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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Non-Latin Scripts in a Romanized World: Catalogs for North American Libraries

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

Slavic Union Catalogs for North American Libraries

Both of the catalogs described below were compiled at the Library of Congress. Libraries in the U.S. and Canada submitted copies of their Slavic catalog cards over many decades to LC for inclusion in the catalogs. The original card catalogs of both titles are still held in the Library of Congress, albeit part of one catalog was discarded. Both of these catalogs potentially are very useful for ILL librarians.

Cyrillic Union Catalog

Cyrillic Union Catalog (1963)

Use of this catalog does not require knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet. All entries are Romanized in their entirety. The catalog includes only entries for Slavic Cyrillic materials (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Church Slavic, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian) submitted to LC through February 1956. There are records for 178,000 pre-1956 titles located in the US and Canada on 700,000 cards. The catalog is arranged alphabetically in three parts: author/added entry, title, and subject.  All entries were edited and retyped in Romanization for uniformity. Ninety percent of the catalog is for Russian materials. It is the only printed union catalog for Slavic that includes a section arranged by subject. It includes mostly records for books, but also some periodicals. The catalog follows pre-AACR and AACR2 cataloging rules, so the searcher must be aware that some titles by educational or scholarly institutions will appear under the city in which the institution is located. Additionally, academy of sciences publications are usually found under the heading of the name of the academy. For the Soviet Union, this is Akademiia nauk S.S.S.R.

Published in 1963 on 1244 microprint cards, the original card catalog is still extant in LC, except part of the subject catalog. The main problem with this catalog is that is was published on microprint, which is difficult to use. These titles and locations may or may not appear in the NUC pre-56 depending on whether they fit the NUC criteria. A random sampling of the title section of the catalog shows that 21% of the CUC titles do not appear in WorldCat and 6% of the titles that do appear in WorldCat have only foreign libraries listed in WorldCat, so this catalog can provide North American locations for that 6%.

The example linked below is a complete card set for one title with cards from the author, title and subject sections: Nikolai Nikolaevich Firsov. Chteniia po istorii Sibiri. The author and title cards show Northwestern as the only location. There are two subjects headings and therefore two subject cards. The cards do not show any extra information such as the height or pagination of the volume, because during the compilation of the catalog the editors decided to include to only the most basic bibliographic data.

Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog

Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (1980)

Use of this catalog requires knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet. None of the cards were edited, so they may appear entirely in Cyrillic, partly in Cyrillic, or entirely in Romanization. When there is Romanization, the same Romanization scheme is not necessarily used on all entries. Most are typed, but some are handwritten. This catalog includes original cards for Slavic Cyrillic titles from the Library of Congress and 185 other U.S. and Canadian libraries. It includes pre-1956 titles only, overlapping with those published in the Cyrillic Union Catalog, but also later cards and locations received by LC after the first catalog was closed in early 1956. Published on 174 microfiche in 1980, it contains 315,000 titles on 400,000 cards, with some of those entries representing 16,500 periodicals. The catalog was closed in the late 1970s. Note the difference in size between the two catalogs – the Cyrillic Union Catalog has far more cards, but fewer titles – 178,000. The Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog has fewer cards (only one card per title with no editing, no reference cards, no subject cards, etc.), but it contains 315,000 titles.

The catalog is arranged by author or title, not both. It uses pre-AACR or AACR2 cataloging rules, thus some titles from educational or scholarly institutions may appear under the city in which the institution is located. Additionally, academy of science publications appear under the name of the academy. For Russian this is Akademiia nauk S.S.S.R. Fortunately, there is some duplication of entries because of the title and author catalogs, and many see reference cards as well. In order to use the RAL for the titles appearing in this catalog, jot down the LCCN for LC titles and the unique SCC numbers for non-LC locations. These titles and locations may or may not appear in the NUC pre-56 depending on whether they fit the NUC criteria, but most did not fit the criteria. The cards originating from other libraries do not appear in the pre-56 NUC, but some may appear in later NUC iterations. A random sampling of the catalog shows that 16% of the SCUC titles do not appear in WorldCat and 3% of the titles that do appear in WorldCat have only foreign libraries listed in WorldCat, so this catalog can provide North American locations for that 3%.

The linked image below shows the various formats of the cards, some are in Cyrillic, others are Romanized, and the locations are frequently handwritten on the cards.

Subject Guide

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About

Information about Union Catalogs compiled by:

Angela Cannon
Reference Specialist
European Division
Library of Congress
acannon@loc.gov