There is an almost audible groan in every discussion of Slavic sources when one mentions handbooks or bibliographic guides. Researchers do not generally work from such general sources to specific titles. When a scholar has already targeted a specific area of study and is only looking for one or two sources, they may not be the most appropriate resource. However, for those that are looking for the sources to insure thorough research and comprehensive coverage, bibliographic guides are essential. These sources often save more time than any other resource. Rather than attempt a comprehensive list of all guides, this page will give you the broad sources in which most others can be found.
These are the sources that will give you the fastest overview of the types of sources you can expect to find in a particular field. Not all such sources are created equal. Some of the older general guides to reference materials were particularly inadequate for Slavic materials. Today this problem has been eliminated and the newer guides are quite good. The handbooks that are described on the following pages will introduce the scholar to this type of resource and indicate the most important of the titles that have been published.
The first type of guide included here is the general list of all types of reference sources, not limited by geographic region. This kind of source will include, but not be limited to, materials on the Slavic field. These are the guides of general reference sources such as Balay. Also included in this general list are guides to specific subject areas. The titles of such guides do not always indicate the interdisciplinary nature of their content. Such a guide is Domay's guide to works on national bibliography. Another such work is a recent publication on Law. Domay's guide is particularly deceptive as it lists virtually every regional bibliography avaialble at the time of its publication.
The other sources included in this list are subject and regionally specific. Thus, there are sources such as Croucher's Slavic studies that covers the publications of all Slavic countries and Tania Konn's Guide to business information on Central & Eastern Euorpe. There are also those guides that are specific to one country and one subject. Such guides are more commonly found for some countries than for others. So, for example, subject guides for Russia are broadly available, but are not so numerous for the Czech Republic.
No matter which type of source you use it will be necessary for you to understand the compiler's methods in order to get the most from the resource. For this reason it is strongly recommended that the user begin the examination of any of these sources by a brief look at the introduction. It can save you enormous amounts of time and will be very helpful in getting the most from the source.