Estonia and Latvia share many common historical experiences. For the purposes of this section, it is important to note that the Latvians, like the Estonians, suffered foreign domination throughout much of their history. For an excellent description and overview of Latia's national bibliography see Janice Pilch "Baltic National Bibliography" (Slavic and East European Information Resources, Vol.2(3/4), 2001). It was only in the twentieth century that they had an independent government. As in so many other cases, political history is mirrored in bibliographic development. Dominated by foreign powers politically, Latvia's intellectual record fell under foreign control as well for many years.
During the imperial and Soviet periods, Latvian publications were largely subsumed in the Soviet bibliographies. Early bibliographic compilations reflect the German domination of the area.There are some newer resources worth noting.
This library catalog includes monographic materials acquired by the library from 1996 to the present. When searched in Latvian, it is an easy database to use with a variety of search options to choose from , including an author, title, subject, publisher and date of publication search. Results can be displayed in a brief format providing simple bibliographic information or, for librarians, there is a MARC format record available. As can be seen from the record shown above, catalog records contain Cyrillic and Latin characters. The basic search allows for a search in Cyrillic or Latin characters.
If you choose the "Database" option from the top frame of the catalog, a list of free databases will appear. Many of these will be very helpful in identifying new publications from Latvia. Most important among these is the online versions of the national bibliography, both the sections on monographs and the serials index. The interface used in the library catalog is used here as well.
The image above is only a partial record, the information supplied being very extensive. What is particularly noteworthy in this catalog entry from Nacionalas bibliografijas monografiju un turpinajumizdevumu datu bazeis is the detailed information on the contents of the publication. Access to articles from Latvian periodicals is available through the Nacionalas bibliografijas analitikas datu baze listed on the menu for databases.
There is also a union catalog of the holdings of some of the most important libraries in the country including the collection the library of the University of Latvia. The Latvians are compiling a retrospective national bibliography.
Latvia's national bibliographic history was influenced by both German and Russian domination of the area. Until 1869, German bibliographers were largely responsible for the chronicling of Latvian publishing. However, beginning in 1869 the Latvians began to compile and publish their own lists of publications. These appeared in the journals Austrums, Baltijas Vestnesis and Deinas Lapa. These lists were based on the censors lists issued in the Russian paper Pravitelstvennyi Viestnik. It was not until the years of Latvian independence that serious work on a retrospective Latvian bibliography began.
Riga: Latvijas Nacionala biblioteka. 1999.
UIUC Call Number: Baltic Reference Q. 015.4796 Se571
This excellent bibliography is the collaborative work of scholars at the Latvian National Library, the Latvian Academy Library, the Latvian University Library and the Central State Library of Liepaja. The catalog is intended as a comprehensive listing of Latvian publications issued from 1525-1855.
As can be seen from the record above, the title is given in Fraktur and in modern Latvian with complete information including the date of censorship. It may be interesting to compare this entry with that found in Misins (shown below). The entries also include references to bibliographic entries in other sources for the same title. Thus the "M. I 2398" in the record refers to Misins, volume I, entry no. 2398. Similar entries can be found for such sources as Napiersky's Chronologischer Conspect der Lettischen Literatur, Estreicher's Bibliografia polska and many other sources. The bibliographies consulted are listed in the opening pages of the volume.
In general, the bibliography is arranged chronologically. There are several indexes to facilitate access: title, subject, personal or organizational name, publisher and geographic. The volume concludes with some 60 pages of illustrations adding to the wealth of bibliographic data available from this resource.
UIUC Call Number: Main Stacks FILM 016.89193 M68L
Misins, Janis, Riga: Latvijas Akademiska Biblioteka, 1998, v.1-2.
UIUC Call Number: Baltic Reference 016.94796 M687l
Misins 1924 publication is considered by many to be the first serious attempt at retrospective national bibliography for Latvia. The original catalog has recently been expanded by a two volume supplement covering the years 1585-1919. Misins original two volume work covered the years 1585 to 1925. As tremendous a work as this was, it was based on Misins personal library and, thus, could not be comprehensive. Nevertheless, it is an enormous accomplishment.
The entry above is typical of the information found in the catalog. The catalog is arranged by subject and includes an author and title index for each of the original volumes. While Misins intended to publish a third and fourth volume to his bibliography that would have included periodical titles, the work was never completed.
The recently published supplementary volumes extend Misnis original work by adding legally and illegally published titles, as well as ephemera of 5 pages or more. These include the publications of societies, government regulations, bookdealers catalogs and pricelists. Books in the Latgallian dialect which were omitted from Misnis original work have been included here. The arrangement in the supplement is somewhat different than that found in the original. Entries here are arranged alphabetically by author. The compilers have also included titles identified in the Helsinki University Library catalog of Lettonian collections.
Riga:Valsts bibliotekas, 1927-1944.
UIUC Call Number: Main stacks 015.474 R449V, 1927-1941.
This was independent Latvia's first bibliography. Serially published, the bibliography was a list of new publications issued in Latvian territory, regardless of language, arranged in a classified list. A systematic index was published annually of authors and headings. As can be seen from the entry shown above the individual titles were fully described with all series information included. The bibliography included ephemera with records in the list for items of only a few pages. There were even listings for concert programs.
During the Soviet period, Latvian books were included in the Soviet national bibliography but there were also separate publications devoted to the materials issued in the region.
UIUC does not hold this title
This was a quarterly publication issued during the Soviet period. The publication is described by Pilch (SEEIR, 2001:2(3/4)) as "listing books, music, printed graphics and periodicals."(pp.75-76) The title is not held at the University of Illinois and thus could not be examined de visu.
UIUC does not hold this title
This title continued the Preses hronika cited above. This later title was issued monthly and listed books, music, graphics and periodical publications.
Riga: Latvijas Nacionala Biblioteka, 1990-
UIUC Call Number: Baltic Reference 015.4796 L358. Bound volumes in the Main Stacks.
This series continues the Soviet period bibliography Latvijas PSR preses hronika. Like its predecessor this series is divided into one subseries on books, music and videos and a second on periodicals and reviews. The issues are organized by subject classification and each includes an author, title and ISBN index. The national bibliography includes cyrillic publications as well as those in latin characters. As one would expect, even the smallest publications are included here.
All the information included in the paper version is available in the online edition at the Latvian National Library site. The bibliography lists the contents of many works, particularly helpful when searching conference proceedings or collections.