Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Vernacular Language Resources for East European and Eurasian Research: Subject Resources

General Subject Guides

Guides to Web Subject Sources

Subject Resources--Some Examples

Subject Resources

Printed subject guides are some of the most useful sources in developing an overview of the reference resources in a field. These resources include many of the categories already discussed.  They differ from subject bibliographies as they include lists of journals germaine to a particular topic, encyclopedias, major archives and their guides, biographical sources as well as bibliographies.  

Other subject resources that are often overlooked are geographical dictionaries.  These go beyond gazeteers and atlases and include name changes, statistics, economic information and more. An example of a retrospective source of this nature is the Slownik Geograficzny.  All 15 volumes of this source are available and searchable in full text at  This is just one of many of the classic print resources now available in full text online.

There are other online resources that can function as subject resources, most notably online catalogs and subject databases.  This is especially true for some of the East European online catalogs that have incorporated citations to articles in their online catalogs.  There are also a few online databases that can act as subject guides.  The examples on online subject resources are numerous. They are a rich resource for scholars searching for vernacular language materials.  The only caveat, be sure you know what you are looking at!  Who produced the source, drawing on what material, with what retrospective depth, these are critical questions when using these sources. 

Printed subject guides were particularly common with the Russians. Because they are so prevalant several examples of their online counterparts, Russian portals, are presented below.  Printed guides to these sources also exist such as Kandel's Otechestvennye ukazateli bibliograficheskikh posobii. (Leningrad: M-vo kul'tury RSFSR, 1989).

Online Catalogs

Online Catalogs were discussed in the section on bibliography.  When looking at them as subject guides they can be especially helpful in finding that broad range of sources, encyclopedias, journals, articles as well as books, associated with the printed subject guide.  In addition library catalogs now include links to internet sites, archival materials and other non-traditional sources.

Since online library catalogs have become so very useful as subject resources they are included here (see left column).  Perhaps the best example of the online catalog functioning as a subject database are catalogs of many of the former Yugoslav Republics.  They are all accessible at The following online catalogs also allow you to search for articles and books (and a few for dissertations):

  • Czech Republic

  • Slovak Republic

  • Estonia

Clearly this makes them expecially useful as subject resources for those looking for material on a topic from the last thirty years.


Subject Databases/Portals

Of the vernacular language databases, freely accessible on the web, two are of major importance for many of the countries of our area, INION and the Herder Institute's "Documentation of Literature on the History of East Central Europe".

INION exists in two different formats, one a subscription based service and the other a free database on the web.  Both are described in detail in the section on multilingual databases.  The major difference between the two is that the free service requires that the researcher select a specific subject database and search only its contents.  The subscription based service searches all databases with a single interface.  Both access records from the social science library of the Academy of Science and include material in all the languages of the region dating from 1986 on.  The database includes records for articles, dissertations and books and is a truly invaluable resource for scholars seeking research from this period. The database is not limited to Russian sources and draws heavily on the publications of Eastern Europe in general.  Still, the majority of citations are to Russian journals.

Documentation of literature on the history of East Central Europe

For those seeking current periodical research on the region, published in a variety of countries and languages and excellent source!  The search interface is available in a variety of languages and the search terms do not require German transliteration ( a common problem with many of the online resources of the region)

Serbian Citation Index
This is a tremendous resource for anyone looking for research in the social sciences in this region.  It is produced by the National Library and indexes hundreds of journals.  Its search interface is especially easy to use and many of the citations include links to full text.

Ukrainian Science Index

"Sciences" here include the social sciences and humanities.  This database indexes article published between 1998 and 2009.  The interface is in Ukrainian and requires the use of Ukrainian fonts.  It is an excellent free resource for those seeking materials on the region.


Subject Portals 

Various subject portals have appeared on the web that mirror print subject guides.  The materials in these sources are not limited to links but also include references to printed sources and frequently contain encyclopedic information or even full text articles.  The links you see on this page will give you an idea of how varied these sources can be. 


  • Countless new resources are available on the web that serve as subject guides.   The Russian Federal education portal is an example. This guide will lead you to digital sources that include the full text of recently published pedagogoical articles.  It is a very rich resource for anyone interested in the topic and is includes legal material on education, dissertations, links to free databases and a great deal more..




  • Fundamental'naia Elektronaia Biblioteka Russkaia Literatura i Fol'klor

    This is a tremdous resource for anyone interested in Russian Literature with a large number of reference sources freely available and searchable.  The range of materials include sources such as the full text of the Literaturnaia Entsiklopediia, Masanov's Slovar' Psevdonimov,Lisovskii's Bibliografiia Russkoi Periodicheskoi Pechati, the complete works of many authors, as well as the major bibliographic sources for the authors discussed.  It is an excellent resource for those interested in Russian literature.




         СРЕДНЕВЕКОВЫЕ ИСТОРИЧЕСКИЕ ИСТОЧНИКИ ВОСТОКА И ЗАПАДА.  This Oriental Studies Portal contains indexes to historical journals and digitized texts. 




           Sovetskaia Literatura: teksty, bibliografiia, issledovaniia



Subject Guide

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