Ordering and citing archival material

User cosultation in the reading room

User cosultation in the reading room, © Jörg F. Müller/ AA


Here you will find out how to order archival material and cite it clearly.

Ordering and citing with the call number

Each item in the archive is clearly identified using a call number. The call number consists of a group classification and an item number. If you have these two elements, ordering archival material for use in the Reading Room is straightforward, and citations in your work will be clearly attributable.
You will find the call numbers in the finding aids and on the file lids or covers.

How should citations be written?

The system is simple. Three elements are always needed:

Name of the archive,
record group,
call number

Call numbers can comprise figures and letters.
Here are a few examples showing how to use the system:

Name of the archive,
record group,
call number


B 8,

Bd. 1359

PA AA,B 33,

Bd. 103649


Bd. 19691

PA AA,RZ 206,

R 103295

PA AA,RAV Stockholm,

Bd. 4

PA AA,M 1,

A 14330

PA AA,M 1,

LS-A 358

PA AA,M 38,

ZR 311/98

PA AA,MAV Moskau,

ZR 1015/84

How is material ordered?

If your application to use the archive has already been approved and you know precise call numbers, it is possible to order up to ten files in advance. Please use the contact form contact the reading room.

When you report to the staff desk in the reading room, the staff will give you a user number. This will enable you to order archival material at the computer terminals using the “Inovar” programme. You can order 10 paper files and 10 microfiches per day. Enter the record group and call number into the appropriate boxes in the order form. Do not include the “Bd.” from the call number.
Archival material is retrieved at the following times and will be available in the reading room approx. 30 min. later:

Monday - Thursday

10 a.m.

2 p.m.


10 a.m.

1 p.m.

Differences between how you order and how you cite material

Auswärtiges Amt der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany): Archival material from headquarters and the missions abroad

Orders from holding group B

Ministerium für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der DDR (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the GDR): Archival material from headquarters and the missions abroad

Orders from holding group M

Archival material from the Berlin headquarters is to be ordered in the reading room via Inovar, using the uniform group classification “R”. For archival material from the German Reich´s missions…

Orders from holding group R

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