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) received its current name in 1975, following the constitution of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali). The National Centre for the Union Catalogue was created in 1951 with the task of cataloguing the entire national bibliographic heritage.
In order to achieve its goals, the Institute cooperates with the Italian libraries, even those pertaining to different administrations (Towns, Provinces, Regions, Cultural Institutes). This ensures an equal development of services throughout the Nation. The main result of this collaboration was the establishment of the National Library Service (Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale - SBN). This national on-line network, to which the libraries of national and local institutions and universities are connected, constitutes a base for 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 of the 16th Century Italian editions, the national census of manuscripts and Italian libraries. In order to support the cataloguing activities conducted by Italian libraries, the Institute produces, adapts and disseminates the standard rules and regulations for cataloguing all kind 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, while at the same time respecting the autonomy of the libraries adhering to the National Library Service. It also promotes cataloguing projects which make use of new information technology.
The ICCU tasks are declared in 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, the ICCU is divided into laboratories and services.
Following the Ministerial Decree of October 7th ,2008, the Institute internal organization has been organized into Activity Areas, an Administrative Service and a Cultural Promotion Service.