What can Research Guide EconDesk do for me?

Research Guide EconDesk supports you individually in your search for economics-specific information. You can ask us independently of your location and of the opening hours of the ZBW. You decide whether you prefer writing an e-mail, chatting, calling on the telephone or visiting the ZBW (in Kiel or Hamburg) in person. We advise you individually and without charge on the search for literature and also provide brief facts in economics. 

Which kind of information is provided?

We support you in your search for economic literature and facts.This includes the search for statistical data, information on companies and institutions,  biographical information, country information, definitions of technical terms, translation of technical terms from English to German, explanation of acronyms and abbreviations and general information from encyclopedias. If you make an appointment for a visit to Research Guide EconDesk, you will receive an introduction to literature search at the ZBW in Kiel or Hamburg. You will be instructed in the use of the portal EconBiz and other databases to search for literature about a topic of your choice from economics.

How much does it cost to use Research Guide EconDesk?

Research Guide EconDesk is free of charge. If you phone Research Guide EconDesk, the usual tariffs of your service provider apply.

Who can use Research Guide EconDesk?

Everyone who wants to ask questions concerning economics and business studies is welcome to use Research Guide EconDesk. You do not need a user card of the ZBW. We answer questions in German and in English.

At what times is Research Guide EconDesk available?

E-mail can be used around the clock.
Chat is available Monday to Friday from 9:00h to 16:30h (CET).
Phone is available Monday to Friday from 9:00h to 16:30h (CET).
In person: Appointments for introductions to literature search on site in the ZBW in Kiel or Hamburg can start Monday to Friday between 9:00h and 16:00h (CET). Please suggest a time and date in the e-mail form.

When will I receive an answer?

If we can answer your question immediately, we will do so on the phone and in the chat. If questions arrive by e-mail, or if we cannot answer them immediately, they will be answered as quickly as possible, at the latest within 48 hours (Monday to Friday).

To what extend does Research Guide EconDesk provide information?

Research Guide EconDesk provides brief facts, such as single statistical data or a definition of a term, and helps you with your literature search and library use. In cases of comprehensive and time-consuming searches for facts, or in cases in which we ourselves cannot find the answer in our reference works and databases, we will gladly help you with tips for literature or databases in which you can perform the search yourself. Because of copyright and licence issues, Research Guide EconDesk can deliver only brief information directly. These include the bibliographical data for the source of the information. If your question requires a larger amount of data or longer texts, we will send you the bibliographical data of the source. You can check if it is available in your own library or order it from the ZBW by document delivery or interlibrary loan. Our answers as well as the chat transcripts will be sent to you by e-mail.

Who answers the questions?

Research Guide EconDesk is a service of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW). Incoming questions are accepted by a librarian and either answered by her / him immediately, or – depending on the topic – referred to one of our academic staff.

How does Research Guide EconDesk ensure the quality of answers?

Our Research Guide EconDesk staff of research specialists and academic librarians are familiar with databases and literature search. They check internet resources by using a catalogue of criteria to assess and ensure their quality and suitability for academic work.  Information for answering your question is taken from the stock of reference works and databases of the ZBW, websites that have been selected for quality and factual content, and the general library stock.

What is QuestionPoint?

QuestionPoint is a software that renders the administration of chat and e-mail reference services easier. QuestionPoint is used in libraries all over the world. All questions you send to Research Guide EconDesk are processed with the software QuestionPoint. Your questions are saved on the QuestionPoint server in the USA.  

What happens to the personal data I provide in the webforms?

Your personal data (name, e-mail address) are used by the ZBW – in accordance with German data protection regulations – exclusively to provide this information service.
The ZBW uses the software QuestionPoint of the company OCLC to handle your questions. Therefore data will be transferred to servers of OCLC in the USA. This data transfer is performed on the basis of the “standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to third countries” of the European Union. Please be aware that the level of data protection in third countries might differ from German and EU standards.
Your e-mail address and your name will be separated from your question on the OCLC server after 90 days. However, they remain stored on the OCLC server. For the name field, we recommend the use of pseudonyms. Any information you enter into the question field is also stored on the OCLC server. We therefore recommend that you provide personal data ONLY in the corresponding fields. By submitting your question, you agree to these terms. If you do not agree, please phone us at EconDesk.

What happens if Research Guide EconDesk cannot answer the question?

Unfortunately there are cases where the information you need is not obtainable from our databases and reference works or even on the internet. In this case Research Guide EconDesk will try to name you other contact persons for your question.

How can I complain about answers?

Research Guide EconDesk exclusively answers questions about the services of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) and literature search in economics, or provides brief factual information in economics and business studies.
At Research Guide EconDesk we cannot always provide an answer from our resources. We aim to provide punctual, up-to-date information individually tailored to your request.
Should we fail to do this, should there have occurred a misunderstanding, or should you not be entirely satisfied with an answer from Research Guide EconDesk for some other reason, we will be glad to try again after a clarification.
Please send us your complaint within 21 days after the receipt of the answer. There is a form available for complaints: feedback form. For processing your complaint please quote the ID (identification number) of your question. You will find the ID in the subject line of the answer e-mail from Research Guide EconDesk. Please note that chat transcripts and e-mail requests for information are deleted from our system or anonymised after 90 days.
We will be glad to receive your feedback concerning research Guide EconDesk.