FAQ on library and library catalog
How do I find journal articles?
Articles from journals are generally not listed in the library catalog.
If you know journal title, year, issue number and page numbers, you can search for the journal in the library catalog and, if the library holds a copy electronically or in print, borrow it and copy extracts from it.
If you do not know in which journal the article you are looking for has been published, you can search for the bibliographical details in one of our licensed databases or in swissbib Basel Bern ( switch to tab "Article & more").
How do I obtain books from institute libraries?
Books in smaller institute libraries can usually not be borrowed or reserved online. You will recognize this, as you will not see any order link. Many of the smaller institute libraries have special rules for lending or are non-lending libraries. For further information, please go to the "www" button in the library catalog. There you will find information on opening hours, terms and conditions for loans, etc.
Databases, electronic resources
Why do I need databases?
In most cases, our library catalog only lists books, journals and other media that we have purchased or are subscribed to. However, databases are specialized by subject and can include data, bibliographical notes on journal articles, book chapters, images, etc. Depending on the type of database, electronic full texts are also accessible. You will find our databases by executing a database search.
II would like to search a University Library Bern database/electronic journal from home. Is this possible?
Many databases have to be paid for and are licensed by the University Library Bern. Access is therefore restricted. Access is possible from the university network (LAN, WLAN) and via VPN for members of the university (students, lecturers, researchers). You will find further information about VPN on the IT Services Office Website.
I am not a member of the University of Bern. Can I still use the electronic resources?
Yes, you can still place search requests in swissbib Basel Bern, in databases and in full texts of e-journals in all libraries at all public inquiry points. Saving and printing is not possible everywhere.
Of you need to print or save on a USB flash drive, you are best to visit one of the larger University of Bern libraries (e.g. Münstergass Library, Basisibliothek Unitobler BTO, Law Library JBB, Department Library Bühlplatz or vonRoll Library).
For legal reasons, inquiries from home are forbidden.
Courier, interlibrary loans, reservations, orders
How do I find books or journal articles that are not in swissbib Basel Bern?
We would recommend you search in the Swissbib meta catalog. This lists the collections of Swiss university libraries and the Swiss National Library.
For documents outside the IDS network and from abroad, there is also the option to obtain an interlibrary loan (charges apply).
I have forgotten the collection point
I have accidentally ordered a book to be delivered by courier to an incorrect collection point. Can I change it?
No. If the book is listed in your user account user account as a reservation, contact the library where the book is held. However, if the book is already listed in your user account under items borrowed, contact the library selected as the collection point.
How do I cancel a reservation (collection, delivery by mail, courier)?
If it is no longer possible to make a cancellation in your user account please contact the library where the book is held.
How long do books reserved for me remain available?
Media from the Bernese and IDS courier are held for two weeks. If this is insufficient, please contact the relevant collection library.
Can I also collect a book from another library?
Yes. There is a Bern and an IDS courier. You will find all information on participating libraries and costs on our courier page.
What does "Use in reading room" mean?
The document can only be consulted in the reading room/on site. Please contact the library concerned if you have any questions.
What do "Non-lending collection", "Rare items," or "Special location", etc. mean?
These terms mean that these collections cannot be borrowed. Some collections are not freely accessible and can only be issued on request by library staff. Please contact the relevant library.
Registration, user account, password
How do I obtain a user card? How much does it cost?
To obtain a library card, you first need to register. Registration is free of charge. You can also register in the library catalog online yourself and then ask to be activated in one of our libraries. Please bring a form of official identification when registering or requesting activation. Our usage rules and fees apply. (Further information on registration.)
I already have a pass for another library. Can I use this in your library?
If you have a user card from the IDS information networks of Basel Bern, Lucerne, NEBIS, St.Gallen, St. Galler Bibliotheksnetz (SGBN), you can use your usual login to access the library catalog.
If you have already registered with GIBB or with Campus Muristalden library, no further registration is necessary. (These libraries also work in IDS Basel Bern: List of IDS libraries in Bern)
We regret that customers of the Kornhaus Library or the National Library are not registered with us and we kindly request them to report to one of our counters (see the first question in this section on user cards)
Can I use my University of Bern UNICARD as a library pass?
Yes, the UNICARD can also be used as a library pass. For students at the University of Bern, a user account is opened automatically on registration, which is active immediately. The registration number stated on the UNICARD (without dashes) is valid as your user number (Further information for students). Staff at the University of Bern can also have their UNICARD validated as a library pass. To do this, please refer to your main library. As well as your library pass number, the staff number (with the prefix BEM) stated on your UNICARD is also valid.
How can I see my user account?
In swissbib Basel Bern you can do this by clicking on „Login“in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You will then need to enter your user number and password. In your user account (My swissbib > Account IDS Basel Bern/Profile), you can see the borrowing periods for the books you have on loan and you can also renew these yourself. You can also change your personal details in your user account (address, e-mail address, password).
I have forgotten my password
Please refer to one of our larger libraries for your password to be reset. Specify your user number, address and date of birth and bring some form of ID with you.
I have lost my user card
Please visit one of our libraries. We can provide you with a replacement card for CHF 6 (free of charge for University of Bern staff and students). Please bring some form of ID with you.
Can anyone else borrow, collect or return books for me?
No. You can only borrow and collect media with your own library pass. In certain special cases (e.g. illness), the library may hand the books ordered to an authorized person. The University Library Bern reserves the right only to hand out books after verbal confirmation from the person borrowing the books. We would advise you that your library pass is only to be used for borrowing books for your own use. Any breach of this regulation may result in the University Library Bern taking action which may lead to your being excluded from using the library.
Books may be returned by anyone. Many libraries also have a returns box, in which you can place returned books when the library is closed. (Please note that this results in a delay in booking in the return.)
Media from libraries that participate in the courier scheme can be returned to any courier library.
See also: Collection and return
Borrowing periods, reminders
How long can I keep the books I have borrowed?
You will also find this information on the borrowing period ticket. Borrowed media has a fixed borrowing period (usually 28 days, you will find details in your user account). If there is no reservation, they are automatically renewed twice for four weeks. If there is still no reservation, you can renew the loan yourself for a third time in your user account.
I have received a reminder or a recall
If a medium can no longer be renewed, we ask you to return it. Reminders are sent for each medium five working days after the borrowing period has expired. You will find our fees and reminder levels here.
I have not received a reminder or a recall
Please refer to the library to which the book belongs for further information. If we do not know your e-mail address, we send you a letter in the mail.
How does renewal work?
See also the first question in this section on the borrowing period. In general, as long as there are no reservations, an item can be renewed up to 5 times.
What happens if I lose a book?
In this instance, please contact the library to which the book belongs as quickly as possible.
What contact options are there?
You can obtain information in various ways.
The central e-mail address for the University Library Bern is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to contact a particular library or if you are looking for more information about this library, then you are best to consult the list of Bern's IDS libraries.