At Dortmund University Klaus Tochtermann received his doctorate in computer science with a thesis on A model for hypermedia: description and integrated formalisation of essential hypermedia concepts. Klaus Tochtermann spent the following year as a post-doc at Texas A&M University, Center for the Studies of Digital Libraries, USA with a grant from the Max-Kade-Foundation. His key activities in this time were in the field of web-based tools and services for digital libraries. From 1997 until 2000 he was division head at the FAW Ulm (Research Institute for Application-oriented Knowledge Processing at Ulm University).
From 2001 until 2010 he was the scientific director of the research institute Know-Center, a competence center for information technology-based knowledge management located in Austria. In 2001 founded the I-KNOW conference series in cooperation with Hermann Maurer. In 2002 he received his habilitation in the field of Applied information processing with the thesis Personalisation in the Context of Digital Libraries and Knowledge Management. From 2004 until 2010 he held the chair for Knowledge Management, at the TU Graz (Austria).From 2007 until 2010, he was also head of the Institute for Networked Media at Joanneum Research, an application-oriented research institution located in Graz. Since 2010, Klaus Tochtermann has been the director of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and has held a chair for Media Informatics at Kiel University.
In 2012, Klaus Tochtermann initiated the Leibniz Research Alliance Science 2.0.This research alliance addresses the question of how the participatory Internet (e.g. Social Media) changes research and publishing processes, and how information infrastructure institutions can participate in the shaping of these changes.
In 2014, the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics headed by Klaus Tochtermann received the national “Library of the Year 2014” award from the German Library Association (dbv).