Ariadne was set up in 1992 as the women’s information and documentation center at the Austrian National Library. It was created in a period of awakening for the New Women’s Movement, which had been generating an abundance of feminist literature inside as well as outside of academia since the 1970s. The goal is to do justice to the specific information needs of women’s and gender research in a large institution such as the Austrian National Library.
» Christa Bittermann-Wille and Helga Hofmann-Weinberger founded Ariadne and established it as an information point for women’s and gender studies. » Lydia Jammernegg and » Eva Zimmermann later joined the team to continue the work and develop it further. Like the namesake Ariadne, who famously guided Theseus through the maze in Greek mythology, Ariadne aims to use the threads of knowledge to offer guidance through the maze of feminist, women’s and gender studies publications.
Ariadne documents all holdings at the Austrian National Library which are relevant to women’s and gender studies. To increase the visibility of historical holdings relating to women’s history, these resources are digitised and made available online. With dedicated web portals (e.g. about women’s suffrage and the historical women’s movement in Austria) Ariadne has developed into a knowledgebase of women and gender-related topics.
Ariadne feels guided by the principle of famous Austro-American women’s historian Gerda Lerner (1920-2013): “Women’s history is the primary tool for women’s emancipation.”