‘Sovetskaia kul’tura’ digital archive

Thanks to strong support from academics and students following the February blog post advertising trial access to the Sovetskaia kul'tura digital archive, the University Library's Accessions Committee agreed to purchase permanent access to the archive, with financial support from money left to the Library by Dr Catherine Cooke.  The purchase was made later in the spring, but it is only in the last few weeks that the digital archive has been fully updated from the pre-purchase state it had been in.

SK stamp section_20140624

Screenshot of the philately section of the 25 June 1964 issue of Sovetskaia kul’tura.

The archive contains as full a set as East View have so far been able to amass of the various titles under which the current weekly newspaper Kul'tura has been published.  The earliest title was Rabochii i iskusstvo (Worker and art), which started in 1929, followed by Sovetskoe iskusstvo (Soviet art); this title ran from 1931-1953, with the exception of some of 1942-1944 when Literatura i iskusstvo (Literature and art) was used instead), and Sovetskaia kul'tura (Soviet culture; this ran to 1991, after which the current name, Kul'tura (Culture), was adopted).  Any gaps in the collection are detailed within each title's main page, but East View assure us that the search for all remaining copies and also for better copies of issues which have scanned poorly will continue.  As with other East View digital archives, the Sovetskaia kul'tura archive contains scanned pages which are text-searchable in Cyrillic and in transliteration.

As several of the comments sent to us in support pointed out, the Sovetskaia kul’tura digital archive is an important complement to our existing digital resources relating to Soviet and post-Soviet culture.  One reader in particular emphasised the wide-ranging coverage of the journal, “literature, theatre, cinema, music - and wider socio-cultural issues (performance, popular science, sport, etc.)".  The illustration for this article is an example of this breadth.  It is a screenshot from a Sovetskaia kul'tura issue from 50 years ago, for 25 June 1964.  It shows a small section which appears at the bottom of the last issue's four pages.  Called Ugolok filatelista (Philatelist's corner), it gives an update on recent issues of commemorative stamps.  The stamp shown celebrates the 150th anniversary of Azerbaijan's incorporation into the Russian empire.   The article then goes on to list 14 other new stamps all dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Moscow's zoo.  Each stamp (Elephant, Panda, Polar bear, etc) is listed with its price and its colours (the elephant stamp, for example, features grey, black, and red-orange).

The archive can be accessed by readers in the Cam domain or via a University of Cambridge Raven account through the databases pages of the University Library - follow this link
It has also been added to this page in the University Library Slavonic webpages, where details of similar periodical backfiles can be found.

We are extremely grateful to our readers for the contributions they wrote backing the purchase of the Sovetskaia kul’tura archive.  With increasing pressure on budgets, it is crucial for us to have the active support of students and academics for such resources.

Mel Bach

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