interpretation | The International Bibliographic Database of Living History

interpretation is a database about historic interpretation, museum theatre, story telling, experimental archaeology, reenactment and chautauqua

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interpretation contains references to living history content found in books, periodicals, and other media and is a unique resource, freely available to all. It can be a starting point for anyone looking for information on living history.

Anyone wishing to know what has been written on the subjects of historical interpretation, museum theatre, storytelling, experimental archaeology, reenactment and chautauqua is faced with a challenge. Not so much the challenge of the scarcity of bibliographical references, but rather that of the difficulty of gaining access to a reliable database containing a broad selection of bibliographical references grouped by affinities. The bibliographic database “Interpretation” seeks to fill this gap.

What is a Bibliographic Database

Information about printed and electronic books and articles in periodicals can generally be found in a bibliographic database which is a repository of bibliographic or publication records. It provides an index of books and articles and generally includes title, author, abstracts, reviews and may also include links to full-text content. A database can be searched (queried) through search interfaces that facilitate construction of queries, or directly by using specialized languages.

Purpose of a Living History Database

As a project of the Catholic University of Linz library team, the purpose of the co-operative and multilingual database “Interpretation” is to improve the accessibility of publications about all aspects of living history. “Interpretation” contains reliable and comprehensive references from the entire world to contemporary trends in living history found in books, journals, so-called “Festschriften” (publications on jubilees), periodicals, and other media and is a unique resource, freely available to all. Therefore, as a service to the interpreter community it helps collecting, accessing, sharing and disseminating data in the field of living history and can be a central starting point for anyone looking for information on the subject.

It is based on the literature which the Catholic University of Linz acquires within the scope of its special collection in living history. All types of publications, both peer-reviewed and grey literature, are included. It covers titles representing international, regional, country-by-country as well as thematic perspectives. Within this special collection are, among other things, more than 4,000 records from over 35 multilingual journals and periodicals. The majority of the journals are in English or German. A smaller number is in French, Dutch and Italian. More than 1,500 articles have a link to full text, and more than 3,000 articles have an abstract. If the full text of a citation is available on the internet, you will see an embedded link accompanied by the word “Full Text”. However, most publishers restrict access to the full text of their material by IP address, that is the unique number each PC gets on the internet. So often you might find that you cannot access an article, especially in a home situation. In this case you will either have to go to a (university) library that has the materials you need or go to the inter-library loan department of any library. Most “Interpretation” records can be ordered by your local library on interlibrary loan for you. You may also send us an order via email.

The database is regularly updated by the university’s “Interpretation” team to take into account new books and articles produced throughout the world on the subject of living history.

This Database is a Free-of-Charge Service of the University Library of the Catholic University of Linz


Ingo R. Glückler
Bethlehemstraße 20
A-4020 Linz

Phone: +43 70 7842934120
Cellular: +43 676 87764120
Skype: ktu-bibliothek
Fax: +43 70 7842934155
Email: i.glueckler[at]

Andreas Sturm
Passstrasse 113
D-52070 Aachen

Phone: +49 241 151052
Email: andreas.sturm[at]

The Catholic University of Linz is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. Links with them do not necessarily represent recognition by the Catholic University of Linz of any entities to which these sites refer.


The exclusively published online database "Interpretation" is a project begun by the author in 2012. The idea of the project was to keep an ongoing, highly accessible database. The site is continually under construction and, hence, is not a static size. This goes not only for its list of individual entries, which constantly grows, but includes as well the quality of its assessment, which has also consistently improved over the years. As a result, in the database there are several types of literature listings which are clearly differentiated from one another: Since the database presents references to literature from the remote past until today the retro-listing of title entries contain the correct page numbering only. Still, these minimal inventories are an important source for bibliographic research.

A clear forward jump is marked by the description of recent documents indexed from January 2013. They are made accessible not only through the development of the textual subject headings on the basis of the Subject Headings Authority File (SWD) with structured vocabulary but also with a system of classification: through the Regensburger Verbund Klassifikation (RVK), the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and through the local library classification JL1988 with verbal entry possibility which allows, for example, literature to be selected about a specific discipline or on a wider theme.

Since January 2014, descriptions of recent documents - in addition to the previously developed components - are made accessible through Integrated Authority File (GND), the German normative file of subject headings developed and maintained by the German National Library that fulfills all aspects of a comprehensive subject search mechanism. All articles currently added to "Interpretation" are assigned subject terms from the GND. The year 2016 marks a breaking point in the history of "Interpretation".

In September 2016, following a three‐year selection effort, the library automation and integrated library system Ex Libris' Aleph 22 Sharing has been chosen as the new library and database system for "Interpretation".

In February 2017, it had been implemented and the current data was converted to the new system. From 1st March 2017, Aleph 22 Sharing and the discovery system PRIMO is online and will help you to retrieve your information even easier. During its short history, "Interpretation" has not only reached a considerable size, it has also won pro 600 users per month throughout the world. The database could never have been produced without manifold help which has been given to the author from both far and near, and for which I would now like to express my gratitude. In summer 2017 we are planning to apply for a grant from a governmental sponsoring body in order to professionalize and speed up cataloguing in "Interpretation".

How Can You Contribute?

"Interpretation - The International Bibliographic Database of Living History" is a new database and thus currently far from comprehensive. The most difficult part of making the database more comprehensive is learning about, and obtaining, publications. You can help us to make the database more complete by reporting your publications. Send us ISBNs, DOIs, URNs or citations that should be added to the database. Please help us to improve by reporting publications that are not yet in the database and by suggesting changes to our website. What could we add or change that would make the database more useful to you? When reporting a publication that has an ISBN, DOI or URL, all you need to do is email us the ISBN, DOI or URL. When reporting a publication that is not available online but is of a type that can be easily obtained through purchase or interlibrary loan (journal paper, book, thesis, etc.), please email a citation (please also send a PDF file, photocopy or the actual publication if you can easily do so). When reporting a publication that is not available online and is less easy to obtain (so-called grey literature), please send the actual publication by mail. If you or your organization has produced a publication as a PDF file and would like us to put the file open access on our scientific repository KiDokS (whether or not it is also available on your server), please email us the file along with a clear statement that you give us a non-exclusive right of use unrestricted in space and time and that you want us to make it available digitally.