Cold War Gems: JPRS Reports now Available at DU

The University of Denver has been able to acquire the digital Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports. JPRS was established in 1957 as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Technical Services, just a few months before the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1. JPRS provided translation of scientific, technical, and selected social science materials, while the related agency, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) provided more political, in-country news, and foreign government operations. Both JPRS and FBIS are examples of open source intelligence.

When the JPRS digitization project is complete in 2015, it will contain over 130,000 reports. The Readex digital project unearths the rich scientific and cultural gems from the USSR and Eastern bloc countries, China, Vietnam, and other areas of concern from the late 1950s through the early 1990s. Not only will scientific information be found in these documents (“Problems of Space Biology”), but also matters of cultural and sociological significance (“Summary of the Polish Provincial Press” and “Soviet Transportation” are among the series-within-series publications). JRPS should be considered a hidden source for selected statistics and yet another place for genealogists to check. Our internationalists will greatly benefit from this historic archive.

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