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German Language and Literature: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Biographies

Library resources for German language and literature at Yale


National bibliographies for German-speaking countries

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sammlung Deutscher Drucke  is an initiative by 6 collaborating libraries to reconstruct a national bibliography that will cover the German prints from the beginning of printing to the present. The end result will be a virtual retrospective national library.  The material itself and digitization efforts for publications from each century are located at the following participating libraries:

Österreichische Bibliographie is published by the Austrian National Library and has been available online since 2003. In the list of new Austrian publications are included all new works published or printed in Austria which are delivered in conformity with the media law as obligatory copies to the Austrian National Library.


KLG online is a standard database for literature published in German after 1945; biographical information on more than 600 contemporary authors writing in German, including synoptical overviews of their works.Includes author biographies, literary awards, essays on each individual author, bibliographies of authors' works, theater performances, translations, radio performances, movies & cabaret performances based on the works, audiobooks, interviews with authors, and secondary literature.


Das Schweizer Buch is the national bibliography of Switzerland, maintained by the Schweizerische Nationalbibliothek NB, the Special Collections Library for Swiss publications and Helvetica.


German biographical resources (literary & non-literary)

Deutsche Biographie.  Combines the ADB (Allgemeine deutsche Biographie) and the NDB (Neue deutsche Biographie).

Biographie-Portal  [electronic resource]. Here you can search Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB),  Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB), Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815-1950 (ÖBL), and Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (HLS).

World Biographical Information System (WBIS) Online is the most comprehensive biographical database available, providing short biographical information on over 6 Million people from the 8th century B.C. to the present. Included are 8.4 Million digital facsimile articles from biographical reference works. Access to digitized articles is subscription based.


Daten der deutschen Literatur. Provides biographies and facts about numerous German speaking authors. Along with chronologies of key moments in their lives, a list of their works is given, which is divided into areas such as radio plays, novels, theatrical works, essays, and short stories.


German (bio-)bibliographies for all literary periods

Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft is an international bibliography of German literature and literary studies. The period from 1985 to the present is available online via the link above. For prior years consult the print edition available in the Sterling Memorial Library.

Annotated bibliography on literary theory. An online database of literary theory publications made available by Arbeitsstelle für Theorie der Literatur, Göttingen University, Germany. The database, which has a strong German and English bias, presents biographical details and short annotations of over 1,000 publications in the field of literary theory dating from 1970. The project's aim is to provide an overview of recent research in the field. Selected entries are accompanied by reviews or links to other relevant Web resources.

International Medieval Bibliography 

Brecht's Works in English: A Bibliography. This website is a cooperative project by the International Brecht Society and Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). It offers a bibliography of Bertolt Brecht's works in English translation and is hosted by the University of Wisconsin. The bibliography contains over 2,600 bibliographical entries and is of interest to scholars, theatre students and researchers wanting to access Brecht's work and compare multiple translations in English. There are bibliographical citations for dialogues, journals and diaries, essays, interviews, letters, plays, poems, prose and songs. Each text is entered as an individual item except for letters and journals which are entered as collections.

Internationale Bibliographie der Zeitschriftenliteratur (IBZ) [electronic resource] . An "international bibliography of periodical literature covering all fields of knowledge." It indexes periodical articles in all subject areas from around the world in German, French and English. Coverage of the printed volumes, including earlier titles, goes back to 1896.


Online literary reference tools