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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



publications issued at regular intervals; a basic means of conveying mass information and propaganda.

Periodicals include newspapers, journals and magazines, and collections and bulletins published in series. Serials and yearbooks are grouped together with periodicals in library classifications, catalogs, and holdings. The chief characteristics of periodicals are their regularity and continuity of publication; an identical name on all issues; and successive numbering of volumes, issues, and years of publication. Periodicals have either an editor, a combined editor and publisher, or an editorial staff headed by an editor in chief.

Journals and magazines are published weekly, once every two weeks, monthly, once every two months, or quarterly. Years of publication are numbered successively, and the issues are composed of sewn sheets. Newspapers are printed at intervals generally ranging from once a day to once a month. Most are published daily, triweekly, or weekly; UNESCO defines a daily newspaper as one published at least four times a week. Newspapers are numbered successively and printed in newspaper format on folded sheets. Bulletins are published up to once a month and have a format smaller than that of most journals.

The predecessors of periodicals were handwritten newsletters that came into existence in different countries at different times. Printed newspapers originated in the early 17th century in Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, and Denmark. The first printed newspaper in Russia, Peter I’s Vedomosti, appeared in 1702. The earliest journal, the Journal des savants, was first published on Jan. 5, 1665, in France; during the second half of the 17th century journals appeared in England, Italy, and Germany. The earliest Russian journal, the Primechaniia (Notes) to Vedomosti, first appeared in 1728.

Periodicals developed in many ways. They spread throughout continents and countries and within countries from major cities to provincial ones; their number and circulation increased and printing techniques improved with such developments as power-driven presses. News agencies and newspaper-magazine monopolies were founded, and periodicals exerted an ever increasing influence on public opinion. The increase in the number of periodicals in the world is reflected in the following figures, derived from varying sources: there were two titles in 1615, 14 in 1640, 68 in 1690, about 100 at the beginning of the 18th century, 130 in 1753, 210 in 1787, 910 in 1800, 3,168 in 1826, 14,240 in 1866, 20,882 in 1872, 34,274 in 1880, 50,000 in 1900, more than 75,000 in 1908, and more than 80,000 in 1963. According to UNESCO’s data for 1968 or 1969, at least 150,000 periodicals were published internationally.

Current worldwide statistics on periodicals have been published since 1963 in the UNESCO Statistical Yearbook and are partially duplicated in the United Nations Statistical Yearbook, published since 1949. The UNESCO Statistical Yearbook prints tables listing the number of periodical titles and the circulation of each; they give information on daily newspapers by continent in relation to population; on daily “general information” newspapers by country; and on nondaily newspapers and other periodicals by country. The division of periodicals by categories adopted by UNESCO differs from the division of periodical statistics adopted in the USSR. Individual countries publish perodical statistics in their respective national statistical yearbooks. Since 1932 such statistics have been published in the USSR in the yearbooks Pechat’ SSSR v 19 … godu (The Press in the USSR in 19—).

In 1973 some 6,790 journals and magazines were published in the USSR, with an annual circulation of more than 3 billion; in 1940 there were 1,800 such publications, with a circulation of more than 245 million. The number of newspapers published was 7,973, and their annual circulation was more than 35 billion. In 1940 more than 8,800 newspapers were published, with a circulation of 7.5 billion.

A listing of the most important international bibliographical compilations of periodicals follows. The Newspaper Press Directory (London) is an annual directory of current periodicals published in various countries; despite its title it lists both newspapers and journals. This directory, whose 121st edition was published in 1972, has been an international reference work for periodicals since 1846. Approximately 170,000 periodicals are listed in the British Union Catalogue of Periodicals: A Record of the Periodicals of the World From the 17th Century to the Present Day, in British Libraries (vols. 1–4, with supplements to 1960; London, 1955–62); the catalog’s continuation is entitled New Periodicals Titles. More than 120,000 periodicals are listed in the Union List of Serials in the Libraries of the United States and Canada (3rd ed., vols. 1–5, New York, 1965); its continuation is entitled New Serial Titles (New York-London).

National yearbooks of periodicals have a long history of continuous publication in many countries. Examples are Willing’s Press Guide (London, since 1874), Annuaire de la presse et de la publicité (Paris, since 1880), and N. W. Ayer and Son’s Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals (Philadelphia, since 1880).

Bibliographical indexes to Russian and Soviet periodicals include Bibliografiia russkoi periodicheskoi pechati: 1703–1900 gg. (A Bibliography of Russian Periodicals: 1703–1900; N. M. Lisovskii, compiler; St. Petersburg, 1915); Bibliografiia periodi-cheskikh izdanii Rossii: 1901–1916 (A Bibliography of Periodicals in Russia: 1901–1916; vols. 1–4; L. N. Beliaeva, M. K. Zinov’eva, and M. M. Nikiforov, Leningrad, 1958–61); Periodi-cheskaia pechat’ SSSR, 1917–1949: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’ (Periodicals of the USSR, 1917–1949: Bibliographical Index (vols. 1–11; Moscow, 1955–63); and Letopis’ periodicheskikh izdanii SSSR, 1934–1937 gg. (A Chronicle of Periodicals in the USSR: 1934–1937; Moscow, 1934–39), 1946–1949 (Moscow, 1947–50), 1950–1954 (Moscow, 1955), 1955–1960 (Moscow, 1962–63), 1961–1965 (Moscow, 1967–73), and 1966–1970 (Moscow, 1972). Other such publications include Gazety SSSR: 1917–1960 gg. (Newspapers of the USSR: 1917–1960; vol. 1; Moscow, 1970) and Obshchie bibliografii russkikh periodicheskikh izdanii 1703–1954 gg. i materialy po statist ike russkoi periodicheskoi pechati: Annotirovannyi ukazatel’ (General Bibliographies of Russian Periodicals, 1703–1954, and Materials on Statistics of Russian Periodicals: Annotated Index; M. V. Mashkova and M. V. Sokurova, Leningrad, 1956).


Periodicheskaia pechat’ na Zapade. St. Petersburg, 1904.
Salamon, L. Vseobshchaia istoriia pressy. St. Petersburg [1909].
Fedchenko, P. M. Presa ta iipoperednyky. Istoriia zarozhdennia iosnovni zakonomirnosti rozvytku. Kiev, 1969.
Kolmakov, P. K. “Mirovaia statistika periodiki.” In the collection Kniga: Issledovaniia i materialy, collection 24. Moscow, 1972.
Zarubezhnaia pechat’. Moscow, 1966.
Bömer, K., and R. Rochlin. Internationale Bibliographie des Zei-tungswesens. Leipzig, 1932.
Tentative International Bibliography of Works Dealing With Press Problems. Paris, 1954.
Voyenne, B. Guide bibliographique de la presse. [Paris] 1958.
Price, W. C. The Literature of Journalism. Minneapolis, 1959.
British Museum. General Catalogue of Printed Books: Periodical Publications, vols. 184–186. London, 1963.
Ibid. Ten-year Supplement: 1956–1965, vols. 35, 36. London, 1968.
Ibid. Five-year Supplement: 1966–1970, vol. 19. London, 1972.
Besterman, T. A World Bibliography of Bibliographies, vol. 2, Journalism. Vol. 3, Periodical Publications. Lausanne, 1965–66.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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