Czech Literary Bibliography: Database Mirror of 250 Years of the Modern Czech Literature

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Vojtěch Malínek

    Institute of Czech Literature - Czech Academy of Sciences

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The aim of the proposed poster is to present the datasets and the current DH-related projects of the Czech Literary Bibliography research infrastructure (
; hereinafter CLB), which has now been continuously operated for more than 70 years under methodology developed over the long term (Macek, 1969; Malínek, 2015). The CLB comprises a set of bibliographical and other specialized databases processing research information on Czech literature. These datasets are updated on an ongoing basis and systematically reflect poetry, fiction, cultural journalism and specialist texts on Czech literature and literary life in the Czech lands. CLB activities centre around their compilation, systematic utilization and further ongoing development. Having used the internationally recognized standardized data format MARC21 and the set of persistent identifiers, the CLB data are available for interconnection into national and international networks for the exchange of research information. In the last few years a significant movement towards software tool development and data-driven research can be observed in the CLB.

The parameters of the CLB bibliographical databases (chronologically covering the period from 1770 to the present, dealing with approximately 1,500 titles and more than 2.2 million records) make them the most extensive specialist bibliography in the Czech Republic and one of the most complex sources of literary-scientific information in Europe.
During 2014 the CLB successfully underwent an assessment by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and was included with effect from 2016 in the Roadmap of large Czech infrastructures for research, experimental development and innovation (this status was afterwards once more confirmed by the results of an assessment in 2017).
Having nearly finished the protracted conversion of single databases (2012–2019), the CLB is just starting to use the modern VuFind discovery system as a central gateway to its datasets. Simultaneously, the CLB has significantly broadened its scope since 2012 by processing large specific corpora of the data: the bibliography of the 1945–1960 period (finished 2015), samizdat (since 2016) and the internet (since 2017). This poster will summarize the most important CLB projects related to the field of DH and describe the main CLB datasets.
The Retrospective Bibliography of Czech Literature
– a database based on an original card catalogue that chronologically covers the 1770–1945 period with 1.6 million entries; currently available in the specialized RETROBI system (; cf. below) (Řehák 2013);

The ''Contemporary'' Bibliography
– a database for the period since 1945 with approx. 600,000 entries; particular parts of this database include the Database of Czech Literary Exile and the newly established databases of Czech Literary Samizdat and the Czech Literary Internet;
The database of Czech Literary Figures
– a database recording key biographical details of approx. 37,000 individuals involved in Czech literary life, with the emphasis placed on systematic verification of data e.g. at registries and archives or in the form of questionnaires;
The poster will also provide information on two main CLB projects within the field of DH research. These are:
Czech Literary Internet
This ongoing project is being implemented over the 2017–2021 period. Research activities undertaken as a part of this project include the following:
(a) bibliographical excerption from the Czech internet – the ongoing treatment of individual selected literary websites and portals, as well as information on the articles there and individual authors for the CLB databases. Every record will include a link to the original web-page and – if possible – to its archived version. A preliminary estimate anticipates at least 30,000 new entries for the period since the late 1990's (Hartmanová and Czwordoń-Lis, 2019).
(b) development of tools to analyse bibliographical data – a set of superstructural analytical and statistical tools will be prepared to enable the end-user to visualize the selected bibliographical data clearly (statistical graphs, analyses of the output of individual authors and websites classified according to selected criteria, the modelling of these facts on a timeline etc.)
The RETROBI specialized system has been put in place within the CLB database for the digitization and online presentation of the card catalogues, developed at CLB in 2010–2012 and currently presenting online the enormous Retrospective Bibliography of Czech Literature 1770–1945. This system enables full-text and semistructured queries in the OCR representations of the original cards and includes a number of advanced user functions and utilities for administering and editing data (including mass editing, editing of single database fields, user corrections of OCR texts). It has also been successfully deployed at other institutions and its further development is also possible, particularly with regard to the potential conversion of Retrospective Bibliography data to a MARC21-format structured database) (Malínek, 2012).
Activities of Czech Literary Bibliography Research Infrastructure are supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (Project Code LM2015059).


Hartmanová, P. and Czwordoń-Lis, P. (2019). The Reflection of Literary Activities in Digital Space.
Grey Journal 15(special issue): 16–22.

Macek, E. (1969).
Bibliografie české beletrie a literární vědy: metodická příručka. Praha: ÚČL ČSAV.

Malínek, V. (2012). Digitalizace lístkové kartotéky Retrospektivní bibliografie české literatury.
Ikaros 16:10. (accesed 15th April 2019).

Malínek, V. (2015).
Metodika zpracování oborové analytické bibliografie. Praha.
(accesed 15th April 2019)

Řehák, D. (2013). K historii a struktuře Retrospektivní bibliografie.
Česká literatura 61(3): 387–395.

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