Germany’s digitalised archive

Digital archiving, the modern way of keeping historical records, has been taken up in a big way by the German Orienteering Federation Deutscher Turner Bund, which has created a digital archive of its own publications over the years since its formation, and has also included many of those of the IOF.

The IOF will be celebrating its 60th anniversary on 21st May this coming year. The oldest IOF material held in the new archive is from 1963, when IOF was 2 years old. Most of IOF’s magazine publications since then – called IOF Report until 1985, then for a short while IOF Bulletin before the name was changed again to Orienteering World – are included. One particularly interesting publication is the 2011 edition of Orienteering World, celebrating the 50th anniversary of IOF, which runs to 76 A4 sides and is crammed with interesting articles and pictures.

Readers interested in the politics of IOF in the last 20+ years can delve into issues of the Biennial Report, and the archive also contains a special marketing and publicity brochure from the late 1990s, The World of Orienteering.

Items in the archive, all saved as .pdf files, can be accessed by visiting

Daniel & Fred Härtelt (Press team Orientierungssport Deutschland) together with other orienteers have done the work to digitise the documents, over a period of 8 months this year.

A sample from forty years ago

The late-year issue of IOF Report in 1980 led with an editorial by Sue Harvey, later to become IOF President. “An interesting proposal which has recently been put to the IOF Council is for a World Veteran Orienteering Championships. As a first step a Veteran O-Cup will probably be organised by the Finns, from whom the proposal originated.” This little seed burgeoned to become the Veteran World Cup and the flourishing World Masters Orienteering Championships, now held every year.

This issue also included a very detailed and interesting feature on three decades of orienteering in Czechoslovakia. The same issue carried the minutes of the 10th IOF Congress. Here, Australia won the vote over Canada for holding the 1985 World Championships, with its unforgettable Classic race on magnificent rocky and complex mountain terrain – but that’s another story!

The 1981 late-year IOF Report notes the celebration of 20 years of IOF. IOF Council met in Copenhagen, where IOF held its inaugural meeting in 1961, on the closest weekend to the anniversary. “In addition to the normal business of the meeting, a jubilee dinner was held by kind invitation of Olaf Andersen, Hon. Member of IOF and a member of the first (1961) IOF Council.” It was held at Olaf Andersen’s home in Copenhagen, and following the dinner, commemorative drinking glasses were presented to members of the first Council who were present, including IOF’s first president Erik Tobé. This was also the occasion for announcing the recipients of the first-ever IOF Pins, a tradition continued at IOF Congresses ever since. 11 silver pins and 16 bronze pins were awarded.

How will IOF celebrate becoming 60 years old? That will be decided and announced in the early months of the coming year.