PREFACE

The aim of this Catalogue is to provide better information about Russian resources (commercial products, prototypes, technological offers) and Russian actors in the field of language engineering for European actors, and by doing so to help establish co-operation both at the level of academic research and the industrial level.

The first two editions of the Catalogue appeared in 1996 and 1997 in France and in French.

During the preparation of this (3rd) edition all participants of the Catalogue were prompted to update their information, and most of them did so. But a small number of descriptions were not updated, and therefore are copied from the preceding edition (1997), provided the team had no visible changes.

Initially, the Catalogue was compiled from questionnaires, filled out in Russian (with few exceptions), from various documents, commercial promotions, research papers, and, above all, from oral interviews, which remain the most efficient way of obtaining information.

It was impossible to verify all the information obtained, and no one except its authors can be held liable for it.

It should be also noted that the term "product" is used in this Catalogue in the broad sense. It refers as well to academic work not intended for commercialisation. This conforms to the intent of this Catalogue, not only to disseminate information about software, but also to promote co-operation, because information about those "products" allows to better appreciate the experience and the potential of the teams.

How to use the Catalogue?

First of all, we had to choose a transliteration of Cyrillics to make proper names legible for non-speakers of Russian. The accepted standard is ISO R9-1968, found in the Annex I. But in some cases it turned out that the person is used to a different rendering of his/her name and has publications signed in that rendering; to avoid misunderstanding, we supply other transliterations in parenthesis, italicised. Currently this has been done for the names of team leaders, but it can be also done, if needed, for other persons mentioned in the Catalogue.

In the text of the Catalogue the teams are referred to sometimes by their names, sometimes by the name of the responsible person. In the end of the 1st volume a list of responsible persons allows to find easily the page where the team is described.

Stable acronyms, familiar as proper names, are presented in the text in the English transliteration; to compensate for this, in the list of acronyms (Annex II) they are rendered as English words (e.g., RGB - Russian National Library).

Likewise, we prefer a mailing address to a geographic address; we think that it better serves the needs of Catalogue users. Apart from that, mailing addresses are shown as they are normally written in Russia, i.e., first the postal code, then the country, then the city, etc. (and not in the reverse order like in Europe). This is done to relieve Russian post workers of any problems at reading the addresses or delivering letters.

In view of the general instability in the country, it should be always kept in mind that addresses and phone numbers of offices often change. For this reason we give sometimes also personal phone numbers of the responsible persons (with their consent).

In phone and fax numbers the code of Russia (7) and codes of cities are shown in parentheses and preceded by a "+".

To contact the teams by email or fax, it is necessary to specify the name and co-ordinates of the recipient because these means of communication are often in shared use. Email is the most efficient means of communication.

About the 3rd edition of the Catalogue

This edition of the Catalogue presents 72 Russian teams, which is by far less than in the preceding edition (99). How come?

  1. First of all, the 1997 edition covered all republics of the former USSR, whereas now teams from other republics are not included.
  2. The second reason is the dramatic restructuring of the Russian OCR market. While in 1994 our Catalogue presented 18 different OCRs, and each of them was used or sold in some way, now they are only 4 or 5, and even that is because some of them are for Mac computers, others for manuscripts, etc., and actually only two of them are in wide use. For this reason, in this edition of the Catalogue many teams formerly shown as OCR developers are no longer represented. Some of those teams dispersed, others changed their field of activity.
  3. The third and most important reason is Russia's economic problems, especially the shock of August 1998. After it many private companies were closed, part of academic groups either dispersed or joined large companies, some emigrated to the West, others moved to very different fields of activity.

And as a matter of course, like in the prefaces to the preceding editions, we have to say that a country like Russia, great and rich in talent, cannot be completely covered by our Catalogue, and therefore we don't consider our work complete and will continue it.

We will accept with gratitude your comments, suggestions and wishes. Please direct them to sciper@wanadoo.fr

or by fax : (+33 1) 69 78 32 61

or by mail: SCIPER, 46 rue du Moulin Tan, 91150 Etampes, France