The BAIC project

The PNC Buryat Academic Information Center (The BAIC project)

by Dr. Tsymjit Vanchikova
Head of the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs
Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

* This paper was first presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Neighborhood Consortium, May 15-18, 1998 Academia Sinica, Taipei, ROC

* Appendix: Buryat Republic academic and educational institutions and libraries

The present situation at the turn of the century is generally characterized by the activation of international activities, by disappearance of rigid political obstacles, that have formerly prevented or limited the contacts between both separate countries and various institutions. Now the situation has completely changed and owing to the advances in scientific and engineering areas of knowledge new perspectives have emerged for closer contacts.

The peculiarity of the Republic of Buryatia is that it is located at the juncture of the East and West and has a great experience of more than 3 centuries of peaceful coexistence and interrelation of different cultural paradigms and combines in itself the cultural traditions of either but still it is a genuinely oriental republic. Now by the end of the XXth century when humankind faces the problem of elaborating new global models of further development, Buryatia can be taken as a rich field for studies – sociological, culturological, philosophical, etc. It is obvious also, that for comprehensive study one needs as much as possible complete and easily accessible information.

The main priorities of Buryatia have been lately oriented at the cooperation with the Pacific Ocean countries particularly in the field of economy. And if in the field of economy, trade and culture there have been already established certain relations and twin-city relations have been established with the cities of South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the contacts in the sphere of science and information exchange are yet to be established.

The major difficulty the researchers of the problems of the countries of the Pacific Ocean area encounter is the lack of any kind information both of the countries upon the whole and the scientific and educational institutions, of their workers, of the main trends of research, of libraries and archives, of publications and periodicals.

On the other hand it is quite discouraging that in Russia due to the drastic changes of the social structure there have lately been destroyed and broken the systems of the traditional centralized financing of the libraries, archives and other informational structures, foreign books and journals stopped coming to most libraries, the library interchange network has stopped its functioning. Therefore for the last 10 years a big information gap has emerged which is most notable in the periphery and which is to be filled up. The solution of some aspects of this problem is just the chief end of our project aimed at the restoration of the former connections and establishment of the new ones and the build up of the solid basis for the exchange of the information. The solution of these problems just from the very beginning presupposes the use of modern methods of information exchange, which will be considerably stimulated by the use of common approaches.

The project suggested by the scholars of the Buryat Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (IMTBS) of the Buryat Research Center (BRC) of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS) has been designed as an on-going modular project hopefully aimed at establishing general information contacts and stable exchange of academic data on different subjects, mostly bibliographic, between countries of the PN, Buryat Republic being the bridge between the East and the West.
Aims and objectives of the Project:

* restoration of the old contacts and establishment of the new ones,
* build-up of a solid basis for a information exchange on a new advanced level,
* elimination of the gap that has been formed during the last decade.

The project presupposes the computer approach and the step by step formation of a joint database.

Its final purpose is mutual information exchange in the sphere of Humanities and development of the technical and the technological infrastructure.
Initial stage (the starting point):

* work on the formation of the electronic catalogs of the Mongolian, Tibetan collections and archives funds has been started at the DOMX
* In the Library of the Buryat Research Center (BRC) an extensive bibliography of the works on ethnography of Buryats beginning with the earliest works known has been compiled. The librarians addressed the Russian Humanitarian Research Foundation (RHRF) for financing their project aimed at the compiling of the electronic catalog, which received the support for the 1998-1999.

Participants of the project:

* Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs (DOMX) of the IMTBS of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences is recommended to be the coordinator on the Buryat part.

It might as well be appropriate at the preliminary stage to carry out this project step by step beginning with only a few participants at its start, e.g. some libraries and humanitarian establishments of Buryatia and Taiwan with the subsequent attraction of all other members of the PNC. But nevertheless all our information and database will be open.

On the basis of the PNC it should be reasonable to form up the Coordinating Body representing all the parties concerned, to assign the persons in charge of the regional parts of the Program who are to work out common requirements for the catalog entries and their descriptions. We are ready to begin the cooperation, to present the information data concerning some of the Buryat collections. We think it proper to begin with a concrete subject bibliography, e.g. with the bibliography of works on ethnography of Buryats and other Mongolian peoples which have been mentioned above. Its draft copy has been compiled by the Library of our Center and now it is to be put into the computer. The next stage should involve the translation of the titles into the English language.
Information transfer:

should be in our view as follows: BAIC – IMTBS DOMX – BRC Library – the BRC GIS Center – PNC participants.
Equipment required:

At the end of 1997 we have applied for the grant to the RHRF with the project aimed at the creation of the IMTBS oriental studies information database. We have recently been informed that our project was supported and the DOMX will be given a certain sum of money for the purchase of the electronic devices needed. Thus one might say that our program is being successfully carried on.

However in order to adequately exchange the information the technical and technological basis of the project should be accordingly leveled up.

The participants of the project should work out common standards for the accumulation and dispersal of the information, software and hardware platforms should be similar.

We can achieve the modern technical level in 2-3 years on our own, but we can’t eliminate the lag without certain external support. Therefore to successfully promote the project it is desirable that the Coordinating Body should give proper attention to the project they consider it necessary to help or raise it up to the necessary standard.

In the first place, some financing will be needed for the payment of communication expenditures which are very high in Russia.
Language of the information:

it is preferable to give the bibliographic description in 2 languages: in the language of the original (in some standard of transliteration or UNICODE?) and in English.
Stages and terms:

The compilation of the project given is supposed to be conducted in 3 stages:

* database development, starting with general exchange of the preliminary information, accumulating data about universities and academic institutions, their structure, the themes of the researches, periodicals and editing activities; it might be called as the bibliographic stage, e.g. compilation of electronic catalogs (subject catalogs of the some of the collections, Buryat, Mongolian and Russian folklore recordings), and databases of the libraries and archives, making them easily available to the members of the PNC – 1998-1999;
* initiating open access to the newly created resources – the end of 1998 – 1999;
* establishing of the permanent information service – 1999-2000; creating facilities for exchange of databases with the subsequent access to virtual libraries. Its electronic presentation in the form of catalogs will allow for a search according to each entry field.

Results expected:

* creation of the common network of the PNC academic information media of a similar technical standard.


* creation of the IC will be financed by the participants of the project.

In its turn the successful completion of the project involved might greatly contribute to the expansion of the interests and spheres of the PNC participants activity in Russia, the regions of East and South Siberia and Inner Asia.

It will be reasonable to conduct the entire project on an international net-working basis in collaboration with various institutions and individuals. The data collected will be open to scholars’ use.

We are aware of the incompleteness of the data that might be gathered, but we think that these data, even incomplete, nevertheless will allow for the first review of a general situation in the academic researches that are presently going on in the region. We hope that the future will provide more facilities for all of us to use each other’s libraries and archives. The first probationary stage of the project is to be completed by the end of the year.

In case the project is approved the 2-nd stage is to be fulfilled in several years.

Librarians and scholars are invited to join the project, discuss its program in detail and various aspects of this project, concerning methodological and technical issues.
Buryat Republic academic and educational institutions and libraries

* Appendix to PNC Buryat Academic Information Center (BAIC) project. Compiled by Dr. Tsymjit Vanchikova

* PNC Buryat Academic Information Center (BAIC) project

The Republic of Buryatia is situated in the southern part of East Siberia, to the South and East of Baikal Lake. The Republic of Buryatia is a part of a Russian Federation. It has its own Constitution and is governed by President who is Chairman of the Government, People’s Khural, a legislative body, and Government. The capital of the Republic of Buryatia is city of Ulan-Ude which is an old administrative, industrial, cultural and educational center.
Buryat Reasearch Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science

At present the BRC SB RAS comprises four independent research institutes:

* Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (IMTBS)
* Institute of Geological Studies
* Institute of Biological Studies
* The Baikal Institute of Natural Resources Management

As well as auxiliary academic departments (scientific library, museum, department of metrology) and geological, biological, radiophysical, seismic, archeological stationary centers (pilot stations) in various parts of the Republic.

In the BRC SB RAS there are about one thousand staff members, among them 400 scientific workers, 50 doctors and 190 candidates of science.

Today the Research center coordinates fundamental studies in the region and keep traditional ties with scientific institutions not only of Russia, but with many foreign ones. Extensive are the ties with higher schools of Buryatia, especially with the newly created Buryat State University where the scholars of the research center are in the head of departments and faculties, work as lecturers and professors.
Central Scientific Library

The Central Scientific library of the BRC of the SB RAS is one of the oldest libraries of the republic and disposes of unique collections amounting to 265 thousand entries. The Library collects and carefully preserves rare and most valuable editions which are monuments of national culture. The fund of rare books comprises three thousand entries. At present the main trends of the activities of the Library are the creating of database of the catalogs.
Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies

The oldest of the institutes of the BRS is the Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies founded in 1922. It has the following scientific departments: Department of history and ethnology, department of philosophy and culturology, department of philological studies and department of oriental manuscripts and xylographs. At present the Institute has 80 staff members, among them 19 doctors and 38 candidates of science and pursues researches within 12 scientific programs.

The Institute is one of the most well-known Russian centers of Oriental studies which conducts researches in Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies. The Institute contributions are highly appreciated by the academic world. The Department of oriental manuscripts and xylographs (DOMX) preserves one of the largest collections of Tibetan and Mongolian books. At present we are to make full use of valuable written monuments on history and culture, to make them accessible for the wide world community. In order to make them easily accessible for the study and to make the process of preparation for publication of unique written sources still more quick, the Institute started the work of establishing a computer network assigned for copying monuments and documents, making up computerized catalogues and solid electronic archives.

Alongside with the traditional for the Institute studies in history, culture, folklore, ethnography, languages of the peoples of Buryatia and Central Asia, in recent years much attention has been given to the contemporary problems of the revival and further development of the peoples of Buryatia, further activity in line of national policy, state management of socio-cultural processes, to the study of the problems concerned with the renewal of society as well as revealing relationship between social changes and social opinion. The Institute annually publishes more then 40 monographs and journals as well as proceedings of symposia and conferences and studies of written monuments.

The scholars in folklore have been further working to prepare for publication the Buryat and Russian variants of the sixty volumes of the academic edition entitled “The folklore monuments of the peoples of Siberia and Far East”. To this moment 10 volumes have been published, the others now being waiting for their turn.

The results of many years of scrupulous work of the tibetologists is the publication of “The Atlas of Tibetan medicine”, the monument of world culture, which contains a survey and translation into Russian of an illustrated explanation to the Tibetan medical treatise of the XVII th century “The Blue Beryl”. It was published in Moscow in 1994.

Besides academic researches the Institute pursues also three programs in the scope of applied studies, which are as follows: practical realization of the results of research work in the sphere of state and culture build-up; studies in sociology; participation in elaboration of various concepts concerning higher and secondary education; compiling text-books, methodical aids and manuals.

Each year the Institute makes archeological explorations of ancient monuments on the territory of Buryatia. As a result of numerous expeditions it is planned to publish an atlas “Ancient objects of Buryatia”, a series of maps depicting the localities of archeological monuments on the territory of Buryatia in the period from the epoch Paleolith up to Late medieval age.

The Institute coordinates research programs in humanities in the Buryat Republic.
Characteristics of DOMX’s funds:

Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs (DOMX) of the IMTBS was established in 1921 with the aim of preserving and studying of rich written heritage of the peoples of Buryatia and Inner Asia. The funds of the DOMX contain one of the largest collections in the world of historical archival documents and materials on history and culture of Buryatia and Inner Asia, written sources in Tibetan, classical Mongolian, Buryat and Russian, rare photos, tape records of Buryat, Mongolian and Russian folklore, many of them being unique. The scholars of DOMX carry on intensive research work on their description and introducing these materials into scientific turnover.

Cooperation is agreed with the GIS Center of the Buryat Research Center, which is currently founded at the Buryat Research Center that might be in charge of the technical part of the project on our part and might be the collector of technologies needed.

For the present we have prepared for you the initial information concerning the main academic and educational institutions and libraries of Ulan-Ude in the electronic format.
Institute Of Geology

The institute of geology was founded in 1973 on the basis of the department of geology of the USSR AS SB Buryat Department. The necessity for founding the geological institute in Buryatia was substantiated first of all by the unique nature of the geological buildup of the region, i.e. of the “ancient crown of Asia” conditioned by vast spread of magmatic, particularly granitoid rocks, a great variety of volcanogenic and metamorphic formations, mineral deposits and largely by the presence of intracontinental rift zone within which one of the greatest lakes of the world, the Baikal is located.

This has largely prompted the chief academic trends of the Institute:

* history of development, structure and composition of earth crust and upper mantle;
* conditions for formation and distribution of the most significant kinds of mineral sources on the territory of Transbaikal region;
* methods for search of economic minerals, geological mapping and analysis of substance;
* seismity and seismoprognosis of the Baikal rift zone;
* ecology and radioecology of natural waters and deposits mined.

The Institute has obtained a number of good results both in theoretical geology, geophisics and theory of ore formation and in applied research of certain deposits, geological formations and structures.

The explorations of geological structure and paleogeodynamic reconstruction of central-Asiatic and Mongol-Okhotsk folded belts have been generalised.

Among many other programs a project on computer modeling of natural processor is being elaborated. At the Institute a modern analytical basis has been built up to enable completion of the majority of existing types of analysis of a great many geological materials.

Much has been done in line of automatization of electron probe analysis, of minerals with the view of making the data still more accurate and precise, of increasing the effectiveness of analysis, of enlarging the scope of elements analyzed and objects under study.

A unique method for laser spectral analysis of individual inclusions in minerals fairly well competing with the analogous method developed by the Harvard University and also the method for mass spectral analysis of native gold which has no analogues have been worked out. The methods for determination of absolute age of geological materials and processes are made wide use of at the Institute.
Buryat Institute of Biology

The Buryat Institute of Biology carries on researches on:

* biological resources and biodiversity: laboratories of plant resources, parasitology, of ecology of animals, of microbiology and of biotechnology and bioenergetics;
* land resources and management: laboratories of ecology and cartography of lands, of agrochemistry, of organic substances of soil, of soil physics and ecologo-meliorative monitoring;
* Tibetan medicine: laboratories of experimental pharmacology, of medical and biological investigations, sector of written monuments study.

The chief academic programs pursued by the Institute are the following:

* the study of biological resources of the Baikal region and development of methods for their protection and rational use; technology for conservation of biological diversity;
* the study of spatial set-up of soil cover of the Baikal region, protection of soils from degradation and aridity; agrochemical and biochemical conditions for increasing fertility of soils;
* the study of Tibetan medicine legacy and making on its basis of new medicinal preparations with use of modern biotechnological preparations with use of modern biotechnological procedures.

Baikal Institute of Natural Resource Management

The Baikal Institute of Natural Resource Management was founded on the basis of the Baikal Department of nature use study and the Department of economic and social study of the Buryat Research Center. According to the decision taken by the Government of the republic of Buryatia, Ministry for Nature of the RF and Academic council of the SB RAS on Baikal the Institute is authorized to be the host organization for coordinating and academic provision of the problems concerned with ecology, rational nature use of the Baikal Lake basin and international cooperation in this area of study.

The chief tasks of the Institute are the study of regularities inherent in the unified social and natural system of Baikal Lake basin and determination of adequate parameters for nature use, the solution of complex ecological and socio-economical problems of Baikal region.

The general project “Development of scientific basis for Baikal region sustainable development strategy” incorporates various research problems of the Institute. The chief research areas are as follows:

* development of scientific foundation for monitoring and prognosticating natural and anthropogenic changes in environment of the Baikal Lake basin;
* study of the problems of interaction of socio-economic and natural systems; regional economy and ways of its optimization in specific conditions of nature use;
* scientific foundations for management of socio-economic development of the region and prognostication of economical development of the region.

Present day processes as well as dynamics of natural and anthropogenic landscapes of Baikal region with use of aerial and space photographs and results of their preliminary processing and a wide scope of diverse topographic maps are being studied. Cartographic database has been compiled.

A general model of rational nature use has been developed. It comprises a few components, namely ecology or ecological requirements; technologies or technological facilities; economy or economical efficiency; management and regulating nature use, including juridical aspects; monitoring of environment and socio-economic sphere; system of ecological education, bringing up and thinking.

The Institute successfully carries on many joint international projects.

The nearest task, the Institute has set itself, is the provision of informational database for sustainable development of Baikal region.
Baikal GIS Center

The Baikal Center of geoinformational systems is expected to play a special role in the solution of academic ecological and economical problems and realization of nature protecting projects as well as in the ecological education, bringing up and build-upon social mentality. The GIS center maintains up-to-date equipment, it is being given solid support at present by the European Community and Agency on the International development of the USA.
Buryat State University

Buryat State university was organized in 1995 on the basis of the Buryat state pedagogical university, formerly the first educational university of Butryatia and the Buryat branch of the Novosibirsk State university.

About 8 thousand persons work and study at the University. Total number of teachers, researchers and post-graduate students is over 800.

Buryat State university trains specialists for the educational system, scientific institutions, governing bodies and other organizations.

There are 3 Institutes in the structure of the University – the Institute of Teacher Education, the Institute of Ecology and the Institute of Oriental Studies.

Training of students and promotion of qualification of specialists are held on 14 faculties and 63 departments. Following faculties were opened for the last years: Chemistry, Law, Economics and Management. New Departments: Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Experimental Physics, Space Physics and others are opened. Preparatory courses section was specially organized for graduates the village schools and professional colleges to enter the University. The Russian language courses are taught for foreign students. 17 different languages are taught and studied. Lecturers and professors from many countries teach at different departments of the University.

The University offers 20 subjects: Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Medicine (with the knowledge of traditional Tibetan medicine), Humanities and so on.

The academic stuff of the University carries on extensive research work on the following lines: The Baikal region ecosystems; structure, function and nature promotion; Cultural and social development in Central and Eastern Asia region; Central and Eastern Asian history; Problems of development of languages, literature and folklore of Altai group peoples; The programs of development of traditional and cross-cultural education in the context of the dialogue “East-West”, etc.

There are dissertation councils for candidate thesis and 2 dissertation councils for doctoral thesis defense at the university.

The University scientific library keeps about 900 000 entries. It has a Fund of Rare books, which contains over 10 000 books and periodicals.

* The PNC Buryat Academic Information Center (BAIC) project
* Buryat Republic academic and educational institutions and libraries