Dutch-Russian Cooperation to Revive and Update ArcheoBiblioBase
The International Institute of Social History (IISH/IISG) in Amsterdam and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA/RANKhiGS) in Moscow are pleased to announce a new cooperative agreement for the renewal and extension of the ArcheoBiblioBase (ABB) directory and bibliographic information system for archives in the Russian Federation. Founded by Dr Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and an Honorary Fellow of both IISH and RANEPA, ABB is based on published collaborative directories under her supervision in Russian and English:
Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg, 2 vols.
(Armonk, NY/ London: M.E. Sharpe, 2000), and
Arkhivy Rossii: Moskva i Sankt-Peterburg: Spravochnik-obozrenie i bibliograficheskii ukazatel'
(Moscow: "Arkheograficheskii tsentr," 1997).
The ABB database currently contains data about nearly 700 archives and manuscript repositories of the Russian Federation, with their administering agencies (as appropriate). The website now displays nearly close to 400 repositories for which coverage has now been updated. On-line coverage extends to nearly 300 federal, local state and non-state repositories, including libraries, museums, and academic institutions in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Data for individual repositories and their various divisions includes their history, brief characterization of holdings, access provisions, working conditions, and reference facilities, with complete bibliography of guides, and specialized finding aids (total over 8,000 records), including links to those on line. Basic listings also extend to over 100 state archives throughout the Russian Federation. This English-language coverage should alert researchers abroad to the wealth of holdings and research opportunities.
The Internet infrastructure, CMS database and current ABB website was developed and is now maintained by IISH in Amsterdam. The CMS database on archives and their reference bibliography is now maintained at RANEPA by Natalia Maslova, with data from Rosarkhiv (Federal Archival Service of Russia) and other sources and bibliographic assistance from the State Public Historical Library (GPIB).
A mirror ABB website is planned for the RANEPA website in Moscow.
- Archives Covered
- Printed Directories
- Reference Bibliography
- Databases and Microform Finding Aids
- Research Inquiries/Arrangements
- Genealogy/Family History
- Of Related Interest
Moscow and St. Petersburg
- The current fourteen federal archives administered by the Federal Archival Agency of Russia—Rosarkhiv (labelled "B" from the ABB database), as last reorganized in March 1999.
(Table of Contents)
- Archives of major federal agencies that have the right to the long-term retention of their own records (labelled "C" from the ABB database).
(Table of Contents)
- Local municipal and oblast archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad Oblast) (labelled "D" from the ABB database).
(Table of Contents)
- Archival holdings of Academies, Universities, and Research Institutes (labelled "E" from the ABB database).
(Table of Contents)
- Archives of non-governmental/independent institutions (labelled "F" from the ABB database).
(Table of Contents)
- Archival and manuscript holdings of major libraries (labelled "G" from the ABB database).
(Table of Contents)
- Archival and manuscript holdings of selected major museums (labelled "H" from the ABB database)
(Table of Contents)
- Regional State Archives (outside Moscow and St. Petersburg)
(Table of Contents)
Repository entries preceded by an asterisk and with a number starting with zero are archival administrative agencies rather than actual working archives.
As of mid-2013 we are gradually adding selected coverage archival holdings in selected museums in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, as listed in Part H of the 2000 printed volume. Further expansion of this coverage is planned to include additional repositories listed in Parts E and H, especially including more museums. We hope to be able to add more expanded bibliographic coverage of General Archival Reference Literature, updated from Part A, together with other data from ArcheoBiblioBase, when funding and staff permit. Russian translations from that ABB coverage in the 2000 English edition (with selected updates) is currently presented on the corresponding Russian-language "Arkhivy Rossii" website under the direction of Rosarkhiv: http://www.rusarchives.ru . Researchers are advised to compare the data provided at that Russian site, which also includes recent news about developments in and publications about Russian archives.
This English-language version is maintained by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam (IISH), and the Russian Presidential Academy of the National Economy and State Service (RANEPA) in Moscow as a service to the international research community. IISH and RANEPA cannot be responsible for errors or inadequacies of this coverage, but welcome comments and suggestions. We regret that staff limitation makes it impossible to answer reference inquiries. (See more details below.)
Printed DirectoriesMost of the archives listed in Parts B through H are described in the ABB printed directory, Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliography Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St Petersburg (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000). The English edition is considerably expanded from the Russian-language edition, Arkhivy Rossii (Moscow, 1997). However, the present internet versions of Parts B through H have been considerably updated from the printed edition, to the extent possible with expanded bibliography of reference literature.
Reference BibliographyMany of the archives here described briefly are covered in more detail in general archival guides and Internet websites (most only in Russian). Many component holdings have been listed or described in more detail in specialized reference publications and websites of under individual archives, many of which are listed in the current bibliographies for finding aids. Many more general publications predating 1999 were listed in Part A (General Bibliography) of the published English edition of Archives in Russia (2000). Updated literature and listings of recent publications for several sections of Part A now appear in the Reference Bibliography of selected general literature about archives in Russia, but release on the Internet site of the expanded Part A is planned. Among current specialized sections are those covering general directories (including those for regional archives), directories of libraries and museums, sources related to the Second World War, personal fonds (fonds of personal papers), and genealogy and family history. Until a thorough update of Part A can be prepared, researchers are advised also to consult the 2000 printed version.
Databases and Microform Finding AidsAccess to Russian Archives
This vital internet project provides online public access to an extensive database now encompassing recent published guides to selected Russian state archives, with brief annotations almost 160,000 archival fonds (record groups). A brief explanation about the project, initiated cooperatively by the University of Kansas and East View Publications in collaboration with Rosarkhhiv, is found on the East View Publications website in English and in Russian. Instructions for use and notes about the history of the project will be found in both languages, although the guides included in the database are presented only in Russian, or alternatively transliterated into the Latin alphabet.
It should be noted that the project as of mid-2013 covers only part of the Federal Archives (Part B). Namely it includes digital versions of thirty-one recent guides to nine of the fourteen Federal Archives. For regional archives (Part RusFed) another sixty-three recent guides are included.
In cooperation with East View Publications, for all of the ninety-four guides included in the project, ABB now provides hot links to the database as part of the ABB listing for each of those guides included. To be sure, ArcheoBiblioBase has full bibliographic citations for many more guides to many more archives, and it is to be hoped that eventually more of these will be covered in the 'Access to Russian Archives' database.
Microform editions of guides and other reference literature. ArcheoBiblioBase bibliographical listings, in addition to indication of a few major holding libraries, indicates microfiche editions available commercially. While most Soviet-period finding aids for archives are now out of print, microfiche editions for many of those in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad) are available (especially for those published before 1976) through the IDC division of Brill Publishers in Leiden (http://www.idc.nl). A database at the IDC website lists those editions correlated with the present names of repositories, and notations in the bibliographic data of the printed ABB directories also identify those reprint sources.
At the end of 2009, East View Information Services released a collection of microfilm finding aids for regional state archives in the Russian Federation that includes some general reference directories as well as guides to individual archives. The collection was prepared as a preservation project for the Slavic and East European Microfilm Project (SEEMP) of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS), and the films are available for Interlibrary Loan through the Council on Library Resources. The publications included are indicated accordingly in ABB bibliographic listings. Regrettably, East View was unable to make copyright arrangements to market copies of the microfilm.
See the listings in the section covering microforms of archival reference literature in the updated selected General Bibliography on this website.
Research Inquiries/ArrangementsReference inquiries should be addressed either to individual archives, or when in doubt as to the relevant archive, to the Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv). Most Russian archives are now prepared to handle inquiries themselves. Researchers are advised to check the Russian website of individual archives, as well as recently published guides and directories before inquiry. Electronic inquiries can be addressed to individual archives or to Rosarkhiv in Moscow (firstname.lastname@example.org), but staff shortages may prevent immediate reply, especially for English-language inquiries. Routine official socio-legal inquiries from Russian citizens or their relatives can be handled either by direct written application to individual archives from individuals within the Russian Federation or through Russian consulates abroad.
Research/travel arrangements. Many different options are open to foreign research visitors seeking research and travel arrangements in the Russian Federation. A number of independent academic groups (including institutes under the Academy of Sciences) and commercial travel services on the Russian side have been offering individual or group arrangements for archival research.
One non-profit American-sponsored group has established a program with the International University of Moscow (Mezhdunarodnyi universitet v Moskve) to provide archival arrangements for advanced academic researchers. Information can be obtained at the website of Praxis International (formerly the Center for the Study of Russia and the Soviet Union): http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/history/ge.... The service is particularly recommended for those beginning archival research, and others who need assistance with visa, transport, housing, and specific archival arrangements. Praxis can arrange visa invitations for scholars from any country, but new rules require that they apply for the visa in their country of citizenship or in a country where they are registered as residents for at least 90 days. Prospective applicants can inquire at email@example.com c/o Arch Getty.
N.B. The Praxis website includes updated information regarding visa and Russian residency and registration requirements for foreign visitors, which may prove helpful even for those not visiting under Praxis auspices.
An English translation of the 'Regulations for the Work of Users' in Reading Rooms of State Archives of the Russian Federation, issued by Rosarkhiv in 1998, is available at this website. That remains an important document with which foreign researchers should be acquainted.
The original Russian version is available on the Rosarkhiv website: http://www.rusarchives.ru/lows/pravil.... Other legal documents relating to Russian archives will also be found at the "Arkhivy Rossii" website (http://www.rusarchives.ru/lows/list.s...).
Research service in Russia can best be arranged directly through individual archives, which are usually prepared to handle such services on a fee-for-service basis or to recommend an experienced outside researchers. The Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv) cannot recommend unauthorized individuals or commercial groups offering research services and copies of documents from Russian archives.
Genealogy/Family HistoryRegretfully, neither IISH nor RANEPA, nor other ArcheoBiblioBase associates are able to handle family history and/or related genealogical inquiries. Furthermore, neither the Federal Archival Agency (Rosarkhiv) nor many Russian archives are staffed or equipped to answer extensive or complicated genealogical inquires of a 'family history' nature, although some archives have been improving services in this regard. Unless the exact archival repository holding the needed documents has already been identified, family-history inquiries should normally be addressed directly to more specialized genealogical services, as listed on our Genealogy/Family History page.
Of Related Interest
- Archives in Russia Ten Years After. See the volume edited by Stefan Creuzberger and Rainer Lindner (Hrsg.): Russische Archive und Geschichtswissenschaft. Rechsgrundlagen Arbeitsbedingungen Forschungsperspektiven. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2003.
The volume contains reports by several Russian archival leaders regarding research and declassification problems, along with contributions of a number of Western scholars who have been working recently in Russian archives. See especially the article by Patricia Grimsted, "Archives in the Former Soviet Union Ten Years After: Between Law and Politics; OR, 'Still Caught between Political Crossfire and Economic Crisis'," which serves to update the "five" and "seven" year coverage below and includes bibliographic references to other related literature.
- Archives in Russia Seven Years After: "Purveyors of Sensations" or "Shadows Cast to the Past"? by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted. Washington, DC: Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), October 1998. CWIHP Research Paper no. 20. Download as a PDF-file from the CWIHP website: (http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publicati...), or order by e-mail from CWIHP (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The CWIHP edition has a new preface and expanded ch. 12 (reference facilities), providing limited updates for the 1997 Amsterdam edition.
- Archives of Russia Five Years After: "Purveyors of Sensations" or "Shadows Cast to the Past"? Amsterdam: International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 1997. IISG Research Paper, no 26. Download as a PDF file: http://socialhistory.org/en/publications/archives-russia-five-years-after or http://www.iisg.nl/publications/grimsted.pdf, or order by e-mail at this website (email@example.com).