Newsletter No 12 (February 1996)

ISSN 0966-99X No. 12 February 1996




This year’s AGM and conference will take place at the Department of Information and Library Studies. Loughborough University on 11th and 12th September. Further details giving information about the programme, accommodation and prices will appear in the next issue of this Newsletter (due April/May). In the meantime any initial enquiries should be addressed to Graham Matthews (Tel: 01509 223065, email: or to Inese Smith (Tel: 01509 223063, email:


As the current editor will be on maternity leave from sometime in July, we are urgently looking for a volunteer to take over the editorship of this Newsletter either on a permanent or on a temporary basis. I plan to edit the next issue but thereafter a new editor will be needed for at least the next three issues. Some of you may also feel that it is time for a change of editor anyway! You may feel that the style and content need radically revamping. So now is your chance! Names of volunteers with proposers and seconders should be sent either to me or to the Chairman, Chris Thomas, at the British Library before the next COSEELIS Committee meeting on March 12th. Ursula Phillips. Tel: 0171 637 4934 x 4018, email:


Are there any cataloguers out there like me, ie making it up as they go along? I am now Birmingham University’s sole Slavonic cataloguer, and I often feel as though I am working in a vacuum. I would like to propose a Slavonic Cataloguers’ Group, even if very informal, where we could communicate problems via email. If anyone is interested, please contact me. Thanks
Jackie Johnson. Email:


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office wishes to dispose of a large quantity of Russian material, both periodicals and books. The material relates mostly to the former Soviet Union and includes some emigre and samizdat as well as Soviet publications. Several of the books on offer are standard works in English. A list of the periodicals is available on request, but the books need to be viewed. Those interested should contact Simon Malpas, Stock Editor, Library and Records Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Room SG 110, Old Admiralty Building, London SW1A 2AF. Tel: 0171 210 0074.

THE COLLECTION OF RUSSIAN/SOVIET ARCHIVAL MATERIALS IN UK LIBRARIES (Interim report to the Consortium for Russian, Soviet and East European Studies by Gregory Walker, Bodleian Library)

The Consortium for Russian, Soviet and East European Studies is a body which organises academic cooperation in this field of study, linking institutions in London and the Midlands (currently the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the London School of Economics, Oxford, Bristol and Birmingham). The report, delivered to a meeting of the Consortium on 8th December 1995, is based on enquiries to eight major libraries collecting in Russian and East European studies, asking about (a) the extent to which they are already acquiring Russian/Soviet materials on microform, and (b) their possible response to the prospect of £50k for further acquisitions as proposed in HEFCE’s recent review. The two principal series discussed were Chadwyck-Healey’s Archives of the Society Communist Part and Soviet State (ASCP), which is forecast to reach 3900 reels with a total price of £216K by March 1996, and IDC’s Comintern Archives series (CA).

British Library
Not a recipient of any HEFCE money, but has begun acquiring ASCP and hopes to buy CA. Both would be available on interlibrary loan. Purchase of both may be affected by cuts in the BL’s acquisition funding forecast. Its eventual holdings are likely to influence decisions by university libraries.

Have acquired some of the Leaders of the Russian Revolution, a previously published subset of ASCP. Do not intend to buy CA, but further acquisition will depend on HEFCE announcements and consultation with other libraries.

Do not expect to acquire ASCP. Are considering CA, and make ask for HEFCE support, especially if the BL does not acquire it.

Have acquired nothing so far, but would be interested in Leaders of the Russian Revolution.

Are awaiting HEFCE announcement and further consultation, but have begun very selective acquisition from both series as limited funds allow.

Are ordering selectively from ASCP, and will add as funds allow. Will not acquire CA.

London (LSE)
Would like to acquire sections from both sets, and already hold small parts of ASCP.

London (SSEES)
Awaiting HEFCE announcement and further consultation. BL holdings with influence any decision.

As SSEES. None of either series acquired to date.
Gregory Walker, 7.12.95

BÉLA BARTÓK 1881-1945
Exhibition at the British Library, Gt Russell Street, London WC1
15 December 1995 – 28 February 1996

A small exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary on the death of the great Hungarian composer, pianist and student of folk music, Béla Bartók is on display in the Grenville Library in The British Library Galleries in Bloomsbury.

The display material included an autograph manuscript of Thirteen Hungarian Songs, consisting of Bartók’s original transcriptions of songs collected in Transylvania and later included in a song cycle arranged for voice and piano. Bartók’s work on folk music – Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ruthenian, Turkish and even Arabic, made him one of the most outstanding ethnomusicologists of his time. Posterity, however, values him above all as a composer.

Of his orchestral works the exhibition presents the manuscript of the draft full score of Four Pieces for Orchestra (1921), acquired by the British Library with the Zweig Collection in 1962. First editions of Bartok’s published works as well as a number of photographs illustrate significant stages in the composer’s life.

The exhibition is accompanied by a CD compilation of Bartok’s own folk song recordings, his own voice, piano playing, and short extracts from other musicians’ memories of him.

For further information please contact: Bridget Guzner, Slavonic and East European Collections, British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Tel: 0171 412 7583, email:


Dear Colleagues,
I don’t need to remind colleagues of the terrible situation in the Balkans, especially in the former Yugoslavia. I would like to let you know what the Humanities and Social Sciences South Slavs section has achieved over the past year with the help of other departments, British universities and publishers.

Because of the turmoil, sanctions and difficult economic situation in the Balkan countries, schools, colleges, universities and other institutions have been deprived of new reading materials. The South Slavs department has struggled to overcome this by approaching publishing houses and finding sponsors and transport.

As a result we have managed to send seven hundred books to the National Library of Macedonia, five large parcels of books for disabled children to the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and fourteen large parcels of children’s books to Vinkovci library, Croatia, which was completely gutted by fire. Eighteen large parcels have been sent to the University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and books have also gone to the children’s library in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria. Over two thousand five hundred books have been sent in total.

I would like to thank all those who donated money to assist our National Library of Sarajevo colleagues who have endured unthinkable conditions, not least financial hardship. Now that peace has been signed I would like to continue my mission of help to the National Library of Sarajevo and other libraries in the territories of the Balkans. If the situation improves, as we all pray it will, our efforts will restart with vigour. I hope that my colleagues in British Libraries and other institutions will continue to give me their support. May I thank you again most heartily for your kindness and concern.
Sava Peic, The British Library, South Slavs


At present the basic priority is the collection of reference material to support university science faculties and institutions of higher learning. We are therefore appealing for works in the following categories:

1. Most importantly, foreign science literature, fundamental works and surveys from different scientific and humanities disciplines, current works of scientific research, literature which supports science in higher education. Literature of special interest also includes secondary sources: national bibliographies, library catalogues, encyclopaedias, national or specialised glossaries, lexicons and other lexicographic publications, indexes, abstracts, lists of books in print, biographies, dictionaries (bilingual, multilingual, etymological), other reference publications, geographical and historixal maps, charts and atlases, statistical yearbooks, educational programmes and other educational literature.

2. Works of foreign authors relating to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. These also include microforms and other media forms of such publications.

3. Literary, artistic and other works relating to the economic and/or political emigration from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, especially emanating from national, cultural or religious organisations and societies.

4. Musical works including printed music, records, compact discs and cassettes.

In order to link libraries and higher education institutions, the complex structure of communications also has to be restored. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Enquiries to Sava Peic, Curator, The British Library, Slavonic Department, Great Russell Street, London WC1D 3DG. Telephone: 0171 412 7585, Fax: 0171 412 7554.



Very many thanks those (few) of you who sent me information about your holdings. I am limiting the survey at the moment to new journals – ie to titles established since January 1990 in the field of Russian language and literature only. The survey includes not only journals published in Russian in any part of the former Soviet Union, but also journals recently established in the west (such as Russica Romana). Please send me details of your holdings of such titles, even if you have now stopped subscribing, the publication has been difficult to subscribe to regularly, or the publication has now collapsed.


I received no responses to Janet Zmroczek’s detailed survey on the future of exchanges with libraries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, or to my own rather strong views expressed in Editor’s remarks. Does this mean everyone is happy with the current state of their exchanges?

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

Editor: Ursula Phillips. School of Slavonic and East European Studies. University of London. Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Tel: 0171 637 4934 x 4018. Fax: 0171 436 8916. Email: