Russian Internet sites on science, culture, and education
Mikhail Goncharov, Executive Secretary, ILIAC; Department Head, RNPLS&T, Russia
Ksenia Volkova, Senior Researcher, RNPLS&T, Russia



The Russian part of the Internet (or RUNET for short) has considerably changed in recent years both quantitatively and qualitatively. After the first generation of projects implemented by enthusiasts according to their own understanding of Internet resources contents and structure the professional teams came. This trend is eveident not only in commercial sector but in non-commercial as well. More and more often special professional teams are created for projects development and promotion, and many projects intensively use external organizations for the elaboration of design and the information content technologies (the so-called authosourcing). This trend yields fruit – a tremendous amount of resources and sites are emerging that are as good as the leading world sites and resources in respect to their information content and commodity qualities. It is confirmed by the results of different all-Russian competitions and is reflected in rating. For instance, last year the Hermitage site got several National Intel Internet prizes at once. This prize is considered the most prestigious among Internet projects of all topics in Russia and has outdone many information portals, commercial systems, etc. Moreover, starting this year, special nominations have been introduced for servers of non-commercial sector. The sites “Russian language”, “The architecture of Russia” won this prizes.

In many respects the rapid development of Internet resources on culture, science and education is connected with the fact that a considerable number of Russian and foreign foundations, government and commercial organizations have adopted this direction as a priority one. One of the brightest examples is the activities of the Open Society Institute – Soros Foundation - in support of Internet projects of Russian libraries, museums, archives, creation of Internet infrastructure for Russian non-commercial sector. Open Society Institute allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for this purpose in recent years. The programs of similar scope are being performed by the Russian Foundation of Basic Research, the Russian Scientific Humanitarian Foundation, a number of ministries and agencies.

We would like to present a brief review of projects on science, culture and education – most interesting form our point of view but of course we do not claim the completeness of our review.

First of all, we would like to mention governmental Web-servers. We consider the following ones most interesting: the official server of the RF Ministry of Education (http://www.ed.gov.ru), which contains information on the education system, the education reform, instructions and methodological materials. Then, the official server of the RF Ministry of Industry, Science and Technologies (www.minprom.ru), : the official server of the Russian government www.gov.ru.

The next type of Web-servers is represented by the economy sector portals that are the classical starting points in searching for necessary information as they contain their own Internet-resources directories.

In the education area the most complete information is given at the Informica portal – www.informika.ru, which has not only the resources directories but also extensive information on the education system, educational and scientific news, refernce information on organizations providing grant, etc, etc .

One of most frequently attended portals on science is the Russian Foundation of Basic Research server– www.rfbr.ru

We would like to give special attention to information resources on culture.

The classical starting points in this area are the following servers www.museum.ru, that contains the most complete (in the RUNET) directory of museum Internet resources.

Each record of the catalog contains the extended description of some museum collection and of course their Web-address. The inclusion of regional and local museums resources is especially important as they would hardly be available to general public without representing information on the Internet. More to it, in case when the museum itself cannot establish a server its most interesting materialscan be allocated on the Russian Museums server.

The most frequently attended theatre portal is www.theatre.ru, which contains a lot of information and analytical texts, current repertory, the directory of resources on theatre.

This server also represents information on several popular Moscow theatres, for instance, Meyerhold Theatre. As an example we are giving here the information on “Old-fashioned love” play.

Since 1996 our library, the Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology, has introduced the information section “The window on the library world”, which is one of the fullest reference directories on Russian libraries Internet resources. Each catalog record contains not only the library title and its URL but also a brief description of its collection and most interesting products and services.

Of course users can find the servers of their interest with the help of traditional search engines, resource directories and information portals.

For instance, Science section of one of the most successful, old and celebrated portals www.rambler.ru contains several thousands of resources. Of course they are not equally valuable but every user can find what he/she wants.

At the end we would like to demonstrate several resources that in our view deserve your attention.





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