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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Non-Latin Scripts in a Romanized World: Open Web Databases

Introduces ILL librarians, scholars, and students to the basic skills and resources that will help them verify Slavic-related bibliographic citations, identify holding libraries, and complete ILL requests (or projects) with little to no wasted time

Open Web

Here are some of the best databases from the Russian and East European region that are free to use on the open web. Scroll down to browse through all the countries or click on the country names below to move directly to that section.

·         General Slavic ·         Croatia ·         Latvia ·         Lithuania ·         Poland ·         Russia ·         Serbia ·         Slovenia ·         Ukraine

General Slavic

Multi-regional, multi-linguistic database of primarily scientific materials.

(From the website) "BASE is one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library. As the open access movement grows and prospers, more and more repository servers come into being which use the "Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting" for providing their contents. BASE collects, normalises, and indexes these data. BASE provides more than 40 million documents from more than 2,400 sources. You can access the full texts of about 75% of the indexed documents."

You can find a complete list of contributors to this repository on this page. Below is an informational table on how to conduct searches using this interface.

The advanced search interface offers many options for searching- including subject headings, author, title and the option to search the entire document for your search terms. Diacritical marks do not seem necessary for the search but they do come up in the results.

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Croatian full-text journals- portal for scientific journals of Croatia. Search can be conducted on the Croatian or English interface; just click on the British flag for the English version.

Search bar found on the right-hand side of the home page of Hrcak

The image to the left is of the Search Bar located on the right-hand side of the Hrcak homepage. Searching by title, keyword, or author name is all possible. Here are some useful tips for searching provided by Hrcak:

Search results (articles) are ordered by relevance (number of times search string apears in result). Search capability supports the following operators:

  + A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in each result that is returned.
  - A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any of the results that are returned.
  * The asterisk serves as the truncation operator and replaces any string. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word to be affected.
  " A phrase that is enclosed within double quote (‘"’) characters matches only results that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.

When you have located the correct article, it will say 'puni tekst' or 'full text' depending on which interface/language you used to conduct the search.

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 Latvijas Nacionālā digitālā bibliotēka

(From  the website) As part of its collection Periodicals, the Latvian National Digital Library offers 40 newspaper and magazine titles in Latvian, German, and Russian, ranging from 1895 to 1957 - altogether more than 45,000 issues and 350,000 pages! For the first time users are given the opportunity to perform a full text search of historic newspapers as well as being able to browse them page by page on their computer screen.

Includes two Russian emigre titles.  Segodnia  is the most notable and it is full searchable pdf as are all the full-text journals available here.

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Lietuvos Virtuali Biblioteka. LVB is an integral search system allowing search in Lithuanian academic libraries, databases subscribed by those libraries, other databases, open access repositories and archives.

Search system for Lithuanian publications that serves as a verification tool and access point for full text for many publications. Setting the interface to English from the start will make life much easier.  Also, if you choose the "Advanced Search"  you will find that you can select for time frame and even by university.

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General Subjects

Jagiellonian Library list of full-text journals freely available online.

This is a pdf file compiled by the librarians at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland that lists the various periodicals available online. Within the file are links to the appropriate online digital library/repository that provides access to the periodical listed. Updated as of November 2010.

When accessing some of the resources, the links may take you to different websites and ask you to download a type of viewer software in order to see and browse through the source. This is perfectly safe, although it can be annoying. Even if you do not want to do this as the librarian, you can pass this information to your patron.

National Digital Library of Poland

This website has an interesting collection of digitized materials held by the National Library in Poland. The interface is available in English and Polish. In terms of organization, the website has "Collections" of materials based on subject but it is also possible to search. A complete list of publications is also available to browse alphabetically.



Polish medical journals in full text.

Termedia is a a publisher devoted to the newest and most innovative developments in medicine. The above link connects you to a list of the journals they publish and offer full-text online. When you click on a title, the most recent issue's contents is displayed, but they do have Archives (Archiwum) that go back in time. The website is available in English; the British flag is located in the upper right-hand corner of any given page.

NOTE: In order to access the full-text articles, you have to create an account. It is free. If you are just looking for verification of the article, then you do not need an account, although you may pass this information along to the patron looking for an article.

For Polish medical articles

Not all of the databases available through this website are open to the public. Some of the databases are available through your own institutions, such as Wiley Online Library. When you click on those links your institution will probably automatically connect to it, allowing you to have access to the databases.

Some of the more interesting sources include:

This is a scanned card catalog for the medical bibiliography that encompasses the years 1901-1939. The catalog column on the left-hand side is alphabetical and it represents authors' last names or subject headings. If you have no luck finding the author, try to browse the subject headings of the article or book you are looking for. This card catalog will provide excellent verification.

This is the complete list of journals the GBL offers in full-text. The interface is in English and the journals listed are as well.


Polish Geographic Database

Created by the Central Library of Geography and Environmental Protection of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the database is a bibliography of the geography of Poland since 1985. It includes sources about the geography of Poland as well as the rest of the world. The searching interface is available in English. 

They have indexed articles, books, maps, materials published in languages other than Polish, as well as translations into Polish.


Polish Geological Database 1985-2005

Similar in structure to the Geographic Database mentioned above, this database handles and has indexed materials on the geological sciences. This search and interface are only available in Polish.

Polish Geological Database from 2005 on.

A continuation of where the previous database left off. Search interface is available in Polish, but the main search is a keyword search. To get more information about the search results, click on the numbers to the left-hand side of the list.


Polish Historical Database from 1988-2007

This is the electronic version of the historical bibliographies published by the Historical Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. At the moment, the database includes the years 1988-2007, meaning it lists the publications from those given years. In 2012, they planned on adding the years 1980-1987, but they did not seem to make any changes to that effect.

The search interface is simple; the search bar in on the left-hand side and the results will come up on the box on the right. The interface is in Polish. To conduct a search you can type in the author, words from the title, or keywords into the search bar. This is a good source for verifying the publication information of sources about history, Polish or otherwise.

Database of translations to Polish from 1971-

It focuses on literary translations into Polish.

This database is a little strange to use, but it's easy once you get used to it. Below is an image of the browse options you have. Each red rectangle corresponds to a different index. You can browse by (from left to right) person, titles, original, language of the text, language translated from, country, (second row) publisher, year, series, issn and isbn. The yellow rectangle offers an advanced search option. The indexes are alphabetical, and you can click on "dalej" (next) to browse through the pages, or search at the top of the list.

To verify articles published in Polish journals.

This database was created by the National Library of Poland. It is organized into different time periods. Depending on the year of the article you are trying to verify, you will click on a different link.

It is very similar to the above-mentioned database. The image above and the explanation on how to use the database still apply.

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Information on Russian publications - newspapers, journals, bulletins.

This website and the searches you can conduct on it provide information about recent Russian publications, filling in a gap left by the incomplete Russian bibliography of these materials.

Catalog of the scientific branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Lists articles and deposited manuscripts. This is a good website for verification of Russian scientfic journals and materials. The full-text service is fee-based, so you won't be able access anything; nevertheless the verification is important.

NOTE: The search interface is only available in Russian. Your best bet in this situation is to do an Author search, but you need to have the name transliterated back into Russian, if you have the Latin transliteration- information regarding this is found on the home page of this Libguide. Adding the year of the article, or at least a range of years will help narrow down the search. When you think you've found the right article or book, you can use the translation/transliteration services to make sure it really is correct.

Here is an example of the search results. Clicking on the links will lead you to the complete results list. Notice Статьи comes up here again- clicking that will provide you will the list of articles the author you searched wrote.


Words of Encouragement
You do not need to know Russian to conduct these searches and no one expects you to learn it, either. But you cannot be intimidated by the Cyrillic script. By being prepared for the search, with transliteration resources and information such as what you find in this guide in hand, you will save yourself and the patron from the run-around of verifying the source they need.

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Full text of Serbian journals from all disciplines is available at this site.  Most of the 460 journal titles listed include archives of their publication back to 2000 and in some cases, earlier.  There are a variety of search indexes available from the search box on the home page including a search by journal, author, article title and more.  It is possible to search contents by accessing the list of journals and then the issue needed.   It is also possible to search in Cyrillic or Latin characters here.

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Slovenian books, journals and more.  A general full text resource for the country.

The online collection includes: 1) texts: journals (articles, scientific articles), books, ARRS reports, academic achievements 2) photos: art library, photographs, sheet music, posters, postcards, manuscripts, maps 3) multimedia: virtual exhibitions, sound recordings. 

The website's interface is in English but it is available in Slovenian, and it is quite easy to use. You can check "full-text search" to see if the article or book you are looking is available online. Narrowing down your search is also easy; there is a column on the left-hand side that offers several options for narrowing down the results list, including by date and source type.

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Full text resources from the Ukrainian National Library. The legal materials are quite recent publications but other subjects covered here are comprised of publications issued before 1924.

The interface is only in Ukrainian, unless you use the Google Translate function where the whole website is translated into English. Searches should be conducted in Ukrainian or Russian.

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