09.10.2006 -

Launch of Human Rights Digital Library in Kazakhstan

Last week saw the official launch of a digital library at the National Academic Library of the capital Astana providing access to a data base with over 1000 legal documents in Kazakh and Russian, most of them related to human rights issues.

The launch event was attended by Kazakhstan's Secretary of State Oralbay Abdikarimov and Human Rights Commission Chairperson, Abdildin Zhabaikhan.


This achievement is the result of the joint efforts of the Presidential Human Rights Commission, the UNDO Human Rights project, the UNESCO Office in Almaty and the Information Analysis Department of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, along with the support of the National Academic Library of Kazakhstan. The Human Rights Digital Library is also part of the preparation of the National Human Rights Action Plan of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


Focusing on the rural population and the vulnerable groups, the library is an innovative step forward in improving access to information and justice and encompasses what UNESCO has been advocating as Knowledge Societies, which requires an empowering social vision of pluralism, inclusion and participation.


On that specific subject, Tarja Virtanen, Head of the UNESCO Office in Almaty said: "One criteria of success of a public information service in a Knowledge Society is its accessibility to all citizens of the county - citizens residing in villages and distant rural areas, beyond the capital and other large cities where internet access is commonplace - and to other vulnerable groups" which is the specific objective aimed by the library.


Another important aspect of this project is the use of Greenstone, a free and open source software, produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO, specifically for the Russian and Kazakh interface used in this digital library.


The Digital Library will be disseminated trough the net in the different state libraries all over the country.

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