What makes it possible to know about Soviet Central Asia? Information and data would be, if not the be-all and end-all, certainly one of the most important elements. But how do we decide upon the kind of information and data that would serve our pursuit of knowledge about it the best, and, no less important, how do we go about finding them? Are there any tools that will facilitate their discovery? If yes, what are they? How easy or difficult is it to find such tools? And, last but not least, what is the library's relevance to all these questions?
First and foremost, the IUL's (Indiana University Libraries) collection pertaining to Soviet Central Asia is extensive. To the extent that it was part of the history of the former Soviet Union, the Slavic and East European Studies collection has been and still is endeavoring to cover it thoroughly as possible, in both vernacular and English language, and secondary and primary sources.
Broadly speaking, consider that the library's collection is a systematized body of information and data. In it subject--called "subject headings" in the library profession--plays a key role. For topic-driven research (as opposed to bibliographic identification) its role becomes even more crucial. So we, while engaging in seeking information and data pertinent to a research topic, may do well to approach the library collection in terms of "subject headings" or "LC (Library of Congress) call numbers." Let's try to build up our own inventory of subject headings and be able to identify the call number ranges pertinent to various aspects of Soviet Central Asia.
Consider that not everything has been digitized; if we can say that much has been digitized we should emphatically remind ourselves that much less is actually available online and that print collection matters.
Last but not least, try to get familiar with useful finding tools such as bibliographies or indices, to the extent that they will enable us to expand our command of sources.
Use "Advanced Search" mode.
Sibirskaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (1929-1932?) [an extensive article on Kazakh ASSR]
Bolʹshaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (1926-1947; 1949-1958; 1970-1981)
Sovetskaia istoricheskaia entsiklopediia (1961-1976) [16 vols.]
Rossiiskaia istoricheskaia entsiklopediia (2015- )
Aggregators (or Reference Suites)
Memoirs and Diaries
Istoriia sovetskogo obshchestva v vospominaniiakh sovremennikov, 1917-1957: Annotirovannyi ukazatel' memuarnoi literatury. (1958-1967)
Sovetskoe obshchestvo v vospominaniiakh i dnevnikakh: Annotirovannyi bibliograficheskii ukazatel’ knig, publikatsii v sbornikakh i zhurnalakh. (1987-2017) [useful volume by volume info at GPIB (Gos. Publichnaia Istoricheskaia Biblioteka Rossii)]
Rossiia i rossiiskaia emigratsiia v vospominaniiakh i dnevnikakh: Annotirovannyi ukazatel’ knig, zhurnal’nykh i gazetnykh publikatsii, izdannykh za rubezhom v 1917-1991 gg. v 4-kh tomakh. (2003-2006)
Periodicheskaia pechat’ SSSR, 1917-1949: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. (1955-1963)
Gazety SSSR 1917-1960: Bibliograficheskii spravochnik. (1970-1984)
Half a century of Soviet serials, 1917-1968: A bibliography and union list of serials published in the USSR. (1968)