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We are excited to share our new Library catalog and search tool! We hope that you will find it easy to search and explore our collections. If you need help, have questions, or want to share feedback, visit the Ask a Librarian page.

Russian Studies

Search tip: Transliteration

When searching for Russian language sources in Vassar's catalog, and many other online resources, you will need to transliterate the Russian text. That is, you will have to transform the Cyrillic alphabet characters into Latin alphabet characters. Though many transliteration schemes exist, the Library of Congress uses standard transliteration tables for all non-Latin alphabets. When searching in our library catalog, as well as in WorldCat and many other databases, we recommend that you use the standard Russian transliteration table for all Russian language materials. This will ensure that you are receiving accurate and complete search results. 

Advanced searching: Russian literature

Search by author

Frequently, catalog records for fiction will lack subject headings, so the easiest way to browse our holdings will be to search by author. To search an author in the catalog, choose the "Author" index from the dropdown menu above the search box and enter the name, with last name first.

The Library Congress has one authorized form that they use for each proper name. This can be particularly tricky when searching Cyrillic names that may have multiple transliterations. However, the catalog will redirect you when it knows of a variant spelling. For example, if you try searching dostoevskii fedor mikhailovich, the catalog will ask if you mean Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 1821-1881, as this is the authorized form of his name. Simply click the provided link to be directed to the search results.

Search by subject

If you are looking for non-fiction writings produced by a particular author, such as diaries or correspondence, try searching the subject heading authors russian. If there are multiple titles associated with the subject heading, the catalog will return your result as a link that will take you to a listing of the records. The catalog will also show you a list of related subject headings that may be even more precise than the one you are searching. For example, when you search authors russian, you are given a link to a number of records containing that subject heading, but you will also see a list of titles with that contain headings such as authors russian 19th century correspondence, authors russian 19th century diaries,authors russian 19th century interviews, etc. Make sure you review these records as well--they will likely lead you to different resources.

Advanced searching: literary criticism

Keyword searches

Enter keyword combinations such as russian literature, russian literature dostoyevsky, chekhov drama. There is no need to use quotes unless you are searching a specific keyword phrase.

Subject searches (topical)

Subject searches are more precise than keyword searches, but require some knowledge of Library of Congress subject headings. Using the dropdown menu by the search box, select "Subject" and enter your subject phrase. 

  • russian literature
  • russian poetry
  • russian drama
  • philosophy russian 
  • russia intellectual life 

If there are multiple titles associated with the subject heading, the catalog will return your result as a link that will take you to a listing of the records. The catalog will also show you a list of related subject headings that may be even more precise than the one you are searching. For example, when you search russian literature, you are given a link to a number of records containing that subject heading, but you will also see a list of titles with that contain headings such as russian literature 19th century bibliography, russian literature 19th century criticism and interpretation, russian literature 19th century history and criticism, etc. Make sure you review these records as well--they will likely lead you to different resources.

Subject searches (proper names)

You can also use the same "Subject" search to search for writers by name. The catalog may show you additional records with more precise headings, such as dostoyevsky fyodor 1821-1881 criticism and interpretation, dostoyevsky fyodor 1821-1881 philosophy, or dostoyevsky fyodor 1821-1881 religion.

Advanced searching: film studies

Keyword searches

Enter keyword combinations such as russia cinema, soviet cinema, or russia film, or the title of a film. There is no need to use quotes unless you are searching a specific keyword phrase.

Subject searches (topical)

Using the dropdown menu by the search box, select "Subject" and enter your subject phrase.

  • motion pictures followed by the country of interest, e.g., motion pictures Soviet Union or motion pictures Russia (Federation).
  • For film studies on a particular region, enter motion pictures followed by the authorized Library of Congress name for the geographical region, e.g., motion pictures asia central or motion pictures europe eastern.

The catalog will also show you a list of related subject headings that may be even more precise than the one you are searching. For example, when you search motion pictures soviet union, you are given a link to a number of records containing that subject heading, but you will also see a list of titles with that contain headings such as motion pictures soviet union aesthetics,motion pictures soviet union catalogs, motion pictures soviet union exhibitions, motion pictures soviet union history, etc. Review these records as well--they will likely lead you to different resources.

Subject searches (proper names)

You can also use the same "Subject" search to search for filmmakers by name. Enter the last name first, e.g., eisenstein sergei. Much like subject headings, the Library Congress has one authorized spelling that they use for each proper name. This can be particularly tricky when searching Cyrillic names that may have multiple transliterations. However, the catalog will redirect you when it knows of a variant spelling. For example, if you try searching tarkovsky andrei or tarkovski andrei, the catalog will ask if you mean Tarkovskiĭ, Andreĭ Arsenʹevich, 1932-1986, as this is the authorized form of his name.

Again, along with the results for your name search, the catalog may show you additional records with more precise headings, such as tarkovski, andrei arsen'evich, 1932-1986, criticism and interpretation.