Newsletter No 22 (July 1999)


Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services

ISSN 0966-999x No. 22 July 1999

Changing the Coseelis Newsletter Logo
Victor Kamkins New Bookstore Webpage
Chekhov Research Collection
BLPES Redevelopment
The BESEDA Visit during September 1998
COSEELIS – (Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services) Annual Report
Minutes of the Annual Meeting held at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, on 9 April 1999
Message from Dr. Gregory Walker from the Bodleian Library
Index of Newsletters
Changing the Coseelis Newsletter Logo

I suggested at the last Coseelis Annual General Meeting ways in which the Coseelis Newsletter could be modernised. The feedback from the Annual General Meeting was that the ideas should be put to a vote open to all Coseelis members.

Within this edition of the newsletter there are sample pages of what it would look like with different designs.

I also put forward an idea to have Coseelis stationery which could be printed out from e-mail if you have it or sent by myself for you to photocopy as you require.

Attached to the back of this Newsletter (paper version only) is a voting slip which I would like you all to fill in and return to me as soon as possible. There is room for your suggestions and ideas!

Nicola Deal
Coseelis Newsletter Editor
Slavonic Acquisitions
The British Library
Boston Spa
LS23 7BQ Tel: 01937 546214
Fax: 01937 546333

Victor Kamkins New Bookstore Webpage

This site is still under construction but please note down the following web site as it will be very useful for searching and purchasing the titles you need.

It is a new one stop shop for all, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You need to register and are supplied with a password. Apparently it is an easier and quicker way of obtaining your titles.

Contact James Beale at Kamkins


Current Website:

Chekhov Research Collection

The Hallward Library, University of Nottingham, has recently acquired a collection of printed books and research papers concerning the works of Chekhov. The material was assembled by Patrick Miles between 1967 and 1998. The collection is particularly strong in areas of Russian and English criticism of Chekhov’s early works (1880-88), Chekhov’s plays, and their British stage history.

The collection complements a number of other drama collections in the Hallward Library, including the Cambridge Drama Collection and the Willatt collection, and manuscript deposits, such as the Janko Lavrin research papers.

Please direct any queries about the collection to:
Deborah Bragan-Turner ( or Valerie Housley (
Hallward Library
University of Nottingham
University Park

BLPES Redevelopment

The British Library of Political and Economic Science is undergoing a major redevelopment by leading architects Foster and Partners. The building at 10 Portugal Street will close completely in September and building work will start in October, continuing for around eighteen months. During this period the Library will operate from 25 Southampton Buildings, formerly home to the British Library’s Science Reference Information Service. It is estimated that 70% of BLPES collections will be housed in Southampton Buildings, while the rest, chiefly lower use materials, will go to a remote store. There will be a schedule of regular daily fetches.

The move of stock to Southampton Buildings has already begun and readers are advised to check the Library webpage ( ) or phone on 0171 955 7229 for details of the redevelopment and the progress of the book move.

Information Supplied by:

Graham Camfield
London School of Economics,
10 Portugal Street,
London, WC2A 2HD


The BESEDA Visit during September 1998

Et voilà! The “Très Grande Bibliotheque”! We heard much about it, we wondered about it, we were very curious to see it….The visit of British Slavonic librarians to the BNF was planned for a long time. And, finally, in mid-September 1998 it started to look very, very real. The tickets were already bought for Friday 18 of September. “Les Anglais” were coming! So, when on Thursday, 17th of September, an email arrived from Paris, we could not believe our eyes: because of power problems the Library will be closed at the week-end, it said. We would still be welcome, of course. As a result of this shocking news our group shrunk a bit and finally only 5 people (3 from BL Slavonic (London) and 2 partners) set off for Paris, full of best hopes.

And we were not disappointed! On a sunny Saturday morning the head of the Slavonic & East European department in the BNF Mme Véra Deparis and bibliographer Hélène Andreeva welcomed us warmly at the tube station nearest Le Site François Mitterand/Tolbiac. Four huge towers (79 metres high) in the form of opened books were before us. And, after climbing a few dozen of steps, a beautiful garden too (trees were planted on a hectare or so). In fact, the two main reading rooms are called “haut-de-jardin” and “rez-de-jardin”.

And – quel succès! Mme Véra Deparis managed to organise a visit to the inside of the library, even if all the computers were switched off and repair work going on as we carefully made our way to the offices of our French colleagues. The offices are small cosy rooms, sometimes too sunny (one colleague even keeps an umbrella to protect the screen!). The Slavonic & East European department has considerably fewer staff than in the BL . We managed to pop into some reading rooms, very modern and full of the latest technology. Though we couldn’t see any of it in action, as the major systems were all down (and continued to be so long after the official opening of the BNF), Mme Deparis suggested that when everything is up and running, another COSEELIS visit could be arranged, probably in the form of an intensive study day. And finally we went to the top floor (books are kept there) to have a breath-taking view of Paris.

In the evening a friendly meeting of members of “Beseda” (French Slavonic librarians group) was held in the flat of Mme Marie Avril, the head of “Beseda” (only a few minute’s walk from Notre Dame!). Russian, Polish, French and English were heard most often as working languages.

French colleagues are expected in Britain for a return visit. So please will all COSEELIS members in London and the South-East consider whether they might be able to accommodate a French visitor later in this year.

Olga Kerziouk
Slavonic & East European Collections
British Library
St. Pancras,


COSEELIS – (Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services)

Annual Report: March 1998 – March 1999

This year has not seen much progress on the development of COSEELIS information tools or our web page. Nicola Hamill- Stewart’s Union List of Soviet Serials on Education has been mounted, but Magda Szkuta has been away on extended leave, so the Union List of Slavonic and East European Newspapers has not been updated, and pressure of work has prevented Graham Dix from doing any more work on the Slavonic and East European Material on Microform.

However, with additional support which has now become available at Glasgow it will in future be much simpler to get new material mounted on our web page. We also hope that in the next three years it will be possible to expand COSEELIS’s provision of information on UK Slavonic and East European collections if the bids which are being put forward under the Research Support Libraries Programme (a new tranch of Anderson funding intended specifically to support collaborative and cooperative ventures) are successful . Three proposals with relevance to COSEELIS are being put forward: a collaborative collection management project for Russian and East European studies led by the Bodleian Library (collaborating institutions – Bodleian Library, SSEES, Glasgow University Library and the British Library); a retrospective conversion project of Slavonic, Central and East European materials in British research libraries led by SSEES (collaborating institutions – SSEES, the Bodleian Library, the British Library, the Scott Polar Research Institute and the libraries of University of Birmingham, University of Glasgow, University of Nottingham); and a project for microfilming Slavonic and East European newspapers led by Birmingham University Library (collaborating institutions – the libraries of Birmingham University, SSEES, Glasgow University and the University of Essex). The closing date for “expressions of interest” was 19 March 1999. Those which are shortlisted will be invited to bid formally in June. All of these, if successful, should give us the means to expand and develop the initiatives which COSEELIS has managed over the years to start notwithstanding our lack of money and staff time, for example, Gregory Walker’s Directory of Library Resources for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Former USSR which will be used as the basis of web-based guide, the listings mentioned above. These projects should meet some of the needs of researchers which came out of the COSEELIS survey of user needs. The findings of this survey will be made public when we know if the RSLP bids have been successful. In this way, we will be able to report not only the results but what we intend to do to implement them.

Jenny Brine has continued to coordinate the British contribution to EBSEES (European Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies). This year’s contribution was sent in December 1998, but the 1994 volume has not yet been published. The next volume of Solanus (Vol. 13) will appear in June of July 1999. It will include articles on: publishing in the Tula region; Polish bibliography; research into the identification of watermarks done at Tomsk University; the collections of the Urals Archeographical Centre in Ekaterinburg; 17th-century Ukrainian engravings; research into the history of the book in Novosibirsk. Nicola Deal has managed, in spite of the difficulty in getting contributions from COSEELIS members, to produce two informative issues of the newsletter.

In March 1998 we had our first conference at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, overlapping with the BASEES conference. The joint BASEES/ COSEELIS session – on Slavonic and East European websites with presentations by Tania Konn, Graham Dix and Oliver Hughes – though it did not attract such a huge audience as a similar session the previous year, was well attended and feedback from BASEES members suggested that they had found it very useful.

Our contact with our West European colleagues has continued. A small group of COSEELIS members took up the generous offer of BESEDA members to spend a weekend in Paris in September 1998 and to see the new Bibliothèque de France which, technical difficulties notwithstanding – the building had no electricity that weekend – was very interesting and enjoyable. BESEDA hope to organise a further visit (probably a study day in the new library) and it is our intention to invite them on a return visit to London. Chris Thomas represented COSEELIS at the ABDOS conference in Göttingen in May 1998. Bridget Guzner attended the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC in June and met colleagues in the Library of Congress. Sava Peic visited the National Library of Bosnia and Hercegovina, Gregory Walker, Ron Hogg and Chris Thomas took part in an excellent conference on current Russian publishing and booktrade at the Historical Library in Moscow in October, Chris Thomas also attended the jubilee celebrations of VGNTB in Novosibirsk and went to BAN, the Hermitage Library and the Russian National Library, and Janet Zmroczek went to a bookfair in Lithuania in February 1999.

COSEELIS lost its greatest elder statesman with the retirement of John Screen who retired as Librarian of SSEES. However, there has also been an injection of new blood into COSEELIS with appointments of new members of staff at Essex, SSEES and the British Library.

Chris Thomas
27 March 1999

Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services

Minutes of the Annual Meeting held at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, on 9 April 1999

Apologies: Mrs Linda Bennett

Minutes of last meeting
The minutes were accepted.
Matters arising
NCOLR will not in future send an observer to COSEELIS. Janet Zmroczek will observe for COSEELIS.
BACCRA. A joint session on archives was held with COSEELIS at the BASEES/COSEELIS 1999 Conference. A positive outcome will be the appearance of a bibliography of publications of documents Russian archives which will be put on the Web.
Chairman’s report
see above
Ms Zmroczek reported that funds continue to be healthy and the balance is increasing. Two payments had been received for EBSEES data. There had been little expenditure. No payments had been made for the Newsletter and there were no claims on the Hospitality Fund. The meeting was reminded of the assistance available from the Fund.
Subscriptions. There is no need to increase subscriptions.
There are at present 33 institutional members with three more expected. The Committee had agreed that subscription period should change to January to December. This was accepted and confirmed by the Meeting.
Mailing list. Ms Zmroczek apologised to members who failed to receive Conference information. There had been a problem of same names being lost from the electronic list. The list has now been brought up to date. The register of members interests will be updated via the next Newsletter.
The Treasurer’s report was accepted by the Meeting.
Nomination forms had been received for two Committee posts:
Deborah Bragan-Turner and Graham Camfield (Secretary). Both were accepted and duly elected.
Survey of Library Usage
A full report on the Survey had been delayed by the outcome of the Research Support Libraries Project (Anderson) bids, which are still pending.
Research Support Libraries Project
Lesley Pitman reported that there is a two stage process.
Firstly, expressions of interest will be considered by the Committee. They will announce on 7 May which ones have been approved and will then ‘marriage broke’ institutions as partners for projects.
Secondly, accepted proposals will have 4 weeks to put together a fully costed project.
European Bibliography of Slavonic and East European Studies.
Dr. Brine reported that the 1994 volume had been completed in December 1998 and work had begun on 1995. There are also delays on the French side, due to staffing pressures.
Dr. Brine hopes to have more time later on for the British entries, but extra contributors would be useful. A trial online service using a partial database is being hosted at Grenoble.
The Librarians’ Conference will take place in Tallin, 26-29 July, followed by the main ICCEES Conference in Tampere, 29 July – 3 August. Ms Zmroczek (UK coordinator) reported that the closing date for panels for the Librarians’ Conference is 1 October 1999. Further information will be given in the COSEELIS Newsletter and on the ICCEES webpage.
Because of ICCEES there will be no COSEELIS Conference in 2000. An AGM will be held, probably in London, at a time and place to be announced.
The continuing linking of the Conference with BASEES was discussed. It was agreed to proceed with alternate years, both to reduce the burden of organisation on colleagues in Cambridge, and to give opportunity to visit other libraries. It was also thought valuable for other libraries and institutions to see COSEELIS. The next Conference with BASEES will therefore be in 2002, at Fitzwilliam College. Offers to host COSEELIS in 2001 were invited.
Collection Development
Exchanges. Some difficulties with exchanges were reported, particularly relating to postal costs. Leeds has not received anything from the Cyril and Methodius Library for some time, while the Bodleian maintains a good exchange by paying for the postage (in books). BLDSC reported that supply was intermittent. Scott Polar maintains a tenuous exchange with GPNTB in Novosibirsk, which also has postage problems.
The Bodleian, SSEES and Birmingham now have few exchanges. DSC has no exchanges with FSU for periodicals. There are 25 exchanges with other countries, which are under review. The Polish Library has some good exchanges, which are particularly useful for tracing books in obscure places and privately published items.
Register of Microforms
Mr. Dix reported that work done on the Register so far will appear on the COSEELIS web page.
Links with Europe
A return visit of BESEDA members to London was suggested, possibly in May 1999. Mr. Yves Tomic of BDIC will investigate.
Mrs. Deal presented several ideas for updating the appearance of the Newsletter and also for COSEELIS stationery.
The next issue will appear in June/July 1999.
COSEELIS homepage
Ms Konn had reported to the Committee that a greater level of support is now available for the homepage.
The meeting thanked Isabella Warren and Natash Egorova for their splendid organisation of the conference.

Message from Dr. Gregory Walker from the Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library has acquired from the Library of Congress the Dmitrii A, Volkogonov Papers

( 15 reels of microfilm). We expect to obtain further material from the Volkogonov Collections when it enters the public domain next year.

If you require any further details then please do not hesitate to contact him.

Dr. Gregory Walker
Bodleian Library
Broad Street



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.
Nicola Deal, Slavonic Acquisitions, The British Library, Boston Spa, Wetherby, LS23 7BQ, Tel: (01937) 546214,
Fax: (01937) 546333,

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