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Russia: Creation of National Digital Library Prescribed by Law

(July 5, 2016) On June 29, 2016, the Russian legislature passed a series of amendments to selected laws affecting libraries and librarianship in the country. The major development is the creation of a new “federal state information system named the National Electronic Library.” (Press Release, Federation Council, Federation Council Approved the Creation of the National Electronic Library (June 29, 2016) (in Russian); text of the Amendment Law and Legislative Information, available at Bill No. 882769-6, DUMA.GOV.RU (last visited July 1, 2016).)

Collection

According to the Amendment Law, this new library will provide patrons with access to electronic copies of various documents preserved in libraries, museums, archives, and other state and municipal institutions. (Law, art. 1(2)1.) The Law states that the collection of the National Electronic Library will include electronic copies of printed and digital publications selected for the collection in line with selection guidelines that will be developed; electronic copies of all dissertations defended in the country; and digital versions of other documents, a list of which will be defined by the Federal Cabinet of Ministers. (Id. art. 1(2)3.) Digital versions of at least ten percent of all books printed in Russia will be included in the National Electronic Library. (Id.)

Organization and Assigned Tasks

It appears that the National Electronic Library will be organized as a consortium of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions involved in the project and sharing their resources. The Law states, “the National Electronic Library will provide access to resources from collections of individual participants of this project with the purpose of more efficient use of their collections.” (Id. art. 1 (6).)

The Ministry of Culture is the federal agency responsible for the creation of the National Electronic Library. It will appoint one of its subordinate institutions to serve as the Library’s operator. For now, the Russian State Library has been assigned the additional task of collecting a digital copy of material subject to mandatory deposit. Amendments to the Federal Law on Mandatory Deposit Copies of Documents, approved at the same time as the amended library legislation, give electronic copies of published materials the same legal status as the printed version and define the legal regime for collecting and preserving digital copies of printed materials and making them available to the patrons of Russian libraries. (Press Release, Federation Council, Federation Council Supported the Introduction of Mandatory Electronic Copies of Printed Materials (June 29, 2016) (in Russian); text of the Law and Legislative Information, available at Bill No. 794026-6, DUMA.GOV.RU (last visited July 1, 2016).)

Deposit Copies

The amended Federal Law on Mandatory Deposit Copies mandates that all publishers and printers provide an electronic copy of all printed products, saved on a data storage device, to the Russian State Library within 30 days after the first publication of the hard copy in a paper format. Electronic standards for these documents will be defined by the federal government at a later time. (Id. art. 1.4.) To support this initiative, another amendment to the Federal Law on Libraries expands the list of non-appropriated funds that can be used for funding the activities of libraries. A previous ban on using money received from lotteries, auctions, and other commercial activities has been repealed. The new version of the library law allows the institutions to generate funds from “any nonprohibited sources of income.” (Press Release, Federation Council, Law on Expanding the Sources for Library Development Is Approved (June 29, 2016) (in Russian).)