New library system

Screenshot Helveticat

New library system from November 12th 2018

From November 2018, the Swiss National Library’s (NL’s) online catalogue, Helveticat, is running on a new library system, using software from the Ex Libris company. The Bibliography on Swiss History (BSH) and the Swiss Poster Collection have also moved to this software.

The databases HelveticArchives and e-Helvetica Access are not affected by this change.

In preparation for this move to a new system, we wrote to all users registered at the NL at the end of 2017 and informed them about the planned changes to their personal data. Further information on data protection can be found below in the FAQ: Migration of users’ data.

Which catalogues have been moved?

The Helveticat online catalogue, the Bibliography on Swiss History (BSH) and the Swiss Poster Collection.

What is new?

  • Login and password: In Helveticat, click on «Login» in the upper right corner of the start screen.
    When you log in to the new system for the first time, you must use your Patron ID and an initial password. This first password is your surname, written as it was when you registered as a user: with uppercase and lowercase letters including all special characters, e.g. Németh or Meier-Müller.

    Afterwards you can set your own choice of personal password (at least 8 characters).

    If you have any questions, please contact or the Information Services desk (+41 (0)58 462 89 25)

  • The search interfaces
  • The search functions – you can find the most important search tips in the Infobox on the new homepage.
  • The display of search results

What stays the same?

  • Your Patron ID and your user card remain valid
  • Name and content of the catalogues

For orders in Helveticat

  • Loan periods
  • The possibility to renew documents yourself
  • The maximum number of documents that you may borrow
  • The waiting period between ordering and delivery of a document

FAQ: Migration of users’ data

What is the context of the migration of users’ data?

In order to modernize its library management software, the Swiss National Library has acquired an efficient IT tool from the Ex Libris company. Personal data related to each user’s account have been transferred to the software provider company, Ex Libris.

What do you mean by personal data?

Only the data necessary to provide services to users, i.e.:

  • Last name and first name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Current items on loan

Where were the data stored before the migration?

Until the final migration of the Swiss National Library’s system, the data were stored at the FOITT (Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication) in Bern, just like the majority of data in the federal administration.

Where are the data physically stored in the new system?

The data are stored on servers belonging to the software provider, Ex Libris. The servers are located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Ex Libris observes the highest standards of security in data processing and protection of information. In addition, Dutch law offers similar guarantees to Swiss law (PDF, 254 kB, 13.11.2017) regarding the processing and management of personal data.

How are my personal data used?

The transferred data are only used in the same way as they have been used until now and are not passed on to third parties.

Who has now access to my personal data?

Only Swiss National Library staff who need to access personal data in order to provide a service (for example, a loans desk or information desk) may access the data. Each access right is granted individually and strictly monitored.

Last modification 01.11.2018

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