Annual Report of the Slavic Room for 1955
[This report appears as part of the annual report of the General Reference and Bibliography Division for 1955, on pages 25-27. Ed.]
The service in the Slavic Room continues at a high level, and in fact reached a point at which the request for additional sub-professional assistance could be justifiably granted. Over 21,000 readers used the facilities of the Room as compared with nearly 19,000 readers last year. The attendant use of books and unbound materials remained at its previously high level. The flow of material to the custody of the Room was marked by notable increases (although direct comparisons cannot be made since the statistics were altered to follow more closely the pattern developed in the Serials Division). We can report, however, that 86,304 items were sorted upon receipt in the Slavic Room, and that a total of 183,537 pieces was shelved and reshelved subsequent to use. Reference work by telephone remained at the level of 15,000-plus. Some 1,400 volumes of serials were forwarded for binding. The preparation of newspapers for binding appears to be excessively slow and is attributed to the inability of the staff at this time to complete current runs. The situation with respect to the preparation of current Slavic serials for binding is reported to be excellent. Older materials representing incomplete files, discontinued files, etc., continue to require extended research to permit the preparation of binding arrangements and continue to move very slowly from the shelves on Deck 8.
The visible file maintained in the Slavic Room has been the subject of a special study, which revealed that it has served the function originally conceived of eliminating the need for lengthy searches for materials sought in the Slavic Room and in addition has developed into a specialized reference file which is much used by the Air Information Division and the Photoduplication Service, among others.
The preparation of appropriate records covering the negative microfilm in the custody of the Slavic Room has been completed and these films are ready for final transfer. In fact, the films representing monographs were transferred in the Spring of the year. Films containing reproductions of serials and newspapers involved special problems because successive issues were to be found mixed on different reels, and the reels had to be examined individually in order to achieve accurate retrieval records. The completion of the requisite file should facilitate the positive copying of these films and do away with the need for elaborate editing prior to splicing different sections of the reels in order to secure unbroken runs.
A word is in order with respect to the possibility of securing the transfer of the Cyrillic Union Catalog to the custody of the Slavic Room. Such transfer is very desirable and will facilitate the work of the Slavic Room staff during the work week and on week ends, as well when access to the Catalog is completely shut off.
Relationships between the Slavic Room and the Slavic and East European Division appear satisfactory and harmonious. The staff consults the specialized competence available in the Slavic and East European Division when necessary in their judgment. Correspondence prepared in the Slavic Room is post audited by Dr. Yakobson and has not evoked significant criticism, and at times inquiries have been referred by that Division to the Slavic Room as appropriate to its operations.