Newsletter No 24 (July 2000)


Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services

ISSN 0966-999x No. 24 July 2000

From Old Treasure-House to New Treasure House
A visit to The British Library

Bibliographic services at IDC Publishers
Managing the digital future of libraries
Information from The Haworth Press Inc.
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
Chairman’s Annual Report March 1999 – March 2000
Index of Newsletters
From Old Treasure-House to New Treasure House

A visit to The British Library

On 5 April this year four of us from the Bodleian’s Slavonic Division, accustomed to the working environment of the limestone last-gasp English Gothic of the Old Library and the rubble-stone Neo-Georgian/Art Deco New Library, went up to see the new British Library, having been very kindly invited to visit our Slavonic counterparts there. I personally did not have the slightest idea what to expect to see and went up open-minded, although I was aware, as we headed east along Marylebone road, that a great deal of fuss had been made by the media about the new British Library building, especially the over-spending and the jokes about what Newton’s really up to. However, knowing that they work on the principle of ‘Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?’, I was determined to be open-minded.

I must admit that I emitted an appropriately quiet English “Wow!”, when the British Library came into view. I simply cannot agree with our future monarch’s strictures about it. For me the building expresses all the best in modern architecture in the way it articulates space through thoughtfully placed mass. There is nothing brutal about it at all. I was particularly impressed by the way the west-facing Science block joined the Noh theatre-style main entrance without jarring in the least. Similarly the expansive plaza in front of the building is not just a bleak empty space, but very subtly combines different levels. I also emitted another sotto voce “Wow!” when we entered the reception area. Here the articulation of space and the use of light are quite magnificent.

Very soon we were met by Janet Zmroczek (Curator of the Polish and Baltic Collections) – to whom very special thanks. Janet very kindly took a large chunk out of her day to show us both the public and working areas of the library, including the permanent exhibition of treasures and the ‘hands-on’ scanned versions nearby. I particularly remember the Lindisfarne Gospels (contentious, if you’re a Geordie …) and the Chinese Buddhist sutra, and decided at that point to make an anonymous return visit to give them the time they deserve. I think I can speak for my three colleagues and myself in saying that we were impressed by everything we were shown.

A very generous sandwich-lunch was laid on, over which we avidly chatted with our counterparts about our respective areas of interest. Many thanks for sparing their time and sharing their expertise to Christine Thomas (Head of Slavonic), Bridget Guzner (Hungary and Romania), Devana Pavlik (Czech and Slovak Republics) and Magda Szkuta (Former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania).

After lunch Janet took us into the current special exhibition Chapter and Verse – 1000 years of English, about which I could write reams, but instead would encourage anyone with the opportunity to visit. Molly Bloom’s monologue alone is worth the time!

On my return home I was fulsome in praise of the British Library and its highly professional staff. So, again, much gratitude to all our kind and helpful colleagues at the British Library.

Tom Stableford
Slavonic Division
Bodleian Library
Oxford University

Tel: 01865 2770055

Bibliographic services at IDC Publishers

How the need for metadata changed a traditional publisher

Since 1957, IDC Publishers (IDC), also known as Inter Documentation Company, has been conserving, making accessible, and distributing valuable historical source materials. Our slogan for these activities is “Taking History into the Future”. During the past few years, changes in this perceived future have had a major impact upon the activities of IDC. The emphasis on accessibility using digital techniques has made us adopt internationally accepted standards. These were implemented in our workflow in such a way that, on the one hand, the publishing and production of traditional microform titles goes hand in hand with the development of bibliographic metadata; and on the other hand, new products and services can be developed. In this article I will describe how IDC has coped with market needs and translated these into new options for the future.

The main cause of the changes within IDC was the need for bibliographic data that describe our standard microform products. Besides delivering a certain collection, it is almost a prerequisite that the publisher delivers data that can be imported in any library environment in order to provide access to the collection bought by the customer. To uphold our reputation, we felt the need to develop the accessibility of our collection in a way that would be judged by customers as the necessary added value, applying the same high-quality standards we are applying in microform production. To achieve this, in 1998 IDC began describing all new titles according to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), using the Library of Congress (LC) authority files for names and subjects. The data is recorded in the USMARC data format. For certain reasons, we have chosen for core level cataloguing. At this moment, USMARC records are available for each new published collection.

With a corpus of about 60.000 microform titles in our safe, retro conversion is an enormous task. By the end of this year, we intend to have about 15% of this task completed.

Besides being able to deliver standardized bibliographic data to our customers, we have made this data the main base of all our processes and publications. The concept of Single Source Publishing is implemented as strictly as possible. Before the data is delivered to the customer, it can be used for many different purposes. Some examples:

Headers for microfiches are printed before the process of photographing the originals starts.
All printed materials, such as title lists, shipping lists, and price lists are based upon the bibliographic data.
Sometime this year, the data will be used to open a new sales outlet, using the Internet.
Another important aspect is the development of collection management. Based on the bibliographic data, we can simply make selections or define cross sections and see if this results in a relevant proposition to the market. We can also identify gaps in our collection and use this information in our acquisition. In the near future, it will become possible to arrive at custom-made proposals.

It is clear that using the same data for different purposes, results in an increase in cost-efficiency in our production route. Budgets for review and correction have been decreasing from the moment we started this development. From a business point of view, the reduction of internal costs and the development of collection management are the main justifications for the investments necessary for the implementation of bibliographic standards and Single Source Publishing – especially since we deliver the USMARC records free of charge to our customers.

Our expectation is that the creation of metadata according to certain standards, and the use of these data in standardized publication routes, will in the end prove to be not more expensive than the traditional way of producing printed materials (starting from scratch for each publication). Another important reason for adopting these standards is that it stimulates the exchange of information. For example, IDC is exporting its data to the RLIN-database of the Research Library Group. The underlying idea is that the distribution of metadata will result in an increase in the number of titles we distribute. On the other hand, we also have examples of projects in which we import and enrich data from other parties. This type of project is especially important for our retro conversion.

The standards mentioned above are used for cataloguing title collections. Yet a major part of the IDC collection is composed of archival material. These collections are described briefly in the title catalogue. To provide the necessary detailed information for searching such a collection, we started last year to develop finding aids according to the Archives, Personal Papers and Manuscripts (APPM) standard, using the EAD standard for encoding the information. In the course of 2000, our first finding aids based on these standards will be published.

As has already been mentioned, implementing the standards described above resulted in major changes within IDC’s organization. From a publisher of microform products, we have become an organization that can also provide a wide spectrum of bibliographic services. The typing room, where our staff used to produce different types of products necessary for the production and distribution of a single product, has changed into a bibliographic department with highly qualified staff. The old equipment has made way for a powerful database environment (Cuadra STAR) which, together with certain standard and custom made tools, helps us in delivering the data in any necessary format.

In conclusion, we can say that by concentrating on market needs we have extended our product range with digital products (such as records or finding aids) and services. The first, internal service that we have delivered has been the optimization of the internal production processes. The second service will be the development of an Internet site based upon our database with title descriptions. This will enable customers to browse in detail through our holdings and select the titles they need.

Our next step is to become a partner in delivering certain bibliographic services, such as conservation in digital or microform format, cataloguing, and retro conversion, especially in the difficult field of ‘rare books’. We are ready for it! Feel free to contact us if you would like to receive further information.

Frans Havekes
Director Publishing

Tel: +31 71 514 2700

Managing the digital future of libraries

Russian State Library, Moscow, 18-19 April 2000

This international conference marked the final phase of the European Union – Russian State Library project “To create an Information System for the Russian State Library” The 18-month project, due to be completed on 9th June 2000, will result in the implementation of cataloguing and OPAC modules of a state-of-the art fully integrated library system. Local and remote users will have access via LAN and Internet to an RSL catalogue database created by converting existing machine-readable databases and retro-conversion of catalogue cards. Together with other related projects to create the Russian National Digital Library, the project is one of the first steps towards full automation of Europe’s biggest library and its future networking with other libraries in Russia and abroad. Details of aims and developments can be found at

The aims of the conference were:

to present results and lessons learnt from the EU project and other RSL IT projects
to discuss main issues and future activities of digital library development in Russia
to stimulate Russian-international dialogue and cooperation in digital library development
Russian and visiting specialists on the following broadly defined themes submitted papers:

National digital library initiatives (policy, planning, funding, research, standards)
Digital preservation of cultural heritage (policy, selection, methodologies)
Organizational impact (on internal management, acquisition of skills)
New digital alliances (libraries and publishers/museums/archives)
Digital library services for users (especially development of electronic document delivery services)
Technology trends (networking, preservation, storage, retrieval)
Best practice Case Studies reflecting these themes from Russia and other countries.
The event attracted over 300 participants from 19 countries. Scotland was extremely well represented as the majority within the UK contingent. The working languages of the conference were Russian and English with simultaneous interpretation. The quality of the papers varied tremendously, suggesting the need for tighter pre-conference quality and content control. From a personal perspective the most interesting session related to the Russian Digital Libraries Programme. I was pleased also to be given the opportunity of publicizing COCOREES, the RSLP project.

Interestingly the discussion of largely technical issues broadened into a consideration of the ‘potential contribution Russian libraries, museums and archives can make in the context of the Information Society’. The result was a set of recommendations, grandly named the ‘Moscow Manifesto’, aimed primarily at the Russian Government. The contents of the Manifesto can be found at

I also attended the pre-conference event on Electronic Document Delivery. This took place on 17 April 2000 at the State Historical Public Library, Moscow. Very few foreign participants attended this meeting, but it proved useful in highlighting the latest Russian developments and for renewing and establishing professional contacts.

Tania Konn
Glasgow University Library
Hillhead Street
G12 8QE

Tel: 0140 330 6735

Information from The Haworth Press Inc.


A sample copy will be sent free by the publisher upon request.

Send any request on your letterhead to:

Sample Copy Dept
The Haworth Press, Inc.
10 Alice Street
Binghamton, NY 13904

The new journal is also scheduled to be available online by 2001/2002.

Bill Cohen
Publisher, The Haworth Press, Inc.

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting for the Council of Slavonic and East European Libraries and Information Services (COSEELIS)

Minutes of the Annual Meeting held at University of London, 30th March 2000

Apologies: Jenny Brine, Richard Davies, Tania Konn, Ursula Phillips, Ray Scrivens, Charlotte Sing

1) Minutes of last meeting

The minutes were accepted.

2) Matters arising

Chris Thomas had attended the last meeting of NCOLR, but Janet Zmroczek will continue as observer for COSEELIS.

3) Chairman’s report


4) Finance

Janet Zmroczek tabled the accounts. Although the number of subscriptions for 2000 appeared to be down, she was confident that more would be received. There had been problems with some institutions’ finance systems. Subscriptions from Heriot-Watt, Loughborough and the National Art Library had ceased.

There was no expenditure on the Newsletter, as invoices had not been received from the British Library.

The Hospitality fund had not been used to support visits and travel. This may mean that more adequate funding is becoming available or that visitors are just not coming. It was agreed to support Gregory Walker’s travel to the ABDOS Conference in May.

EBSEES appears to be self-funding at present.

The surplus amount from the last Conference will be added to the general fund and not the Hospitality Fund.

The Treasurer’s report was accepted by the Meeting.

5) Research Support Libraries Project (COCOREES)

Gregory Walker reported that 3 of the 4 Sub-Projects are now active. The Academic Advisory Committee has met for the first time and the COSEELIS Committee will act as professional advisor to the Project. The webserver is up and will carry full documentation.

SP1, the Directory Project, will create a web-mounted directory of resources. A preliminary report on purpose, shape and content will be available on the web shortly. A preliminary database is being created in the form of a mailing list, with details of contacts and access. Dr Walker is to prepare an approach strategy.

SP2, the Listings Project, is based at the British Library and managed by Chris Thomas.

SP3 is based jointly at SSEES and Glasgow and will be managed by Lesley Pitman and Tania Konn. It will provide the technical underpinning for the other sub-projects.

SP4 will not commence until next year and draws on data from 1 and 2, with technical support of 3. It will look at collaborative work in research resources and involve 12 of the most significant collections.

Chris Thomas reported on SP2 that questionnaires had been sent, seeking information on holdings of serials from the region and about the region. This would be made available on the web as a Union list of serials, with various subsets – statistics, newspapers, and informal publications. This would build on existing tools such as the Union List of Newspapers. Ron Hogg is to draft a report, which will be made available on the web. The response had been good and from the data supplied (around 50,000 records) the project appears quite feasible.

Lesley Pitman reported on SP3. The end product will be rather like the E-Lib sites and subject gateways, permitting searches of collection descriptions and other data. There will also be a public webserver with a description of the project, contact details and published reports. In Glasgow there will be one ½ time person with an academic and library background looking at comparable sites, talking to academics, and looking at whether existing subject approaches are usable, or it is necessary to create a new one. The technical person will be based at SSEES and will handle the data. It will be some months before results are evident. Discussions on collection descriptions are still in progress.

It was agreed that the RSLP project as a whole is very good for REES library resources and will have an important impact as well as providing valuable tools.

6) European Bibliography of Slavonic and East European Studies.

Dr Brine had sent a written report. Extra contributors are very welcome

7) ICCEES and Librarians’ Pre-Conference, Tallinn / Tampere 2000

Janet Zmroczek reported that the closing date for cheaper registration for Tampere is 1 April, and for Tallinn 1st May.

The librarians’ conference in Tallinn is entitled ” Libraries in an Open Society”. Eight people from the UK will be participating in panels and round-tables. The following panels have been organised:

Collection Development includes papers from Isabella Warren (Building Regional Collections), Eugenia Maresch (Émigré Periodicals), Ron Hogg (Death of Exchanges)

Preserving Slavic Collections for Future Generations

Realities of Creating Full text Databases

Journals in Slavic and East European Librarianship (Chair, Chris Thomas)

Baltic Collections outside the Baltic Countries: Past, Present, Future

Janet Zmroczek will give a paper on Baltic Collections in the UK

There will be Roundtable on Collaborative Collection Management, chaired by Gregory Walker.

There will be fewer library and information people at Tampere. Gregory Walker will chair a panel on Slavonic Collections in Western Libraries: History of Their Formation, and Janet Zmroczek the panel on Publishing in Russia and Eastern Europe After Ten Years of the Market Economy

8) COSEELIS 2001

Offers to host the Annual Conference in March /April 2001 were requested.

9) Collection Development

A new European Research Institute is to open in Birmingham in April / May 2001. The Institute will look at European affairs from a Central and East European perspective, library collections will change focus away from Russia. The Baykov Library will keep its name.
Cambridge is to discontinue the teaching of Hungarian, Polish and Czech. The implications for collections are uncertain.
Leeds is continuing to teach Bulgarian and Czech, mainly in the areas of politics and culture.
More than one library reported a trend to collect more in English on the region.
The British Library is conducting a review of Collection Development, looking at statistics of reader usage.
SSEES is discussing collection development policies following the merger with UCL. The RSLP grant has been very helpful in support of the library’s status as a national research collection.
The Natural History Museum has a lot of exchanges with Russia and Eastern Europe.
Chatham House has one exchange with INION. There is funding to continue Summary of World Broadcasts in paper for 2000 – 01. If funding ceases these will become electronic only.
Regional material. CREES is collecting on an ad hoc basis. The British Library has received funding to list and catalogue independent publications of the Gorbachev era, some of it from the regions, received from the State Historical Library in Moscow. A similar project will deal list and catalogue Polish Independent publications.
10) Register of Slavonic and East European Source Materials in Microforms

Graham Dix asked for volunteers to take over work on the register, particularly inputting records collected. It was reported that a new member of staff at the British Library could take this on as a special project.

11) Links with Europe

Gregory Walker is to attend the ABDOS Conference in Berlin, where he will give a paper on COCOREES. Chris Thomas will be speaking at a seminar in Paris organised by the BNF and the Institut d’etudes slaves about Slavonic studies and Slavonic collections in Great Britain and about COCOREES.

12) Publications


Nicola Deal was thanked for producing the last 3 newsletters. It will in future be sent electronically to all members with e-mail addresses.


It was reported that Ursula Phillips had resigned from the editorial board and that Martin Rady of SSEES, editor of the Slavonic and East European Review had taken her place. The next issue will appear in July.

COSEELIS homepage

It was agreed that the homepage had proved very useful and thanks were expressed to Tania Konn and Annie Hall for their work on this.

13) A.O.B.

Janet Zmroczek thanked everyone who had responded to her survey of Baltic collections and encouraged responses from others.

Gregory Walker reported that David Howell, Librarian of the Taylor Institute, Oxford, is to retire.

On 8th May there will be a seminar at the British Library on foreign printing in London, including Russian Revolutionary publications of Herzen and others. The cost is £5.

The meting ended with a demonstration of Integrum World Wide database by Norman Briggs.

For any further details please contact :

Norman Briggs
P&C Intelligence
14 Beech Lane

Fax: 0118 987 5461
Tel: 0118 987 1115

Chairman’s Annual Report March 1999 – March 2000

The most important event of the year for COSEELIS was Gregory Walker’s successful bid to the Research Support Libraries Programme for funding to undertake a collaborative collection development project for Russian and East European Studies. It is an indication of the worthwhile nature of the project and a tribute to Gregory’s excellently formulated bid that RSLP made an award of over £130,000; the British Library and other individual academic institutions have provided additional funding. Apart from the useful tools for researchers in the field that should be produced at the end of the 3 years of funding – a web-mounted directory of UK research collections in Russian and East European Studies, a union database of research materials (especially serials) and a unified search interface for the information brought together by the directory and the database – the project should provide a means of improving UK library and information coverage in our field.

We had an excellent conference in Cambridge in March 1999 organized by Isabella Warren and Natasha Egorova with a programme that balanced immediate professional concerns (a talk by Michael and Svetlana Braun, directors of the firm Panorama of Russia on ‘Acquiring books from Russia and its regions’ and a presentation by Gregory Walker on the RSLP bid) and broader topics about research in our field (presentations by Noell Mann, Director of the Centre for Russian Music at Goldsmiths and Curator of the Prokofiev archive and by Robert Headland, Archivist of the Scott Polar Research Institute). We continued the tradition of having a joint session with BASEES, an Archives Workshop, which, though enlightening and well attended, has not yet lead to any further joint work on that topic between BASEES and COSEELIS.

The COSEELIS web site ( maintained at Glasgow University has a growing amount of information on it and is very well designed and easy to use. It is hoped that we can update some of the information (e.g. on holdings of microform collections and newspapers in the coming year). Thanks to Tania Konn and Annie Hall for their work on it.

Our print publications continue. The 2000 issue of Solanus: International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies should be out by the end of June and we have an agreement to publish a selection of papers from the Tampere ICCEES Congress in the 20001 issue. Nicola Deal deserves special thanks for having extracted from members enough material for two very interesting issues of the Newsletter. Jenny Brine has continued to co-ordinate efficiently the British contribution to the European Bibliography of Slavonic and East European Studies as well as providing entries together with other COSEELIS members. Extra contributors would still be welcome.

With funding designated for collaboration on collection development with other libraries, the British Library was able to buy the remaining parts of the Chadwyck-Healey Archives of the Communist Party and Soviet State, some of the microform collections issued by Primary Source Media from various Russian archives and IDC’s archive collections on Freemasonry in Russia, The Gulag Press and the Press of the White Movement. Essex University Library acquired the Primary Source Media collection ‘Intercepted letters of Russian revolutionaries’.

Our contact with colleagues in Western Europe was limited to electronic correspondence this year. Our French colleagues in BESEDA still hope to pay COSEELIS members a return visit and to invite us to France again. A number of them hope to attend the Tallinn conference. Janet Zmroczek visited the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the AAASS 1999 Convention at St Louis where she met a large number of slavlibs and gave a presentation on COSEELIS activities and the RSLP COCOREES project. A number of COSEELIS members visited libraries and booksellers in the region.

My thanks to Graham Camfield and Janet Zmroczek for their work as secretary and treasurer and to all members for giving us a feeling of community.

Chris Thomas
Slavonic and East European Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Rd

Fax: 0171 412 7554
Tel: 0171 412 7587



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.