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a copy of a published work presented in a manner prescribed by law to state book depositories, bibliographical and information centers, libraries, and other institutions for the purpose of registering and keeping a record of works published in the country, organizing bibliographical and information services, building up library collections, creating state archives of printed works, and protecting authors’ rights.
The practice of maintaining deposit copies was first introduced in France in 1537. On the territory now included in the USSR the practice originated in 1588, when the Riga Central Municipal Library (the present Latvian State University Library) began to receive one copy of each work issued by the city’s first printing house. A nationwide system of deposit copies was introduced in Russia in 1783; one copy of every book published in the country was to be presented to the Library of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. At the end of 1810 printers and publishers were required to submit deposit copies to the Public Library in St. Petersburg, and from 1862, to the Library of the Rumiantsev Museum in Moscow. Several other libraries also received deposit copies. After the February 1917 Revolution the system was reorganized, and the Russian Book Chamber was established in Petrograd. The chamber was to receive seven copies of each book, pamphlet, magazine and newspaper issue, musical score, or other printed work for distribution to libraries (five copies) and for its own use (two).
The system of maintaining deposit copies has been established in all industrially developed capitalist states, with the exception of the Netherlands and Switzerland. In capitalist states the supplying of copies of printed works to designated institutions was initially undertaken for the purpose of establishing government control over the press. This also explains why the introduction of deposit copies was historically connected with censorship laws. However, a deposit-copy system also had certain progressive aspects: it permitted the gathering of a collection of printed works reflecting a particular period; it facilitated the expansion of libraries and reading rooms; and deposit copies could be used for keeping a record of printed works and for bibliographical and scholarly work. Many progressive-minded public figures who opposed the censorship advocated the development of the advanced aspects of the deposit-copy system.
After the victory of the October 1917 Revolution the deposit-copy system was completely reorganized in the first years of Soviet rule and placed at the service of building socialism. In accordance with the decree of the RSFSR Council of People’s Commissars On the Transfer of Bibliographical Matters in the RSFSR to the People’s Commissariat of Education (June 30, 1920), the Russian Book Chamber was moved to Moscow and reorganized as the Central Book Chamber of the RSFSR, a state agency in charge of the deposit-copy service. Deposit copies were used to establish state book depositories, to expand the holdings of existing and newly founded libraries, to register and keep a record of the nation’s printed works, and to organize bibliographical services. Printing houses were required to submit 25 free copies of each publication issued in the RSFSR.
During the 1920’s the deposit-copy system was adopted in the other Union republics, where similar legislation was enacted and republic book chambers established. A decree issued by the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR on May 26, 1928, entitled On Supplying the Most Important State Book Depositories With All Publications Issued in the USSR, provided for the establishment of a single ail-Union deposit-copy system. In 1932, in accordance with a decree issued by the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR on Aug. 23, 1931, a system of paid deposit copies was instituted.
During the first postwar years printing houses were required to submit 398 deposit copies of each publication, including 52 free copies for all-Union institutions, 52 free copies for the Gosfond (State Collection) of Literature, 15 free copies for republic-level institutions, and 279 paid copies. The All-Union Book Chamber received and distributed 50 deposit copies of each basic type of publication.
By the late 1950’s the country had essentially solved the problem of publishing books, magazines, and newspapers on a large scale and had established a library system. To fulfill the new tasks of cultural and economic development in the USSR, two basic types of deposit copies were instituted in 1959 (excluding copies for certain government departments or other specific purposes): (1) free copies intended for all-Union, republic, and local (krai and oblast) institutions and (2) paid deposit copies for all-Union and republic-level institutions. The State Committee on Publishing, Printing, and the Book Trade of the USSR Council of Ministers has two centers: (1) the all-Union free deposit-copy service within the All-Union Book Chamber, which receives 15 copies of each book and magazine published in Russian (for other types of publications the number of deposit copies depends on the functions of the receiving institutions) and (2) the Central Distribution Center for Research Libraries, which receives 180 all-Union paid deposit copies of books and magazines and serves about 300 central, specialized, and other research libraries.
The obligatory free copy of all works published in a country has been introduced in the other socialist countries.
I. P. NEMESHAEV
(also, sample copy), in the USSR:
(1) A copy of a published work offered free of charge by a printing house or publisher to state book depositories, bibliographical and information centers, and the country’s leading libraries. This practice was introduced in 1959. Deposit copies fall into three categories: all-Union, republic (for Union and autonomous republics), and local (for krais and oblasts). The All-Union Book Chamber handles the all-Union copies. Distribution of the copies is based on the principle of universal (complete), specialized, and subdivided sets. The all-Union copies are used for compiling the state bibliography and publishing statistics of the USSR, for centralized cataloging, for building up a collection of publications for public use, for maintaining the archive of the Soviet press, for bibliographical reference work, and for research into printing, publishing, and the book trade.
(2) A copy of a printed work supplied by a printing house to a publisher or organization issuing a publication for inspection of quality.