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INION’s Library as a “Mirror†of the Social Sciences Development in Russia: From the First Socialist Experiments to the Modern Digital Age

A. V. Kuznetsov () and L. V. Yurchenkova ()

Outlines of global transformations: politics, economics, law, 2020

Abstract: The article deals with the modern specifics of digitization of the fundamental library functioning in one of the leading Russian scientific institutes for social sciences – Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INION). It is shown that after the fire in January 2015, the INION’s library never stopped to work. Nowadays, more than 3 million books and journals are available to readers in 18 departments at academic institutions in Moscow. INION receives mandatory copies of Russian publications and new foreign books and journals due to international exchange. Other funds are still preserved in the warehouse due to insufficient funding from the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, but after moving to a new building on the historical site on Nakhimovsky Prospekt in Moscow, the INION’s library will expand its opportunities for readers. In preparation for this move, several digitization projects are being implemented at once in INION – from the development of famous bibliographic databases, which are still in commercial demand not only in Russia but also abroad, to the digitization of books and the creation of electronic catalogues of the library. The authors draw parallels between the modern objectives and methods of the modernization of the INION’s library in accordance with the challenges of the digital era and specifics of creation of the Library at the Socialist Academy of Social Sciences (which after several reorganizations in 1969 originated the INION) by difficult financial and political conditions of 1920-30-ies. It is concluded that any steps towards digitalization should be focused primarily on the needs of readers (postgraduates, researchers and university teachers) and not based on the proposals of technocrats who have little idea in which direction social and humanitarian sciences are developing. The ultimate goal of the development of the INION’s library should be to increase the competitiveness of scientific products of Russian social scientists in the world.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.23932/2542-0240-2020-13-2-5

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