How to use the library

Preparatory study of literature

Frequently, it might not be necessary to consult archival records at all or to a lesser extent than expected if others have worked in your research field and if results were published as a book, essay, thesis or the like.

With a stock of about 800 000 volumes, the library of the Austrian State Archives is a useful instrument for archivists and users. Researching in our library catalogues and studying the special literature available about your topic may be very helpful and is indeed a prerequisite for the targeted use of archival records if you are doing scientific research.

However, please do not expect any ready-made answer from literature. In most cases, visiting the library will not be enough.

The catalogue room

The catalogue room is your first stop on the way to the literature you need. It is located on floor 1 of the central archives building at Nottendorfer Gasse 2-4 (opening hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 to 12:00, Wednesday 13:00 to 18:00 and Friday 9:00 to 12:00).

This is where you can do research for books and order them. More details about the catalogues and how to use them will be provided below.

Catalogue room rules

Food, beverages, smoking and the use of mobile phones are prohibited in the catalogue room and the research room. Please use the recreation zones for smokers (ground floor) and non-smokers (floor 1), where you will also find vending machines for snacks as well as hot and cold drinks. Please do not bring dogs or other pets to the Austrian State Archives.

User request form

Before you order books, the procedure followed in other departments also applies: please complete a user request form and bring a photo ID.

Library use is subject to a charge (weekly pass/5-day pass 8 Euro; monthly pass/20-day pass 17 Euro; annual pass 35 Euro).

Ordering and obtaining books

If you have found what you are looking for in our catalogues, you can order the books required using the yellow order forms (one form per book, a maximum of 5 forms per day).

Books ordered will be available for you in the central research room (ground floor) and may also be copied, state and age of the book permitting.

If you put the current date on the order form, the book will be available to you for 1 month from that date. If you need it for a longer period, all you need to do is enter the new current date whenever you visit; this extends the period of use.
Our library is a reference collection, so books cannot be borrowed.

Voucher copies

If your research work is printed or approved as a thesis without being available in print, please let us have a voucher copy. By signing the user request form, you also accept the obligation to provide a voucher copy. This way, we can ensure that your work will be accessible to future generations of researchers in our institution, and that our stocks of literature relating to the archives and their holdings can be expanded.

Open access library

In the catalogue room, you will also find an open-access library containing the most important reference books; these do not have to be ordered but are available straight away (for reading and copying).

The open-access library comprises the most important encyclopaedias and lexical resources as well as Austrian military and state almanacs, directories of authorities, military ordinances, law gazettes, address directories, indices of place names, dictionaries, atlases, genealogical reference books (Gotha, Siebmacher etc.), biographical anthologies (Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, Neue Deutsche Biographie, Deutscher Biographischer Index, Wurzbach, Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon etc.), regiment histories, works published by the general staff and much more.

The library stocks

Due to the development of our library – several library stocks were brought together – there is no central catalogue but several catalogues, ranging from handwritten card index to OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue). These are described in greater detail below:

Stock of books systematically arranged according to subjects. Accessible via an alphabetical author catalogue in the form of partly handwritten index cards and a catalogue in book form, respectively (printed version: Katalog der Bibliothek-Abteilung des k. u. k. Kriegs-Archivs. 9 volumes. Vienna 1896 to 1905). The old stocks comprise most of the literature on the history of war and the military up to World War I. The catalogue was continued with handwritten supplements until 1923.

"New stocks" (Kriegsarchiv and Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv)

To ensure a better overview, the arrangement and allocation of reference numbers was changed to current numbers as from 1924. Finding aids are an author catalogue and a catalogue based on subject headings in the form of index cards which are either handwritten or printed out.

During and after World War II, books were removed from the stocks but the cards were not removed accordingly. For this reason, it is possible that you will find index cards in the catalogue though the books are no longer available.

The "new holdings" are being added to until today, they now comprise the library of the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv, of the Verkehrsarchiv and all new acquisitions with contemporary history contents.

Works added to the catalogue between 1995 and 2000 can also be found in the online catalogue (works added from 2001 onwards are contained in the online catalogue exclusively). The catalogue room is equipped with four terminals for electronic research.

K. u. k. Marine-Bibliothek

Finding aids are a volume catalogue arranged alphabetically and according to subjects. A large part of the stocks were transferred to the Navy Library in Pola after World War I. Nevertheless, the small stock of works on navy history, travel reports etc. is especially valuable. See Seelig, Albert: Katalog der k. u. k. Marine-Bibliothek. 3 vol., 2nd ed., Pola 1905.

Bibliothek der Technischen Militärakademie

Small stock, with alphabetical index card catalogue for a finding aid.

Bibliothek des k. (u.) k. technischen (und administrativen) Militär-Comités

In accordance with the tasks of the Military Committee (Militär Comité), a support body of the War Ministry, these stocks mainly comprise literature on subjects relating to artillery, engineering, management and technical matters. Printed catalogue with later additions: Katalog der Bibliothek des k. k. technischen und administrativen Militär-Comité. Vienna 1884.

Old holdings of the Administrative Bibliothek of the Federal Chancellery (18th century to 1945)

Stocks with a large number of rare works. The finding aid is an old (handwritten) catalogue where books are entered according to authors and subject headings, with special features: If you look a book up in the catalogue of subject headings, you will find that there is no valid reference number for ordering – you need to look the book up in the author catalogue under the author's name for that purpose. You also have to bear in mind that German articles, which are normally irrelevant, are used as a structuring element determining the order in which the books are listed (i.e. "das" is listed before "der", "dem" goes before "des").

Bibliothek der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft

An author catalogue and catalogue of subject headings for books and maps.

Bibliothek der Österreichischen Bundesbahnen

Index card catalogue (authors and subject headings). The stocks were taken over relatively recently. Unfortunately, some books have been lost and part of the stocks need to be re-arranged. Nevertheless, this is a treasure trove for research on railways.

Bibliothek des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs

Along with the "new holdings", this is the second "living" library of the State Archives which is continuously added to; it is currently located at the central archives building in Nottendorfer Gasse, where it is also accessible.

The finding aid is an author catalogue on index cards. A catalogue of subject headings is available at Minoritenplatz. Acquisitions from 1995 onwards can also be found in the online catalogue. Books from the library of the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv can be identified from their special reference numbers.

Bibliothek des k. u. k. Ministeriums des Äußern

The finding aid for this library is a printed catalogue in book form: Katalog der Bibliothek des k. u. k. Ministeriums des Aeussern. 2 volumes. Vienna 1900.

Bibliothek der Konsularakademie

The finding aid is an index card catalogue.

Bibliothek des Hofkammerarchivs

Open access library of the archival department comprising about 9 000 volumes, compiled since the end of the 19th century, with a focus on the history of finance, economics, trade and population development. The finding aid is an author catalogue (index cards).