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Russian books and periodicals available in digital format

As a result of a large-scale digitisation project we have digitised about 6000 items from our collection of 19th-century printed books. This includes about 500 Russian books – published in Russia or in the Russian language.

To find out what books from the British Library collections are available electronically free of charge, please search on Explore the British Library. Most of the books are coded by language, so if you choose to limit your search by language, simply choose “Russian” from the drop-down menu. However, you would need to know something else about the books you are looking for (e.g., author, title, place or date of publication). Please bear in mind that the titles and headings should be searched in Cyrillic. We are trying to update old records, but due to the size of the collection this project might take quite some time to complete.

The British Library also subscribes to a number of electronic resources, which are listed among other Slavonic and East European electronic resources. Some of these databases are bibliographic databases, and others – give access to the full-text material. The databases published by East View contain current periodicals and statistical publications. Integrum not only provides access to full-text periodicals, but also to some reference and born-digital material. A small collection of electronic books (mostly Russian classics) is also available from the Integrum database:

 

Cover of LEF, 1 March 1923

Cover of LEF, 1 March 1923

At the moment the British Library subscribes to four full-text databases of printed material and one archival database published by IDC within the series Mass Culture & Entertainment in Russia. Their databases give access to collections of extremely rare material: page-by-page scans of old Russian books and serials related to film, theatre and sports.

There are numerous full-text databases that contain Russian-language material. They may be freely available or contain a mixture of free and charged resources. One does not need to be a BL reader to get access to them. We always welcome any suggestions on what electronic resources we should subscribe to in order to help our users. Every suggestion or comment will be considered, but only resources within our scope and budget can be purchased.

Here is a very select list of such resources and useful links

Russian libraries also try to create electronic libraries and digitise their resources. If you cannot find a Russian book in the British Library or any other UK library, it is always worth checking on the websites of the major Russian libraries, but please bear in mind that most of them would only digitise their collections of material not covered by copyright, so one should not really expect to find the most recent publications in such digital collections.

It is sometimes useful to check the databases and portals aimed at students studying in the Russian Federation:

Some research level publications also could be found on the internet: 

The database of patents Роспатент  is entirely commercial, but a test version is available for free.

The analytical portal Public.RU - Интернет-библиотека СМИ is a charged resource which specialises in providing analytical summaries on topics discussed in the Russian-language media. It might be useful if information is needed quickly and in a structured way. 

Russian literature online was and still is a subject of both public controversy and scholarly research. You might be interested to read Henrike Scmidt’s article  («Holy Cow» and «Eternal Flame». Russian Online Libraries In: Kultura. 1/2009. February) on this subject. Here is a short list of the most famous on-line libraries:

The International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) published on their website a list of digitisation projects that are being carried out in different countries, including Russia.

Some current periodicals can also be accessed free online.

Zhurnal’nyi zal – is a well-known and well-established collection of current journals, free, but not all the materials are available in a full-text version. This is the most comprehensive collection of current Russian periodicals.

Here are some examples of individual titles:

Contact

Katya Rogatchevskaia, Lead Curator, Russian Studies
European Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7587

E-mail: katya.rogatchevskaia@bl.uk

Peter W. Hellyer, Curator, Russian Studies
European Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7582

E-mail: peter.hellyer@bl.uk