Dear user,

The following instructions are intended to help you find your way around the online finding aids of the Archives of the Max Planck Society (ActaPro) and to enable you to conduct successful research.

There are basically two ways to search the archives:

If you encounter a blank page when you first access the main page of our inventory database, please click on the blue flag icon to confirm the language at the top right of the screen. Then the introduction text should appear.

Searching along the plan of record groups (Archives)

The "archives" tab in the upper navigation bar of our online database displays the plan of record groups (collections structure). Our collections are subdivided into eight groups (departments, abbreviated as "Abt."), to which the corresponding collections (repositories, abbreviated as "Rep.") are subordinated. Within the departments, the individual repositories are arranged numerically.

Click on the "plus" or the title of a department to access the collections. Within a collection, you can navigate in this way through the existing classification levels up to the single archival units. A click on the symbols "T" (department), "B" (collection/repository) or the blue archival unit symbol opens the full view. You can thus read the respective department and inventory descriptions as well as the details of an individual record.

A second click closes this view. If no text is displayed for the fonds description, no online finding aid is available for this fonds yet.


Note: The full view of the collections level contains essential information on the donor (institution or researcher), the history of the documents contained here, the total spatial extent of the collections as well as the period of time encompassing the collections (term). In some cases, you will also find information on accessibility here.



Free Text Search

In addition, there is the option of a free-text search (search - magnifying glass symbol). The search slot with a text field and the possibility of limiting the dating (duration from - to) offers a simple search in all holdings released online. By default, the database is searched for exactly the word or combination of words that you have previously entered. For inclusion of related words in the result list, asterisks (*) must be placed before or after the word to expand the search.


If you enter “Rechnung”, the database will not display any results that contain the words “Rechnungen” or “Rechnungswesen”. To expand the search results to include these words, i.e. words with the same root, an asterisk (*) must be placed in the position to be expanded (at the end or in front). Here: Rechnung*

Or: *Rechnung for results that should also contain “Abrechnung”, “Verrechnung”.

A full view can be opened under the individual search results in the result list by clicking on the crossed arrows. The full view reveals, if available, contains notes and further information describing the archival unit in more detail.

The following additional functions can be accessed to the right:

- Print chosen data set

- Inclusion in watch list (feature not yet available)

- Copy of the permalink to the record

Clicking on the name of the order signature opens the plan of record groups to show the exact position of the archival unit within the collections structure.

An advanced search can be accessed by using the arrow to the right of the free text field. Below this, the search area can be limited and individual holdings and archival records can be searched directly.

To select a specific signature, the order signature must be entered to the exact character or selected from the drop-down menu.

E.G.: II 66 (GV: Institutsbetreuung), 1

(= II. Department, Repository 66, No. 1)


Ordering Archival Records

The order signature (first entry in the expanded view) is decisive for ordering records. When ordering by e-mail, please indicate this signature only!

The signature - e.g.: I 1A (Zentrale Einrichtungen der KWG, Generalverwaltung), 2845 is composed of

the number of the tectonic group: Abteilung - I

the fonds number and thee fonds name: Repository – 1A (Zentrale Einrichtungen der KWG, Generalverwaltung)

and the number of the single archival unit: No. 2845

Please write us an e-mail at with your desired order numbers that you would like to consult in our reading room. Please also use this address for further questions and references.

As soon as the technical prerequisites are in place, there will be an order function for the archive units via the research platform itself. Until then, registration will take place exclusively by e-mail.

The archive team wishes you successful research.


Go to Editor View