The aim of the former SSGs was to create a distributed German research library. As library collections often have certain thematic focal points, mostly due to historical circumstances, the German Research Foundation supported such subject collections of many libraries to replenish them to near-completeness and to keep them up to date. By inter-library loan, these special subject collections could be used by readers all over Germany as well as by other libraries from all over the world.
Thus, viewed as a whole, each academic discipline was equipped with an excellent research collection - even if a local library did not have the means to provide all books necessary for a researcher's work, he or she could (and still can) access them via inter-library loan.
The SSGs were funded by the DFG and existed from 1949-2015.
In 2015, the SSGs were replaced by the Special Subject Information Services (Fachinformationsdienste). The replacement of the SSG Programme meant a change in many ways: Libraries had to rethink and reinvent a large part of their role for their users, as well as the notion of collection changes: Instead of acquiring a near-complete physical local collection and providing items out of this reservoir, the focus has shifted to provide resources from many other collections and sources and in many different forms. Libraries have done this before, but now its importance grows. Thus, the notion of collection widens – it has to be thought rather supra-regionally, which makes sense in view of the excellent digital infrastructures of library communication and organisation.
But no matter how the notion of collection changes – physical and digital library collections, be they local or conceived as supra-regional, can always be used as laboratories of thinking, spaces of inspiration, and sources of knowledge.
SUB Göttingen has run up to four FIDs: Mathematics Information Service (2015 - 2019), Specialised Information Service for Solid Earth Geosciences (2016-), Specialised Information Service for Finno-Ugric / Uralic Languages, Literatures and Cultures (2017-) and the Library of Anglo-American Culture & History (2016-).