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SSEES Area Guide to Central Europe

Books and e-books

The majority of the print collection on Central Europe is kept on the open shelves at UCL SSEES Library. Most is located on the First Floor of the Library, with the exception of printed periodicals, which are located on the Lower Ground Floor.

To find the physical location of a particular collection, please check our self-guided tour of UCL SSEES Library.

SSEES Library interior

Pamphlets and rare items are held in the onsite local store and are available on request. Low-use material is relegated to UCL Library Services off-site store. For information on how to find and request store items, please see our stores service page.

There is an increasing number of e-books, particularly English language materials. Almost all of our books and e-books can be found in Explore, our library catalogue.

Central European collections

The book collections are very comprehensive and include rare books, such as historically important rare travel books capturing accounts of travel through the Austrian Empire before 1860, digitised as part of the EU’s Europeana Travel project.

The collection also has an extensive selection of classics from the CE countries, represented by authors such as Imre Madách, Margit Kaffka, Karel Čapek, Bohumil Hrabal, Margita Figuli and modern writers, such as Krisztina Toth, Michal Viewegh, Pavel Vilikovský, etc.

There are writings on and by political leaders including T G Masaryk, Václav Havel, contemporary political figures,such as György Schöpflin, Viktor Orban, Miloš Zeman, modern political writers or investigative journalists.

The Art collection includes works on such prominent artists as Alfons Mucha, Toyen, László Moholy-Nagy. The Cinema collection covers mainly the communist period cinematography in Hungary and the Czechoslovak New Wave.

Recent political events such as the EU enlargement, parliamentary elections in CE, CE migration crisis are all reflected in Library holdings.

Selection of databases containing e-books on CE

Discover more books and e-books on CE

Search Explore

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How to find a book at UCL SSEES Library

To take an example, a book on Hungarian history would be found in a sequence of other books relating to various aspects of Hungarian studies. The first element of the classification is an alphabetical mnemonic for the country – for Hungary this is the letter “H”. This is followed by Roman numerals – the classification for history is “IX” and will be followed by further subdivisions to describe different historical periods. The pattern is similar for other countries: Cz.IX is the section for Czech history, Cs.IX for Czechoslovak history, Sk.IX for Slovak history and so on. See our classification scheme:

Other collections

  • Art includes Film Studies.
  • Economics: provides material on economic theory and policy.
  • Hebrew & Jewish Studies: covers all aspects of Jewish history, languages, literature and culture.
  • History: for individual European countries' political, social and economic history and the Latin American History collection for extensive coverage of Latin American social, political and economic history.
  • Literature: includes books on literary topics not specific to any one language, literary theory, literature translated into English.
  • Philosophy: books and periodicals on European philosophy.
  • Political Science and Public Policy
  • Geography. There are sections on physical geography, human geography and material relating to specific countries.
  • The British Library holds one of the leading research collections in the world for the study of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the former USSR.
  • The Senate House Library holds collections specialising in the arts, literature, the humanities and social sciences.