Our History

Milestones – From the Beginnings to the Present

  • 1976 – Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Karlsruhe Headquarters

    One year later, as early as 1977, “FIZ 4 – Fachinformationszentrum Energie, Physik, Mathematik GmbH” (the precursor of today’s FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH) was founded by the German Federal Government and the Federal States as a scientific information center. The first director of the newly founded institution was Dr. Werner Rittberger (1927-2014).


    FIZ 4 was located at two sites and was the result of a merger of five scientific institutions: ZAED , “Zentralstelle für Luft- und Raumfahrtdokumentation und -information” in Munich, “Redaktion Physikalische Berichte” in Brunswick, “Redaktion Zentral­blatt für Mathematik” in Berlin, and “Redaktion Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik” in Karlsruhe.

    Groundbreaking Ceremony 1976
  • Foundation and First Articles of Association 1977

    Dr. Rittberger significantly contributed to drafting the first Articles of Association. In a prophetic manner these stated: “The organization’s task is to render or make available scientific and technical information services in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, energy, nuclear research and nuclear technology, aerospace technology, space research, mathematics and physics, and to perform all necessary activities.”

    Dr. Rittberger in his office, first brochure offering services by FIZ Karlsruhe
  • 1978 – Launch of the First Online Service "INKA Online"  

    The years following FIZ Karlsruhe’s foundation were characterized by the development of important bibliographic and numerical databases in the scientific areas mentioned on the previous page, together with appropriate specialized retrieval systems. On January 1, 1978, just half a year after the Articles of Association had been signed, the first online service “INKA Online” comprising 40 databases was launched.

    Presentation of the online-service INKA at the Dokumentartag 1978
  • 1979 - FIZ Karlsruhe Opens its Office in Bonn

    As early as 1979, FIZ Karlsruhe opened the “Bonn office”, its third facility besides the headquarters in Karlsruhe and the Berlin subsidiary.  Bonn was, and still is, the home of our BINE Informationsdienst, a service which for many years has been thoroughly researching, editing, and providing practice-oriented results from energy research, in particular in the fields of renewable energies and energy saving technologies.

    At the opening of the "Bonn office" and first flyer
  • 1983 – The Beginning of the German-American STN Partnership

    Dr. Rittberger laid the foundation for FIZ Karlsruhe’s current self-financing rate of more than 75 % (mainly generated in the free information market) by establishing a German-American partnership. The resulting online service “STN International - The Scientific and Technical Information Network” has been existing for more than 30 years and proven a true story of success.


    The STN cooperation agreement was entered into and signed in 1983 by FIZ Karlsruhe and the American Chemical Societ (ACS), represented by its division Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). A computer network was established between Karlsruhe and Columbus (Ohio, USA) in order to provide scientists at any place with detailed, well-indexed electronic scientific information – at that time a highly ambitious goal.



    Signing of the STN cooperation agreement
  • 1984 – Launch of STN, the Information Service for Scientific and Patent Information  

    The first databases became available on STN as early as 1984. Today, STN International is the world’s leading information service for research and patent information, offering access to more than 1.5 billion database records.

    STN at a trade fair in 1985 and logo from celebration of 30 years STN in 2014
  • 1984 – Dr. Rittberger Receives the Federal Cross of Merit

    In 1984, Dr. Rittberger was honored by Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker with the Federal Cross of Merit with Ribbon for his excellent achievements in the field of scientific-technical information and documentation. He also received honorary appointments to national and international boards.   

    Receiving the Federal Cross of Merit 1984
  • 1984 – Shareholders’ Meeting

    At the shareholders’ meeting in 1984, the following scientific associations were included MPG, FhG, DPG, VDI, GI. They still are shareholders of FIZ Karlsruhe.

    Shareholders’ Meeting 1984
  • 1985 – Launch of zbMATH Online

    Since 1985, FIZ Karlsruhe’s Berlin office has been offering “Zentralblatt für Mathematik”, a journal included in FIZ Karlsruhe’s portfolio in 1979,  as an information service under the name of zbMATH. It is the world’s most comprehensive abstracting and reviewing service in mathematical research.



    Zentralblatt Mathematik
  • 1986 – STN Acquires its Third Partner, the Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST)

    As early as 1986, only two years after STN had been launched, the Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST) joined the STN partnership. Thus, a third continent – Asia – was represented in STN. The collaboration with JST ceased in 2006. Since 2007 STN has been represented in Japan by the Japan Association for International Chemical Information (JAICI).  


    One year later, in 1987, FIZ Karlsruhe changed its name to “Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe, Gesellschaft für wissenschaftlich-technische Information mbH”.



    Signing the cooperation agreement with JST and STN brochure
  • 1992 – Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Friedrich Schultheiss Becomes New Managing Director of FIZ Karlsruhe

    Prof. Schultheiss, specialized in Mechanical Engineering, became scientific-technical Director of FIZ Karlsruhe in 1992. 


    Under his leadership FIZ Karlsruhe continuously evolved from a scientific center for documentation and information towards a customer-oriented service institution for science and business. This marked the beginning of the company’s intensified orientation towards offering comprehensive, international patent information and the marketing of databases to scientists and businesspeople all over the world.


    A milestone in this process was the agreement with Thomson Reuters governing the inclusion of the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) in STN. At that time, DWPI already contained patent information from the world’s most important industrialized countries as well as from the EPO and the WIPO.

    Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Friedrich Schultheiss, 2nd from the right
  • Partnership With CAS: Robert J. Massie (1949-2015)

    In 1992, at the same time as Prof. Schultheiss at FIZ Karlsruhe, Robert J. Massie became Managing Director at our STN partner organization Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). For 21 years, until his retirement in 2014, he maintained friendly contacts with FIZ Karlsruhe and significantly contributed to the further development of STN

    Robert J. Massie
  • 2003 – Sabine Brünger-Weilandt Becomes President & CEO of FIZ Karlsruhe

    Sabine Brünger-Weilandt has been President & CEO of FIZ Karlsruhe since 2003. She was then the first woman ever appointed head of one of the about 80 Leibniz Institutes in Western Germany.  


    Her professional experience in business has contributed to a further professionalization of FIZ Karlsruhe. At the same time she worked towards finding a new balance between business and science and sustaining FIZ Karlsruhe’s position and visibility in the German research infrastructure. She thus helped coin the term “information infrastructure” and her commitment to scientific policy has contributed to this term being included in the political agenda of the German Federal Government.    


    Under her leadership the transformation of FIZ Karlsruhe from a scientific information center into a transdisciplinary, research-oriented “Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure” (added to the name in 2010) was initiated and is fostered ever since.

    Sabine Brünger-Weilandt, President and CEO