This Is AuburnAUrora

Applications of Digital Technology to Slavic Librarianship




Trehub, Aaron


The purpose of this article is to examine recent developments in information technology and suggest some ways they might be applied to the practice of Slavic librarianship. I have qualifications in both fields: originally trained as a Russian-affairs analyst and a Slavic bibliographer, I have for the past seven years been the director of library technology at Auburn University, a large land-grant university in east-central Alabama, in the American Deep South. Unlike the other large land-grant university where I used to work—the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Auburn does not have a strong Slavic Studies program or a large Slavic library collection. Nevertheless, I continue to lurk on the Slavlibs e-mail forum, and so have an idea of what Slavic librarians spend at least some of their time doing. Most of it seems pretty traditional: answering questions or responding to requests from patrons, weeding collections of duplicates, swapping information on vendors, and speaking as a community on issues of concern (for example, gaps in the online version of the Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliography). One thing I have noticed is that there is hardly any discussion of Big Questions on the list—questions like the one considered in this article—and very little discussion of technology and its effects on the field.