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Crimea Conference 2003
Crimea Conference 2003
Lester J. Pourciau Jr
The tenth anniversary international conference, "Crimea 2003," was held in Sudak on the Crimean Black Sea Coast from June 7-15. More than 1,700 participants from 51 countries, republics, and autonomous regions were in attendance. The general theme of "Crimea 2003" was "Library and Information Availability in the Modern World: Digital Resources of Science, Culture and Education." The official languages of the Conference are Russian, Ukrainian, and English. There was simultaneous translation of any presentation into the two languages other than the one being used and any attendee could use a headset to listen to these translations. In addition to the formal program, there was a variety of tours of the coast available for participants.
Dr Yakov L. Shraiberg, First Deputy Director of the Russian National Public Library for Science & Technology (RNPLS&T), was the founder of the Crimea Conferences in 1994 and continues to assume the primary role of leadership in conducting them. It was he who moderated the Official Conference Opening on the morning of Monday, June 9. During this session he, myself, and a variety of officials, from the city of Sudak, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and even from Moscow, Russia offered their warm welcome to the Conference participants.
Following the official Conference opening was the first plenary session which was co-chaired by Evgeny Kuzmin, Head of the Department of Libraries at the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in Moscow, and by Tatyana Prokosheva, Head of the Library and Information Networks Department at the Ministry of Culture and Arts of Ukraine in Kiev. There were three speakers at this plenary session. Yakov Shraiberg spoke about the development and changes over the past ten years in libraries and information technologies. Prokosheva outlined the development trends in Ukrainian libraries during the past decade, and Kuzmin addressed the topic of Russian libraries in the context of social changes in the Federation.
Immediately following the Conference opening there was a Press Conference moderated by Galina Mikhailenko from the Delovaya Ukrainia and the Argumenty I Fakty, Ukraine newspapers, and by Nadezhda Pavlova, Deputy Editor-in-Chief and Head of the Editorial Board, Sci-Tech Libraries Journal, RNPLS&T in Moscow. A variety of Conference participants, including this writer, had been invited to participate in the Press Conference and they were each asked to comment on Crimea 2003. The attending journalists made notes for later written publication in their magazines and newspapers.
Among the various official and ceremonial events, the plenary session, the special lectures, programs and meetings and the press conferences which marked the official opening of the Conference was one of particular interest, "The Day of Russian-German Cooperation in the Area of Sci-Tech Information and Documentation." This particular session was chaired by Kurt Buerk, Councillor, Ministry of Education and Technologies, Baden-Baden, Germany, by Tatiana Czepurnyi, Head, East European Department, Hannover University Library and Technical Information Library, Hannover, Germany, and by Elena Eronina, Deputy Director of the RNPLS&T in Moscow. A major focus of this particular session was a presentation by Czepurnyi and Eronina about the results of cooperation between the RNPLS&T in Moscow and the Technical Information Library in Hannover for the past ten years. They presented information on cooperation between the two libraries in interlibrary loan, document delivery, international book exchange, and filling gaps in the collections of the two libraries. In addition, they discussed a project, "German-Russian cooperation in the field of information and documentation." They especially pointed out and discussed new directions of cooperation, including use of the SUBITO international document delivery system.
Valery Makovy, a Section Head at the Russian National Public Library for Science & Technology, elaborated on the SUBITO and TISBORDER automated document delivery systems in Germany and spoke of the new opportunities these delivery systems provided for Russian users. He discussed the originality and advantages of these two systems, and elaborated on the practice of the RNPLS&T in making use of the resources provided by these systems.
Still within the arena of German-Russian cooperation was the presentation by Professor Bernd Wegner of the Technical University in Berlin, Germany. Professor Wegner is a repeat attendee at the Crimea Conferences and his remarks were well received and appreciated. As a mathematician by training and expertise, he addressed the role of Russian-German cooperation in mathematical information for the world digital mathematics library development. Specifically, he described a Russian-German project with the aim of developing the core for a distributed accessible digital archive for all Russian publications in mathematics. He pointed out that Russian mathematics has long held a high world-wide reputation and having the Russian mathematical publications available in digital format will provide an important contribution to the world-wide initiative to establish the Digital Mathematics Library (DML).
Overall, the Crimea Conference was organized such that there were six different events within the official and ceremonial events, plenary session, special lectures, programs and meetings, and press conferences. There were 17 different sections held with topics ranging over the entire set of subject-matter concerning libraries and the use of information technology in libraries. There were 15 separate workshops focusing again, on a wide range of library-related topics. There were 11 different round table discussions and four annual conferences. Of these annual conferences were those of the Annual Conference of Users and Partners of the International Library, Information, and Analytical Center (ILIAC), based in Washington, DC, and other annual meetings of organizations germane to the focus and emphases of the Crimea Conference.
There were 11 different presentation ceremonies, among them that of the album "Crimea Conference: the chronicle of the first decade. Ten years that shook the library world." This particular album discusses all facets of the ten Crimea Conferences which have been held and was published in both Russian and English. Even within the exhibits, there were eight different presentations by different vendors and organizations.
Apart from the formal programs of the conference there were a variety of tours available to interested parties to selected sites along the Crimean Black Sea Coast. The landscape of the area is nothing less than spectacular, as is the architecture of several sites. Adjacent to the Sudak Holiday Home, the main site of the Conference, are the remains of a Genoese fortress which was built between 1371-1469. This edifice is clearly visible from the Holiday Home site and is easily accessible by those interested in exploring ancient artifacts. Further tours were available of the Crimean Southern Coast, to Koktebel and to a wine tasting at the famous Koktebel winery. There was a tour to Alushta and to the Alushta amphitheatre, the most extensive on the southern Crimean coast. There were several other tours available, providing, a splendid experience amid a spectacular array of landscape and architectural splendor.
On a purely personal level, this writer has attended and participated in the Crimea Conferences since 1995 and, since 1996, has served as a Deputy Chair of the International Organizing Committee of the Conference. From this perspective, he has reached the unequivocal conclusion that the single most significant characteristic of the Conference is that it allows and provides meeting and interaction between and among persons from different countries and cultures. This invariably leads to international collaboration and collegiality. This is important in today's world and the Crimea Conference is a major opportunity for any and all who are interested in such. The next Crimea conference will be promoted at: www.gpntb.ru/win/inter-events/crimea 2004/eng/data.htm
Les Pourciau(firstname.lastname@example.org) is Director Emeritus of the University of Memphis Library, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.