All-Union Book Chamber

All-Union Book Chamber


the center for state bibliography and printing statistics in the USSR; a scientific research institution in the fields of bibliography and publishing.

It was founded on Apr. 27 (May 10), 1917 in Petrograd as the Russian Book Chamber. On the basis of the June 30, 1920, decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR (signed by V. I. Lenin) concerning the transfer of bibliographic work in the RSFSR to the People’s Commissariat of Education, the Russian Book Chamber was moved to Moscow and reorganized as the Russian Central Book Chamber. In 1936, by a decree of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, it became the All-Union Book Chamber.

In the USSR the state bibliographic registration and printing statistics are based on obligatory or control copies of printed publications, which are received every day by the All-Union Book Chamber. Control copies are then supplied by the chamber to the country’s foremost libraries. One copy remains in the All-Union Book Chamber, and, after bibliographic processing and publication of information in the state bibliographic organs, the copy is deposited in the Archive of the Soviet Press. As of Jan. 1, 1970, the total holdings of this archive exceeded 34 million stored items.

Having inherited from the prerevolutionary registration bibliography only Knizhnaia letopis’ (Chronicle of Books; published by the Central Printing Administration from 1907), the chamber during the years of Soviet power has grown to encompass the bibliographic registration of all forms of printed material issued throughout the country. The chamber uses the Russian language in compiling the All-Union bibliographic registrations of printed works regardless of the language in which the text may be published. The chamber systematically publishes bibliographic journals, or letopisi (chronicles), each of which is devoted to a type of publication, as well as annuals and the bulletin Literatura i iskusstvo narodov SSSR i zarubezhnykh stran (since 1957, published six times a year).

Since 1927 the chamber has been publishing printed catalog cards for materials published in the USSR: books, dissertation abstracts, articles and book reviews from journals, collections, and major newspapers. These cards are intended for the maintenance of catalogs and for the card catalogs of libraries and organs of scientific and technical information. The cards for books, as well as for articles and book reviews from journals and collections, are issued in complete sets for general scholarly libraries and in abbreviated sets for major mass-circulation libraries. Cards for dissertation abstracts are issued in complete and in specialized sets. Cards for articles from the major newspapers make up a single set. The total number of all types of printed cards amounts to approximately 310 million copies.

The All-Union Book Chamber carries on a great deal of reference and bibliographic work on requests from such sources as state organs, public organizations, and scholarly institutions; each year it answers about 40,000 oral and written inquiries.

One of the principal functions of the All-Union Book Chamber is to keep a statistical account of printed works that satisfies the needs of the state’s general statistical organs and of the planning organizations. An account is kept of printing production both for the USSR as a whole and for the individual Union republics. The output of printing production in the USSR is summarized in the annual publication Pechat’ SSSR v ... godu.

The Ail-Union Book Chamber conducts scholarly and methodological work on the theory and method of bibliography, and it participates in interdisciplinary commissions on problems of cataloging, bibliographic description, and bibliographic classification for libraries. Within the chamber are scientific research sections dealing with bibliography, publishing, and the book trade. Under the auspices of the Ail-Union Book Chamber, the Learned Council has been established, which includes representatives of scientific research institutes, major libraries, publishing houses, and other institutions and organizations. As the country’s central biblio-graphic institution, the chamber publishes the theoretical organ of Soviet bibliographers, the collection Sovetskaia bibliografiia. It also publishes collections of articles and materials dealing with bibliographic work, Kniga: Issledovaniia i materialy (since 1959) and the collection Bibliografiia sovetskoi bibliografii. In 1967 the Central Bureau of Scientific and Technical Information on the Press was created under the chamber’s administration.

There are republic book chambers in all the Union republics except the RSFSR (where the functions of a republic book chamber are carried out by the All-Union Book Chamber), as well as in the Bashkir, Chuvash, and Tatar ASSR’s. The All-Union Book Chamber provides these book chambers with methodological guidance.


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