History

The origins of work on the present-day Czech Literary Studies Database go back to the early 1960s, when the ICL first started to compile printed bibliographical almanacs – the first of them for 1962 did not come out until 1964, while over the next few years 1961 was added retrospectively followed by a consecutive number of individual years, concluding with a two-volume almanac for 1980, which came out in 1992.

 

The increasing gap between the year dealt with and the year in which the almanac in question came out, having originated mostly in the 1970s, together with the rapid arrival and development of information technologies, provided an incentive to make a fundamental change from 1990 in the form of an institutional bibliographical work. From that year on, the institute's bibliographies started to be compiled in the form of a computer database in the ISIS system.

 

Hence over the next six years, not only were the ongoing new additions to the ICL library converted into electronic form, but excerpts from the 1981–1990 period were also retrospectively transcribed after being prepared in the form of excerpt cards as the basis for the publication of the printed almanacs. Their publication was terminated as of compilation year 1980 in the early 1990s, which for the future at the bibliographical institute freed up the manpower of employees, who were able to focus more on excerption work instead of the time-consuming editing of annual listings. With effect from 1997 there was a change in the structure of the database, as the old version, in which only personal names were assigned as selection values in practice, no longer met the requirements of the times. Hence the result was greater conformity to general library standards and a more compartmentalized structure for bibliographical entries, allowing for more detailed and structured searches.

 

At the turn of the millennium the complete printed bibliographical almanacs for the 1961–1980 period were converted into the new database format, creating a database complex continuously covering the period from 1961, regularly updated every week to include new additions and supplemented on an ongoing basis to include retrospective excerption of titles which for any reason had not been included in previous excerption. In 2004 a web search interface was successfully brought into operation for the bibliographical databases, making the excerption results available to researchers outside the institute.

 

The ICL bibliographical databases operated in this form until 2012, when the digitization of the Retrospective Bibliography was completed and practical measures started to be taken to convert the institute's bibliographies to a new software platform, and the issue of the technical obsolescence of the current software, which had become increasingly pressing in recent times, began to be addressed. Despite all its advantages and pluses, the ISIS platform as a non-relational database did not meet current standards in librarianship and information science for a long time, so it could not be linked into national cooperation networks.

 

Hence a decision was made in spring 2012 to convert the institute's article bibliography to the Aleph system, operated for individual Academy institutes by the CAS Library. This platform could be used to gradually integrate the other databases in the institute's Literary Studies Information Centre. From the end of June 2012 full excerption was launched on the new system available at the aforementioned URL on the CAS Library website. Existing databases in the ISIS system were preserved and are undergoing conversion.