Italian ebooks – an update

For several years now we have had in place a facility whereby readers can recommend Italian language ebooks – and in fact also English language ebooks published in Italy – through iDiscover.

The Torrossa platform operates rather differently to other ebook platforms we work with, in that we have added catalogue records for all of the platform’s ebook content to iDiscover, but the first user to be interested in accessing any given title has to make an explicit recommendation through the Torrossa site. This Patron Driven Acquisition scheme allows us to expose users of iDiscover to many potentially useful titles whilst only purchasing those for which there is ‘patron demand’.

Although there have been good numbers of Italian ebooks purchased through this scheme, we have been acutely aware that we needed to simplify the process and make it more user friendly and have been pressing our suppliers to improve the display on the ebook homepage. We felt strongly that the ‘Suggest for acquisition’ button should be more prominent on their platform, and they have listened to our comments and changed the colour of the button, which we think has improved things considerably. They have also promised to look at ways of making this step even more obvious in a future platform overhaul, and we will certainly recommend that they do so.

This is how the system works:

  1. Find the title in iDiscover.
  2. Click on the green “online access” link.
  3. On the Torrossa platform, click on the green ‘Suggest for acquisition’ button.
  4. Complete and submit the form.

The form data will be sent to the UL’s Italian Specialist, who will make a decision regarding purchase, subject to funds being available. She will liaise with the reader from then on. We would expect a purchased title to be available within a few days, usually by the following Monday. Once a title is purchased, the full text will appear on the platform and users will be able to access it directly, without the recommendation step.

We are constrained by the iDiscover system in terms of what information we can display to users, but we hope that this latest improvement will make it easier for readers to recommend and access titles, and that future improvements will help clarify the process further. We hope that if readers experience problems with the system or simply need assistance with it they will feel free to contact either the Italian specialist ( or ebooks@cambridge (

Bettina Rex


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