- audiovisual documents and photographs
- biographical information
- maps or information about a place, region or locality
- Swiss e-books
- information about a company or association
- genealogical information
- newspapers and periodicals
- specific legal texts, Federal Supreme Court decisions or official texts
- political, economic and cultural information about Switzerland
- help with school-leaving exam essays
Resources for audiovisual documents and photographs
Lists of addresses of Swiss institutions with photographic or audiovisual holdings:
Resources for biographical information
Catalogues and biographical databases of the NL:
Resources for maps or information about a place, region or locality
In the online catalogue Helveticat:
Search by keyword in the NL’s Helveticat catalogue to find the maps you are looking for.
Search term ‘Kartenmaterial’, ‘Document cartographique’, ‘Documento cartografico’; to search for electronic records add ‘elektronische’, ‘électronique’ or ‘elettronica’.
It may help to truncate the name of the region.
Online place name portals and sites:
Reference works at the NL:
The geographical name directories of the various cantons and regions are listed in the online catalogue Helveticat:
A keyword search using the following terms (sometimes truncated with an asterisk) will find the corresponding documents: “Ortsname*”, “Flurname*”, “lieu-dit”, “lieux-dits”, “toponym*”, “toponim*”, “toponom*” (from Toponomastik, Toponymie or Toponymik, Ortsnamenskunde or -forschung)
Resources for Swiss e-books
The NL does not lend out e-books but many public libraries offer this service. Digital Helvetica can only be consulted on site.
Resources for information about a company or association
The full gazette can be consulted online via two platforms:
Other tools for the research on a company
List of corporate publications (in German and French) (XLS, 2 MB, 10.10.2019)Documents and publications from Swiss corporations or associations, companies, industries, schools and cultural institutions, both cantonal and local. The institutions from which we hold documents are contained in this list.
Resources for genealogical information
NL genealogical information
A number of resources can be consulted on site:
Catalogue of family names
Index of genealogical articles that have appeared in serial publications and monographs, in alphabetical order of family names.
Catalogue of genealogical tables
Tables of ancestors, dynasties and family lines of descent; genealogical trees and tables from the Prints and Drawings Department. Consists of three parts: an alphabetical catalogue of authors, a systematic catalogue of family names, and a location catalogue (call numbers).
Index of family coats of arms published in some reference works. This catalogue was updated until 1980.
Resources for newspapers or periodicals
The latest issues of periodicals and newspapers are on display in the public rooms of the NL:
Older issues of newspapers are mostly accessible on microfilm.
Some are available directly online:
Newspapers available on microfilm or in digital format
Newspaper titles that are available on paper or another medium, such as microfilm or digital files that can be accessed freely on certain platforms but also from press databases such as Factiva and Swissdox.
For newspapers that are not available on microfilm or in digital form, the paper version must be ordered from our Helveticat catalogue.
Most older issues of periodicals are listed in our catalogue Helveticat.
Catalogue of serial publications of the NL (“P-Katalog”)
Card index for on-site consultation listing all serials that were catalogued before 2005: newspapers, magazines, series, annual publications (except carnival programmes and corporate publications).
Some older periodicals are accessible directly online:
Older issues of newspapers and periodicals that are not available at the NL.
Newspaper and periodical databases
Can be accessed from the NL’s information room and contain complete texts.
Resources for specific legal texts, Federal Supreme Court decisions or official texts
An overview can be found in the table below.
Catalogue of official serial publications
Directory of periodical publications by public sector bodies (Confederation, cantons, communes, churches, etc.). Starting from June 2005, new titles are only listed in Helveticat.
Resources for political, economic and cultural information about Switzerland
Resources for help with school-leaving exam essays
If you want to study a topic related to Switzerland for your school-leaving exam essay, here are some ideas for subjects that might interest you.
Already chosen your topic? We’ll be happy to assist you with your research in the catalogues and databases of our collections and other institutions. We also offer a free library tour for school classes and groups, including a research workshop (in German or French).
Last modification 25.09.2019