Newsletter No 5 (December 1993)

ISSN 0966-999X No. 5 December 1993




The 1993 Annual Conference was held at Langdale Hall, University of Manchester, on 23 24 September. Many thanks to Charlotte Sing for organising everything. The Annual General Meeting elected Graham Camfield (British Library of Political and Economic Science) as Secretary following the retirement of Michael McClaren-Turner. The other members of the Committee remain unchanged. The 1994 Annual Conference will take place in Belfast and is being organised by Michael Smallman, Queen’s University of Belfast, Main Library, University Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT7 1LS, email:

We listened to the following papers:

Dr Gregory Walker(Bodleian Library), A report on the latest quinquennial list of British theses in Slavonic studies.

Dr David Shepherd (Department of Russian Studies, University of Manchester), The analytical bibliographical database on Bakhtin and the Bakhtin circle: a brief introduction.

Graham Matthews (Department of Information and Library Studies, Loughborough University), Preservation of Library Materials: an update.

Inese Smith (Department of Information and Library Studies, Loughborough University), Library terminology pre- and post-communism.

Dr Lynne Attwood (Department of Russian Studies, University of Manchester), From the new Soviet woman to the post-Soviet woman.

Perhaps the most topical paper, however, was an assessment by Ron Hogg (British Library Document Supply Centre, Boston Spa, Tel: 01937-546214, Fax: 01937-546333) of how we might proceed in the post-Collets era, Comparative prices of serial publications from Russia. Ron’s survey was impressive and extremely helpful; some of us had already conducted our own comparative surveys on a much smaller scale, but Ron was able to give a broader view because of the vast range of titles subscribed to by BLDSC. Ron compared the range of materials offered by five suppliers (East View, Russian Press Service, Mezhkniga, Universal Subscription Agency and Collet’s Holdings Ltd) and their respective prices, taking into account promotional discounts as well as variations in the exchange rate between the US$ and GB£. Kubon and Sagner (Munich) were omitted because, although they have a reputation of being very efficient, they would be prohibitively expensive for the large number of titles taken by BLDSC. There is insufficient space here to reproduce all the detail, but the following tentative conclusions were drawn.

Although several of us have already done this, Ron advised against complete abandonment of Collets. He demonstrated that their prices are still competitive and that they are still able to cover the widest geographical area. They are the only one of the give agents to cover all of Eastern Europe. He suggested that ‘as long as CHL survives with a reasonable service, we should therefore keep with them. We should, however, continue to monitor the others to try to strike a better deal in the future and in case CHL does not survive longer than a year’. The others all seem able to supply a large number of titles from Russia itself, but there is considerable variation when it comes to other republics of the CIS and to the Baltic States. East View seem to have the best range outside Russia, and appear to be especially strong with regard to Ukrainian, Latvian and Estonian titles. Mezhkniga (and hence Universal, who are MK’s agent now in the UK) are relatively limited, being confined to Russia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine. Coverage of Belarus and Uzbekistan, for example, is almost nil and they are unable to supply titles for which East View has negotiated exclusive rights. The Russian Press Service appear to be the most limited, being confined more or less to Russia itself.

As far as cost is concerned, it is very difficult at this stage to form any clear view. East View are offering a very attractive 20% discount off their published price for new subscriptions. (They are also offering 50% off microfilms where we chose to subscribe both to the hard copies and microfilms of newspapers. Ed.). Ron concludes that this may well be an attempt to deliberately undercut RPS and therefore put them effectively out of the picture. Although what EV offers is impressive, he has this word of warning: ‘It may well be that EV is loss-leading to gain the first year’s subscription from us and that there will be a very large price-hike for 1995.’ Universal are offering a 10% discount and are thereby undercutting any direct deals with Mezhkniga, for whom they are acting as UK agents! Universal approached BLDSC when Collets collapsed, as they did a number of libraries in our group, but they seem to have had very little experience of supplying material from Eastern Europe.

For any members who may not have them, here are the addresses of the give suppliers examined by Ron:

1. East View Publications, 3020 Harbor Lane South, Suite 110, Minneapolis, MN55447, USA, Fax: 010-1 612-559-2931.

2. Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga, Ul Dimitrova 39, 113095 Moskva, Russia, Fax: 010-7 095 230-21-17.

3. Russian Press Service Inc, 1805 Cain Street, Evanston, IL 60202, USA, Fax: 010-1 708-491-1440.

4. Universal Subscription Agents and Booksellers, Universal House, 3 Hurst Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA15 9BA, UK, Fax: 081-300-8353.

5. Collets Holdings Ltd, Denington Estate, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8 2QT, UK, Fax: 0933-276402.

World Slavic Congress 1995

The AGM discussed our contributions to the World Slavic Congress (Warsaw) and to the International Slavic Librarians Conference (Torun) in 1995. Ideas and contributions are still needed, especially for Torun. Since the last Newsletter there have been no changes of which we are aware regarding Torun. Here is the latest version we have of the programme for Warsaw, though again there is little difference since the previous update.


1. Archives – Collections and Access. Chair: Auerbach (Marburg). Papers: H Krajewska (or other representative of Archiwum Akt Dawnych).

2. Archives – International Cooperation. Chair: Van Camp? Papers: Grimsted.

3. Cultural Heritage of the Slav and East European book. Chair: Röhling (Bochum). Petr? Papers: Pozdeeva, Šen (Bautzen), Thomas (London).

4. Fate of Library Collections; Displaced Libraries. Chair: Gerasym (Lviv). Papers: Bienkowska (Poland), Afanasiev (Moscow), Hetzer (Bremen).

5. Censorship – Publishing, Bibliographies, Libraries. Chair: Scrivens. Papers: Tax Choldin, S Kaminski (Warsaw), Zmroczek (London).

6. Profile of a Slavic Librarian: Education, Tools, Collections, Mission. Chair: Walker (Oxford). Papers: Ershova (Russia), Kocojowa (Poland) Pašuta Farris (USA).

7. Books Outside their Native Lands. Chair: Slavinski (Vienna). Papers: Lawaty, Genieva (Moscow), Sonnevend (Budapest), Vilks.

8. Structures of General Bibliographies Under Changing Social, Political and Economic Conditions. Chair: Zalewski. Paper: (USA?), Dzhigo (Moscow), Mikheeva (St Petersburg).

9. Computerized Bibliographic and Data-Systems for Slavic and East European Bibliographies. Chair: Klim. Papers.

10. Book Market and its Colours. (?? Ed). Chair: Rondestwedt (USA). Papers: Cibulski (Warsaw), Bockholt (Marburg).


1. Archive Problems. Chair: Davies (Leeds).

2. Preservation of Collections. Chair: Pasztalaniec-Jarzynska (Warsaw). Participants: Matthews (Loughborough).

3. Literature Lacking in East European Libraries from 1945 to 1990. Chair: Chmielewski. Participants: Zmigrodzka (Katowice), Tammaru (Tallinn), Abele (Riga) (?).

4. (Torun?) Diminishing Resources being made available to Libraries (The Slavic Context). Chair? Participation: Konn, Chmielewski, Röhling.

Any queries or further offers of papers should be addressed to Tania Konn.

Travel Arrangements to Conferences in Warsaw and Torun 1995

Eugenia Maresch of the Polish Library has kindly supplied the following list of agents offering cheap travel to Poland. The prices quoted are obviously current prices, as the prices for summer 1995 cannot yet be estimated.

Tazab Travel Ltd, 273 Brompton Road, London, SW5 9JB, Tel: 071-370-6355. Air Fare: from £172 return.

Fregata Travel, 100 Dean Street, London, W1V 5AQ, Tel: 071-734-5101. Air Fare: from £172 return. High season can be up to £254. Cheaper fares usually depend on travelling Monday-Thursday and staying over a Saturday night.

Luxury Minibus Travel, 70 Wolverhampton Road, Stafford, ST17 4AW, Tel: 0785-227576. Groups collected from home in the UK to any destination in Poland. Departure every Monday. Return fate: £100.

It has been suggested that members of COSEELIS might consider travelling by this method as a group rather than making individual arrangements.

Bogdan Travel, 5 The Broadway, Gunnersbury Lane, London, W3 8HR, Tel: 081-992-8866. Air fare: from £163 return. Jet Coach: £90 return.

Poltours, Tel: 081-578-8113. Return air fare for 5 days including Saturday: £209; monthly in high season: £249.

Book Supplier in Latvia

Liber Livonicus is a book trading firm founded in Riga in June 1993. The founders have experience with the National Library of Latvia in acquisitions and international exchanges. They claim to be able to supply academic books and research materials in all subject fields published in Latvian or in Russian. The firm also functions as a subscription agency for periodicals published in the Republic of Latvia. It supplies regular catalogues listing all recent Latvian publications; these can be supplied once or twice a month, and can be supplied for whatever subject areas the client specifies. It is not clear, however, from the advertising material whether or not information about new Latvian titles includes a translation (or better still, a brief description of contents) in English or Russian. Address: Liber Livonicus, Lucavsala – 3A, LV – 1004 Riga, Latvia.

Union List of Slavonic and East European Newspapers

This list will be revised shortly and circulated to libraries. Any amendments to the list should be sent as soon as possible to Magda Szkuta at The British Library, Slavonic and East European Collections, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG.

Russian Books in Print PLUS

Russian Books in Print PLUS with Books out of Print is shortly to be published in CD-ROM format by Bowker-Saur in association with the Russian Book Chamber, the Russian Bibliographic Society and Dialogue-Vesta. The first disk will be available in early December and will thereafter be updated annually, though more frequent updating may be considered should there be a demand for it. The title of the database is something of a misnomer (since, as we all know, Russian books can hardly be described as being ‘in print’), but the title has been chosen to bring it into line with Bowker-Saur’s other products. The database in fact contains information ‘on all books published in Russia from autumn 1989 to mid-1993, plus planned titles to 1997.’ Although it claims to cover ‘all books’, the information is sourced from the Russian Book Chamber and therefore only covers those books already known to the Book Chamber; though as more new and independent publishers deposit their titles with the Book Chamber so the coverage should become more comprehensive. Data is included about books published in the Baltic States, Ukraine and the Central Asian republics – provided, that is, if it has been sent to the Book Chamber. The first disk will contain over 180,000 titles in all.

The database can be searched according to 22 search criteria, including subject, author, title, keyword, publisher, language, Universal Decimal Classifier and year of publication. There are 16 browsable indexes. All data is available in Cyrillic and transliterated format. The data in English (ie in the Latin alphabet) is a transliteration, not a translation, of the Cyrillic entries./ Hence when searching under subject keyword, for example, one has to think of the subject terms in Russian and then transliterate them, rather than enter Library of Congress – or any other English language – subject terms. As part of the package Cyrillic keyboard mapping will be provided for IBM keyboards.

The price of the CD-ROM is £995 plus VAT. This will also be the price of subsequent updated versions. Bowker-Saur are offering a 10% discount for orders placed before 31 March 1994.

Bowker-Saur have recently demonstrated Russian Books in Print PLUS to some members of COSEELIS, including SSEES. Requests for demonstrations and any other enquiries should be directed to: Richard Hollis, UK and Eire Sales Manager, Bowker-Saur, 60 Grosvenor Street, London, W1X 9DA, Tel: 071-493-5841, Fax: 071-499-1590, Mobile: 0850-604391.