Electronic Resources and Russian Producers of Business Information

Olga Putilina, Department Head, Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology, Moscow, Russia

A year ago I already spoke on the same issue. What has changed within this year? Still, databases of legal information, containing standards and acts of legislation held their principal places, and among their producers are still "Consultant Plus", "Kodeks" and "Garant". There will be a presentation on "Kodeks" system and I am not going to discuss its features now. "Consultant Plus" and "Garant" systems have been also widely known. I would like to say a few words on reference law systems published recently by "Ravnovesiye - Media" company within the series "Encyclopaedia of Russian Law".

The series includes:
- Federal and Moscow issues on CDs, each published with its own periodicity;
-Judicial and arbitral practice (a system for professionals);
-Sample documents, electronic bulletin presenting accounting forms, contracts licensing, constituent documents, etc.;
-Archive of "Rossiiskaya Gazeta" - Russian Federation Government official periodical (since 1999);
-Archive of "Finansovaya Gazeta", a real desk periodical for anyone related with finance and business (retrospective publication since 1999).

Still address-reference databases, such as those published within series "Biznes-karta Rossii" (The Business-map of Russia), "ASU-Impuls", "Register WA-2", "KOMAPSS – Rossiya" have been of great consumer demand. All these databases have been distributed on subscription basis as printed reference books, or databases and now available via the Internet. The recent rapid development of new information technologies, implementation of the Internet with all its advantages and disadvantages has changed significantly both library and user work. Today, if you have got access to the Internet at your workstation (no matter where the workstation is) you can obtain certain amount of business information if, of course, it is available in electronic form. However you will spend some time and efforts to get this information. I am going to present some "navigators", from the point of view of business-information search and access, in general, and the information needed, in particular.

All the WWW-servers I am going to speak about have got the "tree" architecture, from general to particulars. All of them have got their own classifiers, nevertheless they still enable users to orientate themselves. Information access is free or charged, which depends upon information provider; information is presented either only in Russia, or in English language, too.

Still one of the major Russian-language WWW-server is RAMBLER.RU, the only portal on the Russian part of the Internet that has united a retrieval system, rating classifier, and a number of free services and information projects. Daily over 3.5 m users visit the portal resources, and the monthly audience of RAMBLER makes from 60 to 70 per cent of RU.NET.

Its retrieval system opens access to over 12 million documents at WWW-sites of Russia and CIS countries. RAMBLER processes no less than 500,000 queries a day and scans daily 48 thousand Web-servers. For this purpose RAMBLER runs several robot programs.

Let me discuss the principal components of the server related to business information. User starts with selecting a particular object of the given classifier, for example RAMBLER/FINANCE catalog. I would like to say, however that, though it is still one of the major resources, it has become a little bit more superficial, some statistical information has disappeared (for example, sometimes you will not find the number of available resources). Rating of homepages/sites, resource name, number of hosts and hits under each resource, their percentage, and the ratio between hits of the given host and the total number of resources within the group are screened. 25 resources on each page are accessible. By selecting a specific resource, for instance, PRIME-TASS, you can change the language into English (the WWW-server provides such option) and then to search information further along the tree.

The BANK catalog (149 WWW-sites) presents information as of the 1st of January, 2001) – bank resources, capital, financial state, quarter totals, license, assets comparison, etc. A number of banks has got their own WWW-sites where they present the information that they consider proper to be presented (MDM-Bank). The homepage authors warn, however, that provided information may be used only for private purposes and shall not be used as a subject of civil and legal transactions. RAMBLER INTERNET Holding Joint-stock Company is not responsible for the contents, completeness and authenticity of provided data, delays in information provision, as well as for any actions taken on the basis of this information.

The ADMINISTRATION catalog. A year ago you could browse through the site of the State Committee for Statistics and acquaint yourself with the Regulations of the Committee, its organizational structure; you will also find there state statistics, basic social and economic indicators, most recent news, etc. The Ministry for Finances' WWW-site was also of great interest. It presented official information, the Ministry organizational structure, the federal budget and reports on its execution, financial interaction with Russian regions, etc. "Russia.Regions" web-site provided reference information on regions - from industrial and agricultural statistics up to regional and departmental standards and laws. Today, all this information has disappeared, or has become unavailable for wide public.

The COMPANIES catalog presents today companies ratings and qualifications. As a rule, this information is of advertising character as companies prepare it themselves.

In our opinion, the volume of useful information has in general decreased and the portal divisions have become less informative.

Last year I pointed to the ATRUS.RU WWW-server as one more rather popular reference and retrieval source. Unfortunately, it has changed its subject scope and become more superficial, too.

Among other Russian Internet resources on business there is CATALOG.CHAT.RU It has also changed its structure that fortunately in this case has become more informative.

Thus, its BUSINESS AND CAREER division, INDUSTRY subdivision includes resource name, brief qualification, Internet-address to get more details.

One more popular resource is the LIST.RU WWW-site. It also has got its own classification system differing from that of previously discussed web-sites. By selecting the "Business World" group you will get on your screen the list of sub-catalogs with the reference to the number of sites under each of the sub-catalogs. Selecting a sub-catalog, for example, the "Analytic Materials" sub-catalog, you will get the more detailed division and the classified list of sites under each of divisions. Then you are to select the sites of interest to you. I would like to emphasize that, as a result, working with different WWW-servers, in all cases you will always access practically the same resources. The difference is made of access systems.

This part of my presentation was about resources catalogs. Now let me speak on those who runs these resources, information manufacturing companies. In general, they are the same.

I would like to begin with the major manufacturer – Interfax Information Agency (WWW.INTERFAX.RU). The Agency was set up in 1989 and is a part of Interfax Information Services International Group. The Agency is the major supplier of information from Russia, CIS and Baltic countries. The Agency has given a good account of itself in the world information market as an independent, competent, reliable and efficient source. Interfax products have become the major component of information on Russia, CIS and Baltic countries in the network of the world largest information agencies, such as Reuters, Bloomberg, Bridge, Dow Jones.

The several key directions of its information activities are as follows:
-general political news,
-business and economic information and its analysis,
-financial information,
-special information products.

"RosBusinessConsulting" Russian Information Agency (WWW.RBC.RU) has been no less significant information agency specializing in financial, economic and political information.

It started operating in 1992 and today it presents the most significant bulk of financial data on Russia, CIS and Western countries. You will find here current data on all the segments of financial market (exchange, credit markets, market of state securities, shares and bills), as well as immediately trace any changes in the leading bidding sites. Bidding are broadcast in the real-time mode. The company's WWW-server is the leader of Russian part of the Internet (it is visited by over 100,000 unique users a day).

The AK&M Company (www.AKM.ru) was set up in December 1990 and first specialized in consulting on business-planning and emission prospectus design. Since 1992, it has concentrated its efforts on acquisition and supply of information on securities and exchange markets. Experts consider the Agency's activities to have influenced greatly the development of civilized securities market in this country. Since the 1st of September, 1993, AK&K has been figuring the three stock exchange indexes – common, industrial, and banking indexes that have become the major indicators of market situation. In mid 1994, Analytic Center was set up within the Agency. The Center fulfils clients' individual orders and also publishes the weekly bulletin "The Branches of Russian economy: Production, finances, securities". Up to now the Center also publishes the following periodicals:

  • Who is Who in the Russian Securities Market (updated annually),
  • Takeover and Merger Market (Bulletin, since 1996),

- Current news tape "ĀK&M Online News"(since July 1996 in real-time mode).

MFD-InfoTsentr (WWW.RNFDINFOCENTER.RU) was established in 1996 on the basis of Mezhbankovsky Finansoviy Dom (Interbank Financial House) Ltd. successfully operating in financial information market since 1992. In 1997 MFD-InfoTsentr was registered as an information agency. Its first service – fax distribution of commission divisions' quotations has grown up into the infrastructure supplying information to regional users via the Company's business partners in Russian cities. In 1995 it signed the agreement with Reuters on the provision of Reuters information via the IFH, and commercial operation of real-time broadcasting of quotations of interbank market of forex and deposits via the INFOREUT system. The RF Saving Bank has recommended MFD-InfoTsentr as a reliable financial information supplier to its branches and affiliates.

FINMARKET Information Agency (WWW.FINMARKET.RU) specializes in information support of professionals in financial business. The Agency, officially registered on the 1st of March, 1994, provides the full range of financial, stock exchange, and economic information. The wide range of services and the bulk of information is always supplied with the comments of a manager assigned for each client. Among the Agency partners are such foremost periodicals as "Kommersant-Daily" (The Businessman-Daily), "Finansist" (The Financier), "Finansovaya gazeta" (The Financial Newspaper) newspapers, "Rynok of tsennykh bumag" (Securities Market) journal, and a number of leading information agencies and stock exchanges.

PRIME-TASS Agency for economic information (WWW.PRIME-TASS.RU), set up in June 1996, has already given a good account of itself as a leading professional agency. The Agency won the "Business-Site99" contest, obtained the certificate of the "Business-Site98" contest, was a laureate of the "Economic Revival of Russia" contest. The Agency supplies financial and economic information from the President Administration, Russian Government, the Parliament, the Bank of Russia, Ministry of Finances. It publishes "Vestnik Banka Rossii" (The Bank of Russia Newsletter) and "Bulleten bankovskoi statistiki" (The Bulletin of Bank Statistics), the official bulletins of the RF Central Bank). It also publishes the weekly analytic bulletin containing reviews, analysis and forecast for the situation in financial and commodity markets, analysis of macroeconomic situation, etc.

In the recent years analytic business reference publications sprung up offering information on individual branch subjects (WWW.RAEXPERT.RU ). The information is obtained on the basis of enterprises poll. The reference publications are EXPERT RA rating agency and EXPERT popular journal.

I would also like to mention the following companies:

-"AKDI Ekonomika i Zhizn" (AKDI Economics and Life), the agency for legal consultations in economic area and business information (WWW.AKDI.RU) founded in 1991 and specializing in the field of taxation, business accounting and law;

-"AEI FIS", the regional agency of economic information, the largest in West Siberia (WWW.FIS.RU) established in 1994;

-"Consultant" agency (WWW.DINFORM.RU), also operating in the financial information market since 1994.

I have reported on major and the most well-known information agencies. Time limitation does not permit me to discuss the products manufactured by these agencies. However having the idea of the catalogs of the Internet resources or their Producers you can find the information you need.

In conclusion I would like to name the winners of the National Intel Internet-Prize for the year 2001, announced on March 1, 2001 by the Grand Jury of the Russian Internet Academy. Its 21 nominations are given to those who contributed greatly to the RUNET development. Yandex has become a prize-winner in the greatest number of nominations; GAZETA.RU has won as "The Best Information Site", and SPYLOG.RU won as "Discovery Of the Year". SpyLOG system presents a comprehensive tool to obtain and analyze Internet statistics that enables to see how resources operate, how users move through the net, and what is on on the Internet.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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