500 books — that was the volume of the library of ancient Russian Prince Yaroslav the Wise, a number of which very few libraries in the eleventh century could boast. Initially its ’Lives of Saints’, liturgic books and annual chronicles were but sources of most advanced and up-to-date information of the relevant realities. Along with continuous social changes people’s vision of the world changed too, and changes came to the function of libraries: monastic collections were followed by academic and later on — by public libraries.

The first Moscow public library, the library of Rumyantsev museum, was opened in 1862, providing public access to more than 100,000 items. This volume mounted consequently to 43 mln items stocked by the RSL today. Quite a step as compared to Yaroslav’s library, but the principal task remains, and that is — cumulating and retrieving knowledge. The RSL’s mission is to make information accessible for all, students and scholars, amateurs and professionals.

Not only the volume of the RSL stocks has been growing but the range of options it provides to its readers. Its continuously developing ’E-library’ project is aimed at embracing most significant achievements of academic knowledge and making them available to the public on demand.

E-library began as a collection of more than 900 thousand dissertation theses defended in Russian. This amount is extraordinary, few countries can boast of so vast a volume covering all academic fields. Since the researches have been founded on the most recent academic achievements both in Russia and the world, the collection of dissertations represents the state-of-the-art international science and humanities. The range of fields it covers is really wide: philosophy and land-tenure, genetics and history, education and nuclear physics. Accessing e-library on the web students, scholars and professors can keep in touch with the recent developments in their fields, monitor works of their colleagues worldwide and carry out researches of their own.

E-library is growing continuously. In 2009 two more collections were added — ’Early printed books’ and ’Universal Collection’, both built around the most relevant and valued books on the Russian history and statehood. They are directed at a user specifically interested in early social and political history of Russia.

All this said, the future remains a vital priority of the e-library. Its digital stock is planned to expand strategically into educational and academic field. The Universal Collection will be stocked up with high school reference books and manuals — the category of items most demanded and most often asked for by readers of local and regional libraries. Digitalizing this category of the RSL stocks will add immensely to educating next generations of scholars and scientists.

Another e-library’s strategic development under way is a digital collection of printed music. RSL has the fullest and all-embracing collection of scores, including the complete Russian musical works and the significant pieces of the world music written in all genres at all times. These publications are highly demanded by music students, teachers and artists.

Digitalizing its collection for the members of public to access it in a quick and easy way, the RSL expands the range of educational opportunities for the Russian residents in all localities however remote from major academic and cultural centres.


RSL’s e-library enthusiastically received at Knigabite special event

A large-scale special event which took place during Moscow Book Fair (September 2–7), Knigabite was carried out with the support of the Federal Agency for Publishing and Communications to focus attention at the issues of digital publishing as one of the major strategic challenges in the book market, both in terms of the content and technology.


The 8th International Conference EAC goes interactiv

The annual international conference 'Electronic age of culture' has taken place for the 8th time. Launched in 2002, it became part of UNESCO programme in 2004. For seven years it has been cultivating a strong tradition of contact and communication between its participants and partners — heads and world-known specialist of major educational, research and cultural institutions and prominent representatives of business communities. The purpose of the conference is to provide IT companies with an opportunity to present its relevant innovations on the one hand, and to identify and support strategic IT developments throughout the field of culture, on the other.


RSL facilitates a web conference on the upcoming reform in the public sphere

An RSL-based web-conference 'E-libraries and the upcoming reform of public and federal organisations' (August, 6, 2009) was carried out jointly by the Centre for Informatics of the Russian Ministry of Culture and Russian Association of E-libraries. The objective of the reform is to update the current structure of budget-funded public institutions with the three legal status options to replace the current one-size-fits-all federal status. The conference considered regulations required to validate an e-library as part of each of the three organisation types and some other issues.