Access to the Library

Where is the Library?


The Library has three sites in Pisa and one in Florence: in Pisa the Orologio-Carovana and Canonica sites in Piazza dei Cavalieri and the site Capitano in Piazza del Castelletto 20, and in Florence the site at Palazzo Strozzi.


What are the Library's opening times?


Each site has different opening times, see the web page Opening hours and variations for details.
Scheduled closures for the current year (in the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays) are listed in the same page. Closures not foreseen are indicated in the News and Events section of the Library homepage.


Who can access the Library?


In addition to the institutional users, the Library is open to anyone who needs to consult the Library's documentary heritage for reasons of specialist study or research. Access to the Library is by means of a valid admission card, which is strictly personal and is issued on joining.


How can I join the Library?


Institutional users, that is, those who belong to the Scuola Normale Superiore in whatever role, are members by right.
All other users have to compile the appropriate online form. Depending on their category of appurtenance, if required by the Service Guidelines (in Italian), the lecturer of reference must send to the Servizio Ammissioni (Admissions Service) a guarantee using the institutional account. You can verify your category of appurtenance by referring to the table available at the Admission page. Instructions for filling in the form are available at the Guides and tutorials page.


What data are needed to join?


All the data requested in the membership form must be provided. It is important to provide a valid personal email address and mobile phone number, since the Library communicates with its users by email, so that in cases of particular urgency users can be contacted by telephone. Failure to provide a valid email address may lead to exclusion from the lending services.
For users for whom a guarantee is needed, the lecturer must specify whether admission is for a consultation only or also for borrowing (for users with the right to this service, see the following web page) and the period of interest (no longer than one year).


How can I renew my membership?


Membership can be renewed by compiling the appropriate online form. Depending on their category of appurtenance, if required by the Service Guidelines (in Italian), the lecturer of reference must send to the Servizio Ammissioni (Admissions Service) a guarantee using the institutional account. You can verify your category of appurtenance by referring to the table available at the Admission page. Instructions for filling in the form are available at the Guides and tutorials page.

The validity of the user's card will then be extended.



I am a former institutional user of the SNS; can I continue to use the Library?


On retirement, lecturers, researchers and technical/administrative personnel may, on request, maintain their status as institutional users. All others must take out a new membership with the Admissions Service.


Can I bring my own books into the Library?


Yes, provided they are relevant to the consultation of texts possessed by the Library. The spaces of the Library must not be used for the reading of personal books.
When possible, users are expected to consult materials in the reading rooms where they are kept.


I am not a member of the Library and I need to consult works in the Library for a limited research study. Can I obtain a temporary permit?


On the basis of justified need, in exceptional circumstances and upon authorisation of the Library manager or of a delegate, day access permits may be issued to those not in possession of an admission card.
Temporary access gives the right solely to the consultation of the open shelf material and to its possible reproduction using the photocopying and scanning service, in compliance with the prevailing legislation regarding copyright.

Please, send your query in advance to ammissionibiblioteca@sns.it.


Which services can I use?


On attaining membership, all users are assigned a profile in accordance with the provisions of the Service Guidelines (in Italian).
Institutional users who have been in service with the SNS for more than 30 days have access to all the services.
Other users have access to the services on the basis of their category of appurtenance. See the see the web page.




The collections and their consultation

Which disciplines are represented in the Library's collection?


The Pisa site houses predominantly the disciplines of the humanities (in particular, classical studies, philosophy, literature, linguistics, history and art history) and the scientific disciplines (in particular, mathematics, physics, natural sciences and chemistry); the Florence site houses the political and social sciences (in particular, sociology and political science). For further information see the web page Collections by subject.


How can I find out if the Library possesses or guarantees access to a publication?


The search tool for materials possessed by or made accessible by the Library is SEARCH, the unified point of access to the bibliographical resources.


Which documents can I request for consultation?


Open shelf materials are directly accessible to the user; those placed on closed shelves must be requested through SEARCH upon user authentication.


I have found in the catalogue a book that I am interested in: how can I find out if it is available for consultation and where it is to be found?


The availability of the book in the Library is immediately visualised in SEARCH under its bibliographical description with the caption Available at the Library. If not, you will see the caption Check availability in the section Get it.
To locate the book in the Library, click on the item Available at the Library / Check availability in the section Get it: you will find information as to the number of copies possessed, the localisation (site, collection and call number) of each copy, the due date of any material currently on loan, the temporary unavailability (for instance, copy borrowed or in process of binding, ...). The item Guida alle localizzazioni refers to a table detailing the physical location of the book.
Consultation, local borrowing and return may be carried out solely at the site where the materials are held.


I have found in the catalogue the print periodical that I am interested in: how can I find out if it is available for consultation and where it is to be found?


The availability of the periodical in the Library is immediately visualised in SEARCH under its bibliographical description with the caption  Available at the Library.
The information as to the location (site, collection and call number) is to be found in the section Get it.
The information as to materials possessed and their position on the shelves is to be found in the section  Details .
In general, periodicals are placed on the shelves in alphabetical order of title; should a periodical change its title, its position on the shelves remains that of its first title in the Library’s possession. For this reason, the content of the field Shelf position is fundamentally important to the search for a periodical in the Library.


The periodical that I have searched has the phrase Ultimo fascicolo esposto in the location. What does that mean?


The phrase Ultimo fascicolo esposto (Latest issue displayed) indicates that the latest issue of the periodical is to be found in the appropriate display at the site indicated. The display of the latest issue regards only a selection of periodicals. With the arrival of the next issue, the displayed issue will be collocated with the rest of the periodical.


Where do I leave books after having consulted them?


At the end of the consultation, the materials must be left on the trolleys, if available, or else on the tables. Any materials consulted in areas different from that where they belong must be taken back to the appropriate trolleys or tables.
The replacing of materials on the shelves is exclusively the task of the library personnel: a book repositioned in the wrong place is difficult to find.


I have not finished consulting a book, can I reserve it?


You can keep in reserve on a table in the sector of appurtenance a maximum of five books for five days, utilising the appropriate form available in the sectors.
If a request is made in a sector other than the sector of appurtenance of the books, the volumes will be repositioned, and the request will be ignored.


How can I request closed shelf materials?


Requests for these materials must be dispatched via SEARCH, upon user authentication.
Click on the item Available at the Library, then, in the section Get it click on Prenotazione materiale a scaffale(Request for items on shelf), and fill in and send the form that appears.
You will be notified as to the availability of the materials requested via email.
For more detailed information you can consult the appropriate guide guide.


Can I consult the PhD theses discussed at the SNS?


In IRIS SNS, the institutional archive of the research activities of the Scuola Normale Superiore, you can find in digital format the PhD theses discussed by PhD students of the SNS from 2004 onwards, complete with full text, generally consultable with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.
They can all be browsed from the collection Tesi PhD, then ordered alphabetically or by date. They can also be found in the generic search box or by means of the advanced search form, selecting the appropriate type and utilising the most useful search keys (title, author, keywords, discipline, scientific sector, etc.)
For consultation of PhD theses discussed prior to 2004, requests should be sent to prestitobib@sns.it.
Since the SNS does not issue degree certificates, the degree theses of the undergraduate students are deposited at the University of Pisa and can be searched in the OneSearch catalogue of the University or in the ETD archive of the digital theses.


How can I discover the recent acquisitions of the Library?


On the Library web site you can find the list of the New acquisitions, subdivided as to disciplinary field, entered in the catalogue in the last two months.


Can I suggest the acquisition of a book or a periodical?


The Library's users can suggest book acquisitions using the online form. Each proposal will be assessed on the basis of its coherence with the Library's bibliographical collection and of the available funding.




Local loans and other services

How can I find out if a book or a periodical can be borrowed?


Whether a book can be borrowed or not depends on the category of appurtenance of the user. In  SEARCH, after authentication, click on the item Available at the Library: in the section Get it you can view the policy relating to the conditions of loaning for your user profile (e.g.  Prestito 30 giorni  or Riservabile per Sala di Lettura - 6 gg.).
Printed periodicals are available for consultation only; they can only be loaned overnight by institutional users.
The information regarding an ongoing loan and its due date is indicated in the section Get it.


How many times can I borrow the same volume?


There is no limit to the number of times a volume can be borrowed; however, the successive loan cannot be effected until at least 7 days after return, so as to guarantee all users the opportunity to use the material.


Can I reserve a book for local loan?


Books can only be reserved for local loan by institutional users who have been in service with the SNS for at least 30 days.
Only materials on loan and those placed in the geographically distant site (Pisa / Florence) can be reserved.


How can I check when a book is due for return?


If you authenticate on SEARCH and select the item My loans from the personal area, you can view the list of active loans with the due date of each one.
For each loan transaction, the Library sends the receipt with all the relevant data via email. As the due date approaches, the user receives a reminder.


Can I renew the book that I have borrowed?


Only loans with the Prestito 30 giorni (30-day loan) and  Prestito 15 giorni (15-day loan) policies are renewable, for 30 and 5 days respectively. All other policies exclude renewal. Renewal can be effected only once, and only if the loan is not yet due for return and the material has not been reserved by another user in the meantime.
To renew a loan, authenticate on  SEARCH and select the item My loans from the personal area: in the list that appears click on the item  Renew next to the title.


What happens if I do not return the book on the due date?


In the case of delayed return, you will be excluded from the circulation services for a number of days equal to the delay accumulated.
The suspension starts from the day on which the overdue volumes are returned to the Library.


What happens if I lose or damage a book from the Library?


In the case of failure to return or damage to a volume, the user is obliged to re-acquire the volume for the Library.
If the said volume is no longer in circulation, a copy of a different edition must be acquired, provided it is equivalent, in agreement with the librarians, by writing to the email address prestitobib@sns.it.


Can materials not in the Library be requested for borrowing from other libraries?


The interlibrary loan service is reserved for institutional users with the SNS for at least 30 days.


Can I make reproductions inside the Library?


Within the limits permitted by prevailing legislation regarding copyright, inside the Library reproductions can be made exclusively of the materials belonging to the Library itself.
For photocopies or scans, the information is available on the web page On-sire reproductions.
Photographs may be taken with personal equipment but without the use of the flash.
Whenever the reproductions are intended for publication, authorisation on the part of the Library is always necessary.


Can I obtain reproductions from microfilms?


At the Capitano site a scanner is available for the digital reproduction of microfilms and microfiches. For modalities see the web page  On-sire reproductions.


Can I print from the PCs available for users' use?


Yes, from all workstations you can print the results of searches, on payment. For modalities see the web page On-site reproductions.


Can I request help for a bibliographical search?


Yes, you can refer to the librarians of the relevant sector, identifiable on the Staff web page. The service does not include the compilation of bibliographies.


What can I bring with me into the rooms of the Library?


You may not bring into the Library bags, rucksacks or other receptacles, which must be left in the appropriate lockers at the entrance to the various sites.
Mobile phones must be kept on silent mode and not in any mode that enables speaking on the telephone.
No food or drink may be brought into the Library apart from a small bottle of water. For all details, see the article Norme di Comportamento (Rules of Behaviour) of the Service Guidelines (in Italian).


Can I access the internet with my own PC?


At all the Library's sites you can log on to the Wi-Fi network. The service is not managed directly by the Library, and the instructions are available on the web page Web access.


Can I get back objects lost in the Library?


bjects found in the spaces of the Library are left at the first access desks of the various sites and kept for a month for their owners to claim them. After one month, objects not claimed will be eliminated.




The catalogue

What is the catalogue of the Library of the Scuola Normale Superiore?


The tool used to search materials possessed by the Library is SEARCH, a unified point of access to the bibliographical resources.


What is SEARCH?


SEARCH is the unified point of access to the bibliographical resources of the Library of the Scuola Normale Superiore.
Through a single search interface, you can trace and localise the bibliographical and documentary resources made available by the Library: books, periodicals, articles from online periodicals, databases, online resources, products of SNS research, and many other web resources.
From SEARCH you can also directly access full texts, when these are available.


What type of search can I do on SEARCH?


On SEARCH you can do several types of searches: simple, advanced and browse.
Simple search is immediately available on the SEARCH homepage, by inserting one or more terms in the search box. Three different search scopes are available: SNS Collections, Extended Search, Named Collections. The results can be refined by selecting facets displayed on the left in the column Tweak my results and/or using the filters available under the input box.
Advanced search  enables you to obtain more precise results using up to three search fields (combined through the boolean operators) and a set of filters such as type of material, date of publication and language.
Browse search allows you to browse the lists of titles, authors, call numbers and subjects (in the catalogue the subjects are present only for the Science collection, the volumes in the Consultation Room, the Kristeller collection and section 499 [Endangered languages] of the Linguistics collection).


Which search scopes are available on SEARCH?


SEARCH is divided into three search scopes: SNS CollectionsExtended Search and Named Collections.
SNS Collections limits the search to the collections of the SNS Library, for all types of material (printed, online, media, …). This search scope can be further refined, by selecting among Journals , Ancient text collection, Named Collections and New acquisitions n the second drop-down menu displayed in the input box.
The Extended Search enables you to carry out a cumulative search both of the digital collections contained in the Central Discovery Index (CDI) and of the resources searchable through the SNS Collections option.
Named Collections limits the search to the private collections acquired over the years by the Library (see   description). In general, these are donations by former students, SNS lecturers or scholars linked to the SNS by relationships of science and friendship. Even this search scope can be further refined, by selecting the collection of interest in the second drop-down menu displayed in the input box.


What is the Central Discovery Index?


The Central Discovery Index (CDI), made available by the producer of the discovery tool, is a wide-ranging continuously updated centralised archive which gathers together the bibliographical metadata and the full texts of academic resources and research. The contents of the CDI are searchable in the scope Extended Search which also includes the search on the SNS Collections.


Why do I have to authenticate on SEARCH?


You need to authenticate on SEARCH in order to visualise the material loan conditions, which depend on the user's category of appurtenance.
Once you have authenticated, you can visualise and renew your loans, reserve closed shelf materials or save your searches.
Institutional users can also reserve books on loan and make requests for interlibrary loans or document delivery.


How do I authenticate on SEARCH?


To authenticate, you need to connect to SEARCH, click top right on Login and follow the instructions you find in the Personal virtual area: user's guide.


Why log out at the end of a search session from a public workstation?


It is important for you to logout in order to prevent other users from accessing a profile different from their own and carrying out operations that they are barred from, such as sending or cancelling requests for closed shelf material, renewing a loan or modifying their own saved settings.
Although the work sessions are automatically timed out, this happens only after several minutes of inactivity.


I have lost my credentials for access to SEARCH, what must I do?


Institutional users authenticate on SEARCH with their SNS credentials.
For all other users, should they lose their access credentials they need to send a request email to ammissionibiblioteca@sns.it stating name, surname and card number. The user will receive an email with the indications for resetting his or her password.


What can I do to refine the results of a search?


SEARCH allows for refining the results of a search by means of the facets visualised to the left of the list of results and at the beginning of them.
The facets are filters that SEARCH creates dynamically on the basis of the search carried out. In this way a very simple search can be set up and the results can then be refined by selecting progressively the facets considered the most relevant.
For each category of facets, the first five options are visualised, which are the most populated. To see all of them, up to a maximum of 50, you need to click on Show more.


Can I carry out a search for an exact phrase?


Yes, by selecting the appropriate modality in the search filter.
In the simple search, in the filter under the input box select with my exact phrase.
In the advanced search, select is (exact).
In both searches the same result is obtained by inserting the search terms within the double quotes ("), exactly as in Google.


How are the search results ordered?


The list of results is ordered by default by relevance, determined by an internal algorithm of SEARCH which operates on the basis of a comparison between the search string, the fields used and the occurrences retrieved in the records.
The alternative options that can be selected are: by Date-newest, Date-oldest, Author and Title.
The Date-oldest s active only on the bibliographical records retrieved in the local resources, and so it is only fully functional in the search scopes  SNS Collections and Named Collections .


What is the purpose of the section Virtual Browse that we can see in the complete visualisation of a title?


It is a function that allows you to virtually browse the shelf with respect to the bibliographical resource searched, and enables you to visualise the hundred titles preceding it and the hundred following it in order by call number.
This service virtually places on a single shelf the volumes of the general collection and those with the same call number belonging to other collections (Named Collections and other special collections) not necessarily available in the same physical place.
Hence  Virtual Browse is particularly useful for identifying bibliographical resources of homogeneous content.
The service is for physical copies only (books, etc.), and so is not available for remote online resources, without a call number.


How can I access from home the online resources subscribed by the Library and the related full texts?


The online resources subscribed by the Library and the related full texts are resources with reserved access: they are freely accessible from any workstation within the network of the Scuola Normale Superiore, but not outside of these.
Institutional users may also access these resources from home by connecting to the VPN service  of the SNS and then utilising SEARCH in the usual manner.
This service is not available to non-institutional users.


Does SEARCH carry out searches also within the full texts of digital documents?


Yes, but only on the scope  Extended Search, for those resources for which it is permitted, utilising the filters Anywhere in the record or Full text.


How can I save on a USB an article found with SEARCH?


Once you have visualised the article that you are interested in, insert your USB, right click with the mouse on any area of the page and select Salva con nome (Save page as). In the dialogue window visualised, select the name of the USB and click on Salva (Save). At the end, to remove the USB safely click on the Eject icon or, alternatively, click with the right button of the mouse on the USB and select Espelli il dispositivo (Eject the device).


What is the purpose of the user profile (personal area)?


Through the personal area, upon authentication users can do the following:

  • view the list of active loans, check their due date and, when possible, renew them
  • view the list of loan history
  • view the list of active requests, check their due date and, when possible, eliminate them
  • view information related to their profile, such as the expiry date of the card and the email address provided for communication with the Library
  • modify the settings for the interface language
  • save and organise the results obtained during the search session by clicking on the icon   which activates the function Save in my favourites  or Save query
  • set an alert service in Saved searches by clicking on the icon : this alert will periodically carry out the saved searches and send the new results via email 
  • activate the RSS feed in Saved searches by clicking on the icon   to receive periodical information as to the new results (you will need to have installed an RSS feed reader on your PC).


Can I receive updates on the results of my searches?


Yes. After you have authenticated, go into the area of your Favourites by clicking on the icon    top right close to your name: choose the card Saved searches and activate an alert by clicking on the ico .

SEARCH will repeat the search every 7 days and will send the results by email to the address specified on activation.
You can choose to receive the message in any case or solely in the presence of results.
Another modality is to activate an RSS feed on the ongoing search, by clicking on the icon