Everyone has the right to use archival materials. The Berlin Archives Act (Archivgesetz des Landes Berlin) forms a foundation for the use of archival materials in the Landesarchiv Berlin, along with the usage regulations (Benutzungsordnung). In many cases the protection-worthy interests of third parties as well as terms of protection must be observed; in some cases provisions of copyright and personal rights also apply.
Because archival materials are stored in a secure manner, preparations are necessary for any use.
Maps, plans, and posters can be used in the map reading room, while photos can be used in the photo reading room.
We recommend a written or oral query before visiting the Landesarchiv Berlin to clarify whether or not we can help, and to offer information on holdings that might be relevant. Due to the necessary preparatory work, immediate presentation of archival materials in the reading room is not possible
Structure of the Archive:
Archives are structured according to the so-called provenance principle (= principle of origin). That is, the first question in the search for information is which authority or institution was responsible for the relevant issue, and thus where written materials might have been generated. The archive is structured according to these authorities, in so-called ‘record groups’. Information on the holdings of the record groups can be found in the overview of holdings. The so-called ‘finding aids’ of the archive are organised by ‘holdings’, generally by authorities.
Application for Use:
There is an application for use (Benutzungsantrag) to be filled out in the reading room before use. This is the legal basis for use of the archive. You can find the application form for use here.
An archival database can be used in the reading room. Finding aids for archival materials are available as well as electronic finding lists (in PDF format). In the archival database and finding aids of each holding, every file is marked with a consecutive number. With this number, the ‘signature’, archival materials can be requested for use. Our library is accessible via electronic catalogue.
Requesting Archival Materials:
Archival materials can be requested directly in the reading room or by email, telephone, or letter. Make your request as early as possible! Archival materials requested before 11:00 will be accessible as of 13:00; archival materials requested after 11:00 will be ready the following day. Requests for archival materials received by fax or email will only be processed on the following workday after 13:00.
Up to 10 archive items can be requested per day of use. Requests that are not clear cannot be processed. Requested archival materials will be available for up to three weeks; a specific reservation is necessary for longer use.
WLAN internet access can be used in the Landesarchiv at no cost.
Reproductions (scans and copies) are prepared in our workshop, based on the current list of fees. See Regulations for the Use of Archival Materials in the Landesarchiv Berlin [Ordnung für die Benutzung von Archivgut im Landesarchiv Berlin] with list of fees and expenses. Reader-printer copies of microfilm holdings can be made by visitors themselves. You can use digital cameras or mobile devices to make working copies of documents.
Registration Data Searches:
The Landesarchiv holds the historical Berlin Former Residents Registration Card Index (Einwohnermeldekartei, EMK). It is not publicly accessible; enquiries are only carried out upon written application, with evidence of valid interest, and there is a fee (€10.00 per person sought.)