Magazine article Information Today

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Canada Unveil New Libraries

Magazine article Information Today

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and Canada Unveil New Libraries

Article excerpt

Times may be tough, but the rash of openings of new National Digital Libraries continues unabated. Russia and South Korea unveiled their own libraries in May; Korea even coined a new name for the institution: a dibrary.

Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library

Russia inaugurated its National Digital Library in late May in St. Petersburg. President Dmitry Medvedev, who officially opened the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in the Synod building in Senate Square, received the first electronic library card pass No. 1. Former President Vladimir Putin made an appeal to the Russian parliament during a speech after Russia's first president died in 2007 for a library to be built in Yeltsin's name.

"This library was given the status of national library last October," according to Medvedev in his speech at the opening ceremony. "It will house what I hope will become the fullest collection of documents on the history of the Russian state, Russian society and Russian law. It will cover all different periods, including the modern era."

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He added, "As we have seen today, the best examples of international experience have served in helping to create this intellectual resource of such great scale and importance, and the library itself is fitted out with state-of-the-art technology. I hope that it will soon become one of the world's biggest information portals. What makes it so valuable, in my opinion, is that anyone, anywhere in our vast country, or anywhere in the world with internet access, will be able to enter this library and use its resources. This is the most important thing of all. I hope that these plans will be implemented with the greatest technological skill and professionalism."

Medvedev gave the library a copy of the Russian Constitution from the Kremlin collection that was used at his own presidential inauguration. It will be part of a collection of other documents of historical significance that were signed by Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. The library will also link with the World Digital Library, ensuring that Russian citizens and those around the world will have access to its digitized collections.

The organizing committee for the construction of the library included the heads of the Russian State Library, the Russian National Library, the Russian State Historical Archives, the History Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the film studio Mosfilm. As yet, the library's website has not been made available to the public.

Branin to Head Saudi Library

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia announced that Joe Branin, currently director of libraries at Ohio State University (OSU), will become director of the library and museum at KAUST in September. KAUST, a new university that will begin a science and engineering graduate degree program in September, is being built at Thuwal on the Red Sea, north of Jeddah.

Branin headed the $109 million renovation of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library at OSU. Now completed, the library is due to reopen Sept. 24. Branin's experience will assist him in establishing a new state-of-the-art library at KAUST to emphasize e-science through a digital repository, web-based services, data curation, and full exploitation of the university's IT infrastructure. The KAUST library will offer and manage a complete spectrum and life cycle of scientific information produced or needed by faculty and students.

The library, which will begin with a collection of more than 15,000 books in digital and print format, will subscribe to 1,200 journals (including 1,000 ejournals) and 50 online research databases. By the time of its maturity in 2013, the library is expected to have more than 80,000 book titles, 1,500 journal subscriptions, and a large digital repository of data sets and other types of scientific information. …

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