It is my honor to present you the Central Dental Library of the School of Dental Medicine University of Zagreb on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. Libraries have an exceptional place in the history, culture, education and scientific life of a nation. They collect all aspects of our linguistics and literacy, all out theoretical assumptions as well as all the results of experience and practice. The importance of a library is not mirrored only in the national and historical role and heritage, but in a more permanent, informational role, since a modern library must, above all, be an effective information system. Since a library of a university operates as a part of its matrix, it is easily shadowed by other forms of educational and scientific infrastructure. 50th anniversary of the Central Dental Library of the School of Dental Medicine University of Zagreb is an excellent opportunity to make a call to the institution and public to its unique and irreplaceable role.
The foundations of every profession are its professionals – so are the librarians. The quality of a service rests on the quality of personal engagement, perseverance and enthusiasm of the professionals. It was not, therefore, difficult to choose the concept for presenting the Central Dental Library. It was founded in 1964, and the basic fond was transferred from the Department of Odontology of the School of Medicine in Zagreb. It was located in the back building, on the third floor, it premises amounting to mere 35 m2. In 1963 the School engaged Hermina Knežević, who, apart from the administrative work, works part-time as a librarian until 1979. During that time, the library was at the disposal for teachers and postgraduate students. The number of items increased, as in any library, and if the policy of acquiring titles is good, its use grows as well. The leadership of the School noted a need for professional organization of the library, so in 1981, after Mrs Knežević retired, the School hired mr. sc. bibl. Lidija Berić-Marinović, who worked as a full time librarian until 1996. She was a professor of English and Italian, and she gained her MSc at the Ann Arbor University of Michigan. While perfecting her language skills she got acquainted with information sciences that opened “new worlds”. After falling in love with librarian science, she worked for 13 years as a librarian in Chicago Public Library, where she went from Adult librarian to Assistant librarian all the way to Head of branch libraries. Her quality was unchallenged, for she was twice elected as president of the workers of the Chicago Public Library.
The School had the wisdom and luck in choosing her as Head of the library, for her professional contribution was immense. She collaborated on the first Bibliography of the School of Dental Medicine 1948-1988, and then on the milestone publication, the Dental Lexicon. She coauthored the second Bibliography 1948-1993 and authored the exhibition titled Publishing of the School of Dental Medicine that was presented in the National and University Library. She was an active teacher in graduate and postgraduate programs. In the early 1990s she enabled the School to have access to Medline (back in those days, it was only available on CDs through the Ovid platform). At that time, the Library got another room which had a computer, the only place for dental students to search the databases; the students needed an access for research while preparing the graduation theses.
At the end of 1980s the need for automatization of the processes led to the acquisition of the program Medved, developed at the Library Medveščak, and a module for the analysis of the data was installed with MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) format. Content analysis was also introduced, according to the classification scheme by the National Library of Medicine (US), NLM Classification) that has been used ever since. Medical Subject Headings were introduced as well. Transformation of the Library into an information center of the School increased the volume of work, so in 1990 a new employee was introduced, mr. sc. Mira Bačić, who stayed there until 1997. She was a vocational doctor of dental medicine, with a MSc achieved in 1996. The professional coverage was thus optimal. After the retirement of Mrs Berić in 1996, mr. sc. bibl. Divna Sertić was employed as the head. She worked in the Library until 2002. In 1997 the Library was included in the project by the Ministry of Science and Technology “System of scientific information” that connected ten biomedical libraries under the leadership of the Central Medical Library. The most important goal was creating a catalogue that had an open access – OPAC (Open Access Cataloging). Although there was no web software, the libraries were able to create a common catalogue of books and journals of all libraries in the project.
Of course, a scientific institution has a need to strengthen its bibliothecary services by introducing new services, and that was not possible in the present space. A decision was made in 2003 to move the library in a new space. Since there was no head of the Library at that moment, the heaviest burden was on the assistant librarian Maja Kozina who was the only professional person, working in the library since 1997. After the move, the position of the head was filled by Vesna Borić, mag. bibl. dipl. ing. biol. The first task was to re-organize the Library, and in 2004 the first ordinance was set up.
The new premises have 170 m2 and are organized in two units. The main room has the information desk, books, reading room, copier and rooms for the staff, and the upper floor is reserved for students, Figures 1. In order to follow the best practice, the premises have computers for users with the basic package of Windows and MS Office programs, with free internet access. All working units are prepared for individual work, but what is lacking are detached places for group work.
Main stress is on the development of new information services. Web pages of the Library were created and are continuously updated. A database of theses of the School was created as well, and can be searched by the name of the author, the mentor, and key words from the title. Since 2006 the head of the Library is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Acta Stomatologica Croatica and deals with the scientometry of the journal. She prepared a printed version of the Acta Stomatologica Croatica Bibliography for the period from 1987 until 2006. The online version is continuously updated. She is also in charge of the digitalization of the journal, and all volumes are available with full text articles since 1966, via the Hrčak portal (the portal of Croatian scientific journals).
The next step is the automatization of the complete library, since today’s users want to obtain information of the availability with a single click, on the level of biomedical libraries, possibly on the national scale. Program Medved that was developed on DOS platform could not accommodate such requests. It was therefore, by the instigation of scientific librarians and with the support by the Rector of the University of Zagreb prof. dr. sc. Aleksa Bjeliš, and the Director of the National and University Library prof. dr. sc. Tihomil Maštrović, decided that all members of the University acquire the program Aleph was obtained, arguably the best library software in the world. In 2009 the creation of the Integrated Library System (IKS) included 43 libraries from 35 schools of the University of Zagreb. In 2010 it was in the experimental phase, and the full production started in 2011. Today, we have bibliographical data from all libraries, and they are systematically updated. Old data is analyzed retroactively, and old data is corrected by conversion from Medved program.
Librarian and information services are involved in the functionality of the educational and scientific activities of the School of Dental Medicine, and it mirrors the development of the institution.