Culture and memory in the Digital Age: Europeana.eu

Europeana is an online resource for digitized cultural materials from all across Europe. More than 2,000 institutions have contributed to Europeana and the collections continue to grow. The history of this online source is an interesting one. In 2005, former president of France, Jacques Chirac, along with six Heads of State from across Europe, called for the creation of a European digital library in a letter to the European Commission. The project has developed and flourished over time, encompassing different aspects of information technology.

The Europeana Foundation is the leading body of the entire project, which includes the digital library at europeana.eu. The Foundation is also head of the Linked Open Data project. Several countries are already participating in the linked open data project by providing data sets of raw data. These are available for anyone to use. The project will undoubtedly continue to grow, and more data will be made available over time.

There are several ways to explore the digital library using the main Europeana search portal. Images, text, sounds and video make up the available items and material, and extensive metadata is included with each entry. Subject or descriptor headings are linkable, so one item will lead the scholar to other similar items with just one click. Many of the descriptors are in English, as well as in the language of the originating institution.  Another unique feature of Europeana is the collection of online exhibitions.

Each exhibition has a theme, and all images or sound files included are annotated in detail right on the page. Certain exhibitions are hosted by partner institutions, while most are compiled by Europeana, which uses its collections provided by institutions of cultural memory from across Europe. 

Europeana is also very active on social media sites, including Pinterest. This is the perfect forum for Europeana's content, as it has included tons of images, and organized them by theme on different boards. You do not need a Pinterest account access these boards. 

Finally, Europeana recently launched a project called "Europeana 1989: We made history". Working with HistoryPin, an online community where people can "pin" images to certain places on a map, Europeana's newest project is a crowd-sourcing endeavor. People are invited to contribute their pictures and stories about where they were in 1989, what life was like and what was happening at the time. The project only launched in early June 2013 and is growing at quite the pace. Consider exploring the contributions, or adding something yourself!


Guide to Linguistics from the Russian National Library

The Russian National Library is an essential resource for many scholars studying Russia and the former Soviet Union. Not only does the library have an amazing scanned card catalog and periodicals database (both of which are heavily used by the Slavic Reference Service), the institution's librarians also create detailed guides to reference and bibliographic sources open to public use. 

List of available guides to reference and bibliographic sources from the Russian National Library 
The newest guide that the Russian National Library has created is about linguistics: Языкознание. Although its focus is mainly that of Russian linguistics, it does not limit itself to that topic, as there are sections about Germanic and Romance languages, as well as other Slavic languages. The guide is divided into three parts: 1.) Directories, which include encyclopedias, glossaries, and dictionaries 2.) bibliographic tools and databases and 3.) Other portals and websites. Each of these main categories leads to a list of books, journals and articles; the list of links lead to annotations for the items. The final section offers web links the Russian National Library deems valuable to the study of linguistics.

This guide is obviously directed at linguistics scholars who already know Russian, but a student of the Russian language could benefit from some of the resources listed. The guide itself is a rich resource, allowing scholars to learn about a variety of resources from one spot on the Russian National Library's website.


Latvian National Digital Library

The Baltic states are small but they pack a punch when it comes to digitization and open access of scholarly materials. Latvia is no exception. The Latvian National Digital Library offers amazing access to full-text resources, including periodicals, books and maps. This digitization project was made possible in part by the European Regional Development Fund. The European Union created this fund to help even out the economic disparities between western European countries, who were already members of the EU and new member states, many of which were formerly part of the Soviet bloc of countries. You may be wondering, how does regional development coincide with digitization?


Exploring COBISS.net

Are you working on a research project that involves the Balkans?

Don't forget to take a look at COBISS.net, which provides access to the national and regional library catalogs from Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Albania.

As you can see, there are hundreds of libraries that participate in this project for sharing information across the region. Croatia is currently not a part of the project, although organizers have offered an official invitation to participate. Libraries in Kosovo will be included eventually, as they are still preparing to join. The libraries that participate range from the National Libraries of each country, to University libraries to even small local libraries. Each union catalog offers an efficient way to search for materials to borrow, or just to verify bibliographic information.

Here is a list of goals the COBISS project has for its development:
  • To enhance the automation and inclusion of libraries of already participating countries in the national library information systems and in the COBISS.Net network.
  • To attract the interest of libraries in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Kosovo to the opportunity to evolve more rapidly by becoming part of the COBISS.Net network.
  • To harmonise cataloguing rules with international recommendations and standards.
  • To set up compatible research information systems (SICRIS/E-CRIS) in the participating countries (databases on researchers, research organisations and research projects).
  • To encourage the competent ministries and universities of the participating countries to accept the concept of managing researchers' bibliographies within the national library systems and ensure the transparency of the research results.
  • To increase the use of research results for the purpose of stimulating innovation processes and economic and social development in the region. (Source)


National Library of Poland adds 1.3 million records to WorldCat

From OCLC:

"...There are currently some 1.4 million Polish records already in WorldCat. This new agreement with the National Library of Poland will nearly double the number of Polish records in the database.

'We are very pleased to be able to enrich WorldCat with additional Polish content,' said Eric van Lubeek, Managing Director, OCLC EMEA. 'Polish communities and other researchers around the world who are interested in Polish language literature, history, culture and other important and useful information will certainly benefit from this addition to WorldCat.'"

Full article is available here: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/news/releases/2012/201269.htm.


Resources of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia

Scholars looking for information about Georgia should include the National Parliamentary Library in their search repertoire. This institution offers incredible access to the information it holds and organizes. Georgian is a beautiful language, but don't fret if you have no clue how to read it, or are just starting to learn it, because the website it available in English. This helps tremendously with navigation. Here http://www.nplg.gov.ge/ec/en/changedb.html is a complete list of online databases the library has compiled. Feel free to explore all the options.

For the most part, records from the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia will help verify bibliographic information for different types of resources, such as a book's publication information or an article's author, title, and page numbers. The Digital Library offers materials online and in full-text, specifically
  1. The Greenstone Project of UNESCO – a digital collection of Georgian literature, including all famous authors’ works of Georgian classical literature and the authors’ short biographies. There are also complete texts on civil education.
  2. A digital collection of printed archive and dissertations – complete texts of the books and theses. There are also scanned versions of printed publications in PDF format. 
  3. Digital Library “Iverieli”- offers the users digitalized copies of journals, newspapers, photos and rare editions from the collections of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia. (information directly from website)
A note about searching:
There are several options when searching on this site- English, Georgian script, Georgian transliteration, and Russian. The searcher will probably not find as much information by searching in just English. The majority of bibliographic records will either be in Russian or Georgian script. There are some resources that can help in transliteration which may, in turn, help in a search.

ALA-Library of Congress transliteration table-- http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/georgian.pdf 
Automated transliteration: http://ge.translit.cc/


Full(-text) disclosure: the Hungarian example

A well-known "secret" within the Slavic Reference Service is that libraries and information organizations from across Eastern Europe provide full-text access to many of their best resources. Hungary, oddly enough, is one of the best examples of this phenomenon.

Below is a list of a few online databases that offer the full-text feature for their items. Be prepared to encounter some restrictions, however, since copyright laws still apply in Hungary and items may not be available to users outside the country. Give it a try, though, and you may be surprised at what you find.


Changes at the Slavic Reference Service

After 30 years I will be leaving the Slavic Reference Service for some new opportunities that arose in the library.  This was something I had been considering for the last couple of years and all the retirements in our library afforded me some wonderful opportunities.  The Slavic Reference Service will of course continue its excellent work.

Thank you for all your support over the years!  The new manager for the SRS has not yet been selected but there will be an announcement when that occurs.

Helen Sullivan


SRS External Survey

Dear Slavic Reference Service Patrons,
We are currently conducting an external evaluation of the Slavic Reference Service.  The SRS staff would be extremely grateful for your participation.  We value your feedback.  As with any surveys, please refrain from using any personal data.   If you have any questions or concerns regarding this external survey, contact Ms. Julia Burke [Email: jlburke@illinois.edu] at:
I-STEM Education Initiative
704 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Please click on the link below to take the survey:

SRS External Survey


Congratulations Professor Kleimola!

Congratulations to Professor Ann Kleimola who, in May 2012,  was  made a laureate, Socius Honoris Causa, of ELTE (Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem/ Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest, the oldest university in Hungary), Ruszisztikai Központ (Faculty of Russistics).

Professor Kleimola is a long time attendee of the Summer Research Lab at the University of Illinois and the moderator of our annual Early Russian History group at the SRL.


Digitized Collections of Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine

The major Ukrainian library has been successfully developing its collection of digitized materials. Library users can access full-text governmental publications of different historical periods; rare books and early Ukrainian prints; rare publications on Ukrainian history and culture; Western European incunabula of 15th-16th centuries; publications on ethnography.


Digital library "Culture of Ukraine" online

Digital library “Culture of Ukraine” is an excellent internet source that gives you the opportunity to read rare publications pertaining to cultural history of Ukraine. Books, albums, journals, magazines, and rare publications in full format on architecture, arts, music, ethnography, religion, folklore, photography, theater, and cinema are easily accessible. Ukrainian libraries, museums, and academic institutions are among project participants. The site has subject and alphabetic catalogs, and it is regularly updated. 


B. Hrinchenko's Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language now available online

Borys Hrinchenko's Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language is one of the most important books in the history of the modern Ukrainian language. It has 68 000 registered words, and it is the first significant Ukrainian lexicographic collection with the translation of its words into Russian. The Dictionary is an indispensable source for those who are interested in the Ukrainian language and its history. It can be of great service for translators, Slavic linguists, and students of Ukrainian and other Slavic languages.
The Dictionary was first published in Kyiv in 1907-09. The online version is based on the four-volume edition of 1958.
Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language by Borys Hrinchenko

Register of Declassified Archival Records of Ukraine

During the last twenty years the archival system of Ukraine went through dramatic changes in order to make country's rich archival archival resources available for public. As a result of these changes, central and local archives not only declassified their numerous records that were previously inaccessible, but they also created registers of declassified records that now are available in the PDF format online.
This link will direct you to those registers:


New Code of Conduct for Uzbek Students

The Chronicle of Higher Education, in the "Global Ticker" section, posted a short piece on the new code of conduct proposed by the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education of Uzbekistan. The article appeared in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [on Monday. January 23, 2012] under the following article title: "The Byzantine 'ethics' of Uzbek bathrooms breaks, handshakes, Youtube posts." Among the new rules listed, this one will lead to some discussion in North America: “categorically ban publishing, saving, or distribution via computers of different materials not related to a higher education institution"[as stated by Radio Free/Radio Liberty]. Researchers can view the full article here.


Searchable Database at UIUC --- The Russian Empire and Soviet Union: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States

The Slavic Reference Service, in collaboration Dr. John H. Brown and Dr. Steven A. Grant, is hosting a searchable database version of The Russian Empire and Soviet Union: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States [Link note: researchers will be able to view UIUC print holdings, digitized text of the guide[the Library of Congress], and the searchable database-- all in one place]. This database will be updated and maintained by the Slavic Reference Service. Researchers can explore archival depositories and collection highlights in the continental United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. According to the compilers, the scope of this database includes: “… public and private institutions, including university libraries and archives, public libraries, museums, ethnic organizations, church and business archives, federal and state governmental archives, and both public and private historical societies. Some collections owned by private individuals are also noted.” Moreover, the materials listed in the database include: “… correspondence, reports, organizational records, account books, essays, literary manuscripts, diaries, journals, memoirs, autobiographies, photographs, films, tape recordings, and graphic material. With the exception of certain mimeographed materials and rare clippings, nearly all printed matter has been excluded. Those seeking published books, periodicals, theses, and the like should refer to appropriate catalogs of library collections. However, unpublished facsimiles, photo reproductions, and microfilms of originals (even of originals subsequently published) have been taken to be archival materials in this guide. “ In terms of geographic coverage, the compilers have tried to include “all nationalities and regions” within the former Soviet Union. In the addition to the link above, researchers can directly access this database here.


SRS part of new International Area Studies Library!

As of August 22, 2011, the Slavic Reference Service will be one of the array of services offered in the new International Area Studies Unit (IAS).   While the collection and staff are being moved, August 5-21,  we will be closed for walk-in requests.  However, we will try to address ILL, email and chat requests, as time permits.

The new unit will be locatd in room 321 Main Library, the third floor, on the south side of the building. For those familiar with the library it will be in the space formerly occupied by the English library and that of the Asian library. 

Our service will continue to operate as before.  We have been fortunate to secure funding for the coming year from the U.S. Department of State, Title VIII program and the library here at the University of Illinois.

The reference collections of the Slavic, Africana, Asian, Global Studies and Latin American units will all be housed in this space and the librarians of those units will be available for consultation. The Slavic Reference Service will also be available in this space.

The reference collections, periodicals and microform collections will be in Room 321.  While we are in transit (August 5-21) our service could be delayed.  We ask for your patience as we get settled into this new space.  Barring any unforeseen delays, we should be back to normal by August 22.


Polish digital photo archive

One of the types of materials frequently requested by patrons, but not always easy to locate, are photographs of particular historical persons, events or locations. Polish non-profit organization, Ośrodek Karta, which is dedicated to preserving historical materials. Among other initiatives, the organization is dedicated to digitizing its collection of over 160,000 photographs illustrating the social history of Poland and East-Central Europe in the 20th century. Although not the entire corpus has been made available online yet, the archive’s website it is well worth visiting. Some of the photographs in the collection have been donated by private persons, others are works of renowned Polish photojournalists. The range of the subjects covered is broad, from early 20th century pictures of the activities of the Warsaw Cycling Society, to portraits of the KOR and Solidarity leadership. The best represented, however are photographs showing everyday life in the Polish People’s Republic, Polish Armed Forces in the West and, perhaps most importantly ,the photographic evidence of the life of the Polish Gulag prisoners, as well as photos associated with the Katyn massacre. A separate, very interesting collection, are samizdat postcards produced during the explosion of the Solidarity movement and the martial law. One hopes that the cooperation of the archive with its sponsors continues and more of its unique collections become available electronically. To reach the archive use the URL: http://www.karta.org.pl/archiwa_i_bazy_danych/Archiwum_Fotografii/49


Polish full text works available online

A page we visit often and wholeheartedly recommend is Polskie dzieła pełnotekstowe, http://www.bj.uj.edu.pl/zb/pelnotek1_pl.php which is published on the home page of the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków. It is a very extensive gateway to Polish digitization resources and projects. After providing the link to the massive Federacja Bibliotek Cyfrowych, it is divided into following sections: national projects [such as National Digital Library], regional projects [like for example the Silesian Digital Library], particular library projects [e.g. Digital Library of the Warsaw University]. That division is followed by various Polish encyclopedias and dictionaries on the web. There is a separate link to the library of ephemeral imprints from the 16th-18th centuries and the Library Science Digital Library. Of great interest are the links to digital versions of Polish journals online. Among them the most complete list of periodicals, arranged alphabetically:
The list closes with digital libraries devoted to particular disciplines: economics, philosophy/religion, history, literature, earth sciences, biology, math, engineering, pedagogy, law, and sociology.
To go to a particular site, click on the zobacz >> icon following the name of the resource.