Did the Spring Really Arrive? – Waiting for the First Sightings

Whether the spring has really arrived or not, is a matter of debating, but we have done some serious work during these long winter months in order to meet the key objectives of our project. Here’s a brief update on some of the aspects in our pioneering work.

Since we started to realize the project plan in July 2012, this initiative has kept us busy indeed. When I look over the Preliminary schedule which was sketched almost a year ago, I do have mixed feelings and they vary from embarrassment to pride. Despite the fact that many milestones in this timetable were re-scheduled, I notice that almost all of them have already been passed with success. Some of these milestones are worthy of a closer glimpse.

Even though we have traditionally had close relationships with our friends at the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg, the libraries have only seldom completed joint projects, but we have had a strong feeling from the very beginning that this initiative will raise our co-operation to the next level. I reckon that the way the both libraries are dealing with the project is rather unique in nature.

The essence of this project is the fact that the material required for scientific work done by linguistics in Finland, is located in the collections of the National Library of Russia. Since we are not digitizing from our won collections, it is quite natural that questions concerning ownership of the digitized material have arisen.

From time to time, I find myself thinking that our project is a fine example of how digitization of collections is promoting the idea of collapsing collection borders. In the past, it was not uncommon to think that libraries see their physical collections merely as private possessions that build the reputation of their owners. In this project, however, we have tried to abandon this self-conceit ideology from the very beginning. The material being digitized will be available online and one may access it without restrictions. The principle that the access is not limited is worthy of rallying at home and abroad and by doing so, the libraries would nurture the culture of openness and interaction, which is one of the key objectives of the Kone Foundation Language Programme too.

Of course, all this is a matter of agreeing with the parties, but it can be really easily done once the goals of the partners are established as mutual and the goals are shared as principles, as has been the case with our friends on Sadovaya Street in Saint Petersburg. Naturally, there is also a question about copyrights and how we have dealt with them, but the issues relating to copyright legislation do require more attention in a form of a blog entry of its own and we will have that out to you soon too.

Yes, when I look at the preliminary schedule once again, I must admit that I was really optimistic when it came to the deliveries of digitized materials from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki. Despite the fact that the schedule of deliveries was revised in late 2012, it is my privilege to notice that the time has finally arrived and we have seen the first sightings of the spring: last week we received the first group of deliveries and they will be available soon for the audience too. Check this site for further information.

Yours &c.,


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