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Russian Bibliography of Bibliographies

Bibliography of Bibliographies

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One of the most useful sources in compiling a list of bibliographies for a comprehensive search of the literature is the bibliography of bibliography. Though the category itself is off-putting, for bibliographic material it serves much the same function as a search engine. These sources will not necessarily tell you where materials are located, but they will tell you that titles were published. By and large, the most comprehensive titles in this category have not been updated since the 1960s. Online catalogs and annual publications can fill the gap to a certain extent. Such online sources as FirstSearch (a.k.a., OCLC), RLIN or even MLA or Historical Abstracts can be used to identify current bibliographic publications. This does require using what is frequently labelled the “Advanced Search.” In this mode, the researcher will be able to designate such characteristics as date of publication, language or place of publication and subject heading or subject word. Such resources will not be comprehensive, and will only reflect what is held by libraries in the West. Still, it will give the searcher a good idea what is currently being issued and is available.

However, to use any national library online catalog as a bibliography of bibliographies requires an extensive knowledge of subject headings. Remember, the standardized subject headings used in this country are not used elsewhere. It seems like an obvious point but if forgotten it can cost the researcher a great deal of time.

The guides listed in this section are general in the sense that individual bibliographies cover different types of publications (e.g., monographs and periodicals) and numerous subjects. Those that cover just periodicals will be treated separately.

Bibliograficheskie materialy. Opis knig, broshiur i statei biblioteki 

Smirnova, N. P., Spb: Tip. A. Porokhovshchikova, 1898.
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 015.47 Sm48bfacsim. v.1-2
Dates: Publications issued to 1895.

This is one of the older guides to Russian bibliographic publications but bears examination by the researcher who will be working with retrospective materials. The compiler has tried to list all materials in his collection on paleography, publishing and the laws on censorship, bibliography, libraries, museums, archives and the book trade.

All entries include full bibliographic information. Most entries are annotated with varying degrees of detail. There are large numbers of book dealers catalogs and catalogs of private libraries here. This is also a good source for finding bibliographies of the works of bibliographers.

a sample entry from Bibliograficheskie materialy. Opis knig, broshiur i statei biblioteki

Entries #1624 and #1625(p. 406) give a good idea of the type of information supplied in this bibliography. As is clear here, the bibliography includes works published in periodicals as well as monographic titles. What is not indicated from these examples is the detailed annotation available on many of the entries in this work some of which are full page entries.

There is an index to both volumes in the second volume. This is a dictionary index with both names and headings. Some of the broad headings, such as “Bibliographies of various subjects” is subdivided into specific entries. Thus the scholar looking for bibliographies on statistics would look under Bibliografiia and then under the subheading “Statistika.”

Obshchie bibliografii russkikh knig grazhdanskoi pechati 1708-1955

Sokurova,M. V., L. Tip. LPB, 1956
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 015.47 L54o1956
Dates: 1708-1955

This volume lists bibliographies of books. It mainly provides citations to bibliographies that list all books published within particular time spans. The main point is that the bibliographies listed here do not have any special subject focus and will include materials on a wide range of topics. Many of them fall into the category of national bibliographic sources.  Special attention should be paid to the annotation for information on the arrangement of the bibliography. In particular, it is very helpful to note if there is any subject organization or index in the bibliography being described.

a sample entry from Obshchie bibliografii russkikh knig grazhdanskoi pechati 1708-1955

This example from the volume (p.128) gives a good idea of the basic elements of each entry. Along with detailed bibliographic information, the compiler has provided a short biography of the person responsible for the bibliography and a substantial annotation describing the types of materials to be found within the volume. There are also references to reviews and even archival sources related to the bibliography or its compiler.

The volume is arranged as a chronological list of titles. There are a variety of ways to locate relevant sources in this volume. Particularly useful are the title lists and index of literature consulted. There is also a chronological table for the years 1708-1955 showing which years have bibliographic coverage.

This work sets the standard for complete and informative annotations in bibliographies. While the entry shown above is one of the briefest, most of the entries on each bibliography are more nearly essays. For those requiring less information there is a summary of the resource at the beginning of the entry.

Bibliografiia russkoi bibliografii.

Bodnarskii, B.S., 4V., M., Published in Bibliograficheskie izvestiia. T.1 1913-1917; T.2 1918-1922; T. 3 1923-1925
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 016.891705 BIB v1-15-17
Dates : 1913-1925

This is a list of bibliographic publications compiled by the Russian bibliographer Bodnarskii. It stands in contrast to the first source listed here in its subject orientation. It is also helpful as it covers a period of time for which it is often difficult to identify any general or subject bibliographies. It has an unusual arrangement but it is a valuable source. The entries are arranged by “call number.” This classified arrangement is very helpful for the subject specialist.

Entries here are not annotated making it less useful than a source like Sokurova. It is included in this list because it is helpful for identifying bibliographies that cover the years of the late Imperial period and the early years of the Soviet Union.

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Bibliografiia sovetskoi bibliografii.

M. Vsesoiuznoi Knizhnoi Palaty, 1939-1992.
U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks Reference 015.47 V96b
Bibliografiia rossiiskoi bibliografii.
M. Knizhnaia palata, 1994-
U of I Library Call Number: Oak Street Facility 015.47 V96b1

Bibliografiia sovetskoi bibliografii title Originally published in 1939, this series was issued until 1992 under the title Bibliografiia sovetskoi bibliografii. The series is continued in 1994 by Bibliografiia rossiiskoi bibliografii.

This is an annual publication that lists, by subject, all the new bibliographies published in the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. There are very brief descriptive annotations for some of the sources included. Until recently, most volumes began with a survey of bibliographic publishing in Russia for the year. Since 1997, the volumes have not included this essay. It is difficult to know if this is a permanent change.

If you are trying to compile a survey of the literature on a particular topic this might be your first stop. It will help you compile the most complete list of sources and provide access to any new resources you might need for long term projects.

This resource includes references to publishers catalogs, regional bibliographies, periodical indexes, biographical sources and subject encyclopedias. If you are tracking a particular bibliography, to verify its continued publication for example, this is a useful resource. Its one flaw is that is an annual publication. There is no compiled index and does require some patience. However, it is extremely well indexed. There are lists of the journal titles, lists of reviews for bibliographic literature, a name index, title index, collective author index and a geographic index.

This is the most comprehensive publication of its kind. It includes all bibliographic publications that contain more than 30 entries. It is usually 2-3 years behind in publication.

Otechestvennye ukazateli bibliograficheskikh posobii. Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’

Kandel, B. L., Leningrad:Gosudarstvennaia Publichnaia biblioteka im. M. E. Saltykova-Shchedrina, 1989. 222p
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 016.01547 K131o1989
Dates: Mid-nineteenth century to 1988.

This annotated guide will give the researcher a good overview of bibliographic publications in Russian for approximately the last 150 years. The compiler has annotated all entries. However, some are more detailed than others. All include basic information on the coverage in the bibliography and the number of entries. The entry included here (p.52) shows one of the lengthier entries for this volume.

a sample entry from Otechestvennye ukazateli bibliograficheskikh posobii

It is important to be aware that this guide does reflect standards of Soviet censorship and is not comprehensive.

The volume is divided into five parts: bibliographies of bibliography; list of universal bibliographic aids; subject bibliographies; a supplement listing sources on bibliographers; the final section is the index to the entire volume. This is a name/title index. However, only works with no stated author are listed under title. There is also an index of irregularly published bibliographic publications.

Because of its sweeping coverage this is an extremely important source for the beginning scholar. It is an efficient way to get an overview of bibliographic publications in Russia and the Soviet Union on any subject area. However, it is important to read the introductory essay to appreciate exactly what limitations the volume has. For example, the section on Folklore does not include the serially published Russkii Folklor by M. IA. Melts, although it does include other works by this bibliographer.

Retrospektivnaia gosudarstvennaia bibliografiia SSSR. Spravochnik.

Semenovker, B. A., Moscow: Izd. “Knizhnaia palata.” 1990
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 016.01547 Se52r
Dates: Publications up to 1990

Retrospektivnaia gosudarstvennaia bibliografiia SSSR title page This is a very thorough survey of the various regional bibliographic sources for the republics of the former Soviet Union. It contains detailed information on the publishing history on the “national bibliography” for each of the regional divisions. The volume opens with a lengthy discussion of the compilation of these publications.

Each entry lists the compilers responsible for the publication during its history, the structure and territorial coverage are described in detail as are the linguistic coverage of the source. The sources for the compilation of the bibliography and what exactly it included are also described as are the indexes for each volume. For anyone working on the Soviet republics this is an excellent resource on publishing history for each region. There are also numerous tables in the volume providing an overview of the regional publications from the 1920s to 1990.

Indexes provide access to information in the volume by compiler, subject, language, and place of publication. There is a “Dictionary index to the list of ‘Organizational, normative and instructional-methodological documents, which are used in retrospective state bibliography of the USSR.”

Russian reference works.


Russian reference works website screenshot

This is an excellent online listing of most current reference sources published on Russia and the Soviet Union. Compiled by Wojciech Zalewski, former librarian of the Slavic collection at Stanford University, it provides the researcher with a quick reference and basic information on a variety of sources. The compiler has also provided guidelines for bibliographic searching and on finding non-bibliographic information. The site has not been updated since 1999.

The site is organized into sections on general bibliography (national bibliography, bibliography of bibliographies, publishers’ catalogs, etc.), non-bibliographic reference sources and subject bibliographies. The compiler has limited the coverage to include only sources on the humanities and the social sciences. There is also a section on “Machine readable bibliographies and databases.” It is important to note that the information has not recently been updated and will not reflect the most recent sources available on the Internet.

The list includes catalogs, textbooks, guides, national bibliographies, subject bibliographies, dictionaries, archival guides and general bibliographies. The compiler has omitted earlier published sources, those issued before 1970 referring the user to the bibliographic guides of Zaionchkovskii, Simmons and Horecky for these titles.

Rossiiskaia Gosudarstvennaia Biblioteka Katalog


Rossiiskaia Gosudarstvennaia Biblioteka Katalog website screenshot

Dates: A variety of dates serve as starting points in the different catalogs as listed below:
Books received since 1994
Books received in the last week
Journals received since 1998
Dissertations received since 1995 and Avtoreferaty receieved since 1987
Maps and atlases received since 1993.

Although this is not technically a bibliography of bibliographies, it is extremely helpful in finding current bibliographical sources. It is particularly important given the delay in the publication of Bibliografiia Russkoi bibliografii, which is presently a few years behind. This web site includes a link to a page entitled “Elektronnyi Katalog.” Here are located the access points to several library catalogs of materials held at the State Library. They include entries on a variety of different types of materials. However if you are looking for recent publications this is an excellent starting point. Searching will require the use of Russian fonts (CP1251).

The search interface at this site allows the user to search only in Russian using a keyword search, or a more complex Boolean search using author, title, subject, year of publication, place of publication or BBK number. Search words can be truncated with special characters which are listed on the page. The searches do require Russian fonts.

If you are searching for an English title in this catalog you can search using the Latin alphabet for the title, author or place of publication. The subject headings are in Russian and can only be searched using Russian characters.

Kraevedcheskie bibliograficheskie posobiia Rossiiskoi federatsii opublikovannye v …

Sankt-Peterburg: Rossiiskaia natsional’naia Biblioteka, 1992-
U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Russian Reference (Slavic) 016.02 K855, 1989-
Dates: This source has been published annually since 1992 and covers publications issued since 1989.

This annual guide is useful to anyone looking for bibliographies published on or in the regional areas of Russia. While many of the bibliographies listed here index materials relevant only to specific regions, some are broader in their scope. Along with a full bibliographic description of the title, each entry includes a brief descriptive annotation that indicates the scope of coverage in that source. The researcher will find information on the number of entries in the bibliography, the types of publications included, indexing in the volume and the level of detail provided, i.e. with or without annotations.

The volume opens with a lengthy essay on bibliographic publishing in the Russian Federation for the year. Information on the prevalence of small print runs for bibliographic publications can give a researcher an indication of the difficulties he/she may encounter. There is also a discussion of the trends in the publishing of bibliographies. At first glance this may seem to be only of interest to the librarian, however, there is often indication here of coverage of new publications in the bibliographic literature.

The varied indexes include a name index, geographic index, issuing body index, compiler index and an index of items not listed in Knizhnaia letopis. The guide is divided into four parts. The first contains the references to bibliographic aids for all regions. The second part lists subject bibliographies with a regional orientation (e.g., Istoriia Urala). Part three lists all resources on regional publishing (e.g. Letopis pechati Buriatskoi ASSR, Publikatsii instituta Biologii Moria, or Izdaniia Rossiiskoi Natsionalnoi Biblioteki). The last part lists the guides for the catalogs of the collections of individual institutions. Monographs, serials and archival bibliographies are all included in this resource.

Rossiiskaia Natsionalnaia Biblioteka Katalog


Rossiiskaia Natsionalnaia Biblioteka Katalog website screenshot The catalog at the Russian National Library (formerly, the Saltykov-Shchedrin) has Russian language materials received at the library in 1998. The catalog was launched in that same year. When searching for current titles, the relatively small size of the catalog is offset by its currency. All searches must be done in Russian. The catalog will recognize Windows fonts (CP1251). One of the virtues of this catalog is its advanced search screen , that will allow searching for specific elements of a citation (author, title, place of publication, date, etc.). The results can be displayed in a variety of formats. As noted above this site requires the use of Cyrillic fonts. The address give above will take you to the library’s main page. From there you merely click on “Elektronnyi katalogi.” You will then get a list of catalogs available at the library. There are several catalogs available: Russian books, 1998- (58,681 records); Avtoreferaty, 1996- (95,000 records); Cartographic materials, 1994-.

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