FAQ swisscovery

BFH swisscovery is a search platform that covers the libraries of the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Magglingen sports media library at EHSM. Searches can be extended to the holdings of all participating libraries.

As a user you can add your library card(s) to your swisscovery account yourself or remove lost cards.

Library system swisscovery

swisscovery is a nationwide library system for accessing academic media collections in Switzerland. This search platform indexes books, periodicals and non-book media as well as electronic resources.

BFH swisscovery is the institutional access point for the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The Sportmediathek EHSM in Magglingen has its own access point.

swisscovery is operated by the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP). Nearly 500 Swiss libraries are connected with this system.

swisscovery is the national search platform of academic libraries in Switzerland.

In our short course you will learn ...

  • ... how to use swisscovery efficiently
  • ... how to borrow books and how to download e-books.

Dates 2024

  • Thursday, 18 January, 12 noon (German)
  • Monday, 19 February, 5 pm (German)
  • Tuesday 20 February, 12 noon (French)
  • Wednesday, 20 March, 12 noon (German)
  • Tuesday, 23 April, 5 pm (German)
  • Friday, 17 May, 12 noon (German)
  • Tuesday, 21 May, 12 noon (French) 
  • Wednesday, 19 June, 12 noon (German)

Info on the short courses

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Registration: not necessary
  • The short training sessions will take place via MS Teams

Information about swisscovery can be found at bfh.ch/slsp
If you have any questions, please contact bibliothek@bfh.ch

Contact us if you would like to have a short course on a different date or in English.

Note on data protection

You can participate in the training, which takes place virtually via MS Teams, using the link above. Only your dial-in and registration data will be transmitted via MS Teams. Sound and image data will only be processed if you allow this in your settings (microphone, camera). The Bern University of Applied Sciences does not store any personal data that can be seen from the event; in particular, no recording is made. In addition, the BFH has chosen MS Teams, a program for which compliance with the standards required by data protection law is assured. The responsibility for the operation of the software lies with the provider. Details on the processing of personal data can be found in the provider's data protection information. By participating, you consent to the processing of your personal data.

User account

Log in with your SWITCH edu-ID and give permission for your personal information to be shared with swisscovery, that is, with the Swiss Library Service Platform (SLSP).

  • Have your old Library Card ready to hand and enter the barcode number as instructed. On the BFH Card the necessary number is found below the barcode on the back of the card.
  • If you do not yet have a Library Card (or do not have a BFH Card), you will be issued a card the next time you visit a swisscovery library.
  • If you do not have a SWITCH edu-ID, you can create one during the registration process. BFH employees and students register “without AAI”.
  • You can find help with registration on the SLSP website.
  • Businesses and institutions should register via the special registration platform for institutions.

When you register, SLSP will 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.

As a user you can add your library card(s) to your swisscovery account yourself or remove lost cards.

You will find the number you need below the bar code on the back of the BFH card.

Library Card Management

Using the same link where you manage your library card, you can also set your preferred address.

Scroll down to the settings and click on the address you want. In order for you to choose between home and work, both addresses must first be recorded in your edu-ID account.

Library Card Management and Settings

Businesses, institutions and libraries are not able to create a SWITCH edu-ID account. 
Please register via the special SLSP registration platform for institutions

If you are unsure, please consult the Help for institutional accounts.

Users without a Swiss postal address can still create a SWITCH edu-ID account. Please note that, depending on your place of residence, the SLSP libraries may only be able to provide limited services

You can see all the media you have on loan in your swisscovery user account.

Open BFH swisscovery. Click on “Sign in” and then on your name where it appears at top right. The lists of your current loans, requests, etc are displayed separately according to which zone of the swisscovery network they belong to. Choose between the options shown in the column on the left.

It is your responsibility to update your personal details in your SWITCH edu-ID account whenever anything changes. The library staff cannot do this for you.

Borrowing + Courier

In order to borrow library media, you simply need a Library Card, available at no cost (see the section on Registration for swisscovery).

The following standard regulations apply to the borrowing of books:

  • 100 loans
  • 28-day loan period
  • 5 automatic renewals (provided the item has not been reserved by another user)

Different rules may apply to other types of media.


The SLSP Courier connects academic libraries throughout Switzerland. The SLSP Courier enables you to have books transferred from one library to another within 3 to 4 days for a fee of CHF 8 per item ordered. Certain institutions waive this fee for their members. The BFH libraries, including the Sportmediathek in Magglingen, cover these costs on behalf of their students and staff if items are picked up at a BFH library location.


The use of the libraries on site and the borrowing of media are free of charge.

The intervals for return reminders apply to the loan periods of 28 and 14 days respectively. For shorter loan periods, the reminder intervals are also shorter.

Notification or recall

no charge, sent after 1 day after the item due date

1st reminder

CHF 5 per item 7 days after the item due date

2nd reminder

additional CHF 5 per item 14 days after the item due date

3rd reminder

additional CHF 10 per item 21 days after the item due date

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 8 per item
(no charge for BFH members if the 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

[January 2023]

Fees incurred can be paid at the library counter with TWINT.

If you have already received an invoice, payment is no longer possible at the library. 

Fees for payable services as well as any applicable overdue fines incurred while using swisscovery shall be billed to you by SLSP. The monthly bills contain the charges for the month before last. For example, in May you will receive the invoice with the fees from March. If you are unsure, please consult the SLSP Website.

When logged into swisscovery, you can consult the fees linked to your account directly under: My account >  Fees

Terms of Use BFH Library

1. Scope

The following 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 accessible with search platform swisscovery, which is operated by SLSP.

2. User authorisation

The BFH Library provides information and literature for BFH students and employees. These 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.

Registration (free of charge) 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 (such as address) themselves 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 for most media. 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 pick-up location is a BFH library. Requested media must picked-up within 6 library working days. Courier media that are not picket-up will be returned. The 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, an "Overdue items - Reminder" (free of charge) is sent from <noreply@slsp.ch>. 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).

Overdue fees can be paid at the lending desk 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 informing themselves about any copyright issues. The 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; updated Oktober 2022: cash payment of overdue fees no longer possible]