With the history of the Russian state comprising the core theme of its collection, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg may sound like a project meant for a very narrow audience. Yet this vast archive located in the majestic Synod building on Senatskaya Ploshchad has become Russia’s premier project showcasing innovative archiving technologies — and it is eagerly going global.
With its collections consisting entirely of electronic resources, the library represents a new breed of archives moving away from piles of paper documents, while making ancient manuscripts from the early 11th century onwards accessible to wider audiences through their scanned versions. Readers across the globe can now get access to almost the same files — although with some restrictions — as those who visit the headquarters in St. Petersburg.
When it was being created, Russia’s Presidential Library was modeled on the library of the U.S. Congress, which has a similar function.
“The U.S. Congress library was originally created as an information and analysis resource meant exclusively for members of Congress; similarly, our library, as part of the presidential administration, caters a large extent to the Kremlin and various state bodies,” said Vershinin. “What makes us different is that the U.S. Congress Library contains large volumes of printed material, whereas our collection is limited to electronic documents.”
Direct to the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library