About the Library & Archive Network

General Information

CSIC's Library & Archive Network is part of  the CSIC Scientific Information System  and is made up of the Unit of Scientific Information Resources for Research and 62 research libraries, as well as 16 scientific archives. Its Libraries and Archives  are located within CSIC's research institutes.

CSIC Library & Archive Network also provides library services to research staff in centres and institutes that do not have a library through the 100%DIGITAL Plan.

The Network also includes 4 external libraries belonging to research-related foundations (Residencia de Estudiantes, Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Fundación Ortega y Gasset, and Museu de Ciencies Naturals de la Ciudadella).

CSIC's Library & Archive Network is a horizontal system of tools, services and  scientific information that allows the selection, organization, dissemination, access and conservation of scientific information resources in order to be a useful tool for the life research cycle developed by CSIC institutes. The network supports scientific excellence by guaranteeing intellectual, physical and electronic access to information, ideas and services for a multidisciplinary research community like CSIC, through the use, locally or remotely, of quality infrastructures and services.

The documentary collections offered by the Library and Archive Network covers a wide range of resources aimed at all CSIC research areas, with more than 1,810,510 monographs and 65,549 journal collections on paper, and access to 571,550 e-books and 21,589 electronic subscribed  journals, in addition to other materials such as maps, photographs, manuscripts, etc. The Network also manages archival collections, with more than 140,000 textual and iconographic documents. All this can be saeched  in CSIC union catalogs, which are among  of the largest catalogs in the country.

A policy has been designed to disseminate the  CSIC's heritage collections of special value of CSIC libraries and archives through more than one hundred digitisation projects that have resulted in a set of 20,522 digitised documents and 1,554,430 images that can be accessed through the Simurg portal (CSIC Digitised Collections).

CSIC's Library & Archive Network is fully involved in the dissemination of science generated in CSIC in accordance with the open access policies subscribed to by the institution. As an outstanding resource, CSIC Institutional Repository (DIGITAL.CSIC) is made available to the entire scientific community, thus helping CSIC research staff to comply with legal mandates and allowing great accessibility to their scientific production.

The direction and management of the Network is the responsibility of the Unit of Scientific Information Resources for Research (URICI) with offices in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. URICI is responsible for the coordination and development of the Network, as well as for the control and management of its automation. Its objective is to modernize its services and make the most of its resources. Their  main functions are:

  • manage the union catalog of the Network's bibliographic collections, 
  • facilitate access to journals, electronic books and databases through the Virtual Library
  • preserve and to provide access to CSIC scientific production through DIGITAL.CSIC
  • automate access to CSIC historical archives
  • regulate the provision of library services
  • coordinate the development of library collections
  • provide working tools and training for library staff
  • maintain the Network external and internal communication channels
  • represent CSIC in library cooperation forums
  • collaborate with CSIC authorities in defining the Institutional scientific information policy.

Libraries network development

In 1984, the CSIC established the Plan for the Computerization of Libraries (PRIBIC), which began to operate the following year with the aim of automating the books and journals held by the institution's libraries into a union catalog. From that moment on, a process was set in motion that included the massive retrospective conversion of the bibliographic collections and the creation of authority records for subjects, entities and authors; in a short time, the collective catalog of the CSIC (CIRBIC) became a basic source of information for scientific information. CIRBIC, in the first years of its operation, will become the backbone of the CSIC libraries, promoting the definition of common working methods and the homogeneous provision of library services; these coordination tasks are in fact assumed by the group of professionals working in PRIBIC, as well as the representation of the CSIC libraries in professional fields and, especially, in relations with university libraries, favoring institutional rapprochement for the achievement of common objectives. All this activity means that the CSIC libraries are recognized from very early on as part of a network that works in a decentralized way with a shared direction and criteria. The evolution of CSIC libraries during the last part of the 1980s took place in parallel to the general transformation of libraries in Spain and the world.

From 1990 onwards, the CSIC officially recognized the development achieved by its libraries by transforming the PRIBIC into the Library Coordination Unit (CBIC) with the main objective of modernizing library services and maximizing resources. The Network of Libraries and Archives of the CSIC, a name that had been used for some time, thus reached a level that, during the following decade, was to deepen the achievements obtained and broaden its lines of action. In 1998, at the initiative of the CBIC, the automation of several CSIC archives was started, initiating a path of sustained work over time. At the end of the 1990s, the appearance of new communication tools and, especially, the emergence of the Internet, will provide new ways of work and development for CSIC libraries, being especially important for its significance the incorporation of the first electronic journals, which open the way to the implementation of electronic resources as a fundamental source of information for science. It is also in this period when progress was made in rationalization policies in the purchase of information resources, a trend that will be present from that moment on in the Network of Libraries and Archives of the CSIC as a basic element in the management of its collection as a whole.

From the year 2000 onwards, the transformation of the CSIC Libraries and Archives Network accelerated; it is from that moment onwards, in successive years, when the presence of electronic journals and e-books was consolidated among research staff and new, more convenient and simpler ways of accessing information and providing library services were made available to users, not only in person, but also remotely; In this regard, the CSIC Virtual Library, a single point for consulting all the information resources available, and the Access Point for Information Providers (PAPI), which makes it possible to access scientific information from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, are particularly noteworthy. During these years, two specific strategic plans (2006-2009 and 2010-2013) will be approved, which imply a unitary and far-reaching management vision for the Network. In 2006 the CSIC signed the Berlin Declaration by which it adheres to open access policies; from that moment on, the CSIC Libraries and Archives Network is firmly involved in the dissemination of the science that is done in the institution, which resulted in the implementation and rapid consolidation of an institutional repository (Digital.CSIC). In 2009, the Regulations of the Network of Libraries and Archives of the State Agency CSIC were approved, clearly defining the structure and operation of the Network, which is a fundamental text for its subsequent development. No less important is the approval in 2010 of the charter of services of the Network of Libraries and Archives of the CSIC, in which a total commitment is reached with the quality policies promoted by the institution. Also during this period, the policy of digitization of heritage collections held in CSIC libraries and archives was initiated with the aim of making works and documents of great relevance to the history of the CSIC accessible in the widest possible way.

A fundamental milestone is the creation, in 2011, of the CSIC Scientific Information System, in which its libraries play a prominent role and where some objectives of library coordination are redefined and expanded, leading to the creation of the Unit of Scientific Information Resources for Research (URICI) and the official incorporation of the Institution's historical archives policy into its functions, in recognition of the tasks that had been carried out in this area. In 2012 the name of the CSIC Libraries and Archives Network was adopted.