Weimar and Nazi Germany (Coherent Digital/History Commons) | eReviews

Noteworthy for its specialized content and usability, this is one of four collections of primary documents from Coherent Digital hosted on the History Commons platform. It covers the period from the armistice of 1918 to the outbreak of World War II. 


Weimar and Nazi Germany (Coherent Digital / History Commons) 


CONTENT This is one of four collections of primary documents from Coherent Digital hosted on the History Commons platform. It contains 600,000 pages of declassified, previously undigitized file sets sent to the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office from embassies, covert contacts, and other sources. It covers the period from the armistice of 1918 to the outbreak of World War II. Key events of the era such as the German Revolution of 1918–19, the creation of concentration camps, the Berlin Olympics, and the Nazi- Soviet Non-Aggression Pact are representative of topics in the collection. Content types include correspondence, international agreements, legal and governmental material, maps, meeting minutes, media publications, reports, speeches, tables, graphs, other visuals, and miscellaneous primary documents. The two primary file sources are the “Political Department General Correspondence” (1906–66) and “Private Offices: Various Ministers and Officers Papers” (1824–1968). In total, there are 54,842 publications in the archive.

USABILITY The History Commons platform is simple and streamlined but highly functional. At the top of the home page are facets for documents, topics, lists, and modules, as well as an option for uploading individualized content that users can create from the archive. Below those tags is a search box with an advanced search option. Advanced search options are keyword/phrase, date, organization, organization type, language, module, and topic. Of note, nine language options are available. Documents can be sorted by date, either newest or oldest first, and placed in alphabetical order. Content, document type, source, language, year, and topic are filter options. Documents can be shared via email, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Retrieving publications and opening documents is a seamless process. For example, under document type, when applying the table/chart/graph filter, users can access the publication “Deliveries by Germany, Reparations Document for March 1922.” From there, they can easily apply day/night lighting, zooming, and rotational options to clearly read the digitized document in its original form. Moreover, each document has an informative contents summary and detailed subject indexing. Keyword searching within documents is also helpful. Response time is excellent.

Four features deserve special mention. First, users can create their own topical lists of documents, which can be especially helpful for instructors who create course contact to share with their students. Second, users can narrow their searches to only those publications that contain tables, features which are often hard to locate. Third, text and data mining are allowed. Fourth, cross-searching across modules is enabled for libraries who own all History Commons collections.

PRICING Available as a one-time purchase of perpetual rights. The list price is $60,000, but pricing is scaled to library size and type, ranging from $54,000 for the largest ARL to $27,600 for the smallest institution. Consortium prices will be lower. After one free year, the annual service fee ranges from $350 to $500, and one service fee will cover up to six modules on the History Commons platform. Target audience is academic libraries.

VERDICT Coherent Digital’s Weimar and Nazi Germany collection provides researchers with previously unavailable classified resources that will significantly enhance their understanding of early 20th-century Europe and the rise of Nazism and fascism. It is noteworthy for its specialized content and usability. Gale’s Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth Century British Intelligence is another excellent resource on the topic and era, although its focus is more global.

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