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Stages of RETROCON technology

Single stages of the retroconversion

The RETROCON technology consists of four stages:

Schéma procesu retrokonverze

Comdat company developed special computer programme for each stage of retrospective conversion:


Stage I: Scanning


Catalogue cards or printed bibliographic lists are scanned by high-quality scanners that guarantee the good quality of scanned records, which are used as input material for the next stage. In the first stage, the digitalized or "graphical" version of catalogues or bibliographic lists is produced. During the next stages of retroconversion is used only the scanned catalogue. The original paper catalogue is stressed never more. In some cases, the process of retrospective conversion ends here and the scanned catalogues are available via the internet.

For example: by scanning of general catalogues in the NL were used three cylindiral scanners (válcový scanner). It could be scanned about 20 000 records per day. During he first stage of scanning, which took 9 months, was scanned general catalogues of the NL number 1, 2, 3 – it´s about 3 mil. records.

For this stage of retrospective conversion developed Comdat Company a special programm called Comadat ARTIF. It made possible the operation with the scanner and display the scanned records on the screen. It also allowed to decide about the quality of records, about the manner of its transcription and about the location of deposit.

The approach to scanned records provided the software called Comdat KATALOG. Later, in 1997 scanned catalogues were made available to NL clients within Clementinum. The first user interface look like the a "traditional" catalogue.


Hlavní nabídka programu Katalog


Řazení záznamů v GK I

Zobrazení naskenovaného záznamu v programu Katalog


In the following years, scanned NL catalogues were also made available to both, off-site and on-site clients through the Internet and programm KATIF and only to on-site clients per programm RIS (Information system for retrospective conversion).

In Katif the users can browse the scanned records and book the document. The programm RIS was originally developed for operating of retroconversion but now is also available for on-site clients. Later was RIS partial tranformed in NRIS available per internet for off-site clients (The National System for Retrospective Conversion, about NRIS I´ll tell you later).

Program KATIF:



RIS is the important tool for controlling and directing of retrospective conversion. Per RIS can librarians save the records in each etap of retroconversion, can mark the records and sort them. We can mark i.e. the processed records, records allready available in librarian system or records, which are in some stage of retroconversion. We can join up the records and we can move them. It´s important, because in the scanned catalogue you could find a mistake. RIS also make available very effective distribution of labor.

Program RIS:

Okno programu RIS


Stage II: Transcription


If the quality of the scanned material is good, it is automatically transcribed to an unstructured text using the OCR. In the case of insufficient quality scans, the transcription is done manually. All of printed bibliografic catalogues were tranfered by OCR, but the traditional records had to be transcripted manually. For both, scanned and the transcribed records is used special software Comdat TEXTIF developed by Comdat Company. The window of this programm is divided into two parts. So you can see both, the scanned record in the upper part of the window and the field for transcription in the bottom. You look here and write here. In this program the dictionary is available. You can add a new, most used expressions to it.

Program TEXTIF: 

Přepis záznamů v programu Comdat TEXTIF


Stage III: Structuring (Tagging)


Texts will only be understood and useable on an international scale if they are structured according to international standards and tags (unambiguous internationally understandable identifications). Formerly the UNIMARC, nowadays MARC21 format must be attach to all the data (author, name, publisher, etc.). In records where algorithms can easily be applied, the structuring is done automatically, in others, a special programme Comdat PROTAG allows partial automation. The programme was optimized (optimájzd) to eliminate the human intervention (label) as much as possible and thus to save money. This stage allready reguires knowledge in international standards, especially UNIMARC and AACR2.

The window of this program is also devided into two parts. In the upper part you see the transcribed record and in bottom part you fill in the UNIMARC fields. If you click in the upper part, the programm show the scanned record. It´s important because the transcription would contain some errors or omissions. So you can easily correct it. It´s also necessary to fill in the signature of librarian.

The use of this program is protected by hardware key. It´s a small equipment, which must be attach to the computer to the connector for printer. There was a problem with notebooks, because it doesn´t have this connector. In this case is necessary to download a licence from internet.

Program PROTAG: 

Tagování záznamů v programu Comdat ProTag


Stage IV: Checking


In the last stage of the process, the records are checked for errors or omissions. This stage carry out librarian experts. For checking developed Comdat programm called TifText. This programm consists of two window on the screen. In the upper you can see the scann and in bottom window is structured text in UNIMARC format, which could be easily check. Into the separate form, you can write the informations about the erros and omissions. The NL is probably only library in the CR, where is the UNIMARC format still used. But by the beginning of the next year we are going to use the MARC21.

Program TIFTEXT: 

Revize záznamů v programu Comdat Tiftext


The whole RETROCON system with its all moduls own just the NL. Another Czech libraries use only these moduls, which they need. The part of libraries entrust directly Comdat Company with carrying out of some stage of retrospective conversion.




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