Institute of information science
Status and activities
The Institute of Information Science (IZUM) is a public institution established by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as an information infrastructural service for Slovenian science, culture and education. Along with other agents of information activities in the country, it ensures Slovenia an entrance to the streams of the modern world’s information society. This defines its mission; its functions are specified in the Foundation Act, passed by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. According to the Research and Development Act, it is defined as a public infrastructural institution and registered as a research organisation as well. According to the Librarianship Act, it is defined as a library information service in the COBISS.SI national bibliographic system.
IZUM performs the following activities:
- in its field of work, co-ordination of the development and operation of the shared bibliographic system and services,
- co-ordination of the development and application of standards for computer support to meet the requirements of the shared bibliographic system and services,
- software development and maintenance to meet the requirements of the shared bibliographic system and services,
- determination of the suitability of library staff for shared cataloguing purposes, in co-operation with the National Library,
- planning and maintenance of the central computer and communications capacity to enable the functioning of the system,
- organisation of access to foreign databases and services based on the agreements with their providers,
- organisation of professional training and counselling in the fields covered by the national shared bibliographic system,
- preparation of fundamental principles from its field of work for the work of the National Council for Librarianship,
- development, organisation and maintenance of the information system for monitoring research activities in Slovenia,
- research, development and counselling in its field of work,
- other tasks based on the adopted long-term development guidelines and annual Action Plans.
At IZUM, activities are carried out in the following organisational units:
The governing body is the Management Board of IZUM; it consists of 11 members. The Expert Council of IZUM, which is appointed by the Board of Governors, is composed of established experts in the relevant fields from Slovenia and abroad. One speciality is the organisation of COBISS members who constitute the COBISS Members Council according to the size criterion of their contributions to the bibliographic databases. Expert working groups, dealing with specific issues concerning the development and operation of the system, are formed according to the expert competence criterion.
Sources of finance
The majority of activities performed by IZUM is a part of public service. Therefore, IZUM’s activities are mainly financed from public funds, either directly from the Budget (through the relevant ministry), or indirectly, through the organisations paying IZUM for services performed on the basis of agreements; for that purpose, they usually use funds, allocated to them from the state or the municipal budget. Approximately 10% of IZUM’s activities is performed for the so-called market.
Funds are allocated to IZUM for carrying out its activities on the basis of the annual Action Plan, which covers regular activities and the planned scope of activities related to special projects and orders:
- Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MIZŠ) covers the costs of the development and operation of the COBISS.SI and SICRIS systems and services using the programme financing methodology.
- Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) covers the costs of the purchase of foreign databases and access to foreign information services.
- On the basis of full membership or associate membership agreements in the COBISS.SI system, libraries are liable to cover a part of the costs for IZUM’s services by paying the membership fee for their participation in the COBISS.SI system. Only school libraries and special libraries operating in commercial companies actually pay full membership fee to IZUM, while MIZŠ pays the costs for full membership fee for all other libraries directly to IZUM (in the frame of programme financing).
- Among services, covered by the Slovenian libraries, are education and training, adapting the existing software to local needs (non-standard solutions), conversions of local databases (transfer of records from other systems, conversions in the event of a reorganisation of a library, or correcting the errors that fall under the responsibility of libraries), as well as assistance in the purchase and maintenance of computer and communication equipment.
- IZUM receives part of its funding from the sales of services and licences to use COBISS software abroad and from international cooperation projects.
Some milestones in the development
IZUM emerged from the Computer Centre of the University of Maribor (RCUM), which transformed from a classical organisation of this type into a modern information infrastructure centre between 1980 and 1990.
|2021||Vega supercomputer start-up.
32-millionth record created in local COBISS.net databases.
|2020||ADZ.SI Academic Digital Collection established.
dCOBISS digital repository introduced.
The 22nd international COBISS conference took place online exclusively.
|2019||Agreement signed with discovery tool provider ExLibris for searching foreign databases within COBISS+.|
|2018||Most school libraries now included in COBISS.
Migration of remaining libraries to the COBISS3/Loan software module; the COBISS2 platform is no longer in use in Slovenia and in COBISS.net.
14 million records created in the COBISS.SI local databases.
25 million records created in the COBISS.net local databases.
COBISS.net webpages overhaul.
Initiative for the establishment of an Academic national collection of Slovenia (ADZ.Si) signed
|2016||All libraries in the COBISS.SI system now use the COBISS3/Cataloguing software.|
10 millionth record created in the COBISS.Net shared databases.
First installation of the online COBISS3/Loan software in the mobile library abroad (Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Project ''Extension and Energy Saving Renovation of the Existing IZUM Building'' concluded.
Over 30 million items entered in all the COBISS.Net local databases.
Online version only of journal Organizacija znanja (Organisation of Knowledge) available from Vol. 19, No. 1, onwards.
Autonomous library information system of the Republic of Srpska (COBISS.RS) is established in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The mCOBISS mobile app for smartphones and tablets available.
A parameterized system for lending e-books established.
|2012||National and University Library (NUK), Ljubljana, started using COBISS3/Cataloguing.
The initial COBISS.AL shared bibliographic database is established.
|2011|| UNESCO awarded IZUM the status of a regional centre for library information systems and research information systems, category II centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
IZUM and OCLC sign a Letter of Intent on the establishment of a strategic partnership.
|2010||First record in the COBISS3 production environment in Bulgaria.|
|2009||First transfer of records from the COBIB.SI shared database to WorldCat.|
|2008||Training portal launched, e-manuals published.|
|2006||Link between the COBIB.SI shared database and Google Scholar established.|
|2005||Reference service Ask a Librarian launched.|
Exchange of bibliographic records between library information systems in the COBISS.Net network (download of records from other shared bibliographic databases) made possible.
Library compensation service application launched.
Signed Agreement on the establishment of the COBISS.Net network and the free exchange of bibliographic records, created in autonomous library information systems of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.
Implementation of the authority control in the shared cataloguing system COBISS.SI.
|2002||IZUM promotes the COBISS.Net Project.
Based on amended legislation, the government of the Republic of Slovenia passes a new decision on the Foundation Act of the Institute of Information Science.
|2001||The first COBISS3 software modules are introduced.|
|2000|| The consortium agreement on accessing the Web of Science is signed.
IZUM enables libraries to download bibliographic records from OCLC WorldCat, the world's largest catalogue.
|1999||IZUM launches the information system on research activities in Slovenia (SICRIS).|
|1997||The decision to start with the technological renovation of the COBISS system (object technology) is accepted.|
|1996||IZUM provides access to the OCLC databases (the leading bibliographic utility worldwide) through the COBISS/OPAC system.|
|1994||The Government of the Republic of Slovenia passes the complemented IZUM Foundation Act, by which it determines the functions it has been performing ever since.|
|1992||The Government of the Republic of Slovenia issues a decree, on the basis of which IZUM separates from the University of Maribor and constitutes as an autonomous institution, while the RCUM department remains within the frames of the University of Maribor.|
|1991||The Ministry of Science and Technology defines IZUM as the information infrastructure service for science, education and culture in Slovenia. IZUM promotes the COBISS system (Co-operative Online Bibliographic System and Services).|
|1990||RCUM is transformed into the Institute of Information Science of the University of Maribor (IZUM), and by moving to a new location, it solves its housing and spatial problems. The Rectors Conference of the Alps-Adria Working Community elects IZUM as the inter-regional co-ordination centre for the building of the database on Alps-Adria scientific and academic libraries.|
|1988||The Federal Secretariat for the development elected IZUM as the general developer of the Scientific and Technological Information System of Yugoslavia.|
|1987||The Research Community of the Republic of Slovenia assigns to RCUM the role of the host of the scientific and technological information system in Slovenia. The Presidency of the then Association of the Yugoslav National Libraries accepts IZUM's concept of the shared cataloguing as the common basis of the library information system.|
|1986||The UNIMARC format for the exchange of bibliographic data in machine readable form is adopted. RCUM acquires the VAX 8800 computer system, then the most powerful computer system in the country.|
|1984||In the University Library in Maribor the first machine readable bibliographic record is done and the automated loan, supported by the software, developed by RCUM, is introduced.|