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University of Florence

Collaborate and provide increased access to resources

Botanical seat of the library of science (Webb's reading room)
Photo courtesy of the University of Florence

"The adoption of the QuestionPoint platform by the other two Tuscan universities (Pisa and Siena) and the shared BME (Base Management Environment) has resulted in a reduction in costs the univerisites would have incurred with individual subscriptions."

Francesca Cagnani
Head of User Services Department of the Florence University Library System

The University of Florence noticed that their users were sometimes finding it hard to get access to resources they required and find the information they were looking for. However, the SBART project (Library Systems of Universities of the Tuscany Region), allowed the university to collaborate, improve effectiveness, and provide more access to resources by teaming up with two other Tuscan universities: University of Pisa and University of Siena. As part of the project, they decided to share their services and systems, including an online reference service that would increase access to their resources, allow more collaboration, and provide an even better user experience.

Having relied on the QuestionPoint virtual reference service since 2009, the University of Florence felt this was the ideal service for the three universities to proceed with. QuestionPoint allows the library to collaborate and build relationships across different locations. “The project, whose goal was to set up a federal network among the library systems of the three main Tuscan universities (Florence, Pisa and, Siena), today also sees the collaboration on an online reference service, through the platform/software QuestionPoint, adopted by the University of Florence since 2009.” enthused Francesca Cagnani, Head of User Service Department of the Florence University Library System. With the introduction of QuestionPoint, the staff at the three universities have been able to work together to provide better service and in turn, raise the profile of their institutions and the availability of the online reference service.

“The project, whose goal was to set up a federal network among the library systems of the three main Tuscan universities (Florence, Pisa and, Siena), today also sees the collaboration on an online reference service, through the platform/software QuestionPoint, adopted by the University of Florence since 2009.”

One of the aspects that this group finds beneficial is the local and global knowledge bases. With QuestionPoint, the universities were able to create a database of more than 1,000 responses, which allows them to provide answers personalized to their users, regardless of who is answering the query. Additionally, they participate in the global knowledge base built by other QuestionPoint users, allowing them to work even more collaboratively.

“We should also emphasize that the adoption of the QuestionPoint platform by the other two Tuscan universities and the shared BME [Base Management Environment] has resulted in a reduction of costs,” highlighted Francesca. This service has helped the universities to achieve the goals set out by the SBART project—sharing resources and skills, reducing costs by working together, and increasing the use of the services Tuscan libraries offer.

Services used by the University of Florence

QuestionPoint

Map showing location of the University of Florence

Library at a glance

  • Originates from as far back as 1321
  • Contains approximately 3.5 million books and many periodicals
  • Consists of five libraries and approximately 60 reading rooms
  • Has its own digital publishing service, Firenze University Press – FUP

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