IFLE - International and Foreign Language Education
Home Programs Search Conferences Contact Us FAQ & Help
Russian Periodical Index Digital Project   printer-friendly-version
Program: Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access
Award Number: P337A990011
Grant Period: 10/01/1999 - 09/30/2002
World Area: Russia/Eastern Europe
1999:  $80,000
2000:  $80,000
2001:  $117,000
Total:  $277,000
Institution: Indiana University-Bloomington
Project Director: Brancolini Kristine
1320 E. Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47402
Tel: 8128553710
Email: brancoli@indiana.edu
The Indiana University Digital Library Program proposes digitizing and offering on the World Wide Web a twenty-year portion of Letopis’ Zhurnal’nykh Statei (1956-1975), a serial publication that indexes Russian periodicals from 1926 to the present. It covers more than 1,700 journals, series, and continuing publications of academies, universities, and research institutes in humanities, sciences, and the social sciences. Yet it also covers the popular periodical literature. As one librarian describes it in a letter of support for this project, Letopis’ Zhurnal’nykh Statei is “the Russian language equivalent of Readers Guide, Humanities Index and Social Sciences Index combined.”

This project will use digital technology to organize, preserve, and widely disseminate this unique Russian information resource to students and scholars worldwide. The index is an invaluable reference work that, despite the vast range of topics it covers, is largely unavailable to scholars of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Only about 15 to 20 universities in the United States have back files or current subscriptions to it, and most of these holdings are incomplete. As a reference work, the index is not available via interlibrary loan. Even for those scholars fortunate enough to have access to selected parts of the series, the research can sometimes be more frustrating than rewarding. The journal series lacks an integrated index, and the indexes it does have are of various quality, appearing at different intervals and for different geographic regions. Searching for items manually is cumbersome and time-consuming. Digitizing Letopis’ Zhuranl’nykh Statei will make this extraordinary research tool highly searchable (by keyword, for example) and available worldwide via the Internet.

We propose digitizing the portion of the index that covers the years 1956-1975. These volumes cover an important historical period, yet were printed on highly acidic paper which has become extremely brittle. Consequently they now require preservation treatment. Earlier volumes have been reprinted, but those reprints end with 1955. Digital treatment will preserve the information recorded in the paper volumes, disseminate more widely that information, and vastly improve the searching capabilities. Although Letopis’ Zhurnal’nykh Statei is a rare and difficult-to-use periodical index, the periodicals indexed in the work are relatively accessible. Many major universities have extensive collections of these journals. Copies of articles are available through interlibrary loan.

Indiana University will scan all the pages of the volumes and convert them to computer text files using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. We then will encode the text following the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) guidelines, and provide keyword and other types of searching over the World Wide Web. The project will digitize approximately 250,000 pages of bibliographic entries and index entries. We propose establishing an informal partnership with ABBYY/BitSoft, the company that developed the Russian OCR software, Fine Reader 4.0. We will work with ABBYY/BitSoft to evaluate the software for this application - bibliographic data - providing input to them that might improve new releases of Fine Reader for future digital index projects.

Indiana University is perfectly suited to digitize Letopis’ Zhurnal’nykh Statei. Not only are the university’s programs in Russian and East European Studies among the finest in the United States, but the IU Digital Library Program has considerable expertise in projects of this type. Consider the university’s strengths: Indiana University is home to the highly regarded Russian and East European Institute, long a federally funded National Resource Center, that attracts students and faculty with exceptional Russian language skills. IU s Department of History has a particularly strong concentration of Russian specialists. And the IU Libraries Slavic Collection, comprising more than 550,000 volumes and 1,6000 serial subscriptions, provides unique reference works for scholars from around the nation and the world. Furthermore, the IU Digital Library Program has proven itself a leader in mounting large digital collections on the World Wide Web and providing sustained support for network access to these collections. Most notable is the Victorian Women Writers Project, a collection of SGML-encoded texts that has earned national awards and recognition. IU is a member of the Digital Library Federation and is currently administering an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to digitize textual, audio, and image collections.
Discipline: Subjects:
Technology management