The department BBF | Research Library for the History of Education (Bibliothek für Bildungsgeschichtliche Forschung) in Berlin is a research library with outstanding library and archive holdings on the history of German education in its international relations and a center for historical educational research in Germany.


The BBF | Research Library for the History of Education was founded in 1876 as the "German School Museum" and has been part of the DIPF since 1992. As the historical department of the DIPF, it is dedicated to the collection of knowledge about education from a historical perspective. Sources as well as national and international research literature on German educational history are made available for scholarly use in a variety of forms. Scientists from various disciplines who are interested in the history of German education are advised and supported in their research work. The BBF also makes its own contributions to historical research into education, upbringing and socialisation in a way that is relevant to the present day of the education system and contributes to the beneficial transfer of this historical knowledge to the educational-political, professional and general public.

On the basis of its existing holdings and those to be expanded, the BBF pursues the goal of developing reflection categories for advising policy-makers and educational practitioners.

In order to be able to achieve this, the three units of the BBF - library, archive and research unit - work closely together. The scientific director of the BBF is also Professor for the History of Education at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

In addition to its comprehensive holdings, its database and portals and the associated services, the BBF, as a communication centre for historical educational research, also organises conferences, workshops and exhibitions mainly for researcher, but also for the general public.

Units of the BBF


With a stock of approximately 770,000 items, the library unit has probably the largest collection of educational literature in Germany. Created as a school museum and teacher's library, the collection documents both the professional knowledge of teachers and the disciplinary knowledge of educational science. Since its re-profiling as a research library in 1992, the collection has been systematically supplemented by current research literature on educational history. In addition to use on site, some of the newer books may also be taken home. Historical sources are increasingly made available in digitised form, for example for applications of the Digital Humanities (Open Access).


As a collecting archive specialised on the history of pedagogy and education as well as the history of educational discipline, the archive stores  central documents on the history of German education, such as documents of private and institutional provenance, bequests and collections, manuscripts and photographs. In addition to collections from private sources, materials from organisations and institutions with no mandatory deposit to state or other archives are acquired. The archive also includes the Institutional Archive of the DIPF, the archive of the base organisation. At present, the archival materials amount to approximately 1,800 linear metres. The archive unit is responsible for the systematic expansion, processing and indexing of the holdings and for making them available for research.

Research Unit

The activities of the research unit focus on two fields of research: the historical practice of school, instuction and education and the history of pedagogical knowledge, its institutions, practices and actors. The research team benefits from the excellent library and archive collections, while at the same time the researchers work together with the staff of the archive and library to further the development of the scientific infrastructure of the BBF.


BBF Archive

BBF Library

BBF Research


Online Resources



Warschauer Straße 34-38
10243 Berlin
Phone +49 (0) 30 293360-612

How to find us

Website of BBF

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