Cambridge University Library’s trial of RetroNews (French historical newspapers database)

Cambridge University Libraries just started a one-month trial of RetroNews, a database from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which provides access to about 2000 (primarily French) newspaper titles published between 1631 and 1950. Part of its content is available only by subscription, in contrast to the BnF’s freely accessible material on its digital library Gallica (only 150 of the 2000 RetroNews titles are also available on Gallica).

Retronews "A la une"

The subscription to RetroNews offers advanced access to the digitised periodicals and advanced search functions, in particular the option to download results in pdf or text format. It should also be possible to extract search results in csv or xls format; and to request the extraction of text and metadata of a specific search. RetroNews provides access to 4000 items of new editorial content produced by academics and journalists, including articles, interviews, videos, and podcasts / readings of the newspaper pieces by professional actors. Continue reading

French historical and literary sources in large online databases

Cambridge University Library subscribes to many large literary and historical databases: their sources are mainly in English, but they also contain foreign language material. Gale Primary Sources, which encompasses 26 thematic databases, contains lots of resources in French, as well as other languages. They can be accessed on your device anywhere within the University, and from home with the University of Cambridge VPN.

The database Archives unbound is particularly interesting for its primary historical material. It covers “topics” such as African Studies; British and European History; Business and Economic History; Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Law, Politics, and Radical Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Religious Studies, as well as many others. Continue reading

New CAIRN Francophone ebooks available through Cambridge University Library

CAIRN is a Francophone online platform originally founded by four French and Belgian publishers: Belin, De Boeck, La Découverte and Erès, focusing on social sciences and humanities periodicals. More recent partners include the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the University of Liège and the Centre National du Livre. In the past few years, especially since COVID (when the platform offered the library free access to all their ebooks for the month of May 2020), we started acquiring CAIRN ebooks, as well as receiving statistics about our readers’ attempts to access ebook titles on the platform.

CAIRN ebooks

Based on these information, and in order to continue diversifying the range of French and Francophone material available to our readers, while also taking into account the pricing of the ebooks, we recently made a bulk purchase of more than 200 titles selected from the Cairn catalogue, including both new and older publications that we did not already have in print. Members of Cambridge University Library now have access to about 450 CAIRN ebooks titles, available through Raven, either on iDiscover, or directly on the CAIRN platform and other websites, if you use the Lean library plugin. We are now in the process of upgrading online catalogue records for the newly acquired ebooks, which includes adding subject headings.  Continue reading

Ukraine and films in the Klassiki database : the August 2022 Slavonic items of the month

Last year, Cambridge University Libraries started providing access to the Klassiki database of films from Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.  The subscription was started specifically to support courses taught under the auspices of Film Studies and/or Slavonic Studies.  In its own words: “Klassiki hosts a highly curated permanent collection of films that represent the best of classic filmmaking from the region. We also offer a brand new ‘Pick of the Week’ contemporary title, selected by the curatorial team. Each of our films are accompanied by programme notes, journal essays, newly commissioned subtitles and online interviews with the best filmmakers from the region.”

In terms of Ukraine, the Klassiki database currently has 6 films in its Ukraine section.  It did have a 7th – the documentary film Mariupolis (2016) directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius.  As readers will probably already know, that film was about the experience of Mariupolʹ under fire from Russian-backed separatists, and its director was tragically murdered there this year in March, a victim of the 2022 full-scale war.  He had been in the city to make a sequel.  The 2016 film is no longer on Klassiki, since ARTE.tv have been able to license it to make it fully and freely available on YouTube here.  Kvedaravičius’ 2013 Cambridge PhD thesis, Knots of absence : death, dreams, and disappearances at the limits of law in the counter-terrorism zone of Chechnya, is at the Haddon Library and in the Library Storage Facility, and here is his home department’s tribute to him.

The Ukrainian films on Klassiki were made in Ukraine and chiefly by Ukrainian directors, with one in Ukrainian (and Hutsul), two silent, and three in Russian.  They include two films by Kira Muratova, two by Oleksandr Dovz︠h︡enko, one by Serhiĭ Paradz︠h︡anov (Sergei Parajanov here), and one by Marlen Khut︠s︡iev (who Cambridge was fortunate enough to host in a 2014 visit).  The films’ descriptions from Klassiki follow. Continue reading

Ukraine and anti-war Russians in ‘Novaia Gazeta’

The first stanza of Bykov’s poem.

Subscribers to this blog will have seen a reblog earlier in the week from the CUL Electronic Collections Management site announcing access to the Russian-language newspaper Novaia Gazeta.

The Russian war against Ukraine was not only the focus of the paper in its final weeks in Russia before it closed but of course also the reason for its closure, as Russian governmental pressure relating to the so-called “special military operation” made it impossible for the newspaper to perform its duties properly.

The paper appears three times in our A-Z databases list (all three here) because East View, the platform via which we have access, provides the years 1994-2021 as a single digital archive, while providing access to the first few months of 2022 as another, and the new Europe edition as a third.  The Europe edition started in Riga in early May, while the last Russian edition appeared in late March, a few days before the atrocities committed in Bucha were revealed.  The latest horrors, including the torture of a Ukrainian POW, are now covered in the most recent Europe issue (but note that an ’18+’ tag is applied to articles with distressing images – take the warning seriously). Continue reading