BRAMA, October 22, 2010, 9:00 AM ET|
Government of Ukraine Supports Electronic Library of Ukraine
The Ukrainian government has declared its support of the Electronic Library of Ukraine (ELibUkr), a project established by the Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation of America in January 2009.
Affirming the goals and expansion of the project, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a statement on September 9 committing to pay for basic global data bases for the project's expansion to approximately 85 national universities. "Acknowledging the necessity to provide quality information resources for the development of research and education in Ukraine, the organization of access to world digital resources and the establishment of national academic electronic resources, the Government of Ukraine will support the development and expansion of the above mentioned project (ELibUkraine) in every way," the statement said.
"In our opinion the project's wide-ranged introduction will improve the condition of civil society, will significantly raise the level of national competitiveness through access to knowledge in economics and will enable Ukraine to integrate in the global electronic space," the statement added.
With initial funding by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID), the Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation of America and a consortium of participating universities in Ukraine, the Electronic Library of Ukraine project was developed to bring Ukrainian universities access to global information resources in order to improve the quality of research and education and raise Ukraine's competitive level to twenty first century demands.
In its first year and a half of operation, the ELibUkraine project organized Ukraine's own available digital academic and research work into a central portal, conducted nation-wide user training programs and promoted awareness of Ukrainian access to some of the world's most important general and some specialized data bases. ELibUkraine provided access for more than 196,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff at Ukrainian universities to 22 paid data bases and 49 open source data bases from a central webpage (www.elibukr.org).
The ongoing ELibUkraine already expanded its consortium of participating Ukrainian universities from an initial three to seven. The consortium members receive access to a multitude of general and specialized data bases. With the Ukrainian government's support, 85 national universities will receive access to at least 2 major data bases through the central portal and will be beneficiaries of the project's training, technical support and management. Expansion plans also include providing access to global information to Ukraine's main government institutions.
The current seven members of the ELibUkraine Consortium are: National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy where the central portal is located, and Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Karazin Kharkiv National University, Donetsk National Technical University, Volyn National University of Lesia Ukrainka, Sumy National University and the Ukrainian Academy of Banking. Plans for expansion in the next year include Tavria National Vernadsky University of Crimea, Lviv Stefanyk National Scientific Library (which can provide access to faculty and students of National Ivan Franko University of Lviv, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Lviv National Agrarian University, and Ukrainian Catholic University) and several other candidate libraries representing various oblasts of Ukraine.
Dr. Tetiana Yaroshenko serves as the project's executive director. In commenting on the progress and achievements of ELibUkraine's first two years, Kyiv-Mohyla Foundation of America president Marta Farion said: "Access to global electronic information is a matter beyond supporting education. Having the opportunity to access unbiased information is a profoundly important matter of equal access and freedom of information, and it is one of the fundamental requirements for building and sustaining a democracy and strengthening civil society."
"Libraries are the venue through which this work takes place. University libraries are the source of research, innovation, scholarship and dissemination of information. A country cannot survive without innovation and competitiveness, and universities prepare a country's future leaders and innovators and form the basis of a civil society," she added.
Ms. Farion also discussed the financial challenges of organizing and sustaining the ELibUkraine project. "We are very grateful for the significant interest and initial support of USAID which provided the resources to get this project up and running. We are hopeful that with the Ukrainian government's decision to also participate, more support from various sources will be forthcoming."
"The financial aspect of electronic academic, research and professional information involves a significant budget. The situation for electronic libraries in Ukraine is a little different from other countries throughout the world where governments, universities and research institutions pay high fees to providers of information and for necessary infrastructures. Training, management, operations, awareness programs, technical updates and IT staffs also require serious funding," she added. "We are continually looking for additional sponsorships from individuals, corporations and foundations whose interest and generosity will be recognized publicly and on the website of ELibUkraine," she said.
"Contributions in support of the Electronic Library of Ukraine may be made to the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America at www.kmfoundation.com. The project's webpage, which will be continuously improved, can be accessed at www.elibukr.org.
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