In the information society, libraries have become the inevitable centers of knowledge, which also have the task of recording the results of "intellectual production". However, libraries cannot take on their role, if their work is not supported by modern information and communication technology. Neither can they efficiently function as isolated islands, so they must link with each other and provide conditions for dialogue and collaboration, which further provides the basis for the development of each individual country and the international community as a whole.
In 1987, a shared cataloguing system was adopted by the former Association of the Yugoslav National Libraries as a common ground for the library information system and the system of scientific and technological information of Yugoslavia. The role of the organizational solutions and software developer was taken over by Institut informacijskih znanosti (Institute of Information Science, IZUM) from Maribor.
In 1991, IZUM promoted the COBISS (Co-operative Online Bibliographic System and Services) ) as an upgrade of the shared cataloguing system. At that time, the same acronym started to be used also for the related software. Because of Yugoslavia's disintegration, the libraries outside Slovenia resigned from the membership in the shared cataloguing system, although almost all of them later on gradually renewed the collaboration with IZUM, and are at present building their own autonomous information systems based on the COBISS platform with shared cataloging in the COBISS.net network.