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The vast majority of Slavonic acquisitions made by the Library are in Russian, Ukrainian and Polish, as the three Slavonic languages actively taught in the University today. Of the other Slavonic languages, Czech and Slovak have historically been strongly represented in the collections (the Library has got over 16,000 items in Czech alone). Of the non-Slavonic east European languages, Hungarian is also historically well-represented, for the same reason. Since the university discontinued the teaching of these languages, however, there has been less justification for continuing to acquire material on the previous scale. The coverage of material in languages which have never been taught by the university is very restricted.

The Library's Collection development policy offers a detailed insight into acquisition policies. What follows is a summary of that document, in as far as it pertains to Slavonic materials.

Regional studies

Russia etc., Baltic States. Material is acquired extensively in English, Russian and German, with some more selective purchasing in French. All periods of Russian and Soviet history are covered. Areas of particular importance include the history of Anglo-Russian relations, medieval Russian and Ukrainian history and 18th century Russian history and culture. Russian and Soviet archaeology, including Central Asia and the Caucasus, is also collected extensively. Purchases in the languages of the Baltic States are minimal.

Poland. Material is acquired extensively in English, Polish and German, with more selective purchases in French and Russian.

Czech and Slovak Republics. Material is acquired selectively in English, German, Czech and Slovak, with some purchases also in Russian. There is particular emphasis on the Holy Roman Empire and Habsburg periods.

Balkans. Material is collected extensively in English and German, especially on the Habsburg period, with very selective purchasing in the languages of the area and in Russian. Coverage in Albanian is even more restricted. Local studies are not normally collected. An area of special importance is the break-up of Yugoslavia and the continuing crisis, including scholarly publications in major languages, and journalistic works based on eyewitness testimony.

Asia, General. Material is acquired extensively on Asia in general. Works on Siberia, the Russian Far East and Central Asia are acquired mainly in English and Russian.

Polar Regions. Historical works on the polar regions are acquired, mainly in English, Russian and the Scandinavian languages. The holdings of the Scott Polar Research Institute are taken into account.


The University Library aspires to extensive coverage of works by and on authors of established reputation in those modern Slavonic languages which are taught in the University, viz. Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. For Czech and Slovak, the Slavonic languages which were formerly taught in the university, but which have been discontinued, the same depth of coverage is no longer justified and very little material is now added to the collections. There is no systematic collection of works in or about other Slavonic languages, although the works of a small number of clearly established authors, with an international reputation, may be acquired in the original language, in English, or in translation into another more accessible language (e.g. French), if an English translation is not available.


Works on the grammar, history and sociolinguistics of the taught Slavonic languages are acquired extensively. However, works specifically on the southern Slavonic languages, are acquired more selectively.

The arts

The Library's music collection builds on and extends an extensive coverage of books of music on all topics treated in an academic or serious manner. Russian is well represented, particularly in biographies.

Scholarly works of art history, biography and the theory and philosophy of art are acquired extensively in Russian. Exhibition catalogues and catalogues of collections or galleries are acquired to maintain a collection of the catalogues of major galleries, major exhibitions and any exhibitions of recognised major artists, although the Library's preferred language for catalogues is English.

Slavonic academic works on the performing arts are acquired primarily in Russian.


The categories above cover the majority of Slavonic material acquired by the Library, but items on other subjects are often acquired, primarily in Russian. For example, the Library has substantial Russian holdings on the eastern churches and on military science.