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In contrast to the manual, a monograph (also monograph ; Greek μονογραφ „ α monographía , "individual font ") is a comprehensive, complete treatise on a single subject , i.e. a single work or a special problem. The number of authors is irrelevant.

In contrast, chapters created completely separately from one another by different authors are usually anthologies or manuals. From the latter, which can also be written by a single author, the monograph usually differs formally through the formation of theses and a clear question, which is why it can also be described as a kind of scientific essay the length of a book. Manuals, on the other hand, generally want to summarize the current state of research, not point beyond it.

In librarianship, the term “monograph” stands for the opposite of a continuous collection of works ( periodicals ).


The most common form of monograph in literature is the biography , which also deals with the complete works or the importance and general assessment of an artist , writer or other person who is mostly important to the public.


In science , the boundary between monograph and textbook is sometimes blurred, especially in the natural sciences. The former term is often preferred when the target group consists of colleagues, the latter when it consists of students.

The demarcation between monograph and manual is sometimes not clear: the subject of a manual is usually broader than that of a monograph - a manual, for example, would deal with The Weimar Classic , a monograph would rather deal with The Figure of Mephisto in Goethe's Faust . While the handbook usually tries to provide a comprehensive presentation, a characteristic of the scientific monograph, as mentioned, is basically the argument-based formation of theses.

When referring to the source and bibliography in scientific texts, a distinction is only made between monographs, articles in anthologies and specialist journals, as well as internet sources.


In librarianship or comparative literature , the term monograph is used purely formally: it refers to all writings published in one or more volumes with the text of an author or group of authors. The term is also used for all stand-alone and self-contained publications that deal with a single, limited topic. The designation distinguishes it from dependent literature such as articles in specialist journals or compilations .


In the pharmacopoeia , the properties and requirements of individual substances are dealt with in detail in the monograph. The monograph is divided into the sections requirements for properties, identity, purity and content as well as a collection of analytical methods for determining the last three variables. Every pharmaceutical substance used must meet the requirements of the pharmacopoeia monograph.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Monograph  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Horst Belke: Texts for use. In: Fundamentals of literature and linguistics. Edited by Heinz Ludwig Arnold , Volker Sinemus. Volume 1. 2nd edition. Dtv, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-423-04226-5 , pp. 320–341, p. 329: “closed and exhaustive”.
  2. ^ Helmut Hiller: Dictionary of the book. 4th, completely revised edition. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-465-01384-0 , p. 200.
  3. Joshua Decter: Monograph: A guarantee for constant transience. In: Texts on Art , No. 13, 4th year (March 1994), pp. 117–118.
  4. ^ Dietmar Strauch, Margarete Rehm: Lexicon book - library - new media . Walter de Gruyter, January 1, 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-092121-2 , p. 309 ff.