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Slavic Reference Service


Do you need help with locating items or have difficult reference questions? If so, you may want to try this free year-round service at the University of Illinois. The Slavic Reference Service handles bibliographic and reference questions in all subject areas connected to Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  In addition to contacting the Slavic Reference Service directly, researchers can browse our collection of research guides which contain information on vernacular language print and electronic resources for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, see our research guides. Moreover, the reference staff have a blog, which highlights recent online resources they have found useful in answering requests.



To help support scholars with comfortable and accessible services during the COVID-19 global pandemic, we are offering additional virtual bibliographic support, research consultations, and reference services. Join our research consultation virtual room at go.library.illinois.edu/SRS.

Schedule a Research Consultation

Do you need help conducting a literature review, searching with controlled vocabulary, or identifying collections of materials for your research? The Slavic Reference Service is here to help. We offer online consultations for scholars around the world through Blackboard Ultra. SRS staff is available to consult with faculty, students, and scholars in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies during our regular service hours (8 AM – 5 PM), Monday through Friday. You do not need to be affiliated with the University of Illinois to use our consultation services, though students and scholars located at the University of Illinois can also schedule in-person sessions. To schedule a meeting with a member of our staff please use the online scheduler and indicate your location and affiliation. To learn more about our consultation sessions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the page.

Schedule an Appointment

What We Do

Answer bibliographic and reference queries. If you are in need of a specific piece of information, we will be glad to try to answer your query. We will use print and online resources in our searches. We also assist patrons with their questions on the use of fonts and keyboards for languages in the service areas.

Identify materials in our collection. Identify libraries that hold materials you need. We will search to find libraries in the U.S., European Union, and libraries from the service areas that can lend or copy the title you need if it is not in our collection.

Verify and correct citations. Oftentimes, titles are not fully or correctly cited in the existing bibliographic literature. Our staff are trained to search for the correct form of the citation, ensuring that you get the material you need.

Suggest reference materials you might find relevant for your research. We cannot be held responsible for the completeness or accuracy of online information.

What We Don’t Do

Charge a fee.  The Slavic Reference Service is a federally funded agency, there is no charge for our reference services.   However, we are not a document delivery service.  Should you need a copy of some material from our collection you will be directed to our InterLibrary Loan Department [See: http://www.library.illinois.edu/interlibrary-loan/]

Obtain certain kinds of materials, specifically archival materials and the full text of dissertations.

Recommend particular books on a topic. We are all reference librarians with subject expertise in a variety of areas.  None of us are experts in all areas.  Our expertise lies in our familiarity with bibliographic materials. Therefore, we are not qualified to suggest a specific book in a subject area over some other work.

Supply genealogical information. Our service is not equipped to handle genealogical requests.

Advise on copyright related issues.

What We Need

Details.  The more specific your explanation of what you are looking for, the better we are able to serve you.

Deadlines.  All requests are handled on a first come, first served basis, although requests that have a firm upcoming deadline can usually be worked in.  If you must have an answer by a certain date, please indicate that in your request.

Languages. In order for us to locate information that will be useful we must know if there are materials that would not be helpful because of language constraints you might have.

Affiliation.  While we welcome queries from everyone, if your question will require the use of InterLibrary Loan, it is important for us to know if you are not affiliated with an academic institution. We may need to make arrangements with your public library to supply you with the material you need for your research.

Background.  In order to make the search as efficient as possible it is important that we not duplicate the work you have already done.

Sources.  All users are asked to supply the original source in which they found the citation to the material they are seeking.  This saves us a great deal of time in locating and/or ordering material.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are consultations only available for University of Illinois affiliates? 
    • No, our consultations are available to Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian scholars from around the world, regardless of their affiliation to a university.
  2. How can I sign up for a consultation?
    • Click on Schedule an Appointment and choose the date and time available on the calendar that is most convenient for you.
  3. How long do consultations last?
    • Typically, consultations last for 30 min – 1 hour. However, our staff is dedicated to meeting researchers’ needs. We are happy to arrange for shorter or longer consultations depending on your availability.
  4. What kind of topics do you cover in a consultation?
    • Every consultation is customized to our patrons’ projects.
    • We will go over relevant resources and familiarize patrons with important collections.
    • We can go over local, regional, and international catalogs for search strategies to locate resources.
    • We can provide strategies for conducting a thorough literature review surrounding the project’s topic.
  5.  What if I need more than one consultation?
    • We offer single consultations as well as series of consultations for long-term projects. Is there an article, dissertation, thesis, or paper that you’re working on? We can offer research support every step of the way! Simply let us know how often you would like to meet and we will work with your schedule.
  6. Why should I sign up for a research consultation?
    • Our consultations are designed to be convenient for our patrons! You can speak to one of our specialists from anywhere you have internet access–at home, in your office, or even while traveling.
  7. How do I access Blackboard Ultra?
    • After you schedule a session through our calendar, we will follow up with you via email. Our message will include details about your session, including a link to join the consultation through Blackboard Ultra. This link is all you will need to join the session, there is no need to download or purchase any software.

Slavic Reference Service Staff

  • Joseph Lenkart, International Reference Librarian / Manager, Slavic Reference Service
  • Jan Adamczyk, Senior Library Specialist
  • Annabella Irvine, Visiting Research Specialist
  • Olga Makarova, SRS Graduate Assistant
  • Maeve Prusnick, SRS Graduate Assistant
  • Caryn Corliss, SRS Graduate Assistant

E-mail: srscite@library.illinois.edu
Phone: (217) 333-1349

If you have a more involved question, please e-mail us at or use our FORM.

You can also reach us by mail at:

Slavic Reference Service
International & Area Studies Library
319a Main Library, University of Illinois
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL  61801

For some of our favorite resources, visit the Slavic Reference Service blog.


Follow us on social media!

Twitter: @SRSUIUC

Facebook: @slavicreferenceservice2