On October 1, 2020, the documenta archiv will embark upon the comprehensive cataloguing and preparation of its holdings. This "cataloguing campaign" is planned to last for ten years. To this end, the State of Hesse and the City of Kassel intend to provide funding totaling EUR 5.4 million by 2030.
The archival testimonies surrounding the documenta exhibitions from 1955 to the present day are to be properly prepared and systematized in line with archival and scientific standards. The archive's holdings will form the core of the emerging documenta Institute and will be accessible to both international researchers and the public alike.
The documenta archiv along with the Bauhaus Archive are among the oldest and most important art archives in Germany. In addition to examining the history of the exhibitions the documenta archiv will also be further developed as a documentation center for contemporary art.
The cataloguing campaign is of crucial importance also for the documenta Institute as it creates international standards: The in-depth cataloguing will be accompanied by the launch of a digital infrastructure and a professional data capture system.
The cataloguing campaign includes a total of 560 running meters of shelving with over 50,000 indexing units – as well as extensive bequests and estates, such as that of documenta founder Arnold Bode in the records and papers archive. In the media collection more than 50 terabytes of digital image and audiovisual media are awaiting systematic structuring and transferal into a digital archive.
Finding aids will be created for more than 65,000 paper prints of photographs, slides and negatives as well as more than 5,000 storage carrier of various kinds.
About 40% of the library's entire holdings (about 42,000 media units), mainly monographs on artists, are to be recorded bibliographically. This process will be accompanied by conservation measures.
"As a result, the documenta archiv will gain in appeal and the team will take on this great task with dedication," says Dr. Birgitta Coers, who will take up the post of Director of the documenta archiv on October 1, 2020.

Further information on the history of the documenta archiv and the cataloguing campaign (in German) can be found here: Press Release.