The development of the e-library in the Kaliningrad region was stipulated by the project «Good governance and cooperation – response to common challenges in public finance» under the Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. Initially it was intended to form it from the materials prepared during the implementation of the project. But afterwards the Ministry of Finance of the Kaliningrad region realized the necessity of expanding the list of materials in order to raise the level of proficiency of the citizens in the area of public finance, qualification of financial professionals, as well as their knowledge of the way the financial system in foreign countries is organized, in particular in Poland. ENPI Cross-border Cooperation Programme includes a large number of studies, training activities, development of guidelines – one of the activities is the development of the financial e-library.
At first a tender was held
Since the work on the development and supervision of the e-library cannot be attributed to the functions of the Regional Ministry of Finance, it was decided that the public non-profit organization should be engaged in the implementation of the planned project. The tender was held, and grants-in-aid for the creation and filling the content of the resource was received by the Kaliningrad regional youth organization “Leader”.
“It was not a sudden decision to undertake the implementation of the project toward the development of the e- library, – says Sergey Rybin – the head of the organization. – Before our participation in the tender we held workshops, to which we prepared proper materials. These materials were systematized, we did interesting booklets, and we even published a book under the “Career Guidance” programme. Then we realized that we would do more if we had a chance to work on systematization and provision of the open access to the existing materials. That is why the offer of the Ministry of Finance to develop the e-library was interesting to us.”
Quality is guaranteed by experts
Actually, the e-library project is not new and has already been implemented in many countries. For example, in France, exists an electronic server which provides access to the digital holding of the National Library of France. In the beginning it was a guide to infant formulas. It was a portal of the specialized profile gathering the materials on particular speciality, but hereafter the server has gained popularity and has grown into the National Library of France.
Therefore, developers of e- library rightfully considered that if you take a particular specialty in the beginning and continue to attach others to it and do it efficiently and professionally, it is possible to create a unique and marketable product that will not only take up space on the web, but bring significant benefits.
In order to solve the issue with the guarantee of quality of the materials contained in the e-library, portal developers set themselves a task to align the entire information prepared to be posted with experts.
The Ministry of Finance of the region acted as the expert in the Kaliningrad region. In Poland was created the expert community too, which gave opinions on the materials which have been presented by the Polish side.
When creating the e-library, the developers had to adhere to two principles. Firstly, users should be able to have an access to all the material from any Internet access point – whether it is a computer, a phone or a tablet computer. Secondly, the user of the portal should be provided with an opportunity to quickly find what they need, not to get lost in the whole variety of information represented on the site. Therefore, the development of the e-library is based on the principle similar to the concept of the “ConsultantPlus” system, which searches for the materials matching a request (in both federal and regional legislative frameworks) and gives the results.
«We believe – says Rybin – that our library should search not only among our materials, but among some partner’s programmes. It will significantly contribute to the information transparency». Therefore, developers are looking to cooperate with not only contributors, but the library funds themselves, which can provide with their catalogues.
The “Financial e-library” has been launched in two languages: Russian and Polish
For library funds it also can be interesting because the information resource “E- Library” ensures the protection of the content in case something happens to the library’s servers. One of the important distinctions of the e- library is its open format, which allows users to read and post publications free of charge.
The only restriction imposed on the portal: the full access to the content is open to the authorized users only. Registration itself is free of charge and exists solely for robots and search systems not to slow down the system.
At present the e- library contains approximately 300 publications, that is approximately about 30 million characters. It contains articles and monographs, normative legal acts, guidelines, studies, reports of official authorities, abstracts and educational materials. Developers plan to supplement the library fund on a regular basis, about 1-2 times a month. It is suggested that such period of time is enough for the formation of package of literature, which will be studied, discussed and, if it meets the criteria- published.
The library for specialists
The e-library provides free online access via internet to the data of the library catalogues and digitized funds, including foreign bases with the full text publications. The library is developed for professionals in the fields of economics, finance and law, for employees of state and local government offices, entrepreneurs, researchers, bibliographers, students and teachers.
The services of the library are open to post new publications by the authors free of charge, upon condition if the subject conforms to subject. To post the materials it is needed to send a request to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The e-library provides the flexible search of documents through a common interface. The search can be carried out on the catalogue’s subject, on the names of documents, on authors and annotations, as well as throughout the whole text array of materials form the library fund.
The main sections of the catalogue
- Budgetary finance: public and municipal finance;
- Corporate finance: businesses and institutions finance;
- Nonprofit sector finance: finance non-profit public organizations, non-profit foundations; charitable trusts.
- Personal finance and household finance.
Promotion of the healthy financial lifestyle
The programme intended to improve the public financial literacy is being implemented in the Kaliningrad region, the part of the programme is financed by the federal budget, the other – at the expense of the regional budget. At date, a pool of teachers is formed from among school teachers, librarians, students, who now introduce public to the financial literacy to all the population groups: to preschoolers, pupils, students of vocational education institutions, pensioners.
The school of volunteers, which was formed last year, provided trainings to the children from the municipalities of the region, was held the competition on methodological plans; more than 150 works were submitted to the competition.
The Kaliningrad centralized library system held a creative works competition for the families. Approximately 300 people referred to help clarify issues on personal finance during off-site counselling. The regional academic competition on financial literacy was attended by over 400 people. Webinars and hotlines are working constantly. All hot topics related to the personal and public finance, make highlights on the websites of partners, booklets, leaflets are being published on topical questions and videos are being broadcasted.
S. Martynenko, « Budget» magazine, April 2015.