Search for Cyrillic items in the catalogue

The Lviv Bukvar’ or ‘Azbuka Ivana Fedorova’, Lviv, 1574

The following is a guide on searching for Cyrillic items in the catalogue.

Items written in the Cyrillic alphabet (in Slavonic and non-Slavonic languages) and acquired by the British Library before 1975 were catalogued partially in Cyrillic. Authors’ names were transliterated according to the British Museum scheme, corporate bodies (e.g. organisations and institutions) and uniform titles (a distinctive title under which different translations or varying titles of the same work are brought together) were transliterated according to various and sometimes mixed schemes, while main titles were entered into the catalogue in Cyrillic. After 1975 most British Library departments adopted the Library of Congress scheme, but a number of newspaper titles and science publications were still recorded using the BM scheme. For printed music publications all titles are transliterated by the Library of Congress scheme regardless of date of publication.

The most important differences between the two schemes of transliteration are:

  • Bulgarian letter ‘ъ’  (not final) - ă (BM scheme) and ŭ (LC scheme)
  • ‘Ӝ’ – missing (BM scheme) and j (LC scheme)
  • ‘Ы’ – ui (BM scheme) and y (LC scheme)
  • ‘Ю’ – yu (BM scheme) and iu (LC scheme)
  • ‘Я’ – ya (BM scheme) and ya (LC scheme)
  • Ukrainian ‘и’ – i (BM scheme) and y (LC  scheme)
  • Final ‘ий’ were transliterated according to the BM scheme as ‘y’ and final ‘ый’ as ‘uy’ (e.g. ‘Bednuy’, ‘Milyukov’, ‘kommunistichesky’, etc.)

Other differences will not significantly affect searches.

For searching in Cyrillic or for adding special characters (normally they do not affect searches) one can either switch languages in the Language Tool bar, use Open source floating keyboards or use Unicode tables. For pre-revolutionary Russian items it is important to remember to enter keywords and titles using the old spelling (e.g., the letter ‘ѣ’ and old forms of endings, such as ‘аго’ instead of the modern ‘ого’ ). The truncation mark "?" can be used to stand in for letters where the spelling is not certain. For older items it is recommended to run several searches trying to capture all possible variants of titles and names (e.g., Leo Tolstoy, Lev Tolstoi, Lew Tolstoj, etc.).

If you cannot find items that you believe should be in our collections, please contact us.

Collection guides

Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak collections

One of the leading research collections in the world for the study of Central Europe

Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Baltic collections

One of the leading research collections in the world for Slavonic and Baltic studies

The Yugoslav Wars 1991 to 1999

This collection relates to the armed conflicts in the Yugoslav republics between 1991 and 1999

Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian performing arts collections

We have an extensive collection of print and electronic material to support research in Film and Performing Arts Studies

South-East European collections

We have an extensive collection of library and archival material for the study of South-East Europe

The Tyrkova-Williams Collection

A collection of letters and papers of Harold Whitmore Williams and Ariadna Vladimirovna, neé Tyrkova.

Balkan academic publications

The British Library’s Balkan academic collection consists of academic works published in the Balkans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Russian and Soviet posters and postcards

Russian and Soviet posters and postcards from the 20th century

Yates Thompson manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts collected by Henry Yates Thompson

Russian statistical publications

A comprehensive collection of statistical publications from all over the world, including Russia

Russian avant-garde collections

An extensive collection of avant-garde books of the early 20th century

Georgian collections

About 8,000 volumes of printed books, periodicals and newspapers, and a range of other materials including manuscripts, maps, music scores and sound recordings.

Russia in the UK Web Archive Collection

Russia in the UK Special Collection, UK Web Archive

European philatelic material

Stamps, airmails and related material from the continent

India Office Records: Central Asia Resources

Central Asian resources in the archives of the East India Company and the pre-1947 government of India