THE system of transliteration from Russian generally adopted in British libraries and scientific bibliographies is that first published in NATURE on February 27, 1890. It was the result of consultation by a committee of which the secretaries were Prof. Miers and the writer. This system was intended to satisfy the need for some uniform practice, and it was based on the principle that no system of transliteration from Russian would be suitable for bibliographic work unless every word may be re-transliterated into the original Russian spelling, so that it may be found in a dictionary. It was accordingly necessary that each Russian character should have one constant equivalent, and that the equivalents should be so arranged that the same combination of letters should not result from different Russian characters. It was also considered advisable to use accents as little as possible. Phonetic considerations and elegance in appearance were regarded as unimportant in comparison with the main requirements of certainty in re-transliteration.
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Geological Society, London, Memoirs (2011)