Once we have received documents at the Institute for the History of Frankfurt, we prepare them for use – a process known as indexing. The files, maps, street and road maps and electronic documents are assigned to specific domains where they are appropriately packaged, and the content is described in such a way that it can be found at any time by interested users.

When we classify documents, we follow the principle of provenance. If, for instance, we receive a file from Social Services, it is assigned to the Social Services Domain. All stocks form part of an archival domain structure. Using this structure, users can easily get to the documents that are of interest to them.

In addition, each domain is given a specific signature comprising its name, abbreviation and number as well as a title, comment and the date of creation – a so-called runtime. All these details were once recorded in reference catalogues. Nowadays, however, they are entered into our Archive Database, which is available online. Every user can therefore check from their own computer whether the Institute for the History of Frankfurt has any archives on the subject that is of interest to them. To find out how this works, please consult our section Tips for Using and Searching Our Archives.