September 1, 2006

Yandex Launches a Massive Program on Digitizing Dictionaries and Reference Books

Internet, September 1, 2006. Yandex is launching a program to create an online reference library. Under Yandex.Slovari project, the company will purchase rights, digitize and publish online the most interesting dictionaries and encyclopedias on various subjects. Yandex is going to allocate around USD1 million for the purpose in the course of two years.

Upon publication, all dictionaries will be indexed and made available both at Yandex.Slovari and Yandex front page search. Users will have an option to explicitly require a “dictionary” answer by starting a query with "what is" or "who is" (e.g. “what is synecdoche” or “who are Kukryniksy”). In this case, a link to a relevant dictionary entry will be displayed above web search results.

"The Internet is a unique reference system," says Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh. "However, the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on the web is often hard to assess. The objective of our program is to contribute verified and proven sources of knowledge to the net."

The task of selecting dictionaries will be performed by the editorial board of the project. Digitizing dictionaries, proofreading of electronic texts and comparative checks against printed publications will be ensured by project partner Informregistr, the state center for electronic informational resources. Informregistr is one of the creators of the Fundamental Digital Library, and its technology is used in preparation of digital dictionaries for online publication.

"I am certainly happy with Yandex's new undertaking," tells Maksim Moshkow, the founder of, the largest Russian digital library. "It is especially gratifying that digitizing of dictionaries will be done by Informregistr. I saw them work very thoroughly and deeply on scanned versions of Russian classical writers’ collected works. That was unsurpassed class, a huge and extremely expensive job. If they manage to keep up to the mark in this project, I’ll only have to admire them. It is also good to know that a large search system is not just looking for information provided on the web by content projects, but is also working on creating the content. Good luck, guys!"

Today, Yandex.Slovary has added an encyclopedia of symbols, a dictionary of modern geographical names, a philosophical dictionary, and a jazz encyclopedia. Some of the participants of the program are publishers Ripol Classic, Veche, and Komkniga and authors working with Exmo, Yurist, AST, Stolitsa-print, School Press, and Legal Literature (Yurizdat) publishing houses. The service covers a total of 2,963,476 entries in 49 dictionaries.

"Regretfully, the majority of publishers think in the old terms - i.e. they believe that books can only be printed on paper. Although computer formatted texts are available, electronic versions of publications never go online, and publishers miss potential audience," comments Prof. Alexander Antopolsky, D.Sc., Director of the Russian Association of Electronic Libraries. "Yandex.Slovari project will speed up the process of publishers' expansion on the web. Our association of digital libraries will be happy to contribute: specifically, we are trying to lobby legal changes aimed at improving readers' access to electronic books and magazines."

Under the program, Yandex will regularly publish new dictionaries and encyclopedias. Publishers, authors, and holders of rights are welcome for cooperation. The general approach is as follows: Yandex buys the rights for publishing on the Internet, provides digitization of printed issues as needed, and stores reference information at Yandex.Slovari. For users, the service remains completely free of charge. More specifics on the offers for authors and publishers can be found at

Elena Kolmanovskaya, Chief Editor
Michael Ushakov, Head of Yandex PR
Phone: +7 495 739-70-00
Fax: +7 495 739-70-70

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