The Swiss National Library and Its Environment

By Jauslin, Jean-Frederic | Information Technology and Libraries, June 1996 | Go to article overview

The Swiss National Library and Its Environment


Jauslin, Jean-Frederic, Information Technology and Libraries


Introduction

The International Relations Committee of the Library and Information Technology Association sponsored a program at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 1995, on the theme "Libraries and Technology in the European Union." The three papers presented at that session provide different views of the role of technology in libraries in the European community, first from the perspective of the director of the Swiss National Library, who examines the environment in than country; second, from the director of the National Bibliographic Service of the British Library, who comments on networking and cooperation there; and third, from an ALA Libarary Fellow in Greece, who shares the trials and tribulations of the search for solutions to the mysteries of the online catalog in the shadows of the Acropolis.

The Swiss National Library, which dates from 1895, initially had the function of collecting Helvetica; later the construction of a union catalog and the creation of a central information service were added to its responsibilities. It achieved much success, but from the 1970s reduced funds and a lack of foresight severely eroded its outstanding role. Following the appointment of a new director in 1990, a team of experts in information and technology was formed, a general review of the library's strengths and weaknesses was carried out, and an automation program was begun. A new policy has had to be defined for the role of a national library in a federal state. It is proposed that the library's responsibilities should include all kinds of information resources and give equal attention to conservation and the provision of services, the latter particularly as an information center for material of Swiss interest. Greatly increased funds and staff are being sought. A new law relating to the National Library that defines its collection policy and prescribes its bibliographic services was passed by the Parliament in 1992. These developments should enable the library to regain a prominent position and lead to a national coordination plan for Swiss libraries. The National Library will seek solutions to the problems posed by multilingualism and national coordination. It will also look for cooperation with other national libraries in Europe and throughout the world.

History

The Swiss National Library was officially opened by the federal government in 1895. The library was entrusted with the responsibility (made law in 1911) of collecting Helvetica produced after 1848, the year of the country's last constitution, and making it available to the public. "Helvetica" refers to any literature produced in Switzerland, written by Swiss authors, or published about Switzerland. Before 1894, Swiss literature was collected by various establishments around the country. In 1928 the National Library was also assigned the responsibility of drawing up a union catalog, with the aim of creating a central information service to meet the exchange needs of libraries. It also meant that any foreign works in Switzerland's libraries could be rapidly located. With this sort of database, it was easy to set up an interlibrary lending system.

From the 1970s onwards, unfortunately, the precarious financial situation of the federal government, on which the library depended, forced it to cut back its services sharply. Drastic budget reductions, a strict freeze on personnel, an inefficient global strategy, and a total failure to anticipate the age of information technology led to a disastrous situation. The smooth and harmonious development previously enjoyed by the institution ground to a complete halt. As the National Library let itself fall further and further behind the other libraries in the country, its role as a leader rapidly eroded.

In 1989, during a period of comprehensive restructuring, the Federal Ministry of the Interior decided to merge its cultural offices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Swiss National Library and Its Environment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.