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Subject Guide for Slavic Studies

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The Slavic Languages and Literature Collection at the University of Colorado focuses in the greatest depth on Russia and Russian-language materials, as it is built to support the academic needs of the current Slavic Department faculty and students.

Materials in the Slavic collections are predominantly in English or Russian, but also include items in regional languages, as well as Arabic, French, and German.

The Slavic collecting scope includes literature from predominantly 19th through 21st century writers, with a divided focus between the Classics and emerging authors. Also included are folklore and fairy tales, poetry, film and theatre studies, linguistics, grammar, and Russian language pedagogy.

  • Research Tips
    & Finding Books
  • Articles, Databases
    & Websites
  • Reference
  • Language Study
  • Archives &
    Special Collections

Slavic Language and Literature, in both English and the original languages, will be found in the Norlin Stacks primarily under call numbers beginning with PG and PH.

To find books and journals, search in Chinook.

To find articles, search our databases OR see the list of recommended databases for Slavic materials by clicking on the “databases” tab above.

+ General Tips on Searching

To conduct a specific search for a known author or title, choose that category in the drop-down box in Chinook.

Sample Author Search: Chekhov



To search for a book on a specific subject, use subject headings. Subject headings are like tags that have been formally assigned to a topic, theme, or person. If a work is about an author, you may use their name in a subject search.

Author as Subject Search: Tolstoy



If you are uncertain of the exact subject heading to use, try a keyword search first and see what sorts of headings are attached to the books listed. To find other books on the same subject, click on their hyperlinked headings, or use one of their headings in a subject search.

+ Slavic Research Tips
There are several different ways of transliterating cyrillic letters and other accents not found on American keyboards. The multiple different transliteration systems mean that Slavic names will often have different spellings in English. This is why one may see any of the following: Dostoevskii, Dostoevsky, Dostoyevskii, and Dostoyevsky.

To control for spelling differences--and to include titles with “Dostoevskogo”--use a wild card (*) for the non-standard vowels. Note the different spelling in the book title and official subject heading below.

Wildcard Search: Dostoevsky


Alternately, you may use the Library of Congress Transliteration schedules found here:


+Other non-Roman languages


+ Helpful Subject Headings
The following are examples of common subject heading constructions. You may replace “Russia” with any country name, or add on additional descriptive terms as they are discovered through seaching. Generally one may also add, omit, or change century information.

Russia – History
Russia – History – 19th Century
Russia – History – Peter I, 1689-1725
Soviet Union – History – Revolution, 1917-1921
Russian Fiction
Russian Literature – 20th Century
Russian Literature – 18th Century – History and Criticism
Russian Literature – Periodicals
Folklore – Russia
Russian language - Grammar
Newspapers – Russia
St. Petersburg (Russia) - Newspapers


+ Finding eBooks

The Library’s collection of eBooks continues to grow, and researchers will find a number of useful Slavic titles amongst these collections.

For very helpful instructions on searching for eBooks, see our How Do I…Use Electronic Books? Page

The following are a few titles of particular interest to CU Slavic students:

There are many options for finding articles, journals, and newspapers on Slavic topics. If you know a specific journal or newspaper title that is pertinent to your research, simply search for that title in Chinook.

If you want to browse for journals or newspapers on a particular topic or from a particular region, go to the Chinook Advanced Search page. If you are searching for a journal on Polish literature, for example, you would conduct a subject search for “Polish literature,” and under the category “Material Type” select “Journals/Serials” in the dropdown box.


Journal Search: Polish Literature


You will find many journals, as well as Slavic newspapers, housed on the second floor of the library. Current newspapers and other periodicals (journals, newsletters, and the like) are found in the same room as the Research Desk. Older materials have been bound together as books, and are located on the south side of the second floor, or at offsite storage at PASCAL.

Items held at PASCAL may be requested for delivery to Norlin, or you may request that an electronic copy of a particular chapter or article be emailed directly to you. For more information on requesting items from PASCAL see How Do I Request Items from PASCAL?

Many of our journals and newspapers are available online as well. An online journal will be indicated in the Chinook catalog record, providing direct access. To browse databases and journals by title or subject, see the Research & Subject Guides page.

+ Articles & Databases: Best Resources for Slavic Research

The following selected databases are useful for Slavic research topics.

--ABSEES: American Bibliography of Slavic & East European Studies:
A helpful database of citations to journal articles, books, book reviews, and dissertations. Results occasionally include an attached pdf with the full text of an article, but more often researchers will need to record the citation information, and then search for the items in Chinook. ABSEES Visual Search option is helpful to narrow large numbers of search results to a more manageable collection.

--Academic Search Premier:
ASP Provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. Contains indexing for over 8,000 publications, with full text for more than 4,450 of those titles.

-- America History & Life:
America: History & Life with Full Text is a database of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. This source is useful for research on Slavic populations and culture in America, as well as American responses to the Slavic regions of the world. Includes an international perspective on topics and events, including abstracts in English of articles published in more than 40 languages.

--EuroDocs: Online source for European history :
Collected links from various sources, providing access to select primary source documents (transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated) arranged chronologically by country and historical period.

-- Historical Abstracts with Full Text:
Historical Abstracts with Full Text is a resource that covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 forward, including world history, military history, women’s history, history of education, and much more.

-- H-Net Reviews:
H-Net Reviews provides online access to the scholarly review journal "H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences." Note that reviews are published online via discussion networks and archived on the site.

JSTOR provides image and full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in history, economics, political science, demography, mathematics and other fields of the humanities and social sciences. Covers a number of general resources on Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

--Making of the Modern World:
This online library offers instant access to the theories, practices, and consequences of economic and business activity in the West, from the last half of the 15th century to the mid-19th century.

--MLA International Bibliography:
This database will provide a list of articles on your subject, listed by article title. The journal in which each article appears will be listed under the category “Source.” Once you have this information you may search for the journal in Chinook, remembering to use the journal title and not the article title listed in MLA.

--Oxford Reference Online: Premium Collection:
The Core Collection contains about 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press. The Premium Collection expands the Core Collection with key titles from the Oxford Companions Series, plus the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. This adds up to an additional 140,000 entries. Search dictionary, encyclopedia, timeline, maps, and quotations on a iety of subjects. Contains bilingual dictionaries as well.

--Project MUSE:
Full-text articles from over 300 high quality humanities, arts, and social sciences journals from 60 scholarly publishers.

-- Social Sciences Citation Index:
SSCI is a multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the social sciences. This source tracks citations of authors’ works in other publications, offering abstracts and evaluating each article’s impact factor. This source is a helpful way to trace the path and spread of ideas from one scholar outwards.

--World War I Collection:
The WWI Collection offers a rich array of primary-source material relating to the War selected from the World War I "Pamphlets" Collection housed in the CU Archives. The collection consists of over 1,200 individual titles representing a staggering range of genres, authors, geopolitical units, and subject matter.

+ Open Access Journals

For a current list of Open Access journals currently published in Russia, see the list provided by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
+ Dissertations

PhD dissertations and Master's theses are often useful sources, but are more difficult to find than traditionally-published articles or books. The following are databases that should be helpful to researchers interested in locating and obtaining these types of documents.

--Russian State Library, Digital Library Dissertations:
Locate Russian dissertations. While this site does not permit access outside of Russian State Library Reading Rooms and partner libraries, their catalog is helpful for locating titles you may wish to request through CU Inter-Library Loan.

-- ProQuest Dissertations & Theses:
Includes citations for dissertations ranging from 1861 to those accepted last semester. Provides abstracts of dissertations and some master's theses from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and, to a lesser and more selective extent, other countries. Features abstracts and previews, but not full-text access. This source is helpful for locating titles you may wish to request through CU Inter-Library Loan.

+ Websites


The Reference collection is housed on the second floor of Norlin Library, near the Research Desk.

+ Dictionaries

The libraries hold more than 400 Russian dictionaries that give definitions and translate from Russian into other languages and vice versa, as well as dictionaries specific to a particular topic or field. The following subject headings should be helpful in finding a list of these dictionaries:


Russian language -- Dictionaries -- English
English language -- Dictionaries -- Russian

For help translating:

  • Google Translate: Includes a Cyrillic keyboard and phonetic typing option in the Roman alphabet. Warning: Translations are often awkward or not entirely accurate, however the phonetic typing is very helpful if you are uncertain of the proper Cyrillic spelling of a word.

  • PROMT Translator: Includes a Cyrillic keyboard. Generally produces highly reliable translations.
+ Biographical Dictionaries

These selected sources contain detailed biographies on tens of thousands of individuals and historic events, spanning a period of several hundred years, and covering the globe. Arranged alphabetically by name.

--Biography & Genealogy Master Index:
Indexes current and retrospective reference sources on individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world. Comprehensive index to nearly 12 million biographical sketches in more than 2700 reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures worldwide. From this database one may identify other sources to investigate.


--Dictionary of Literary Biography:
Contains the text of a number of different published literary biographical dictionaries focused on Russian artists and authors, covering the late 1600s through the early 2000s. Also included are 20th Century Russian émigré authors.

--The Dictionary of World History:
This wide-ranging dictionary contains a wealth of information on all aspects of history, from prehistory right up to the present day. It includes biographies of key world figures, historical summaries for each country, and entries on religious and political movements, international organizations, and key battles and places. The second edition has been thoroughly updated to include recent changes in world affairs.

--Who’s Who in the Twentieth Century:
A dictionary of twentieth century world biography.


+ Encyclopedias, Indexes, & Guides

This is a small sampling of encyclopedias likely to be useful for CU Slavic researchers.

--Encyclopedia of Russian and Slavic Myth and Legend

--Encyclopedia of Russian History

--Index Translationium:
Trying to determine if a book originally written in a foreign language has been translated into English, or any other language for that matter? This index is a great source for publication information on translations.

--Reference Guide to Russian Literature:
Arranged by author's name, and within each section are descriptions of the author's major works, with plot summaries from their most important pieces. This guide will list what translations were published in English; particularly useful for short story authors.

--Slavic Studies : a Guide to Bibliographies, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks



Listed are several different sources that should prove useful to students of Russian language. Many of the websites and programs listed below are not hosted by the university, nor do they comprise library collection resources. These are merely suggestions for students looking to enhance their study of the language.

--ALTEC (Anderson Language Technology Center):
Located in the Hellems building on the Boulder Campus, the ALTEC lab and library provide resources for students of foreign languages. ALTEC facilities include computers for language students to write in their language of study, multi-media classrooms with state of the art equipment, and a library of over 3000 films, audio recordings, and software from around the world. Slavic regional languages offered include: Czech, Kyrgyzstani, Polish, and Russian.

For high level Russian speakers. Review & test your grammar, post questions about language usage (ex: Как правильно: на Украине или в Украине?) and difficult words (ex: How do you translate “Ave Maria?”), listen to audio presentations on the origins of Russian words, see biographies & full-text examples of major authors’ shorter works (Ancient Russia to 20th Century), and even play games.

--Mango Languages:
Mango Languages is a self-directed language instruction program that focuses on everyday conversational skills. The program offers instruction in 16 languages, including Russian. Users must have a public library card to use this database.

Owned by Gazprom Media, RuTube.ru is an online video sharing site similar in purpose and practice to YouTube.com.

Searching for Russian songs, language, or grammar lessons will generate a large number of videos. Some videos will include subtitles in Russian or English, or you may chose the closed captioning (cc) option in your search query: “Russian songs, cc.”

Once you are watching a video with closed captioning options, clicking on the “cc” icon at the bottom of the screen will give you the additional option of setting "Translate captions" into any language. While it is nice to be able to follow the words, this feature is still in Beta form and is not always an exact translation or transcription.

  • Only4Russian: a particularly useful YouTube channel for more advanced language students. At the time of this writing, this channel has 80 videos posted featuring famous Russian songs with faithful Russian subtitles to read while you listen.

--Free Apps:

  • Learn Russian with busuu.com:
    Available for Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, this program is helpful for students in their first year of Russian. The app features interactive language and grammar exercises, complete with images, audio recordings and English translations of the words and phrases being taught. The first five units in each learning level are free, however there are additional fees per unit thereafter.
  • DICT EN-RU Free Edition:
    Available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Useful for quick look-ups of English words for translation into Russian, however does not provide Russian keyboard for the reverse.
+ Archives

This is a listing of collections held in the Norlin Library Archives at the University of Colorado, Boulder, which pertain in significant part to individuals and organizations related to Russia and Russians, and to the former Soviet states and satellite countries. While several of the collections are not entirely dedicated to Slavic regions, they do contain significant portions of relevant records.

Finding archival material at CU:

--Guide to Manuscript Collections, 7th Ed., 2008:
The most recent list of all Archives collections, complete with abstracts.

--Rocky Mountain Online Archives (RMOA):
While not all Archives finding aids are currently available online, researchers will find a growing collection on RMOA. This source is particularly useful for searching keyword terms across collections.

Researchers are also advised to review the card catalogs in the Archives Reading Room for additional small manuscript collections, files, photographs, and pamphlets. These smaller collections primarily contain material related to the history of Russians and other Slavs in Colorado, and their role in the sugar beet and mining industries. While there are not currently significant collections on many of the former Soviet states and satellites, there is some material in these smaller collections on Czechs, Volga Germans (German Russians), and Slovaks.

Finally, while there is some thematic overlap, collections related to Communism in the United States have not been included on this list.

To find information on the procedures and hours of operation for accessing these materials, please see the Archives website.



  • Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. Organizational Records of the International Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 1915 to present
  • Guide 1, Guide 2, Final guide available in the Archives


  • Dyer-Benjovsky Family Papers, 1870s-1960s
  • Guide available in Archives.

Russia & U.S.S.R.

  • Boulder Action for Soviet Jews Records, 1980s-1990s
  • Survey available in the Archives.
  • Campbell, Robert Papers, 1808-1851

  • Center for Human Rights Advocacy Records, 1989-2010
  • This collection is unprocessed.
  • Colorado Committee of Concern For Soviet Jewry Records, 1970-1996
  • Preliminary inventory available in Archives.
  • Committee of Concerned Scientists, Papers of Dr. Melvin Pomerantz, 1972-1994
  • Preliminary inventory available in the Archives.
  • Divided Spouses Coalition Records, 1983-1992
  • Guide available in the Archives.
  • Riha, Thomas Papers, 1943-1969
  • Preliminary inventory available in the Archives.
  • Soviet Propaganda Posters, 1930s-1950s
  • This collection is unprocessed.
  • Sputnik Clippings Collection, 1957-1958

  • World Peace Council Records, 1978-1990
  • Preliminary inventory available in the Archives.


  • Babi Yar Park, Denver. Records, 1978-1991
  • This collection is unprocessed.
  • Porzhy-Olksiienko, Petro Photograph Collection, 1924-1959
  • Preliminary inventory available in the Archives.

Other Archival Resources:


+ Special Collections

Slavic resources in Special Collections primarily consist of Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Czech materials. Highlights of the Special Collections holdings include compilations of folk and fairy tales, bibles, Mountaineering Collection books related to exploration in Siberia and Central Asia, examples of Soviet Realism in literature, books on the 1939 siege of Warsaw, books on art and artists, and photo books containing images ranging from World War II photos to images of Ballet Russes performers.

Finding Slavic Special Collections materials at CU:

--Bibliography of Special Collections Slavic Language and Literature Materials


--Rare books Slavica in the University of Colorado Libraries, Boulder, Colorado


--The Rocky Mountain Online Archives

--Special Collections department card catalog and finding guides.

To find information on the procedures and hours of operation for accessing these materials, please see the Special Collections website.



Subscribe to our RSS feed to learn about new books as they come to the library: http://libraries.colorado.edu/screens/newtitles_slavic.html.

For more detailed resources on Central and Eastern Europe, see the Subject Guide for Central & Eastern European Studies.

Additional Assistance: The Subject Specialist for Slavic Language and Literature is available for individual consultations and research assistance. Please see the list of Subject Specialists for office hours and contact information.


/created May 2012