Vienna, 2 November 2007 - With two book presentations on Monday, 5 November, the results of the scientific cooperation between scholars in German studies and historians of the Austrian Libraries Abroad on the topics of "Culture transfer in Central and Eastern Europe" and "German-language newspapers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire" were presented for the first time in the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
For more than 20 years, Austrian Libraries offer Eastern, Central, and South-Eastern European countries the opportunity to establish cultural and scientific contacts with Austria. Today, this network comprises more than 52 Austrian Libraries in 24 countries, with more than 300,000 books and over 8,000 sound storage media. From an organizational point of view, the Austrian Libraries Abroad are administered and supported by their local funding institutions in cooperation with the Cultural Policy Section of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. "For a long time, the libraries were only places where people in the reform states of Central and Eastern Europe received literature and information on Austria. This new initiative to establish networks of research allows us for the first time to exploit the great knowledge potential obtained by researchers and librarians at the Austrian Libraries for joint scientific projects", stressed Emil Brix, Head of the Cultural Policy Section in the Foreign Ministry.
During the 2003 International Cultural Policy Conference, the review conference titled "Opportunities of cultural networks" took place to define the policy position of Austrian Libraries Abroad and their perspectives. In 2005, the workshop "KULTUR://ÜBERSETZUNG - Knowledge and Culture Transfer in the Network of Austrian Libraries" provided an opportunity to jointly develop projects and activities. The Internet platform www.oesterreich-bibliotheken.at, established a few years ago by the Foreign Ministry, serves the interactive communication and intensive cooperation between the Austrian Libraries.
On 5 November, the documentary volume "Opportunities of Cultural Networks" and the project volume "Regional Press in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Urban Culture" will be presented at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Professor Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler will deliver a lecture on "Memories of supranationality in today’s family narratives (Robert Schindel, Doron Rabinovici, Robert Menasse and Michael Köhlmeier)" and will acknowledge the commendable activities of scholars in German studies abroad in the field of cultural science.
The publisher of the project volume, Professor Vlado Obad will discuss together with the contributors to the volume the results of the first joint research by Germanists abroad within the network of Austrian Libraries. The panel discussion will be presented by Dr. Gabriele Melischek from the Commission for Comparative Media and Communication Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, whose working group conceived the project idea during a workshop in 2005.
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Gov. Counsellor Christine Dollinger
Division Director of Austrian Libraries Abroad
Minoritenplatz 8, 1014 Vienna