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  • 1 Faculty of Medicine University of Ljubljana Institute of Biomedical Informatics Vrazov trg 2 SI-1104 Ljubljana Slovenia Vrazov trg 2 SI-1104 Ljubljana Slovenia
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The application of online analytical processing (OLAP) technology to bibliographic databases is addressed. We show that OLAP tools can be used by librarians for periodic and ad hoc reporting, quality assurance, and data integrity checking, as well as by research policy makers for monitoring the development of science and evaluating or comparing disciplines, fields or research groups. It is argued that traditional relational database management systems, used mainly for day-to-day data storage and transactional processing, are not appropriate for performing such tasks on a regular basis. For the purpose, a fully functional OLAP solution has been implemented on Biomedicina Slovenica, a Slovenian national bibliographic database. We demonstrate the system's usefulness by extracting data for studying a selection of scientometric issues: changes in the number of published papers, citations and pure citations over time, their dependence on the number of co-operating authors and on the number of organisations the authors are affiliated to, and time-patterns of citations. Hardware, software and feasibility considerations are discussed and the phases of the process of developing bibliographic OLAP applications are outlined.