Get in touch.

List of contacts

Do you have any questions about ZB MED`s services or the range of literature we offer? Or maybe you need some tips on how to run searches in LIVIVO?

Phone: +49 (0)221 478-5685

Cologne Site

Medicine and Health

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
Gleueler Straße 60
50931 Cologne (Köln)

Bonn Site

Nutritional, Environmental and Agricultural Sciences

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences
Friedrich-Hirzebruch-Allee 4
53115 Bonn




An infrastructure and research centre for data and information in the life sciences.

Our vision:

Harnessing research and infrastructure to empower people and benefit the environment.

Information infrastructure

ZB MED has been a foundation under public law since 2014. One of the foundation’s key objectives is to provide information and literature to external users. As an information infrastructure hub, ZB MED endeavours to meet this objective in three main areas:

1. Provision of literature and data

Supplying the information that life scientists need

As a national library with a core focus on specific subject areas, ZB MED ensures that users all over Germany can access information in its specialist fields. As well as providing direct access to these resources, it also forms strategic partnerships with other libraries and institutions. ZB MED analyses user demand and market supply on a regular basis to ensure that it continues to meet its users’ needs.

Access to specialist information from wherever you are

ZB MED offers nationwide access to the latest digital information in the life sciences from wherever you are. It is currently the only institution of its kind in Germany to offer such a comprehensive online service. If you are resident in Germany, you can apply for a virtual ID card which provides access to a selected range of specialist literature free of charge from any location. All you need is a user name and password.

ZB MED takes a transformative approach to the acquisition of information resources and is an active supporter of the switch from traditional subscription models to open access publishing. Its digital offerings and services are based on ensuring nationwide access to its unique, high-quality collections in the field of life sciences.

ZB MED’s LIVIVO search portal

Access to literature and research data is provided through LIVIVO, ZB MED’s search portal for the life sciences. This contains some 70 million entries in a wide range of subject areas. It is based on the ZB MED Knowledge Environment (ZB MED KE), which also forms the basis of various research projects. LIVIVO metadata is semantically enriched with medical terminology such as the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), which helps make content even more accessible. Much of this process is automated.

In addition, ZB MED plays an active part in promoting the paradigm shift from a subscription-based model of literature provision to a model based on open access and open infrastructures.

As part of its involvement in the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), ZB MED will be providing services to facilitate access to data. 

2. Data analysis

Work on ZB MED’s data analysis infrastructure is still underway, though many elements are already in place. The ultimate aim is to offer a whole new range of innovative and highly specialised analytical services that life science researchers can apply to their data. This includes solutions for highly complex research topics and methods, such as dedicated projects to develop tools for the computer-assisted analysis of sequencing data (e.g. READemption and GRADitude) and Coxiella bacteria (CoxBase). Preparation of a text mining infrastructure is also underway.

ZB MED’s strategic alliance with the Bielefeld Institute for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (BIBI) includes the provision of data generation and data analysis services in collaboration with the de.NBI network.

3. Data management and publishing infrastructure

ZB MED offers services in the fields of data management and publishing infrastructures. These aim to make life sciences data and literature more accessible. ZB MED’s work focuses on quality assurance, data management services, and lowering the threshold for publishing. Examples include helping researchers to select the right electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) for their needs, providing user-specific advice on open access and Open Science topics, and providing suitable infrastructures for publishing and other aspects of research work. The PUBLISSO publishing portal is the main gateway to these various services.