Black Sea Scientific Information and Knowledge Base

The Black Sea is bounded by six countries – Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine - each with a number of aquatic research institutes focussing on the environment of the Black Sea. The aquatic sciences libraries in each of these countries are rich in the literature of the Black Sea, which in many cases is not accessible abroad.

It is this situation that prompted the development of a project to create an online cooperative information system for the scientific literature on the Black Sea. The proposed system will unite the electronic catalogues and databases of Black Sea marine libraries into an information and knowledge exchange system, accessible through the Internet. Users of the system will retrieve records and full-text documents held in the libraries.

The project core group includes the scientific libraries of the Institute of Oceanology (Varna, Bulgaria), the Georgian Marine Ecology and Fisheries Institute (Batumi, Georgia), the Research Institute of Azov Sea Fishery Problems (Rostov on Don, Russia), and the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas (Sevastopol, Ukraine). It is anticipated that institutes in Romania and Turkey will also participate in the Project.

A scoping study was completed in 2002 with support from the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (Iamslic), and the project is designed in five phases over a three-year period. Phase 1 - An assessment of the literature resources relating to the Black Sea held in relevant institutions in countries in the region – has been completed.

A Directory of relevant institutions and their libraries and information centres has been compiled, and the literature survey indicated that over 8,000 books, periodicals, serial publications, reports and reprints relating to the Black Sea are held, with over 35,500 card catalogue entries and about 8,000 records in electronic form. An analysis of the records in the international database Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) showed that 4491 records relating to the Black Sea appeared in ASFA between 1978 and 2002. Comparisons between the records appearing in ASFA and the literature resources available in the Black Sea marine institutes clearly demonstrated that the libraries hold substantially higher numbers of relevant publications.

The goal of the project therefore, is to ensure access to as many as possible of the national literature resources relating to the Black Sea, and funding is being sought for Phases 2-5. These will provide suitable hardware and software; digitise individual library catalogues and make them accessible via the Internet; implement linkages between the participating libraries and associated document delivery mechanisms, and develop a plan of action for the long term sustainability of the cooperative system.

Summary of the paper presented by Olga A. Akimova (Sevastopol, Ukraine), Project Coordinator, at the Tenth Biennial Conference of the European Association of Aquatic Sciences Libraries and Information Centres (Euraslic), 7-9 May 2003, Institut fuer Meereskunde, Kiel, Germany.

For further information please contact the Project Coordinator Olga Akimova
Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas
2 Nakhimov Avenue

Tel: 380 692 54 55 50
Fax: 38069255 78 13