Olympic Studies Center Archive
The anchoring of sport as an important element of culture in our global society has been and will continue to be established by historical research, documentation and through applied projects of sport museums. A central tenet for these kinds of activities is the accessibility of historical documents. As part of the Carl and Liselott Diem Archive (CuLDA, the forerunner of the OSC at the German Sport University Cologne), archival collections on almost all iterations of the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, prominent national and international Olympic officials, the Olympic torch relay, the founding of the International Olympic Academy and various Olympic sports, have been catalogued.
In 2011, the OSC started an ambitious project to professionalise further its archival strategies. By this, it is meant that collections were to be analysed and structured in a digital system, which would be made accessible to future students and researchers.
Now, the focus lies on the creation of a pictorial four-volume book series on the archival material of the German Sport University with numerous illustrations. This project is implemented by the Institute for Sport History/OSC Cologne and the Central Library for Sports Science. Individual volumes will be published successively until 2020. The first volume will be printed in December 2014 to call attention to the 50th anniversary of the CuLDA in December 1964.
The archive project of the OSC does not only dealing with written documents. Historical research includes the availability and accessibility of images as well. The academic use of images can significantly contribute to a genuine understanding of sport by chronicling its periods of continuity and transformation.
The informative value of images is appreciated in the academic community and beyond. However, the necessity to organise, archive and digitalise images systematically is often overlooked. Huge amounts of historical images on sport are stored almost unprofessionally and as a result, they cannot be used effectively to research, analyse and exhibit the cultural value of sport. In addition to this, images are often stored inappropriately, which can allow acids, released by the aging processes of celluloid and paper, to corrode the images irrecoverably. The digital photograph archive aims at systematically detecting, documenting and digitalising collections of images on sport and physical education. The venture should be valued as a project, which aims at securing the rich legacy of sport and physical education to share with researchers and interested parties alike. With the support of external partners, who will provide the necessary funding, the starting point will be with the massive collections of the German Sport University Cologne.