The Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and Bibliographic Information (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle biblioteche italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche - ICCU) took on the current denomination in 1975 following the constitution of The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo), formerly the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage (Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali). The National Centre for the Union Catalogue was created in 1951 with the task of cataloguing the entire national bibliographic heritage.
This objective is pursued due to a considerable collaboration strategy among Italian libraries even coming under varied administrations. This ensures the development of services on the same level throughout the entire nation. Resulting from this collaboration is the establishment of the National Library Service (Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale - SBN). This national on-line service network, to which the state, local institutions, and university libraries is connected, contribute to the founding of the national collective on-line catalogue which is managed by the Institute.
In order to improve the knowledge of bibliographic collections as well as simplify user access, the Institute promotes and coordinates the databases concerning 16th Century Italian editions, the national census of manuscripts and the libraries present throughout Italy. To support cataloguing activities conducted by the Italian libraries, the Institute is responsible for guiding, producing, adapting and diffusing the standard rules and regulations for cataloguing all types of materials ranging from manuscripts to multimedia documents.
The Institute, whose reference point is the General Directorate for Library Heritage, Cultural Institutes and Copyright (Direzione Generale per le Biblioteche, gli Istituti Culturali e il Diritto d'Autore), carries out coordination functions with due respect to library autonomy in the field of National Library Service as well as cataloguing projects accomplished through the use of new information technology.
The ICCU tasks are declared in the Article 15 of D.P.R. December 3rd, 1975 n. 805.
In order to perform its duties, based on the internal regulation DM December 31st, 1982, ICCU was organized into laboratories and services.
Following the Ministerial Decree of October 7th ,2008, the Institute is currently organized into Activity Areas, an Administrative Service and a Cultural Promotion Service.