Yuri Konovalov, catalog coordinator in the Ferris Library for Information Technology and Education at Ferris State University, has been granted a sabbatical to help uncover Russian history.
Konovalov will be visiting the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. during the Fall 2012 semester to research 19th century Russian journals and periodicals that have never before been studied or catalogued. The Library of Congress has a collection of periodicals many American researchers don’t even know about, including the 1906 Yudin collection that consists of 80,000 volumes related to Russian history, bibliography and literature.
“I’m studying the 19th century because it was the golden age for Russia, and unlike the West, book publishing wasn’t a major activity,” said Konovalov, who moved to the United States in 1992 from Russia, where he taught at various universities. He’s been an employee at FLITE since 2001.
During the 19th century, most people read journals or magazines because books were costly and not readily available.
About three-quarters of what was published as a periodical was never republished in book form, meaning when people read Russian books they are missing about 75 percent of Russian history, Konovalov said.
“Working in the Library of Congress is a dream to any librarian,” Konovalov said. “It is the best and biggest library in the world.”
Because the Library of Congress is a federal government agency, Konovalov said a Ferris employee working there will create university prestige and increase nationwide knowledge of the academic programs Ferris offers.
The main purpose of Konovalov’s sabbatical is to gather information that Russian periodicals contain in order to familiarize Americans with his findings. He will have the ability to study the library’s Rare Book collection that can only be read on-site. Konovalov hopes to publish an article in a professional journal as a way to share his findings.
Because Ferris doesn’t offer Russian studies, most of the information Konovalov finds will be most useful for researchers and at other universities. However, while at the Library of Congress, he will be observing the technical procedures they use, which can be used at Ferris as a way to improve its own library’s policies and procedures.