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Culture news, 15.06.2006 15:45

City Encyclopedia Gets Online English Version

city_encyclopedia By Evgenia Ivanova

Staff Writer

An English version of the web-based “Encyclopedia of St. Petersburg” was launched last Thursday, giving the city an opportunity to substantially improve its visibility for the outside world.

The ambitious project, featuring more than 3,500 articles, 1,600 illustrations, and 4,600 addresses, aims to “make the legacy of Petersburg accessible worldwide.”

The Likhachev International Charity Foundation, which created the project, hopes that the electronic encyclopedia, based on a 2004 print edition of a book of the same name, will become a focal point for people interested in the history and culture of the city.

A St. Petersburg-based scholar, Dmitry Likhachev, in whose honor the foundation is named, is quoted in the organization’s press release as saying that such a book “is what the city impatiently awaits.”

“We need to make life in our city easier… I wish every success to the fulfillment of this important goal,” Likhachev said.

“It was quite hard work. We have brought together a very serious team of authors and each of our articles, however short, was checked and verified to the last letter,” Alexander Kobak, the foundation’s executive director said Monday in a telephone interview.

“There is plenty of information about St. Petersburg out there on the Internet, but much of it is inconsistent and is not written specifically for the site it appears on — we, on the other hand, guarantee a certain quality,” Kobak said.

Denis Kuskov, head of the St. Petersburg-based research and information agency SOTAweek, said that until now there has been no comprehensive Internet resource for historical information on the city.

“St. Petersburg’s government site aside, there’s no web resource reflecting not only news, but also other aspects of city life,” Kuskov said Monday.

“All the websites of this kind usually present information in a very fragmented way, and they are far from being complete,” Kuskov added.

According to Kobak, the foundation has no plans to substantially enlarge the English version, as “3,500 articles is already enough.”

“We will only be correcting mistakes, improving the search tools and promoting the resource to the world,” Kobak said.

“You could examine the city’s history across a much larger number of pages [than are currently on the site]. There would be at least 10,000 pages, if one were to write about the history and culture of the city thoroughly. But the Likhachev Foundation’s attempt to create a comprehensive resource is certainly worthy of attention,” Kuskov added.

The site’s address is

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