Firma dello Statuto di URBSThe URBS network was officially founded in February 1992, through the efforts of five libraries (British School at Rome, American Academy in Rome, Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome, Norwegian Institute and the Danish Academy). These, together with the Vatican Library, under the aegis of the International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, History and History of Art in Rome. In reality however, the foundations for collaboration and for a union catalogue had already begun in the 1980s, when the librarians of the American Academy in Rome and the British School exchanged catalogue cards and began meeting together. They were soon joined by the librarians of the Swedish Institute, Norwegian Institute and Danish Academy, thus creating an informal, non-technical network. Around the same time (1986, to be precise), the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (which would not officially join the network until 1992) had joined the Vatican Library in acquiring a common online cataloguing system. At the same time informal contacts among five of these institutes and Father Leonard E. Boyle, then Prefect of the Vatican Library, were made. In April of the same year, Father Boyle, invited these institutes to view the Geac8000 cataloguing system of the Vatican Library. The five institutes accepted his offer to use the server at the Vatican Library and to take advantage of the automation knowhow of its Centro Elaborazioni Dati (CED) to build a common network and to begin automating their own catalogues. Little by little the group expanded to include new members. Today URBS is composed of 7 institutional members. These are chiefly academies and/or research institutes of several nations: Austria, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland. One of the primary aims of URBS is to offer users a coordinated collective catalog of libraries in Rome which are specialized in humanistic disciplines and in social sciences. It is with this aim in mind as well as to improve library services that the consortium adopted open source software (KOHA) for the integrated management of its resources.

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