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National Library of Russia, St Petersburg

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Historical note

The National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, founded in 1795, is one of the largest libraries not only in Russia but also in the world. Its Russian stocks comprise the world’s most complete book collection in the Russian, Ukrainian and Belorussian languages. The Library possesses a exceptionally rich collection of incunabula (over 6,000 items) and rare books (over 800,000 items), including early Russian printed books, the greatest collection of Peter the Great era books, the remarkable collections of books produced by Elseviers, Aldus Manutius, and their heirs. Hand press books are held in the main library and as special collections, e.g. Voltaire’s library.

Name and coverage of file

The first NLR file to become part of the HPB contains c. 18,361 records and covers:

  • all books published in Russia in West-European languages, printed between 1701-1800 and held in the NLR. The records are based on Сводный каталог книг на иностранных языках, изданных в России в XVIII веке . - Ленинград, 1984-1986. This printed union catalogue covers West-European languages (Latin, German, French, Italian, Greek etc.) books published in Russia in the 18th century. In some cases records have been checked and edited with the book in hand. The file covers academic works, fiction, poetry, libretti, and official publications.
  • all Russian language books published in Russia between 1725-1800 held in NLR. The file covers Russian books printed in 1725-1800 in the new civil Cyrillic script. The records are based on Сводный каталог русской книги гражданской печати XVIII века, 1725-1800. - Москва XVIII, 1962-1975. - Т. 1-5. Most of the records have been checked and edited with the book in hand and new details resulting from bibliographic research enhance the bibliographical descriptions.
  • The 1st Cadet Corps database. The Cadet Corps was instated in 1732, and the library was opened in the same year. By 1909 the library consisted of 15,000 books, containing 4,500 titles, and 365 cadets’ hand-written notebooks. Although the library was dispersed later, the larger part (6,822 items in foreign and European languages and 315 in Russian) is now kept as a separate collection at the NLR. The collection includes books, brochures, serials and brochures, as well as 13 records for 16th-century rare books belonging to the 1st Cadet Corps Library that contain sigla of the Library for foreign Literature, but now also held at the NLR. The bibliographic records consist of bibliographic descriptions, headings for personal and corporate bodies, uniform titles and call numbers, but also copy-specific information describing ex-libris, stamps, labels etc. The books were catalogued book-in-hand, and offer the possibility to study for example the characteristics of the 1st Cadet Corps Library, and historical-cultural contacts between Russia, the Baltic and West-European countries during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The database will be expanded with details of the Cadet Corps Library holdings currently held in other institutions when this information becomes available.

Mode of cataloguing

All books are described according to the modern Russian cataloguing rules based on ISBD. The records have been created parallel to retrospective catalogue conversion and the file was edited in order to conform to modern machine-readable full cataloguing formats. The original Russian orthography of the items is presented in modern orthography prescribed by cataloguing rules. The original West-European languages orthography as found on the title pages of the items is transcribed in the records. The language of cataloguing (physical description and notes areas) is Russian. Where it is different from the place name present on the title page the national form of a place of publication has been added to the bibliographical description. Personal names, uniform titles and names of corporate bodies have been used as headings for foreign books; for Russian books only personal name headings have been included.

Fields present/absent

The full cataloguing format has been used.

Treatment of multivolume works

Multivolume works are catalogued on two or more levels: the first level record describes the work as a whole, the second and subsequent levels records describe each volume.

Recommendations for searching

There should not be any limitations to the usual search strategies. Titles, authors, and place names are available as access points in both roman and Cyrillic scripts.


NLR will send regular updates for addition to HPB.

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 resources/hpb/content/national_library_of_russia_st_petersburg.txt · Last modified: 2013/08/22 16:19 by baldwin



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