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Finding English-Language Sources for Social Science Topics in Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia: UIUC Catalog

There are a multitude of resources that will lead a student to English language materials for the region but some are particularly valuable. This guide will help the student to find those at the UIUC library website, highlighting some of the best.

Using Subject headings

Examples of Library of Congress subject headings

  1. Literature and folklore--Balkan Peninsula
  2. Literature and globalization
  3. East European literature--Bibliography
  4. East European literature--Congresses
  5. East European literature--Encyclopedias
  6. East European literature--Women authors
  7. Serbia--Politics and government
  8. Serbia--Politics and government--1804-1918--Sources.
  9. Bulgaria. Laws, statutes, etc. Indexes.
  10. Soviet Union--History--1917-1936--Periodicals

The headings can be structured in a number of ways but some of the most common are:

   [ex.:  Literature and folklore--Balkan Peninsula]

   [ex.:  Czech literature--19th Century--History and criticism]

   [ex.: East European literature--Bibliography]

   [ex.: Soviet Union--History-1917-1936]

KW or SH??

Keyword or Subject Heading???

Why bother with subject headings in the online catalog when you can do keyword searching? It’s true that developing facility with subject headings was more critical in the era of card catalogs.  But if you limit yourself to keyword searching, you are likely to miss important material on your topic that uses other terms.  A systematic, comprehensive subject search requires searching with subject headings as well as with keywords.

The collection here is classified using the Dewey Decimal system.  In Dewey, the first three numbers indicate the main subject, and additional numbers are added after a decimal point to narrow the subject. Books and journals on literary topics are usually classified in the 800s, although much of folk literature can be 390 and the fine arts are in the 700s.

Introduction to Catalog

Я => IA ? Я => YA? Я =>JA?

Use the library catalog to find books, journals, films, and more.  If you are searching for materials that are in a cyrillic based language such as Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, etc., there are a few issues with the catalog you should be aware of.  First, our library, like most of the libraries in the United States uses the Library of Congress/ALA transliteration system.  You can find the transliteration tables fr most languages at

Once you have the correct transliteration there are some additional issues you should be aware of:

  • There is a "Library Catalog" interface and  a "Classic Catalog" interface.  The choice of interface will seriously affect the materials you find in the catalog.
  • The "Library Catalog" interface cannot find transliterated titles unless you input the transliteration using ligatures where appropriate.  A ligature is used to link two letters together that are being written to indicate one character such as:
    , , , .
  • So for example, if you search the city name Ярославль, transliterated as iaroslavl with no ligatures and enter it from the main search box on the library page you will see significantly different results for the "Library Vufind Catalog" (yields 63 results) and the "Classic Catalog" (yields 832 results). 
  • We recommend that you go immediately to the Classic Search if you are looking for holdings at the University of Illinois.
  • If you are seeking holdings broadly on a topic, you can certainly use the Easy Search interface.  But do be aware of this difference.  At present we do not recommend searching using the Library VuFind interface alone as it provides a very inaccurate view of our holdings.

For a convenient list of the characters in the various cyrillic-based scripts take a look at



Step One: Online Library Catalog

Search for books in the quick search when you know either the title or the name of the author. Alternatively, you may wish to search by subject using the advanced search option. When you locate your item you have two choices. First, you can request the item and pick it up or have it delivered from any of the departmental libraries. Second, you can retrieve the book yourself from either the main stacks or the departmental library where the book is located. If you choose this option, make sure you jot down the location and call number of the item.

Step Two: I-Share

Once you have verified that the book you are looking for is either not located in the catalog or all copies are checked out, you may search the I-Share catalog to see if one of the participating institutions has a copy for you to borrow. The process is the same for requesting a book in the I-Share catalog as it is for the Illinois catalog. Items typically arrive within 5-10 days and you will receive an email when the item is available for pick up.

Step Three: Interlibrary Loan

If the item is not available in the Illinois catalog and it is not available through I-Share, then your next stop will be Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. What is Interlibrary Loan? First, keep your full citation handy -- you'll need it. Second, login to the ILLiad server using your NetID and password. From the ILLiad main menu, select "Request a Book." Be sure to fill out as much of the form as possible, including the source of your citation. This will ensure that ILL can place your request in a timely manner. You'll be notifed by email when your item is ready to be picked up.

See the videos on this page for demonstrations on using the library catalog!

Video: Quick Search in Library Catalog

Quick Search

The Quick Search option in the library catalog is useful for finding items by title, journal title, author, subject heading, call number, or keywords. Use Quick Search if you know the exact title or author that you are looking for.

Video: Advanced Search in Library Catalog

Advanced Search

Advanced Search is a good option when you are searching for an item for which some combination of information is known, but things like exact author name and exact title are not known. You can search by just the last name of the author and a part of the title or you can search by subject.

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