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 in a database to the full-text articles?

If you are unable to obtain the desired access when using the following types of resources, please consult your departmental library for assistance.

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

Bibliographic Databases

In bibliographic Databases only references to full-text media are listed. Thanks to Ovid LinkSolver, you can often gain access to the full-text items for which the BFH has licenses via external websites. This option is indicated when you see the following logos:

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 BFH-Button will appear, clearly indicating that Ovid LinkSolver can also be accessed from this point.


When you click on the button you will automatically be routed to the full-text article, if available. If the library does not have an online subscription to the desired periodical, Ovid LinkSolver supports a search for the full-text in the NEBIS catalog (“Library Holdings”). There you can check whether the print version of the periodical is available at your departmental library or whether you can order it from another library via Interlibrary Loan.

How do I get from a bibliographic reference in the library catalog to the full-text publication?

Here, we refer you to the FAQs of the IDS Basel Bern (swissbib orange) and NEBIS library consortia.

The Swiss universities of applied sciences also have licenses to more than 28,000 electronic periodicals via the Consortium of Swiss University Libraries; these are listed in the Electronic Journals Library (EZB).

If you have additional questions about access to subject-specific online resources your departmental library team will be glad to assist you.

Where can I find subject-specific databases?

The universities of applied sciences have licenses to about 70 databases for the various areas of study via the Consortium of Swiss University Libraries.

The individual Bern University of Applied Sciences libraries offer additional locally licensed subject-specific databases. Please consult the appropriate departmental library for assistance.

Electronic Journals Library – Readme

Consortium of Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences

The procurement of specialised electronic information for Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences is largely performed by the procurement syndicate of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences, which is affiliated to the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries. Over 10,000 eJournals and many databases are available to the Universities of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.

Swiss national licences

As contribution to the nationwide supply of Switzerland with electronic resources, the programme „Scientific information: access, processing and saveguarding“ (SUC 2013-2016 P-2, mandated by swissuniversities) funded the selective acquisition of National Licences. For further information please refer to www.nationallicences.ch.

Terms of use

The following libraries have their own terms of use:

We depend on your help to provide the information and media you require quickly and efficiently and make our services as effective as possible. Please note the following terms of use. Feel free to contact us with further input or suggestions.

General terms

1. Scope

The following terms of use apply for the following libraries at Bern University of Applied Sciences.

  • Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering, Biel/Bienne (BFH-AHB/TI-BI)
  • Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering / Engineering and Information Technology (BFH-AHB/TI BU)
  • Business (BFH-W)
  • HAFL Library (BFH-HAFL)
  • Health (BFH-G)
  • HKB Music Library

  • Engineering and Information Technology, Biel/Bienne (BFH-TI-BI)
  • Social Work (BFH-S)
  • University of the Arts Multi-Media, Berne (BFH-HKB-ME)

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

Bern University of Applied Sciences libraries provide information and literature for BFH students and employees involved in research, teaching and study. They are also available to other interested parties. Use of BFH libraries is free, although there are charges for specific services (see fee table).

3. Registration

Registration is required to borrow media and use other services. Private users register with their SWITCH edu-ID account. If you do not yet have a SWITCH edu-ID account, you can create one during registration. You can find help with registration at: https://registration.slsp.ch/help/. Businesses and institutions should contact swisscovery@slsp.ch directly.

By registering, you authorise the SLSP to import your personal details (name, address, telephone number, email address) from your SWITCH edu-ID account into the new swisscovery search portal. You can change your personal details at any time in your SWITCH edu-ID account or your institution/university profile. The changes will be transferred automatically to swisscovery. Library-specific details such as loans, orders and fees are recorded directly in swisscovery.

You can delete your user account at any time, provided there are no outstanding transactions showing (loans or fees). Simply delete your SWITCH edu-ID account or contact SLSP.

Transaction data is regularly anonymised and swisscovery deletes accounts that have been inactive for 10 years.

You will find more information about data protection on the SLSP website.

By registering, the user accepts the terms of use.

4. Library card and user account

A library card is required for borrowing items. It is personal and non-transferable. Valid official ID is required. Students and BFH employees can show their BFH card, which is classed as a library card.

If you lose your library card, you must announce it immediately to your BFH library. Users must update their personal details (such as address details) themselves in their SWITCH edu-ID account.

If you have forgotten your password you can request a new one at eduid.ch/web/reset-password/.

5. Copyright issues and further use of media

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

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

6. Internet use

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

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

7. Liability

Media should be handled with care. Any cost of repairs or replacement shall be assumed by the responsible party (see fee table).

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

Use of media is at the user's own risk. BFH does not accept any liability.

8. 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.

[April 2021]


9. Terms of borrowing

Library items are generally available for borrowing. However, certain items can only be used on site.

Items can be borrowed at the library lending desk, using the web self-checkout where available or ordered online through swisscovery and collected with your library card.

Items that are already borrowed can be reserved online.

Ordered or reserved items can be collected from the lending desk within seven library opening days of the date from which it was made available.

Borrowed items must be handled with care, protected from damage and returned in sound and complete condition. Notes or markings of any kind are classed as damage (see section on liability).

10. Sending media and copies

Through SLSP Courier, items can be ordered with costs from other participating libraries for collection in a BFH library. The terms of use of the supplying library apply. For students and staff of the BFH, the BFH libraries will pay the fees for teh SLSP Courier, provided thatthe ickup loacation is a BFH library.

For a fee, BFH libaries can send out items from their own inventories.

Chargeable services such as sending copies and inter-library loans are not offered by all BFH libraries.

11. Loan periods and renewals

The standard loan period is 28 days for books, 14 days for non-books (e.g. DVDs) and for journals. The loan period is shown in the swisscovery user account.

Unless the borrowed item is requested elsewhere, renewal is automatic at the end of the initial loan period for a further loan period. Limited to five extensions.

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 can be reserved by other users at any time; they will be recalled upon expiry of the current loan period.

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

12. Reminders

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.

As soon as the loan period or return deadline has been exceeded, fees are charged (see fee table).

The third reminder also results in the blocking of the 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).

Reminder fees can be paid by invoice. If an invoice has not been issued, the fee can be paid at the lending desk in cash.
Libraries are not obliged to provide details of reminder fees and other fees for an extended period; data is not kept for longer than three months.

13. Returning items

Borrowed media must be returned to the supplying library or to the library where the item was collected.

Outside the respective library opening times, items can be deposited in the return box if such a system is available. Items may also be returned by post.

Borrowed items must be duly returned by the user. The return date is the date when borrowed items are to be booked back in the system.

The user is liable for any postal delays, damage or loss.

[April 2021]

Fee table

Notification or recall

no charge, after 1 day

1st reminder

CHF 5.- per item after 7 days

2nd reminder

additional CHF 5.- per item after 14 days

3rd reminder

additional CHF 10.- per item after 21 days

Compensation for damage

repair costs as incurred

Compensation for loss

cost of replacement plus CHF 30.- administration fee

Debt recovery and enforcement fees

as necessary


CHF 12.- per item

SLSP Courier

CHF 6.- per item
(no charge for BFH members if pickup location is a BFH library)

Copies (if available)

PDF per email (Switzerland):  CHF 5.- per 20 pages
Paper copies (Switzerland): CHF 7.- per 20 pages

[April 2021]