Modern documents, scientific articles and books are primarily issued in electronic form and their availability depends on the publisher's, or the document owner's, business ethics. As a result, we can have completely unavailable (apart from the owner) and completely available articles for the entire world to see (open access – OA) with varying degrees of availability between the two extremes (green OA, golden OA, diamond OA).
Turning a document into digital form demands a series of steps in which an original textual document is transformed into its electronic counterpart. The process of creating a digital text file begins with scanning the textual material followed by the creation of pdf files and by the OCR program reading (optical character recognition), correction of wrong symbols, saving the digital document to a data base and finally making the documents available on-line. A journal in its printed form is available to individual and institutional subscribers (mostly libraries), that is, it is available locally. Making the journal digital makes it available on the global level. And such is the case of Acta Stomatologica Croatica.
Since the primary purpose of publishing a scientific journal is to communicate with scientific and professional public body, the advantage of global presence is unquestionable. The question arises who really needs scientific papers dating from the 1960's. In case of brilliant and bold visionaries, the concepts and scientific discoveries often come before their time and they have to be "reinvented" decades later. Besides, the scientists of today can enter the spiritual spheres of their professional ancestors and give respect to their legacy.
Bearing the aforementioned global presence advantages in mind, a small group of enthusiasts gathered around the Editor-in-chief, Professor Hrvoje Brkić, PhD, decided to allow for future generations of scientists to have full access to the journal’s archive. The entire project was designed by Vesna Borić in 2007 when eight years’ worth of the journal’s electronic editions were made available through the HRČAK public portal (portal of scientific papers of the Republic of Croatia). It was necessary to gather a team and make all appropriate preparations, which was done by the end of 2011. The associates were Ivan Galić, DMD, Gabrijela Leskovar, dental student, Marin Vodanović, PhD and Vesna Borić, the director of Central Dental Library, MLIS, BSBio. No one from the team was professionally capable of accomplishing such a task but all of us together managed to get the work done through additional education.
Dr Galić scanned 33 years’ worth of journals that contained more than 1 200 articles written on more than 12 000 pages.
Gabrijela Leskovar was in charge of extracting individual articles from the scanned files and converting them to pdf files. During the process she used the text recognition software (OCR) called ABBI FineReader. The original articles dating from early years were scanned very well and did not require any corrections while the quality of some scanned articles was rather poor.
Ms Leskovar’s second task was to upload the articles onto the internet provider. The HRČAK portal was chosen to be the provider since it is structured in a database and allows for uploading of metadata. This means that each type of data had to be uploaded by hand in the appropriate field, for example the field for entering the author's first and last name. To illustrate the enormous amount of work, one particular fact is worth mentioning: if we know that we need to process more than 1 200 articles and if we assume that one article has 5 authors on average, we come to a number of 6 000 names and surnames that have to be manually entered and uploaded. It is truly a respectable amount of work and it only accounts for one metadata item!
During the entire process of digital conversion we had many problems of technical nature. Doctor Vodanović resolved those issues. Some scanned pages refused to be digitally mastered but Mirjana Krajačić Draženović and Darije Petolas managed to do that.
Finally, Vesna Borić came up with the entire project. She organized, coordinated, procured, supervised, equalized, corrected and finally published the results.
We are proud to present the digital archive of "Acta Stomatologica Croatica" journal under the motto: „Beware, o man, not to walk small under the stars“ (A.B. Šimić) to the present and future generations.