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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2021 Virtual Summer Research Laboratory

A guide for virtual Summer Research Laboratory participants at the University of Illinois Library. It contains information on virtual services, events, access to digital resources, and research technologies.

General Databases

Although area studies research has the best results when consulting area or subject specific databases, there is something to be said for general reference databases. Although broad in scope, they can be immensely helpful in tracking published material. Here is a list of some general databases that might be of interest to virtual SRL scholars.

Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Journals and Databases

Here is a very short list of the most popular and useful databases the SRS uses when helping patrons. Subscription databases as well as open access resources are included in this list; a note next to each entry will make clear which is which. For a more extensive list of databases, consult our Full-Text list.

EASTVIEW databases (subscription)

There are several useful resources within this one provider's database. The following list describes some of the resources found in Eastview; there are more on the website that the researcher can explore. In order to search or browse the databases individually, click the appropriate link within the list, found below the search box.

Digital Repositories

  • HathiTrust is an online collection of books published before 1923. Many of these can be viewed online in their entirety, and others can be searched for keywords. An Introduction to HathiTrust Research Center guide can be found here, which provides an introduction to HathiTrust.
  • The Internet Archive, which is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more, includes many digitized resources.

Directory of Integrated Catalogs

Over the last ten years, the profileration of online catalogs (union, integrated, and regional cooperative catalogs) for the REEE area has provided SRL researchers with access to unique collections and holdings information for placing interlibrary loan and duplication requests.  In terms of library catalogs for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the following is a starter list of relevant catalogs:

Helsinki University Library

The University of Helsinki has a large collection of pre-revolutionary Russian materials, including newspapers. HELKA library catalog will help you find the materials you need. Remember: you must use the ISO transliteration standard when searching this library catalog, NOT Library of Congress. See the transliteration tab for more information.

Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog

Karlsruhe is a one stop shop when it comes to searching European library catalogs. The search page has several fields to fill and a set of libraries on the bottom of the page. They range from Western to Eastern Europe, and are heavily concentrated on the German speaking countries. Check off all of the libraries you would like to search and the results page will separate the results by location. If a location does not have results, it will be listed on the bottom of the page. Remember, you must use the German transliteration standard when searching German libraries, and ISO standards when searching libraries from Eastern Europe. See the transliteration tab for more information.

Union Catalog of Russian Libraries

This union catalog makes it easier to locate items across Russian libraries. This union catalog is a collection of almost 200 libraries in Russia and it continues to add more. It has over 6 million bibliographic records that span the 18 th century to 1945 and from 1980 to the present. Time in between is covered as well. The main search page allows for keyword, author, title, and subject searching. A long list of participating libraries is available under the Участники heading, on the top right-hand side of the webpage.


COBISS is a portal that provides access to all of the union catalogs for the Balkan countries except Croatia, Romania, and Greece. Kosovo is a participating country, but it is still in the preparing and training stages; currently they are acquiring the appropriate computer equipment. An invitation to participation has been sent to Croatia, but as of yet, they are not a part of COBISS.

The main page lists all of the participating countries and the links to their respective catalogs (pictured at right). Slovenia has the most extensive representation, with more than 400 libraries participating, and although Bulgaria only has one library, it still offers amazing access to materials in that country.  

Russian National Library

The Russian National Library website and catalogs are probably the most widely used resources by both the Slavic Reference Service and scholars of the REEE region. There are several research resources of note. The electronic catalog is now available in two interfaces, the new one using the Primo catalog system. As of early 2014, this catalog is not as stable as the old catalog, which is more cumbersome, but works well. The RNL digitized their card catalog which is available as an online source, with search and browsing functions. The card catalog is alphabetical, and must be searched in Cyrillic. This particular resource is useful for verifying bibliographic citations, especially for articles. The RNL also has incredible databases for periodicals, both journals and newspapers. The Journals index is especially helpful in verifying publication information about journals published during the Soviet era, when journals were notorious for changing their names or publication frequency. This database can help solve the problem, and will also tell you whether the RNL has holdings for the years that you need. Finally, the Gazety Rossii database is similar to the Journals index, but focuses on the newspapers published in Russia, mainly between 1703 and 1917. 

Russian State Library

This catalog includes publications obtained by the Russian State Library after 1994-.  Books, journals, dissertations, and cartographic materials in Russian and foreign language are all registered here. The books catalog can be searched by author, title, keyword, subject, year or place of publication. Like the National Library Catalog, this one is divided into several databases. The State Library has a catalog of books, including foreign language publications from 1986 on and Russian language books from 1994 on. The catalog of journals includes materials from 1998 on. This catalog has both newspapers and periodicals. The dissertation catalog contains complete dissertations from 1995 and avtoreferaty from 1987. The catalog of cartographic materials includes materials from 1985 on. There is also a catalog of the most recent acquisitions of the library, those materials acquired during the last week.This catalog is not searchable in the usual way, but is organized by subject and is easy to browse by subject.


The European Library

This online portal offers access to nearly fifty National Libraries and Research Libraries of Europe. The European Library offers access to bibliographic records of holdings, as well as access to digital items from participating institutions. A list of contributors to the project can be found here:



The National Library of Belarus maintains an electronic catalog that provides access to the following Belorussian resources held by the library: books published from 19th century until present, dissertation abstracts since 1993, full-length dissertations since 1994, periodicals and continuing resources, manuscripts and rare books. The electronic catalog features a basic search allowing the user to search by author, title, publisher, series, place of publication, subject, and local call number. It is possible to limit your search by defining the type of document (dissertation, digest, guide, etc.), language and year of publication. The catalog features for a separate search mechanism by a type of document, which allows for more accurate results. Another useful feature is a word search allowing to search by subject or name. It is possible to search in Belorussian, Russian and English.  

French Union Catalog

The French Union Catalog boasts of more than 30 million documents and includes a variety of different catalogs- National Library of France, SUDOC, French regional catalogs, the catalog of Judaica, and several others. “Recherche globale” on the left-hand side allows you to search all of these catalogs.


The National Library of Kazakhstan has maintained this online union catalog of 13 of Kazakhstan's major libraries since 2002. It currently includes about 1 million records, some for items dating back as far as the early 19th century, with a large majority reflecting the holdings of the National Library itself. The remainder of the catalog consists of records from regional libraries whose holdings of regionally-published materials are presumed to be comprehensive. The catalog is comprised of three databases: "Kazakhstanika", Russian-language articles, and Kazakh-language articles. These can be searched together or separately by author, title, place or year of publication, and several other criteria, singly or in combination. Specific holdings of periodical titles are provided only by records for individual issues, which do not appear to be comprehensive. The catalog must be searched in Cyrillic (Russian or Kazakh).


The Kyrgyz Union Catalog is available through the National Library of the Kyrgyz Republic’s website- you have the option of searching books and periodical holdings. About 15 libraries across the country participate and contribute records to this integrated catalog.


ROLINEST This union catalog from Romania has bibliographic records for books and periodicals from 13 participating libraries in Romania, including some of the most important ones such as those from major universities in Bucharest, Iaşi, and Cluj-Napoca, and the Romanian Academy of Sciences. The catalog uses a metasearch that searches the individual library catalogs simultaneously and then displays the results in a uniform manner. Because of this process, getting results is a bit slow. There is no statement about the retrospective depth of the catalog, but most records seem to be from the 1990s and forward, with just a few from earlier dates. Clearly, it depends on whether each individual library has done retrospective conversion or not.