Newsletter No 25 (February 2001)


Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services

ISSN 0966-999x No. 25 February 2001

Brief note from the Editor
COSEELIS Annual Conference and AGM, University of Sheffield, April 10-11 2001
Serge Prokofiev Archive
The Serge Prokofiev Association
The Serge Prokofiev Foundations
Visit to Belgrade and Novi Sad, 19-26 October 2000 – Magda Szkuta
COSEELIS annual subscription renewals 2001 and Register of member’s interests
COSEELIS e-mail discussion list
Survey of Baltic materials in UK libraries
Index of Newsletters
Brief Note from the Editor

I would like to welcome you all into 2001 and I hope you’ve all had a good 2000. I would like to thank you all for all the contributions to previous Newsletters and I hope that there will be more interesting contributions to come.

If you would like to contribute anything to Coseelis Newsletter No.26 then please let me know.

Nicola Deal
COSEELIS Newsletter Editor
Slavonic Acquisitions
The British Library
Boston Spa
LS23 7BQ
United Kingdom

Tel: 00 44 1937 54 6214

Fax: 00 44 1937 54 6480


COSEELIS annual conference and AGM, University of Sheffield,

April 10-11 2001

The COSEELIS annual conference and AGM will take place separately from the BASEES conference this year. It is being organised by Jacky Hodgson of Sheffield University Library. You should receive the conference programme and an application form with details of costs soon after receipt of this Newsletter. Sessions will include a discussion of developments in COCOREES, the role of Slavonic and East European subject specialists in German libraries, information policy in post-Soviet Russia and legal aspects of the Russian Internet and a demonstration by East View of their online databases. If you do not receive the conference information by the end of February, please contact the organiser directly:

Jacky Hodgson,
Academic Liaison Librarian,
Main Library,
University of Sheffield,
Sheffield S10 2TN,

Phone direct dial 0114 2227269
Phone switchboard: 0114 2222000 ext. 27269
Fax: 0114 2739826


Serge Prokofiev Archive

Established at Goldsmiths College, University of London, the Archive is supported by The Serge Prokofiev Foundation.

It houses a unique and extensive collection of autograph and facsimile papers, correspondence and photos, mostly provided by the Prokofiev Estate. In addition the Archive includes microfilms of music manuscripts, books, scores, memorabilia and audio-visual material.

The Archive’s prime mission is to provide up-to-date information to scholars as to the nature and location of extant autographs, to make its unique collection available, and to act as an international forum through which institutions and scholars from Russia and the West discuss research relating to Prokofiev and his close associates. Projects undertaken by the Archive include the building up of a comprehensive catalogue of Prokofiev’s works; making the Archive’s catalogue accessible on-line; and major publications on Prokofiev.

Visits to the Archive are by arrangement with the Curator.

For further details please contact

Noë lle Mann Curator
Goldsmiths College, University of London,
London SE14 6NW,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0) 20 7919 7558.
Fax: +44(0) 20 7919 7255.

The Serge Prokofiev Association

President: Sir Edward Downes
Patron: Valery Gergiev

The aims of the Association are of an educational and cultural nature, namely:
to bring together those who are interested in Prokofiev and his music,
to provide the latest information about international events, recordings and publications,
to promote and organise events to further the knowledge of Prokofiev’s life and works,
to create a forum for discussion and exchange,
to encourage contacts with similar associations devoted to Prokofiev’s contemporaries.

For Further Information please contact:

Daniel Jaffé,
The Smithy,
2, Lower South Wraxall,
Near Bradford-on-Avon,
BA15 2RR,
United Kingdom.

Tel/Fax: +44(0) 1225 869 145,

The Serge Prokofiev Foundation

The Foundation was set up in 1983 to further the knowledge of Prokofiev’s life and works and to encourage research.

If you would like to become a member please contact:

Mrs Joan Smith,
Membership Secretary
5 Highgrove Close,
Kent BR7 5SA,
United Kingdom



Magda Szkuta

It was the right time to go to Yugoslavia. My long planned trip had been a few times postponed and eventually took place just two weeks after the swift Yugoslav revolution on 5 October.

A series of visits to our exchange partners in Belgrade and Novi Sad proved to be successful as well as the fruitful day spent in the Book Fair in Belgrade.

This was my first routine visit to libraries in Yugoslavia since I took over the job from Sava Peic last year and my first visit to the region after 10 years. I have to admit it was a sort of a culture shock.

My first impressions came from a walk in the traffic-free street of Knez Mihailova on the evening after my arrival. The signs of last year’s NATO bombing of Belgrade were visible wherever I went. The American Council, although not bombed but demolished during the bombing by the infuriated and powerless mob, still looked like a haunted house. I was walking in the half-lit streets; half of the town was sunk in darkness due to severe restrictions in the power supply. But to my surprise at 11pm I could still buy a book in the large bookshop of Stubovi kulture in the heart of the town. While all shops close at 8pm bookshops remain open much longer. Although the average price of a paperback is around 200 DIN (£2), which is about 10% of the average monthly salary, the bookshops are full of customers.

My outings to theatres were another experience, on each occasion the house was crowded, and the richness of cultural events in Belgrade made really one spoilt for choice.

In the National Library of Serbia I was introduced to the Head of Acquisitions Department Vesna Zdravković and Biljana Rakočević, responsible for British exchanges, by my usual contact Ivana Nikolić. Despite financial constraints the library is still in a position to continue the exchanges. They heavily rely on exchanges, as this is the only source of acquisition of foreign material. Their acquisition power was reduced to nil when the government severely cut the budget earlier this year. As a result, no resources were allocated for the acquisition of Serbian current publications. However, the library still receives ten legal deposit copies according to copyright law inherited from the Former Yugoslavia. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, the legal deposit copies previously distributed to the other republics were used for international exchanges. But recently exchanges have been established with the national libraries in the Republic of Slovenia and Macedonia. Copies not selected by the Slovenes and Macedonians and the so called “zagrebački primerak” (Zagreb copy) are the main source for exchanges. No contacts have yet been established with Croatia. Donations to the library play also an important role increasing the number of copies available for exchanges. To rectify the situation, Ivana Nikolić arranged for the commercial supply of current publications through a big publishing house Stubovi kulture serving as a book agency (common practice now in Yugoslavia). Thus, the material may be obtained within weeks of a publication date.

On the day of my visit to the Library there were two big events: the opening of the exhibition commemorated to the late poet Slobodan Marković, and the annual International Meeting of Writers session. I also had an opportunity to have a quick look at another exhibition of a great Serbian poet Jovan Dučić whose remains brought from America were buried in his native town Trebinje.

In the University Library “Svetozar Marković” I met Vuka Jeremić from the Exchange Department. The Library does not suffer from financial problems to the same extent as other libraries, although their exchange activities have been

significantly reduced e.g. there are only two active exchange partners in Great Britain – the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Exchange is a major means of acquisition of foreign material and obviously they are interested in continuing the exchanges. There was a disagreement about the balance of our exchange accounts. In the last two years the Library has supplied very little material due to the constrained budget and high postal charges.

I paid a short visit to the Library of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art (SANU), where I met Olgica Momćilović the Head of the Acquisition and Exchange Department and the Deputy Director of the Library, and my usual contact Spomenka Nenić, responsible for British exchanges. The cuts in the budget stopped SANU from sending abroad their own publications which, thanks to their good co-operation with the University Library, we have received via them. They are desperate to get British material.

I was particularly interested in obtaining material from the election campaign and the followed by civil protests in Belgrade. The town was still full of posters from the ten days widely spread demonstrations. My favourite poster, stuck on many shops doors, read “Zatvoreno zbog krađe” (Closed due to theft) [i.e. of votes ‘stolen’ by the Milošević regime]. Much to my delight I was given piles of all sorts of posters, leaflets and badges in the National Library and University Library.

A one-day visit to Novi Sad was very useful. In the Library of Matica srpska I met Mirjana Stojković, the exchange librarian, and some of her colleagues. The same story about financial problems was repeated, although their financial position has not been jeopardised to such an extent as with other libraries. Although they have managed to send their material to foreign libraries regularly, due to the sanctions, they have not received any British material this year. However, the supply of publications from other countries has not been affected by the sanctions. Another difficulty they encounter is access to information on British publications and they would be grateful for a regular supply of publishers’ catalogues. After the NATO bombing working conditions have deteriorated the main problem being daily occurrences of power cuts and the lack of heating. However, throughout this difficult period they have kept all the services running.

I also called at the Library of the Philosophy Department at the University where I met Slobodanka Dačić, the chief librarian. We used to have a small exchange with them but in the last few years this has come to the standstill. They are very keen on reviving it hoping they will get more funds for acquisition.

However, the most productive visit was to Little Big Book the bookshop and book agency ran by Radmilo Mulić. For years we have been purchasing books from him. I had an opportunity to browse many new titles; some of them just published, and really enjoyed “the live selection” of books. The bookshop located on the premises of a theatre attracts many visitors. I saw many young people browsing the shelves and overheard some conversations over a book. Most conversations I heard accidentally were of a political nature – is Montenegro going to break off, Is Vojvodina staying in Yugoslavia, etc.

I spent a day in the International Book Fair in Belgrade. There were over 170 exhibitors, mainly from Serbia with just a few from Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and abroad reducing the fair to a local event. It was a good opportunity to see in one place the stands of so many publishing houses and the wide range of books they offered. The literary output was particularly strong. I was puzzled by a number of collected or selected works of famous writers published simultaneously by different publishers. The choice of books on all aspects of the political, cultural, religious and economic situation and the current crisis in Yugoslavia was enormous. In addition, I also found lavishly produced and very expensive bibliophile editions of heraldry books. But unfortunately my budget did not allow me even to dream of purchasing at least one of them. The long day there proved to be successful as I met a few publishers at their stands and was given some books for the library including difficult-to-obtain titles published by the Ministry of Interior Affairs. At the fair I briefly met Stanika Buser from Jugoslovenska knjiga to discuss some aspects of our co-operation.

Despite the local flavour the fair was a buzzing event bringing together publishers, booksellers, librarians, writers and those interested in books.

Magda Szkuta
Slavonic and East European Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Rd


COSEELIS annual subscription renewals 2001 and Register of member’s interests

Renewal notices for the new subscription year, January to December 2001 are due to be sent out by the end of February to personal members and the named official contact for institutional members. If any named official contact or personal member has not received the notice by March 9, please contact me at the address below. This year I will enclose an invoice with the letter as each year some members tell me that their institutions require an invoice to make a payment.

Once again I am making my usual plea that all members should endeavour to send me their cheque for subscription and the completed membership records form by the closing date of April 5, 2001. Thereafter I will send only one reminder, after which anyone who still fails to pay the subscription will be removed from the mailing list and will no longer receive the Newsletter and other COSEELIS mailings. I’m sorry for the stern approach but each year I spend a considerable amount of time chasing a few non-payers. Please remember to make the cheque payable to COSEELIS not the British Library.

The Register of member’s interests has recently been updated and was enclosed with the hard copy of this issue of the Newsletter. If you require a copy, contact the Editor at the address below. Please check your entries and notify me of any corrections or additions.

Janet Zmroczek
Treasurer, COSEELIS
C/o British Library
96 Euston Rd
London NW1 2DB

Tel: 020 7 412-7586
Fax: 020 7 412-7554

COSEELIS e-mail discussion list

This is a reminder to all members on e-mail that we have a COSEELIS e-mail discussion list (listserv) which is a good way to ask colleagues for help with thorny bibliographical enquiries, practical questions or to pass on useful information. To subscribe, you should follow these instructions:

To subscribe to the listserv you need to send an e-mail to:

with nothing in the subject box and with the following text:

subscribe coseelis

Within a few days you should receive a welcome message advising you how to submit messages to the list etc.
If you have any problems or questions about this, please contact me. (Contact details above).

Janet Zmroczek
British Library

Survey of Baltic materials in UK libraries

Many thanks to all members who found the time to complete the questionnaire which I circulated last year as part of my survey of Baltic materials in UK libraries. As usual, we had an exceptionally good response rate (84%). The information will also be used by Dr Gregory Walker for the web-mounted directory of UK research collections in Russian and East European Studies which is part of the COCOREES project.

Collections and acquisition methods

The survey showed that 23 national, academic or special libraries (nearly all COSEELIS members) have collections of Baltic material. Eleven collect current material though half of these collect fewer than 10 titles per year in each language. Current collection on a large scale takes place only at the Bodleian and at the British Library, each collecting more than 100 titles per year, and thee Baltic Research Unit (BRU) at the University of Bradford. The Unit, established in 1988 has a substantial collection of materials on most contemporary Baltic developments, particularly regional security issues, NATO and EU enlargement and economic prospects and developments. There is an emphasis on grey literature, with an English-language bias. Up until now, there has been no funding for cataloguing or supervising use of the collection so it is difficult to make it available to outside users.

Six libraries have collections of pre-1900 material, the British Library being the largest followed in descending order by the Bodleian, the Taylorian (also Oxford), Cambridge University Library, the London Library and SSEES, University of London.

Method of acquisition is divided fairly equally between purchase and exchange, with many respondents bemoaning the lack of commercial suppliers who specialize in the area. The results of the survey were included in my paper on UK Baltic collections, which I presented at the Slavic Librarian’s Conference in Tallinn. Some of the major commercial suppliers of material from Russia and the former Soviet Union were present and expressed an interest in developing their coverage of materials from the Baltic states.

Usage and future prospects

Eighteen respondents commented on usage, of whom six specified that usage was minimal. Others mentioned some usage across a very broad subject range, from transition economics to glaciology, from applied chemistry to folklore. However the most frequently used was social science material, with little mention of traditional language and literature use. Bearing in mind the straitened climate for library acquisitions budgets in the UK in general at present, and the fact that Baltic materials are never going to be able to compete in usage terms with materials from larger neighbours, respondents were asked whether they perceived any threat to the collecting of Baltic materials over the next five to ten years. Of the 12 who replied to this question, 7 saw no threat, though a number of these drew attention to the fact that this was because they collected so little already; two gave a definite yes, one “possibly”. The most positive views were from two of the larger collectors who envisaged that the situation could even improve due to EU enlargement issues etc.

WWW resources

Respondents were also asked about use of electronic resources which are increasing in relevance as the Baltic states rapidly embrace technological developments and the possibilities of the WWW. The most frequently cited were official government sites, statistical and financial sites, news services and sites of the national libraries. See below a list of sites used by respondents:

General (online newspaper in English: news, politics,culture) (online newspaper in English: news, business, finance) (Central Europe Review: includes news and features on Baltics) (independent forum for networking in Baltic region: useful links database) (city guides and tourist information)

Estonian (Ildi please amend this: current link is to estonian-language page) (English-language sites on Estonian, maintained by Estonian Foreign Ministry) (Governments on the WWW: Estonia) (Raamat postiga: Estonian online bookstore)

Latvian (Bank of Latvia site: financial information) (Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, in English) (Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs site, in English) (Governments on the WWW: Latvia) (Latvian Institute) (Latvian Business Directory) (United Nations in Latvia) (Latvian Academic Library, including catalogues)

Lithuanian (Governments on the WWW: Lithuania) (Lithuanian Department of Statistics) (Lithuanian Librarians’ Association, includes links to academic and public library sites)

Public and community libraries

The survey also attempted to establish to what extent the Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian communities in the UK continue to maintain their own libraries and whether there is still vernacular-language public library provision for these communities. It was difficult to make contact with the community libraries, though replies were received from the London Latvian Library and the Estonian Library, which survive in difficult conditions. I did not locate any public library, which still collects in any of the Baltic languages.

A fuller version of my paper and the survey results will appear later this year in the issue of the Slavonic and East European Information Review devoted to papers given at the Tallinn conference, but in the meanwhile, if anyone else would like more information about Baltic collections in the UK, please contact me.

Janet Zmroczek
British Library


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.