Newsletter No 1 (June 1992)

ISSN 0966-999x No. 1 June 1992



1. COSEELIS Inaugural Meeting
On 23rd April 1992 the inaugural meeting of the Council for Slavonic and East European Library Information Services (COSEELIS), the successor body to SCONUL ACOSEEM, was held at The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. The meeting was attended by many members of the former ACOSEEM. A constitution was adopted by the new group, which included a statement of the Council’s aims, conditions for membership and arrangements for electing a Committee and collecting subscriptions.

It was agreed that the subscription, essential since the group’s expenses will no longer be underwritten by SCONUL, would initially be £12,50 per annum for institutions and £5.00 per annum for individuals not already attached to an institution. It was proposed and agreed that, since there was as yet no COSEELIS Committee, the former ACOSEEM Secretary would circulate those people, who had expressed interest in the new group, asking for subscriptions and for nominations for Committee members. Enquiries should be directed to Michael McLaren-Turner, British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

Given the loss of SCONUL support, the future of Solanus was also on the agenda. The Editor, Christine Thomas of the British Library reported that negotiations were already in progress with SSEES and that SSEES was enthusiastic about taking over the role of SCONUL. Since the COSEELIS meeting SSEES Publications Committee has agreed that Solanus should in future be published under the aegis of SSEES but that it would retain its existing editorial committee as well as its editorial independence.

The Editor suggested that the frequency and scope of the Newsletter should be more rigid and that the precise dates should be established for publication and hence for the submitting of material. The future of the Newsletter, which is to be funded from members’ subscriptions, was similarly discussed. It was agreed that the Newsletter should appear quarterly. Dates for submitting material were to be announced, and then publication would follow approximately two weeks later. The length and scope of the Newsletter would not necessarily be constant, but would depend on the material submitted; the Editor expressed the view that a regular opportunity to pass on information is a more important priority than the length of the Newsletter. Queries concerning the Newsletter should be directed to Ursula Phillips, Library SSEES, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Tel: 071-637-4934 Extension 4094.

2. Annual Conference 1992
COSEELIS Annual Conference will take place in Bristol at the School of Advanced Urban Studies, University of Bristol, on 24th and 25th September. Programme, registration form and any further information may be obtained from the organiser: Michael Howarth, University Library, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TJ. Tel: 0272‑303030, Extension 8033. Fax: 0272-255334. JANET address: M Howarth

3. Visit to Exchange Partners in St Petersburg and Moscow
Colleagues involved in the selection and acquisition of Russian books may be interested to share any impressions and conclusions following my visit to Russia in April.

I went with the intention of trying to improve the value we get for our money, given that we constantly renew year after year expensive periodical subscriptions for exchange partners as well as supplying them with new English and American academic books. My aims were i) to negotiate a more advantageous working exchange rate (to date the rate is 1 rouble = £1) and, ii) to encourage them to supply an increased number of books (ie titles which we ourselves have deliberately selected from bibliographies and publisher’s plans, rather than their duplicates offered on their exchange lists) – especially books from new publishers, hence transferring to them orders which we might otherwise have placed with western commercial suppliers who are of late proving to be both slow and expensive.

I was quickly forced to revise my views regarding the exchange rate, since it became clear at once that the Russian libraries simply cannot afford to give us a better rate, although one library has recently altered the rate to 2 roubles = £1.00. The exchange partners are also seriously hampered by the enormous increase in postal charges. I was also forced to admit that, although the price of books in Russia had risen considerably over the past 3-4 years, their books are still relatively cheap. So far it is only dictionaries, other reference works such as encyclopaedias, and art books which have risen out of all reasonable proportion. Hence, academic books currently priced at between 8 and 20 roubles are not unreasonably priced if we acquire them from exchange partners for between £8 and £20. I doubt whether Collets or Kubon & Sagner would charge us less. I therefore agreed with the partners whom I visited that we would leave the exchange rate as it was for the time being, but that we would raise the issue again if the cost of books continued to rise. I also tried to emphasise that we did appreciate that this is a transitional and very difficult time for them and that we greatly valued the cooperation of the past.

An exception, however, is art books, which may now cost several hundred roubles. To quote an example: an art book, which I ordered two years ago from an exchange partner on the basis of information given in Novye Knigi, was then priced at 30 roubles. It has just been published at 235 roubles, ie £235 to us! I managed to get the exchange partner to reduce the price to £170, though I still consider this to be too much. Also I bought another art book Pushkinskii Petersburg (1992) in a book shop (not from a street stall, where the price would have been even higher) for 600 roubles; I bought it, of course, with money exchanged at a rate of 120 roubles to $1. If it had been ordered from an exchange partner, £600 would have been ridiculous. I therefore agreed with the partners that the price of art books would be individually discussed.

The partners on the whole were keen to continue the exchanges. They appeared eager to expand the supply of books to us and did not seem to be lacking in funds for this purpose, at least for the next couple of years. I was assured that our newspaper and journal subscription were not in danger. They were willing to help with my requests for information about new publishing ventures. They also encouraged me to order books from publishers’ plans, which they also offered to supply, rather than from Novye Knigi or Knizhnoe Obozrenie. However, they also warned me that many advertised books were not being published, so that many titles ordered by us will not in fact be supplied.

I would be pleased to hear anybody else’s thoughts and experiences!

Ursula Phillips, Library, SSEES.

4. Latvia and Estonia
The Library Association is hoping to complete bilateral agreements with the library associations of these two Baltic countries. Philip Gill, Chief Librarian, Warwickshire County Library and a former Chairman of the LA’s International Committee visited Riga and Tallinn from 24-31 March 1992 to discuss the contents of these agreements. This follows an earlier visit by an LA delegation in June 1990 and a reciprocal visit to the UK by librarians from Latvia and Estonia in May 1991.

The associations in both countries are eager to develop links with British librarians in all sectors. They would welcome British expertise in such areas as automation, library education and public library management. Serious economic and financial problems have dramatically reduced acquisition budgets and the national and university libraries are looking to exchange arrangements to maintain the flow of foreign literature. They are also prepared to offer their expertise in the listing and cataloguing of Latvian, Estonian and Russian periodicals and publications and can provide valuable information on the current and confused state of the publishing market in the Baltic States. The Latvian National Library is particularly interested in adding an English/Latvian terminological dictionary to the German/Russian/Latvian one already in preparation.

As in the rest of the former Soviet Union the problems facing the Baltic countries are enormous and the growth of library services, important organisations in the development of new democratic societies, is severely hampered by the many difficulties they face. It is hoped that the proposed bilateral agreements will provide a framework for greater cooperation between libraries for all types in the UK with their equivalents in Latvia and Estonia.

For further information contact Phillip Gill, County Library Headquarters, Barrack Street, Warwick CV34 4TH. Tel: (0926) 412164.

5. Database of Materials about St Petersburg
Andrei Masevich of the Cataloguing Department of the Rossiiskaia natsional’naia biblioteka (formerly the M E Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library) in St Petersburg is preparing a database of materials relating to St Petersburg (Leningrad) and based initially on the library’s own extensive holdings. The project is looking for a partner in the West with whom to cooperate as well as for institutions which would be interested in gaining access to the final results. Any interested institution should contact Andrei Masevich, Senior Researcher, Rossiskaia natsional’naia biblioteka, Sadovaia ul. 18, St Petersburg 191069, Russia.

6. Russian Newspapers on Microfilm
The Slavic and Baltic Division of the New York Public Library is looking at the possibility of obtaining microfilm of the newspapers and periodicals listed below. The dates provided in their list indicate, so they state, files “available on microfilm” – however, they do not say where from. They would greatly appreciate our help in letting them know if anyone is already microfilming these titles. Enquiries should be directed to: George D Estafy, Slavic and Baltic Division, The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018.

1. Demokraticheskaia gazeta (Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
2. 24 (Dvaadtsat’ chetyre). chasa Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
3. Futbol (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
4. Futbol-Khokkei (Moskva. Weekly). 1987-1990
5. Golos (Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
6. Golos rodiny (Moskva. Weekly). 1989-
7. Kaplia (Magnitigorsk. Weekly). 1990-
8. Knizhnoe obozrenie (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
9. Literaturnaia gazeta (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
10. Literaturnaia Rossiia (Moskva. Weekly). April 1991-
11. Megapolis ekspress (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
12. Nezavisimaia gazeta (Moskva. Daily). 1991-
13. Pionerskaia pravda (Moskva. Daily). 1989-
14. Poisk (Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
15. Pravitel’stvennyi vestnik (Moskva. Daily/Weekly). 1989-
16. Roman-gazeta (Moskva. Semimonthly). 1990-
17. Rossiia (Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
18. Rossiiskaia gazeta (Moskva. Daily). 1991-
19. Russkii vestnik (Moskva. Weekly). 1991-
20. Sankt Peterburgskie vedemosti (S-Peterburg. Daily). 1991-
21. Leningradskaia pravda (Leningrad. Daily). 1990-1991
22. Sovetskii sport (Moskva. Daily). 1989-
23. Stolitsa (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
24. Svobodnoe slovo (Moskva. Weekly). 1989-
25. Syn otechestva (Moskva. Weekly). 1990-
26. Trud (Moskva. Daily). 1988-
27. Vodnyi transport (Moskva. Daily). 1989-
28. Literaturnoe obozrenie (Moskva. Monthly). 1991-

Meanwhile some of you may have received information from the State Public Historical Library in Moscow about their series of microfiche entitled Nezavisimaia pechat’ SSSR. This looks like an extremely interesting collection totalling 565 fiche, each costing 6 dollars. If anyone is contemplating buying all or part of the collection, please would they contact Christine Thomas at the British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Tel: 071-323-7587.

7. Referativnyi Zhurnal
The University of Birmingham Library wishes to dispose of the following surplus runs of Referativnyi zhurnal. Any interested parties should contact Mrs Gill Barry, Head of Reader Services, University of Birmingham Library, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT. Tel: 021 414 5816. Fax: 021 471 4691. She would like replies before the end of July.

Referativnyi zhurnal
Referativnyi zhurnal – Biologiya 1956-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Fizika 1957-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Geodeziya 1963-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Geofizika 1959-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Geografiya 1956-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Gornoe delo 1960-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Mashinostroitel’nye materialy 1963-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Mekhanika 1956-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Metallurgiya 1956-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Tekhnologiya mashinostroeniya 1966-82
Referativnyi zhurnal – Elektrtekhnika 1957-61
Referativnyi zhurnal – Mashinostroenie 1956-62
Referativnyi zhurnal – Astronomiya 1963-88
Referativnyi zhurnal – Geologiya 1956-62
Referativnyi zhurnal – Khimiya 1957-89
Referativnyi zhurnal – Astronomiya geodeziya 1956-62
Referativnyi zhurnal – Automatika, telemekhanika 1964-89
Referativnyi zhurnal – Biologicheskaya khimiya 1956-83
Referativnyi zhurnal – Elektrotekhnika i energetika 1962-88

8. Recent Acquisitions
SSEES Library has recently acquired the following items, which may be of interest to colleagues:

i) Soviet World 1948-1988: a bibliography of articles from the Soviet and Western Press. Amsterdam: IDC, 1991. (550 microfilms).

ii) Tsentral’nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Sovetskoi Armii: putevoditel’ v dvukh tomakh. Minneapolis: East View Publications, 1991. Volume 1 so far received.

iii) Annotirovannyi perechen’ fondov Tsentral’nogo gosudarstvennogo arkhiva Sovetskoi Armii v 5-i tomakh. Minneapolis: East View Publications, 1991. (Microfiche).

iv) Complete run of Uncensored Poland, 1980-1991.

v) Six limited edition guides to recent political movements and parties in the former USSR, compiled and issued by ‘Informatsionno-ekspertnaia gruppa “Panorama”, who also publish the newspaper Panorama. These include Slovar’novykh politicheskikh partii i organizatsii Rossii (November 1991), Ukraina: politicheskie partii i organizatsii (February 1992) and Pamiat’: dokumenty i tektsy (1991).

9. The fully revised directory of library resources in the United Kingdom relating to Eastern Europe and the former USSR, compiled by Gregory Walker and Jackie Johnson will shortly become available. The revised guide is entitled Library Resources in Britain for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Former USSR and can be obtained by completing the enclosed order form.

10. Deadlines for submitting material for the next two Newsletters will be Monday 10th August and Monday 9th November. Contributions and comments will be gratefully received!

U Phillips, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU. Tel: 01-637 4934 ext 4094.

© COSEELIS 1992. Views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of COSEELIS.