Exploring COBISS.net

Are you working on a research project that involves the Balkans?

Don't forget to take a look at COBISS.net, which provides access to the national and regional library catalogs from Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Albania.

As you can see, there are hundreds of libraries that participate in this project for sharing information across the region. Croatia is currently not a part of the project, although organizers have offered an official invitation to participate. Libraries in Kosovo will be included eventually, as they are still preparing to join. The libraries that participate range from the National Libraries of each country, to University libraries to even small local libraries. Each union catalog offers an efficient way to search for materials to borrow, or just to verify bibliographic information.

Here is a list of goals the COBISS project has for its development:
  • To enhance the automation and inclusion of libraries of already participating countries in the national library information systems and in the COBISS.Net network.
  • To attract the interest of libraries in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Kosovo to the opportunity to evolve more rapidly by becoming part of the COBISS.Net network.
  • To harmonise cataloguing rules with international recommendations and standards.
  • To set up compatible research information systems (SICRIS/E-CRIS) in the participating countries (databases on researchers, research organisations and research projects).
  • To encourage the competent ministries and universities of the participating countries to accept the concept of managing researchers' bibliographies within the national library systems and ensure the transparency of the research results.
  • To increase the use of research results for the purpose of stimulating innovation processes and economic and social development in the region. (Source)

The interface is common across all countries. The default is English, but there is the option to switch to the language of the country being viewed in the top right-hand corner. Below is an example of what the search page looks like:

One of the greatest advantages to using the COBISS catalogs is to verify bibliographic or citation information for articles. As is illustrated in the image, the drop down menu for what types of materials to search includes articles and "other component parts." If you are having trouble verifying an article's information that is needed for an ILL request, for example, this catalog can help fill in the blanks.

Remember, you will most likely be searching in the language/script of the country. In the Serbian COBISS interface, for example, there is the option to search in Cyrillic or Latin characters. In other cases, diacritical marks in Latin script may make a difference between finding what you are looking for, and not finding anything. Be patient and pay attention to those details!

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