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Databases

Here we present information and tips that should facilitate your research activities with the aid of the extensive multimedia databases that belong to the offerings of the documenta Archive. We wish you lots of fun with your researching, discovering and browsing!

Share your knowledge with us:

We call on all researchers to share their results with us and thus to make their work available to the general public and to the international research community. Thank you!

The Archive’s specialty library for art of the 20th and 21st centuries

The Library Catalog (OPAC) informs you about the extensive collection of books, exhibition catalogs, magazines and other publications on art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Presently the new acquisitions of the last 20 years have been cataloged, and the recataloging of the invaluable older holdings of the Library is in progress. Thanks to the generous support of the German Research Foundation, large part of these older holdings will be recataloged by the end of 2014 and thus available for research worldwide.

Via the function Artist inquiry,one reaches the Artist Database which contains short biographies of approximately 21,000 contemporary artists as well as information about their documenta participation when relevant.

The image is a screenshot of the "Simple Search" (Einfache Suche) in the Library Database of the documenta Archive. Especially useful is the "Search Artists" function (Künstlerrecherche). With a single click one has information about an artist's participation at all documenta exhibitions.
A screenshot of the "Simple Search" in the Library Database of the documenta Archive. Especially useful is the "Search Artists" function. With a single click one has information about an artist's participation at all documenta exhibitions.

media cluster-documenta: Image and press material on the history of the documenta

Here you can conduct research in the multi-media image and press database media cluster-documenta. At the present time, it is only possible to view the image and press material of the exhibitions   documenta 1 (1955) through documenta 5 (1972) in this freely accessible database.

To be able to view images at higher resolutions and to read press materials in the complete text form, it is necessary to complete a one-time, cost-free registration. Your login data then remain active for 12 months. Some documents and images can not be viewed in their entirety or at higher resolutions due to copyright constraints even after registration.

Costs, fees and rights

The download of photographs and press articles is unfortunately also not allowed for copyright reasons. You can, however, inspect the digitized versions as well as all archival materials free of charge at the Archive by appointment.

The use of high-resolution photographs and complete press article texts for research and teaching purposes is welcome and wished for by the Archive. For a small processing fee we gladly make our treasures available to all researchers. The Schedule of fees can be found here in the section Information / Schedule of fees .

Commercial use of our digitized materials is also desired. For these fee-based services, please contact us by telephone or email. We look forward to your call, your email, and of course, any letter that you care to send. All contact information for the Archive and Archive staff  can be found in the section Information / Contact. 

The database has been prepared with extensive support from the German Research Foundation . Following the digitization of archival materials from documenta 1 (1955) through documenta 5 (1972)  and their placement online, a second project phase in the digitization of image material from documenta 6 (1977) through documenta 12 (2007) is now underway. This undertaking, which is also supported by the   German Research Foundation, will be completed in 2015.

Punctually for the anniversary: 2015 = 60 years' documenta

In the middle of 2015 selected pictures documenting the history of the documenta exhibitions 1-13 will be made freely available online for research purposes and for the general public. A milestone that significantly improves the study and research of the unique holdings of the documenta Archive.

The image shows a screenshot of the Simple Search (Einache Suche) in the Image and Press Clipping Database of the documenta Archive. Currently the documenta exhibitions 1-5 are searchable. In the middle of 2015 the material from documenta exhibitions 6-12 will also be online.
A screenshot of the Simple Search (Einache Suche) in the Image and Press Clipping Database of the documenta Archive. Currently the documenta exhibitions 1-5 are searchable. In the middle of 2015 the material from documenta exhibitions 6-12 will also be online.

mediartbase: Audio and video files from the context of documenta history

Digitized audio and video files from the context of the documenta history are available in the database  mediaartbase.de.  Unfortunately, due to copyright constraints this digital material can – with only a few exceptions – not be made available or played in the Internet. In the online database, researchers are therefore only shown the metadata of the radio and television productions that are available.

At the documenta Archive itself, by contrast, all the digitized audio and video files can be heard and viewed by appointment. All contact information for Theo Archive and Archive staff   can be found in the section Information / Contact. 

Various recordings from the lecture series 100 Days, 100 Guests,  which took place during documenta 10 (1997), can also be viewed now. The database mediaartbase has been created and continues to grow with funding from the German foundations Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kulturstiftung der Länder. The contemporary witness interviews belonging to the "My documenta" project that was started in 2013 will also be accessible for online searching in this database in the near future. 

The image shows a screenshot of the Simple Search in the video database of the documenta Archive, a cooperation project with three German partners: European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), DokFest (Kassel) und ZKM (Karlsruhe).
A screenshot of the Simple Search in the video database of the documenta Archive, a cooperation project with three German partners: European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), DokFest (Kassel) und ZKM (Karlsruhe).

The continuously growing file holdings on documenta history are collected on an ongoing basis and can be searched using the File Holdings Directory. Until now it has only been possible to digitized the materials from documenta 1 (1955) to documenta 3 (1964).  

The bequests of Arnold Bode and Harry Kramer which are kept in the documenta Archive are listed in detail in the Bequest Directories in   HADIS. 

In addition, the documenta Archive houses   an extensive collection of press clippings, invitations and other ephemeral material on artists of the 20th and 21st   centuries. These alphabetically ordered holdings could not yet be cataloged. Like all of the archival materials of the documenta Archive, they are available for use by researchers at the Archive.

Further tips and assistance regarding research and use of the various databases can be found on the respective database websites. We will be pleased to advise you personally at the Archive and look forward to any visit you might make.

We call on all researchers to share their results with us and thus to make their work available to the general public and to the international research community.

Praise, criticism and suggestions are always welcome!

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