Non-profit Organisation
Consortium of Estonian Libraries Network


The Consortium of the Estonian Libraries Network (hereinafter the ELNET Consortium) initiates and coordinates cooperation between Estonian research libraries and other institutions or organisations responsible for collecting, disseminating and preserving information, developing information systems and e-services according to the needs of end users.



The ELNET Consortium is a leading expert in developing electronic library services in Estonia and a reliable cooperation partner in the development of information services in Europe.



The ELNET Consortium is a nonprofit association established in 1996.

The Consortium operates pursuant to the Nonprofit Associations Act and to the Consortium’s statutes. The highest body of the Consortium is the General Meeting and the managing body is the Management Board. The ELNET Consortium leads cooperation projects with other Estonian institutions and organisations dealing with research information.

The ELNET Consortium’s main areas of activity are:

a) the development and management of the shared library system MILLENNIUM/SIERRA, as well as the online catalogue ESTER and the Estonian articles database ISE which are built on this system,

b) the management and development of the Estonian Subject Thesaurus,

c) in cooperation with libraries the development and implementation of information systems, and the development of standards and guidelines,

d) coordination of joint procurements of electronic research information,

e) conducting negotiations on behalf of member libraries for developing e-services.

Since its establishment the ELNET Consortium has been engaged in creating and developing a shared information system. The Consortium member libraries use the integrated library system MILLENNIUM/SIERRA (owned by Innovative Interfaces Inc.). The Consortium is responsible for the management and development of databases: the online catalogue ESTER (, the database of Estonian articles Index Scriptorum Estoniae ( and the Estonian Subject Thesaurus ( As of 1 January 2015 the Consortium membership consists of 15 libraries. Cooperation agreements with member libraries have enabled to provide access to a number of smaller collections via the information system.

All Estonian libraries have access to cataloguing rules whch are prepared by the Consortium and available at its website.

Since 1998 the ELNET Consortium has been coordinating joint procurements of electronic research information. The Consortium regularly carries out database tests and negotiations for potential joint procurements. The procurements are financed under the agreement concluded with the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.

Since 2003 the ELNET Consortium has been compiling the database of digitised Estonian newspapers (DEA). The Consortium is responsible for managing the hardware and software environment of the database, content is developed by the libraries engaged in compiling the database. This environment is not developed further and partner libraries currently use the database material for developing new services. The further task of the Consortium is to map digitisation activities in its member libraries and to prepare the principles and guidelines or the so-called activity standards which are applied in digitising and preservation of digital information.

Since 2009 the member libraries have been compiling the Estonian Subject Thesaurus (EMS), a universal controlled vocabulary in the form of a thesaurus for indexing and searching Estonian-language material. Initially this database was created for optimising the operation of the information system, now it has become an important service for Estonian memory institutions.

In 2010 the Consortium began to create a single internet gateway providing access to various research resources (hereinafter: E-varamu portal) as the first stage of the project „Estonian E-varamu and preservation of collections“ which is part of the Estonian Research Infrastructure Roadmap. In 2014 The Consortium started to implement the portal in cooperation with the supplier Fraunhofer Gesellschaft  zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. The portal aims to offer a single access point for the collections of research and memory institutions.

The ELNET Consortium cooperates with a number of international organisations:

  • eIFL Consortium (Electronic Information for Libraries), member since 2005; ELNET has been cooperating with this organisation since 1999;
  • IUG (Innovative Users Group) – international organisation of libraries who use software created by the company Innovative Interfaces, member since 1998;
  • Nordic IUG – Nordic and Baltic user group of software created by the company Innovative Interfaces, cooperation since 2003;
  • SVUC (Scandinavian Virtual Union Catalogue) – cooperation agreement for enabling free copy cataloguing was concluded in 2006.



1. To support research, culture and education through the joint activities of libraries.

2. To organise joint activities on a high level, ensuring the satisfaction of members and resource saving.

3. To offer innovative solutions in order to ensure customer satisfaction.



Development of a shared information system and e-services to better meet the needs of libraries and end users.

The Consortium

  • uses the latest version of the library system MILLENNIUM/SIERRA and, if possible, participates in the testing of new versions;
  • analyses and assesses the capability of the company supplying the library system software to develop the information system, proceeding from the development plans of member libraries. The Consortium also collects expert knowledge on other competitive software systems;
  • as a follow-up to the merging of the previous Tallinn and Tartu databases, organises a joint editing of records in the shared database;
  • prepares guidelines and organises training for the staff of its member libraries in order to foster more efficient work within the information system;
  • creates a shared web-based system for user registration and authentication (including ID-card and mobile-ID applications);
  • creates a name authority database in addition to the Estonian Subject Thesaurus in order to optimise the operation of the information system;
  • finds more efficient solutions for interfacing the Consortium’s databases (online catalogue, database of articles, authority databases) with digital archives (including the implementation of OpenURL solutions) and with information systems created by member/partner libraries (e.g interfacing the Estonian articles database ISE with the portal Digar Estonian newspapers created in the National Library of Estonia);
  • continues to work on solutions which enable the convenient use of the Consortium’s databases in mobile devices;
  • arranges joint screenings of RFID technologies and decides the preparation of standards/recommendations for Estonian libraries;
  • actively contributes to the inclusion of the Consortium’s databases in the maximum wide range of relevant portals, joint search applications and search engine indexes;
  • develops new information services according to proposals from its members;
  • continues to map the digitisation activities of libraries and to prepare the principles and rules applied in digitisation and the preservation of digital information, including the joint position on copyright;
  • develops cooperation with institutions who produce, disseminate and preserve information, currently focusing on the following areas:
    • MARC-cataloguing and copy cataloguing,
    • adding cover designs and other supplementary information to the online catalogue,
    • digitisation and preservation of digital information;
  • actively cooperates with universities in developing services which support e-learning, using the new technological possibilities of the information system;
  • cooperates with students, e.g for creating educational videos, designing online catalogue icons and writing JavaScripts;
  • prepares a handbook for administrator to facilitate the use of the information system ESTER;
  • implements the E-varamu portal and ensures sustainable funding for it;
  • seeks partners for E-varamu portal in order to offer via the portal access to a maximum wide range of Estonian and foreign databases.



Joint procurements for purchasing electronic research information in order to ensure the expedient use of the Consortium members’ resources.

The Consortium

  • monitors and tests databases and packages of electronic research publications which are of interest to it, and concludes agreements with the relevant publishers under maximum favourable conditions;
  • concludes international cooperation agreements for organising joint procurements;
  • organises user training and presentations of new databases.



Reinforcement of the Consortium as an organisation for ensuring the sustainability and efficiency of its activities.

The Consortium

  • ensures the conformity between its administrative capacity and the volume of ongoing projects;
  • writes applications for additional financing to Estonian foundations supporting development activities and, if applicable, to EU Structural Funds;
  • develops organisational culture.



  • In conformity with the developments of Innovative Interfaces, the Consortium has implemented the version of the integrated library system which best meets the needs of the users.
  • The hardware used for accommodating the Consortium’s information system and databases has been duly updated and maintained under maintenance agreements, data backup is carried out as required.
  • Training is carried out according to the action plan prepared by the Consortium. System administrators receive regular in-service training.
  • New services have been launched in the online catalogue ESTER:
    • new web-based registration and authentication system for users (including ID-card and mobile-ID applications),
    • display of cover designs and other additional information,
    • applications for mobile devices.
  • Possibilities have been identified for launching a joint search in the bibliographic databases managed by the Consortium.
  • The Consortium has prepared and made accessible on its website recommendations for using RFID technology in Estonian libraries.
  • The Consortium’s working groups have prepared and updated documents necessary for working within the information system, including guidelines for compiling authority records. Proper usage of authority data in databases is ensured.
  • The member libraries of the Consortium have jointly created and made publicly accessible the database of the names authority data, the database has become a significant source of information for memory institutions both in Estonia and elsewhere.
  • The bibliographic databases of the Consortium (online catalogue, articles database) are interfaced with digital archives by using OpenURL.
  • All Consortium’s data collections use internationally renowned data exchange formats (MARC21, SKOS, etc.)
  • The Consortium is the institutional contact in Estonia for the international UDC Consortium.
  • In order to unify the quality of data input in libraries and to increase the efficiency of data exchange, the Consortium provides access on its website to guidelines which are prepared by the Consortium and are of interest to a wider professional circle.
  • The Consortium has prepared a comprehensive overview of digitisation activities in Estonian libraries. Access to digitised materials is provided also via the bibliographic databases managed by the Consortium (online catalogue ESTER and articles database ISE).
  • The E-varamu portal has been launched by the end of 2015, the Consortium continues with interfacing new databases.
  • Via the E-varamu portal, the ELNET Consortium is the aggregator for Europeana.
  • An efficient internal communication system has been built to manage the administrative issues of the Consortium. As extensively as possible, administration and joint activities are managed via electronic communication channels, videoconferences, etc. The minutes of working group meetings and reports of working group leaders are operatively available in the Consortium’s Intranet.
  • The organisation’s administrative capacity is in conformity with the volume of ongoing projects.