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Russian & Soviet History

Library Catalogs Most Useful for Russian/Soviet History Primary Source Searches

Princeton University Library
An online catalog of all holdings in all formats in the collections of Princeton University Library, including more than 35,000 titles related to Russian and Soviet history.


WorldCat is a database that amalgamates the catalog records from more than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries. The database contains over 2 billion records representing materials in 470 languages and dialects. Students and scholars of Russian literature should note that the Russian State Library in Moscow (the "Leninka") and the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg do not contribute catalog records to WorldCat and must be searched separately.


Российская национальная библиотека
The National Library of Russia'a website provides access to the Library's online catalog and several other databases.


Российская государственная библиотека ("Ленинка")
The website of the Russian State Library in Moscow provides access to the Library's online catalog and other databases.


Президентская библиотека им. Б.М. Ельцина
The Presidential Library's website provides access to the Library's many disciplinary catalogs, including the Humanities and Social Science catalog which has a sub-catalog for history.


Библиотека Академии Наук
The Academy of Science's website provides access to the institution's many electronic catalogs.


A Note about Transliteration. Princeton University Library Catalog, WorldCat and other North American catalogs use the Library of Congress Romanization Table for Russian as the standard for transliterated Russian. When searching these catalogs it is recommended that Russian names and other words be transliterated using this scheme. Searching in Cyrillic will retrieve only a small subset of Russian materials in these collections. When searching the online catalogs of libraries in the Russian Federation, using Cyrillic is generally most effective.


Searching for Primary Sources in Library Catalogs

Note: Library of Congress Subject Headings - the taxonomy used by North American library catalogs to label resources thematically - appends the word "sources" to subject descriptors to designate publications of or about primary sources, e.g.:

Russia -- History -- Revolution, 1905-1907 -- Sources
Serfdom -- Russia -- History -- Sources
Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitelʹno-trudovykh lagereĭ OGPU -- History -- Sources
GULag NKVD -- History -- Sources

For memoiristic or biographical accounts (including autobiographical accounts), the Library of Congress Subject Headings add the element "personal narratives" or "biographies." When searching for publications of or about primary sources, add the term "sources" (or narratives or biographies) to your subject terminology in a subject search:



Descriptors in Russian library catalogs will generally add "документы", "материалы" or "источники" to the subject terminology to designate publications of or about primary sources.





Primary Sources Online

Электронная библиотека ГПИБ
The digital library of the Russian State Public Historical Library offers access to digitizations of a broad range of historical primary source material.


Электронные коллекции Российской национальной библиотеки
The electronic collections of the Russian National Library are a very rich source for digitized historical sources in a broad range of categories. The RNL also has a very useful set of Bibliographic and Reference Resources for navigating online collections, including a very valuable resource for navigating online digital copies of newspaper issues.


The online library published by the Nekrasov Library in Moscow.


Hathi Trust
Hathi Trust is an inter-institutional repository of digital copies of print publications. Many of North Americal's largest research institutions contribute digital copies of their print holdings to Hathi Trust. Always sign in with your Princeton credentials to ensure access to all in-copyright content available to Princeton affiliates.


EastView Universal Databases
EastView has digital archives of many Soviet-era publications, including Вестник Европы, Правда, Известия, Литературная газета, Советская культура, Крокодил. It also has a digital version of Current Digest of the Russian Press (formerly Current Digest of the Soviet Press) — an English-language digest of major news sources inside Russia/ the Soviet Union. The print version of the Digest is also available in Firestone.


Russian Imperial Newspapers (EastView Global Press Archive)
A fully searchable collection of 33 Russian newspapers of the Imperial era.


Научная педагогическая электронная библиотека (Научная педагогическая библиотека им. Ушинского)
The Ushinsky Academic and Pedagogical Library's online library provides access to a broad range of primary sources, first and foremost to the works of prominent Russian scientific and intellectual figures.


A site offering access to a broad array of historical source material.


Электронный архив Российской исторической статистики
A database of Russian historical statistics covering the period from the eighteenth century to the present. The database's primary focus is the socioeconomic history of Russia.


Онлайн кинотеатр Мосфильма
Much of the cinematic production of Mosfilm can be viewed in their online cinema.


Не болтай!
A vast online collection of Russian posters (primarily propaganda posters) dating anywhere from 1900 to the present. The online collection is based on an enormous private poster collection in Prague. Registering and obtaining login credentials is required to access the database, but is free of charge.


Guide to Open Access Digitized Historical News Sources from Slavic, East European and Eurasian Countries
A guide to freely available digitized historical news sources from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union curated by members of the East Coast Consortium of Slavic Library Collections.


Digital Princeton University Library
The Slavic Collections in the Digital Princeton University Library feature a variety of primary sources. including a collection of late-Soviet posters, print ephemera from the recent Ukraine crisis and its aftermath, early Soviet-era children's books, early-Soviet illustrated popular-song sheet music, and early twentieth century illustrated periodicals.