Newsletter No 14 (October 1996)

ISSN 0966-999X No.14 October 1996




Members will soon be receiving COSEELIS subscription renewal notices for 1996 1997. As I no longer have any clerical support for membership administration I will be extremely grateful if members can make every effort to send in their subscription cheques by the closing date specified in the letter. I am aware that problems and delays can usually be traced to finance departments, so I will particularly appreciate it if you can check that they have processed your cheques on time. This means that I should not have to spend too much time on reminder notices etc.

In addition, it was decided at the recent AGM in Loughborough, to go ahead with circulation of the membership list and other membership information to other members only. It is not intended to circulate this information to any outsiders: private individuals, other institutions or commercial bodies. Information about corporate members will be circulated automatically unless these members specifically ask to have their details withheld. The opposite will apply to personal members: their details will only be circulated if they inform me that they wish to be included.

To this end, it is particularly important this year that I receive the completed membership information forms which I shall send out with the renewal notices. Usually these are returned with the subscription cheques, but if you think there is a chance that they may go missing in finance departments etc, I would be grateful if they can be returned to me under separate cover.

In order to make the membership information as useful as possible when circulated, I shall be asking members to supply a brief resume (2 3 lines) of their interests in the Slavonic and East European LIS field. If you are the official contact at an institution where other people also receive COSEELIS literature etc, I shall be asking you to circulate membership information forms to them also, and to collect their responses and send them back to me in one batch. As a substantial number of members still do not have email. for this year at least, renewal notices and forms will be circulated by post.

I apologise if this all sounds a little cumbersome, but I think the exercise will result in a useful resource for all members on Slavonic and East European library and information services in the UK.

Janet Zmroczek


Here are the COSEELIS Listserv details again for those who missed them last time:

The list is a closed list open only to approved applicants (i.e. COSEELIS members with email). As explained in the welcome message received on admittance, the list is an email forum devoted to the discussion of issues affecting Slavonic and East European Librarianship in the UK. The list is intended to facilitate the exchange of information and views on library related activities, and it is hoped that addressing day to day issues such as cataloguing queries and the exchange of duplicates will become a function of the group. In this respect, the COSEELIS list will mirror its American counterpart, the “Slavlibs” forum for Slavic librarians, although as with other email groups, the future content and nature of the list will be determined by its users.

To subscribe to the list, send to this address: a single line of text saying:

subscribe coseelis

When your application has been approved by the listowner (that is myself), you will receive a welcome message providing instructions on how to use the list.

After you have subscribed successfully, to send messages to the list (i.e. to all those who are members of the list), send mail to this address:

Should you wish to remove yourself from the list, send to this address: the message:

unsubscribe coseelis (your name)

To find out who is a member of the list, send to this address: the message:
who coseelis
(this will produce a reply with a list of email addresses only).


At the COSEELIS Conference, the idea of mounting a COSEELIS Home Page was floated. This would serve as a source of information about COSEELIS as an organisation and would be linked to and from existing Websites of COSEELIS institutional members. It was noted that a COSEELIS Home Page would also be a suitable site for items such as Magda Szkuta’s “Union List of Slavonic and East European Newspapers in British Libraries”, Nicola Hamill Stewart’s “Union List of Serials on Soviet Education” (expected in the near future) and Graham Dix’s “Register of Slavonic and East European source materials in microform” (in progress).


Emeritus Professor John Erickson, formerly Director of the Centre for Defence Studies at Edinburgh University, has generously gifted his extensive library to the National Library of Scotland. The first consignment comprising some 7,000 volumes has already been received. The books reflect especially Professor Erickson’s interest in the history of the Red Army. There is wide coverage of the Russian Civil War and the Second World War as well as of Soviet military theory. The collection is strong, too, in works on military technology containing German and Polish as well as Russian publications. In addition there are extensive runs of military journals. Cataloguing of the collection will begin in September 1996. Catalogue records will appear in the Library’s online catalogue [Telnet address:]. It should be noted that access to all the Library’s collections will be restricted between autumn 1987 and summer 1998 because of fire protection contract works. Further details will be made available shortly.

Enquiries about the collection should be addressed to John Bowles in the Department of Printed Books, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 lEW.

Tel.: (0131) 226 4531; Fax: (0131) 220 6662; email :

J Bowles


The British Library Document Supply Centre has now taken delivery of the 3,924 microfilm reels produced as of July 1996 (with another eight to follow). Chadwyck Healey estimated (in July) that a further 345 reels would become available during the period August-October and an additional 575 reels by March 1997, although the purchase of these by BLDSC remains in doubt.

The material received includes “Fond ‘X9: The Soviet Communist Party on Trial” which was also marketed as a separate collection by Chadwyck Healey.

Detailed instructions on how to order microfilm reels were provided in a previous COSEELIS Newsletter (No.ll October 1995). Additional information about this collection and the Chadwyck¬Healey “Leaders of the Russian Revolution” (held in British Library RS&CD, formerly H&SS, London) will be made available on the COSEELIS Listserv. Any further queries should be addressed to the editor.


Orbis books, in association with the British association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES), offers an annual prize for Czech and Slovak studies.

The prize, of £600, is offered for a scholarly work in Czech and/or Slovak studies published in English anywhere in the world. Preference will be given to the work of younger scholars who have not previously been published at book length.

Nominations may be made by the author(s), or by publishers, librarians or other scholars. Nominations for works published during 1996 should reach the Chair of the jury (address below) by 31st January 1997. Copies of the full regulations for the award of the Prize will be supplied on request.

The winner of the 1996 Prize will be announced at the BASEES annual conference in March 1997.

Chair of the jury: Dr Gregory Walker
Bodleian Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG
United Kingdom

tel: +44 1865 277066
fax: +44 1X65 2771X2


The Theatre Museum Library in Covent Garden, London, has c. 300 works in Russian on Russian drama, theatre history, etc for disposal free of charge to another library. Transport would need to be arranged by the accepting library. Please apply to Claire Hudson, Head of Library & Information Services, tel: (0171) 836 7X91.


If anyone would like copies of Borba and Vjesnik at six monthly intervals, please contact:
Sava Peic
Slavonic and East European Collections
The British LibMry
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DG

tel: (0171) 412 7585 fax: (0171) 412 7554 email:


The Third International Conference, Crimea ’96 was held at Foros, Yalta, from 1st to 9th June, 1996. This year the themes of the Conference were covered by the title Libraries and Associations in the Transient World: New Technologies and New Forms of Cooperation.

The Conference attracted over 600 participants and had a strong international flavour. The main working sessions covered World Information Infrastructure and Interlibrary Cooperation; Acquisition and Preservation of Library Collections; Automated Technologies and Systems in Libraries; Online and CD ROM Technologies in Libraries; Interlending and Document Delivery Service; Business Information and Information Management; Dissemination and Utilisation of Medical, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Protection Information; Electronic Publications. In addition there were a number of specialised Workshops.

My own interests were reflected in the activities of the Business Information and Information Management Section. Twenty papers were presented in this section. My own contribution (the 21st!) was the Keynote Discussion Paper Business Information Eastern Europe: A Western Perspective. This paper was followed by a ‘Round Table’ discussion of the previous presentations. I chaired this session, and responded to specific questions in what became a lengthy (2 hours) question and answer session. Further informal meetings indicated a very high level of interest by public and academic librarians in business information services. The latter are seen as an important justification for the ambitious project, much discussed at the Conference, Russian Network of Library Information Centers Abroad.

The large menu of offerings at the Conference, outside one’s special interests, necessitated a ‘pick and mix’ approach. I was able to listen to a number of presentations in the Electronic Publications Section, as well as the main papers in the Online and CD ROM Technologies in Libraries Section. Discussions with participants from widely separated points of the Former Soviet Union reinforced previously received reports of serious lack of funding, of the erosion of professional skills following the comparative decline in salaries, of the desperate efforts to catch up on the technological front, of problems created for libraries by the now fragmenting publishing and distribution business, of the desire for closer practical cooperation with UK libraries. Overall the impression was one of dedicated professionals struggling to maintain services in depressingly adverse circumstances. That there are still achievements to record is a heartening measure of this dedication.

As with all international conferences there was a social side. Concerts, excursions, banquets, singing and dancing (folk and otherwise) helped to lighten the serious business that so many had travelled so far to conduct.

Tania Konn


In the 1980s I visited the National Library in Sarajevo to establish exchanges between our two libraries. I had meetings with members of the library staff and I learned a lot about their library of which they were very proud. In August this year, I went back to Sarajevo to re establish our exchange relations with the National Library, which had ceased in 1992 because of the war, and to invite a member of the Library to come to the British Library for three full months of training in 1997 (as part of the Soros programme). I also donated some books on librarianship and on the British Library in general. My journey to Sarajevo started from Split (Croatia) and then took nine hours by bus along the Dalmatian coast when I entered Herceg Bosna and then through the devastated areas to Sarajevo. Villages and bridges lay in ruins, Mostar was very badly damaged and the famous bridge destroyed.

The National Library of Bosnia and Hercegovina in Sarajevo was founded in May 1945 as a central library of Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The literary and scientific heritage of Bosnia and Hercegovina was written in South Slavonic languages, Church Slavonic, Latin, Hebrew, Spanish, Russian,

German, Italian, Turkish, Arabic and Persian. The scripts used were Glagolitic, Cyrillic, Bosnian Cyrillic. Latin and Gothic characters and Arabic script (Slavonic terms expressed in Arabic type).

This rich heritage manifests in a specific and original way the encounter and interweavement, the collision and exclusivism of cultures, civilization and religion which have for centuries existed on the territory of Bosnia and Hercegovina on the border between East and West.

In August 1992 we saw pictures of the famous National Library in Sarajevo. The library was bombarded; flames engulfed the books, manuscripts, periodicals; 50,000 feet of wooden bookshelves, a central atrium, and the ceremonial auditorium (which became the reading room in 1951 when the building was converted to the National and University Library) were destroyed. In December 1994, at a conference in Prague, I learned that 1.5 million books, documents and other items, including 6,100 titles of periodicals and 350,000 copies of periodical publications were destroyed. Above all, the most important rare books, original manuscripts, the archives of Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Jewish writers, the entire catalogue system, microfilms, computers and the photo lab were all destroyed.

During my official visit to the National and University Library in Sarajevo, I met Dr Enes Kujundzic (Director of the Library) several times and we spoke about his problems and those of the Library. Dr Kujundzic told me that representatives of other libraries and publishers in Europe and America have already shown great interest in supporting the project connected with the restoration of the Library and its collection in Sarajevo, but what is needed most at the moment is money. The promises of the international community and of banks have failed to materialise since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. the first reason for the reluctance is the uncertainty over how Bosnia will act after the national elections. The second reason depends on whether the new Bosnian government could manage to fund the reconstruction of the Library.

In 1992 there were 108 staff in the library; now there are only 50. Some members were killed in the war, some went to the army and some fled as refugees. Among other problems, Dr Kujundzic struggles to meet monthly salaries for his staff and has also been unable to provide staff training in new technology. The latest news is that Dr Kujundzic has been given an unused army barracks for his temporary library in which he could start to build a functional library from scratch. Dr Kujundzic would like to start giving a basic library service to the people of Sarajevo as soon as possible.

Even in such a difficult situation, Dr Kujundzic and his staff produced the first issue of a new library periodical called Bosniaca, a bibliography of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Hercegovina, 1992 1994; an enlarged edition 1992 1996 is coming soon.

Unfortunately, I told him that the British Library was unable to help the National Library of Bosnia and Hercegovina because of the war. The signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement last September, however, gave the British Library the opportunity to start helping. I still have to watch what is happening in Bosnia after the elections and to see what the new Bosnian government is going to do to support the National Library. In the future, the Library will support the National Library in Sarajevo; the second phase will be to supply books published in Britain about Bosnia and Hercegovina during the period of war; the third phase will be to supply material (in microform or other formats) from our collections to the new Library when it is built, in the hope that the Library in Sarajevo will resume normal service.

I believe that recent elections confirm that efforts to said foster political cooperation among the three factions have failed and the people of Bosnia have “no” to living together: each region has grown more homogeneous as minorities have fled to areas dominated by their own ethnic group. I regret that in the future, there may be three national libraries on the territory of Bosnia and Hercegovina: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. I therefore have to watch for further developments in Bosnia before I can proceed with my three phased plan.

Sava Peic


I have been asked by James Beale to post his new co ordinates. In the light of the discussions which took place at the Conference concerning acquisitions and suppliers, I feel that this might be of possible benefit;

I began work as the Director of the Periodicals Division at Victor Kamkin on 15 July 1996. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my many friends and acquaintances in the UK again. We are just outside Washington DC, so if you are in the neighborhood, please stop by!

James Beale, Director, Periodicals Division,Victor Kamkin, inc., 4950 56 Boiling Brook Parkway, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA

Direct Phone line: (301)881 4905 Tel: (301)881 5973, 5974; Fax: (301)881 1673; email: WWW:


The following is a list reflecting the latest situation following the introduction of a new Statutory Instrument dealing with international copyright. States in East/Central Europe and the FSU whose publications enjoy protection in the UK under Berne, Universal Copyright Convention or TRIPS:

Albania Georgia Poland Ukraine
Belarus Hungary Romania Yugoslavia
Bosnia Herzegovina Kazakhstan Russian Federation
Bulgaria Latvia Slovak Republic
Croatia Lithuania Slovenia
Czech Republic Macedonia Soviet Union
Estonia Moldova Talikistan


In case anyone didn’t know, August saw the birth of Ursula Phillips’ baby, Richard Thomas. Congratulations.


I will include the minutes of the COSEELIS AGM in the next issue the interval between this issue and the next will be shorter than usual.

My thanks to Ursula for the benefit of her advice and experience. I am not planning an overhaul of the Newsletter, but any suggestions regarding content or format are welcome. It is hoped that the COSEELIS Listserv will compliment the existence of the Newsletter, developing some of the issues raised therein and providing a forum for the UK Slavonic information community between issues. Any feedback regarding the electronic delivery of the Newsletter itself for those with access to email is also welcome.

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

Editor: Oliver Hughes, Slavonic and East European Collections, The British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG, tel: (0171) 412 7589, fax: (0171) 412 7554 email: