Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Library counters

Acquisition Strategies

Blanket Order

The Ibero-American Institute (IAI) has been working with blanket order contracts and approved plans since 1981. A blanket order entails outsourcing literature selection to the export book dealers who are most knowledgeable about the book market in a specific country or region. These dealers select literature based on contractually defined criteria and budgets. The library must precisely specify the thematic criteria of literature selection and define formal issues such as media under consideration, publication period, maximum price per publication and shipping methods. The special advantages of the blanket order process are the use of local market expertise and the timely arrival of new publications.

Sample blanket order contract

Purchase Order

While the IAI acquires most new publications using blanket order contracts, it normally adds to older collections by means of purchase orders.

A special focus in the area of used media is on filling gaps in periodical collections.

List of export book dealers (in German)


Between 15,000 and 20,000 books and periodicals are donated to the IAI library each year. Publications that do not match its collection profile and duplicates are offered to German and international libraries in exchange for other media.

The library enters into donation agreements for larger, more valuable collections.

Sample donation agreement (in German)


The lAI library currently has around 500 exchange partners, more than half of whom are located in Latin America. The IAI exchanges both duplicates and in-house publications. The "purchased exchanges" funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) play an important role. The library currently receives 201 periodicals through this program.

Deserving special mention are the IAI's exchange projects with the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba "José Martí", the Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina, the Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia and the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango (Bogotá). Thanks to the support of the DFG, these national libraries have been able to obtain German publications and, in return, to provide the IAI with surplus deposit copies.

In 2007 the IAI launched an additional major duplicate exchange project with the Nettie Lee Benson Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Altogether 80.000 media units have been exchanged until now.

Acquisition Trips

The Ibero-American Institute regularly organizes acquisition trips to Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. On these trips its country specialists have the opportunity to visit book fairs, used book stores, museum book shops and other specialty book dealers.

The acquisition trips are an important, inexpensive way to round off the other acquisition strategies. Local prices are often cheaper and books can be purchased from dealers who do not deliver abroad or who have no website.

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