University of Ferrara

Integration of EDS with EBSCO ERM and Publication Finder brings increased visibility and usage of resources

At a Glance

University of Ferrara
Ferrara, Italy

Institution Type:   Academic Libraries
Related Products:   EBSCO Discovery Service

university ferrara success story image


The University of Ferrara is located in the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, and it is among the oldest universities in the world. The foundation of the "Study of Ferrara" was granted by Pope Boniface IX with the Bull "In Supreme Dignitatis," on March 4, 1391. Courses in Law, Arts and Theology were activated in the Studio. Over time, the university has developed considerably and now offers 68 undergraduate and master's degree courses to more than 27,000 students.

The University of Ferrara now has 13 departments as well as the Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Prevention dispersed in fine buildings and modern locations immersed in the fabric of the city, forming a true university campus city with a strong identity. In addition, The University Library System (SBA) was founded in 2000 and was reorganized into its current form in 2006. The management and coordination of the libraries are organized into hubs: Society and Human Sciences Hub, Science-Technology and Architecture Hub, and Biomedical and Mathematics Hub.

To improve access to electronic and print resources of the SBA and the libraries of the Ferrara Library Cluster, EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) was adopted in 2016 in place of the previous discovery system. In early 2021, they also introduced EBSCO Electronic Resource Management (the ERM based on FOLIO) and Publication Finder and carried out a redesign of the discovery service.


In recent years, the institution through the SBA has invested heavily in electronic resources. Over time, however, librarians have observed that a higher usage of the resources is needed to improve the return on the investment. After an internal discussion, it was fairly easy to see that the problem could be solved by improving communication with users and facilitating resource search and remote access.


After due evaluation, the institution and the SBA decided to restyle the discovery service to give more prominence to the available resources and increase their use. Dr. Marina Contarini, Libraries Coordinator of the University of Ferrara, explains, “After a discussion with the Quality Team, we soon realized that the home page of the SBA website contained too much information and was therefore unclear. Many people were not even aware of the existence of the discovery! So, we decided to make a restyling of discovery to simplify navigation".

In addition, they have integrated the discovery Service with EBSCO Electronic Resource Management (ERM), which makes it easy to manage all electronic resources, which now account for 70% of the library system’s total resources. Plus, the new version of Publication Finder provides a clear view of all available resources.

When starting the work to relaunch the portal, the SBA created a working group composed of librarians with specific expertise from different areas. In addition, they sought the opinion of colleagues and students and involved students from the “Industrial Product Design” course to revamp the graphics and create a new logo.

We are very happy with this redesign. We have already received many compliments from colleagues and students.

Dr. Marina Contarini
Libraries Coordinator
University of Ferrara

Benefits & Results

Doc Search Unife is the integrated bibliographic search system accessible from the university network or from an external connection using OpenVPN software or Shibboleth access through the IDEM federation. Now, with Doc Search Unife, it has become even easier and faster to search for resources offered by the university libraries and the Ferrara Library Cluster. With Doc Search Unife, it is possible to:

  • Search simultaneously in electronic or paper resources
  • Find in a single list references to electronic resources (articles, journals and e-books) and physical documents (books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, etc.)
  • Directly obtain the full-text of electronic resources acquired by Unife or free of charge
  • Extend the search by including results from electronic resources not subscribed to by Unife, but which can be requested through the document delivery service of the University Library System.

Resources in Doc Search Unife include:

  • The BiblioFe catalog (books, journals, DVDs, CDs, etc.)
  • The IRIS catalog of Unife research products
  • Online resources, such as subscription e-journals and e-books
  • Open access resources and those produced by Unife (doctoral dissertations, online Annals)
  • Specialized subscription databases

"We are very happy with this redesign," Dr. Marina Contarini explains. "We have already received many compliments from colleagues and students. Among the various positive aspects, there is definitely the excellent integration of EBSCO services with third-party services, such as, for example, the one we have developed for the Sebina interface. Also, the automatic feeding of the ACNP catalog with subscribed electronic resources is an important upgrade of a service that was already being provided in the past, but which has thus seen a growth in requests. I would also recommend ERM for the management of electronic resources."

Dr. Marina Contarini also states, "The collaboration with EBSCO has been fundamental to achieve this result. EBSCO has followed us through all the design phases, and the possibility of working with Italian people, with whom we are in constant contact, has simplified and expedited many steps."

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