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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Looking into the Past

Shevchenko portal, created by close to a thousand of scholars, has been inaugurated in Kyiv
15 January, 2014 - 17:27

The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine’s Shevchenko Institute of Literature held inauguration ceremony for Taras Shevchenko-themed Web portal “Looking into the Past,” unique in its function and content. According to the project manager, president of the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Stanislav Dovhy, soon every Internet user will be able to find every bit, or virtually every, of information about the Bard of Ukraine presented using modern multimedia services. It is a really impressive endeavor, indeed.

“The project involves digitized manuscripts, about 100,000 pages all in all, including Shevchenko’s manuscripts and other archival documents, photographic reproductions of his artistic legacy (over 700 artworks created using different techniques), and all editions of his texts in Ukrainian and foreign languages, as well as the six-volume academic Encyclopedia of Shevchenko,” Dovhy noted. “The collection is supplemented by thousands of works devoted to Shevchenko’s life by prominent artists of different times, various audio and video records about the Bard, including best documentaries, radio programs, songs with his lyrics, etc. The project’s unique services are virtual 3D-tours of Shevchenko museums in Ukraine and abroad.”

According to the organizer, it took close to a thousand of scholars, both in Ukraine and abroad, to collect and process all the information about Shevchenko. Also, nearly a hundred foreign NGOs, universities and embassies have responded and provided information about the poet’s life and work in their countries. The website will present all the information in an accessible and understandable form.

“The portal also contains entries about all Shevchenko-dedicated streets, schools, universities, cities, villages, and squares across the planet, as well as photos of monuments to him erected around the world,” Dovhy went on. “The portal is still uploading content, it is functioning in test mode. The comprehensive launch is to be held in the spring of 2014, to precede the poet’s 200th birth anniversary. I hope we will do it in time, provided steady funding materializes, because so far, we have received just 15 percent of public funds earmarked for the project.”

The portal’s homepage will be in Ukrainian. However, understanding the importance of promoting Shevchenko studies abroad, the developers have promised to run the website in... 12 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Polish, and Spanish.

And most importantly, its creators have promised to employ modern design and multimedia services to make this research and education portal interesting for everyone, including schoolchildren, students and school teachers as well as academicians.

“I will say without exaggeration that it is a revolutionary breakthrough, an important step towards a correct understanding of Shevchenko,” Academician Mykola ZHULYNSKY said at the inauguration. “In addition, the portal is a unique opportunity to properly present our poet to the civilized world. We often see the Bard as a global cultural brand, but his real visibility is often overstated, even with the best of intentions. Meanwhile, this website, using our time’s new technologies, will enable residents all over the world to go online with Shevchenko and talk to him without leaving their homely couches. I am confident that this project will help to quickly revive the image of Shevchenko in many people’s minds.”

By Vadym LUBCHAK, The Day