One of the most important type of resources, no matter what your field of research, is the periodical. For researchers, the periodical index can save endless hours of paging through one issue after another. Periodicals and their indexes have been profoundly impacted by the introduction of electronic resources. Having said this, it is essential to be aware of the strengths and limitations of such sources. The paper sources and online sources have been selected primarily on the basis of their retrospective depth in the past. It is important to note that many of the online sources are now seeking a greater historical depth making them of greater interest to a broader range of scholars.
There are a number of online utilities, such as MLA, Current Contents, or Historical Abstracts, that are very useful for identifying periodical articles in Slavic publications. One type of source that can be useful is the university library web page. Most institutions will describe the online resources they have access to on their web page. While this may seem a basic point the information on such pages is frequently overlooked. The descriptions found here can be very helpful in determining which sources are useful for your particular topic.
Another method for identifying the contents of periodicals, albeit a more cumbersome one, is to search using a variety of web tools. Search engines and subject lists are especially important for this type of search. The search engines are discussed elsewhere, suffice it to say that for our area, it will be important to have the capability to search in the vernacular language. Subject lists, that is lists of sites that are either limited to one subject or are organized by subject, can be located through subject gateways such as Yahoo or Google. Once you have identified the lists of papers for the regions you find most useful they can be of enormous value for identifying current information.
Most sites will have some kind of online search for the current issues of a title. When you are searching for the contents of newspapers, particularly very current ones, it will be helpful to have access to online sites that contain lengthy lists of links to online papers for each country. Such as site is available at http://www.abyznewslinks.com/. This site lists newspapers by region and includes a list of general papers for each country as well.
The list of paper resources for periodical publications for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is a long one. Such resources can be found as parts of the national bibliographies for each country. Individual countries have a resources specific to their own publication history. The Russians will have a different set of resources than the Poles, the Czechs, or the Bulgarians.
One of the electronic services that can be extremely helpful in this situation is Current Contents. Here the scholar will find the full contents of many periodicals published since 1994. It is a subscription database and has some vernacular language titles for the East European area. However, it lacks such noted titles as Voprosy Literatury.
Ulrich’s periodicals directory is an excellent source for identifying those titles that are indexed and where to find the index. Unfortunately, it does not list all indexing services. Thus, the Russian Academy of Sciences bibliographies that are available through RLIN are listed as an indexing service. However, they are only listed as indexing one title “ABA Banking Journal.” The next problem then is, how thoroughly do the Western indexing sources cover the East European periodicals. This will vary from index to index.