Munich. Whether it is highlights of car and motorcycle history, photos from the 1920s or biographies of famous motor racing personalities - anyone wishing to find out about the company and product history of the BMW Group can do so at the click of a mouse thanks to the Historical Archive System.
With immediate effect, the BMW Group company archive has recourse to a server which allows fast and systematic access to its historical databases. That makes the BMW Group the only vehicle manufacturer in the world to offer fans of the BMW brand, owners of historic BMW and Mini models, journalists and agencies a freely researchable archive on the internet in this complex format. The archive can be accessed on the internet in an English and German version at www.historicalarchive.bmw.com.
If one includes the early days of the factory in Eisenach, the company's history covers a period of around 100 years. The aim of the company archive is to gather together all documents of significance to the company and product heritage, systematically organize, process, evaluate, and present them. On the internet, important documents from the founding days of the company to the year 1975 can be researched, while around 16,5000 images are available for viewing and ordering. "Thanks to the electronic archive we are now able to offer all internet users the possibility of a virtual tour through the history of the BMW and MINI brands," says Johann Raiger, who heads the BMW Group company archive.
The database is designed to enable users at all levels of technical expertise and knowledge and with different objectives to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. In all, there are four search functions to choose from: a simple search for users without previous experience, a field and text search for experienced database users, a thesaurus search for researchers, and an image search. One special feature of electronic searching is that all the data is linked up. For example, if you are seeking information on a particular model, you will be shown not only photos and technical data, but also links to key personalities who played a role in the development of the model.
Large image database for journalists, researchers and private customers
A simple guest login allows any internet user to research the archive. A user name and password are only required for ordering images. Pictures can be ordered using a shopping basket system.
A further service consists of a so-called "lightbox" that activates after login and allows accessed data or entire lists of hits to be deposited in working folders. These entries remain stored and can be accessed again at the next login.
Furthermore, the company archive offers owners of historic BMW models the option of ordering certificates of authenticity. These certificates are made of forgery-proof paper and list individual specifications along with the exact completion and delivery date, the engine and chassis number and - if available - details on equipment levels of the relevant car or motorcycle.