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BAN bought foreign books from the very beginning-a policy initiated by Peter the Great, with his interest in life abroad, and vigorously followed since. This gives the catalogue of non-Russian holdings a special significance because if provides a complete record of foreign works present in Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and immediately before and after the Revolution.
There are, for instance, a surprisingly large number of US imprints from the beginning of this century including many US government documents.
It is a truly international catalog, consisting of 241,000 cards recording titles of which the prevalent languages are English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. There is a supplementary catalogue of 8,400 cards relating to works damaged in the fire of 1988.
Whether the change involves a print-to-electronic transition or a space reclamation project, there are bound to be questions, concerns and even resistance.
“These testimonies take the historical stories out of the realm of history and place them in the realm of the human.”