General and specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries are an excellent place to begin collecting background information on a topic. They typically provide a concise overview as well as a bibliography of core works. There are many specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries relevant to folklore. Some of these include information on Slavic folklore. Reference works will often lead you to the most reliable sources on a topic. This strategy can be more effective than random searches in the catalog because the content in reference works has already been vetted for quality. In the middle column to the right you will find a list of useful reference sources.
The two works below are useful English-language encyclopedias of Russian History.
Encyclopedia of Russian History. 4 volumes. Edited by James R. Millar. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. Watson Reference: DK14 .E53 2004. "This four-volume set features nearly 1,500 entries by experts on all aspects of Russian history, including important biographical figures, geographical areas, ethnographic groups, cultural landmarks, military campaigns, and social issues." -- "The Top 20 Reference Titles of the Year," American Libraries, May 2004.
The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History (MERSH). 61 volumes. Edited by Joseph L. Wieczynski. Gulf Breeze, Fl: Academic International Press, 1976 -. Watson Library-Reference (In Library Use Only): DK14 .M6. MERSH is an extensive reference work about Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eurasia. It is consulted by scholars, students, librarians, and other researchers worldwide. This multi-volume work includes indexes and many supplements.