Newsletter No 18 (November 1997)

ISSN 0966-999X No.18 November 1997




In spite of the increased pressure that individual members have been under in their various institutions, COSEELIS has still managed to press on with existing projects and even to initiate new ones.

One very important development is the inauguration of the COSEELIS web page which, courtesy of Tania Konn, will soon be accessible as part of the Glasgow University site. By the beginning of October it will be possible to mount: Magda Szkuta’s Union List of Slavic and East European Newspapers (even more important in a year which has seen a lot of cuts in newspaper acquisitions): as Graham Dix’s Register of Slavonic and East European Source Material on Microform and Nicola Hamill-Stewart’s Union List of Soviet Serials on Education. The page will also include details about COSEELIS members (that is, of those who have no objection).

Solanus duly appeared in June. This year’s issue (Volume 11) contained a very useful index to the previous 10 volumes, compiled by John Simmons. Three issues of the Newsletter also came out this year, compiled by Oliver Hughes, who also covered as treasurer during Janet Zmroczek’s maternity leave. The 1992 volume of the European Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies appeared in the Spring. The 1993 volume is likely to appear before the end of the year. It is likely that in the future (possibly by the end of next year) EBSEES will go online at CNRS in Grenoble. The service will be free. Thereafter, the printed volumes will cease.

A very successful and well-attended conference was held at Loughborough in September 1996. The proposal to reschedule future conferences to allow overlap with the BASEES conference (held in March or April in Cambridge) was rejected at the AGM on the grounds that it needed more thought. However, relations with BASEES were maintained and strengthened. Two COSEELIS members (Tania Konn and Graham Dix) gave a presentation on electronic sources at the 1997 BASEES conference. It attracted a large audience and, in spite of rather unsatisfactory technology at Fitzwilliam College, was very successful and provoked a lot of questions and discussion.

Colin Johnson who has for many years been the BASEES observer on the COSEELIS committee is due to retire. Our thanks are due to him and we wish him well in his retirement. In his place we were very pleased to welcome Richard Davies, well known to us all in connection with the Leeds Russian Archive. Tania Konn continues to represent COSEELIS on the BASEES committee.

Jointly with representatives from BASEES, five COSEELIS members formed a working party to advise HEFCE on how funding for archival material from our region should be spent. Their recommendations were accepted in full. Most of the material is already available for consultation in the acquiring libraries and on inter-library loan (for details, see the COSEELIS Newsletter of March 1997).

In spite of constraints on travel budgets, a number of members have visited libraries in the region: Bridget Guzner to Romania, Chris Thomas to Belarus, Sava Peic to Sarajevo (all in connection with the British Library Soros fellows scheme); to the Czech Republic – Erika Panagakis (also to Slovakia), Devana Pavlik and John Wall (the last with the help of funding from COSEELIS to attend the ABDOS conference; Sava Peic was able to make a second trip to Sarajevo and Tuzla with assistance from the British Council. Traffic was not only in one direction. Librarians came to Britain from: Romania, Belarus, Bosnia/Herzegovina and the Czech Republic (two with help from the COSEELIS hospitality funds).

All in all, we are still here, still functioning, flourishing even, and have managed to avoid a collective nervous breakdown.

Chris Thomas
5 September 1997


Apologies for absence: Ms T Konn, Ms C Sing

1) Matters arising from last year’s meeting

BASEES representative
Dr Richard Davies of the Leeds Russian Archive has been appointed at BASEES representative on COSEELIS.

2) Chairman’s report
A copy of the report is attached.

3) Treasurer’s report
Mr Hughes presented the report showing a healthy balance of £1506.51 in the COSEELIS account, at present swollen by a further £1513.65 of Conference fees. Calls had been made on the Hospitality Fund over the year reducing it to £135.46. Funds received by EBSEES (£300) had supported the editor’s travel expenses to Paris.

4) COSEELIS homepage
The URL of the homepage is to be announced shortly.

5) Survey of Library Usage
It was agreed that a survey of library usage would be valuable for discovering if users needs are being met, and also for evidence in supporting library acquisitions against fund cutting. Previous surveys were undertaken in 1975 and 1985. The questionnaire used in 1985 could be updated and simplified. Dr Thomas will send out the form for comment and amendment.

The British Library had received the idea with enthusiasm and had offered funding to support the survey. Funds must be spent by the end of March 1998. It was thought that the first week in December would be a good time to distribute the questionnaire. It would be circulated to the membership of BASEES and to postgraduate students. The membership list of the Royal Institute for International Affairs and the HEFCE Area Studies Database were also suggested as targets.

6) Union List of Newspapers
The database is to be mounted on the COSEELIS homepage. Amendments already notified have been made. Further changes should continue to be sent to Magda Szkuta and will be added once the list is on the homepage.

7) European Bibliography of Slavonic and East European Studies
Dr Brine reported that the 1992 volume had appeared in the spring after some delay. Contributions for the 1993 volume were finished in April and the volume may appear before the end of the year. In the future the Bibliography is likely to go online at CNRS in Grenoble, possibly by the end of next year. The service will be free. The printed volumes will thereafter cease to be published.

This change has implications for the work of the UK editor, who will require Internet connection. Dr Brine has sought help from the COSEELIS Committee for the recurring costs and possibly also for hardware. An approach for support is also to be made to BASEES.

Dr Thomas was not able to report as the group had not been very active.

9) Aid to Eastern Europe
The three year scheme of the British Library with the Soros Foundation has come to an end. Four librarians were received on study and work experienced visits. Two from Romania, one from Belarus and one from Bosnia.

Clarification was sought on the type of material required by the National Library in Sarejevo – chiefly recent material in English. Details had appeared in the last issue of the Newsletter, but a note would be placed on the COSEELIS listserve.

10) Union List of Serials on Soviet Education
Ms Hamill-Stewart is to be asked about the latest position.

11) Register of Slavonic and East European source materials in microform
Mr Dix reported that the Register will appear on the COSEELIS homepage and will include the HEFCE materials and other new items.

12) Publications
a) Newsletter
Mr Hughes reported that around 23 members now receive the electronic version of the Newsletter. The print version will continue. Contributions are always welcome.

b) Solanus
Dr Thomas made a plea for contributions from the UK. Around 80% are from outside, 90% of these from Russia. The next issue will contain an index to the first ten volumes of the New Series.

13) 1998 Conference
The Annual Meeting last year had rejected the idea of a spring Conference in Cambridge overlapping with BASEES. It was suggested that this could be tried as an experiment in 1998 and was agreed by the Meeting. The Conference will take place on Monday 6 – Tuesday 7 April, following the BASEES Conference. There would be a joint session with BASEES on Monday and the option for COSEELIS members to come earlier to attend the BASEES Conference. Mr Scrivens is to make enquiries about accommodation.

Concern was expressed about the possible burden on members in Cambridge involved in organising the Conference if it were to be a regular event.

14) AOB
Orbis Books prize
Dr Walker reminded the Meeting of the Orbis Books prize for Czech and Slovak Studies. Recommendations of works covering any aspect of Czech and Slovak studies in English should be sent to him.

Graham Matthews reported that following from his preservation study of 1989/91 he is undertaking a 15 month research project on collection survey methods. He would be very interested to hear from anyone who has had involvement with such surveys.

Exchanges and acquisitions
Mr Ron Hogg (BLDSC) reported that Kathleen Ladizesky is to retire. The meeting asked that its best wishes be conveyed to her.

Mrs Mary Bone (RIIA) reported that a new exchange arrangement with INION is working extremely well. The Chatham House Library has to make cuts of 50% to staff and acquisitions.

It was requested that news of new suppliers be posted on the COSEELIS E-mail list.

G P Camfield, Secretary, COSEELIS
British Library of Political and Economic Science


Apologies for the late arrival of the subscriptions forms and the Newsletter. The delay was caused by the additional workload associated with the British Library moves.

Janet Zmroczek recently returned from maternity leave and will be working for three days a week for the time being. She has resumed her duties as COSEELIS Treasurer. Please direct any enquiries about financial matters to her as before:

Janet Zmroczek
Slavonic Section
The British Library
Floor 2
96 Euston Rd
London NW1 2DB
Tel: 0171 412 7586


As part of the COSEELIS Survey of Users, members will shortly be receiving a copy of the questionnaire which is being sent out to researchers. We hope to get the six-page questionnaire out in the next month-or-so to be completed and returned by early January. The questionnaire is aimed primarily at members of academic institutions (at postgraduate level or above) and professionals with a research interest in the field.

We plan to distribute the questionnaire by post to BASEES members and to researchers on the HEFCE/ESRC Area Studies Database, and by email to members of the Russian-Studies (Mailbase) List. If there are any other suggestions for reaching as many users of Slavonic Library and Information Services as possible, then we would be glad to hear them. Not all researchers will be reached by the above means, therefore as an additional measure it would be extremely useful if members could distribute questionnaires among likely candidates in their local institutions. We would be very grateful if members would also encourage people to complete and return the questionnaires. Thank you for your help.


A decision was taken by vote at the COSEELIS conference at Nottingham in September to time the next conference to coincide with the annual BASEES (British Association for Soviet, Slavonic and East European Studies) conference. It is hoped that this move of the COSEELIS conference will provide members with an opportunity to meet academic users of Slavonic libraries/information centres and to make the academic community more aware of the collections and services available.

The BASEES conference takes place over a weekend (mid-day Saturday to mid-day Monday) at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and in 1998 the conference will be held on 4-6 April. The COSEELIS conference will take place on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th April at Fitzwilliam College and a BASEES-COSEELIS joint session is planned for the Monday morning. Further details of the programme and conference venue will be available in the next issue of the Newsletter.


The Polish Social and Cultural Association in conjunction with the Polish Library in London is delighted to announce a prize of £1000 to be awarded to the author(s) or editor(s) of the book published in English anywhere in the world, which in the opinion of a panel of judges has made the most significant contribution to Polish literature, history and culture.

Books must have been published (ISBN number) within the period of 1st of January 1996 6o 31st December 1998. Nominations may be made by the authors, publishers or scholars. Two copies of each title nominated should be submitted to the Polish Library (which will then be retained by the Library). The last date of entry is the 31st December 1998. The winner will be announced on 3rd May 1999.

For further information, contact:

The Polish Library
140 King Street
London W6 0RF
Tel: 0181 741 0474


In August, Hana Oplestilova, the Acquisitions Librarian of the Slovanska Knihovna in Prague, visited three COSEELIS member libraries: the SSEES, British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford. COSEELIS Hospitality money was spent on seven nights accommodation and a visit to Oxford.


A detailed guide to Hungarian Internet resources, compiled by Ildiko Wollner of the British Library Slavonic Section, was recently launched on the British Library Server. Like the existing Russian guide, the Hungarian list is arranged by resource type and links include a brief description of the Website. The guide can be found at: — Collections — Slavonic — Guide to Slavonic Resources on the Internet — Hungarian Internet Resources.

Please make a note of useful Web resources or post details to the COSEELIS email forum, so that those who maintain guides and gateways to CEE/FSU can include new sites of interest in their directories. Web guides (or ‘Webliographies’ as they are sometimes clumsily dubbed) are becoming a first port of call for many students and researchers, particularly in the social sciences.


At the recent COSEELIS Conference it emerged that several members had found new book suppliers and it was agreed to share that information. Here are a few that Cambridge University Library has begun to use:

Galina Kruglik (email a Moscow-based bookseller who offers much the same range of material as Natasha Kozmenko (with whom I assume we are all familiar by now), but at slightly higher prices and usually a little while after Kozmenko has listed them. Nevertheless, she does list some items that have not yet appeared on Natasha Kozmenko’s list.

Vladimir Shishkin (email based in Novosibirsk, Shishkin specialises in publications of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and issues list of current and slightly older books (going back to the early 1990s for the most part, but sometimes including books from the 1970s and 1980s). His prices are on the high side compared with the other Russian suppliers, and are roughly the same as MIPP or Russian Press Service.

Krieger Buchversand (email based in Pforzheim, Germany, Krieger concentrate on Central Asian publications, and in doing so compete with MIPP (Moscow Independent Press Publishers). Their prices are roughly comparable to MIPP’s – at least that’s my impression: I have not done a statistical comparison – but they generally supply a higher proportion of what we order from them than MIPP.

Knihkupectvi Fiser (Kaprova 10, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic): we’ve been delighted with the service of this bookseller in supplying current Czech publications. They don’t send out lists, nor do they go in for such new-fangled gadgets as fax machines or email facilities, but they are reasonably priced and have proved 100% reliable in supplying material selected from Nove knihy (and occasionally elsewhere).

Ray Scrivens, Cambridge University Library

Here are a few which have been recommended in recent months, mostly on the Slavlibs discussion list. I have no personal experience of these suppliers myself.

ISIS. Semsibey Sok. 10 Beylerbeyi, 81210 Istanbul, Turkey.
Tel: (216) 321 38 51 – (216) 321 66 00
Fax: (216) 321 86 66

SRBICA Books (Yugoslavia)
2238 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M6R 3A9
Fax: (416) 539 0540

Central Asia
Books on Central Asia and Russia
Buchversand Krieger
Haidachsstrasse 18
D-75181 Pforzheim, Germany
Tel/Fax: (0049) 7231 651396

Batthyany Kultur-Press Kft.
Szilagyi Dezso ter 6
H-1011 Budapest
Fax: 0036 1 269 6677
Tel: 0036 1 137 0644
(his company may have taken over Kultura’s business but I haven’t seen conclusive proof of this)

Graham Dix, CREES


Thanks to the allocation of a Non-Formula Finding (Follett) grant, a notable map collection at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies has now been catalogued. The collection comprises maps published in Russia and Western Europe. The maps cover Russia and the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. They date from the sixteenth to the twentieth century and the eighteenth century is particularly well represented. Among the 219 bibliographical items (representing 238 sheets) are maps published by the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg showing the Baltic and the Crimea and an exceptionally fine range of maps of Hungary and Transylvania.

Many of the Russian maps were probably purchased by the School in 1958 as part of the stock of V.V. Baratchevsky’s Russian Bookshop (located first in Hanway Street and later in Tottenham Street, London W1). The portfolio of maps of Hungary was donated some thirty years ago by Mr E J Groom who had learned Hungarian at the School. The source of other maps is unknown. However, the entire collection was professionally conserved between 1973 and 1975 and all sheets are now in excellent condition.

Probably one third of the SSEES collection is not held by the British Library Map Library. The highly important map of Hungary by Nicander Philippinus Fundanus (1595) is held by the British Library in facsimile but SSEES has an original. Within the limits of its own coverage, the SSEES collection has an excellent representation of the works of the major early cartographers: Mercator, Jansson, L’Isle, Moll, Senex, Blaeu, de Vaugondy, Sanson, Wit, Visscher, Homann, Hondius, Seutter and Jaillot. The collection is particularly useful in that it brings together maps for a given region.

The maps included are in the Library’s on-line catalogue ( or via the School’s Web Page and searches by cartographer, title or subject heading will reveal them.

The school is indebted to Ms April Carlucci and Mr Colin Bruce for their work in cataloguing this collection. Without Ms Carlucci’s valuable report on the project this note would have been considerably less informative.

J E O Screen, SSEES


Compiled by Sava Peic and Magda Szkuta, (British Library Slavonic & East European Collections, 1997), price £6.00

This catalogue covers the conflict between the Serbs and Croats, and the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina. It includes material on genocide, ethnic cleansing, human rights, territorial maps, the refugee crisis, war crimes, the peace conferences and the role of the UN and NATO. It also includes material relating to the war which was published during the siege of Sarajevo (a list of this material is available on the British Library Slavonic Website at: — Collections — Slavonic — Recent Acquisitions). The material listed in this catalogue was acquired from all sides of the war under very difficult conditions. This collection will provide a rich resource for present and future researchers.

Sava Peic, The British Library


Monday 24th November saw the official opening of the Humanities Reading Room at St Pancras. The closure of the Round Reading Room on 25th October brought to an end a century and a half of Bloomsbury culture, which engendered the creation of works which have had a profound impact on the region with which we are involved. The final weekend was marked by a series of farewell parties and a moving performance of Handel’s Messiah by the British Museum and Library Singers. The historic Round Reading Room now lies eerily empty until the British Museum implements its Millenium Project.

After the frantic preparations in the run-up to the Move, the actual physical relocation of staff to St Pancras has proved to be relatively straight forward. The purpose-built premises are not to everyone’s taste (opinion varies widely on the aesthetics of the exterior, as readers of the national press will be aware), but it is generally agreed that the interior design is worthy of a National Library, and more importantly, is far more suitable for the storage and consultation of the Collections.

At the heart of the Reading Rooms is a new integrated reader system, which incorporates the Reader Admissions database, the Online Catalogues (OPAC), the Automated Book Request System (ABRS) and the Mechanical Bookhandling System (MHBS). The new system, once the inevitable initial teething pains have been overcome, will increase the speed with which material is retrieved (within 30 minutes for material stored on-site) and enable the Collections to be monitored more closely.

What impact will this have on the Slavonic Section? In the short term, much of our normal working day will be taken up with public duties as the British Library eases its readers into their new environment and acquaints them with the new systems. In the longer term, members of Slavonic are in one working area (previously we were divided between two floors, a long flight of stairs and mounds of books) which will enhance our operations. We have a new Network which will facilitate greater access to the Slavonic & East European Collections and enable us to focus more on the automation side.

The new address for the Slavonic Section is:

Slavonic Section
The British Library
Floor 2
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB

Otherwise our coordinates remain the same: our phone/fax numbers and email addresses have not changed. Further information about the British Library at St Pancras and the Humanities Reading Room is available on the BL Website ( COSEELIS members are welcome to arrange a visit to see how the taxpayer’s money has been spent.

Oliver Hughes, The British Library

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

Editor: Oliver Hughes, Slavonic and East European Collections, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB, tel: (0171) 412 7589, fax: (0171) 412 7554
email: — Collections — Slavonic —