Literature on the History of German, Austrian and Swiss Private and Procedural Law of the 19th Century
Since its foundation in 1964 the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History has been intensively engaged in research into the history of private law in Europe. It therefore has a particularly rich store of literary sources on 19th century German, Austrian and Swiss private and civil procedural law. With support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) it has been possible to digitize this exceptional concentration of material and make it available to a wider scientific audience. In the course of the project, which extended from 1997 until 2002, some 4,316 volumes were digitized comprising around 1,350,000 pages. For the Institute library this venture into digitization represents a continuation of its long-standing initiative to maintain and conserve its collections.
The development of private and civil procedural law has long been a preferred focus of modern legal history research. In recent years much attention has been paid to the 19th century as the heyday of German jurisprudence and an important staging post on the way the codification of civil law, and it is to be expected that there will be strong demand for the relevant literature. With the digitization of important literary sources, the MPI aims to provide specific support for research in this field. In addition to comprehensive compendia of 19th century private and procedural law, the Digital Library also contains specialist studies on such subjects as civil status law, the law of obligations and law of property. However, with its broad range of subjects the digital collection is of interest not only to legal historians. Volumes on inheritance and family law and labor and social law are of great value for social historians, as are works on commercial and trade law for economic and industrial historians. In many cases the library contains several editions of a work that document the development and changes in legal ideas and opinions.
Via the Internet, the books digitized in this project can be accessed directly from the user’s workstation. And by recording their tables of contents in full text form, the project has lifted the level of access above that offered by typical library catalogues. The digital collection is hosted on the Internet via a web server operated by the GWDG, one of the Max Planck Society’s central service providers. The server combines the tables of contents in SGML format using the E-Bind DTD with the bibliographic data loaded via a direct interface with the Library’s webOPAC catalogue. The information is accessed via the kleio system which, on the one hand, is capable of directly interpreting SGML / XML data as a database structure. while on the other permitting direct access from web pages without the need for intermediate scripts.