The DWDS dictionary is based on the six-volume “Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache” and on other sources, such as on parts of the “Großes Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache” published by the Dudenverlag. It provides the user with state-of-the-art spelling, pronunciation in form of audio files and a wide range of information on the form, usage and meaning of approximately 210,000 keywords. The article stock of this dictionary is currently being expanded and updated.
The DWDS corpus comprises a total of more than 12 billion words, of which 5.5 billion are freely searchable (as of November 2017), and consists of a core corpus and a supplementary corpus. The core corpus of the 20th century comprises about 100 million words and is balanced in time and by text type. Documents from five areas were included: fine literature: 27%; journalistic prose: 26%; technical prose: 22%; usage texts: 20%; transcribed texts of spoken language: 5%.
The DWDS has usage agreements with more than 20 publishers as well as with public and private text providers on the use of copyright texts. This makes works by Thomas Mann, Heinrich Böll, Jürgen Habermas and Victor Klemperer, among others, available for Internet research. The core corpus provides the research with a counterpart comparable to the "British National Corpus". The DWDS can be consulted via the Internet and is one of the most frequently visited German-language dictionary pages.
The academy project is part of the “Language Centre” of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.