Since the 1980s it has ordered or received publications in all fields of the political and social sciences. The material is for the most part located in the Faculty's central library. The Centre has acquired around 14,000 individual titles and periodicals since 1986.
In January 2000 the service began to acquire and store videorecordings (cinema, documentaries and historic news-reels) for use in lectures. In addition, in 2002 it initiated the project “ABD – Data Base Archives” which facilitates the acquisition, processing and cataloguing of complex research data, obtained from international institutions and universities abroad, for the analysis of social and political phenomena.
Information relative to acquisitions of documents is contained in bulletins and up-dates, circulated on a regular four-monthly basis. Since the beginning of 2004 all videorecordings have been included in a catalogue of their own, in which the standard bibliographic descriptions are supplemented with a brief summary of each work.
Research papers service
Re-organised in 1997 with the brief to collect and make available for local consultation a set of unpublished or published materials, in print or electronic formats, not accessible through regular distribution channels and produced by government agencies and private institutions. The process of acquisition and dissemination of information is organised as follows:
- the systematic collection and cataloguing of grey literature, official publications and related matters;
- reference & document supply.
A survey recently conducted on the collection and cataloguing indicates that more than 200 organisations, 120 of which can be considered active contributory partners, have supplied copies of their own publications. The Centre has established a dedicated electronic archive (SOMI) accessible from anywhere on the Faculty web. The proto-type employed for the cataloguing, established in collaboration with the Faculty's central library, has been modelled on the worksheet SIGLE (System for Information of Grey Literature in Europe), with additional fields for internally-available information and a higher level of semantic representation (SH and abstract). The programme for inclusion and retrieval of data, initiated by the Centre and re-worked during 2003 in the light of technological changes in the library system of the University, started a trial phase at the beginning of 2004. The archive contains more than 2300 bibliographic records corresponding to an equal number of titles of serial and monographic works retained for at least two years.
The material can be consulted in an area specifically equipped for the purpose where periodicals, in paper or electronic format, on contemporary political, economic and social issues can be found, alongside the major international dailies and weeklies. Also available are search tools (bibliographies, indexes, yearbooks, statistics, information databases etc.) and a collection of general reference works.
The Centre supplies assistance on how to obtain scientific data and documentary material through traditional information channels or on the Web to all research staff and students working on theses.