Virtual Reading Room of the Russian State Library

Launching a VRR RSL at the library of Yerevan State University

18 April 2012 in Yerevan (Armenia) there took place the ceremony of opening a Virtual Reading Room of the Russian State Library on the premises of the Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library of the Yerevan State University (YSU) within the framework of the project of the RSL and the Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IFESCCO).

The officials of the Russian State Library set off to Armenia to participate in the ceremony at the Yerevan State University. They were head of the RSL Administrative department of management and monitoring service for clients (UFKS) Nina V. Avdeeva, deputy head of the Department of support of access to digital resources (OPD) Tatyana A. Blinova and chief technologist of the Department of prospective development (OPR) Artem S. Poltorykhin.

The ceremony was given a start by Ashot S. Aleksanyan, associate professor, the director of the Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library of YSU. In his greeting speech Mr Aleksanyan thanked the RSL and the IFESCCO representatives for the chance to access modern scientific knowledge, which would obviously contribute to promoting the cooperation of the two nations.

Ashot S. Aleksanyan, the director of Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library of Yerevan State University

From the direction board of the Yerevan State University, the audience was greeted by vice rector Ruben L. Markosyan. From the IFESCCO foundation Nina V.Avdeeva, head of UFKS RSL, addressed the public with her speech. It was "Digital Dissertation Library of the Russian State Library as a leading resource for science and education". There were enumerated stages of development of the DDL RSL project, there were explained access rules and arrangement details. Ms Avdeeva would also devote certain efforts of hers to reporting on the joint project of the RSL and IFESCCO. Alongside that there was given information on the new collections of the Digital Library of the RSL and on the usage statistics.

Deputy head of the RSL OPD and chief specialist of the DDL RSL project Tatyana A. Blinova presented her speech "Software for the Digital Dissertation Library of the Russian State Library. Antiplagiat.RSL " . She reported the details on the software the VRR staff needed for organizing access to the DDL RSL resources. Then, Ms Blinova introduced the new service provided by the RSL which was "Testing texts for plagiarism against the DDL RSL collections with usage of the 'Antiplagiat' system".

Chief specialist of the DDL RSL project Tatyana A. Blinova

In the end the officials of the both organizations presented their partners with the gift book editions. The RSL representatives handed their colleagues from YSU the book on the history of the RSL from the 19th century and till the moment. In their turn, the officials of the Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library gave the RSL the edition describing the life and work of a well-known Armenian artist Martiros S.Saryan's.

After that Ashot S. Aleksanyan, the director of the Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library of YSU, was handed the "Virtual Reading Room of the Russian State Library" plaque.

Handing a plaque

The ceremony itself was held at the YSU conference room specially equipped for such events. Approximately 50 guests were present, the majority of which were students, teachers and lecturers and other university staff.

Thereafter the officials of the RSL had a talk with YSU vice rector Ruben L. Markosyan. The themes touched upon were acquisitions to library collections and copyright matters. A real problem turned out to be the lack of competent employees in the field. Then, there were discussed the urgent problems of getting higher education and supplying students with necessary literature.

Later on the officials of the RSL visited the reading rooms of the Sarkis and Marie Izmirlian Library of Yerevan State University. In the reading room from where there was planned to access the resources of the DDL RSL, Ms Tatyana Blinova held a tutorial for the library staff. She showed how one could organize their search across the RSL virtual reading room resources which would include making a request for document search, opening the document discovered, and making use of the special capabilities. All the attendees would also try to realize the searches of their own, to open the documents found and to test out the capabilities of the specialized software.

A master class at the RSL Virtual Reading Room of the YSU library

The tutorial being over, there was placed the "VRR RSL" plaque which had been handed to the director next to the entrance of the prospective DDL RSL resource-room. From that time on, all the users of the YSU library could enjoy the provided access to the treasures of the scientific knowledge.

As far as history is concerned, Yerevan State University was founded 31 January 1920. Only one department was opened — that one of History and Linguistic. Only 262 students were trained by 32 teachers at that moment.

Nowadays the 20 departments of the university educate over 13 thousand students. Among the 1.200 teachers and lecturers employed there are 200 doctors of sciences and more than 500 candidates of sciences. At the university there teach and research over 30 academicians of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Due to high-qualified specialists, at the YSU there is carried out fundamental and applied research work in diverse fields of science. Methodology work is organized at more than 100 university chairs each of which can boast of the latest equipment.

The YSU library was started 28 February 1920. In the year of 1927 its collections included 52 thousand books while the number of readers did not exceed 530. Nowadays the library keeps approximately 2 million books the 1.2 million of which are scientific editions. 89 librarians are occupied. The library acquires materials by subscription, book exchange and purchase. Alongside there do exist additional ways such as donations and financial support.

Later on the RSL officials paid their visit to the National Library of Armenia where they had a discussion with its director Tigran K. Zargaryan. Mr Zargaryan pointed out the importance of the cooperation of the two national libraries to be continued.

The director of the National Library of Armenia

The participants of the discussion spoke on the general problems of library acquisitions and financial matters. The point of their particular attention turned out to be the coming jubilee dates significant for the Republic of Armenia — the 500th jubilee of book printing in Armenia and the 1500th jubilee of the Armenian graphics. The events dedicated to those dates were planned to be carried out in the year of 2012, and they would get a start from a specialized exhibition organized by the National Library of Armenia with books of early printing in the Armenian to be exposed. Mr Zargaryan would also give his appreciation to the activities set up by the RSL and expressed his hope to proceed the collaboration so important for the both organizations.

Thereupon, the director of the National Library of Armenia was handed a "Virtual Reading Room of the Russian State Library" plaque.

After that the head of the Library automation department Nune E. Samvelyan and head of the Bibliography department Juliette G. Kostikyan showed their RSL and YSU guests around the rooms and departments of the national library, they presented the exhibition stands.

By one of the exhibition stands

The RSL officials pointed a particular attention of theirs to the Early printed, rare and archive books department where they could see the preparations for the exhibition devoted to the jubilee of book-printing in Armenia. The head of the department Melania A. Karapetyan demonstrated the collections of the department to the guests and spoke on the activities carried out within the framework of the jubilee celebrations. Then, Ms Karapetyan described the main principles of arrangement of the common Digital collection of early printed books of Armenia. The expertise of the RSL representatives turned out to be of a considerable value for the speaker.

Speaking to the head of the Early printed, rare and archive books department

In her turn, Ms Nina Avdeeva was happy to tell the specialists of the National Library of Armenia about the electronic collections of the RSL. Inter alia she focused on the collection of early printings and demonstrated the main principles the search across the DDL RSL collections was organized. In addition to that the speaker would show how the discovered materials, among which there were texts of old printings, could be viewed.

The National Library of Armenia is the world largest repository of the books of Armenian print. Its collections keep the first books printed in1512−13 in Venice by Akop Megapart (Akop the Sinner) among which there are "Urbataghirk" ("Friday Book"), "Pataragatetr" ("Missal"), "Akhtark" (the collection of astrology predictions), "Parzatumar" ("Lives of the saints"), "Tagaran" (the collection of songs of medieval Armenian poets), the "Azdarar" first periodical (1794, Madras, India), the "Amatarats Ashchkharatsuyts" first printed map ("A comprehensive world map") and over 500 Armenian early printed (1512−1800 ) and rare books.

Demonstrating the "Early printed books" collection

The National Library of Armenia is considered to count its history from the year of 1832 with the establishment of the Yerevan Men’s Gymnasium, on the basis of the 18,000 editions of the collections of which there were going to be built the collections of the library itself. According to the Government regulation "About National Public Repositories", 4 July 1919 the library obtained the status of a national one. The collections of the library count over 6.8 mln books, periodicals, maps in physical and electronic carriers. In the 14 specialized reading rooms of the National Library of Armenia there are handed 1.5 mln printed books annually. Every day the library accepts approximately 1, 000 users. Over 100 events are organized at the National Library every year, among which there are exhibitions, book presentations, meetings with well-known people of culture and science, and literature soirees. The partner institutions are 160 organizations from 42 world countries alongside with embassies of foreign states and offices of international organizations. The National Library of the Republic of Armenia cooperates with such world library organizations as IFLA, CENL, Library Assembly of Eurasia. 350 specialists are currently employed.

19 April 2012