Who taught at TU Berlin’s predecessor institution, Technische Hochschule Berlin? What influence did the research work of a particular former TU professor have on the urban planning, architecture or infrastructure of Berlin? What flyers and pamphlets were circulating at the University in 1968 at the time of student protests and demonstrations? Anyone interested in the history of TU Berlin and its previous incarnations, such as the Bauakademie or the Königlich Technische Hochschule, will already be familiar with the University Archives. Now, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the University, a new online research tool has been launched to enable historians to conduct preparatory research on holdings prior to visiting the archive. In addition to indexing data, the portal also offers - where available and legally permitted - digital copies, mostly via links to the digitized collections of the University Library, where they are hosted.
“We have been preparing for the publication of our archives using a Swiss professional research tool since the start of 2020 and are now able to offer access to our important collection,” explains Dr. Irina Schwab, head of the University Archives. These include six meters of shelving devoted to the history of the presidency of TU Berlin from 1930 to 1945. Along with the records of student enrollments from 1868 to 1930 and 1935 to 1945, these are among the very few documents to have survived the destruction of World War II.
“Universitätsarchiv Online” is continually updated and expanded. To do so requires indexing data to be checked in terms of content and legal compliance. The newly indexed holdings will then be published successively, unless publication conflicts with copyright or data protection regulations. Protection periods determined by Berlin archiving laws or other restrictions on the usability of archive records can also be ascertained via the new research tool. Users can compile a hit list of archived materials and order them for their next visit to the reading room. Visitors to the reading room can view digitized usage copies, which may not be published online, as well as archival records as before. An interface to the Archives Portal Europe is also planned for the near future to open up TU Berlin’s archives to an international audience.