Skip to main content

Komputeryzacja Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej we Wrocławiu - dziesięć lat doświadczeń

(Computerization of Wroclaw University Library – ten years of experiences)

Collective work edited by:
Grażyny Piotrowicz

Edition I
ISBN-10: 83-921013-2-4
ISBN-13: 978-83-921013-2-1
Wrocław 2006

Format of publication: PDF
Number of pages: 202

Accessible in Digital Library of Wroclaw University


Grażyna Piotrowicz
Director of Wroclaw University Library

First period of development in automation of libraries and information activities in Poland began in turn of 60s and 70s of the past century and was connected to usage of computers working in offline mode, mainly for information and bibliographical tasks (APIS system in Gdansk, SDI system in Main Library and Scientific Information Centre of the Wrocław University of Technology). In second half of 70s computers started to be used in automation of library's processes, mainly focusing on registration of foreign periodicals, cataloging and lending (e.g. ARKA project conducted by National Library and Institute of Mathematical Machines related to publishing of central catalogs of publications present in collections of Polish libraries, or supporting system for central cataloging of library's collection within library-information system of Wrocław Technical University). Political and economical crises from beginning of 80s slower process of automation of libraries until appearance of microcomputers, in the end of 80s, cause acceleration of this process, allowing equipping libraries with computer equipment, familiarizing librarians with this new tools and steadily develop computerization into libraries (so called little computerization). Constant development in field of telecommunicating allows to create and develop computer networks, in the same way allowing libraries to strengthen network cooperation.

Breaking point for development of computerization process in Polish libraries was year 1989 and social, political and economical transformation that follow it in 90s. In this period of time Poland gain access to modern techniques, local, city and vast networks were developed and merged with global network of internet, and on domestic market show up relatively cheap microcomputer equipment. On Polish market begun operating many contractors, also foreign, offering professional, integrated library's systems that allowed for complex computerization of all library’s processes. Among rich foundations of Western world, that were supporting poorly develop regions, appear bigger openness for post-communistic countries of Middle-East Europe, among them Poland.

If in 80s computerization process envelop mainly scientific libraries, and only largest among them, in 90s this process greatly accelerated and entered into smaller scientific libraries, as well as to school and public libraries.

It is worthy to remember, that automation of library requires not only computer and network equipment, but also proper software, and this force strict cooperation between libraries and usage of unified tools, and therefore it should be joint effort. Polish scientific libraries, that began cooperation in early 90s, started joint endeavor for gaining founds for purchase of one operation system. Their choice became American VTLS system, that allows building of unified databases of authority files register serving local libraries' catalogs.

It was year 1992, when first four academic libraries: of University of Warsaw, Jagiellonian University, University of Gdańsk and AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow started using VTLS system. In this time, Wroclaw University Library was still working in traditional way, but having computerization in mind, prepared application to A. Mellon Foundation with petition to financially support this endeavor. In spring 1993 grant was received. Soon WUL also joins, created on basis of agreement of Rectors of four institutions of higher education, Inter-academy Coordinating Committee for inculcate of VTLS system.

Year 1994 become special period in history of WUL's development – in this year computerization of Library was initiated by purchasing equipment and integrated library VTLS system and intensive training of personnel. This activities allows in the next year starting of practical usage of VTLS system and entering first bibliographical record of book into catalog database. Events of this period result in revolutionary change of activities within Library and set course for further it development.

Tenth anniversary of beginnings of computerization of Wroclaw University Library, that took place in year 2004/2005, inspired its employees for special celebration of this jubilee by preparing publication, that is summing up past achievements on this field.

As a result, this publication has been created, that consist of 21 articles and reports, that on different detailed levels describe and document projects and inculcate activities, achieved on behalf of whole Library, as well as its specific departments.

Some of materials are review in character, when others, due to detailed descriptions of undertaken actions – are more training ones.

Materials publish within this electronic publication were sorted in way, that will present clearly for readers undertaken tasks and show changes, that occur thanks to them. They clearly indicate, that process of computerization in Wroclaw University Library (WUL) started with implementation of VTLS integrated library system (later VIRTUA) and main weight of this process fall upon newer collections' departments (12 elaboration describe this) and gradually spread to special collections' departments (7 works). It is also clearly show, that two most advanced in implementation of VTLS/VIRTUA system libraries working within library-information network of University: Library of the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economy and Library of the Chemistry Department – stand equally to Wroclaw University Library with progress on this field.

Publication opens with text by Jadwiga Łukaszewicz – custodian for systems - that, as participator of events from 10 years ago describes beginnings and course of computerization in WUL from years 1994 - 2004/2005.

Next is article by Ewa Pitak from Scientific Information Department, that focuses on issues of information about collections – she, in great details, presents history and development of historical catalogs of Library, up till creation of modern electronic catalog – OPAC.

Large part of elaboration focuses on issues of electronic cataloging of periodicals and was prepared by employees of Monographs Department. First of them, written by Iwona Zielińskia-Frołow and Ewa Grabarska, describes creation of Central Register of Periodicals Titles (CRoPT). Authors describes within it seven years of Library's participation in CRoPT and further continuation of this work in NUKAT catalog. Next, Iwona Zielińska-Frołow with Martą Krajewską shows, in jointly prepared material, electronic processing of periodicals within Wroclaw University Library.

Next article, whose author is Marek Boryczko from Cataloging Department, describes process of subject cataloging of periodicals in electronic system and is teaching one in its character.

Employees of Serials Department present also two more, detailed solutions, that function within their Department, that are based on electronic techniques. And so, Ewa Grabarska individually write about creating in MAK program databases of underground periodicals that is available via internet. And, together with Zofia Darmińska, they present traditional and electronic registry of periodicals of Wroclaw University Library. As example of functioning of its electronic version, authors supplement text with printouts of register database.

Danuta Zglińska-Adamska from Cataloging Department shows activities, that are undertaken as part of preparations for operating of Library in the new building, in which free access to collections is planed. In her article she insights readers with issues concerning electronic processing of collections in Library of Congress Classification, that has been chosen for deployment of collection in free access zone.

Among elaborations about newer collections, also is present report by Halina Jagieła, Barbara Kulig, Grażyna Żołnierkiewicz, Danuta Kobylecka and Marta Lange from Circulation Department, in which authors describe computerization of processes and task within their Department, with special stress laid on issues concerning Local Lending Department, Reading Room and Interlibrary Lending Department.

Very professional elaboration on issues of computerization within Book Storage and Conservation Department was prepared by Renata Nowak, with contribution of Andrzej Foremny. In their article, authors presents issues of computerization within their Department in complex view, describing fears and psychological barriers among employees, judging upon issued solutions and proposing their own, born from everyday experiences and observation of computerization process.

In the ending part of materials concerning our newer collections are present works concerning creation and implementation of two databases. First collective elaboration by Paweł Korobczak, Paweł Domino and Marcin Jaworski in great details describes project basis and functioning of databases created for Acquisitions and Collections Development Department. Due to high level of details of description, it is good training material.

Second elaboration, authored by Teresa Haliniak and Aleksandra Legeżyńska, regarding databases "Bibliography of Academic Staff Publication of University of Wrocław" is valuable information material on projecting and issuing works regarding creation of database and its functioning. Databases is available via internet and is main source of current information about scientific publications of employees of University.

In group of elaborations prepared by employees of special collections' departments on the "Sand Island" are presented 7 works. Opening one, by Iwona Domowicz from Bibliological Department, focuses on issues of computerization of process of attendance to readers in Special Collections' Reading Room.

In next one, Joanna Madej from Manuscripts Department discuss basis and functioning of MASTER Project and duties preformed as part of it, that focus on electronic processing of Library's manuscripts in XML language.

Weronika Karlak from Old Prints Department presents course of computerization in process of old prints cataloging in Wroclaw University Library. Results of this innovation are databases working within Department, author also discuss problems, that arise during processing process and that originate, inter alia, from lack of proper format, that includes peculiarity of old prints and from undetermined terminology.

In further part of publication is elaboration by Krystyna Szykuła from Maps Department, that describes preparation for computerization of cartographic works and realization of grant issued for researches over selected multi-charts maps of Lower Silesia region from second half of 19th and first half of 20th century, that final result will be electronic description of this maps in VIRTUA system.

Beata Krzywicka, employee of Music Collection Department, presents lasting many years cooperation of Department with International Inventory of Musical Sources (RISM), in which Library's music manuscripts are catalog electronically.

Ewa Gajer from Silesia – Lausitz Cabinet in short notice describes electronic database of cataloged newspapers microfilms.

As a last in this part is presented elaboration of Tomasz Kalota about computerization in Reprographic and Digitization Unit. Author presents constant process of equipping Workshop with newer and more professional computer-optical equipment and gives insight in issues regarding digitization of collections as well as organization of access to digital resources. In elaboration are also mentioned several innovatory endeavors of Wroclaw University Library, such as: new web page of Library, package of online services among which is electronic shop of WUL, Electronic Publishing House of Library (E-Publishing of WUL), digitization of traditional paper cards catalogs and their presentation in internet as well as creation of Digital Library of Wroclaw University.

Last part of materials within this publication, are two elaborations from departmental libraries, most advanced in computerization process: Library of the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economy and Library of the Chemistry Department. They describes in great details computerization process of all library-information activates that was conducted in past decade in both institutions.

Bożena Górna and Joanna Mroczko-Sidorowicz from Library of the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economy divides computerization process into three stages and with many details gives report of every step taken during implementation of VTLS system in their home library. Janina Trzeciak from Library of the Chemistry Department, starting with presentation of usage of VTLS system in Polish libraries, with special stress on Wroclaw University Library, further descend on topic of structure of various types of bibliographical records in VTLS and VIRTUA systems. Next, she describes Nation Universal Catalog NUKAT, and in the end of her article, presents achievements of Library of Chemistry Department in filed of collections processing by references to statistical data and comparing them with other libraries working within library-information network of University.

Articles and reports within this electronic publication has been reviewed by prof. dr hab. Maria Pidłypczak-Majerowicz, that in her review pass to authors many valuable notices and directions, regarding both merithorical content of elaborations, and form of expression. For all of them I express utmost gratitude.

Published materials illustrates part of work done on field of computerization in Wroclaw University Library in the past decade. This works focuses mainly on implementation of VTLS/VIRTUA integrated library system. Unfortunately, among them lacks elaborations from some of agendas of Library, e.g. Monographs Department, that was one of the first to undertook tasks of computerization in WUL.

This publication also lacks elaborations about some of innovative endeavors taken by Wroclaw University Library, that are basing on usage of convergence of electronic medias, computer techniques and telecommunicating techniques, that initiating and development – has been signed in few elaborations. Their short description is placed on the poster in the ending part of this publication. It is planned, that they will be in great details described in next publication of this kind, that will be prepared in the near future.