FAQ online resources

FAQ online resources

Trouble accessing online resources?

All employees and students of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) have free access to all the electronic information resources we offer via the BFH campus network. External users can also benefit from free access to the resources offered by the Bern University for Applied Sciences when using public computer work stations in the various departmental libraries.

Members of the Bern University for Applied Sciences also have the option to obtain remote access from outside our campuses via VPN (Virtual Private Network) client or Shibboleth resp. eduID. You need to use your BFH Login information for this purpose.

In case of difficulties using remote access via VPN, please use this checklist to troubleshoot:

  1. Check your VPN connection. If you have technical questions, please contact the BFH IT-Services.
  2. Delete all cookies, clear the cache of your browser, and restart the browser.
  3. Check your IP address.
    The IP address displayed above should match the following parameters:

  4. If you are still unable to access online resources, even though you are connected using a BFH IP address, please consult your departmental library for assistance.

Conditions for access and use of online resources

Please pay attention to and obey all Conditions for Use stipulated by publishers/service providers. These general principles apply:

  • Access to full-text is only provided for members of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) community. In exceptional cases, access may be further limited to individual areas of study within the BFH.
  • Systematic mass-downloading of full-text or search results is prohibited.
  • Full-text materials may only be printed or saved locally for personal use.
  • Articles may not be forwarded electronically or in print form to third parties.
  • Contents and layout of the articles may not be removed, changed or suppressed in any way. Examples: Identification features such as author and publisher names, copyright notices, logos or trademarks.

Violations of Conditions for Use can lead to the denial of access to full-text publications by the publisher/provider in the future.

How do I get from a list of article references to the full-text articles?

Install LeanLibrary, a browser extension, to support your research. Also look for the search@bfh button, which will take you directly to the full text.

It is important to distinguish between bibliographic and full-text databases:

Bibliographic Databases

In bibliographic Databases only references to full-text media are listed. However, the full texts are often accessible via links. Otherwise, use the search@bfh button as a guide.

Full-text Databases

When you search in a full-text database, complete full-text items that appear in search results lists can be retrieved in their entirety, as long as they have been licensed or purchased by the library you are using. The search results lists produced by these databases include visual design features that provide access options, for example, they generally show where you can choose to download a full-text article as a PDF or HTML file.

In the references list at the end of each online article (only in the HTML option, not in the PDF), wherever possible, the search@bfh button will appear.


When you click on the button you will automatically be routed to the full-text article. 

Printed books and magazines

If the above options have not led to a full text, use swisscovery.bfh.ch (registration and instructions) to search for printed books and magazines.

Where can I find subject-specific databases?

On the websites of your subject library you will find the most important databases for the respective subject area. Further databases, reference works etc. can be found in this list.

Terms of use

The following libraries have their own terms of use:

Terms of use

1. Scope

The present terms of use apply to the following libraries of the BFH Library:  

  • Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering Library Biel/Bienne
  • AHB/TI Library Burgdorf
  • Health Library
  • HAFL Library
  • Swiss Literature Institute Library
  • Social Work Library
  • Engineering and Information Technology Library Biel/Bienne
  • Business Library
  • HKB Media Library
  • HKB Music Library

The EHSM Sport media Library HSM, Magglingen has its own terms of use. 
All these libraries are part of the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP) and of the search platform swisscovery, which is operated by the SLSP.

2. User authorisation

The BFH Library provides information and literature for BFH students and employees. They are also available to other interested parties. Use of BFH libraries is free, although there are charges for specific services (see Fee table in FAQ about swisscovery).

3. Registration 

By registering, the user accepts the present terms of use.

A (free of charge) registration on the swisscovery research platform is required for borrowing media and using other services. Therefore, a SWITCH edu-ID account is necessary and may be created during the registration process if it does not already exist.

The users are responsible for ensuring that the personal details they provide are correct and up-to-date (see SLSP General Privacy Statement). They must update their personal details themselves (such as address) in their SWITCH edu-ID account. 

Employees of the BFH Library cannot make any changes to personal data.

The user can set the preferred address (home or work) in the swisscovery account and add or remove library cards: swisscovery – Library Card Management and Settings.

The library card is required for on-site borrowing. It is personal and therefor non-transferable. The library card may be purchased at any swisscovery library. BFH students and employees can use their BFHcard as a library card. Library cards issued by other swisscovery libraries are also recognised.

Further information: see User account section in FAQ about swisscovery.

4. Borrowing

Library items are generally available for borrowing. However, certain designated items can only be used on site. Special loan conditions may apply to individual media or media groups. A maximum of 100 items can be borrowed per user.

The standard loan period is 28 days. Unless the borrowed item is requested elsewhere, it is automatically extended for a further loan period of 28 days (up to five times). The deadline is displayed in the swisscovery user account.

When the maximum loan period expires, the item must be returned. If the item has not been reserved, you can borrow it again from the lending desk.

Items should be returned prior to absences longer than the loan periods of the borrowed items (military service, holidays, study abroad etc.).

5. Courier service and postal delivery

Media can be ordered for collection at a charge from all BFH libraries participating in the SLSP Courier service. The terms of use of the supplying library apply. The University library pays the courier fees for BFH members, provided that the place of collection is a BFH library. Requested media must be collected within 6 library working days. Courier media that are not collected will be returned. The charged delivery fees must also be paid in the event of non-collection (see Borrowing + Courier section in FAQ about swisscovery).

For a fee, BFH libraries can send out items from their own inventories (see Costs section in FAQ about swisscovery).

6. Liability

Media should be handled with care, protected from damage and returned in an undamaged and complete condition. Notes and marks shall also be deemed to be damage. Any cost of repairs or replacement shall be assumed by the responsible party.

The user is fully liable for any damage or loss of borrowed documents. Existing damage or missing inserts (data carriers, cards, parts etc.) must be reported immediately, or at the latest upon the return of the material.

For damaged or lost media, the University library charges repair or replacement costs as well as handling fees (see Fee table in FAQ about swisscovery).

7. Costs

The user is responsible for adhering to loan periods. Reminders that are not received are not accepted as grounds for late returns. No correspondence will be entered into in this regard.

After the loan period has expired, a (free of charge) recall reminder is sent. Subsequent reminders are subject to a fee.

The third reminder also results in the blocking of the swisscovery user account. If the item is not returned it is entered as lost. The replacement costs and administrative fee are charged to the responsible party (see Fee Table in FAQ about swisscovery).

Reminder fees can be paid at the lending desk in cash or with TWINT if an invoice has not yet been issued.

8. Copyright issues and further use of media

Use of library media is governed by the Swiss copyright guidelines and is intended exclusively for personal use. Transfer to third parties and commercial use are prohibited.

Chamber music scores and scores for solo instrument with (piano) accompaniment may be given to third parties under the following conditions: The borrowing person is responsible for ensuring that all parts and possible supplements are returned on time, complete and in perfect condition (without annotations). If the music sheet or parts of it are returned too late or with annotations, the borrowing person is liable and will be charged the corresponding fees. Commercial use is also excluded.

Users are responsible for being informed about any copyright issues. BFH declines all liability in the case of copyright infringement.

9. Using online resources and Internet

For information about Conditions for access and use of online resources, see FAQ online resources.

Public workstations in the BFH libraries are primarily provided for information on online offerings and research for scientific, specialist, professional or educational purposes.

All users are required to observe legal provisions with regard to Internet use. With respect to liability, misuse and the consequences of misuse, we refer users to the Guidelines on the use of IT resources at BFH.

10. Conduct within the library

The conduct of users within the library areas must not impinge upon the rights of other persons, impact library operations or cause damage to equipment, facilities etc.

Users are obliged to comply with the instructions of library staff. Failure to do so can result in the user being asked to leave. Repeated or severe infringements of the terms of use can result in exclusion from library use.

[January 2022]