Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Media Information
Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts
Composite Profile

The library is the primary tool for both members and guests of the Institute. With a multi-lingual collection gathered from throughout the world, the library is a “Central Legal Library”, and possesses a comprehensive collection covering international commercial law, international private law and foreign civil law.

Additionally, the collection includes numerous reference materials, bibliographies and linguistic resources as well as texts in related fields, particularly international law, public law, legal methodology, legal history, economics and the social sciences.

The collection is shelved according to country, geographic region and subject area on two levels of library stacks. Reference materials having particular relevance to the work of the Institute are maintained in two central reading rooms, e.g. general encyclopaedias, atlases, selected journals, statutes, case digests, legal handbooks, commentaries, Institute publications, and bibliographies.

The Institute’s library functions as a central research and reference institution. Therefore, materials are non-circulating and remain at all times within the Institute. The library does not participate in any national or international inter-library loan programs.

The current inventory comprises more than 550,000 printed and microfiche items. Since 1992, all new additions to the library inventory have been catalogued with the Südwestdeutscher Bibliotheksverbund (the regional library system of southwest Germany). These catalogue records are accessible online. Approximately 7,000 additional Institute holdings are catalogued each year. Furthermore, the Institute library maintains subscriptions to approximately 1,600, primarily foreign, legal periodicals. All periodical titles are registered in the periodical databank at the Berlin State Library.

Representing the most significant and comprehensive collection of civil law in all of Europe, the library is open to jurists conducting research on foreign private law, international private law and harmonisation of the law. Permission to utilize the reading rooms and consult the materials maintained by the library can be obtained through advance, written application. Each year the Institute library welcomes more than 1,000 guest scholars from Germany and around the world. At their disposal are two reading rooms with 80 individual workstations. Internet connections are also available.