“Acta Universitatis Latviensis” - a manifestation of the intellectual performance of the University of Latvia

ЗаявникМантиниеце Илга Владиславовна (Латвия)
ФорумМіжнародна наукова конференція «Бібліотека. Наука. Комунікація: формування національного інформаційного простору»
ЗахідСекція 1. Наукові бібліотеки: основні напрями інтеграції з закладами освіти, науки та культури
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Ilga Mantiniece (Riga, Latvia),
M.sci.soc.,
library expert, Library of the University of Latvia

“Acta Universitatis Latviensis” - a manifestation of the intellectual performance of the University of Latvia

Considering a library as one of the facilitators of information space, we can say that our task is to be a mediator between a substance and a user, to participate in the development of its content and to be active in its popularization, at the same time educating users in information literacy for the efficient retrieval of high quality information. As for a university library, an additional particular task is added: to care for, preserve and disseminate the manifestation of the intellectual performance of the University. It is not only a responsibility for the preservation of its cultural and intellectual heritage, it is a contribution towards a wider information space for humanity as well.
“Acta Universitatis Latviensis” (the same as “Latvijas Universitātes Raksti”, “Scientific Papers of the University of Latvia”, “Ученые записки Латвийского университета” in Latvian, English and Russian) are at the same time tangible physical editions and intangible manifestation of the intellectual heritage of the University of Latvia. The standards have been kept high through the years for its research, and especially now it is a matter of great importance as a qualitative contribution to the world’s common information space. Information space also includes historical intellectual heritage and “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” can be a striking example of this.
“Acta Universitatis Latviensis”, or “Scientific Papers of the University of Latvia”, are the most fundamental publications of the University of Latvia, reflecting its scientific, research and innovative activities and contribution to the development of various scientific disciplines since the very beginning of this largest institution of higher education in Latvia.
The whole collection of volumes of “Acta Universitatis Latviensis”, possessed by the Library of the University of Latvia, has been formed in the course of time and reflects their historical diversity through the development of Latvian scientific thought in the European and world context, from the very first issue in 1921, under the title “Scientific Papers of the Higher School of Latvia”, until the latest volumes of 2016.
The titles of the editions have changed correspondingly with the title of ‘Alma mater’ and the situation in Latvia as a state: “Scientific Papers of the Higher School of Latvia” (1921-1923), “Scientific Papers of the University of Latvia” (1923-1929), “Scientific Papers of the University of Latvia” with additional division into 20 series of faculties and institutes (1929-1940)”, ”Scientific Papers of the State University of Latvia” (1941). During the Second World War the publishing of the scientific papers of the University was obstructed and only in 1943 appeared the “University in Riga. Scientific Papers”, similarly divided into the series of faculties. There was no publishing of the scientific papers of the University until 1949, when it was renewed as ”Scientific Papers of the State University of Latvia” and in 1958 this title was modified to “Scientific Papers of Peter Stučka Latvian State University”, however, in 1976 the publishing of it was carried on without numeration and even without any reference to the Scientific Papers of UL. In 1990 the “Scientific Papers of the University of Latvia” got back their previous title. The title “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” has never been changed, it has remained the same at all times.
Historically, there have been different approaches to the publishing of Acta Universitatis Latviensis. At the very beginning it was decided that the scientific activities of the University scholars should be reflected in regular periodical annals of the High School. Latvian, German, French and English were preferred; Russian was less desirable. Later a decision was taken to allow publishing in Italian and Latin too, together with a demand to add a summary to all articles in foreign languages. The language issue was politicized a bit, especially German and Russian, due to the still remaining political consequences of World War I and the Revolution. Volume I, however, was sent to foreign universities and accepted there, thus softening discussions about the language of the articles.
The first historical period, 1921-1929, was typical of publishing volumes of articles, with various scientific content, without separating them into fascicles and without any special thematic division. In total 20 volumes were issued, some of which had supplements.
1929-1940 brought a new concept, it was now “Acta Universitatis Latviensis. Series nova secundum ordinis divisa”, with an indication of particular Faculty series - Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Philology and Philosophy, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Mechanics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Economics and Law, Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology. Every faculty had a fixed number of quotas and was responsible for the content of the articles, however, the point of view of faculties varied. Each article was marked as a separate fascicle, united in a single volume with continuous pagination. This was a productive period for scientific research and publishing. The most prolific were the Faculties of Philology and Philosophy, Chemistry, Medicine, and Mathematics and Natural Science. As regards the use of language, the occurrence of Latvian and German was almost equal (about 40% each), followed by French. Although popular today, English wasn’t so popular at this time, with only 10 articles in total during this period.
The year 1941 came with changes, due to the political situation. The conception was formally the same as the previous one, but with one editorial board over all of it. It was decided to cease the former numbering but, actually, no volume was issued at all.
During World War II the University continued its work and, notwithstanding the German occupation, 1943 was the year when there were issued 20 fascicles in various branches, mostly mathematics, natural sciences and chemistry.
During the period 1949-1976 there were random, pretty irregularly published volumes, but at least these were numbered. The years 1976-1989 were typified by the publishing of collections of articles without numbering and even without reference to the Scientific Papers. Every volume contained only thematically related articles of a particular faculty and its teaching staff. During almost all of the Soviet Era there dominated a tendency to belittle or to hold back the achievements of the pre-war period, even by hiding the pre-war volumes in closed stocks. The political influence on social sciences was powerful, but natural sciences suffered less. The main information space was the one of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Russian language prevailed, almost without articles in foreign languages.
1990-2000 was the period of historical renewal of the spirit of “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” and attempts to return into circulation to the world. The topical series were developed, without subordination to the faculties concerned. It was the time when the Internet rapidly broadened scientific communication.
At the present moment volumes aren’t numbered according to series, they are mostly managed by mentioning only the number of the volume within the general numeration of the “Acta Universitatis”. Issues are published in more than 20 topical blocks in print and electronic formats. These are series in the natural sciences, mathematics and medicine: Astronomy, Biology (now their scholarly papers are published in the international journal “Environmental and Experimental Biology”), Computer Science and Information Technologies (now in the international journal “Baltic Journal of Modern Computing”), Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Pharmaceutics, Earth and Environmental Sciences; the humanities: Philosophy, Literature-Folklore-Arts, Pedagogy and Teachers’ Education, Psychology, Linguistics, History, Theology; the social sciences: Economics and Business Administration, Law, Communication and Information, Sociology, Management, Education Management; interdisciplinary studies: History of Sciences and Museology, and other interdisciplinary research, like Oriental Studies etc. Some are now only available electronically, as the strategy of the University of Latvia anticipates an increase in the percentage of usage of e-information.
The scholarly papers of the University of Latvia cover the entire wide range of the publications of outstanding personalities of Latvia and the University of Latvia, teaching staff and scientists, popular in the academic and student environment. It collates the results of research, as well as featuring the up-to-date problems of the given period and comes up with respective solutions. “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” has gained recognition abroad and is possessed by many foreign universities and the world’s leading libraries.
The collection of “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” in the Library of the University of Latvia now consists of 923 volumes, i.e., 112 volumes (342 issues), together with the series of faculties and institutes, were published during 1921-1943 and 811 volumes of the new format, with consecutive numbering, that were published from 1949 to 2016 (including June 2016). Most of the volumes of “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” are digitized and all content is available at the E-resource repository of the University of Latvia: https://dspace.lu.lv/dspace/handle/7/14
The E-resource repository of the University of Latvia is a Web site to provide a single environment for publication, deposition (self-archiving) and preservation of the results of the intellectual work of the University of Latvia and enables open access for any research institution and for users throughout the world. The repository was established in 2011. For the scholarly papers of the University of Latvia there is a particular community „Universitātes raksti / Acta Universitatis Latviensis / Scientific papers / Ученые записки” divided into 3 subcommunities: 1921–1923, 1923–1943, and 1949 till now. The E-resource repository contains more than 900 full-text files (PDF) of “Acta Universitatis Latviensis” freely available to anyone. Every volume has metadata (author, title, issue data, subjects, keywords and other information) according to international standards (Dublin Core, OAI-PMH), providing interoperability with various repositories and search engines, networking and a wide range of options with respect to the exploitation of the resources. Information about the publications and their content can be found both in the Repository interface, and Google, or other metasearch engines.
References:
1. Baltiņš, Māris (2005). Establishment and Development of Acta Universitatis Latviensis («Latvijas Universitātes Raksti»): 1921–1943 [in Latvian]. Acta Universitatis Latviensis, 684, History of Sciences and Museology, p. 8-26.
2. E-resource Repository of the University. [Online]. Available at: https://dspace.lu.lv/dspace