Under the Swiss copyright act, all works are protected. This protection expires 70 years after the author’s death. Works created before 1900 are therefore, in all probability, in the public domain.

Reproductions of works in the public domain from the holdings at the University Library Basel may be used freely.

Works protected by copyright cannot be reproduced or, rather, reproductions cannot be used at will. Please note the following rules:

  • With your own reproduction equipment, you may copy a work in full for personal use. However, if you use the scanner or photocopy machines at the University Library Basel, you may only copy excerpts.
  • At the University Library Basel, we are not allowed to copy entire works and may only copy excerpts. We can, however, provide you with full copies of newspaper and journal articles. 
  • For your classes (e.g. digital course reserves) or for internal purposes (e.g. intranet), you are only allowed to make works partially copied available. Newspaper and journal articles may, however, be shared in their entirety.
  • You must not publish reproductions without the permission of the copyright owner.

If you publish reproductions of works from the Historical holdings of the University Library Basel, we request the following from you:

Öffentliche Bibliothek der Universität Basel
Abteilung Handschriften und Alte Drucke
Schönbeinstrasse 18-20
CH-4056 Basel

Please follow these citation guidelines:

  • Universitätsbibliothek Basel, call number
  • UB Basel, call number

Please do not cite the platform where the digital copies of our collections are available, but the location of the originals held at the University Library Basel.

Why cite the item’s call number?

  • Citing the call number makes it possible for readers of your publication to clearly identify the sources on which your research is based. Your research findings are therefore transparent and verifiable.

Omitting the call number prefix:

  • The call number prefix “UBH” is not part of the call number as such but is a technical term in cataloguing used to differentiate between the various network libraries connected to the catalogue.
  • With manuscripts it is not required to use the abbreviation “Mscr” as a prefix to the call number. It is solely with the name call numbers Falk, Frey-Gryn, KiAr, as well as VB that “Mscr” should be used as a suffix to the call number, in order to distinguish the manuscripts from printed materials with the same call numbers.

Archive collections:

  • For documents and archive collections, please name the title of the archive as well as the source used, with the full call number of the source.
  • References in footnotes generally include an exact name and the detailed call number. In the bibliography, it is enough to name the entire dossier or the private archive as a single entity including the call number.



  • Sixtus IV.: De sanguine Christi. Rom, Johannes Philippus de Lignamine, nach 10. Aug. 1471 (UB Basel, Inc 432)
  • Ägidius Tschudi: Nova Rhaetiae atque totius Helvetiae descriptio. Basel, Michael Isengrin, 1560 (UB Basel, Kartenslg AA 125)


  • UB Basel, J I 5: Felix Platter, Supellex medica, Basel, um 1595
  • UB Basel, K I 3: Emanuel Büchel, Abbildungen merkwürdiger Petrefacten, Basel, vor 1768

Archive collections

  • UB Basel, NL 53 (Nachlass Franz Overbeck), B I 248, Nr. 226: Friedrich Nietzsche an Franz Overbeck, Turin, wohl 5./6. Januar 1889
  • UB Basel, Archiv Bernoulli, III a 2, Johann I (1667-1748), Nr. 1: Johann Bernoulli, Kurz entworfener Lebens-Lauff (1711/1735)

Recommended citation guidelines for economic archives

We recommend the citation guidelines of the Swiss Economic Archives (in German).