kept in the departmental libraries Linguistics and Literary Studies (C1 and D1) and in the ZiF Library.

Many online newspaper archives can be searched (on campus or via VPN) in the database Nexis. The articles are available as full-text versions. (Sources: German press resp. German-language and English-language press). the articles are available as full-text versions. In order to find out whether a particular paper is searchable, start Nexis and click "Quellenverzeichnis", then "Quellensuche" and enter the title of the paper into the search form. If the paper is available, you may select it, copy it as source in your search and start browsing. Online and CD-ROM versions of many more newspapers are listed in DBIS.

Part of the back issues (until 2008) are available as microfilm versions and are ready for reading and copying in the Reference Department / Information Services.

The library holds subscriptions of the following newspapers


Title Location (Subject library) / Online acccess
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung Current Issue: U0
Online archive 1996 onwards (access from campus only)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Current Issue: U0, ZiF
Issues on microfilm: 1949 - 2008
Online archive 1993 onwards (access from campus only)
Der Freitag Current Issue: U0
The Guardian Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis 1984 onwards (access from campus only)
Guardian Weekly Current Issue: ZiF
Online via Nexis 1981 onwards (access from campus only)
Handelsblatt Current Issue: U0
Issues on microfilm: 1967 - 2008
International New York Times Current Issue: U0, ZiF
Online via Nexis 1991 onwards (access from campus only)
Le Monde Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis 1987 onwards (access from campus only)
Neue Westfälische Current Issue: U0, ZiF
Neue Zürcher Zeitung Current Issue: U0, D1
Issues on microfilm: 1977 - 2008
The Observer Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis 1993 onwards (access from campus only)
Süddeutsche Zeitung Current Issue: U0, D1, ZiF
Issues on microfilm: 1977 - 2008;
Online archive 1992 onwards (access from campus only)
Der Tagesspiegel Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis August 2007 onwards (access from campus only)
Die Tageszeitung Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis 1994 onwards (access from campus only)
Times Higher Education Supplement Current Issue: C1
Online via Nexis from October 1994 - December 1998 and September 2000 onwards (access from campus only)
The Wall Street Journal Europe Current Issue: U0
Online via Nexis October 1985 onwards (access from campus only)
Die Welt Current Issue: U0
Issues on microfilm: 1976 - 2008
Westfalenblatt Current Issue: U0, ZiF
Die Zeit Current Issue: U0, D1, ZiF
Issues on microfilm: 1977 - 2008
Online archive 1946 onwards (free access)


Some domestic and foreign magazines (e.g. Le Nouvel Observateur, The Economist und L'Express) are displayed in the reading nook of the Reference Department.

Special Locations

Some collections are shelved in special areas of our departmental libraries, in the rare book collection and in the closed stack. These areas are not freely accessible.

The circulation desk and the service desk in the departmental libraries provide further information on the special area. You can order books from closed stacks by filling out the order form of the library catalogue (Catalogue.plus!). Depending on condition of use your ordered books can be picked up at the circulation desk in D1 (for loan or for use in the library) or for use in the special reading room at the Reference Department (U0). Books from the rare book collection can be ordered via Catalogue.plus! too. These books can only be read in the special reading room after date arrangement. The ordered books are made available as soon as possible within 24 hours of the next working day. You will be notified by email when your order is available.

The special reading room at the Reference Department is reserved for the usage of rare and protected books. Books ordered via interlibrary loan that do not circulate can also be used here.

The special reading room is open Monday to Friday 9.00-18.00.
Please note: old stock deserving special protection and literature relevant under criminal law aspects (Nazi literature, works harmful to juveniles) can be used from 9.00-16.00 by appointment only.


Microfilms and Microfiches

Please look here for further information (only available in german)

Reserve Collection for Lecturers

Literature that is needed directly at the workplace can be compiled in a handset by members of the university. The books in a handset must be accessible to all users during the day. For the accessibility of a handset, please refer to the regulations of the Bielefeld University Library § 10. If you need a book that is in a handset, please first check if there are additional copies of the book you want to use in the library. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

List of reserve collections