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Eastern Europe Department

Collection Building

The Eastern Europe collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin includes literature from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece (since 1821), Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Sorbian language area, Ukraine, Hungary, Belarus (Byelorussia) and Cyprus. In addition, the department collects literature from the Sorbian language area, literature relating to Eastern Europe in Western European languages as well as literature in Eastern European languages from all other countries of the world.

The specialist focus of our Eastern Europe collection is on the humanities and social sciences.

Specialised Information Service Slavonic Studies

  • The Specialised Information Service as part of a DFG-funded programme for the research community acquires as comprehensively as possible: literature on languages and literature from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Sorbian language area in Germany.
  • The acquisition focuses on original-language literary texts as sources for research as well as scientific secondary literature and non-conventional literature, such as research, congress and conference reports or relevant publications of international organisations, government agencies, semi-governmental institutions and associations.
  • Translations of Slavic-language literary texts are acquired if they are of significance as a scientific edition or of historical significance. One emphasis is on translations into German.
  • Translations of scientific secondary literature from Slavic languages into common languages (i.e. mostly English or German) are purchased if they are meaningful or contain significant additions to scientific work.

Broad Selection

  • Reference literature: bibliographies, encyclopaedias, lexicons, dictionaries, address books, handbooks, etc., if they are of scientific interest for the humanities and social sciences.
  • Source literature: for literary sources, more comprehensive, critical literary editions as complete as possible, especially complete editions by Eastern European writers, legal and historical sources, especially the literary, legal and historical sources of the national minorities.
  • Research literature: scientific literature from the humanities and social sciences published in Eastern Europe and relating to Eastern Europe; enhanced acquisition of literature in minor languages.
  • Journals and academic series: primarily and in broad selection titles from the humanities and social sciences, including literary journals.
  • Biographies, commemorative publications, conference literature from the humanities and social sciences.

Refined Selection

  • Research literature: Western literature with relation to the region Eastern Europe; scientific literature from the humanities and social sciences published in Eastern Europe but without relation to the region Eastern Europe, according to the principle of greater depth of acquisition in geographically minor languages, in close selection from the geographically larger Eastern European Areas.
  • Study literature in the field of language and literature, history and law: literature of this kind in minor Eastern European languages in a relatively broad selection (e.g. Estonian or Albanian), as here scientific introductory literature is published only to a small extent; in the case of the widely used languages (e.g. Russian, Polish) only in narrow selection.
  • Statistics on economics, politics and social science.

Strict Selection

University textbooks for the humanities and social sciences in Eastern European languages, unless other scientific literature is published.

Not Considered

  • Popular and practical literature, books for the blind, timetables, company publications, unpublished dissertations and diploma papers, identical issues and editions, patent specifications, school books, theatre programmes, translations from Western European into Eastern European languages, offprints.
  • Scientific literature and study literature including journals, series, biographies, commemorative publications and conference publications on scientific disciplines, technology and medicine, insofar as there is no socio-scientific or historical reference.

Linguistic Aspects

The languages of publication for literature from Eastern Europe are the written languages of all the countries mentioned at the beginning; in relative terms, the depth of acquisition for literature in minor languages is greater. For literature from Western countries, publications in all Eastern European languages as well as works in German, English and French are purchased.

Regarding scientific literature in non-philological subjects in Eastern and Western European parallel editions, the German, English or French edition is purchased. Eastern European-related literature published in Western Europe, the USA and Canada in German, English or French takes precedence over literature in other Western languages.

Antiquarian Acquisitions

The retrospective collection growth plays an essential role for the Eastern Europe collection. The focus is on Slavic literary works from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as publications from Germany and other Western countries in Eastern European languages.

Acquisition Possibilities

Acquisition possibilities and the book markets in Eastern European countries are differently organized. In this context, long-term contacts with suppliers are used to secure the described depth of acquisitions and new opportunities are constantly being pursued. The book and publishing sector, e.g. in the Baltic countries, is well organized. In Russia, it is experiencing great dynamics with an increased focus on the publishing places of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Russia it is subject to a considerable dynamic with a stronger concentration on the publishing locations Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Developments outside these centres require more intensive cooperation with suppliers from the respective regions of origin. Regional and local armed conflicts have repeatedly had a negative impact on literary acquisition.

For these reasons, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin relies on an increasing variety of suppliers and also uses alternative possibilities for the acquisition of literature, e.g., via import traders and exchanges as well as via small suppliers and private persons who have contacts into the respective region. The conditions for the production and distribution of literature in Eastern Europe have improved considerably in recent years. Nevertheless, the acquisition principles mentioned above can only be put into practice at different levels varying from country to country.