ILIAC UK was established in April 2004 and its future plans are outlined. It plans to assist Russian libraries in the acquisition of catalogue records; access to databases; professional visits to the UK and a regular Russian language newsletter of UK library news. Its web site at www.iliacuk.co.uk will provide online translation facilities to access a range of documents and services of interest to Russian libraries. Through its services to UK users it will need to be informed of the situation in libraries throughout Russia and through regular contact will provide support for tourism and commercial development. Its online shopping facility will provide an outlet for marketing Russian publications and other goods.
ILIAC UK was formally established in April this year as one of the representative offices of ILIAC. It is based in Reading Central Library, Reading, England. ILIAC UK will provide a library and information service to UK users both locally and nationally and form a base for working with other EU countries. Where possible the services will be delivered through the ILIAC UK web site at www.iliacuk.co.uk The principal target customers for the services will be to support anyone learning the Russian language, particularly through local classes rather than on full-time university courses; the Russian diaspora now living in the UK; UK businesses requiring information about Russia and CIS countries; Russian and CIS libraries and information centres requiring access to English-language services from the UK or elsewhere. Research level materials from Russia are well-provided for in the UK through university libraries and the British Library and ILIAC UK will not seek to duplicate this material but work with these resources. UK resources can be identified through the web site of a major co-operative project at www.cocorees.ac.uk. These are important resources that could be of future benefit to Russian libraries.
To provide its services ILIAC UK will need to maintain contact with the network of ILIAC offices and with contacts in libraries throughout Russia. Working with the regions throughout Russia will be particularly important as will cross-domain work with museums and archives. IRBIS will be used to manage the library collection of Russian- and English-language books and other documents and databases on special topics and make them available over the web and through a Z39.50 server. The web site will have a Russian-English/English-Russian machine translation facility that we will optimise for library and information service terminology. This will provide English-language access to Russian library resources and Russian-language access to UK and worldwide English-language resources. The web site will also support online transactions to place orders and pay for books, CD-ROMs, etc and a range of services. An intranet will support access to a wide range of sources to facilitate information services to both UK and Russian clients. On this framework we hope to develop a range of specific services. An early development will be a Russian-language e-mail newsletter – “Bibliotechnie Novosti Velikobritanii” to bring you news of events, new publications and developments in UK library and information services.
We will be building up a collection of Russian regional material to support business, tourism and culture. We will provide links to regional online catalogues and regional sites promoting business development, tourism and culture. We will be interested to learn about and receive copies of any locally produced material and, where appropriate, offer it for sale.
Computerised catalogue records for English-language material are widely available from several UK sources. This is available in the various MARC formats with new material becoming available in MARC 21 format. We will develop a project to translate and convert into RUSMARC or other MARC format any English-language material required by Russian libraries for both current acquisitions and retrospective conversion. Regional or academic libraries with a significant English-language collection who would be interested in being involved in such a project should contact me.
A reciprocal project would seek to acquire, translate, convert and market catalogue records of Russian material from the developing Russian national and regional co-operative sources. Russian sources of catalogue records are developing quite rapidly but there is a long way to go. The translation and conversion of records of Russian material from UK and other sources could provide an alternative method. We will work with UK sources and other parties to develop a system whereby ILIAC UK provides a gateway to such records that would be economically feasible for Russian libraries.
Access to many international databases is prohibitively expensive for most Russian libraries. ILIAC UK will be in a position to act as a gateway for Russian libraries to access such databases. The use of Athens authentication software will enable ILIAC UK to manage access by Russian libraries in accordance with specific licence conditions and hopefully negotiate terms with database providers that would be affordable by many libraries as a virtual consortium develops. The possibility of incorporating the translation facility into this gateway as outlined earlier will also be investigated.
The following Russian towns – Belgorod, Gatchina, Gelendzhik, Kostroma, Novgorod, Novorossiysk, Perm, Pskov, St Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Sochi, Vladimir, Volgograd, Vyborg, Yaroslavl, and regions – Kaliningrad, Perm, Tyumen, and various districts of Moscow City have twinning relationship with British towns and counties. Such relationships offer a channel, and a route to specific funds, for developing stronger ties between many aspects of life. We would like to work with all parties to development co-operation between their respective libraries, museums and archives.
One aspect of twinning relationships is the organisation of reciprocal visits and the inclusion of librarians in the visiting groups and visits to libraries should be encouraged. CILIP – The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals organises LIBEX, a database of individuals wanting to undertake an exchange of jobs with a library professional in another country. ILIAC UK is a member of CILIP and will assist any Russian librarian who would like to participate in this scheme. The successful development of ILIAC UK will be dependent upon the special knowledge of the resources, professional practice and current developments in Russian library and information services that it has or can call upon. A key method of achieving this is through the secondment of Russian library professionals to work in Reading with ILIAC UK. We will be working to obtain funding for bursaries to support Russian library professionals to work with us. We will be able to provide selected candidates with work experience in a British library; the opportunity to undertake visits to a range of other institutions; to attend a conference or training course and to participate in local activities for a period of two to three months. The candidates will need a good command of English, have appropriate professional qualifications and have the leadership potential to be able to pass on the benefits of their experience to the wider Russian library professional community. ILIAC UK will also assist any Russian library professional, either an individual or group, wanting to undertake a professional visit to the UK.
The UK is a member of the European Union that will soon be enlarged by the incorporation of ten new member states. The problem of language within the EU is both a political and a practical problem. In England we are extremely fortunate that English has become the major language of international communication. It is uncertain what is cause or effect in the general inability or reluctance of the majority of the English to speak foreign languages. A statistic I came across a few years ago, that was probably valid in the early 1990’s, was that after EU enlargement Russian as a second language would be the next most widely spoken or understood language. The fostering of both English and Russian language and translation and interpretation between the two is of particular importance for mutual understanding and sharing our rich cultural heritages. The EU has major research and cooperation programmes between its member states and with particular third-party countries. Russia is one of the most significant of these third-party countries. ILIAC UK will develop a position whereby it can facilitate, manage or participate in joint projects with other European states and Russia.
The prime task of ILIAC UK is to foster cooperation and exchange of materials and experience between library and information services and their professional staff in the UK and Russia. I would urge you all to visit our web site at www.iliacuk.co.uk and register your interest.