Newsletter No 26 (November 2001)


Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services

ISSN 0966-999x No. 26 November 2001

In Memory of DR. ZDZISLAW JAGODZINSKI. 1927 to 9th March 2001
The papers of Dame Elizabeth Hill (1900-1996)
Visit to Bucharest and Transylvania, 5-14 March 2001
COCOREES: Progress Report October 2001
Journals about Russian and East European Studies
British Library / National Library of Russia Seminar
COSEELIS Minutes of the Annual Meeting
COSEELIS Annual Report
COCOREES: Summary of progress to date
Index of Newsletters
In Memory of DR. ZDZISLAW JAGODZINSKI. 1927 to 9th March 2001

Not many librarians achieve fame, especially not for being librarians, Dr Jagodzinski was one such. Librarian of the small voluntary sector Polish Library in Hammersmith, when he died in March of this year, his death was reported by Polish national radio and TV stations, and virtually every major paper in Poland carried obituary after obituary – from the National Library, from the Warsaw Library School, from the Army Library, from the Catholic University in Lublin. The Library was awash with letters of condolence from all over the world. Yet he left Poland in 1940, deported by the Russians to Kazakhstan, and only went back for two brief visits after 1991 – a month in total.

Although only those who managed to visit the UK actually met him, no one in Poland who was involved in the post war Polish Underground Movement has any doubt that Dr Jagodzinski was a major contributor to its success. His work in supporting individuals, and in documenting, and disseminating information was tireless and all embracing. His reputation for unbending integrity was proverbial and he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the background of both sides of the ideological conflict, brought to him by an endless stream of visitors to his Library.

It goes without saying that all the émigré newspapers and journals in the UK and France also were full of obituaries and reminiscences. He had been an active member of virtually every Polish émigré organisation in the UK and had contributed countless articles and reports to the émigré press and had been editor of many journals and occasional publications. As an historian, his main interest was Polish émigrés during the nineteenth century, and his work on the Polish émigrés and the UK in 1848-1849, was published in Poland in 1997. His bibliographic work was also impressive: he compiled the bibliography published by the Library “Books in Polish or related to Poland published outside of Poland since 1939, and a bibliography of Katyn. A further bibliography of Katyn and of the history of the Poles deported to Russia during the last war await publication. He also was a long-term member of COSEELIS and bitterly regretted in recent years, that his health had not allowed him to attend its conferences.

He was also known for kindness and gentleness, tempered with a sharp, dry wit, which manifested itself in the many poems he wrote for friends and colleagues on every occasion. A small collection of these, in preparation for many years, was at the printers when he died and was finally published in July.

Although his health had been poor for several years, he tirelessly carried on with his work in the Library, his social work in the Polish émigré community and his writing up to the moment of his death. A fierce opponent of computers, he persisted with his old, not to say antique Remmington, and wound round the platen when he died was an article opposing the closure of the émigré journal “Orzel bialy”. He fought for his beliefs to the end.

Written by Ewa Lipniacka,
Laser,4th Floor, Gun Court, 70 Wapping Lane, London, E1W 2RS


The papers of Dame Elizabeth Hill (1900-1996)

Dame Elizabeth Hill (or “Lisa”, as she was known to her many acquaintances), was born in St Petersburg, but emigrated with her family to Britain in 1917. After an early career as schoolteacher and freelance lecturer, and after having gained an honours degree and PhD at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London, she was appointed lecturer in Russian at Cambridge University in 1936. From 1945 she ran a course in Russian for members of the armed services, and in 1948 became Cambridge’s first ever Professor of Slavonic Studies, a post which she held until her retirement in 1969. She continued to lead an active life, travelling widely and researching, especially into the life of Tsar Alexander I, until her death at the age of 96.

Her executors presented her papers to Cambridge University Library, and a preliminary handlist of them has now been prepared. The papers include lecture notes on Russian literature and drama, source materials for the history of the Joint Services Russian course, academic correspondence, drafts of novels, and a great quantity of personal and family items. In addition there are copious notes reflecting Lisa’s interest in Serbian culture, especially the Serbian Orthodox Church.

It is hoped that in time a more detailed catalogue will be prepared, but in the meantime enquiries about the papers should be directed to Kathleen Cann of the library’s Manuscripts Department (email

Ray Scrivens, Cambridge University Library, West Road
Cambridge,CB3 9DR
Tel. 01223-333081
Fax 01223-333160


Visit to Bucharest and Transylvania, 5-14 March 2001

The purpose of this visit after the last one in 1994, was to reassess exchanges with the British Library’s long established partners in Bucharest and possibly explore alternative ways for Romanian acquisitions in the future.

The first library I visited was the Central University Library in its impressive new building in str. Boteanu, partly rebuilt, extended and elegantly restored. With the help of generous international support the library’s collections, seriously damaged in the 1989 revolution, have been almost fully replaced. I met two members of International Exchanges staff: Mrs Camelia Gheorghe and her Head of department Mrs. Maria Panaitescu. Not being a legal deposit library it provides rather short, monthly lists of books purchased for the British Library and pay extortionate postal charges on top. Discussing contentious issues like unfulfilled orders, missing periodical and multi-volume parts, no invoice for periodicals for 2000 and the library’s unavoidable debt built up over the past 6 years, I was surprised to note how unaware our partners are of the inadequacies of our exchanges. Their main excuse for these was the disruption caused by the extensive building work, their move into a new building and the ever-worsening financial difficulties. In spite of rampant inflation, they were able to keep their prices, quoted in US dollars, remarkably low, while English material sent to them in exchange has become disproportionately expensive. This appears to be the main cause of the imbalance in the exchanges. My suggestion of abandoning exchanges in favour of purchasing books from them against direct payment was not acceptable, because the library has no bank account of its own and would therefore not benefit from the income generated from the sale of books. We concluded agreeing that exchanges will have to continue for the time being and the University Library would make a conscious effort to keep track of financial records, provide invoices retrospectively and on a regular basis.

The National Library in comparison seems less prosperous, without any evidence of e-technology, struggling with serious staffing problems.

I met Lucia Vitcovsky, Head of International exchanges for the first time, although her name had been familiar from correspondence since communist times. Mrs Martaian, previously Head of exchanges is now retired, but back as a paid voluntary worker. Carina Popovici my former counterpart has left the Library, as has Mircea Stefancu former Head of the Bibliographic Department, editor of Romanica. As a legal deposit library it should not be particularly difficult for them to supply books on order more promptly, especially as the Romanian Post Office has agreed to waive all their postal charges. They too seem unaware of their hefty debt. Selection from the National Bibliography and Universul Cartii has become impossible, since both these publications are very much behind schedule. By the time orders are received, books go out of print. They suggested using the National Library’s CIP lists, but there is no guarantee these are exhaustive, as legal deposit is not strictly enforced in Romania. Soaring book prices and rampant inflation has always made book keeping

(Conversion of lei into western currency) unrealistic. Ms Vitcovsky has agreed to quote all prices in US$ from now onwards, which should be a first step towards making book prices comparable to those in the West. Before leaving I was introduced to the Director General of the National Library Mr Ion Dan Erceanu, a visual artist. He intimated staffing problems in the library, but sounded reasonably positive and hopeful about the future. He handed me a handsome American bilingual edition of Eminescu’s famous Legend of the Evening Star, which I gratefully accepted on behalf of the BL.

I returned to The National Library two days later only to be told that all library staff had left the building making their way to the Ministry of Culture in protest of the proposed indiscriminate, extensive, (30%) compulsory redundancies. The matter later reached headline news on television, without any solution in sight. The situation seemed desperate and staff moral very low, but it may have explained why of late our exchanges had not been functioning very efficiently with the Romanian National Library.

At the Romanian Academy Library I met Mrs Relic Gheorghe, an old friend and reliable partner. Since my last visit there the library has made remarkable progress placing itself on the electronic map. I spent some time talking to Mrs Ghoerghe, who reiterated the difficulty of abandoning exchanges in favour of purchase, simply because there is no provision in place yet for the library to have a hard currency income. She did however agree to price their publications in US$. This will hopefully end the thankless task of having to estimate prices. Exemption from postage

Seems to apply to the Academy Library as well, thus removing a former major expense. I also met Mrs Anca Bogdan, who has recently spent time doing research in the British Library working on a bibliography of Mihai Eminescu’s literary output. She very kindly gave me a CD-ROM of Eminescu’s life and work. Mrs Gabriela Dumitrescu of the Manuscripts and Rare Books Department gave me an informed tour of her section, including the contents of the strong room with its invaluable treasures.

My stay in Bucharest fortunately coincided between 7-11 March, with the 6th Romanian Press and Book Fair organised by Amplus International Ltd. and held in the National History Museum. Over eighty publishers, distributors, cultural institutions and foundations, museums and the media (important daily newspapers, cultural journals, national radio stations) participated in a programme of book launches, round-table debates, poetry and music recitals. Here are a few examples of lesser known, but important exhibitors:

Editor ELION; publishes Romanian classics, contemporary literature, history, philosophy, religion, history, memoir literature, translations into foreign languages, bilingual editions. Tel/Fax: 01/666 49 27

Editura EX PONTO founded in Constanta in 1995; publishes a variety of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Tel/Fax: 041-58 05 27

Editura LUMINA LEX focuses on legal material: collections of laws, treaties, legal dictionaries, legal documents, etc. Its editorial plan consists of over 450 legal publications. Fax: 315.06.13.

Editura ORIZONTULUI; publisher of lexicography, belles- lettres, science and culture. Tel/Fax: 01/337 48 22

Editura POLIROM: is a prestigious publisher founded in 1995 in Iasi, with an editorial board of 55 members and branches in Bucharest, Timisoara, Brasov. Its publishing programme includes all humanities and social sciences. Tel/Fax: 032/214 100, 214 111; e-mail

Editura REINTREGIREA a Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Române Alba Iulia continues the tradition of the old Mitropolia Balgradului and its printing house publishing books for the faithful, works on theology and famous theologians, orthodox spirituality. Fax: 058/812797, e-mail:

Editura VICTOR FRUNZA founded in exile in 1982. Profile: politics, history, and literature of Romanian interest. E-mail:

Before my departure to Romania I had made contact with Doina Niculescu, owner of of Derex the new Romanian bookstore. Doina very kindly met me at the airport with a friend, who drove me to my hotel in Bucharest. We arranged to meet in town two days later and talk shop over lunch. Her disarmingly warm and cheerful disposition made our meetings pleasantly relaxed as though we had always known each other. I volunteered to speak Romanian, who doesn’t come easy any longer, but wishing to practice her English she chose to make the effort instead of me. The February 2001 catalogue she had sent me to England is a well-structured very relevant listing of in scope Romanian material. If it were not for someone in whom I have every confidence, I would think this enterprise was doomed from the outset. She lives in a small flat in a Bucharest suburb, where she stores the books purchased and reserved for her clients. She travels into town every morning to check her e-mail in one of the central internet cafés, walks round bookshops likely to have her desiderata in store, if in luck she buys them, if not she continues scouring distributors until she comes up with the goods. Acquiring and dispatching the books alone, without any means of transport of her own, must be an exhausting exercise; and that still leaves bookkeeping, reading up on new publications and correspondence to be done. She is aware of the hardships of her trade, she knows how much co-operation she can expect to get from the Romanian authorities and having spent six months in the States she is also aware of her customers’ expectations. She deserves to make a go of it.


On the last day in Bucharest I visited HASEFER Publishing House of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania. Telefax: 40-1-312 22 84.

It is housed in a tiny smoky office on the top floor of a dreary office block, crammed with books and staff on Bulevard I.C. Bratianu. I spoke to Mrs Paula Litman who gave me their latest catalogue, an impressive bilingual (English and Romanian) publication in itself, offering a comprehensive list of publications since 1900 on Jewish art, history, religion and literature in Romania. Despite their visibly modest means Mrs Litman was keen to honour our requests and very proud of the highly professional literature they publish.

During my entire stay in Bucharest visiting bookshops and the book fare, I saw no publications in minority languages. In Transylvania I was able to visit the largest Hungarian publisher MENTOR KIADÓ, based in Targu Mures, centre of what once used to be called the Hungarian Autonomous Region. Its population now is 50% Romanian and 50% Hungarian. There are several Hungarian bookshops, which in spite of the generally low standard of living are much frequented and doing reasonably well. MENTOR is based in an appropriately converted loft in what looks like a private house in a lively suburb of Tg Mures. Director Istvan Kali Kiraly is confident that he can supply most items from his latest beautifully executed catalogue of current Hungarian publications.

E-mail address:

My second source of Hungarian and Romanian material published in Transylvania is Mr Attila Simon, poet and editor of ÉLŐ ERDÉLY [Living Transylvania], an informative up to date online journal. Attila is based in Miercurea Ciuc, capital of Székely land in eastern Transylvania. Although his business is less prosperous, he assured me he would continue to supply works advertised in Elo Erdely at: e-mail: Elo Erdely [] Alas, he is not able to provide books in German; this remains an unresolved area for the time being.

Although my impressions of Romania were not very different from those of six years earlier, changes and improvements were visible in most libraries, and certainly outside them, in the open market. Purchase is a realistic alternative and the above mentioned publishers and suppliers are there waiting to be tested.

Bridget Guzner
Curator of Hungarian and Romanian Collections
Slavonic & East European Collections
The British Library
Telephone: 020-7412-7583
Fax: 020-7412 7554



An important new stage in the project began with the initiation in late March of the fourth and last subproject, in which all twelve partner institutions examine a range of approaches to collaborative collection management. Since then the full programme for the subproject has been agreed and is set out in the preliminary report Collaborative Collection Management Initiatives for Russian and East European Studies, issued in July. This is accessible on the COCOREES website at

Subproject 2 (Listings)

The centrepiece of this subproject will be a location listing of serial titles relevant to REES in selected UK libraries. Enquiry forms were sent out in January 2000 to 46 libraries known to have significant serial holdings in this field. Of these, 23 (50%) have so far confirmed their willingness to contribute.

Summary and prospects for SP2.

Progress here has initially been significantly faster than scheduled, thanks to the ready availability of files from contributors in a more easily useable format than had been anticipated. The sheer volume of data was higher than originally expected, so the longer testing period now possible for cross-matching between the different sources of information has been beneficial. Further approaches have been made to non-responding libraries to elicit further files. The departure of the technical assistant and their replacement, together with difficulties of communication over the summer vacation, have slowed down the task of adding more sets of records to the originals, but progress has nonetheless been made. Three of the original contributors’ records – the BL, the RIIA and SSEES – have been completely updated with no significant problems having emerged. There are also records from CREES in Birmingham on the trial system. Further records are in the process of being added from Cambridge (including all of the college libraries, which are included in CUL’s system), the Bodleian, the Scott Polar Research Institute. Some technical problems are in the process of being ‘ironed out’ with Leeds and the National Library of Scotland. Firm promises from some other institutions have not materialised as yet, and now that the new academic year has got underway, these promises will be followed up in the very near future.

The COCOREES database was made available publicly on an experimental basis during the summer, and project staff at Glasgow University Library are conducting a review of the presentation and search facilities offered to users. We were sorry to lose Roman Hobler in July from his technical support post at SSEES. We are taking steps to replace him, but maintenance and development work on the database has inevitably been delayed.

Joint Contribution from
Gregory Walker, Bodleian Library, Oxford
Ron Hogg, British Library, Boston Spa

Journals about Russian and East European Studies

There is a list of journals relevant to the field of ‘general, literary and linguistic’ Russian and East European Studies at:

which is the Slavic Review list of ‘related’ publications. Slavic Review’s own URL is:

The relatively new Slavic and East European Review, NOT the same as Slavonic and East European Review!, is not mentioned in the above, but has its own URL at:

There’s another list on the AATSEEL website at:

There’s a short list on the Slavophilia website at:

Many university sites in several countries (I looked at British, American, German and Japanese examples)provide lists of journals. Some are very specialised with only smaller sub-sets of the lists provided by the sources above, or indeed are specialised in other fields, such as the nine title long list of Russian Physics journals at held at the University of California at Berkeley:

Some are general lists of everything in the Slavonic field, so you would need to plough through a fairly long list of everything obtained from or about the countries to find much the same information, for example the not-in-alphabetical order list of 770 EES titles taken by Ohio State University Library: Another example is the British Library’s own list of Cyrillic serial material held at the British Library Document Supply Centre, available as a sub-page of the British Library’s site at

Many others are the library OPAC, so you would have to search the catalogue electronically to find the same information. These are really only useful in cases like this for verifying if the title you’ve already found on another list is in that particular library’s collection.

The specialised lists I have checked seem not to give any more titles than are named in the first five examples quoted unless they have expanded the field to cover a broader subject, for example general rather than Slavonic linguistics. I have, however, no doubt whatsoever that there are other titles out there which are of relevance and which can be added, for instance Rusistika (information at, which is on none of the lists mentioned here.

The trouble with the middle range general lists is of course that they tend very much to be a listing of what is received FROM the countries and not what is written ABOUT them but published elsewhere. I am at present the Project Manager for the listings part of the COCOREES project, whose aim is to mount on a single website not only descriptions of the Russian and East European Studies library collections in the UK, but also listings of their periodicals holdings in the area. It is relatively easy in most cases to extract information about holdings from the various countries, but most systems seem to have great trouble in providing lists of holdings about the countries but ‘published elsewhere’ because of the way the electronic catalogues are organised. We hope to be able to go live with a development version of this system later this year. Information on progress so far can be found at

Please feel free to forward this information to any lists which might have members interested in this topic.

Ron Hogg
Slavonic and East European Acquisitions
The British Library
Boston Spa
Wetherby, LS23 7BQ

Tel: 01937 546800
Fax: 01937 546480


British Library/National Library of Russia Seminar

A joint seminar organised by the British Library and and National Library of Russia will take place in the Conference Centre in the British Library at St Pancras on 3 and 4 December. One day will be on library matters and one on collections, with speakers from both libraries. We hope to advertise details of the programme by mid-September. The seminar has been timed to take place just before the ON-LINE Conference at Olympia which a number of Russian librarians generally attend, so we hope that people from various Russian libraries will be there. Admission will be free and by invitation. All COSEELIS members welcome.

Information Supplied by

Chris Thomas

Slavonic and East European Collections

The British Library

96 Euston Road




Minutes of the Annual Meeting held at Sorby Hall, University of Sheffield, 11 April 2001

Apologies: Charlotte Sing (University of Manchester), Mr J. S. G. Simmons (Oxford), Tania Konn (University of Glasgow)

1. Minutes of the last meeting.

Lesley Pitman pointed out that the location for the last meeting should be SSEES, University College London.

The minutes were agreed by the meeting.

2. Matters arising from the minutes

ICCEES Conference. It was reported that there had been a strong COSEELIS presence in Tallinn, with 10 members participating in 6 panels. At Tampere members were involved in 2 panels. A selection of papers from Tampere will appear in Solanus and the complete papers from Tallinn will be published in SEEIR.

3. Chairman’s report

The report is appended.

4. Treasurer’s report

Janet Zmroczek presented the financial report for the year. It was noted that the figures were inflated because some conference fees had been received, but nothing had yet been paid out. Subscriptions are continuing to come in and 19 have so far been received. It is expected that the membership will remain the same. There is no need to increase the subscription.

There had been no expenditure from the hospitality fund and the meeting was reminded that funds could be made available to assist visitors.

EBSEES continues to be self funding. Jenny Brine reported that Henry Broms of Sofiadata may not want the 1996 data.

Suggestions for projects which might be supported by COSEELIS funds were invited.

5. Elections

Graham Camfield reported that the following Committee members were standing for re-election: Chris Thomas (Chair), Janet Zmroczek, Gregory Walker, Tania Konn, Lesley pitman, Ray Scrivens, and Graham Dix.

Nomination forms had been sent out to all members. Completed forms had been received for Chris Thomas (Chair), Janet Zmroczek, Gregory Walker, Tania Konn, Lesley Pitman, and Ray Scrivens. These nominations were put to the Meeting.

Due to ill health, no form had been received from Graham Dix, but it was very much hoped that Graham would continue on the Committee. In the meantime the Committee had agreed to co-opt another member and a request was made for a volunteer.

6. COCOREES (RSLP Project)

Gregory Walker called for any questions following on from the earlier presentation. Summary attached.


Jenny Brine reported that that the 1995 volume will be the last published. It was considered that more effort should be spent in trying to get the Bibliography up to date. The online version had been mounted by CNRS at Grenoble, but there was disappointment that the degree of technical support promised had not been forthcoming. It had been agreed therefore to jump to working on the data for 2000, which should be entered on the database later this year, and then to fill in the gaps.

The next meeting of the editorial committee is in June, when the possibility of co-operation and merger with ABSEES will be discussed. ABSEES employs a devolved system of data gathering and will encourage European contributors. Problems to be addressed include: charging – ABSEES is a subscription service, but EBSEES is free of charge; conflict of transliteration, classification and subject indexing systems. There was a strong feeling in favour of keeping the bibliography European.

The British entries for 1996 are finished and will be on the website shortly. Data for 1997 is almost finished. It is not certain whether the 2000 data can be completed in June. More volunteers would be welcome.

It was noted that the ISO transliteration system is unfamiliar to many British users and that some explanation could usefully be given. It was also questioned whether the separate European identity is really necessary.

8. Conference 2002

Next year’s Conference is due to be held in Cambridge, following BASEES on the 8th and 9th April. Ray Scrivens kindly offered to organise the Conference and the Committee will look at ways in which some of the burden of organisation could be shared. It was suggested, for example, that preparation of the program might be done by Jacky Bowman of BASEES.

9. Collection Development

Duplicates. Magda Szkuta suggested that information about duplicates available might be mounted on the COSEELIS web page. This was agreed to be a good idea in principle, but would require some administration and updating. It was agreed to discuss further with Tania Konn as the website coordinator. Another possibility would be to submit information about duplicates to the COSEELIS mailing list, which would have the advantage of currency. Some duplicates might also be brought to the Conference.

Collaboration. Chris Thomas reported that the British Library Strategic Review will include a Collection Development Review. One area of focus would be foreign language collections, for which a usage survey had already been undertaken. The review document is to be sent to COSEELIS and BASEES among others. It was suggested that COCOREES should also be a recipient.

Regional publications. It was reported that coverage of regional publications was improving. There are some 32 suppliers covering the Russian Federation and the CIS. The Baltic area is still not well served.

Leeds University. It was reported that building collections was no longer seen as a priority, but that user needs should be met first of all.

10. Register of Slavonic and East European source materials in microform

Sadie Morgan-Cheshire reported that there had been some difficulty in deciding what to include on the list, but it is now mounted on the web site. Updates to the Newspaper list were also welcomed.

11. Links with Europe

ABDOS. Chris Thomas welcomed Jurgen Warmbrunn of the Herder Institute, Marburg, as representative of ABDOS. COSEELIS was invited to send a representative to the next ABDOS Conference in June at Torun, Poland. The Conference in 2002 will be held in Liberec in the Czech Republic. It was also reported that the ABDOS website would appear shortly.

Beseda. It was noted that the Beseda website had not been updated recently. Chris Thomas had attended a seminar at the BNF where French colleagues had expressed concern about the future of Slavonic studies in France.

Russian National Library. Chris Thomas attended a very fruitful joint seminar in St Petersburg with colleagues from the British Library and RNL. It was agreed to organise a follow up in December at the British Library, which might involve other COSEELIS members. It was suggested that some support might given from the Hospitality Fund.

Books for Serbia

Graham Camfield reported on an initiative being coordinated by Dejan Djokic of SSEES to collect English language duplicates libraries in the UK for Serbian libraries.

12 Publications

Newsletter. Nicola Deal was thanked for her work on the Newsletter. Contributions are always welcome.

Solanus. The last issue appeared in June. Details of contents are available on the website but some updating is necessary. The next issue will include selected papers from the Tampere Conference.

13 COSEELIS Webpage

Register of members interests. It was noted that there was some uncertainty over what was meant by ‘interests’, are they professional responsibilities or personal research interests? This would be made clear next time.

Janet Zmroczek reported that the mounting of the register on the website had probably been the cause of unsolicited e-mail being received by some members. This was very much regretted and the register had been removed. Some discussion followed on the suitability of making this information available on the web. Following advice from the British Library’s Data Protection Officer new forms will be sent out, requiring COSEELIS members to state clearly their preference for use of their personal data.

Two main options were considered by the meeting: to make the list available to members only in a password protected area; to remove e-mail addresses altogether. The first option was preferred.

In general it was agreed that more use could be made of the website. It was suggested that a small group could be formed with an editorial role

14. AOB

Janet Zmroczek reported that the Committee supported a donation of £50 from COSEELIS funds to be given in memory of the late Dr Jagodzinski. This was agreed by the meeting.

It was noted that two libraries are looking to dispose of collections, the Britain-Russia Centre, and the CARIS Archive at the BBC.

NCOLR. A report will appear in the next Newsletter.

FLAG (Foreign Law Guide). A joint RSLP project between the British Library and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is looking at collaborative collection development of foreign legal materials, with a pilot project on Slavonic materials. A one day course is to be organised on the identification, acquisition and use of Slavonic legal materials. Details forthcoming.

15. Date of next meeting

9 April 2002

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

Annual report: March 2000 – March 2001

Very good progress was made on our collaborative collection management project for Russian and East European studies – COCOREES – led by Gregory Walker and funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme. We now have something concrete to show. The database ( will be made accessible experimentally to researchers this spring, with wider access in the autumn. It already has on it:

Descriptions of nearly 70 library collections in the UK relevant to research in REES; Location listings of serials held in four major UK libraries. Glasgow and SSEES have already produced some excellent searching facilities. Twelve libraries are now beginning discussions on the last strand of the project – a range of initiatives for the coordination of collection management.

We had no annual conference in 2000 because of the ICEES Congress in Tampere and the Slavic Librarians’ Conference in Tallinn. There was strong COSEELIS participation at these, especially at Tallinn. Papers from Tallinn will be published in SEEIR and a selection in our field from Tampere in Solanus.

Data continues to be added to the COSEELIS web site ( maintained at Glasgow University. An important addition is Sadie Morgan-Cheshire’s listing of microform collections in UK libraries.

Our print publications continue. The 2000 issue of Solanus:International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies came out in June and continues to have a steady number o subscribers. Vol. 15 (2001) will be a double issue containing 11 papers from the Tampere Congress. Thanks to generous offers to translate, the entire issue will be in English. Nicola Deal has again succeeded in producing two newsletters. Jenny Brine has continued to coordinate efficiently the British contribution to the European Bibliography of Slavonic and East European Studies as well as providing entries together with other COSEELIS members. A special effort was made to complete entries from both 1997 and 1998 publications for the year 2000 issue.

Gregory Walker attended the ABDOS conference in Berlin and did a presentation on COCOREES and Chris Thomas did a similar one at a seminar at the Bibliothéque Nationale de France (attended mainly by Slavonic librarians and researchers from the Paris region). A number of COSEELIS members visited libraries and booksellers in the region, among them Magda Szkuta who visited Belgrade and Novi Sad two weeks after the Yugoslav ‘revolution’ of 5 October.

My special thanks to Graham Camfield and Janet Zmroczek for their work as secretary and treasurer, to Nicola Deal for editing the newsletter.

Chris Thomas


COCOREES: summary of progress to date

(based on Progress Report to BASEES, April 2001)

The project has now reached its halfway point. In the first 18 months of its life, the four institutions initially participating (the Bodleian Library, SSEES Library, Glasgow University Library and the British Library) have worked with many other bodies and individuals to set up a database with a unified search interface which will give scholars in Russian and East European Studies better information about relevant library collections and their research holdings. The database will be made accessible experimentally to researchers this summer, with wider access expected in the autumn. So far the database holds:

Descriptions of about 70 library collections in the UK relevant to research in REES. Work is in progress on adding to the number of descriptions, indexing to allow searching by country and subject, and adding contact and access information.
Location listings of Russian and East European serials (periodicals, journals and newspapers) held in a number of major UK libraries. Holdings already recorded include those of the British Library (some 30,000 titles) , the RIIA, the Baykov Library at Birmingham, and SSEES (a sample). Records from at least nine further libraries are expected.
In March 2001, eight further libraries joined the project: the University Libraries of Birmingham, Cambridge, Essex, Leeds and Nottingham, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE), the National Library of Scotland, and the Polish Library in London. Drawing on the informatioin in the project’s database, and in consultation with its Academic Advisory Committee (nominated by BASEES), the twelve libraries will experiment with a range of initiatives to improve the range of research material available in the UK and access to it. Among other issues, they will look at:

The concertation of collecting policies.
Cooperation over the retention and relocation of material.
A consortial approach to acquisition and electronic access to materials.
The scope and adequacy of national resource coverage for research in REES.
The approach is deliberately experimental, but this is the first opportunity given to British libraries to test so many related initiatives as a coordinated undertaking in support of REES. An essential part of the project will be to advise on longer-term arrangements for collaborative collection management in REES which can benefit researchers in the future.

Gregory Walker

April 2001


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,

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