Detailed instructions for using Proveana


  1. Search

  2. Marked items list

  3. Individual hits


  5. Printing

  6. User account

  7. Data record types

  8. Key words

1. Search

In the navigation menu, you can access the “Search” and “Advanced search” options any time via the “Search” menu item.

The “Search” and “Advanced search” functions are used to search all Proveana content. Users with a legitimate interest can also search the research reports stored in Proveana. 

In the “Search” field, you can enter a freely chosen search term, a phrase as well as a date or number range. The website automatically completes terms to help you optimize your search term. 

Upper or lower case spelling does not affect the search.

The entered search includes different variants of a word as well as the German special characters and diacritical marks (such as Umlaut dots or accents in French terms).

Multi-part search terms are automatically linked. It is possible to use place markers to shorten a term and to replace individual letters within a term (example: G?rlitt or Flecht*). These functions are particularly useful if the exact spelling of the search term is not known. You can also combine two search terms to form a phrase by using quotation marks. The search will then give you only results containing that word combination.

Search by data record types

By selecting a data record type (Persons and corporate bodies, Events, Historical collections, Material objects, Provenance attributes, Archived documents, Literature and digital offerings, Projects) on the home page, you can search directly in this type. Your search results will be limited to that data record type. You can then filter the results further.

Advanced Search

In the navigation menu, you can access the “Search” and “Advanced search” options any time via the “Search” menu item.

The “Advanced search” function allows you to combine different search terms for a more focused search result.  

At the right of the entry fields, you will find a drop-down menu with search criteria Select a search criterion first and then enter your search term in the entry fields to the left. At the right, you can choose so-called Boolean operators like “AND”, “OR”, “AND NOT” from a drop-down menu to decide whether the search results need to contain all of the terms or not. With the “Add search field” button, you can add further terms to your search.

Structure of search results

The search results list shows all hits generated by your search. This includes hits in the research reports, provided you have extended access, and all other enclosed documents.

You can use the navigation buttons to browse the individual pages of the search results list.

Each hit shown in the search results list consists of a designation, an allocation to one of the four research areas and the corresponding data record type as well as further details to give you an initial overview.

If a search generates hits in the Lost Art Database, they are shown in the search results list with a gray background. When you click on a Lost Art hit, you are taken directly to the corresponding data record in the Lost Art Database.  

You can sort the results list by the following criteria: data record type, title (alphabetically), entry date and relevance.

Filtering the search results

At the left of the search results, there is a list of filters relevant to the search. These filters help you limit the number of hits.

A very long list of search results can be reduced to the desired scope by applying one or several filters. There are chronological, geographical and topical filters.

The selected filters are shown above the list of search results. They can be cleared by clicking on them.

Saving search results

The “Save search results” function allows registered users to save a search for later use. “Save search results” archives the search terms you used, the results that were generated and the selected filters.

The search results are saved in the user account under “Search results” and can be edited there.

2. Marked items list

Registered users can mark individual hits from the overall search results to create a list of marked items. By using the space bar symbol next to the title, the hit is added to a marked items list.

The marked hits are saved in the user account under “Marked items lists” and can be edited there.

3. Individual hits

Structure of a hit

When you click on an individual hit in the search results, you are taken to a specific data record. The structure of the data record may vary depending on what type of data record it is.

In the top part—next to the designation of the data record—, you will see the PURL (personalized internet address) of the hit. You can use the PURL as a citation link, for instance.

In the box on the right, you will find other links and classifying key terms associated with the data record. The key terms can be clicked on to take you to search results with hits that all contain this key term.

The second part of the data record contains basic data and descriptions. This is followed by a part covering different forms of relationships as well as further information and sources. Finally, you will see images of the corresponding materials.

Relationships between hits

Each data record can be related to many other data records. The content of these related data records can be viewed, and they can be clicked on. When you click on the name or the designation, the related data record opens. The types of relationships are part of a standardized vocabulary.

Verifications (Sources)

Good scientific practice demands that a database does not show any information without citing a source. This is why there is a quotation mark symbol next to every piece of information. By clicking on the symbol, it opens and the source of the information is shown. All information is also marked with a date that shows when the information was determined and posted in Proveana.


Registered users can add comments to a data record. The comments are written in the text box and sent by clicking on the “Comment” button. In the interest of good scientific practice, we urge you to back every piece of information with a source. Every comment is then checked by the team of the German Lost Art Foundation to ensure that the terms of use and the rules of conduct are observed. If so, the comment is released for publication. The comment is then visible to all users as part of the data record. If a comment violates the terms of use, it is not published. There is no entitlement to have a comment published.

The same applies to comments on existing comments within a data record.

In your user account, under the “My comments” menu item, you will find a list of posted comments with dates and release status.

5. Printing

Individual data records, marked items lists and results lists can be printed using your browser’s print function. The views are automatically optimized for printing.

6. User account

All users can create a user account for Proveana. You must have an e-mail account to do so. You need to register once in order to take advantage of a Proveana user account. The “Register” button on the home page and the “Login” menu item take you to the registration form. After entering your user data, you will need to confirm the privacy statement and terms of use in order to complete your registration. After this, you will receive an e-mail with a link, which you have to click on to activate your account. The next step is to set up a password for your login. You can then log in using that password and your own e-mail address.


You can log in directly on the home page or via the “Login” menu item with your e-mail address and the registered password you have chosen.

Functions of the user account

With a user account, you can create and edit marked items lists and search lists. You can also access an overview of your own comments and their status.

Moreover, the “Edit profile” button at the side of the page lets you change your user data and password. You will need to save your changes.

In the upper part of the user account, all registered users can use the “Request extended access” button to request extended access for users with a legitimate interest.

User with a legitimate interest/Extended access

Users with a legitimate interest have the possibility to read the reports on research projects funded by the German Lost Art Foundation. The reports can be found in the data record of the respective project. You can also research the reports with the “Search” and “Advanced search” functions.

Before you can register as a user with a legitimate interest, you first need a user account. Your accreditation is initiated when you select the “Request extended access” button in the user account. Afterward, you will be asked to enter further user data and to briefly describe your legitimate interest. You then need to confirm the privacy statement and terms of use again.

Accreditation is not granted automatically. Every request for extended access for a user with a legitimate interest is individually examined.

The publication of the research project reports must take into account the strict requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation with regard to the publication of personal data. Access to the research project reports is therefore restricted to users with a legitimate interest for data protection reasons. Persons with a legitimate interest are for example victims of Nazi looting, their descendants and representatives as well as scientists working on research areas funded by the Foundation. Decisions on legitimate interest are made on a case-by-case basis. All research project reports have also undergone a detailed data protection check: personal data that is not absolutely essential and information that has been marked as confidential by the supported institutions have been blacked out.     

You will be informed whether you have been granted extended access usually within three working days. There is no entitlement to accreditation.  

Deleting a user account

In order to delete your own user account, you must first log in and access the user account. Click on the “Edit profile” button to view your user data. You can delete your user account by clicking on the “Delete profile” button. You will receive an e-mail confirming that your user account has been permanently deleted.

Forgotten password

If you have forgotten the login password to your own user account, please click on the “Forgotten password” button on the home page or in the “Login” menu. You will then receive an e-mail with a link. Click on the link and enter a new password for your user account.

7. Data record types

The information in the database is divided into several data record types. These data record types are: Persons and corporate bodies, Events, Historical collections, Material objects, Provenance attributes, Archived documents, Literature and digital offerings, Projects.

  • Persons and corporate bodies: Information from the project reports on relevant persons, corporate bodies and groups of persons
  • Historical collections: Information on historical collections
  • Material objects: Information on objects researched in the projects and entered in the Lost Art Database
  • Events: Information on historical and current events (for example auctions, exhibits, conventions and conferences)
  • Archived documents: Information on the primary sources used in the projects
  • Literature and digital offerings: Information on the secondary sources used in the projects and possible annotations, and other information
  • Provenance attributes: Information on known provenance attributes of historical stakeholders and collections
  • Projects: Information on all completed and ongoing projects funded by the German Lost Art Foundation

8. Key words

Key words are standardized designations that summarize and reflect the content of a data record. The key words in Proveana are mainly topical in nature (for example: Kunsthandel (arts market), antisemitisch verfolgt (antisemitic persecution), Schlossbergung (palace dispossession), Forschungsexpedition (research expedition)).

It is possible to search by key words. The results list will show all data records for which that key word was used.