FAQ Archives Use


No, the Archives use is free of charge. We only charge for special services such as preparing reproductions of the materials. Our price list  for these services is available on our website.

No, you do not need a confirmation from a university or similar. The holdings are also open to the public for private research.

The Archives of the Akademie der Künste have several Reading Rooms, e.g., Main Reading Room, Reading Room Pariser Platz, Bertolt Brecht Archive Reading Room, Walter Benjamin Archive Reading Room, Art Collection Reading Room. The reader application to view materials is only valid for the Reading Room of the archives where those materials are held. To use other Reading Rooms, you need to apply to each of those Reading Rooms individually. Researching our Archives Database also provides information on where the particular archival materials are held. The contactdetails of the various Reading Rooms and locations are available on our website.

You may take pencils, paper and a laptop into the Reading Room. Mobile phones, jackets, coats, bags (including laptop bags and handbags) are not permitted in the Reading Rooms, as well as food or drink.
To protect the originals, no ballpoint pens, fineliners, fountains pens, marker pens, etc. are allowed in the Reading Rooms. Pencils may be used for records and notes.


Please contact the staff of the Reading Room that applies to you by phone or email and make an appointment. You can then make an appointment with the staff there to reserve a place for you to view the archival material. To view the materials, you have to be registered as a reader.

To view archival materials in our Reading Rooms please register in our Archives Database. This registration process must be completed before your first visit to one of our Reading Rooms. The process involves printing out and signing your registration application. This can be done on site or you can bring the completed application with you. When you first visit an Archives Reading Room you will also be asked to present some form of photo identification, such as a government-issued photo ID or passport, or an equivalent.

No, you can search the Archives Database without registering. Simply click on ‘Recherche’ to access the Archives Database. Please note that the Archives Database language is German.

If you are only planning to search to the Archives Database, there is no need to register. Registration is only required if you are planning to view materials in one of our Reading Rooms. By signing the registration form, you are agreeing to abide by the policies and procedures of the Academy Archives on access to the materials.
In addition, registering does have certain advantages for researching our Archives Database allowing you, for example, to open an online ‘workbook’ for your research results and view digital attachments.

You need to specify a user name with at least 4 characters and a password with at least 8 characters.
The registration form comprises two pages.
You have to enter your personal details on the first page. Our privacy policy explains how we collect, process, store and use such personal data. You also need to read our Access Regulations explaining the use of our Archives and Library. To use our Archives, you have to tick the boxes confirming that you give your informed and active consent to our Access Regulations and Privacy Policy.
On the second page of your registration, you can then enter your research interests or research topic. In addition to your research topic, you can enter the archives or collections you would like to use, the purpose of your research and the institution where you are conducting your research.
If you click “add (another) archives group”, you can then enter the name of the archives or collection for your research in the field provided. Clicking on the designated name of the archives or collections includes them in your registration form. All the individual archives or collections you wish to view for your research must be included in your reader application form.

Reader registration is only for one calendar year. Readers have to renew their registrations before using the Reading Rooms in the new calendar year. Registrations can be renewed by clicking on the link „add another theme”. You then have to print out and sign the new registration form.
If the topic you are working on changes during the year or if you are working on various topics at the same time, you need to register for each topic.
To view materials from an archive or collection not listed in your existing registration, you need to add the new archive or collection to your current registration.

If you have forgotten your password, contact our staff to have your password reset.

Ordering archival materials

To order archival materials you need to complete an order slip provided in the Reading Room. Please note the retrieval times for archival materials at 10 am and 1 pm. Unless held in external storage, the materials will be available to view the same opening day.

Before your visit you can pre-order up to 5 call numbers via email at the Reading Room that provides access to the materials you wish to view. How to order archival materials is explained in the video on our website at requests and archives use.

Ordering reproductions

To order copies or scans etc., you first need to submit a request. As a rule, our Reading Room Regulations allow for the provision of 50 copied pages per person and per topic in any given year. Individual case arrangements are possible on request.
We are unable to provide scans or copies where this contravenes copyright restrictions or is contrary to our own guidelines on the conservation and preservation of materials. If your request for copies is not granted, you will be informed of the reasons by the responsible member of staff.
The preparation of the copies or scans takes an average of 14 days unless permissions from copyright holders are required.
Please collect your copy and scan requests on the appropriate application form and hand it in at the end of your research, at the latest half an hour before the Reading Rooms close.

Yes, it's possible. In this case, you have to complete and sign your reader registration form together with a copy/scan request, and submit both forms by post or email. Please make sure that the application form is completely filled out and signed.

You can register directly in the Archives Database. All other forms are available on our website.

No. Under copyright law and our guidelines on the conservation and preservation of materials, photographing or copying materials in our Reading Rooms by visitors is not permitted.

Finding items

You can search for materials in the Archives Database. For not yet indexed archives you can search in the finding aid provided in the Reading Room.

To research the holdings in a particular archive, either select the particular archive from the dropdown menu under ‘Archives department’ (Archivabteilung) or click on ‘overview of archives’ (Bestandsübersicht) at the top left, and enter the name of the archive or collection in the field ‘free text search’ (Freitextsuche). The archive or collection you are looking for then appears in the tree view (Bestandsbaum). If you click on the name of the archive or collection in the tree view, the right-hand window displays the individual items with their call numbers. If you click on the small plus sign next to the name of the archive or collection in the tree view, the tree is expanded to show the classifications in the holdings. Here, you can also filter your search by selecting individual categories such as ‘letters’ (please choose German terms). In this case, the right-hand window only displays the items in your selected category.
Our Archives Database also offers detailed information on how to use the search function (click on the small question mark sign). Please note that the Archives Database language is German.

A call number is sequential reference number assigned to particular items in the archives. In our Archives Database, the call numbers comprise the name of the specific archive and a number, e.g. WBA 0391 refers to an item in the Walter Benjamin Archive.

Once you have selected the archive or clicked on the name in the tree view, you can enter a title, name or keyword in the search field to look for an item in the archive or collection.

The ‘search within results’ function (Innerhalb des Ergebnisses suchen) is set below the free text field and can be activated by ticking the box next to it. For example, if you search first for all the call numbers for a person’s name, you can then click on the filter function to search within the results, i.e. then add ‘Brief*’ (‘letter’) in the text box to limit the search just to letters. The terms must be German to find results in the Archives Database.

Not all the photos and documents in the Akademie der Künste holdings have been digitised. Moreover, the Akademie does not hold the rights to all archived photographs. In these cases, the preview images in our online catalogue are replaced by placeholders.

This could be for one of several reasons:

  • The Database is an ongoing project, and does not yet included all our archived materials. A part of our holdings can be only located using conventional finding aids. For more details, contact our staff.
  • No online search is possible for certain archival items which are subject to special statutory conditions of use. For more details, contact our staff.
  • Try a new search with a new keywords and combinations, or vary names or titles.