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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies: Home

Guide to bibliographic resources, electronic and print focused on the region.

Slavic Reference Blog

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Library Resources

There are a variety of resources in the library and they are not always easy to navigate.  If you are new to this campus or if you have not used this library a great deal in the past you might start with the library's basic guides available at the Savvy Researcher.   This guide will cover some of these topics, but for an overview the Savvy Researcher can be invaluable.

If you have any questions about your research please contact the librarians at the Slavic Reference Service or any of the other librarians in the Slavic Library.  You can reach the Slavic Reference Service at or through the chat widget on the right sidebar M-F, 8:30 - 3:00. We can also be reached by phone at 333-1349.


  • The array of resources reflects bibliographic history of each country.
  • The better your knowledge of that history, the more effective your use of the resources.
  • Online resources have expanded the choices, but not necessarily repeated the information of the printed materials.
  • Some resources continue to be overlooked, both in paper and electronic formats.

It will be clear very quickly that the universe of possible sources is different in nature for different countries.  For some, such as Poland and Russia,  there will be an array of bibliographic guides for each discipline.  Others, like Czech Republic will have subject bibliographies and general monographic sources. Some of the countries of the region have developed electronic resources of impressive retrospective depth, such as the scanned catalogs of the Russian National, Jagiellonian University, Hungarian and Czech National libraries.  Others have gone beyond this to scanned periodicals with online indexes.  The bibliographic landscape for each country is changing accordingly.   I am going to talk a bit about approaching these resources and point out some that seem repeatedly overlooked.  In the case of paper resources, you may find you are familiar with tte resource but have not taken full advantage of its information.  In the case of online resources, the issue has more to do with search technique: the use of vernacular language keyboards and fonts, knowing when to seek information on the web and when to use a database, etc.


There are many different types of resources available for research, ranging from archives to library catalogs, to microform resources and bibliographic publications, not to mention the universe of digital materials.  There is now the additional factor of how best to use and organize the materials for your research.  Will you need bibliographic software such as RefWorks or will an RSS feed alerting you to current publications be helpful?  What type of scanner will be most useful for your materials--planetary, microform?  There are obviously many considerations.

So where does one begin? As in other areas, the first step must be a careful analysis of the type of answer you are seeking.

Do you need a list of titles?

What is the medium you are seeking or is that even clear?  Audio, image files and video are so plentifully available and often enrich your research in unexpected ways.

Are you looking for biographical information, publication information or some other specific fact?

Are you trying to trace the usage of a particular term?

What is the time period concerned?

Are there issues of censorship involved that could affect the availability of the information you need?

Is the work one that could be classified as folk literature or even children's literature? Will these be included in specialized bibliographies?

Answering these questions before you begin will help you to decide on the most useful type of source to seek out in beginning your research. Once you have identified the type of source you need, a subject guide or library catalog will help you identify the specific tool you need.

The structure of the source may itself be helpful in your research. Many guides are organized around the types of sources available, with sections on personal bibliographies, biographical sources, encyclopedias, dictionaries, periodicals, etc. Gaining a familiarity with the universe of sources that are relevant to your research can prevent serious omissions in your work. Subject headings in library catalogs frequently include subdivisions for "dictionary" or "bibliography", for example, which can help you find the categories of resources you need.

The underground literature has its own set of sources many published in other countries. As with most of areas research today, a thorough search will require the use of online and paper resources.


Subject Guide

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Slavic Reference Service
Slavic Reference Service
International and Area Studies Library
Room 317
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, Illinois 61801