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ZBMATH Database | About Zentralblatt | History Print

History of Zentralblatt MATH

Zentralblatt für Mathematik was founded in 1931 by Springer Verlag in cooperation with the Prussian Academy of Science, editor in chief was O. Neugebauer.

It was refounded after WWII in 1947 in cooperation with the German Academies.

The cooperation between Heidelberg Academy and Academy of Science of the GDR ended in 1977.

In 1978 Zentralblatt für Mathematik was part of the newly founded FIZ Karlsruhe (Energy, Physics, Mathematics) and in 1993 FIZ Karlsruhe took over full responsibility from Springer Publisher.

In 2006 the European Mathematical Society became member of the editorial board of Zentralblatt jointly with Heidelberg Academy and FIZ Karlsruhe, whereas Springer is responsible for marketing and publishing of the print and CD-ROM version.

Since 2012 Prof. Gert-Martin Greuel is the editor-in-chief who followed Prof. Bernd Wegner.

Berlin as a Center for Organizing Mathematical Reviewing

This is a state of the art report from 1985, Bernd Wegner, TU Berlin.
(Translation of an 1985 article in German, published in 'Mathematik in Berlin', provided by Kathrin Roegner)
Download this Report as a PDF File.

The rising development of mathematics in the middle of the 19th century resulted in a growing need for a complete and reliable information service on mathematical literature. This led to the founding of the report periodical "Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik", which was later supplemented by "Zentralblatt für Mathematik und ihre Grenzgebiete" and, after World War II, by other reviewing services. The main editorial activities for each of the journals named above were carried out by Berlin mathematicians, as shall be seen through the brief summary of their histories given below.
They held a unique position within mathematics up until the second world war. Afterwards, the Zentralblatt remained a leading reviewing journal for mathematics.

Here we present a short overview of the history of the Jahrbuch and
Zentralblatt. Furthermore, a survey of the present-day problems in terms of the processing and editing should convey an impression of documentation activities in mathematics. Finally, some problems and possibilities for literary information on mathematical publications will be addressed resulting from the development of mathematics publications business and from advancements in information technology.

I. The Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik

This annual periodical started its publication 1869 in the programme of the publishing house Reimer Verlag, and at that time it was supervised by Felix Müller and C. Orthmann. The editorial board was located in Berlin. The subject of coverage was the entire field of mathematics including applications, which mainly lay in physics. The compilation of all published literature, provided that it was accessible, was arranged by the editors according to the year of publication. The strive to publish self-contained annuals due to the demand for completeness led in the long run to a lack of actuality. For example, the first annual for 1868 could only first appear in 1871, whereby this delay was, of course, partially due to war. Here, it has to be taken into account that back then about 800 works from 1868 were announced, which does not even comprise 2% of the yearly publications nowadays. These 800 works were spread over 80 journals and about the same number of non-periodic publications.

The editorship changed in the following years to Emil Lampe and then to Leon Lichtenstein and A. Korn. For some time, the Berlin Mathematical Society was involved in the editorial process. Because of a takeover, the publisher changed to Walter de Gruyter. As a consequence of the first world war, the work on the annuals was in severe backlog. In the middle of the 20's, the Prussian Academy of Sciences took over the editing of the annual while de Gruyter remained publisher. This resulted in an increase in editorial staff, leading to an improvement in the actuality of the Jahrbuch. Georg Feigl, editor-in-chief at the beginning of the 30's, and later Helmut Grunsky were involved in this relative upswing. For example, the 1935 volume, which appeared in 1939, contained about 6000 entries from approximately 400 journals. The reviews were composed by over 200 referees from many parts of the world. At the end of the 30's, discussions on a possible merger with Zentralblatt, which in the meantime had been founded, were held, calling for a joint editorship for both reviewing journals under the direction of Harald Geppert. However, only a stronger cooperation between both periodicals followed and not a final merger. In the meantime, the political situation and finally World War II hindered the work of the editorial staff. The annual for the year 1940 was still possible to complete during the war years. For the following years, only single issues were at hand. After the war, the work on the Jahr buch über die Fortschritte der Mathematik did not resume.

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