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Documentalists (synonym librarians from French documentaliste or English documentalist , relatively common in the French-influenced Switzerland) are information professionals and have the task of information and documents by relevance choose and quality, to develop , prepare and make available as needed. They create and maintain information stores, usually databases . You research in conventional and electronic information systems and obtain sources such as B. Technical literature, research reports, factual information and other relevant documents . You design and organize information systems and information flows ( information management ).

Your work, information and documentation (IuD) is shaped by the respective specialist background and overlaps with the areas of archive and library . The job description is diverse; Since around the 1960s it has been divided into the categories of documentation assistant (today the apprenticeship as “specialist for media and information services”), diploma documentary and scientific documentary.

Documentaries mainly work as academic employees in companies, universities and research institutions, specialist information centers , political parties, associations, parliaments and in public administration.


Archivists develop and describe the primary sources archived by them in terms of content and formal criteria. Librarians record the secondary sources or the literature as a priority according to formal guidelines (e.g. with the help of classifications, systematics - such as the rules for alphabetical cataloging (RAK) or the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)), while documentaries also use it are specialized in the subject indexing of the so-called documentary reference units, d. H. work with the help of so-called documentation languages ​​(thesauri / keyword systems, abstracts, etc.) and (basic) knowledge or interface skills e.g. B. in the areas of information management, information law, computer science, etc.


Scientific documentaries (English: Information Specialists ) have generally completed a specialist degree at a university and are learning the profession as part-time training . The training center is the Institute for Information and Documentation (IID) at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences , formerly LID (Training Institute for Information and Documentation) based in Frankfurt am Main . The professional association is the German Society for Information Science and Information Practice (DGI), formerly the German Society for Documentation (DGD).

General documentaries complete an 8-semester course at a university of applied sciences , which ends with the title "Diplom-Dokumentar". Some universities of applied sciences also award the title “Diplom-Informationswirt”. The training includes B. the acquisition of skills in terms of form and content, but also knowledge of the importance of documentation in science, business, administration and the media. The course usually includes an internship semester.

In addition to the general documentaries, there are media documentaries (in the journalistic field also “documentation journalists ”, e.g. internal training at the news magazine SPIEGEL ) and medical (life science) documentaries . The latter undergo a similar training as the former, but have a scientific-medical focus, e.g. B. Anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, clinical chemistry, botany.

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