Biblioteca Casanatense

Maximize sharing, searchability, and access to library collections

Inside at the Casanatense Library.
Image courtesy of the Casanatense Library.

“With CONTENTdm, users can consult Casanatense Library materials directly from anywhere in the world. Many of them benefit from the full-text search via OCR that allows them to search within digitized texts and have the result in a few minutes without having to go through dozens of pages for days on end.”

Ilaria Vercillo
Librarian, Casanatense Library

For many years, Casanatense Library has been part of the OCLC community through its participation with WorldCat®. Recently, the library staff needed a simpler solution to better showcase library collections, and CONTENTdm® was the perfect fit. Library users can now browse individual digital collections while also querying them simultaneously through a single search interface.

“The use of IIIF enables better indexing and searchability, and easier linking of images and information within the semantic web,” noted Ilaria Vercillo, Librarian at Casanatense Library. “The advanced view makes it possible to display and compare different digital objects from different collections at the same time.”

Advance the digital collection

Casanatense Library’s previous digital collection had outdated features, and maintaining the host servers was difficult. To better increase sharing, indexing, searchability of the content, and access to the digital collections via smartphones, tablets, and new technologies, the team needed to restructure their digital resources. Choosing CONTENTdm seemed like a natural evolution.

"“The OCLC tools at our disposal have always been excellent, and their staff, who are qualified and available, have become specialists in issues relating to our library.” 

Ilaria Vercillo, Librarian, Casanatense Library

Customize a solution for special items

The library holds a variety of different materials, such as manuscripts, engravings, and musical scores, as well as many unique digital collections like heraldic coats of arms, miniatures, and illustrations. With CONTENTdm’s help, staff can customize each piece, modify the image of a digital object, or even add an annotation. And they can also easily promote specific collections for scholars and specialists to use.

The result is more access to materials not previously available due to their state of preservation. Staff can preserve rare materials that haven’t been well protected over time and allow scholars to access contents without further deterioration of the materials. This is a win-win—easier access and conservation for the generations to come.

Load, check, and customize

The library’s diverse rare materials have different and complex cataloging rules. As such, it was necessary to plan the digital library set-up carefully and analyze all the uploaded materials to find the most suitable solutions. “We were able to achieve excellent results by configuring CONTENTdm to meet our particular needs,” said Ilaria.

After loading, the results were always checked, search modes customized, and diversified facets created for each content section. During implementation, the team also decided to get additional features, including the possibility of performing a search directly via OCR/Full Text, benefitting staff and library users. In fact, this was one of many benefits that provide exciting opportunities for Casanatense Library’s future.

“With CONTENTdm, searches are carried out quicker, the information provided is clearer, and we have an overview of all digitized materials as a starting point for any new digitization projects. It’s a valuable support for the reproduction office where users turn when they want a copy of the material they need.”

Services used by Casanatense Library


WorldCat Discovery  

WorldShare Management Services


  • Rome, Italy

Library at a glance

  • Named in honor of Cardinal Girolamo Casanate, whose private library is at its roots
  • Possesses nearly 450,000 volumes (manuscripts, incunabula, printed books), of which about 60,000 are still contained in the ancient Monumental Hall
  • In 1884, the ownership of the Casanatense passed definitively to the Italian State and today, it is one of the state public libraries of the Ministry of Culture

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