The most important basis for the study of history, contemporary and past culture is the extensive collections of original resources for old Eastern German history which can be found, for example, in the archives of Wrocław, Gdańsk, and Szczecin. A primary task for the Institute is to contribute to the development of such collections and make these more accessible to an academic audience. As a consequence, the possibilities for research are extended.
The first outcome of this process was the publication in German of the "Wegweiser durch die Bestände des Staatsarchivs Breslau bis zum Jahr 1945, Schriften des Bundesinstituts für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa" (Guide to the Collections of the Wrocław/Breslau State Archive to the year 1945, The Papers Volume 9) . This publication was undertaken in co-operation with the General Directorate of the Polish State Archives. It is an inventory of the collections within this most significant Silesian archive, prepared by Polish archivists and historians and translated into German at the request of the Institute, so that the Polish and German editions could be published almost simultaneously.
- In 2000, the translated Gdańsk archival guide was published (The Papers Volume 16).
- 2004; the archival guide for Szczecin appeared in print (The Papers Volume 24)
- 2006; the archival guide for Gorzów Wielkopolski (The Papers Volume 25)
- 2006; the archival guide for the history of the Memel Territory and the German-Lithunian relationships (The Papers Volume 27)
- 2007; the archival guide for the history of Eastern Brandenburg (The Papers Volume 31).
The Institute also cooperates with the State Archives in Hungary and Romania, aiming to develop collections in these two countries of Eastern Central and South Eastern Europe where Germans have lived for centuries and some Germans still reside. This cooperation also involves the recording of resources for the development of a "Wegweiser durch die Archivbestände zur Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im südöstlichen Europa" (Guide to the Archival Collections on the Culture and History of the Germans in South Eastern Europe), with the involvement of the Hungarian National Archive in Budapest and the Romanian National Archive in Bucharest.