Yale University Library


Visiting Librarians: Signe Bachmann

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Tartu University Library, Tartu, Estonia


Keggi Library Fellow, Fall 2006

Signe Bachmann, Head of the Department of Estonian Acquisitions at Tartu University Library in Tartu, Estonia, is the fifteenth SEEC Library Fellow hosted by the Slavic and East European Collections, and the seventh funded by a generous gift of Dr. Kristaps Keggi, a Yale alumnus and orthopedic surgeon with family roots in the Baltic countries.

A graduate of the University of Tartu, where she studied Russian Philology, Signe has been working at the University Library since 1991 and in various positions. She is currently Head of the Department of Estonian Acquisitions. Fifteen years of professional experience in a library environment prompt her to earn a master’s degree in Information Management, which is currently completing at her alma mater with a thesis on electronic publishing of research works at Tartu University Library and The Academic Library of Tallinn University.

The Tartu University Library is the oldest and largest continuously operating library in Estonia. Fulfilling some functions of a national library, together with the National Library of Estonia, the Estonian Academic Library and the Archival Library of the Estonian Literary Museum, it collects and preserves bibliographic materials published in Estonia.

The Library consists of five branches (Humanities, Economics, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics) run by a staff of approximately two hundred (ca. 165 FTE and 35 support). Its collections include more than four million items in various languages ( 35% Russian, 30% German, 12% Estonian, 10% English, and 13% other). The Tartu University Library started using its own electronic catalogue INGRID at the end of 1994.

The Tartu University Library is a member of the Consortium of Estonian Libraries Network (ELNET), which uses the integrated library management system INNOPAC (a.k.a. Millennium) to develop a unified electronic catalog. It also belongs to a number of international professional organizations, including the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), the European Information Association (EIA), the European Association of Health Information Libraries (EAHIL), the Association of Libraries of the Baltic Area Bibliotheca Baltica, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML).

At Yale, Signe worked in the Slavic Reading Room where, under the mentorship of Tatjana Lorković, Curator of the Slavic and East European Collection, assisted with the ordering and processing of Baltic and Russian materials.

Her decision to pursue a SEEC/Keggi Library Fellowship at Yale was motivated by her strong belief in professional development and training, both at home and abroad. She also valued the opportunity to spend time in a large academic and research library in North America, since Estonian librarians typically go to Germany or Scandinavia for professional development.

The two things that impressed her most of the Yale Library were the architectural details of Sterling and the large amount of male staff members—an unheard of situation in Estonia, where librarianship remains a female profession and men can be found in top positions only (typically library director or head of IT)

Signe's experiences at Yale and in the United States provided the material for a detailed report.