Russia Creating a National E-Library

A national e-library, with more than a million items, is being created in Russia. Those who have access to the Internet will be able to check out its books and periodicals starting next year. A department of research papers will be the first one to open online, architects of the project announced at a preview press conference Wednesday.

There are six libraries operating in the Russian cyber space now, but none of these is of such an ambitious scale as the one that is being created. The Culture Ministry's Yevgeny Kuzmin, who is among the project's masterminds, says the new database will provide online access to a wide range of writings (including fiction, textbooks, reference literature, and scholarly essays), coming from the National Library (formerly known as the Lenin Library), major libraries of Moscow, and the Russian presidential archives.

The project is rather costly (its production costs have come to $2.5 million and its maintenance will take an additional $500,000 in annual investment), yet most of the books will be offered for free. One will probably have to pay only if he/she wants to check out a rare book or a source posted online with extra-budgetary money.

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