Annual Newsletter of the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University
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English News  No.8 , December 2000
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From the Director
SRC Summer Symposium in 2000
International Workshop on Agricultural
Transformation in the Post-Communist Countries

Foreign Visiting Fellowship Program
Our Current Staff
Research Funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
Guest Lectures from Abroad
Visitors from Abroad
The Library
Essays by Foreign Fellows
Ekaterina Nikova
Michael C. Hickey
Paul Wexler
Boris Lanin
Stanislav Lakoba

The Library

The Acquisition of the Library of Prof. James Gibson

The SRC recommended the purchase of the library of James R. Gibson, historical geographer and professor emeritus of York University, Ontario, Canada, for the University Library. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture has accepted our proposal and has decided to finance the acquisition. The University Library acquired the collection in the beginning of 2000, and is now in the process of cataloging it.

The collection consists of 2,544 items, comprised of 8 parts:

  1. Russian America (337 items)

  2. History of Siberia (652 items)

  3. Russian anthropology and ethnography (127 items)

  4. Russian history (452 items)

  5. Historical geography of Russia (304 items)

  6. Contemporary USSR/CIS/Russian geography (533 items)

  7. Atlases of USSR/CIS/Russia (84 items)

  8. Supplementary materials (55 items)
We chose a small sample of 70 items from the Russian Americaís part of the collection and checked holdings of these items in Japan. Using the electronic union catalog, which includes the holdings of most major academic libraries in Japan, we found that Hokkaido University had the richest collection in this field, even before the acquisition of the collection. Hokkaido University held 37 items out of the 70 sample items. Kyushu University, with 14 items out of 70 (20%), had the second largest number. In third place were Nagoya University and the University of Tokyo, each 10/70 items. We found that 24 items in the sample met no holdings in Japan.

The Gibson collection will much enhance library holdings in the subject areas mentioned above. Not only Hokkaido University, but the historical/geographical studies of Northern areas in Japan as a whole will benefit from this acquisition.

By Y. Tonai. 

"Whoops, page numbers are missing on one of the references to this article. Hmmm... the 1996 issue of the Russian Review. At least I can find this at the library...," or so I thought. It wasn't there. Thinking that it may not have been bound yet, I also tried the SRC periodicals room. It wasn't there either. So I asked Mr. T. He grabbed a key and leisurely led me to a room across the hallway. There, in neat rows, sat stacks of bound periodicals. At last I was able to check the page numbers. Case closed. Why, I wondered, are the bound magazines stashed away in this corner? Aren't there any plans to bring them into the library where they belong? Does the library staff have to stop whatever they are doing every time someone like me comes along, grab a key, and take them into this isolated room? These thoughts flowed through my mind, though the answer was probably to be found in the mild expression of resignation and confusion that settled upon Mr. Tís countenance.

The SRC Library boasts one of Japan's largest collections of Slavic and East European-related publications as Prof. Wexler mentioned. It also has a hard-working staff, as reflected by the strong impression they made on Prof. Hickey. However, the lack of space, while undoubtedly a problem facing many university libraries, casts a large shadow over the SRC Library. I was surprised and disappointed that even recent issues of such common magazines central to Slavic studies couldnít be easily reviewed.

Suteru! Gijutsu [Techniques to Throw It Away!] now lines the bestseller shelves. Basically the book says it's nonsense to keep everything you have, thinking "Hey, I may need that someday." If you don't need it now, you can bet that "someday" is unlikely to ever arrive. Inspired by this philosophy, I was quick to take a thorough inventory of my attic and cart off all the books I couldn't foresee reading again to a flea market. It felt good. However, I suppose it is not so easy to purge a library full of national property bought with the taxpayer's money. This ambiguous and difficult problem occupied my mind one long autumnal night.

By Mika O.

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