How to join the National Library Service

All public and private Italian libraries adopting SBN standards for cataloguing and provision of services aiming at cooperating in the setting up and increasing of the collective catalogue and in developing a network of interlibrary services can join the National Library Service. The joining to the Service occurs through an agreement between the institution promoting the new hub and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities. 

Cooperative undertakings and SBN rules
The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities promotes the diffusion of SBN in agreement with the Regions and the Ministry of Education, Universitiesand Research.
The hubs joining SBN must sign a specific agreement with the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities through which they undertake to cooperate both to increase  the SBN collective catalogue and to make available their owned documents
To this end, each partner undertakes to follow shared cataloguing rules and make available their owned documents whether originals or copies – to other partners requesting them. They also undertake to bear the costs for installing any necessary software or hardware, and for the link up to the Index.
The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities undertakes to bear the costs for the maintenance and development for the Index System managing  the collective catalogue.

In order to allow libraries not applying SBN-native applications to join SBN, the Institute published the documentation related to the dialogue protocol with the SBN Index, and through the SBNMARC Protocol Maintenance Group, it is responsible for testing applications for which the certificate of conformity to the SBNMARC protocol has been requested. This will make it possible to strengthen the SBN network by allowing more libraries to take part in the network and making it possible to share  the services provided by the central system more widely and efficiently.

ICCU and its partners (regions, local hubs, universities, etc.) ensure  that all new libraries that join the network will have access to a training programme that can be targeted to the needs of each single library.

Libraries that aims at joining the SBN network can choose two different patterns: linking up with an existing Hub or creating a new one, although ICCU suggests the first option, unless there are organizational needs justifying the creation of a new Hub. The total costs of joining the network depend first and foremost on the chosen pattern. It should be stressed that, although a Hub is based on a cooperative structure, in exceptional cases single-library hubs can be constituted.

Linking up to an existing hub
The library or libraries interested in must directly contact officials from the chosen Hub to agree upon the patterns to be followed and stipulate an agreement regulating their mutual commitments. ICCU is acquainted with the new contributors and the data related to the new libraries are provided, according to the pattern provided by ICCU, pointing out any taking part in ILL SBN service is pointed out.

How to create a new hub
The creation of a new Hub, which must be based on a specific agreement with the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, can be proposed by:

  • regions
  • local authorities, also including associative  forms
  • public and private libraries
  • public and private research centres, foundationsand cultural institutes
  • ministries
  • other libraries and documentation centres within public or private institutions
It should be stressed that, although a Hub is based on a cooperative structure, in exceptional cases a single library may propose a hub.
ICCU, which has been entrusted with the task of coordinating the SBN network by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities can provide both technical and scientific support for the hub being established.

The proponent of the new hub must submit the proposal to the relevant regional administration in order to get its opinion.
Should the new hub cover more than one region, opinions must be sought from all regional and autonomous province administrations where the libraries are located.
Should a framework agreement have been signed between the relevant regional administration and MiBAC, the hub must seek the region’s opinion. The framework agreement shall be mentioned in the premises to the agreement for the constitution of the new hub.
Opinions expressed by regions are not necessary in case hubs cover central state administrations and national public authorities.

The agreement with the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities must be joined to an  activity plan specifying in detail the participation and cooperation modalities the hub intends to adopt within the National Library Service and the commitments undertaken with regards to the aspects stated  in the document How to join SBN.
The draft agreement, along with the activity plan and the opinion of the regional administration, must be mailed or e-mailed to ICCU, in order to be submitted to the approval of the SBN technical and scientific committee (CTS).
Once the CTS has given its approval, the proponent sends the signed agreement with the enclosed activity plan in triplicate to ICCU, which shall send it to the General Directorate for Libraries, Cultural Institutes and Copyright for approval.