The project “Specialised Information Services Asia” (FID Asien), hosted by the East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin , was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) during the periods 2016-2018 and 2019-2021. It recently won the continued support for the next period, 2022-2024. The FID’s main objective is to build up and reliably operate an information service aligning with the peak demand of German-based, Asia-related research. Since 2016, the project has been a significant driving force for the development of the CrossAsia portal. The central focus lies on Chinese Language and Culture, Japan, Korea, Central Asia (Mongolia and Central Asian Regions of China) and Southeast Asia.


In the third FID project period (2022-2024), we will continue to focus on the information services, as well as to further the development and operation of user-centred search and accessibility systems. The consolidation the FID Asia as a service infrastructure for the Asia-related research in Germany remains an important field of activities. We will continuously provide and operate central services of the FID4SA (Heidelberg) through our online platform CrossAsia.
Development and provision of a technical infrastructure for requests from satellite projects of the FID Asia was completed by the end of the last project phase in December 2021. The FID Asia is now in the position to focus better on providing its services to national and international partners. Together with other FID’s which are linked to different regions, specifically, the FID4AS (UB Heidelberg), the FID Middle East (ULB Sachsen-Anhalt) and the FID East, East Middle- and Southeast Europe (BSB München), we will keep pursuing the target as defined by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in 2020 in order to initiate a close exchange with other regional FID’s and establish a reliable FID Network Asia.

For the project phase 2022-2024, the following ‘fields of activity’ were identified:

Field of Activity 1: Profiled collection development with a main emphasis on Open Acces

Collection development is tuned to national and international, interdisciplinary as well as trans-regional research topics and research-based teaching with relation to Asia. To ensure this, we base our development on user data, feedback from our advisory board, and researchers with whom we get into contact through personal conversation and interviews. Additionally, we formulated several surveys for target researchers. A central component of building up the collection is the licensing of relevant materials from and about the targeted regions in Asia (see: Licensing). In addition, in the current project phase, we realised the increased integration of open access materials relevant to the FID in the respective verification systems. In addition to the inventory, the digital utilisation of existing resources also plays a dominant role. Among other things, we will continue the so far well-received offer to digitise materials free of charge (digitisation on demand).

Field of Activity 2: Expansion and consolidation of CrossAsia’s subject-specific information services

All services provided by the FID Asia are bundled and offered via the digital platform CrossAsia, taking into account the most intuitive regional-related accessibility. In this project phase, in addition to the continuation of established services such as the procurement of materials at user’s request (patron-driven acquisition), “Blauer Leihverkehr”, etc., the functions of the CrossAsia search will be revised and optimised. Plans include an extension to freely accessible, digitised collections on, and from, the supervised regions. Search areas will be newly adjusted through data exchange with other FID, and optimised for transregional research. The long-term goal is to establish a “data hub” to supply other libraries and FID with regionally relevant data sections. The extension of the “Blauer Leihverkehr” service, intending to include the entire inventory of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is being prepared in order to provide even more resources needed by researchers.

Field of Activity 3: Expansion and consolidation of CrossAsia’s subject-specific information infrastructure

The FID Asia considers itself a service provider for the ongoing digital transformation. In the previous funding phase, we created a new service structure, the Integrated Text Repository (ITR), in which licensed content can be stored as full text, image text, and image data in a neutral data environment. In the present project phase, we plan the expansion of the ITR and extended data ingest. Furthermore, the user-tailored Fedora- and SOLR infrastructures create a framework that can be utilised by numerous satellite projects and is being continuously optimised. As a modular system, this environment will create numerous synergy effects for the data management of many research projects. Therefore, a self-ingest procedure for the ITR has to be developed, and the “SOLR as a Service” of the FID Asia will be set up for use.

Field of Activity 4: Research data and OA publications

After numerous inquiries and talks with our target researcher audience, we determined a high demand for research data management and Open Access (OA) publications. The main goal of the FID Asia will be the establishment of tailor-made offers, creating an information and advisory structure around the entire complex of Asia-related research data. In addition to advising on the services offered by FID Asia, the new OA repository supports in particular secondary publications of independent and non-independent works in all languages and scripts.

Field of Activity 5: Science communication, PR, marketing, network building for the Asian regions and cooperation with other FID

In order to give a stronger presence to the various services of the FID Asia in targeted research communities, numerous forms of science communication and PR (such as workshops, online tutorials, training courses, newsletters, social media platforms, participation in international conferences and meetings of relevant academic societies) are continued and further expanded. In addition, our research advisory board supports us in achieving our service goals. The close contact to the “FID Network Asia,” and contacts to research associations and partner institutions also serve this purpose, as well as the active participation in meetings of the subject-specific libraries and information sciences, and the subject-related scientific conferences.
The FID Asia is also planning to organise two research and networking conferences in this funding phase, which will be announced promptly via the well-known channels.

Field of Activity 6: Organisation, operations and strategic development

The FID Asia and the online platform CrossAsia have grown into an established service and information provider in Germany’s academic landscape. Reliable operation, further development, constant evaluation and quality assurance are central tasks that the FID Asia continuously pursues and expands. Besides operating these service offers, the project management (including control and communication), the indicators, the project-internal organisation of the units and the cooperation with the associated cooperation partners pose numerous challenges. Therefore, the organisational structure of the FID Asia will be analysed more precisely in order to be adapted to today’s more agile structures (structural reform). In addition, the internationalisation of the FID Asia, which has already begun, will be pursued further and expanded continually.

Conclusions from the DFG approval of the funding period 2022-2024

Unfortunately, some of the “Fields of Activity” proposed in the DFG application or more precisely some of the work packages contained within them, did not fully convince the DFG advisory board. Accordingly, we were not granted the full requested funding for human and material resources. The FID Asia will scrutinise, in consultation with the scientific advisory board and the research societies, whether and to what extent (or how quickly) the planned projects can still be realised.
Please find a detailed overview of the planned work packages and their contents in the accompanying PDF document -> Project FID (2022-2024).


After the positive developments of the first project period (see below), the second project period’s (2019-2021) aim is to consolidate the information services and to further develop them as a service infrastructure for the German Asia-related studies. A second important aspect is the opening of FID Asia (run by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University)  to various national and international collaborations. With so-called satellite projects we agreed upon in the project application – projects in cooperation with the FID Asia but with separate applications – we will test how the FID Asia can be developed into an infrastructural service provider, e.g. for the use of the infrastructure within the scope of digitisation projects and activities to describe and enhance the images with metadata.

Field of Activity 1: Profiled collection development

Collection development will continuously serve disciplinary, inter- and transdisciplinary as well as transregional research topics with relation to Asia. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is responsible for the collection of material from and about East Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. We will pay special attention to the countries of Southeast Asia in order to better meet the needs of the research community. We intend to expand our existing cooperation with the TIB Hannover – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and University Library and with the ZBW Kiel – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. In addition, closer cooperation is planned with the SUB Göttingen – Göttingen State and University Library with regard to collection development of literature in Uyghur and Mongolian languages. Heidelberg University Library is responsible for the region South Asia.

Field of Activity 2: Electronic publishing in Open Access – CrossAsia E-Publishing

To respond to the researcher’s needs and requirements, we will design the electronic publishing services even more flexible as well as demand- and service-oriented. Finally, tools and solutions for all aspects of the academic publication process will be available in Open Access.

Field of Activity 3: Optimisation of information services

We will continue to enhance the CrossAsia Search with new search areas and by cooperation with other institutions. At the same time, we will test a new, regionally structured access to the CrossAsia platform in order to make the contents with relevance to South Asia or Southeast Asia more prominent, visible and tangible.

Field of Activity 4: Development of the Integrated Text Repository (ITR) infrastructure for cooperative work

In addition to scaling-up the CrossAsia Integrated Text Repository’s (CrossAsia ITR) content with more data, we will further develop the ITR into an infrastructure for digitisation and cataloguing projects for both textual and non-textual resources, and in particular for images. The aim is to provide satellite projects the opportunity to test the infrastructure, for example, for descriptive cataloguing of their data.

Field of Activity 5: Research data

In response to the explicit request of the academic community, FID Asia will focus on the topic research data and will develop and establish an information and consulting service for Asia-related research data. We will address both questions of researchers in Asia-related studies concerning use and application of research data and national activities in the context of e.g. RADAR and DARIAH-DE, as well as the recommendations of the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (RfII) for research data, research data management and data curating issues.

Field of Activity 6: Academic communication and public relations

Communication with researchers and public relations remains to be a central part of our work. The scientific advisory board will also continue to monitor and support our work in the second project period.

Field of Activity 7: Project management, organisation and strategic development

On the one hand, this field of activity will deal with the project-internal organisation and controlling. On the other we will develop strategies for maintaining and consolidating the services – including the infrastructure necessary for the operation (personnel and technical) of these services – as well as strategies for a revised, distributed organisational structure, which also includes additional agreements and cooperation with other institutions.


In preparation for the first project period (2016-2018) of the FID project, the Virtual Library “Savifa” (South Asian Studies), run by the University of Heidelberg, was merged with CrossAsia in Berlin (East- and Southeast Asian Studies) as early as August 2015.

During the first project period the FID Asia addresses the following fields of activity:

Field of Activity 1: Profiled collection development

The centerpiece of our work is the profiled development of the collection, by both comprehensive and forward-looking acquisition of printed material and constantly licensing and enlarging our electronic resources. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is responsible for the collection of material from and about East Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. Heidelberg University Library is responsible for the region South Asia. A new service offered is demand-oriented digitisation (Digitisation on Demand).

Field of Activity 2: Electronic Open Access publishing

The FID Asia – and CrossAsia – are committed to the idea of free access to research literature via the internet. Therefore we provide an Open Access publishing platform for the full range of electronic publishing services, the so-called CrossAsia E-Publishing. This service for magazines, monographs, electronic primary and secondary publications will be further developed and expanded in content with a view to promoting it as a recognised open access publishing platform.

Field of Activity 3: Optimisation of information services

A major concern is the improvement of information services, in particular CrossAsia Search. The ranking of search results shall be steadily improved and the results be presented in a contextualised way. Moreover, users will be able to create their individual CrossAsia information profile and directly influence our acquisitions by using the search function (Patron Driven Acquisition).

Field of Activity 4: Development of an infrastructure for meta and full-text data

The FID Asia – and CrossAsia – are open for new research approaches. Therefore CrossAsia set up a technical platform for meta and full-text data. The objective of the platform is to provide CrossAsia with the means necessary to manage licensed electronic texts in a more transparent way. By offering CrossAsia users access to these data – e.g. via the Full-text Search – they might use the materials and services more efficiently, for example in fields such as digital humanities or social sciences.

Field of Activity 5: Academic communication and public relations

Given our constant commitment to improve communication with researchers and academic societies, public relations are central to our work. In 2016 a scientific advisory board has been established in order to shape the future work of CrossAsia. Established services such as CrossAsia trainings, provided on-site at various university institutions or via the Internet, will be improved and supplemented with new features.


The scientific advisory board supports the project CrossAsia – FID Asia strategically as well as in terms of content development; it helps to ensure the high quality of our developed services. The board has been established in 2016.




Central Asia

South East Asia

DGA – German Association for Asian Studies


“FID Asia” is a project of the following institutios:

For more cooperation partner as well as network activities of the FID Asia please visit this page.


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