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Logo of the German National Broadcasting Archives
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Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv /
German National Broadcasting Archives

German National Broadcasting Archives, Frankfurt

Photo: Michael Friebel

German National Broadcasting Archives, Potsdam-Babelsberg

Photo: Linus Lintner

Bertramstraße 8
60320 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 156 87-0
Fax: +49 (0)69 156 87-100
E-Mail: dra@hr-online.de

Marlene-Dietrich-Allee 20
D-14482 Potsdam-Babelsberg
Tel.: +49 (0)331 5812-0
Fax: +49 (0)331 5812-199
E-Mail: sekretariat@dra.de

Open Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The German National Broadcasting Archives were founded in 1952 in Frankfurt/Main as the German Radio Sound Archives. The purpose was to preserve historic recordings beginning with the origins of sound-recording at the end of the 19th century, and/or the origins of German Radio in 1923 - i.e. to archive them and make them available for a great variety of uses. The Foundation has the additional task of registering, in comprehensive catalogues and databases, historic radio and television programmes that originated in the regional studios of the ARD. After a two-year trusteeship phase, the DRA assigned the radio and television archives of the GDR on 1 January 1994, acquiring in this way a second location - initially in Berlin, and from 2000 on in Potsdam-Babelsberg.

A glimpse of the archive

Location Frankfurt

    Pre-1945 collections
  • Edison cylinders, foils, tapes of the Reichsrundfunk Gesellschaft (RRG), piano rolls, shellac records (78s)
  • Historical recordings dating from the beginning of sound recording in the 19th century, preserved on analogue tapes and increasingly available as audio files
  • Print media and written material, such as radio publications, programme guides, files, documentary studies and legacies
  • Picture archive on radio history
    Post-1945 collections (West)
  • Vinyl records, CDs, contemporary history recordings with document character, tape archive of BBC German-speaking programmes
  • Print media and written material such as library resources on radio and media history, radio publications, programme and press information etc., programme guides and programme schedules, files, press archives, media resources of the First German television directorate
  • Picture archives, photos and posters
  • Deposits, historical equipment and apparatus, video tapes, audio tapes and written materials of the ARD Recording Days

Location Potsdam-Babelsberg

    Post-1945 collections (East)
  • Television equipment: video cassettes (Betacam SP, Betacam digital, U-Matic, VHS) magnetic recording tapes, film cans, film subjects.
  • Sound documents: music-sound-carriers, in-house productions, word-sound-carriers, radio plays, recorded news, all-day programme recordings of all GDR radio programmes, sound effects.
  • Print media, written material and photos, such as: library resources on GDR broadcasting and media history, programme guides, programme schedules, press and picture archives.
  • Deposits, historical equipment and apparatus, museum exhibits and deposited stores of GDR radio, collections of the German Broadcasting Museum
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Databases and information services

Location Frankfurt

The German National Broadcasting Archives maintains relational database applications on the Hessian Broadcasting Network's host computer:

  • ZWM database which documents and archives words and music, including the on-line catalogue of current-affairs discs (ZSK), and data on sound-carriers, production and transmission. The MDR and RBB networks share online use of ZWM as an all-ARD research instrument.
  • "David" television database: documents selected television programmes of supra-regional significance.
  • ZHD television programme database: stores programme data of all German language television programme providers (since 1995).
  • ZBI bibliographical database: catalogues library collection and broadcast publications collection.
  • ZBD picture database: catalogues and archives picture collection and printed pictures.
  • ZWB dictionary database: cross-category standard data covering labels, transmitters, persons, functions and events.

Location Potsdam-Babelsberg

Use of STAR database management and information retrieval system in a client-server environment with the following focal points:

  • Documenting extant file collections of GDR radio and television.
  • Documenting library collections and publication collections of GDR radio and television and of RIAS Berlin.
  • Documenting events focusing on GDR history.
  • Documenting GDR telecasts.
  • Online use of ZWM to document radio collections.
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Digital archives
Digital archive
  • Digital audio archive in Frankfurt on audiofile-archiving. The audio archive is linked to the ZWM audio database. The documents are also available online on a RealAudio-Server as a secondary format.
  • Digital picture archive in Frankfurt with a link to the ZBD picture database is in preparation.
  • Digital text archive in Potsdam-Babelsberg
  • Corrected GDR television transmission schedule on Intranet
  • »Der Schwarze Kanal«: transcripts and collateral material on Internet
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Editorial information and services
  • ZSK editorial team
    collates in the ZWM database, in cooperation with various ARD music-editing studios and archives, the on-line catalogue of current-affairs discs in Germany. These data are available to all ARD broadcasting stations and to ZDF for inclusion in local archive databases.
  • ARD yearbook team
    edits and produces the ARD yearbook with articles, reports and statistics on the year past, current staff data on ARD and its affiliates, documents and registers. Other publications put out by this editorial team include the »ABC der ARD«, ARD leaflets in German and English, and special publications, the most recent one being the ARD's jubilee chronology »50 Jahre ARD«. The ARD's »ABC« is also available on the Internet (www.ard.de) and is regularly updated.
  • Words and Music - advance notices of forthcoming events
    Quarterly information on anniversaries of persons and events for the purpose of programme planning, including selected information on available sound documents. The advance-notice service can be received in printed form, accessed on the Internet or via the DRA homepage, or checked online in a database application (ZOH). Other supplementary features on duty include documents of the month, current lists of new publications, and an up-to-date survey of new DRA publications.
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In the context of the Network of Media Resource Centres in Germany, the Foundation of the German National Broadcasting Archives is initially making possible research-focused access via ZUN@Web to selected data resources of the ZWM audio database via the Internet protocol with the help of a standard browser. It is possible via ZUN@Web not only to search for document proofs from the DRA resources but also to listen to selected sound documents in RealAudio Format in the institutions participating in the Media Resource Centre Network.
As the Network is further developed, the participating institutions will also offer media resources as proofs or in Internet formats in pre-listening or preview quality.

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