Virtual Library – Bulgaria Project. First stage

(Building an Unified national library and information system)

On November 28th 2006 in Maribor, Slovenia Prof. BoryanaHristova – Director of the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library, signed an Agreement on the Inclusion of the Libraries in Bulgaria in the Free Exchange of Bibliographic Records within the COBISS.Net Network. According to this agreement the National Library committed itself to implement the technological platform COBISS (Detailed information about the project on COBISS.Net).
A work Plan for the National Library employees in implementing COBISS.Net was adopted in January this year and suggestions were made about implementing COBISS.Net in the National Library and other libraries in the country.

Information about the conversion of the electronic catalogues of the National Library

The actual first step in creating a separate library and information system within the COBISS system in Bulgaria is the creation of a database that the union catalogue will be based upon. That is why it is necessary to have the records in this database in COMARC format, supported by the COBISS system. Given the large amount and variety of documents stored in the National Library holdings, its bibliographic records will be firstly converted in COMARC format and will serve as the foundation for this catalogue.

The project started in 2007 and a few months later (in February 2008) an employee of the National Library was sent to IZUM to assist on the spot in achieving better quality of conversion.

As a result of these joined efforts of the employees of the National Library and IZUM 864 545 bibliographic records have been successfully transferred and tested in COMARC/B, COMARC/A and COMARC/H formats so far, including Bulgarian books and books in foreign languages in Cyrillic and Latin; periodicals; Bulgarian newspaperarticles, journals and collections; a part of the dissertations; control files of the names and subject headings.

In order to achieve these results the National Library has passed through different stages. The basic ones are:

  • creating transferring tables from the format, used in the National Library to the COMARC format;
  • creating additional algorithms in addition to these tables;
  • creating equivalency tables about the information, which has to be coded during the conversion process;
  • conversing in IZUM;
  • testing and approving the results from the conversion by the National Library, applying the given algorithms;
  • complementing and correcting the algorithms.

After having made the experimental conversion, to which the algorithms have been applied, tested and validated, the National Library has to perform the actual conversion of the electronic library catalogues as soon as the Slovenian partner expresses readiness to do so. Meanwhile the library employees will receive training in working with the COMARC format in order to obtain certificates that will allow them to work in the system.