The National Library Service (SBN) is the
Italian libraries network promoted by the Ministry for Cultural
Heritage and Activities in cooperation with the Regions and the
Universities, with the coordination of the Central Institute for
the Union Catalogue of Italian Libraries and for Bibliographic
Based on a protocol signed by the Ministry for Heritage and Cultural Activities, the Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research and the Coordination of the Regions with the aim of overcoming the fragmentation of the librarian structures, proper to the political and cultural history of Italy, the network of SBN is now made up of public libraries, local bodies, universities, schools, academies and private and public institutions operating in different fields.
Libraries participating in SBN are gathered in local Nodes consisting of a more or less number of libraries that handle all their services with automated procedures. The Nodes are connected to the SBN Index, the central node of the network, managed by the ICCU, which contains the union catalogue of publications acquired by libraries participating in the network of the National Library Service.
Thank to SBN procedures, the libraries are completely autonomus and at the same time are joined together in a cooperative system based on a national network. Shared cataloguing is the main function which makes this integration possible. In SBN a document is only catalogued by the first library who acquires it. All the other libraries which have to catalogue the same document only need to download the bibliographic description already present in the Index and add their own location.
The multimedia database of the SBN Index, which currently contains Antiquarian, Modern, Music, Graphic and Cartography Materials is available 24 hours a day on the Internet at the following address: http://opac.sbn.it/ or http://www.internetculturale.it/ and by Gateway Z39.50 of the Library of Congress.