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Our History

Serving Libraries since 1872

1872 July 1: Otto Harrassowitz and Oscar Richter founded the companyof Richter & Harrassowitz, Antiquariats- und Verlagsbuchhandlung, in Leipzig/Germany.

1875 The partners separate. Otto Harrassowitz assumes single control of the company, now named OTTO HARRASSOWITZ.

1882 On December 5, 1882, Justin Winsor, the Librarian of the Harvard College Library, writes to ask whether HARRASSOWITZ is ready to supply new German scholarly publications to the Widener Library.

1897 At the 25th anniversary of the firm, more than 40 of the leading US research libraries have chosen HARRASSOWITZ as their supplier for current and antiquarian German publications.

1916 The University of Chicago Library entrusts a Blanket Order to HARRASSOWITZ to collect war materials, pamphlets, propaganda, ephemeral and fugitive materials.

1943 The offices of the company are totally destroyed in the air raid of the night of December 4.

1947 Hans Harrassowitz commissions Richard W. Dorn to establish a branch of the company in Wiesbaden.

1947 Otto Albrecht of the Music Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, in his capacity as Cultural Officer of the US Military Branch in the American Zone, authorizes the establishment of HARRASSOWITZ in Wiesbaden.

1950 Mr. Keyes Metcalf, Harvard Librarian, visits Wiesbaden and assigns the German Farmington Plan to HARRASSOWITZ.

1964 After the death of Hans Harrassowitz, the company is restructured to form a partnership with Gertrud Harrassowitz and Wilfred Becker Sr., Richard W. Dorn, and Felix O. Weigel as partners and managing directors.

1966 The Library of Congress assigns the Title II responsibility for German publications to HARRASSOWITZ and establishes a Field Office in Wiesbaden to organize the Shared Cataloging Project between LC, the Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt, and HARRASSOWITZ.

1970 HARRASSOWITZ extends its library services to include full coverage of European research publications, books and journals, in all fields.

1971 The Music Department, established in 1968, receives the first approval orders for European music scores from SUNY Buffalo and Northwestern University.

1980 A decade begins in which HARRASSOWITZ extends its role of a Subscription Agency servicing European SCI/TECH/MED journals to Academic and Research Libraries all over the world.

1990 A decade begins in which HARRASSOWITZ extends its subscription services to include North American journals and journals published anywhere in the world. HARRASSOWITZ successfully moves from a European agent to a truly globally operating subscription agent.

1992 As a full project member of EDILIBE (Electronic Data Interchange for Libraries and Booksellers in Europe), HARRASSOWITZ actively participates in the design and development of UN/EDIFACT based standards for book EDI transactions between libraries and booksellers.

1994 OttoSerials, the HARRASSOWITZ online serials database is introduced. Through OttoSerials, free user-friendly access is provided to the entire HARRASSOWITZ serials database and to the customer service module for standing orders and subscriptions

1997 HARRASSOWITZ celebrates the
125th anniversary and releases the announcement on E-journal Services.

1999 OCLC accepts HARRASSOWITZ records for inclusion in WorldCat.

2000 HARRASSOWITZ releases the first version of OttoEditions, the online database for monographs and music scores, launched with web based searching, library ordering, and claiming functions.

2003 As part of a long-term business perspective, HARRASSOWITZ moves to a new custom-designed building complex on Kreuzberger Ring in the suburb of Wiesbaden-Erbenheim.

2005 OttoSerials, the HARRASSOWITZ online database for serials and continuations has been upgraded. OttoSerials is entirely web-based and represents HARRASSOWITZ' online management system for periodicals and standing orders.

2007 HARRASSOWITZ is ISO 9001:2000 certified for its entire range of library services in providing scholarly books and periodicals to university and research libraries worldwide. The certification specifically mentions the effectiveness of internal communication within HARRASSOWITZ and refers to the high degree of motivation and performance on part of the HARRASSOWITZ staff.

2010 After a decade of successful handling of e-journals, HARRASSOWITZ included e-books into its portfolio. The HARRASSOWITZ database OttoEditions provides the underpinning for e-book work processes such as bibliographical searching, identification of aggregators as well as firm order and approval plan acquisition options.

2016 Fokus, the next-generation management system for subscriptions and standing orders, replaces OttoSerials. The new system utilizes graphical displays and a state-of-the-art search engine in a workflow-driven, intuitive user environment.

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HARRASSOWITZ: Service. Quality. Integrity. Since 1872.