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TO LIBRARIES, WITH LOVE
The Library-Information Policy
TO LIBRARIES, WITH LOVE
“ST. KLIMENT OHRIDSKI”
THE LIBRARY-INFORMATION POLICY OF BULGARIA
(A COLLECTION OF PAPERS, PROJECTS AND ARTICLES)
© 2013 Александър Димчев, съставител
© 2013 Университетско издателство „Св. Климент Охридски“
IN PLACE OF AN INTRODUCTION – A BRIEF CONFESSION AND A TOKEN OF
GRATITUDE ................................................................................................................. 9
ВМЕСТО УВОД – МАЛКА ИЗПОВЕД И БЛАГОДАРНОСТ ......................................... 13
THE DEMAND FOR INTERLENDING IN BULGARIA .................................................. 17
DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL AUTOMATED LIBRARY INFORMATION NETWORK
(NALIN) IN BULGARIA ................................................................................................ 20
LIBRARY AUTOMATION STRATEGY IN BULGARIA .................................................. 23
IMPLEMENTING NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES IN A UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY ...................................................................................................................... 27
THE BULGARIAN LIBRARIES IN THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD ............................... 31
NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES IN BULGARIAN LIBRARIES ......................... 38
PROJECT “COMPACTDISK” ANALYSIS AND PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT ..... 42
THE CHANGES IN SOCIETY AND BULGARIAN LIBRARIES ...................................... 47
SOCIAL CHANGES AND BULGARIAN LIBRARIES TODAY ........................................ 55
THE BULGARIAN LIBRARIES AND IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGIES ..................................................................................................................... 62
A NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR THE PRESERVATION OF LIBRARY COLLECTIONS IN
A CHANCE FOR BULGARIAN LIBRARIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY (MEGAPROJECT) ......
INTEGRATION BETWEEN UNIVERSITIES AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL
ORGANIZATIONS WITH THE PURPOSE OF REALIZING THE CONTINUING
EDUCATION OF LIBRARIANS ..................................................................................... 86
BULGARIAN LIBRARIANSHIP IN THE TIME OF TRANSFORMATION ....................... 92
NEW POSSIBILITIES AND CHANCES FOR COOPERATION ........................................ 97
ACCESS TO INFORMATION: THE NEW ROLE OF LIBRARIES ................................... 104
Alexander Dimchev, Maria Kapitanova
THE PROFESSION OF THE LIBRARIAN AND ITS PROBLEMS ................................... 111
Alexander Dimchev, Krassimira Angelova
ACADEMIC LIBRARIES AS KNOW-HOW-TRANSFER CENTRES................................ 118
Aleksandra Vranesh, Herbert Achleitner, Aleksandar Dimchev, Jadranka Lasich-
Lazich, Ljiljana Markovich
THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: BARRIERS TO THE FREE ACCESS TO INFORMATION .. 125
Alexander Dimchev, Plamen Miltenoff
BOOKS, LIBRARIES, MEDIA AND NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES: SEEKING
THE BALANCE. THE NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES (NIT) AND THE RISKS
FOR THE COMING GENERATION [SERBIA – 2005], [USA – 2006] ............................... 144
Alexander Dimchev, Krassimira Angelova
“BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!” – INFORMATION LITERACY EDUCATION FOR
FACULTY OF PHILOSOPHY STUDENTS AT SOFIA UNIVERSITY “ST. KLIMENT
OHRIDSKI” ................................................................................................................... 152
THE CULTURAL HERITAGE AND LIBRARIES IN EUROPE. SOME PRINCIPLE
INITIATIVES ................................................................................................................. 160
Alexander Dimchev, Vania Grashkina, Aneta Doncheva
THE LAW FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA: A MODEL OF
TRANSFORMATION OF THE LIBRARY SECTOR AND A PREREQUISITE FOR THE
EXTENDED ACCESS TO INFORMATION [BULGARIA – 2008], [SERBIA – 2009] ........ 166
Milena Milanova, Alexander Dimchev
E-PUBLISHING AS A NEW APPROACH FOR DEVELOPING OF INFORMATION SECTOR
INTO THE FIELD OF PUBLISHING, LIBRARIES STOCKS AND PRESERVATION OF
CULTURE HERITAGE .................................................................................................. 173
Alexander Dimchev, Dimitar Denkov
STRATEGIES OF DEVELOPMENT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION RESOURCES
FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH AT THE FACULTY OF PHILOSOPHY AT “ST.
KLIMENT OHRIDSKI” UNIVERSITY OF SOFIA .......................................................... 179
Alexander Dimchev, Milena Milanova
BULGARIA: INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS SUMMER SCHOOL (ISSS) IN LIS
EDUCATION – AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ..................... 191
Milena Milanova, Alexander Dimchev
ELECTRONIC RESOURCES (DIGITALIZED AND DIGITAL BORN) AND CHALLENGES
IN THE CURRICULUM OF LIS EDUCATIONAT AT SOFIA UNIVERSITY “ST. KLIMENT
OHRIDSKI” ................................................................................................................... 193
INFORMATION POLICY – MODELS (BRIEF CONTENT) ............................................. 201
Alexander Dimchev, Elitsa Lozanova-Belcheva, Milena Milanova
SHALL THE “OPEN ACCESS” PHENOMENON LEAD TO A CHANGE IN ACADEMIC
COMMUNICATION? [SERBIA – 2012], [RUSSIA – 2012], [ITALY – 2013] ..................... 212
TRENDS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN LIBRARY INFORMATION
SCIENCES (LIS). THE STATE OF AFFAIRS AT SOFIA UNIVERSITY “ST. KLIMENT
OHRIDSKI” .................................................................................................................. 228
THE LIBRARY. A JOURNEY BACK IN TIME … ............................................................ 244
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES OF PROF. DR. ALEXANDER DIMCHEV ........................ 285
In Place of an Introduction – a Brief Confession
and a Token of Gratitude
Happiness is something very relative. It has different dimensions with respect
to different people. And it has to do with different values.
To the compiler of this collection, happiness is synonymous with three
institutions that have given him a chance in this world. These are his family,
“St. Kliment Ohridski” Soﬁ a University and libraries. It is our relatives and our
profession that give a meaning to our life. Particularly when this profession has
turned into a vocation and dedication that we convincingly and lovingly uphold
throughout our life!!!
I have really been lucky! For almost 35 years, I have had the chance to dedicate
my life to libraries, working in the bosom of the magic and richness that they
possess and share with us, their users. These 35 years have given me a lot by letting
me get closer to the information and knowledge and making me able to understand
their power. This is a feeling that you get in the course of time. It is also a somewhat
odd phenomenon that makes you a free and responsible person. It gives you wings
and makes your dreams of ﬂ ying and satisfaction come true. And probably also our
longing for having done our duty?
Some people may claim that the title of this collection is a little illogical,
incompatible, or even inappropriate for a scientiﬁ c publication like this one. While
others, that are immersed in the world of libraries, information and knowledge, may
ﬁ nd in it hope, faith, trust and conﬁ dence. These are all important pillars, which
can be relied on, so that we could go on walking in the global world of today that
is often considered to be “uncertain”. What matters, however, is that this world is
destined to serve knowledge and the knowledgeable ones.
It is the libraries as traditional places for storing, processing and providing
knowledge and information that have contributed to the success of our civilization.
Regardless of the hard times that libraries have gone through, we can quite
responsibly say that they have been the stronghold of culture, education, science,
the economy and peoples’ achievements. There are, however, a couple of more
curious assessments of the role and the mission of libraries. Some of their admirers
and supporters refer to them as being “the custodians of the DNA of humanity”.
To all the people sharing such views, these wonderful depositories of the spiritual
values are inextricably intertwined with the present and the future of the cultural
layers which store the memory of humankind. And we should never forget this!!!
The trust in, together with the respect for the library institution, has made the
compiler of this publication trace out the road of development of the Bulgarian
library community in 1989–2013. These have been years of hope [for the Bulgarian
population] after the changes that occurred in 1989. They have also been years
of serious difﬁ culties and deep disappointment. Against the background of the
contradictory processesthat have often gone to the extreme, I have made an attempt
to assess the condition of librarianship in Bulgaria.
This collection incorporates selected texts of various types, including:
– conference papers;
– materials intended for national projects or programs;
– scientiﬁ c articles;
– international projects;
– theoretical works;
The compiler’s idea is to provide a mirror-like picture of the developments in
the Bulgarian library-information sector on the basis of the above texts; to outline the
trends of development of this sector during this period; to present some theoretical
works containing projections and different policies [that could be] implemented
within the library-and-information spectrum.
This publication is intended for [university] lecturers,students, researchers and
experts who are interested in the problems of the Bulgarian library-information
sector against the background of the changes that occur in some other parts of the
A large majority of the texts have already been presented at international
conferences and some other forums abroad. The texts have been prepared and
published in different periods of time. Most of them have been incorporated into
international publications. A large number of the texts contain similar ideas, facts
and analyses. All this has been done with a view to assessing the evolution of the
standpoints and changes and to getting a better idea of the authors’ texts, as well as
of the ones [included in this publication].
The compiler of this collection does not claim to have exhausted all the topics
contained therein. He has written himself some of the materials (which include
documents, projects and programs) or has taken part in their preparation. He is the
co-author of some documents that have been drawn up together with renowned
professionals in different theoretical and applied ﬁ elds. The author’s responsibility
is indicated with respect to each and every document, but Prof. Alexander Dimchev
has authored most of the documents incorporated into this collection. The names
and positions are the ones used at the time of the documents’ publication.
So, the compiler of this publication would like to thank most cordially to
everybody who he has had the pleasure of working together during all these years.
For their comradely correctness, friendship and professionalism. For their ﬁ rm
conviction that our common cause could be promoted even in difﬁ cult times. For
their respect and collegiate empathy. For having contributed to the compilation of
this collection by providing the ideas, texts and documents, which have made its
The present collection contains the original version of the individual texts (i.e.
the way in which they were presented or published). Very few corrections have
been made in some of the texts.
All the documents are published in English. Only the text of the title-page and
the introduction is published both in English and in Bulgarian.
This collection is dedicated to the Bulgarian librarians who, during the
years of the “Bulgarian transition period”, have managed to:
– turn this noble and intellectual profession into their vocation;
– ignore the difﬁ culties and the low remuneration, continuing to work
actively to the beneﬁ t of society and of individual people;
– do everything within their powers, so that the library users could receive
better services of a much higher quality;
– preserve the dignity of our librarian community;
– ﬁ ght for the preservation and further development of Bulgarian
librarianship and libraries in difﬁ cult times and in periods of crisis;
– further promote the democratization of the access to information;
– spare no effort in the process of library modernization and the
introduction of modern technologies, given the serious shortage of resources;
– generate novel ideas, common projects and initiatives;
– introduce up-to-date research methods and educational programs;
– spare no effort to further educate themselves to the beneﬁ t of the library
users and of the librarian profession;
– place their trust in their occupational associations and help them without
– actively participate in international forums and programs, representing
Bulgaria successfully and with dignity;
– work for the future!!!
To our wonderful students and the young people that are coming after
us. To all those who are going to put their hearts, as well as their spirit and
intellect in the librarian profession.
To all of them and to our libraries, with love!!!
Prof. Dr. Alexander Dimchev,
compiler of this collection
Вместо увод – малка изповед и благодарност
Щастието е нещо много относително. За всеки от нас то има различни
измерения. Свързва се с различни ценности.
За съставителя на настоящия сборник то е синоним на три институции,
които са му дали шанс на този свят – семейството, Софийският университет
и библиотеките. Защото близките и избраната професия осмислят целият ни
живот. Особено ако професията ни се превърне в призвание и посвещение,
приемана и отстоявана във времето с убеждение и любов!
Почти 35 години имам щастието да бъда посветен и да работя в лоното на
вълшебството и богатството на библиотеките, което притежават и споделят с
нас, техните потребители. Години, които ми дадоха много, позволиха ми да
се доближа и да разбера силата на информацията и на знанието. Усещане,
което идва с времето. Странен феномен, който те прави свободен и отговорен
човек. Дава ти крила и сбъдва поривите за летеж и удовлетворение. Защо не
и за изпълнен дълг?
На едни заглавието може да прозвучи малко нелогично, несъвместимо
или неподходящо за подобно издание с научен характер. За други, които са
потопени в света на библиотеките, знанието и информацията, то дава надеж-
да, вяра и доверие. Конструкции, които са много важни, за да се уповаваме
на тях и да вървим напред, в съвременния глобален свят, белязан често пъти
с термина „несигурен“. Но по-важното е, че този свят е отреден да служи на
знанието и на знаещите.
Именно библиотеките като традиционни места за съхранение, обработ-
ка и предоставяне на знанието и информацията са вплетени в успеха на на-
шата цивилизация. Независимо от трудните времена, през които преминават
библиотеките, напълно отговорно можем да заявим, че те са крепители на
културата, образованието, науката, икономиката и на достиженията на хора-
та. Съществуват и по-любопитни оценки за тяхната мисия и роля. Част от
техните радетели оприличават библиотеките като „пазителките на ДНК-то
на човечеството“. За споделящите подобни мисли тези чудесни съкровищ-
ници на духовността са вплетени в настоящето и бъдещето на културните
пластове, свързани с паметта на човечеството. Не трябва да забравяме ни-
Вярата и уважението към библиотечната институция провокира съста-
вителя на настоящото издание да очертае пътя, извървян от 1989 до 2013 г.
от българската библиотечна общност. Години на надеждите след промени-
те праз 1989 г. в страната. И години на сериозни трудности и разочарова-
ния. Именно на фона на разнородните полюси и на противоречащите си
процеси е направен опит да бъде оценено състоянието на библиотечното
дело в нашата страна.
Сборникът включва подбрани текстове:
– доклади от конференции;
– материали за национални програми и проекти;
– международни проекти;
– теоретични разработки;
Целта на съставителя на сборника е чрез текстовете да се даде огледална
представа и да се очертае картината на случващото се с библиотечно-инфор-
мационния сектор в България. Да се оценят тенденциите в неговото разви-
тие през периода. Също така да бъдат представени и определени теоретични
разработки, които стоят на вниманието на авторите, свързани с проекции и
различни политики в библиотечния и информационния спектър.
Изданието е предназначено за преподаватели, студенти експерти и
изследователи, които имат интереси към проблемите на библиотечно-
информационния сектор в страната, на фона на промените в други точки
Съставителят на настоящето издание е лишен от претенции за пълна из-
черпателност по отразените теми. Той е взел участие в разработването, на-
писването или при реализацията на проектите, материалиите, документите и
програмите (самостоятелно или в колектив). Част от документите са плод на
съавторство и взаимни усилия с високоуважавани професионалисти от раз-
лични изследователски и приложни области. За всеки един от документите
е посочена авторската отговорност. Основно те са дело на проф. Александър
Преобладаващата част от текстовете са представени на международни
конференции и форуми в чужбина. Те са подготвени и публикувани през
различни времеви периоди, като повечето са включени в чуждестранни из-
дания. В част от тях има повторение на идеи, фактически данни и на ана-
лизи. Това е допуснато, за да се оцени еволюцията на измененията на ста-
новищата. Също така за получаване на по-пълна представа за авторовите
текстове и тези.
Съставителят на изданието благодари най-сърдечно на всички колеги,
с които е имал удоволствието да работи през годините. За тяхната корект-
ност, приятелство, професионализъм. За тяхната вяра и убеденост в каузата
в трудните моменти. За уважението и колегиалната привързаност. И които
имат приноси при създаването на предлаганите в настоящето издание тек-
стове и идеи, и се съгласиха да бъдат включени документите в него.
Настоящият сборник се посвещава на българските библиотекари,
които в годините на „българския преход“:
– Са превърнали тази благородна и духовна професия в свое приз-
– Са загърбили трудностите и ниското възнаграждение за техния
труд и работят активно в полза на хората и на обществото.
– Правят и невъзможното, за да могат потребителите на библиотеки-
те да получават по-добро и по-качествено обслужване.
– Съхраниха достойнството на колегията.
– Се борят за запазване и развитие на българските библиотеки и биб-
лиотечно дело в много тежки и кризисни периоди.
– Защитават и спомагат за демократизация на достъпа до информа-
– Полагат изключителни усилия за модернизация и въвеждане на съ-
временни технологии в библиотеките при сериозен недостиг на ресурси.
– Създават и иновират идеи, общи проекти и инициативи.
– Въвеждат модерни образователни програми и изследователски под-
– Полагат усилия за собственото си развитие в полза на потребители-
те и на библиотечната професия.
– Имат доверие и подпомагат безвъзмездно своите професионални
– Активно се включват в международни програми и форуми, ин-
тегрират и представят успешно и достойно страната ни.
– Работят за бъдещето!
На чудесните ни студенти и на младите хора, които ще ни заместят, и
които ще вложат своите сили, дух, интелект и надежди в професията!
За всички тях и за нашите библиотеки – с любов!
Проф. д-р Александър Димчев,
THE DEMAND FOR INTERLENDING IN BULGARIA*
University of Soﬁ a, University Library
The discussion of the problems of interlending should be done in the context
of internal and external factors that inﬂ uence it.
Nowadays information has become one of the major strategic resources.
Although vast quantities of information are being created, they are not fully used
because of lack of effective methods of organization and dissemination to users.
Different ways and means are needed for solving the conﬂ ict which exists between
information hunger on the one hand and the information excess on the other.
Interlending is one way to overcome this contradiction. In the last decade the role
of libraries and interlending has become more and more a major factor in the spread
of knowledge. An obvious expansion of interlending activity is expected in the next
few years. On what grounds is this statement made and which are the stimuli of that
The volume of information is growing. Science develops at accelerated rates
and so does the need for information. New information technologies in libraries
have spread widely. The development of computers and telecommunications give
opportunities to apply different methods for the improvement and development
of interlending. The move towards full usage of information resources in libraries
and the new expectations of the users towards them change traditional outlooks.
The tendency in this respect is to eliminate the monopoly of “place”, so that they
become widely available to society through information centres. The budgets of
libraries have been considerably reduced. This increases the coordination processes
in their activities. The principle of making economies imposes itself on libraries.
National and international projects have been created for the mutual use of library
resources. The countries of the European Community are especially active in this
ﬁ eld. Parts of their projects are directed towards the necessity for interlending,
focusing on the application of new technologies.
The new political realities in Europe are proving to be a strong accelerator in the
development of interlending. Libraries in Eastern Europe are behind their Western
partners because of ﬁ nancial problems and lack of technological development. In
this respect it should not be expected that there will be a fast change in their strategy
* Dimchev, A. The Demand for Interlending in Bulgaria. In:West – East Information Transfer.
Papers from the Meeting on Interlending and Document Supply between Eastern and Western Europe,
held at Gosen, 25–28 Febr., 1991. London, British Library, 1991, p. 16–18.
and methods of work in the ﬁ eld of interlending. The dividing line between the
libraries in the two regions is quite distinct. A possible way out could be found if
governments in the East European countries pay serious attention to ﬁ nance and
equip libraries with new technologies. On that basis there will be easier access
to documents. Mutual projects can be created gradually on the basis of new
technologies in interlending between different countries and regions.
Together with the tendencies that act favourably and that determine the trends
for expansion of interlending, there are other tendencies that have the opposite
effect. When these negative tendencies are overcome, this will lead to expansion of
the exchange of literature. The following difﬁ culties should be mentioned:
• using different forms and tariffs;
• increase in price of services;
• differences in standards of work of the different computer systems;
• the low level of the technological equipment of the libraries in some
• the restrictions in the sphere of author's right for copying and distributing
Especially in countries like Bulgaria, which has restricted information resources,
a major role is played by interlending in the provision of access to literature for
Only 7–8% of the world's periodical titles and about 1% of the monographs
literature are available in Bulgarian libraries. Supply of the so called “grey”
literature is quite restricted. These limited collections of information do not provide
the opportunity for a broad outlook on world scientiﬁ c knowledge. Although
scientists in Bulgaria have free access to 500 databases from the whole world, the
library book-stocks cannot supply to a sufﬁ cient degree the documents about which
information is given by them. Two experiments have been carried out in Bulgaria in
this aspect. The results of the ﬁ rst study show that our library resources can supply
the primary sources in 53% of the references that have been given by the database
and the second study only 35%.
International norms indicate that library system must be able to satisfy 80–85%
of the demands. Our system is considerably behind these indicators. The economic
crisis in which Bulgaria is at present increases this inbalance very much.
On the other hand the social sciences have begun to open up towards western
scientiﬁ c schools because of disappearing ideological monopolies and bans on
access to some information in collections. This calls for a considerable increase of
document ﬂ ow.
As mentioned above, it is clear that our libraries are considerably behind the
needs of users. That can lead to our scientists being deprived of necessary information.
That is why one of the channels on which we set our partial compensation of
shortage of information is interlending. In this respect there will be a search for
new decisions in organisational, ﬁ nancial and technological areas.
The organization model of interlending in Bulgaria has been built on a central-
ized principle, the aim of which is to achieve greater effectiveness. In Bulgaria we
have introduced uniﬁ ed standards which are in accord with international require-
ments. The national centre for interlending is the National Library named after “St.
St. Cyril and Methodius”. The work is done on the basis of mutual cooperation
between libraries in the country acting as a uniﬁ ed system.
In the next few years it is expected that several factors will have a strong
inﬂ uence on the organizational side of interlending. They will have an effect on
its development in the country as well as in its relations with partners abroad. Two
important points are mentioned below:
–The ﬁ rst is connected with the ﬁ nancing of interlending. As stated, with the
reduction of funds for acquisition, the effects of the libraries will be directed at
assuring access to more of the documents through interlending. There will be a
considerable increase of orders to foreign libraries and mostly to Western Europe.
Unfortunately our libraries have no foreign currency for this purpose. A way out
of the situation will be sought by using internal reserves of the libraries. In this
respect we rely on extension of contacts with libraries in Western countries as well
as ﬁ nancial support from international organizations, programs and foundations;
– The ﬁ nancial difﬁ culties have been complicated by another factor. Up to now
80% of the requests for interlending were supplied by Soviet Union libraries and
libraries from former socialist countries under very favourable conditions. With
the transition to a market economy in these countries it is expected there will be a
change in payments and tariffs;
–The other restricting factor in the ﬁ eld of interlending is the low level of
technological development of libraries in Bulgaria. There are no automated library
systems, just a few libraries that have telex. There are not enough photocopy
machines. Because of all these problems the volume of supply of requests in
interlending has decreased;
–The lagging behind technologically of the libraries in Bulgaria is making
the process of integration with European resources very difﬁ cult. The introducing
of new technologies and equipment is a condition for meeting contemporary
Has interlending a future? Undoubtedly – yes! Besides purely pragmatic
tasks there are much larger issues in the idea of universal access to knowledge.
With the increasing role of interlending, we must point out ﬁ rmly that it is part of
the mechanism of the future common European information area. Let's make it
DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL AUTOMATED LIBRARY
INFORMATION NETWORK (NALIN) IN BULGARIA*
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Libraries in Bulgaria are at a crossroads. As a result of the global changes
in society and the resulting new demands for library and information services,
Bulgarian librarians are faced with having to ﬁ nd solutions to a number of extremely
These Bulgarian library system changes are, however, occurring during very
difﬁ cult economic times in Bulgaria; thus a major complication is the issue of severe
shortages. There are sharp cuts in library acquisitions and limited introduction of
new technologies. For example, compared to 1986, prices in 1991 escalated 8 to
10 times, while the budget of university libraries for 1991 was only 3.9 times more
than that for 1986. Consequently, library book acquisitions in 1991 were only
57.4 percent, of that in 1981. The acquisition of periodicals ratio is even less: 47.7
These extreme budget constraints actually mean that Bulgarian scientists are
basically completely cut off from international sources of information. The paradox
is that in this period of democratization, accessibility of information is actually
decreased instead of being increased. This inaccessibility is magniﬁ ed further by
* Dimchev, A. Development of National Automated Library Information Network (NALIN)
in Bulgaria. In: Perspectives in Higher Education Reform. Papers from the Third Annu. Conf. of the
Alliance of Univ. for Democracy, held in Krakow, 8–12 Nov., 1992. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1993,
** The project to create a National Automated Library Information Network (NALIN) has
been developed on the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and the Open Society Fund – Soﬁ a by
a research team led by Research Associate Alexander Dimchev (University Library, “St Kliment
Ohridski” University of Soﬁ a) with the following members: Research Associate Maria Kapitanova
(University Library, “St. Kliment Ohridski” University of Soﬁ a); Senior Research Associate Alexandra
Dipchikova (“St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library); Senior Research Associate Maria
Argirova (Central Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences); Research Associate Slavyanka
Skoptsova (“St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library); Research Associate Aneta Doncheva
(“St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library); Tanya Voynikova (“St. St. Cyril and Methodius”
National Library); Research Associate Milen Angelov (Central Institute for Scientiﬁ c and Technical
Information); Roumen Chernaev. In the course of their work on the project, the team was assisted with
materials kindly provided by: Research Associate Ani Krusteva (Institute of Philosophical Sciences
– Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Irena Stefanova (Central Scientiﬁ c and Technical Library), Bianca
Ilieva (Central Institute for Scientiﬁ c and Technical Information) and Todorka Nikolova (“St. St. Cyril
and Methodius” National Library).
The material was prepared between February 1, 1992 and January 10, 1993.
the difﬁ culties arising from the slow introduction of automation in the country.
According to 1989 data, only and 136 libraries and informational departments
worked with computers and furthermore there are still no uniﬁ ed standards for the
introduction of automated information systems. Libraries, lacking the necessary
equipment and funding for computerization, generally tend to automate only
separate processes and modules, and as such, only several libraries in the country
have adopted a strategy for the creation of integrated systems. They use different
software, equipment, and information retrieval languages. The number of specialists
with qualiﬁ cations required for the development and implementation of automation
projects is very limited, and the state has no formulated policy with respect to the
issues of automation. The condition of telecommunications in Bulgaria is also a
Coordination of efforts by libraries is a possible solution for library stabilization
in the present complicated economic situation. This can be done in two ways:
creation of library stock and introduction of new information technologies with
the aim being cost-effectiveness and improvement of the efﬁ ciency of library
processing and services to all libraries.
The idea for the creation of a National Automated Library and Information
Network (NALIN) was based on similar considerations. The goal of the project
will be to formulate a strategy for the development of a national automated library
network. Developing a strategy ﬁ rst involves determining the basic priorities – in
our case, the conditions in which exchange of information among libraries will be
possible. The uniﬁ ed library, technical processing and communication standards, and
the use of compatible equipment and software are also of immediate importance.
The project is being developed on suggestions from and with the active support
of the Open Society Fund in Soﬁ a and the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture. It should
be noted that in the last two years alone, the Open Society Fund’s support for various
libraries all over the country is estimated to be $370,000 and 1.5 mil leva.
There are two basic approaches to the development of the NALIN project:
analysis of the state of the library and information infrastructure in the country
and project design of a national automated library and information network. These
approaches have two main characteristics. Their systematic nature assumes that the
object of research is analyzed in the aggregate of its internal and external, horizontal
and vertical links. Its alternative nature assumes that the elaborated model is not
totally completed. It is sufﬁ ciently open to accept new and improved technologies.
The project takes into consideration all factors concerning the existing
library infrastructure in the country, the traditions in the library system, and the
contemporary tendencies in state-of-the-art information technologies. It also makes
an evaluation of the risk factors which may hinder library automation and lead
to in-compatibility between the separate automated systems. The following tasks
and immediate objectives are to be solved by NALIN: ensure wider access to
information and library stock, provide better services to readers, improve intra-
library cooperation, and further promote international cooperation among libraries
and easier access to foreign databases.
NALIN will be designed as a network consistent with local systems. The
local automated systems, providing information about their library stock, can be
represented as nodes of this network with each node being directly linked to the
other. The links depend on the type and location of the given nodes. The functions
of each node will be determined by its operational, technical, and programming
aptitude. One of the nodes will be centrally located and will maintain the union book
and periodical catalogues. The central node is expected to be located at the National
Library and will perform several additional functions: National Bibliography
maintenance; National Library databases maintenance; on-line access to current
databases, and provision of a wide range of additional services and products.
Each library will supply the central node with the information required for the
databases of the union catalogues. Members of the network will consist of libraries
which play a role in the formation of the National Library Stock. Any library
interested using information from the union catalogues can become a customer,
Thus, NALIN is to be a truly national system open to all libraries dependent on
their level of technological progression of automation and networking.
The project team is trying to plan long-term solutions. Planning documents had
to be submitted by the end of the 1992 year. Implementation will depend, however,
on the potential of each library in Bulgaria.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that we have received valuable assistance
and advice from the team of experts from the Alliance of the Universities for
Democracy (including Dr. L. Evans Roth) who are currently working on the project
“A Regional Library and Information System for Central and Eastern Europe.”
We appreciate very much their advice and look forward to future opportunities for
cooperation, especially in view of the similar issues and aspects of our projects.
LIBRARY AUTOMATION STRATEGY IN BULGARIA*
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Libraries in Bulgaria are the principal places for the storage and dissemination
of knowledge and information. At present, these libraries are at crossroads, being
faced with a number of difﬁ cult problems that await a solution. These problems
have been caused by the global changes in society, its democratization and transition
to a market-oriented economy, as well as the new trends regarding the social
expectations from the library information sector. The changes in the library sphere
have been accompanied by many restrictions resulting from the severe economic
crisis in which the country currently ﬁ nds itself. This has led to substantial cuts
in the information resources of libraries, as well as to their reduced potential to
introduce new in-formation technologies.
The surmounting difﬁ culties in the development of libraries require a new
policy and coordinated efforts on the part of library specialists for solving common
The project to create a National Automated Library Information Network
(NALIN) has been developed on the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and the
Open Society Fund – Soﬁ a. The material was prepared between February 1, 1992
and January 10, 1993.
The principal objectives of the project are:
– Analysis of the state of the major research libraries in the country;
– Strategy for the development of the automation of the national library
The following methods were used for attaining the objectives and tasks
formulated: questionnaires, statistical analysis, comparative analysis, analysis and
synthesis of scientiﬁ c publications and documentation.
The analysis of the state of the libraries and the determination of the
parameters of NALIN involved the sending of questionnaires to 100 major
libraries in the country: the central research libraries, the libraries of the higher
education institutions, the research libraries, special libraries and large public
* Dimchev, A. Library Automation Strategy in Bulgaria. In:Perspectives in Higher Education
Reform.Papers from the Fourth Annu. Conf. of the Alliance of Univ. for Democracy, held in Budapest,
7–11 Nov. 1993. Кnoxville, Tennessee, 1994, p. 227–232.
The ﬁ nal analysis was performed on the basis of 59 research libraries only,
because the data in the remaining questionnaires was incomplete and could not be
used for the study. The libraries that were analyzed have been divided into three
– Central research libraries, comprising six libraries;
– Higher education institution libraries, comprising 29 libraries of universities,
higher teaching, economic, technical, medical and agricultural institutes, as well as
higher institutes of the arts and sports;
– Research libraries, comprising 24 libraries in different regions of the
The material is intended for three groups of users – decision makers, library
specialists throughout the country, foreign organizations and foundations which
might be interested and could offer some assistance to Bulgarian libraries.
The NALIN Project, its software and hardware, are to be subjected to expert
evaluation with a view to reaching a ﬁ nal decision on them.
In Bulgaria, work on automation of libraries and information units started at
the end of the 1980s. The results achieved in this respect are more than modest.
The main reason for the poor state of automation in the libraries is the lack of
state policy on the problems of library automation and of information services as
a whole, which has led to, among others, limited ﬁ nancing of library automation,
insufﬁ ciently trained library specialists for work with computers and specialists
in library automation, a lack of coordination among the libraries during the initial
period of introducing automation, and a Lack of project for building a national
network which would unite the existing system in the country. The lagging behind
is also due to the fact that one cannot yet rely on the country’s telecommunication
network. A new policy in the sphere of library information services is needed to
unite the efforts of libraries to work together and implement automation.
The main objective of the NALIN Project is to propose a strategy for the
automation of the national library network. The implementation of the project
would help to improve the activities of libraries throughout the country, information
services would become more sophisticated, and there would be opportunity for
an international exchange of information through the functioning in-formation
networks in Europe and in the world.
NALIN will be built as a network having one centralized unit, the number
of sub-units being equal to the number of participants. Being an open system,
it will maintain an unlimited number of sub-units. It could also involve
local and global net-works built on a territorial or institutional level. However,
the materialization of this idea is unthinkable without active state involvement,
manifested mainly in building the points of support for NALIN in the following
sequence: setting up a centralized unit, establishing integrated library information
systems at the central scientiﬁ c libraries, and setting up integrated library information
systems in the libraries of higher education institutions and universities.
In building NALIN, priority will be given to the automation of individual
libraries, proportional to their inﬂ uence on the entire library infrastructure in
the country. NALIN will offer three pat-terns of information gathering from the
libraries and the supply of information to consumers through telecommunication,
on technical carriers, and on paper.
This is required by the different degrees of automation of the libraries and of
the users. The adoption of this technology would allow more libraries and users to
participate in the network and to use automated union catalogues.
The building of NALIN should be based on the existing library system in the
country. NALIN should incorporate the major libraries whose stocks make up the
National Library Stock. This includes the “St. St. Ciril and Methodius” National
Library, together with the other central scientiﬁ c libraries; and the libraries of higher
education institutions. Other libraries which should also be actively involved in the
building of NALIN are the general research libraries.
For realization of the project, it is necessary to form a centralized unit, referred
to as base centre. The base centre of NALIN should perform the following basic
– Collect the information needed for compiling Automated Union Catalogues
– Control this information both with respect to adherence of standards adopted
in the country and with respect to its reliability.
– Build and maintain the authority control of the information.
– Build and update a list of subject headings. Guarantee access to the available
databases on-line or in batch mode.
Guarantee access to the available databases online or in batch mode.
– Guarantee access to other databases in the base centre, as well as in the other
centres in the country or abroad.
– Provide an opportunity for electronic mail.
The libraries offering information about their stocks to the base centre for
the building of the national databases will be referred to as units of NALIN.
Individual units can be directly connected either because they are similar in
type, or according to the territorial principle, determining for themselves the
functions, the rights and the obligations of the participants in the subsets of
NALIN. Each unit will perform the functions for which it has the respective
functional, technical and program facilities within the conﬁ guration of the
national library system. Each unit’s main functions will be to provide current
information about its stocks, which are a component of the databases maintained
at the nation-al level, using telecommunication means or some technical carrier,
depending on the technical facilities available in the concrete library; to provide
information services to its users on-line or by traditional methods, using the
national databases; to make avail-able its on-line catalogues for general use, if
it has to build its own automated system; and to perform the functions deﬁ ned
in the network at a lower level.
The links between the base centre and the individual units of NALIN will
depend on the functions which they will perform in this automated environment.
In practice, the individual units will maintain their individual links, expanding and
improving their quality with the help of the automation introduced at the local and
The efﬁ cient functioning of NALIN requires several things. First, it is the strict
stipulation on the rights and obligations of the participants. Also, adoption of the
necessary library-bibliographic standards and their strict implementation, selection of
one common and one or two additional classiﬁ cation patterns to be used for the linguistic
support of information retrieval in the databases. It also would require compatibility
between the hardware and the software of the base centre and of the individual units
which would guarantee unimpeded contact, as well as compliance of the hardware and
software solutions in telecommunication with national and international norms.
The software and hardware should meet some basic requirements, including
the guarantee of building and maintaining the AUC. They should enable the
formation and maintenance of an integrated library system which is to automate all
activities in a library. They should be guaranteed to work with at least two alphabets
– extended Cyrillic and extended Latin. They should make sure that the system is
open, guarantee compatibility between the components of the system at the different
user levels, provide an opportunity for interlibrary exchange of data, which should
be automated to a certain extent, secure retrieval in databases on optical disks,
secure retrieval in other bibliographic or factual databases in the base centre, in the
country and abroad, and should provide electronic mail.
As for the software, the following software products were analyzed: ALEPH,
VTLS, NOTIS, DOBIS/LIBIS, and SDS/ISIS.
Several different solutions are proposed in the project, providing the participating
libraries with hardware, depending on their aims, ﬁ nancial potential, tasks, etc.
During the work of the project, very valuable expert advice and support
was received by a team of experts headed by Professor L. Evans Roth from The
University of Tennessee. The team was sent by the Alliance of Universities for
Democracy according to its library project.
Several days ago, we received the opinion of the referees for the project. That
is why I would like to take this opportunity to cordially thank Dr. Evans Roth and
his team, as well as the Alliance as a whole, for their very effective help and support
of the project.
I would hope that our future collaboration will proceed and be even more
effective than now.
Building and Development of a National Library Information Network [Draft]. Soﬁ a: Ministry of
Culture; Open Society Fund, 1993. 114 p.
IMPLEMENTING NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
IN A UNIVERSITY LIBRARY*
Alexander Dimchev, Ph. D.
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski” is the oldest and the most prestigious
university in Bulgaria. It is the national university of the country. 20,000 students
are being educated in it in 16 faculties, including 70 specialties.
The recent changes in the educational policy of Soﬁ a University (SU) are
inextricably bound up with a reform in the ﬁ eld of library and information service
of the scientists and students. In this process special attention is being paid to the
implementation of new information technologies (NIT) in the University Library
(UL). The following changes are taking place: automation of the library processes,
implementation of CD ROM data bases, and the use of other data bases on-line.
The settlement of the questions in those directions is being realized step by step
in a situation of serious ﬁ nancial difﬁ culties. That is connected with a change in the
library technology, overcoming of psychological barriers, breaking of traditions,
using new decisions etc.
Automation of the Library Processes
The University Library is a united centralized system consisting of the Central
Library (CL) and 25 faculty libraries (FL) located far from each other. The library
is one of the biggest scientiﬁ c libraries in the country. IT possesses 1.7 million
volumes. About 40,000 monographs as well as about 5,200 periodical titles enter
the library annually. 22,000 are the readers of the University Library.
The automation of such a library is a complicated case. Two approaches have
been accepted in the University Library because of speciﬁ c circumstances.
The ﬁ rst is connected with the building of an Automated Library-information
System (ALIS) based on a local personal computer network in the Central Library.
This model was accepted mainly because of the ﬁ nancial restrictions in the UL.
The building of the network began in 1990. The network includes a server and 25
automated work stations – personal computers. In order to meet the needs of the
* Dimchev, A. Implementing New Information Technologies in a University Library. In:
Perspectives in Higher Education Reform. Papers from the Fifth Annu. Conf. of the Alliance of Univ.
for Democracy, held in Prague, 6–9 Nov., 1994. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1995, p. 91–96.
library, application library software “Automated Library” (AL) was worked out. It has
been prepared on the basis of data base management system “CLIPPER” including its
own program language “C” and “ASSEMBLER”. ALIS includes the basic activities
and processes in the University Library. It consists of the following technological
lines: books periodicals, other information media, classiﬁ cators, circulation, book
exchange, and analytical processing of sources, preparation of information products
and meeting the requirements of the information search statistics.
Created in this way the ALIS satisﬁ es the needs of the UL partially. Its main
purpose is to serve the library processes in the Central Library. The question
concerning the connection as well as the exchange of information with the Soﬁ a
University faculty libraries and the other libraries too is left open.
That was the reason why we had to look for another decision that would
satisfy the needs of the University Library to the highest degree. That idea has been
developed in the second approach. With reference to this a project for building an
Integrated Automated Library Information System (IALIS) has been worked out.
1. Aim and Tasks of the Project
The building of an automated system in the UL must ﬁ nd solution to the
• Complete automation of the library information activities of the UL aiming
at optimizing the processes in the UL and achieving qualitatively new level in its
• Operation of IALIS as a subsystem of the university information system
(UIS) of Soﬁ a University;
• Development of IALIS as one of the main components of the infrastructure
in building the National Automated Library Network in Bulgaria;
• Exchange of information between IALIS and external users-information
centres and data bases (DBs) in Bulgaria and abroad;
• Training of UL users for work with the new information technologies.
2. IALIS Architecture
IALIS architecture is of fundamental importance. The automation system
is planned to be developed by building a processing communication host in the
Central Library. About 150 automated workstations situated in the Central Library,
as well as in the faculty libraries will be connected to it. IALIS should also be able
to achieve communication with: the university information system, the libraries of
the institutes of higher education all over the country, other scientiﬁ c libraries in the
country, databases from other countries.
3. Applications of the System
The system must cover all basic activities and processes in acquisitions, serials,
cataloguing, circulation, reference services, statistics etc.
4. Outputs of the System
IALIS must ensure access to a computer catalogue for its users in on-line
regime. It must offer a great variety of outputs both on traditional and nontraditional
information media, as well as exchange of information by telecommunications.
5. IALIS Equipment Requirements
As far as the hardware and software equipment is concerned, it is required
that it should correspond to the most contemporary achievements of building up
automated library systems. The following requirements should be observed: multi-
user regime, distributed access to resources, centralized data bases, backing up and
restoring of the Data Base, rate of information search, reliability and protection of
the system and information saving the investments, use of the most recent hardware
for input and storage of information scanners, optical media, bar code etc., use of
international standards in the ﬁ eld of computer technologies aiming at achieving
access and exchange of information systems and DBs, and expansion and ﬂ exibility
of IALIS, corresponding to the changes of the information technologies and multi-
The realization of IALIS in the UL is now in progress. Owing to sponsors
– such as DIGITAL, the Open Society Foundation etc. as well as funds of the UL,
the necessary hardware and soft-ware were purchased. For the purpose of building
a central communication knot a VAX machine 4000 working under operation
system VMS was supplied. Thus the necessary multi-user system is being ensured.
Technical devices for achieving communications with local and remote automated
workstations have been provided. As far as the application software is concerned
the program product ALEPH of the Israeli ﬁ rm “EX LIBRIS” has already been
supplied and is being adapted at present. This program can maintain an integrated
library information system and suits the UL requirements.
According to the project and the contract between the UL and the ﬁ rm “EX
LIBRIS” the system should start operating at the beginning of 1995. After the
implementation of IALIS, the library service in Soﬁ a University is expected to
improve substantially. It is also expected from the UL to become one of the central
knots in the National Automation Library Information Network.
CD ROM Data Base Application
Another essential element in the UL policy, while implementing new information
technologies, is the use of CD ROMs. The use of compact disks in the library is at the
very beginning. The cause for that is again the limited funding. The library is trying to
ﬁ nd way out of this situation by looking for sponsorship, as well as by coordinating its
activities and efforts with other libraries. In the context of this division, the problem
with the use of CD ROMs in the UL is being settled. The main sponsor is the Open
Society Foundation through its project “Compact disk”. The purchase of 16 CD ROM
DBs was ﬁ nanced by the foundation ac-cording to the main idea of the project. These
16 CD ROMs cover main scientiﬁ c branches for which there is either scarce or no
information in the corresponding libraries in the country.
The selection of the data bases is realized by the Board of Directors of the big
scientiﬁ c libraries in the country.
The aim of the project is to help the scientists and students in the country
by making scientiﬁ c information available; help the scientiﬁ c libraries with the
implementation of new information technologies; improve the libraries information
service; contribute to the training of the users for work with CD ROM DBs and
coordinate the work of the libraries
According to the distribution of the data bases, the library of Soﬁ a University
receives 5 DBs:
– SCIENCE CITATION INDEX;
– ARTS AND HUMANITIES CITATION INDEX;
– ERIC – CD PLUS;
– JUSTIS SELEX – BIOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS.
Apart from these DBs the UL will buy POLTOX, LIFE SCIENCES
COLLECTIONS, BEILSTAIN CURRENT FACTS IN CHEMISTRY An increase
in the number of titles is being planned. These plans are due both to the serious
advantages of using CD ROMs and the fact that telecommunications in Bulgaria
are in a very bad state and this can be an obstacle in the process of using external
DBs on-line. A serious problem that may arise from using DBs on CD ROM for
information service in the UL is providing the original copies. This question is
connected with the more general issue of using DB on CD ROM at the UL.
A special hall will be used for the purposes of training the users for working with
CD ROMs in the UL. The hall will be equipped with an info-server connected to the
integrated library information system of the UL. This will provide an easy access
Using External Data Bases On-line
An important aspect of the UL policy for new information technologies
implementation is the usage of external DBs on-line. The library has certain
experience in this matter. In the beginning of the 80s the UL started to offer its
customers information from external DBs. This process is carried out with the active
cooperation of the Central Institute for Scientiﬁ c and Technical Information – Soﬁ a.
During the last 2 years the UL signed contracts for on-line access to world famous
DIALOG and STN DBs. This is a substantial progress in the ﬁ eld of automated
The implementation of new information technologies in the library-information
service is a trend that has to be followed by the Soﬁ a University during the next
years, regardless of the difﬁ culties that may arise. This can increase our chances for
prosperity in a world where information is a strategic resource and the world itself
is gradually becoming an information megalopolis.
THE BULGARIAN LIBRARIES IN THE TRANSITIONAL
Alexander Dimchev, Ph. D.
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
The libraries are the oldest, the most numerous and widespread cultural and
information institutions in Bulgaria. They have satisﬁ ed certain social needs during
the different periods of their development. The contemporary Bulgarian libraries
originate in the middle of the last century when the ﬁ rst public libraries were created.
The ﬁ rst scientiﬁ c libraries were founded at the end of the 19th century. Lately, during
the 45 years between 1944 and 1989, as a result of the imposing of the socialist social
and economic, system librarianship was inﬂ uenced by the principles of the strong
ideological interference of the state in library activities and by the uniﬁ cation and
centralization of library management. The legal and administrative acts of this period
are directed to creating a United Library System. It is characterized with centralized
hierarchic structure and strong subordination and dependence connections. The
development of librarianship in the other ex-socialist countries from Central and
Eastern Europe is similar.
In the Republic of Bulgaria a system consisting of different kinds of libraries has
been built. The situation of the libraries at present is interesting and dramatic. Due to
the changes in the social system in the country, substantial changes in librarianship
are taking place. This is revealed very clearly in the disintegration of the existing
centralized structures – inoperative, artiﬁ cially created libraries are being closed
because of lack of funds, closing of the institutions, that had created them, as well
as because their functions have not been properly deﬁ ned. Changes towards a new
management and development policy are being introduced in Bulgarian libraries. This
is carried out under the circumstances of a serious ﬁ nancial crisis and the transition
towards a free market economy in the country. Being set in this situation, along
with the questions concerning their survival and the search for ways for providing
reliable information for their customers, the libraries turn their attention towards the
future– searching for new ﬁ nancial, organisational and management mechanisms,
introducing new information technologies. The Bulgarian libraries would not like to
be isolated from the idea of the Global Information Infrastructure, either.
* Dimchev, A. The Bulgarian Libraries in the Transitional Period. In: 5th Conference of
Librarians in International Development[CD ROM].Kansas City, Missoury, April 30 – May 2, 1995.
Emporia State University, 1996.
Which are the most characteristic aspects at present in the formation of the library
model in Bulgaria?
State Policy in Library Management
The question of making changes in the legislation concerning library management
as well as the deﬁ nition of the state obligations towards the libraries, are matters that
need urgent solutions. Despite the fact that new regulations have been prepared, the
old socialist ones are still in effect. Such is, for example, the government decree from
1970 for the creation of a centralized hierarchal United Library System in Bulgaria.
Nowadays, when the social and economic situation is undergoing substantial changes,
regulations as above mentioned restrain the development of libraries. This is a very
worrying situation. There is an existing paradox of inefﬁ cient old and of missing
new legislation state policy. This leads to serious problems and a lot of libraries lose
the support of the institutions that were responsible for them. The ministries and
institutions that have libraries and library networks still have not developed programs
and are not following a deﬁ nite policy towards their libraries. That is a very worrying
fact too, especially now, when the library infrastructure is undergoing such serious
changes and there is a need for protectionism in the policy towards libraries. At present
there is a serious crisis in the library information sector. The accepted policy in the ex-
socialist countries for a sharp withdrawal of the state from the management of different
spheres of society in the period of transition to market economy is now seriously
questioned. It tends to be exchanged with the idea of more intense participation of the
state in these spheres, followed by very gradual diminishing of its role.
The new regulations are waiting to be passed in parliament or accepted by the
government. They take into consideration the contemporary conditions, as well as
the traditions in the Bulgarian libraries and the tendencies in library legislation in
the other leading countries. They deﬁ ne the statute of the libraries and will guarantee
more independence for them in the circumstances of decentralization and free market
economy. The major libraries in the national library information system are also deﬁ ned
in these new regulations, as well as some basic rules with regard to the possibilities
for individual development. The obligations of the state and its responsibilities for
coordinating the libraries are deﬁ ned in these proposals, as well, and the Ministry of
Culture is authorized as the state institution that will implement the state policy in the
ﬁ eld of library management.
The Bulgarian Library system is considerably well organized for a small country
as Bulgaria and consists of a great number of libraries differing in type and purpose.
By 1993 the total number of libraries is 8,587. For the period from 1989 to the
beginning of 1993 the number of libraries has diminished by 760. This process is due
to the fact that ﬁ nancial reasons force the closing not only of inefﬁ cient libraries but
also of good libraries with established positions. A number of the existing libraries
do not provide services for their customers and are practically frozen because of the
ﬁ nancial crisis. The university libraries have increased by 10 as a result of founding
new universities in the country. Their role in providing information services for both
their readers and customers from other institutions is expected to grow considerably
in the near future.
The major libraries in the national library information system with the biggest
contributions are the following:
– “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library – founded in 1878. Its holdings
consist of about 7 million library units. It is the archives of Bulgarian literature, centre
of the national bibliography and a scientiﬁ c institute;
– Central scientiﬁ c libraries – 5 libraries. They provide specialized library
information services, according to their proﬁ le. They are founded mainly at universities
and academies and their holdings consist of about 10 million units in total;
– University libraries – about 40 libraries;
– Regional libraries – 27 libraries. They are public libraries with regional
The basic weak points concerning the library infrastructure in the country are as
– insufﬁ cient investments;
– law quality equipment;
– lack of appropriate buildings and environment;
– difﬁ culties in adapting to the changes in the ﬁ eld of information
– lack of well qualiﬁ ed personnel, familiar with the contemporary information
technologies, international standards and regulations;
– lack of coordination among the libraries with regard to their activities and
The major investor in libraries still is the state budget – state ﬁ nancing from the
republican budget through the corresponding ministries and institutions and through
the municipal budget. In the last years there is a growth in the donations given to the
libraries and the libraries seek ways to promote this process.
The analyses of library ﬁ nancing shows a strong decrease of the funds and that
is a result from the economic crisis in the country.
The main characteristics of the ﬁ nance situation of Bulgarian libraries are the
– Many of the libraries proved to be unprepared to determine their needs on
the basis of the previous budget and the new inﬂ ation prices. The inﬂ ation has a
total value of 850% for the period 1990–1994. At the same time the library budgets
received far less compensations;
– The funds for ﬁ nancing the libraries are being distributed very irregularly
during the years as far as the expenditure is concerned. In most of the cases the budget
has not been deﬁ ned according to strategic planning, but to occasional values and
– All funds for construction and technical equipment have been frozen;
– The main part from the budget is the fund for salaries – 30% for the central
scientiﬁ c libraries, 40% for the university libraries and 43% for the regional libraries.
Taking into account that the average salary per month in the libraries is $80–100 this
high percentage for salaries shows that the budgets are very low. There are libraries
where almost the whole budget is spent only on salaries. For that reason since 1990,
in many libraries, the staff has been reduced;
– Very drastic is the decrease of funds, spent on the purchase of books, serials
and other kinds of information sources. There is a clearly expressed tendency towards
a strong decrease in the current acquisition of books and serials in the libraries. There
has also been a considerable decrease of the foreign sources in the library holdings.
This affects especially the serials collections from the western countries – the USA,
Germany, England, France etc. The sources in Russian, which have always traditionally
existed very strongly in the Bulgarian libraries, are decreasing considerably. All that
caused negative results and information deﬁ ciency for society. For example, according
to the Ministry of Science and Education report, the information support of Bulgarian
higher education has diminished 20 times during the last 5 years;
– The investments in the ﬁ eld of the new information technologies are very
insufﬁ cient – 1–2% in certain big libraries.
Except the above pointed characteristics, there are other problems at present
connected with the library ﬁ nancing. I would like to point out the following: There is
not a clear concept concerning the priorities in the national library policy, as well as
in the policy on regional and administration level. The library managers are still not
experienced how to manage the libraries in the new market economy situation. There
are no well-considered ﬁ nancial models for library maintenance with stated expense
priorities, possibilities of reducing expenditures as well as possible sources of income
and return of some of the expenses.
Those problems correspond to the general situation, development and future of
the libraries in Bulgaria.
Cooperation of Libraries
Nowadays there is a better understanding of the importance of establishing and
maintaining the communications among libraries. While there was centralized library
management in the state, the problem of communications consisted mainly in the
lack of diversity of interlibrary contacts. At present each library should reconsider all
the possible ways of communicating with other libraries and library networks and to
choose those ways that suit best their ﬁ nancial and professional interests.
The most common interlibrary contacts are:
– Participation in library networks that differ in region, administration and
– Coordination through participation in inter-administration commissions for
different library activities.
Implementation of New Information Technologies
The democratization process requires free movement of the information ﬂ ows,
quick and easy access to them and wide use of updated information for the needs
of education, science, culture and economics. This process can be stimulated by
Bulgaria`s willingness to take part in the international information exchange.
There are many contradictions between the growing needs and the inability of the
existing library information resources to satisfy them due to the fact that the existing
resources are organized according to the traditional technologies.
There is understanding in Bulgaria that library system should be changed
with regard to a new technological base. Attempts of automating library activities
in Bulgaria date back to the 70s but the results achieved were very insigniﬁ cant.
These attempts consisted mainly of implementing separate modules for automating
different library activities. Integrated automated library information systems are also
introduced in Bulgaria but most of them have very limited range. The databases are
mainly bibliographic with limited volume. There are no technological and functional
links among the different systems. The basic reasons for the existing unsatisfactory
level of library automation in Bulgaria at present are as follows:
– Extremely limited investments for library automation;
– Lack of coordination among the libraries during the realization of different
– Problems connected to the necessary standardization;
– Lack of enough specialists in the ﬁ eld of library automation.
During the last couple of years there is a signiﬁ cant change in the ﬁ eld of library
automation despite the serious ﬁ nancial problems. This is largely due to the serious
support by “Open Society” Foundation and by other organizations and programs like
TEMPUS, PHARE etc.
The Ministry of Culture and the “Open Society” Foundation developed a project
for “Building and Development of a National Automated Library Information
Network (NALIN)” in order to solve the existing problems. The major aim of the
project is to work out a strategy for the automation of the national library network.
It includes solutions based on cooperation, coordination and priorities deﬁ nition
that will help the process of automated information resources in a way that will be
ﬁ nancially efﬁ cient.
NALIN should be built as a network consisting of local systems. Local
systems, as nodes in the national network, will save and offer information
about their library holdings. One of the nodes will maintain the national union
catalogues, as well as the current national bibliography. This node, according to
the existing traditions, will be the National Library. The different local systems
will have a direct communication line among themselves. Each local system will
function according to its technical, technological and software resources. NALIN
should be an open system, supporting unlimited number of nodes and allowing
both local and global network access. Participation in NALIN will be voluntary,
based on mutual beneﬁ t. The big libraries – National library, Central scientiﬁ c
libraries, University libraries and Regional libraries will be the major participants
The realization of a number of nodes in NALIN is already in progress. The
building of 25 local networks is under way. The current National Bibliography has
already been automated. Establishing communications among libraries will start
Another aspect of the implementation of new information technologies is
related to the usage on CD ROM databases. With regard to this the project “Compact
Disc”, sponsored by “Open Society” Foundation is of great interest. “Open Society”
Foundation has bought CD ROM Databases containing information in major
scientiﬁ c ﬁ elds, for which the information in Bulgaria is scarce or missing. These
databases are concentrated in leading scientiﬁ c libraries, providing services for the
majority of scientists in these ﬁ elds.
Some libraries already have on line access to the databases in international
information centres, such as DIALOG, STN etc. and the establishment of
communications with BITNET and INTERNET is in progress.
Despite the serious problems, the implementation of the new information
technologies is under way.
The following conclusions apply to all the libraries in Bulgaria and sum up the
– It is necessary to reconsider all the existing legislation in this ﬁ eld and to pass
efﬁ cient new laws;
– A general priority vision in library management should be approved and
implemented in corresponding strategic plans and programs;
– Connections of all types among libraries should be stimulated as this will help
overcome some of the difﬁ culties and will lead to providing better services for the
– It is necessary to develop ﬂ exible models for ﬁ nancing the libraries for both
the implementation of new information technologies and for enrichment of their
– Short-term implementation of information technologies is also necessary;
– The range of services provided by the libraries should be optimized and
– The staff should undergo qualiﬁ cation courses;
– The equipment of the libraries should be widened and improved.
Carrying out all these tasks will take a lot of investments, resources and time. But
Bulgarian libraries have no other option. They should follow that way if they want to
feel more conﬁ dent in our information society world.
Building and Development of a National Automated Library Information Network. [Draft]. Soﬁ a:
Ministry of Culture; Open Society Fund, 1993. 170 p.
NEW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
IN BULGARIAN LIBRARIES*
Alexander Dimchev, Ph. D.
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Deep changes in the global informational infrastructure have altered principally
the library. The Bulgarian libraries are facing the problem of the technological
renewal. This is one of the most important problems that must be decided today.
Thus they will be able to enter in great spirits the Twenty-ﬁ rst century – the century
of the information society.
What is the present situation? In 1992–1993 the Open Society Fund and the
Ministry of Culture prepared jointly a Project for the Building and Development of
a National Automated Library-Information Network (NALIN).
The main aim of the project was to propose a model for automation of the
libraries in the country. The project was of exceptional signiﬁ cance for upgrading
the information services in the libraries to an entirely new technological basis
and to prepare them for inclusion in the international information exchange. The
guiding idea in it is the uniﬁ cation of the efforts of the libraries in the ﬁ eld of
automation with a view to ﬁ nding a most efﬁ cient and cost-effective option under
the conditions of a grave economic crisis in the country. The project outlines the
main priorities and tasks for starting and building of NALIN,
The Project was discussed at expert levels by Bulgarian and foreign specialists,
and it was adopted at a working meeting at the Ministry of Culture. The following
more important decisions were reached:
• The Project is accepted as a model for the development of a national automated
• The Project is to be institutionalized to the rank of state policy in the sphere
of culture, science and education;
• The Ministry of Culture is to coordinate the activities related to the building
and development of NALIN;
• It is necessary to form a “Fund NALIN”, which would ﬁ nance high-priority
tasks of NALIN;
* Dimchev, A. New Information Technologies in Bulgarian Libraries. In: Perspectives in Higher
Education Reform. Papers from the Sixth Annu. Conf. of the Alliance of Univ. for Democracy, held in
Budapest, 5–9 Nov., 1995. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1996, p. 125–129.
• The Ministry of Culture is to ﬁ nance the drafting and adaptation of the
principal standards for NALIN;
• The basic automated centre is to be set up within the National Library and it
is to maintain the national automated union catalogues.
Three years have passed since the drafting phase and adoption of the NALIN
Project. During that period, as well as in the several years preceding it, a number
of libraries in the country actively undertook the introduction of automated
technologies. The processes are dynamic. Certain libraries have succeeded in
attaining good results, others are encountering serious problems. Changes are taking
place in the policy of building of NALIN and in the social requirements to the library
infrastructure. The state failed to take responsibly its obligations for the automation
and the declared priorities in NALIN. Nevertheless, considerable investments for
the conditions in Bulgaria were made for the automation of a number of libraries in
the country. The principal sponsor is the Open Society Fund.
State of the Automation of Libraries in the Country
The ﬁ rst attempts at automation of the library processes in Bulgaria started in
1976. Integrated library systems began to be designed in the country in the 1986–
1987 period. The ﬁ rst in-depth analysis of the state of automation in the libraries in
the country was made in 1992 when the NALIN Project was being prepared. Three
years later: 48 libraries have already attained different levels of automation.
Users of the Databases Created at the Libraries and Serviced
The principal aim and the ﬁ nal effect of the introduction of automation in the
libraries are connected with services rendered to the readers. The effect depends
on the volume and on the diversity of the databases, as well as on the available
opportunities for their utilization.
The still relatively small massifs of records make the process of the servicing
of the users rather difﬁ cult. The databases are still basically used to serve the special
needs of the libraries, being used less for satisfying the needs of the readers in the
respective library and being directed to a lesser extent towards external users.
Substantial databases have been accumulated at the “St. St. Cyril and
Methodius” National Library, the Central Technical Library and the University
Library. This has allowed them to serve more actively not only their own clients,
but also external readers, other libraries and institutions. Great importance in this
process is attached to the automation of the current national bibliography, which
gives an opportunity to the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library and to
all libraries in the country to use its potential and the multiplying effect of servicing
Financial Resources for Building Automated Information Systems
The building of automated library-information systems requires serious
investments. The introduction of automated library technologies in Bulgaria took
place in a period of grave economic crisis. The state did not declare deﬁ nitely its
policy and interference in that sphere. Libraries cannot set aside the necessary funds
for the faster building of automated systems. Some of them deﬁ nitely do not wish
to and cannot risk starting automation of the library processes in such a situation.
Irrespective of the serious ﬁ nancial problems, the libraries which have chosen the
automation option have succeeded in recent years at the expense of many efforts, a
certain compromise and slower rates of implementation of their projects. Actually, a
considerable progress has been achieved in the use of new information technologies
in the services offered by the libraries. It should be pointed out deﬁ nitely that if we
want our libraries to overcome the drastic lagging behind, there is no alternative but
to introduce modern technologies and to build NALIN at accelerated rates, which
requires serious ﬁ nancing.
Funds for Technologies and for Building Local Networks
In the last 3–4 years considerable funds (for the ﬁ nancial resources of the
libraries) were invested for technical equipment for the automation and for building
local networks in certain libraries. These funds come mainly from donations. The
Open Society Fund is the most signiﬁ cant sponsor for the building of NALIN with
its programs Libraries and Specialized Literature and Universities. Other serious
investments for the automation of the libraries were made under the Phare and Frost
programs, by the DIGITAL Company, by UNESCO, etc. Libraries also invest their
own resources to varying degrees in that process.
Conclusions about the State of Library Automation in the Beginning
of 1995 and Proposals for its Development
1. The solutions proposed in the NALIN Project are being implemented faster
than anticipated. There are prerequisites for its gradual building: automation of the
processes in the National Bibliography Centre of the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”
National Library; automation of Central Research Libraries with more sophisticated
computer equipment; compatible hardware and software solutions; control data
massifs are built for Bulgarian and foreign authors.
2. The propagation of the national bibliography on technical carriers is already
a fact. There is a possibility to improve both the quality of the services offered to
the readers and the quality of the machine-readable catalogues built in the libraries
in the country.
3. The elaboration of some missing standards is lagging behind, they do not
require substantial investments, but are important for introducing the automation.
These are: the communication format BULMARC: the publication of the Universal
Decimal Classiﬁ cation (UDC) and of the subject index.
4. The automation of the libraries has reached a new development phase
which should be taken into account in decision-making concerning its subsequent
• to support the building of the base centre, which will be in a position to
Present the databases accumulated at the “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National
Library for general use in the libraries;
• to create conditions and to ﬁ nd the mechanisms for cooperation of the
libraries for building the machine reference catalogue of foreign books at the
• to assist the libraries in which local networks have already been built to
complete the building of their integrated systems, provided that they have completely
mastered the available equipment, possess a reliable software product and have a
clear idea about the completion of the automation process;
• if possible, to create conditions for undertaking automation in libraries which
have defended the building of an automated system with a project.
5. It is necessary for the state to view the ﬁ nancing of the building and
development of NALIN as one of the priorities in the sphere of science, culture and
1. Building and Development of National Automated Library Information Network (NALIN). [Draft].
Soﬁ a: Ministry of Culture & Open Society Fund, 1993. 170 p.
2. Dimchev, A., T. Voynikova. National Automated Library Information Network (NALIN). Three
Years Later. Soﬁ a: Open Society Fund, 1995. 18 p.
ANALYSIS AND PROPOSAL FOR DEVELOPMENT*
Alexander Dimchev, Ph. D.**
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Inception of the Project
In 1994 the “Open Society” Foundation provided the funding for the realization
of the COMPACTDISK Project. This project was an extension of the joint project
of the Ministry of Culture and Open Society Foundation for the establishment of
NALIN Project on the automation of libraries in Bulgaria and linking them in a
The COMPACTDISK Project was compiled at the initiative of the Council
of Directors of the large research libraries in Bulgaria. Worked out at the expert
level the project was coordinated in coordination commissions for acquisitions
and reference services, endorsed by the Council and put before the Open Society
Foundation, Soﬁ a for funding. Behind the project is an effective economic model
for the acquisition of Data Bases based on CD ROM through the coordination of
libraries and the concentration of resources.
Funding of the Project
In 1994 the “Open Society” Foundation – Soﬁ a provided about 97,000 USD
for the purchase of 16 databases (DBs) on CD ROM and another 25,000 USD
for computer equipment and reading units for separate libraries, participants in
the project. In the following years the project envisaged the libraries gradually to
ensure their own subscriptions.
* Dimchev, A. COMPACTDISK Project – the Way for the Future Development of Bulgarian
Libraries.In: Perspectives in Higher Education Reform. Papers from the Seventh Annu. Conf. of the
Alliance of Univ. for Democracy, held in Prague, 3–6 Nov., 1996. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1997, с.
** The project was coordinated by Alexander Dimchev.
Main Goals of the Project
1. To assist researchers, specialists and students from various ﬁ elds with
2. To assist research libraries in the introduction of new information
3. To coordinate and concentrate the efforts of the provision of information.
4. To improve information services in libraries.
5. To assist libraries in funding the purchase of information Data Bases on CD
6. To contribute to the quicker introduction of CD ROM carriers in libraries
and assist in the training of users in work with DBs on CD ROM.
– “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library;
– University Library – Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”;
– Central Medical Library – Medical Academy;
– Central Technological Library;
– Central Agricultural Library – Academy of Agricultural Sciences;
– Library of the University for National and World Economy;
– Library of the Higher Institute of Chemistry and Technologies;
– Library of the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
The above libraries have the necessary facilities and equipment for serving
users. These libraries are specialized in certain ﬁ elds of science and are nationally
responsible for the formation of library collections and serving users in these
branches. These libraries serve the needs of a considerable part of the research
potential of the country and are in on-line access with international information
centres using Internet.
Data Bases, Purchased Under the COMPACTDISK Project – 16 Headings
1. CDMARC – BIBLIOGRAPHIC – CD ROM – 1995;
2. SOCIAL SCIENCE CITATION INDEX WITH ABSTRACTS – 1995;
3. ECONLIT – 1995;
4. Arts and Humanities Citation Index– 1995;
5. ERIC – CD Plus – 1966–1995;
6. JUSTIS CELEX – 1989–1995;
7. Science Citation Index with Abstracts – 1983–1995;
8. Biological Abstracts – 1995;
9. Applied Science and Technology Index – 1983–1995;
10. DAL – Design Automation Library – 1971–1995;
11. CCIS -Computerized Clinical Information Systems – 1995;
12. FSTA – Food Science and Technology Abstracts – 1969–1995;
13. CITIS – 1984–1995;
14. Institute of Management International Databases – 1995;
15. Enviro Energyline Abstracts PLUS – 1986–1995;
16. Chem Bank – 1987–1995.
Selected are among the best bibliographic and abstract Data Bases, of interest
to researchers in and educationalists in Bulgaria. The selection was made by the
Coordination Commission on Acquisition and Coordination Commission on
reference and information activities at the major research libraries. The choice of
DBs was also consulted by leading specialists in their ﬁ eld.
Regulations were adopted in the uniﬁ cation in the provision of service to
separate libraries and facilitating DBs users of the CD ROM. The Regulations
specify the obligations of libraries and terms on receipt of information from Data
Analysis of the Use of DBs on CD ROM
The delivery of the ﬁ rst Data Base of CD ROM began from November 1994.
By April 1995 disks from the remaining DBs were received.
The scientiﬁ c community in Bulgaria was acquainted with the potential of
the COMPACTDISK Project and the serviced provided through brochures, sent to
universities, research institutes, information centres, and libraries. All rectors from
Universities, directors of leading libraries, leading librarians, scientists, students,
representatives of ministries were invited at the University of Soﬁ a at the ofﬁ cial
opening. The project was also covered in the press and television.
The results of the use of CD ROM are as follows:
– Statistics for the January 1995 – March 1996 period show provided information
on 3,573 themes from Data Bases. Most preferred DBs are as follows:
– Science Citation Index Index with Abstracts;
– CDMARC – Bibliographic;
– Biological Abstracts;
– Social Science Citation Index with Abstracts;
– Applied Science and Technology Index;
– CCIS – Computerized Clinical Information Systems;
– Enviro Energyline Abstracts PLUS;
– Chem Bank.
The following Data Bases were used to a lesser extent
– Arts and Humanities Citation Index;
– ERIC – CD Plus;
– JUSTIS CELEX;
– FSTA – Food Science and Technology Abstracts;
The lower indices of use of some Data Bases for this period are the outcome
of the following factors: the absence of traditions for the use of these information
carriers; the absence of accumulated information massifs for longer periods; a
certain delay in the delivery of separate Data Bases. The lesser use of Data bases in
the ﬁ eld of the humanities is typical for the past several years, however gradually
this position is changing.
– 42% of users are external, i.e. they did not fall in the regular readers of
libraries, but come from other libraries. They come from universities from all over
Bulgaria, students, scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and other
institutions, specialists from ﬁ rms, collective users – hospitals, institutes etc.
– Approx. 30% of the users are students. This is a serious achievement,
considering that a conventional information service for students almost did not
provide any reference information.
– CDs ROM were used for the training of library users with the new information
carriers. In separate Universities – the University of Chemical Technologies,
Architecture and Construction, the University of Soﬁ a, training for work with
specialized Data Bases is included in syllabuses of students in the various ﬁ elds.
About 150 students from the Library Science, Scientiﬁ c Information and Cultural
Policy Chair have undergone training in the use of DBs on CD ROM at the
– CDs ROM were actively used for qualiﬁ cation courses for librarians and
information specialists, for the promotion of information massifs and demos, with
a view of their more active implementation in libraries in Bulgaria.
– Data show that for the time of the use of the disks funding was economized
only for the needs of references services of users. If these DBs are used at the same
time on-line via information centres abroad, the sum would be larger. Moreover
CDs are also used for other purposes. The economic effect is enhanced by the fact
that libraries in Bulgaria have accumulated massifs which could be used many
times, at reduced prices and acceptable prices.
1. Beyond doubt the COMPACTDISK Project, sponsored by the Open
Society Foundation has a positive role for the introduction and acceptance
of new information technologies and in particular on CD ROM products in
libraries in Bulgaria. Proof of this is the fact that a number of other libraries
have begun acquiring CD ROM, chieﬂ y in the ﬁ eld of reference editions
(approx. 100 entries).
2. Topical information on principal scientiﬁ c branches of interest to the
research community and education has been provided.
3. A constant policy is necessary for the acquisition of DBs on CD ROM
according to the COMPACTDISK Project. It is essential that libraries should
succeed in maintaining a maximum of DBs, included in them.
II. Proposal for the Development of COMPACTDISK Project
The serious ﬁ nancial difﬁ culties before libraries are hampering the realization
of the idea behind the project – the gradual maintaining of the subscriptions for
the data bases. For this reason only one library succeeded in this respect for 1996,
which has become a threat for the project. This has had a negative impact on the
supply of information for Bulgarian science and education, as well as would result
in loss of invested efforts and funds. A consequence would be the slowing down of
the introduction and use of new technologies and information carriers.
The COMPACTDISK Project should continue its development in future.
Considering the economic crisis in Bulgaria and in particular library system, the
Expert council of the Library Fund after discussions with the Council of Directors
of Large Research Libraries in Bulgaria has turned to the management of the
Regional Library Programme for support of the project in accordance with its
funding programme for library projects in Central and Eastern Europe, as this
would guarantee continuity of the project and ensure scientiﬁ c information and
data on education.
So far the Library Fund has already invested 122,000 USD in the project.
Funding for a three year period would require 114,000 USD for subscriptions
for 11 Data bases for the 1996–1998 period, namely:
1. CDMARC – Bibliographic – CD ROM;
2. Social Science Citation Index with Abstracts;
4. Science Citation Index with Abstracts;
5. Biological Abstracts;
6. Applied Science and Technology Index;
7. CCIS – Computerized Clinical Information Systems;
9. Institute of Management International Databases;
10. Enviro Enegryline Abstracts PLUS;
11. Chem Bank.
The analysis and proposal for the updating of the project were approved by
the Council of Directors of major libraries in Bulgaria on 12th September 1996
The list of Data Bases with the minimum users has been taken out.
The sum has been calculated on the basis of the SWETS CD ROM
CATALOGUE for 1996.
THE CHANGES IN SOCIETY AND BULGARIAN
Soﬁ a University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
Economic and Social Overview of the Situation in Bulgaria
There have been principal changes in society in the Republic of Bulgaria during
the last few years. The model in economics, agriculture, science, education, culture
etc. has gradually been changing. Huge problems characterized this change during
the last year. The country is in a very deep economic and social crisis which can be
illustrated by the following parameters:
• Delay in the structural reform. Slow liquidation of loss-making businesses.
Delay of mass privatisation. The process of mass privatisation started in
1996. 1,000 businesses have been selected for privatization;
• High level of losses in the state sector and negative capital in the banking
• Availability of unutilised production capacity and resources. For example,
only 56% of the land has been returned to its owners;
• Comparatively slow development of the private sector;
• Low level of foreign investments. From 1990 to 1996 investments
mounting to 760 million dollars have been made to the country, mainly for
transport and business. There is no foreign capital for the improvement of
• Internal debt is increasing at a fast rate and repaying it is achieved only at a
high cost for society. External debt amounts to around 11 billion dollars and
60–65% of the state budget is being spent on repaying debts;
• The question concerning initiating a currency board in the country is
being discussed with the International Monetary Fund, aiming to achieve
maximum economic stability;
* Dimchev, A. The Changes in Society and Bulgarian Libraries. In: The Role of Libraries in
Economic Development. Papers from the Conf., held in Ljubjana, 21–23 Apr., 1997. West Yorkshire,
IFLA, p. 47–53.
** This report is based on Librarianship in Bulgaria.– Soﬁ a : ULISO and OSF, 1997. 27 p., as a
source, which has been prepared jointly by: Alexandra Dipchikova, Senior Research Associate, Doc-
tor of Science,“St. St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library; Maria Kapitanova, Research Associ-
ate, University Library “St. Kliment Ohridski” and President of Union of Librarian and Information
Services Ofﬁ cers in Bulgaria; Alexander Dimchev, Research Associate, Doctor of Science, University
Library “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Vice-President of Union of Librarian and Information Services Of-
ﬁ cers in Bulgaria and Boryana Savova, Program Coordinator of the Library Program, Open Society
Foundation – Soﬁ a.
• For 1996 it is expected to reduce the gross domestic product by between
• High budget deﬁ cit – 120% realisation from that determined in the state
• Access to solvent markets has been limited and traditional markets have
been lost. There has been a-decrease in import and export of goods;
• Collapse in the banking system. Bankruptcy of 10 banks is expected and
many banks have been put under ﬁ nancial supervision;
• The National Bank reserve currency has been reduced to 450 million dollars
and, together with gold reserves, amounts to 930 million dollars;
• High inﬂ ation – expected inﬂ ation for 1996 is 300%. The increase in
inﬂ ation is connected to the large reduction of the real income of population.
In Bulgaria one month’s average salary is $20, which is the lowest salary in
• There are 510,000 unemployed, which is around 13% of the active population.
1,000 businesses are threatened with closure and if they are closed, between
400 and 500 thousand people are expected to become unemployed;
• Huge ﬁ nancial difﬁ culties in public health services, science, culture and
education. Insufﬁ cient amounts of money are being allocated to these
areas. For example, the lack of perspective and of ﬁ nancial funds forces
about 50,000 children per year into refusing to go to school. About 20,000
teachers are threatened with unemployment due to the decreasing number
• Extremely serious demographic crisis. There has been a decrease in the
birth-rate and this is now the lowest in Europe. Emigration is increasing and
very active among highly qualiﬁ ed specialists as well as among scientists.
The library system in the country is developing in a similar infrastructure. It
is natural for the libraries to suffer extreme difﬁ culties under these unfavourable
Bulgarian Libraries in the Transitional Period
The libraries are the oldest, most numerous and widespread cultural and
information institutions in Bulgaria. They have satisﬁ ed certain social needs during
the different periods of their development. The contemporary Bulgarian libraries
originate in the middle of the last century when the ﬁ rst public libraries were created.
The ﬁ rst scientiﬁ c libraries were founded at the end of the 19th century. Lately,
during the 45 years between 1944 and 1989, as a result of imposing a socialist
economic and social system, librarianship was inﬂ uenced by the principles of the
strong ideological interference of the state, both in library activities and by the
uniﬁ cation and centralisation of library management. The legal and administrative
acts of this period are directed to creating a United Library System. It is characterised
by a centralised hierarchic structure with strong subordination and dependence
connections. The development of librarianship in the other ex-socialist countries
from Central and Eastern Europe is similar.
In the Republic of Bulgaria a system consisting of different kinds of libraries
has been built. The situation of the libraries at present is interesting and dramatic.
Due to the changes in the social system in the country, substantial changes in
librarianship are taking place. This is revealed very clearly in the disintegration
of the existing centralised structures – inoperative, artiﬁ cially created libraries are
being closed because of lack of funds or because their functions have not been
properly deﬁ ned. The institutions responsible for creating such libraries are also
being closed. Changes towards a new management and development policy are
being introduced in Bulgarian libraries. These are necessary because of a serious
ﬁ nancial crisis and the transition towards a free market economy in the country.
Being put in this situation, along with the questions concerning their survival
and the search for ways for providing reliable information for their customers,
the libraries are turning their attention towards the future. They are searching for
new ﬁ nancial, organisational and management mechanisms and introducing new
information technologies. The Bulgarian libraries do not want to be isolated from
the idea of the Global Information Infrastructure.
The following are the most speciﬁ c aspects identiﬁ ed in the formation of a
library model in Bulgaria.
State Policy in Library Management
The question of making changes in the legislation concerning library
management as well as the deﬁ nition of the state obligations towards the libraries,
are matters that need urgent solutions. Despite the fact that new regulations have
been prepared, the old socialist ones, such as the government decree from 1970 for
the creation of a centralised hierarchical United Library System in Bulgaria, are
still in effect. Nowadays, when the social and economic situation is undergoing
substantial changes, these old regulations restrain the development of libraries.
This is a very worrying situation. There is an existing paradox of inefﬁ cient old
and of non-existent new legislation state policy. This leads to serious problems and
many libraries have lost the support of the institutions that were responsible for
them. The ministries and institutions that have libraries and library networks have
still not developed programmes and are not following a deﬁ nite policy towards
their libraries. That is also a very worrying fact, especially now, when the library
infrastructure is undergoing such serious changes and there is a need for protection
in the policy towards libraries. At present there is a serious crisis in the library
information sector. The accepted policy in the ex-socialist countries for a sharp
withdrawal of the state from the management of different spheres of society in the
period of transition to market economy is now seriously questioned. It tends to be
exchanged with the idea of more intense participation of the state in these spheres,
followed by very gradual diminishing of its role.
I can give the following example to illustrate the lack of clearly expressed
political attitude of state authorities towards the libraries in Bulgaria. In January
1996 the government accepted a decree concerning the libraries in the country.
Only 6 months later that decree was replaced by another one, which in fact relieves
the state of any motivated responsibility towards the libraries and condemns some
of them to unstable ﬁ nancing and existence.
The Bulgarian Library system is considerably well organised for such a small
country as Bulgaria and consists of a large number of libraries differing in type
and purpose. By 1995 the total number of libraries was 8,088. For the period from
1989 to the beginning of 1996 the number of libraries has decreased by 1,259.
This process is due to the fact that ﬁ nancial reasons force the closing, not only of
inefﬁ cient libraries, but also of good libraries with established positions. A number
of the existing libraries are not able to provide services for their customers and
are practically frozen because of the ﬁ nancial crisis. The university libraries have