Communist International records at the LoC

The Incomka product has been installed and is available for research use at the Library of Congress. Incomka includes scanned images of 1,059,354 pages of Communist International records held at the Russian State Archives of Socio-Political History (RGASPI) in Moscow. This is approximately 5% of the total volume of Comintern record. A committee of historians of the Incomka project picked the fond/opisi to be scanned.

In addition to digitized scanned images, Incomka includes a digitized comprehensive electronically searchable database to Comintern collections at RGASPI. The database is an edited electronic version of the printed finding aids (which total more than 20,000 pages of archival descriptions) allowing rapid computer searches using file descriptors, key words, and personal or organizational names. The database allows rapid location of file descriptions of all of the files containing more than twenty-million pages of the Communist International records at RGASPI. The Incomka data base is searchable in both Cyrillic alphabet Russian and Latin alphabet English.

A search will result in citations [fond-opis-delo (collection-inventory-file)] of every file description where the search terms occur as well as the description of that file with its title and keywords. If a search "hit" is on a file included among the scanned images, the documents in that file can be immediately called to the screen.

The Incomka product is not available on-line and can only be accessed from a workstation at an institution that was part of the Incomka project (Incomka stand for International Computerization of the Comintern Archive). The partner institutions are the Russian State Archive of Social-Political History (RGASPI), National Archives of France, Federal Archives of Germany, State Archives of Italy, National Archives of Sweden, Federal Archives of Switzerland, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain, Library of Congress of the USA, and the Open Society Archives of Hungary. (RGASPI has a project underway to put the Incomka product on-line on a subscription basis but that project is not complete.)

At the Library of Congress the Incomka workstation is located in the European Reading Room. Researchers can make printed copies of documents from the Incomka workstation.

The Library of Congress will be placing some guides and explanatory material about Incomka on its website in the near future. Because the Incomka product is newly installed, it will be some time before Library of Congress staff is fully familiar with the variety of options available for electronic searching in Incomka and the extent of English-language searching capacity compared with Russian Cyrillic searching.

Persons with particular questions about Incomka can contact John Earl Haynes, 20th century political historian in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, or phone 202 707 1089 or fax 202 707 6336.

John Earl Haynes