The Complete Works are published hitherto in 360 volumes, including a large part of the artistic works. The volumes which have not been published yet demand a special labour-intensive care, because of incomplete documentation or records difficult to order.
The Complete Works are conceived as a Reading and Study Edition, accompanied by biographical, bibliographical and historical references to the text. It has come into being through decades of work with the most diverse text basis, very different editorial approaches and scopes.
Due to the fact that Rudolf Steiner gave his lectures speaking freely, there are no handwritten records of the lectures by himself, with exception of some scattered notes and sketches. Available are only written transcripts by the listeners (particularly in shorthand). The edited volumes of the Complete Works are therefore based on these written records and only very few lectures and publications have been reviewed by Rudolf Steiner. These editions, similar to other editions of philosophers (for ex. Aristotles' teachings or Hegel's lectures) are not written, respectively non-authorized texts by the author.
The Rudolf Steiner Verlag (Publishing Press) and the Rudolf Steiner Archive are committed to mantain the works permanently available. Volumes out of print are, as far as possible, continuously reprinted. This is ocassionally associated with great efforts, specially in the case of volumes of lectures. In some cases, a reissue of a volume implies comparing again the text with new text basis, that perhaps only recently became accessible or which has been newly received in the Archive. In some particular cases, it is necessary a partial or complete new transcription from the original stenograms. The elaborations and additions which are part of the references accompanying every volume require wide and time-consuming researches.