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last updated: 4/30/2012

Collection Development Policies - Slavic

Slavic Collection

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      The purpose of this written policy is to explain the state and condition of our present Slavic collection, emphasizing the procurement methods employed for acquiring books, serials, CDs, and electronic media for the Indiana University Libraries.

    2. Audience
      The intended audience is comprised of Libraries staff and administrators, faculty and students at Indiana University, and colleagues at other research libraries with comparable collections.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The aim of the Slavic collection is not just to support the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, but to support the aims, faculty, and students who receive recognition and support from the Russian and East European Institute. The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures is of course a major component of this constituency, and itself serves to support the Slavic endeavors for the other departments. The core of the program comes from 13 departments, which give at least partial assignment to some 100 faculty members to the Russian and East European Institute.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      A very brief overview of the collection indicates that as of 2007 the Slavic collection consists of about 304,000 monograph and 11,500 serial titles in the vernacular languages. As with all large libraries, this is supported by an extensive collection of Western-language materials including digitized serials and online information agencies. The Slavic Collection includes materials in all Slavic languages, English, French, and German in support of these studies. As with most State Slavic research libraries, emphasis is on all aspects of the social sciences and humanities. Geographic representation is perhaps 49 percent Russia and the Soviet Union and 51 percent Eastern Europe and the general East European area.

      1. History of the collection
        The late Professor Robert Byrnes, for many years the director of the REEI, initiated the Title VI plan for Area Studies. Consequently, Indiana has been a recipient of this financial support since its incipience in the 1950s. The early date of our initial collection building in the Slavic area allowed us to purchase long runs of what are now extremely rare items at minimal costs. Over the years we have been able to purchase microfilm of long runs of the major 19th century Russian journals, which had been missing from the collection, or were in very poor condition. On a national level, the I.U. Russian collection would rank among the top 10, and the general East European collection among the major four such collections. Of course there are variances within the holdings, such as Albanian being a very minor collection, whereas Estonian is perhaps the best in the country.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        I.U. has enormous strength for studying the Russian revolution of 1917, the Hapsburg Empire, and the history of the Balkans. Central European cultural history was solidified with the purchase of a Moravian monastery library. The beauty of this addition consists of 18th and 19th century publications in German and Latin, which are now completely cataloged and placed either within the Wells or Lilly libraries. Since the 1980s considerable effort has been placed into maintaining the Czech and Polish collections, including the intellectual émigré works. This has been primarily accomplished through massive exchanges with the Czech National Library and Warsaw University Library, and with émigré book distributors. Throughout the 80s and 90s strong efforts were made to obtain Czech underground and émigré serials, of which I.U. now has an outstanding collection. A Czech bibliophile, John Payer, in Pennsylvania, sold I.U. a massive collection with the complete works of such writers as Arbes, Cech, Baar, and complete runs of journals such as Maj, Lumir and Zvon. The Lilly Library contains many first editions of the Czech classics dating from the middle of the 19th century up to W.W.I. The entire Czech collection now contains approximately 27,000 monograph and around 1,300 serial titles in print and microform excluding works in English and German.

        The Polish collection has historically been very massive, especially concerning history and literature. This collection now contains about 40,000 monograph titles and 1,220 serial titles. The Instytut Filosofii i Sociologi, during the communist era, sent us through our exchange program a complete run of the newspaper Czas on 50 reels of microfilm - a unique holding in the U.S. A recent and very valued gift from the alumnus Dr. Wynot, although only several hundred volumes in history and political science contained about 200 volumes of very rare, and often unique holdings in the U.S.

        I.U. contains a very rich collection in German, Russian and Georgian for the study of the Caucasus. The foundation for this was the purchase of the famous William Edward Allen collection. Approximately two-thirds of this collection is held in the Lilly Library.

        Although partially neglected for a number of years because of the dearth of dealers, the Libraries are once again collecting heavily in Slovak and Romanian materials. During the initial efforts to obtain a true research Romanian collection, Professor Maria Bucur, a history professor for South East European studies, negotiated with the University of Cluj to obtain a unique microfilm holding of the major newspaper Universul (1918-1946). Since the year 2000 the Libraries have been able to reestablish exchange programs, have received over 2,000 gift volumes in primarily language, literature and rare émigré publications. Since 2002 we have been adding over 900 Romanian publications annually, mainly through direct purchase from company Derex in Bucuresti. At present, the Slavic collection contains about 13,200 monograph and 380 serial titles in the Romanian language.

        Through the services of Anton Kovac, the library has been able to build one of the outstanding collections for Slovene studies. It appears that the only equal is Harvard. Indiana also obtained all the Slovene materials from the PL 480 Program, and from 1985-1989 maintained a massive exchange with the University Library in Ljubljana. With annual aid from the Title VI funding the Libraries have tried to maintain the major Slovene collection outside of Cambridge, Mass.

        Historically, the Russian literature collection was enriched with a blanket order for the first edition of every Russian author, and for the various editions of their "collected works." This was maintained for 20 years with Les livres etrangers of Paris, which went out of business with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Due to the presence of Professor Alexander Rabinowitch at Indiana, the library collected everything it could concerning the 1917 Revolution, including microfilm and fiche from Soviet exchange partners.

        The Bulgarian collection of the Soviet period looks exactly like the collection (except for microfilm) at the University of Illinois and several other schools who all built their collections through the exchange program with the Bulgarian National Library. This exchange brought in all the major productions of Bulgaria, in a very methodical manner, seldom missing an issue of a journal, and never missing a volume of a set. After 1990 the collection suffered because of the death of Bulgarian exchanges and the lack of any suppliers. In 2002 I.U. added only about 250 monographs in Bulgarian. In 2004 the exchange started again, and there are several reliable suppliers.

        The Ukrainian collection has experienced a checkered history. In general, it is quite strong, despite the fact that I.U. has not had a Ukrainian program. The Libraries now collect mainly publications in history, linguistics, current politics and reference. There has never been a strong exchange program with Ukraine, and now most publications are purchased from Besahy and Russian Press Service.

        It is difficult to say what has happened to the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, and Macedonian collections. During the Yugoslav War, all exchanges collapsed, publishers perished, libraries were bombed. It was impossible to know if orders were being honored or not. Slowly, some order was brought to the chaos. New dealers and publishers stabilized. Some libraries have started sending books and journals again.

        I.U. also has a Center for Central Asian and Uralic-Altaic studies. The Department and Center includes strong holdings in this area--especially for Hungarian, the Turkic languages of Central Asia and Estonian. This amply complements East European and Soviet studies. This collection manager and the Slavic collection manager have cooperative programs to eliminate duplication and complement one another for these studies.

        The Lilly Library also enhances the I.U. holdings with numerous Slavic publications including early Slavic Bibles, first editions of many Czech writers such as Karle Hunch Macha, the manuscripts of Aleksandr Amfiteatrov, and many diverse, individual, rare publications.

        The Art and Music Libraries purchase books in English and German for Slavic studies, and the Slavic bibliographer supplies such materials in the vernacular languages.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        In subject areas, as in most university libraries, the collection is strongest in History, Language and Literature, Political Science, Folklore, and General Reference. Even though there are small, unique collections (such as the Russian holdings concerning Soviet gas and oil production), in general science and technology are selected minimally.

      4. Collection locations
        The Slavic collection does not have a separate location but is spread throughout the Wells Library together with the general collection. The only exceptions are call number PG (Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literatures) and the Slavic Reference Collection, which are located on the 5th floor of the Wells Library. Additional materials are also housed in the Auxiliary Library Facility.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    The languages of the Slavic collection are English, French, German, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Slovene, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Albanian, Polish, Czech, Lusatian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Church Slavonic and Slovak.

    The geographical areas covered are the lands where these languages are spoken, and areas of Slavic Diaspora populations. All three Baltic republics are covered by the collection manager for Slavic Studies, with the exception of Estonia, which is shared with the collection manager for Central Eurasian Studies. Language and literature are covered by Central Eurasian Studies and all other subject matters by Slavic Studies. This division of collecting responsibilities for Estonia is in line with the current curriculum of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies.

    1. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      All periods are covered.

    2. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Both retrospective and current publications are acquired, with an emphasis on new publications. Older holdings are invariably added through gifts and exchanges.

    3. Formats covered and excluded
      The collection remains primarily for printed materials but also includes some CD-ROMs and electronic sources. The tendency now is to cancel hard copy of newspapers, newsletters, etc., and replace with electronic formats when possible.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The main Slavic collection remains the responsibility  of the collection manager for Slavic Studies.

  4. Related Collections
    The collection which most complements the Slavic holdings is the one for Inner-Asian or Uralic-Altaic studies. That collection manager is responsible for materials published in the pertinent countries in the vernacular languages, serials, and most English language works about the area. The Slavic bibliographer chooses books in Russian and other Slavic languages on Uralic-Altaic studies.

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Vendors and selection tools constantly change. These countries have no centralized book trade or comprehensive book jobbers. At present, the following vendors and their catalogs are used for selection.

    1. Vendors

      Derex --Aleea Tebea 2B, bl.101, sc.A, ap.15, sector 4, Bucuresti 040887, Romania,

      East View--


      Kubon & Sagner--

      MIPP Books--

      Russia online--

      Russian Press Service--

      Slovak Books--

      Sofia Books--

    2. Foreign exchange institutions
      Central European University--

      Czech National Library--

      National Library of Romania--

      Russian National Library--

      State Public Historical Library --

      University of Warsaw--

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      The main source of preservation would now be the in-house resource. The criteria are obviously the condition of the material and how important the material is considered for the current research needs of the university. All of the books and serials that are selected for preservation are reviewed by the collection manager for Slavic Studies.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      • DJK (Eastern Europe in general)
      • DK (Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet republics. Poland)
      • PG (Slavic languages, Baltic languages, Albanian languages)
      • Slavic reference collection
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    Slavic materials are selected for ALF transfer in conformity to the selection criteria used for the general collections
    • Pre-1990 low use monographs
    • Serials that are available online
    • Monographic multi-volume sets
    • Significant reference works are considered case-by-case basis
  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization

      • Pre-1923 publications
      • Recommendation from faculty
      • Contribution to open access
      • High use for teaching and research
      • Uniqueness
    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
      1,773 books and 183 serials in the vernacular languages that WorldCat Collection Analysis identified as unique to Indiana University.

    3. Other Resources and Libraries
      1. At Indiana University
      2. Other libraries
    4. Consortial Agreements
      The consortium agreements are limited in the Slavic area. Indiana will maintain a research collection for Slovene materials, University of Kansas for Ukrainian materials, and University of Michigan for Bosnian works. Formerly there was an agreement that Michigan would collect Polish works published outside of Poland and Indiana maintained research materials for publications from inside Poland. With the new freedom of Polish publishing this is no longer maintained. Eight CIC libraries purchased the $40,000 card catalog to the Soviet Communist Archives, which are housed at the University of Illinois.

      One of the active, although time-consuming programs is an agreement to share in duplicates. Indiana has been an initiator and leader of this program with both special partners and general offers to all collections through Slavlibs.

    Slavic Collection Home Page

    Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/30/2012