THE MU-VARNA LIBRARY – TRADITIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE
The Library of the Medical University of Varna was established in 1961, together with the founding of the university as the Higher Medical Institute. The beginning of the library collection was laid with donations. Marina Ivanova was the first director of the library. A system of card catalogues was established, as well as a reference collection.
In 1972 a reference and information department was created to provide bibliographical references, references to citations and journals’ impact factor.
From 1982 to 2014, Petrana Mileva was the director of the library. In 1989 she introduced the electronic version of the Current Contents on Diskette (CCOD), the Life Sciences series and later the Clinical Medicine series.
In 1997, subscriptions to the first full-text electronic and online databases: MEDLINE on CD, ProQuest Medical Library and UpToDate were made.
In 2003, a new library software – Automated Libraries, was implemented according to the Bulgarian library standards.
A subscription to Cochrane Library on CD-ROM was launched. In 2004, an ongoing annual subscription to HINARI, the International Health Research Online Access Initiative started.
Since 2009, global databases such as Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Scopus and InCites are available at the Library owing to licensed access funded by the Ministry of Education. They provide bibliographic and abstract information and full-text articles, reference and citation data from academic journals, conference proceedings. Since 2014, the Library started its subscription to AccessMedicine. This subscription was subsequently extended to AccessPharmacy and AccessSurgery as well.
In 2012, all the library’s computer equipment was renewed, and PC user spaces doubled.
E-reading rooms with online access to the library collections and subscribed information portals have been opened in the Faculty of Dental Medicine and at St. Marina University Hospital.
A digital collection of books and textbooks from the library collection been created, which is accessible through the library catalogue. From 2021, secure remote access to the digital textbook collection has been provided to users through the DSpace platform.
One of the most valuable library collections is its Vintage collection with over 500 old books on medicine, pharmacology and dentistry published from 1830s to 1950s. The books are housed in special storage cabinets, many of which have been digitised and made accessible to users.
The library has a branched structure and provides materials to the libraries of the Medical College, the Faculty of Pharmacy and the university branches in Sliven, Shumen and Veliko Tarnovo.
Since 2014 the director of the library has been Rumyana Radeva.
In 2015 the MU-Varna library became a member of LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) – an Association of European Research Libraries. LIBER membership provides unlimited access to the DART-Europe research portal.
In 2016, the library established its university institutional repository – the Medical Academic Repository. It is bilingual (in Bulgarian and English), open access and one of the first in the country. MU-Varna’s scientific works in the Repository are directly visible in the DART-Europe portal, an open-access platform with 1,326,505 open-access research theses (and counting) from 579 Universities in 29 European countries.
The MU-Varna Library initiated the promotion and implementation of open access principles in science, as well as the adoption of the University Open Access Policy, voted by the MU-Varna Academic Council in 2016.
In 2016 a new branch library was opened at the Faculty of Pharmacy.
In 2017, the new website of the MU-Varna Library was launched with a modern design and functionality. Like the Repository, it is bilingual – in Bulgarian and English.
In 2020 – 2021, the collection of digitised textbooks and books was multiplied to support learning in a distance environment during the COVID pandemic. The digital textbook collection has secure remote access through the DSpace and Blackboard learning platforms.
The library provides subscription or temporary access to the world’s leading medical literature databases such as AccessMedicine, AccessPharmacy, AccessSurgery, MEDLINE Complete, Springer, UpToDate, Tieme, Elsevier’s STATdx and RADPrimer, Acland’s Video Atlas of Human Anatomy, EBSCO Discovery Service, Oxford Journals Collection, Taylor and Francis Collections, Thieme, etc. Databases such as Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and InCites are available with licensed online access funded by the Ministry of Education.
The library team provides bibliographic references, citations and impact factor reports, consultations for publishing in Bulgarian and international journals, search and systematised papers on selected topics from subscribed full-text databases and other specialised sources of scientific information.
In 2022, the new open-source integrated library system KOHA was implemented. The library’s electronic resources support scholarly research and data platforms with interactive textbooks, atlases, digital textbooks and monograph collections.