For those who work on East German history, but do not have ready access to historical runs of newspapers at their home institutions (for instance, here at UMass, we have some years of Neues Deutschland, but not every issue and ordering different reels through ILL can be a bit of a hassle some times), there is a new way to gain access!
The Staatsbibliothek (StaBi) in Berlin received a grant from German Research Society (DFG) to digitize three of East Germany’s most important newspapers – Neues Deutschland, the Berliner Zeitung, and the Neue Zeit. Access is controlled through a login, but anyone can sign up for a free account using xlogon.net (a provider of openID accounts). The login protocol is rather odd, but it works. First set up the xlogon.net account. Then on the StaBi page, click on the radio button next to xlogon.net. Enter your user name. This takes you to the xlogon.net interface. You need to retype in your email address and your name. When you confirm this information, this will now redirect you back to the StaBi, where you can begin searching.
Once logged in, the interface is both sophisticated and simple at the same time. Users can browse the newspapers chronologically, go to a specific issue, or initiate a full text search. You can choose to browse just one paper, two papers, or all three. The same parameters can be set when searching as well. When you use the search function you get a results page that looks like the image to the left. By default, the results return articles that match your search chronologically. You can click on one of the matching results or click on a year on the right-hand sidebar to narrow your search even farther.
Narrowing the search, as here to a year, like 1988, now only lists articles for that year. Clicking on an individual article returns a new interface, depicted on the right. Here you can browse through the paper page-by-page, view the original printed page, or cut and paste from the full text (presumably from OCR) on the right.
All in all a very handy tool for those of us who work on East Germany!