Newsletter No 21 (February 1999)

ISSN 0966-999x February 1999
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ALA Annual Cconference, Washington, D.C. June 25-July 1, 1998
COSEELIS Conference
Article in British Library Journal
Leeds Russian Archive General Catalogue
International Library Information and Analytical Centre – ILIAC

Index of Newsletters
ALA Annual Cconference, Washington, D.C. June 25-July 1, 1998

This was an extraordinary experience, though not necessarily as useful as it might have been had it been reduced to a more human scale: as it was, there were 5000 participants, with a daily schedule of more than 30 events ( starting at 6.30 am and on occasions ending at 10.00pm) held simultaneously at ten different locations. Of course even without any ambition to attend more than a fraction of these, I got the unavoidable feeling of missing sessions from which I may have benefited. All this is eloquently illustrated by the hefty 328 page Conference Programme with chronological listings of a comprehensive schedule of meetings, programmes, meal functions, tours and special events.

As a “Slavist” I focused on a number of committee meetings held in the Slavic and East European Section (SEES), of the more comprehensive Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). The Preservation Committee presented some results of the preservation condition survey of the University of Kansas Libraries’ Slavic Collections, recording a significant increase, since 1991, in the use of acid-free paper in Poland and Russia . We then heard an excellent talk given by Galina Kislovskaia, on paper quality in the Russian Library for Foreign Literature. The speaker included a limited amount of information about a displaced collection of over 1000 items of 15th century Calvinist literature in Hungarian. Had it been within the scope of the paper, further information about the fate of this material before and since it was found in Nizhni Novgorod, would have been of exceptional interest. (Further enquiries are in progress.)

The Continuing Education on Slavic & East European Lirarianship Committee introduced seven Library of Congress Soros Fellows from Zagreb, Skopje, Samara, Gdansk, Bratislava, Tuzla and Tirana. Each of them gave a short presentation on their respective libraries and main preoccupations. The Automated Bibliographic Control Committee presented an informative talk on computer support for Cyrillic text for PCs and MACs, with font and keyboard sites on the Internet for Windows, using Cyrillic and East European languages in Netscape and Internet Explorer and language-specific search engine pages. Please contact me for specific language details.

The principle SEES event of the programmes section focused on the future of area studies librarianship. The speakers : James G. Neal, dir. Johns Hopkins Univ. Lib., Maria Carlson, dir., Univ.

of Kansas Ctr. for Russian and East European Studies and Deborah Jakubs, dir. Intl./ Area Studies, Perkins Lib., Duke Univ., discussed the role that area collections and area studies librarians play in fulfilling the global mission of academic and research libraries.

Throughout the Conference the Library of Congress played host to the participants of the Convention, offering a variety of programmes and activities. The international theme of the ALA annual conference “Global reach, local touch” provided the Library with the opportunity to highlight its area studies reading rooms: the African and Middle Eastern, European, Hispanic and the Asian, all situated in the magnificently restored Thomas Jefferson Building. On my second subsequent visit to the L.C. I was able to meet my counterparts in the European Division: Kenneth Nyirady and Grant Harris Recommending Officers for Hungary and Romania . After an extensive, and fruitful exchange of notes on selection tools, difficulties encountered with dealers and exchange partners, methods of processing and other library practices, my hosts offered me a second extended tour, this time of the Library’s working areas. I was particularly grateful to Grant for a copy of his paper: Selected Databases for Romanian Studies. For each database the author provides a description of its coverage, total number of records and frequency of updates.

My two visits to L.C. offered me a rare chance to compare the importance that two equally large and prestigious institutions attach to relatively minor but no less important language areas, the ways they aim to serve their readership and overcome staffing and financial difficulties. Selectively the ALA Conference had its moments, but for me the real value came from the information sharing with colleagues at the European Division of the Library of Congress.

Bridget Guzner
Curator of Hungarian and Romanian Collections.
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COSEELIS Conference

The 1999 Annual Conference will take place at the Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 ODS, on 29-30 March. Provisional programme and registration forms will come out in late January.

Any recipients of the Newsletter requiring further information may obtain it from the Conference Organisers: Isabella Warren and Natasha Egorova,
Scott Polar Research Institute,
University of Cambridge,
Lensfield Road,
Cambridge, CB2 1ER.

Telephone and e-mail: +44 (0) 1223-336565 (I. Warren), imtw1@cam.ac.uk
and +44 (0) 1223-336552 (N. Egorova), ne204@cus.cam.ac.uk
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Article in the British Library Journal

The latest issue of the British Library Journal (Vol 23, No 2, Autumn 1997) is a Panizzi Bicentenary issue. It includes an article ‘Watts, Panizzi and Asher: the development of the Russian collections [in the British Museum], 1837-1869’ by Chris Thomas and Bob Henderson.
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Leeds Russian Archive General Catalogue

The Leeds Russian Archive was established in 1982 and over the first ten years of its existence the only relatively widely available source of information about its holdings was a series of progress reports, in which acquisitions were listed and briefly described. Cataloguing had meanwhile been proceeding, moving from manual to word-processed listings and on through a succession of computer programmes — each of which seemed an excellent idea at the time, but most of which proved to be mutually incompatibile — until Blackwell’s IDEALIST was finally adopted. HEFCE funding made it possible to absorb most of the backlog of unprocessed collections, and in September a pilot version of the LRA General Catalogue was released on-line at:

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/spcoll/lra

This is still very much a hard-hat construction site, for while the catalogue offers detailed item-level listings for most of LRA’s 500-odd collections, the descriptions of several large collections are incomplete in various ways, and four major collections (Andreev, Bunin, Lomonosov, ZEMGOR) do not yet figure in the on-line version of the catalogue at all. (Printed catalogues of the Andreev and Lomonosov collections are available, and the catalogue of the Bunin collection is nearing completion, but work on the huge ZEMGOR archive has yet to begin.)

COSEELIS colleagues are cordially invited to visit the LRA web page and to send me any comments, however critical. I am aware that much work remains to be done, and the sooner faults are drawn to my attention, the better.

Richard Davies,
Leeds Russian Archive.
r.d.davies@leeds.ac.uk

Pilot version of LRA General Catalogue (SKRAL) can be searched on http://www.leeds.ac.uk/library/spcoll/lra Comments welcome
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International Library Information and Analytical Centre – ILIAC

This Centre has been welcomed by libraries and Information Centres in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and other East European Countries. At the moment this centre is a Non-profit American corporation, as it has been registered in the United States as a corporation which represents the interests and services of libraries,information Centres, academic and scholar institutions of Russia and other East European Countries on the American Market. The objective of this Centre is to make it easier the access of American Users to the scientific, technological, legal, business and other information from the East European countries.

It is a Gateway to Russian information and the Centre’s WWW – servers have been designed to provide fast and reliable access to this.
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If you have any comments to make about the Newsletter then please do not hesitate to contact me and if there are any pieces of information you wish to include in the next COSEELIS Newsletter send them to me whenever possible.

Editor:
Nicola Deal, Slavonic Acquisitions, The British Library, Boston Spa, Wetherby, LS23 7BQ, Tel: (01937) 546214,
Fax: (01937) 546333,
E-mail: nicola.deal@bl.uk

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