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Information for Researchers on the Library AAC

What is the "Library of Anglo-American Culture & History - FID AAC"?

The Library of Anglo-American Culture & History (Library AAC) is the central provider of resources, information and services for scholars and students in the fields of American Studies, Australian & New Zealand Studies, Canadian Studies and English / British & Irish Studies. Currently, it is run in form of an „FID” (Fachinformationsdienst) and is part of a funding programme by the German Research Foundation (DFG) („Specialised Information Services”). The FIDs replace the former „Special Subject Collections” (Sondersammelgebiete, SSGs).

The main goal of the Library AAC is to develop services which improve access to specialist literature and information for all researchers in Germany working in the fields mentioned above. We aim to tailor our activities to the specific needs of the respective research communities and the individual characteristics of the disciplines.

What does the Library AAC provide?

  • We collect specialist literature
  • We provide access to literature
  • We coordinate licensing efforts within the research community
  • We provide practical tips for literature research in different search spaces, for reference management and working with data
  • We provide or arrange counseling for Open Access publishing
  • We offer an Open Access archive, The Stacks
  • We offer workshops on the topics related to our services

I haven't heard about the former Special Subject Collections (Sondersammelgebiete, SSGs) so far. What kind of institution was that?

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.

Why did the DFG replace the SSG-system?

Since the foundation of the SSGs in 1949, doing research and publishing have decisively changed due to the growing digitalisation and the possibilities of online work and communication. As the SSG system focused on print only, it had to be reformed to keep pace with the changes within scholarly publishing. 

Another reason for the particular design of the FID programme is the fact that the publishing cultures of the individual academic disciplines have evolved in very different ways. The FIDs open the possibility to tailor library services to the specific needs of the respective disciplines.

Read more about the DFG funding programme change.

What are the main differences between the former SSG and the Library AAC as an FID?

  • Acquisition of literature: The goal of the SSG was to build up a near-complete collection to be able to serve any possible request by scholars. As FID, we buy specialist literature at a smaller scale and purchase the items which researchers ask us to provide.
  • Publication formats: For the SSG, mostly print books and journals as well as microforms were purchased. The aim of the FID programme is to also provide access to digital versions whenever possible. We also coordinate licensing efforts for electronic publications and offer publishing and archiving of digital documents in our Open Access archive, The Stacks.
  • Exchange with the research community: As additional services are developed to address the changing research and publication cultures, continual exchange is the precondition of our work.

Read more about the topic FID - SSG in our online Zotero bibliography.

What happens now to the collection of the former SSG Anglo-American Culture?

The collection of the former SSG Anglo-American Culture is kept at SUB Göttingen and can be used as before.

We are still collecting specialist literature, with a focus on books published by smaller presses and titles which might be out of print soon. However, striving for a complete collection is no longer the main goal of the FID programme. If you miss specific titles, please send us your purchase request

What has changed for researchers after the SSG AAC has been transformed to an FID?

Tell us what you miss

To ensure that you get all the literature you need, please tell us what you miss: If a title is not available via the standard German document delivery services, please send your request to the Library AAC. We will check availability and, if possible, provide access for you as quickly as possible.

We invite you to use our services

Beyond this, you may use additional services by the Library AAC which go beyond the scope of the former SSG programme (see What does the Library AAC provide?).

Let's keep in touch!

The FID programme expressly invites exchange between researchers and the library / FID to ensure that the FID services meet the needs of scholars. Therefore we would be happy if you send us feedback or your suggestions for additional services or topics you would like us to address. We also visit academic conferences and seminars and hold workshops on topics related to our services to keep in touch with you.

Let us use these open spaces for communication and innovation to jointly shape the changing world of research and research communication!

Do researchers now have to do the job of the librarians as they are asked to choose the literature they need?

No! Just go about your literature research as usual. If you get access to all your resources you don't need to do anything. And if you miss something, contact us and we will acquire it for you if possible.

Even though the local subject collection of SUB Göttingen might suffer a few gaps due to this different acquisition policy, another library in Germany might be able to step in, and we can also use international inter-library loan to provide you with what you need.

Why can the Library AAC not license the most important and commonly used databases for us?

The FID programme by the DFG aims at providing specialist literature and databases. The line between basic and specialist resources is of course not always easy to draw, which means that we have to decide case by case. So please do send us your database suggestion and we will get in touch with you about it.

Another reason however are the costs of the most commonly used databases. Many are covered by national licenses already, but some are so expensive that this (or a similar) licensing model is impossible to finance.

The world of electronic resources and publishing is complex and changing all the time. Let's take the chance to shape it in a way that ensures freedom of research and education worldwide.

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