History of the Swiss Union Catalogue of monographs

The Swiss Union Catalogue lists all foreign monographs held by Swiss libraries. It was maintained from 1928 to 2002.

The idea of a central catalogue was first conceived in 1799 by Philipp Albert Stapfer, Minister of Arts and Sciences in the Helvetic Republic. It was not until 1919, however, that Marcel Godet, Director of the Swiss National Library (NL), submitted a project to the Federal Council.

Launch on 15 July 1928

In 1927 the Federal Council released the funds needed to create the catalogue. At the close of its first year of operation in 1928 the “General Catalogue of Swiss Libraries and the Information Office” comprised 11,743 titles at 89 libraries.

Heyday from 1960

The heyday of the Swiss Union Catalogue (CCS/GK) began in 1960.

  • In 1979 the NL took over responsibility for managing the catalogue from the Swiss Librarians’ Association.
  • 1985 saw a record number of 87,991 enquiries.
  • By 1990 the catalogue comprised 5.2 million titles, and 350 libraries were reporting their holdings.

Automation and decline

With the introduction of electronic systems, most libraries created their own union catalogues grouped into regional networks. They ceased reporting their new acquisitions to the CCS/GK, which was therefore frozen at the end of 2002. The index cards were microfilmed. As of 2010, the CCS/GK ceased to be offered as an official service. However, NL staff continue to answer enquiries from Swiss libraries wanting to know whether a specific foreign publication is available in Switzerland.

Last modification 21.11.2018

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