Newsletter No 9 (March 1995)

ISSN 0966-999X No. 9 March 1995




Since Summer 1995 will see the ICCEES Fifth World Congress in Warsaw as well as the Slavic Librarians’ Pre-Conference at Przegorzaly, near Cracow, there will be no separate COSEELIS conference in September this year. We do plan, however, to hold an AGM, which will take place at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) in September, the exact date has yet to be fixed.

The 1996 Conference and AGM will be held at Loughborough and will be organised by Inese Smith and Graham Matthews. They have in mind dates in the first two weeks of September, either Wednesday-Thursday 4th/5th or Wednesday-Thursday 11th/12th.


The Library of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies has been awarded a non-recurrent grant of £225,000 by the HEFCE as the result of the bidding process for funding specialised research library collections in the humanities. This money is primarily for the retrospective conversion of the card catalogue to machine-readable form but also includes sums for conservation and backlog cataloguing.

Another recipient of the grant is the University of Leeds, which has been awarded £116,000 for the Leeds Russian Archive.


About a dozen COSEELIS members gathered in Birmingham for the workshop on Internet sources of information on Eastern Europe held on 18th January 1995. The training room at the University library was very well equipped with almost one machine per person, so we had plenty of opportunity to practise after each of the presentations. Graham Dix reminded us of some of the strategic issues, recommended in the November-December issue of Aslib Proceedings, and then handed over to Katharine Reedy for an introduction to navigating the Internet. Katharine demonstrated some of the basic subject searching techniques and outlined the steps taken by the University of Westminster in training staff and preparing to offer a service; fortunately she had also produced a crib sheet to translate the jargon as well as suggestions for further reading. Then we were let loose on the terminals and the lunch break was cut short to allow for more hands-on time before Lesley Pitman began the afternoon session by recommending sources specifically for East European information. Lesley’s demonstration used Mosaic, accompanied by hints on the advantages of Netscape as an alternative. A printed list gave the addresses of useful servers, mainly Western; Lesley also showed how she maintained her own quick list of addresses on the machine. In the practical session most of us went to REESWEB (Pittsburgh) and UT-REENIC (Texas at Austin), although we used different routes to get there, and then navigated further. Katharine was right: the WWW is both fun and easy! Then it was time for Graham to introduce us to East European sources and give an idea of the kind of files or information we could access, so that in the last practical session we travelled east.

Impressions: fascinating, stimulating, exhausting. Graham’s intention was for it to be an informal event to allow for maximum pooling of knowledge and experience, and this aim was met in full. I was probably the least experienced person (we have a limited connection via an intermediary provider, and so even for e-mail we use a separate computer and modem three floors away from the library!) and I am immensely grateful for all the information, advice and warnings given by the three presenters – and for the extra tuition as we travelled back to London. It’s definitely a medium which cannot be ignored and I hope that by the time of the next workshop we will have a better Internet connection and a ‘home page’, hosted for us on DEFSEC-NET by ETH, Zurich. And yes, this does have East European sources and two access points: gopher://; REOK/fsk/fsk_homepage.html
Mary Bone


The new microfilming project Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State has recently started publication (for details see Newsletter no. 8, Ed) and is being bought by the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa. DSC has received the first consignment of reels in this very important microform research collection. A short notice about it will appear in Document Supply News. By the time of the next Newsletter it is hoped to have more information about access to the collection.
Chris Thomas


Cambridge University Library has just purchased the microfiche set of the St Petersburg journal Teatr i iskusstvo. The set comprises a virtually complete run from 1897 to 1918 of a publication of great importance for researchers into the social as well as the cultural history of the period. So far as I have been able to discover, only fragmentary holdings of this journal are held in other British libraries.
Ray Scrivens


This archive consists of materials collected by the Leverhulme Research Project at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (Research Fellow: Jonathan J. Aves). The materials relate to the development of new political parties and movements in the former Soviet Union especially in the years 1988-1991. Chiefly represented are movements in the Russian Federation, the Baltic States and the Causcasus. The materials include press cuttings, some xeroxed journal articles, sample issues of non-official newspapers, party programmes and other miscellaneous documents. The book The Road to Post-Communism: Independent Political Movements in the Soviety Union, 1985-1991 (London, 1992) by J J Aves, with G A Hosking and P J S Duncan, was based on the Project’s findings. The archive was deposited in the Library by the Project in 1994. Access is unrestricted.
In addition to the Project material SSEES Library has also collected a vast number of informal and non-official newspapers from this period. These may be viewed on application to the Editor of this Newsletter. They are as yet uncatalogued. Mea culpa! Ed.


A small but impressive touring exhibition, entitled A Library Under Siege, has been organised by the British Library to draw attention to the destruction of this unique library and to European efforts to assist in rebuilding the collections. The once fine building, the former town hall, in which the Library was housed, has been completely gutted and new premises will have to be built once peaceful conditions have been established. This is a long-term project. In the meantime the siege continues with sniping and shelling as regular occurrences despite the current fragile cease-fire. In these appalling conditions the cultural and educational life of the city goes on against all the odds.

Until last week the exhibition was on display in the Manuscripts Room of the British Library in Great Russell Street, and is now moving to the University of Newcastle for a few weeks. During the summer it will be at the Bodleian and then at Boston Spa, during the autumn at Queen’s University Belfast and at Trinity College Dublin. If others, especially colleagues in Scotland, are interested in displaying the exhibition, please contact Sava Peic.

Individuals can also contribute to supporting the life of the Library by donations made now to help their colleagues, the employees of the Library, to survive the winter. Please send contributions by cheque, made payable to Sarajevo Library Project, to Sava Peic at the British Library.
Sava Peic, Slavonic and East European Collections, The British Library, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Tel 0171-323-7585.


The Polish Cultural Institute wishes to dispose of a run of Survey: A Journal of East and West Studies (1955-1989). The run is almost complete. Anyone interested should contact Ryszard Herczynski at the Polish Cultural Institute, 34 Portland Place, London W1N 4HQ. Tel: 0171 636 6032. e-mail


The Library of the Royal Institute of International Affairs seeks to complete its holdings of Biulleten’ mezhdunarodnykh dogovorov. Any offers of help please contact Mary Bone on 0171-957-5700 x 270, or e-mail:


I have been asked to participate in a sub-group of this panel dealing specifically with exchanges. Rather than presenting simply a British Library view, I thought it would be more useful for all concerned if I tried to give a picture of UK librarians’ views on the future of exchanges and to what extent they are still considered to be beneficial. If librarians from Russia and Central and Eastern Europe turn up in large numbers as expected, this could be a very useful and practical forum for discussion.

At our last COSEELIS Committee Meeting (14th March), members present kindly agreed to complete a questionnaire on exchanges. I would be very grateful if as many members as possible could spend a little time on this so that I can present a realistic picture at the conference.

Questionnaires are included with this Newsletter for those institutions which receive it in hard copy and should be returned to me by the end of May. I would be grateful if those who receive the Newsletter via e-mail would let me know if they are willing to complete the questionnaire. I will then e-mail them a copy. Please could any other interested parties contact me. Thanks to those who are able to help.
Janet Zmroczek, British Library. E-mail: Tel: 0171-412-7586.


At the COSEELIS AGM last September I undertook to prepare a ‘discreet’ list of important microfilm collections across the country. The first stage in this is to collect details from you all of what you hold. Below is an example of the content of the form and questions that you will shortly be receiving, completed by way of illustration with details of items in the Baykov Library. Comments on the design of this form are welcome at this stage. On receipt of the form, please complete and return your copy to me as soon as possible, not later than 16th May. (Libraries with more than one special collection will need more than one form. Ed) Now that it has finally begun, I would like to finish this task quickly. The usefulness of such a list is likely to be short-lived given the increasing ease of access to holdings information for other libraries. It is therefore important for any list produced to be made available in the near future.

I shall try to make the collected information available via the Internet. Information on the Baykov Library’s Microform Special Collections, for instance, is already available on WWW at and neighbouring pages, although the format of these entries will need to be updated.

I believe the question relating to the condition of the material to be important. Graham Matthews’ preservation survey and Ray Scrivens’ recent warnings to Slavlibs subscribers have both drawn attention to the risk of poor quality with some soviet microfilms.
Graham Dix, Baykov Librarian, CREES, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
Tel: 0121-414-6361. Fax: 0121-414-3423

Example of survey form:

Name of Collection: Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Russia and the Soviet Union 1910-1929

Location: Baykov Library, Centre for Russian and East European and East European Studies (CREES), University of Birmingham, 52 Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Description: 77 reels of 35 mm film.
US Department of State records relating to the internal affairs of Russia and the Soviet Union. This archive includes correspondence from US diplomats in Russia and, following the discontinuation of formal relations with Russia in 1917, from the Baltic States, Scandinavia, Poland, Germany and China. Some pamphlets and newspapers which were enclosed with dispatches are included here.

Catalogue: 1971 A5 pamphlet produced by US National Archives and Records Service.

Condition (good, fair, or poor): Fair.

17 March – 30 May 1995

A small exhibition of some of the most recent books from the Lódz private press Correspondance des Arts is currently on display in the British Library galleries in Bloomsbury. Readers of the Newsletter (no. 6, February 1994) may remember the note in that issue announcing the acquisition of these works.

Correspondance des Arts began to produce small editions of bibliophile books in 1980 at a time when shortage of paper and other materials had reduced mainstream Polish publishing to pitifully low technical standards. The aim of the group has always been not simply to produce beautiful books decorated with attractive illustrations, but rather to make books which are conceived as an organic whole. Authors, translators, graphic designers, printers and binders from Poland and abroad work together from a project’s inception to ensure an authentic ‘correspondance of arts’ – a harmonious integration of image text and format.

Books on display include an edition, with parallel Polish and German texts, or extracts from the works of the sixteenth-century German philosopher and mystic Jakob Bohme, with etchings and black prints by the contemporary Ukrainian graphic artist Igor Podolczak. This combination of a renaissance text with modern graphic design and innovative handmade paper techniques has been one of Correspondence des Arts’ most successful works to date. It has won awards at book fairs in Warsaw and Leipzig.

Also included is Correspondance des Arts’ most recent book, Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem in Polish translation, Piesn o milosci i smierci korneta Krzysztofa Rilke accompanied by the photographs of Krzysztof Miller, photo-journalist of Gazeta Wyborzca, Born to kill – born to die. A stunning indictment of nationalistic wars, this technically and artistically innovative work combines text printed on paper and bandage-like pieces of cloth with evocative images of violent conflict from Cambodia to Afghanistan, Southern Africa to Bosnia.

Membership of the group has gone through a number of changes, but Janusz Tryzno, now running Correspondance des Arts with his wife Jadwiga, has always been at the creative core. In 1993 Correspondance des Arts announced a widening of their activities with the foundation of the Book Art Museum. They are raising funds gradually to restore a dilapidated art nouveau villa in the factory district of Lodz. They aim to create a living museum where artists from around the world can make books using a wide range of facilities, including old printing equipment rescued as Polish printers update their machinery, and a venue for book-related events open to all local people.

For further information please contact: Janet Zmroczek, Slavonic and East European Collections, British Library, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3DG. Tel: 0171-412-7486.

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

Editor: Ursula Phillips, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Tel: 0171-637-4934 x 4094. Fax: 0171-436-8916. E-mail: