Despite budget uncertainty at the state and federal level, the Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies collections at the UIUC Library continue to grow, to diversify, to build in areas of strength defined in previous decades, and to adopt new tools and resources to make materials available to researchers.
Perhaps the biggest news for the 2017-2018 academic year is that UIUC Library users will now have access to the Integrum database — the single most comprehensive source for current online media content from the Russian Federation, containing the searchable full text of tens of millions of articles and other documents generated by the contemporary Russian press. This will supplement and enhance the access to current Russian media content that has been provided for UIUC researchers through East View for many years.
Retrospective content available through East View was also expanded earlier in 2017, with the purchase of complete full-text-searchable digital archives of the pre-revolutionary journal Russkii Arkhiv (which provides access to primary source documents from the 18th and 19th centuries) and the early Soviet journal Krasnyi Arkhiv (dedicated to previously-unpublished tsarist diplomatic documents). UIUC Library patrons now have the ability to search the full text of these journals along with fully-digitized runs of other major Russian and Soviet periodical publications such as Pravda, Izvestiia, Literaturnaia Gazeta, Sovetskaia Kul’tura, and Iskusstvo Kino.
In Spring 2017, the Library also began subscribing to East View’s new database of 10 current newspapers from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine. To support additional research on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Library recently acquired over 150 Ukrainian, Russian and Crimean Tatar titles published in Crimea in 2014-2016 (i.e. before, during and after the Russian annexation of the peninsula).
Other noteworthy print resources acquired in 2017 include over 80 volumes of the Kazakh biographical series Ȯnegelī ȯmīr, along with the 12-volume Kyrgyz encyclopedia Asker ansiklopediiasy. These reference materials will enhance the Library’s Kazakh- and Kyrgyz-language holdings, which are already among the best in the United States. Other unique 2017 acquisitions include the only U.S. holdings of the ethnoregional journals Karabakhskii ekspress (an official publication of the unrecognized government of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan) and Gor (devoted to the language, culture and history of the Hemşin people of eastern Turkey).
The UIUC Library’s microfilm and microfiche holdings are among the most extensive in the U.S., providing access to a huge amount of retrospective primary- and secondary-source material on the REEE region. Recent acquisitions in these formats include 1,687 reels of microfilm from Gale/Cengage, which contain thousands of archival documents on women’s roles in World War I in Eastern Europe, American intelligence on the Prague Spring of 1968, Zionist movements in Western Ukraine before 1939, and voluminous documentation on the experience of Eastern European immigrant communities in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Finally (and appropriately enough, as the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution draws near), we have also discovered century-old original paper copies of a handful of newspaper titles from the revolutionary era, including issues of Golos krest’ianstva (“Voice of the Peasantry”) from Vladivostok in 1919, Viatskiia izviestiia vremennago pravitel’stva (“Viatka Provisional Government News”) from May 1917, and the Kyiv Province Communist Party organ Bil’shovyk (“Bolshevik”) from 1923. After appropriate preservation measures are taken, these items are slated to join the thousands of other rare Slavic and East European items in UIUC’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
We look forward to making additional high-impact acquisitions for the Library’s collections in 2018 and beyond. We are always happy to hear from faculty, students, and other members of the REEEC community regarding our collections and how they might be improved still further.
Kit Condill is a REEES Librarian, Slavic Acquisitions Specialist, Ralph T. Fisher Library Scholar, as well as an integral member of the REEEC community. Every fall he lends his expertise to graduate students in the course LIS 530C: “Russian, East European & Eurasian Bibliography & Research Methods,” where he teaches students how to most effectively utilize library resources.