#BiUSIrevolution: the virtual migration of USI libraries


Institutional Communication Service

7 December 2020

USI Libraries have adopted the new management system swisscovery starting Monday, 7 December 2020, which brings together the resources of 470 university and scientific libraries scattered throughout Switzerland. It marks a "revolution" in the national library system, which has also been made possible thanks to USI. Through swisscovery and its USI branch, called Reperio - reperio.usi.ch, users of USI Libraries now have access, in practice, to the entire collection of scientific documents in Switzerland: over 30 million books, periodicals and documents, as well as more than 3 billion e-articles. To use Reperio and swisscovery, and therefore of USI's library services, a new registration is required.

The swisscovery platform is the result of a project launched in 2017 by 15 Swiss universities and schools of higher education, including USI, with the aim of creating a national, collective and multilingual directory, which gave rise to the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP), the non-profit company that manages swisscovery

The transition also marks the exit of USI Libraries - Lugano University Library (BUL) and the Library of the Academy of Architecture Mendrisio (BAAM) - from the directory of the Ticino Library System.



What changes for the users of USI Libraries? 

The transition to Reperio and swisscovery entails the following main changes for USI Library users:   

  • need for a new membership
    To use the new system, and therefore also to borrow documents from USI Libraries, users have to re-register using their SWITCH edu-ID.

    Registration at https://registration.slsp.ch/?iz=usi. 

    If you do not yet have a SWITCH edu-ID account, you can create one during registration. We recommend that you associate your SWITCH edu-ID account with the USI affiliation. For issues in creating a SWITCH edu-ID account, please refer to the FAQ or contact [email protected]

  • impossibility to reach USI library assets through the Ticino Library System
    By consulting the catalogue of the Ticino Library System, it will no longer be possible to find the resources available in USI Libraries. And vice versa.


What does not change for users of USI Libraries?

There will be no substantial change for searches in USI Libraries: Reperio has been integrated into the sites of the two libraries of Lugano (https://www.bul.sbu.usi.ch/) and Mendrisio (http://biblio.arc.usi.ch/). When searching for a document, users will therefore be able to continue to use the search tools made available on the sites of the two libraries. They also can extend the search to all swisscovery, therefore to all Swiss scientific libraries.


The Library of the Academy of Mendrisio remains closed 

As a consequence of the move to the new premises of Palazzo Turconi (see below), the Academy Library will remain closed, and services will be suspended until 31 January 2021.  


Questions, doubts? 

In case of questions or doubts, please refer to the FAQ page at https://en.bul.sbu.usi.ch/information/swisscovery or write to [email protected].



An international unicum

Such close synergy between libraries through the same nationally shared platform, such as swisscovery, makes Switzerland unique in the international library landscape.

"The motto that guided the project, which involved us from the very beginning, was 'From libraries for libraries'. We worked to harmonise the consultation of the Swiss scientific documents landscape at the level of research interfaces, user accounts, deadlines, interlibrary loans, and this thanks to a digital 'super-catalogue' that is now a reality", comments Davide Dosi, director of the Lugano University Library, USI.   

"With this close interconnection, Switzerland plays a pioneering role on a global level: in no other country in the world libraries rely on such a synergistic collaboration", says Thomas Marty, director of the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLPS).


Why the removal from the directory of the Ticino Library System?

The switch to swisscovery meant that USI libraries had to leave the directory of the Ticino Library System (Sbt). "It is a painful decision, which we had to take to be part of a platform that brings together most of the Swiss university and scientific libraries", explains Davide Dosi. "But this does not mean that the synergies with the Ticino Library System are being interrupted: on the contrary, discussions are underway to define new forms of collaboration within this new configuration".


A new "home" for the Academy Library

The switch to the new computer platform swisscovery for the Academy Library also coincides with a physical move to the new location in Palazzo Turconi, also on the Mendrisio campus. As Angela Windholz, head of the Library, explains, "The renovated Palazzo Turconi will once again be a place for the whole community, not only academic, hosting a Bibliothèque d'Art et d'Archéologie for Ticino. The relocation will make it possible, in particular, to display our entire repertoire of volumes on open shelves, to bring the Library closer to an ancient studiolo, or Wunderkammer, that encourages paths of 'serendipity' and helps to broaden the scope of study of researchers and students through analogies, correspondences and combinations that are not necessarily envisaged and apparently even fortuitous. The aim is also to facilitate as much as possible the fruition of the unreachable cultural sedimentation on paper and lead to a parallel acceptance of the two media formats, analogue and digital". " (click here for more information).


swisscovery: the new national library platform of Switzerland