Enterprise libraries of the 1990s…

FAZEKAS Andrea – PÉTERI György – SÁNDORI Zsuzsanna

Richter Gedeon Rt. is the legal successor of the first Hungarian pharmaceutical factory founded in 1901. The technical library works as a unit of the R&D Department of the factory. The study examines the activity of the special library from three aspects: a) library automation; b) database services; c) personal consequences of the developments. Computerisation was started very early in the special library making later developments easy and rapid. The present system consists of four data files: circulation subsystem linked to a finding list file, the registration of lending, and the collection control module. Invoice registration was developed in relation to the finding list, and the accessioning and stock check functions are just being developed. The database contains records of ca. 15 thousand books, i.e. 70% of the book stock. The depth of content analysis is determined by the type of material. Considering the structure of the documents a so-called content hierarchy was set up of documents determining the depth of processing. Not only library databases can be searched through the enterprise network: among others there are 27 CD-ROM databases available, too. In 1995 a questionnaire survey was made of the satisfaction of users with library services and the work of librarians. Marks from 1 to 5 could be given to each question, and the value of the library’s work was 4.4. The library also makes efforts to promote its work on a wide scale. Accession lists and guides to new services are issued periodically. The use of BBS and e-mail enhances internal information flow. The library was used at first mostly by chemical engineers, however, due to the acquisition of new CD-ROMs pharmacologists and doctors are also willingly using it. The achievements of the special library proves that by continuous development and further training changes can be followed, and valuable services, appreciated by users, may be offered. Librarians are aware that in spite of the technical developments, good personal relations with users are also very important, and cannot be substituted by computerised services let them be very good. (pp.197-216)

The functions of publications and publishing in libraries


In summer, 1995 publications by public librarians or issued by public libraries between 1990 and 1994 were surveyed. 33 towns and 199 villages were involved in the survey, based on quantitative data from county libraries and the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library. There are three characteristic methods of publishing: (a) issuing technical materials (bibliographies, guides, directories, studies) prepared as results of library work processes; (b) publications prepared for external demand; (c) publications by librarians in other publishing houses, journals. The number, types, genres of publications were studied in depth by the author. So far as the number and distribution of publications are concerned, more publications appeared in the 20 libraries surveyed than in the 70s, but less than in the 1980s. The distribution among libraries was well-balanced, however, the number of publications was decreasing from 1990 to 1994. (The reason to this is no doubt the increase of financial constraints.) Publications had a wide range from the genre point of view. The author established 18 categories. It turned out that libraries issued primarily special bibliographies, recommending lists, article bibliographies, and there was a great number of literary publications. However, there were few pieces offering practical knowledge, and compilations and methodological guides were also lacking. The number of statistics and annuals was increasing. The thematic distribution of publications showed the dominance of general publications or technical orientation. There were few legal or political publications, the tools of technical information or pieces of international literature were also lacking. There were also few works in library history or librarianship. Some county libraries proved to be scholarly workshops. The plan of Lowland counties to organise a regional database is a good example of cooperation. There is need for more serious professional feed-back, criticism, for better promotion, improved distribution policies. The registration of library publications should also be renewed. (pp. 217-226)

Alterations in fiction reading in Hungary after the change of the political establishment


Previous investigations showed that the reading of fiction had been pushed to the background among Hungarian readers. Fewer people read less and of lower quality in spite of the expansion of the choice in reading matter, and the fact that the political establishment has not been hindering reading any more since 1990. The system of values has changed in such a way that growing material wealth and political power have become the major targets. Everything that can be utilised immediately has gained significance. Utility, the need for entertainment and commercial products have become all-important. In 1990-1991 there was a marked interest in documents revealing the recent past. Light, entertaining works, pieces of esoteric and mystic literature have become popular by now. The need for entertainment and stories has become a persisting source of motivation. Thrillers and commercial literature have gained importance in the reading structure of children and young people as well. So far as their interest is concerned, young people are precocious and infantile at the same time. Their vocabulary is getting poorer and poorer, thus the language of artistic fiction has become strange to them. There are some researchers who believe that the cultural tradition mediated by so-called „organic intellectuals”, such as teachers and librarians, may fight the manipulations of power. However, others are more pessimistic and speak of the devaluation of culture and education, and of the Fahrenheit-efrect after Bradbury. (pp. 227-234)

“Ten strange years behind us”. Librarians in the storm of changes


A letter was sent to the participants of a 1984 investigation carried out by the Centre for Library Science and Methodology, National Széchényi Library among librarians in which

they were asked to evaluate the past 10 years. 130 responses were received for the 880 letters sent out by the researchers. The majority of the respondents were employed in community libraries, school or academic libraries. 65% of the 130 respondents are still working in the same place,1096 went to another library, some retired, and 8 persons left the profession. The „faithfulness” of the respondents was primarily motivated by their love of the profession. Appreciation, acknowledgement, prestige, and financial rewards were mentioned rather as lacking things. They felt their financial status had been deteriorating, and found their social status medium. Not all of them have felt the political changes, but the majority sensed increased freedom. All of them experience the worsening economic situation, therefore librarians feel helpless, the lack of intervention on behalf of professional organisations, the missing legal regulations, the lack of standards that could make their work more meaningful. They also see that a modern librarian has to be an information professional and a social worker with good empathic skills at the same time. The majority has a pessimistic view of the future, finds the elaboration of a new library act and the definition of a compulsory minimum standard of library provision necessary. The attitude of librarians has to be changed as well.: they have to learn how to fight for their interest, how to market and promote the library better. A professional renewal is also required with well-trained professionals familiar with information science and speaking languages. Outside help is also needed e..g. by insuring linking to computer networks, and as a matter of fact, the increase of financial resources is also indispensable. (pp. 235-243)

Social work in libraries and the training of librarians

KOVÁCS Mária, Sz.

Social activities were started in public libraries in the 70s. In Hungary the attention of libraries was focused on the home bound and on children with cultural handicaps. The increasing significance of the problem was also recognised by library education. However, for a long time it was also taught as a part of the psychology of reading. A one-term seminar was introduced at the Szombathely Dániel Berzsenyi Teachers’ Training College on the social functions of libraries in 1992/93. It is the aim of the course to review the needs of different groups of handicapped readers. The curriculum consists of the following themes: social functions of libraries; review of the Hungarian and foreign literature of the problem; IFLA standards concerning handicapped readers; an overview of legal regulations; library provision for the disabled, drug addicts, and deviants. Beside academic training, students get acquainted with institutions dealing with the handicapped. The lecturer thinks it possible that training will be extended with other related subjects, or will develop into a special postgraduate course. (pp. 244-246)

Library provision for the blind in Hungary

VARJU Zsuzsanna

The author focuses on three critical issues of the library provision for the blind: a) central libraries responsible for providing central services for the blind have difficulties in fulfilling their tasks; b) the coordinating function of the Centre for Library Science and Methodology of the National Széchényi Library in the library provision for the blind has changed; c) the role, public libraries have been playing in the library provision for the blind, is declining. The Braille Library, the Talking Library and the Studio are offering central services for the blind. Their collection is available only for members of the Association of the Blind. The Braille Library faces problems in producing Braille books. The work is slow, expensive, and immense storage capacity is required. The Talking Library and the Studio are involved in the production of talking books. The equipment of the Studio, organised from resources from the Soros Foundation are overloaded and outdated. Until 1995 the CLSM has performed a coordinating function between the organisations of the blind, and public libraries, and collected the orders of public libraries on the bases of the Talking Book List of the Talking Library. Orders were fulfilled by the Studio. Right now there is no institution that would deal with this problem on a national level. Public libraries have been making efforts to provide for the blind in their catchment area for a long time. However, due to the deterioration of their economic conditions, they have to focus on their survival, thus services for the blind are neglected. It would be important to organise a central supply service, to enhance the relationship between the institutions of the blind and public libraries, and to promote talking books. A comprehensive investigation into the reading, user, and literary needs of the blind would also be necessary, that would also cover experiences in document provision, collection development, and readers’ service. (pp. 247-255)

Supplements to the contribution of József Zsidai in the previous issue of KF. (Reply by György Rózsa, Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and statement of the Chamber of Libraries and Information Centers.)

(pp. 256-257)

TÓSZEGI Zsuzsanna: Instead of a contribution: some data from the NPA (Union Catalogue of Foreign Periodicals) database

{pp. 258-259)


Libraries and the information society : European RTD in Telematics for libraries. (Introduced by Monika Segbert)

(Transl.: Orbán Eva) (pp. 261-268)

BAKOS ÉVA: Brainstroming in library work

(pp. 269-271)

KOLTAY Tibor: Library management: as it is done in England. (Experiences gained in the libraries of the Manchester Metropolitan University, and the De Montfort University)

(pp. 271-278)

GŐSI Erika: Game libraries

(pp. 279-284)

Book reviews

Under the pretext of the report of the public library service in England and Wales

Review of the public library service in England and Wales for the Department of National Heritage
(Rev.: Papp István) (pp. 285-288)

Social tasks and the library

A könyvtár szociális funkciója. Tanulmánygyűjtemény.
Ed. Arnoth Károly, Udra Szabó Ferenc.
(Rev.: Kovács Mária)
(pp. 288-290)

Change and challenge in library and information science

STIEG, Margaret: Change and challenge in library and information science education.
(Rev.: Murányi Péter)
(pp. 290-296)

Selected accession list of the library Science Library

(pp. 297-301)