A core task of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin’s East Asia Department is to offer and continuously improve the conditions of a subject-specific, up-to-date, and comprehensive search for materials from and about Asia, as part of the CrossAsia portal. The different search options – bibliographic metadata search as well as the fulltext search – will be further developed in line with the current requirements of the research community, and new techniques will be tested to support future research questions and methods.


The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin developed a comprehensive subject-specific search engine for the CrossAsia portal by using the Pazpar2 technology. CrossAsia Search provides two complementary search areas: the first search area with more than 100 million bibliographical records allows searching for materials that are available via CrossAsia, either in print (e.g. via the direct interlibrary loan service “Blauen Leihverkehr”) or electronically via a link to the licensed electronic document. CrossAsia’s rights management guarantees direct and seamless access to the document. This search area will be continuously enhanced with relevant bibliographic records of providers and libraries (in different formats for bibliographic metadata and transmission interfaces), which will be automatically transferred to the order form of the Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) or the DoD service respectively, if selected.

The second, extended search area includes in addition records of national and subject-specific international online catalogues and databases, e.g. the German union catalogues, COPAC with records of most of the British Asia collections, as well as catalogues of other relevant European and Asian libraries. It is not possible to guarantee direct access to the respective documents of the second search area; however, materials are searchable and can be proposed for acquisition via CrossAsia.


Since April 2018, CrossAsia provides a browser-based fulltext search (Beta version) which is built from textual resources and objects hosted in the CrossAsia Integrated Textrepository (ITR). Its aim is to make licensed and free full-texts available for research and teaching, independently of database applications. The search is open to all users; authentication is required only if the respective database is accessed.

We currently offer two different beta versions. The “guided” search (type A) takes units such as a book or a newspaper issue as an anchor for the search and ranks these according to the number of pages/articles with hits. The more “explorative” search (type B) treats all objects equally. The ranking is determined using a score, i.e. books, articles or archival material as well as fulltext pages are evaluated by the index with regard to their relevance to the search term.


We plan to provide more flexible and more experimental, explorative and analytical approaches as well as to provide visualisations of sets and parts of the fulltexts hosted in the ITR. These new services will be available via internet browser or via API to enable researchers to directly work with the collections by using digital tools. Of course, all these services will guarantee compliance with the license conditions.

A first more experimental approach is the CrossAsia ITR Explorer. This tool helps to fine-tune, compare and visualize fulltext searches. The resources are the same as in the CrossAsia Fulltext Search. It is possible to produce and combine result sets by using different operations and to visualize those result sets with overlap diagrams and by distribution over time.


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