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Open access materials

One of the things readers at Cambridge University Library most appreciate is the ability to wander amongst the bookstacks and retrieve material for themselves. Nevertheless, this is not a library where browsing is either easy or very efficient. Only one third of the collections are on open access, and open access material is arranged not only by subject, but also by size and by date of publication. The classification scheme has been revised and expanded over the years, with the result that two books on an identical subject can be classified in different places. Many books in series, moreover, are arranged with the series rather than under subject. If you are looking for material by a specific author or on a specific topic, you should always approach your search via the name or subject catalogue. See the PDF A Beginner's Guide to Newton

The Library's classification scheme is very idiosyncratic, the inheritance of past generations of librarians. In some areas it is very specific, in others very general. Items about former Soviet republics, for example, are placed within the wider Russian collection. Until recently there was no distinctive number for cinema, and still no attempt is made to arrange film books by country or linguistic area. What follows below, therefore, is an attempt to pinpoint those parts of the classification scheme which relate specifically to Slavonic language-speaking countries.


All works on Slavonic languages stand at 777-777.01.


As with the schemes for other major European languages, Slavonic literary texts are followed by related criticism.

General items on Slavonic literature can be found at 701.6.

Russian literature (756-757)

The main body of Russian literature classmarks is divided by genre. Each main genre section starts with general works covering more than one period, and then is subdivided into very broad periods: - to 1800, 1801-1900, 1901-1991, 1992-.

756.01- Series and general
756.2- Poetry
756.6- Drama
757.1- Prose (fiction and non-fiction)
757.2- Fiction
757.6- Non-fiction
757.97- Ballads, folk-tales, proverbs

Please note that, if an author writes in more than one genre, books by and about them will be classified in different places according to the main form/subject of the book.

A full account of the Russian literature section starts on page 36 of the PDF linked to here.

Other Slavonic literature (758)

The literature of other Slavonic languages are not subdivided by genre or by period. Instead, each section listed below is ordered into series, texts, and history and criticism.

758.11-15 Old Slavonic
758.21-25 Bulgarian
758.31-35 Serbian and Croatian
758.41-45 Czech and Slovak
758.51-55 Polish
758.61-65 Ukrainian*
758.81-85 Other Slavonic

*Please note that, until May 2011, Ukrainian literature was classified with Russian literature in classes 756-757. These classes are still used for Ukrainian nationals writing in Russian.

Russian history

Classification of Russian history incorporates a fairly detailed chronological breakdown. General works on Russian history are placed between 586.1 and 586.25. This includes Russian military history, which starts at 586.2. Works on specific periods are arranged as follows:

586.3 Early to 1613 General
586.33 1462-1605 Consolidation of Russia
586.35 1605-1613 Time of Troubles
586.4 1613-1917 House of Romanov; Modern history in general
586.45 1613-1689 17th century
586.5 1689-1725 Peter the Great
586.6 1762-1796 Catherine the Great. 18th century
586.7 1796-1914 19th century in general
586.78 1853-1856 Crimean War
586.8 1855-1917 Later Romanovs.For the Russo-Japanese war, see 626; for the period of World War I, 1914-1918, see 537.
586.9 1917-1922 Russian Revolution
586.92 1918-1982 Soviet Union, up to the death of Brezhnev
586.94 1918-1982 Biography of Soviet Union
586.95 1982-1992 Soviet Union, post Brezhnev period up to the collapse (including biography)
586.96 1992- Russian Federation; Commonwealth of Independent States; former Soviet Union as a whole
589.1   Constitutional history
589.2   Russian colonial empire

Thereafter follows a detailed classification scheme for the regional and local history of Russia. Works on general Russian topography stand at 588.1. Works on North Russia stand at 588.3; East Russia (as far as the Urals) at 588.25; Central Russia at 588.3; West Russia (including works on St Petersburg) at 588.35; and South Russia at 588.45. The history of Siberia and the Russian Far East stands at 621.1-621.22.

Russian constitutional history can be found at 589.1. Works on Russian civilisation (which covers areas such as antiquities, ethnography and the Russian colonial empire) stand at 588.5-589.2.

Ukrainian history

Again for reasons of the imperial roots of the classification system, Ukrainian history is found within the Russian history numbers, standing at 588.4 - and shares this number with Moldova.

Polish history

Polish history stands at 590, running from 590.1 (general history and sources) to 590.95 (constitutional history). Its chronological subdivisions are listed below.

590.3 To 1573  
590.32 1573-1795  
590.34 1773-1793 Partitions of Poland
590.36 1795-1918 19th century, 1795-1918
590.4 1918- 20th century, general 1918-1945
590.5 1945-1981  
590.6 1982-  

Other Slavonic history

The turbulent history of so much of the former Eastern bloc has resulted in a complicated classification approach. Below follows an attempt to clarify for the reader where various countries' histories can be found. The full library classification scheme can be read in this PDF

The history of Belarus stands, again for dated reasons, within Russian local history, sharing the 588.35 class mark with Western Russia.

The history of the Czech Republic stands at 610.3. That of Slovakia stands at 610.78. Both class marks are formally part of the larger Czechoslovakian history collection, which runs from 610.1. This also includes works on Bohemia (610.6-610.66), Moravia (610.72), Ruthenia (610.74), and Silesia (610.76).

South-eastern European states are accommodated at the Library within the overarching Balkans section. This starts with a general section (starting at 611.1), running chronologically from early history (611.2) to the 1912-13 Balkan war (611.42). This leads to the history of Yugoslavia (612.1-612.65), which includes some works relating to the period since its break-up, where the work relates to the former Yugoslavian states collectively (612.4). The history of Macedonia stands at 612.75; Bosnia-Herzegovina at 612.7; Croatia at 612.72-612.74 (including Dalmatia); Slovenia at 612.76; and Montenegro at 613.5-613.52. The history of Serbia has a greater level of detailed subdivision. It runs from 613.1 (general history), through early history (to 1549, at 613.16) to the current period (1992-, at 613.28).

The history of Bulgaria runs from 616.1 to 616.95. Its chronological subdivisions are: early, to 1398 (616.2), 1398-1762 (616.22), 1762-1879 (616.24), 1879-1918 (616.26), 1918-1989 (616.3), 1945-1989 (specifically the Communist regime, 616.4), and 1990- (616.5). Books on the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian war are stored in the Serbian history section at 613.26.

Russian Orthodox Church

Books on the Russian Orthodox Church, its history, organisation, and relevant biographies, can be found at 67.7.

Russian art

Within the Library's fine arts book collection (which runs from 400.01 to 410.9), books relating to Russian art are placed under general European headings. The full fine arts classification scheme can be read in this PDF.