Inspektor Mors and Mis Marpl : the May 2020 Slavonic item(s) of the month

Having initially wanted our lockdown-era posts to focus on e-available material only, I am now going one step yet further away myself by writing about books held by the UL neither electronically nor physically…  This post instead looks at Slavonic translations of British detective fiction I have picked up for myself over the years.  Getting used to reading in another language can take time, and I for one found that worrying about the plot as well as the words really held me up.  What I came to discover was that reading a familiar detective novel translated into the language took the pressure off, and it’s a trick I have stuck to ever since. Continue reading

S3-figures and the January 2020 Slavonic items of the month

The introduction to the 1945 ‘Select classes classification’

The University Library’s classification schemes can sometimes seem designed to hinder rather than aid the reader.  This post looks at some recent and lovely East European additions to the S3-figure class and briefly explains its history and current use.

In the past, the Library produced publications about specific classification schemes, chiefly for staff but apparently also for sale (many have prices printed on them!).  From my predecessor as head of department, David Lowe, I inherited a third edition of Select books classification, published in 1945 in a print run of 100 copies following a first edition in 1925 and a second very shortly thereafter in 1926.

The S3-figure class was designed for ‘select books’ which didn’t already fall into one of the other ‘select classes’ covered by the pamphlet.  Most commonly, a ‘select book’ was, and still is, something extensively illustrated or very heavy (archaeology books and art catalogues often tick both boxes) which the Library would want to provide access to only in a supervised reading room.  The class traditionally held only hardbacks but we now add sturdy paperbacks to the sequence too.  The S3-figure class was originally applied in combination with a simplified version of the open-shelf 3-figure scheme, so a book about Russian history which would count as ‘select’ would have been given a classmark starting with S586 (since 586 is the main Russian history class).  About 15 years ago, the decision was made to stop the subject classification of S3-figure books, and now the classmark is standardly S950 and otherwise reflects only size and date of publications with a running number (eg S950.c.201.1).  As is the case with many classes in the UL, then, readers need to use the subject headings in catalogue records to trace subjects for titles added to the S3-figure class since that time.  This post looks at three new additions to the class which relate to East European art. Continue reading

Gareth Jones and the Holodomor : the November 2019 Slavonic items of the month

Yesterday evening, Cambridge Ukrainian Studies hosted a showing of the film ‘Mr Jones’.  Directed by award-winner Agnieszka Holland, the film tells the story of Gareth Jones, the journalist who reported on the Holodomor, the appalling famine which killed millions in Ukraine.  A pop-up exhibition of books from the UL and MMLL libraries was provided after the film, and the exhibits and captions are shown below.  Each title is linked to the item’s iDiscover record.  Please click on each image to enlarge it. Continue reading

Some Ukrainian summer arrivals : the August 2019 Slavonic items of the month

Each August for the last couple of years, we’ve drawn attention to recently received Ukrainian books.  Amongst this year’s titles is a wonderfully and mind-bogglingly detailed list of biographical details gleaned, chiefly from obituaries, from a newspaper printed in the city of Lemberg/Lwów/Lʹviv from 1880 to 1939.  Four sizeable volumes in, we have only reached 1904.

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Ukrainian bookplates : the January 2019 Slavonic item of the month

Among recent Ukrainian arrivals was a fine three-volume catalogue of bookplates in the V. Stefanyk National Academic Library of L’viv.  Over 12,000 ex-libris from the 20th and 21st centuries were presented to the Stefanyk library by the politician and academic Stepan Davymuk in 2014, and it is the Davymuk collection which is listed so carefully in this set.  Many book owners and ex-libris designers who feature in the catalogue are Ukrainian, but the collection also goes well beyond the country’s borders.

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