The librarian and his age.  
Contributions to the portrait of Ervin SZABÓ (1877-1918), the library politician


The study follows the development of Ervin SZABÓ’s ideas of library policy from the first years of the 20th century until 1914. (He was the director of the Metropolitan Library, today named after him the Ervin Szabó Metropolitan Library.) The years following the millennium were favourable for the establishment of a metropolitan library in the public library fashion. At that time Ervin Szabó did not sympathize with civil initiatives, he trusted in organized workers more. Later when he got in touch with the Hungarian representatives of civil radicalism (e.g. Oszkár JÁSZI), he developed more flexible ideas concerning library policy. Several attempts were made for the introduction of the public library model into Hungarian librarianship. After these attempts had failed, it became obvious that a metropolitan library with non-scientific collection interest was the most likely to function as a library open to the public. A proposal was submitted to the capital in 1910 concerning the establishment of a public library in Budapest. The proposal was supervised and definitely supported by E. Szabó. The key issue was whether people in Hungary can be involved in the financing of public libraries as they are in the Anglo-Saxon world. E. Szabó wrote about a plan to establish branch libraries all over Budapest. One of the possibilities for bringing about libraries was that existing smaller libraries joined the network voluntarily. However, it never happened. Another possibility was to establish libraries from donations. The branch library on Almássy square had come into being from the donation of the Deák Lodge but this example was not followed. The leaders of the city considered the establishment of the branch library network as a part of the development of social institutions in Budapest started at that time. This idea was rejected by E. Szabó. In spite of the difficulties, the central library came into being, as well as some branch libraries. When the new building of the Metropolitan Library was about to be built, it became necessary to reconsider the library system of Budapest. Szabó suggested that there should be rational cooperation among the major libraries of Budapest to be realized through the harmonisation of their collection interests. Szabó thought that social sciences were to be collected by the proposed metropolitan public library, leaving humanities for the old libraries. Leaders of the major libraries did not support his idea. There were controversies between Szabó and those who preferred the development of school libraries, too, for he thought that branch libraries should be responsible for the provision of young people as well. Later his opinion changed to some extent in this respect. E. Szabó was constantly attacked because of the radical political and sociological literature that was found in the Metropolitan Library. It was a characteristic feature of his approach that while accepting liberal library policy he was open to socialist and liberal ideas, as a politician he followed a different trait of thinking.

On the establishment of a centre for union cataloguing in Hungary


Though there are several projects the aim of which is to establish central cataloguing in Hungary, no system offering permanent services has come into being. MOKKA (Magyar Országos Közös Katalogizálás – Hungarian National Union Cataloguing) is one of the most important projects in the frame of which the union catalogue has been organised, and a test version of the system started. The other is the system of libraries using the Corvina integrated system called VOCAL. The Amicus system of the National Széchényi Library became operational in 2001, being the integrated system of three libraries. Beside those mentioned, there are other cooperative schemes embracing a smaller group of libraries (e.g. Theca among the TinLib libraries, the union catalogue of ecclesiastical libraries, KözelKat, cooperation between libraries using OLIB, ALEPH, Szirén, etc.) The most important characteristics of the three main systems (MOKKA, VOCAL, Amicus), such as number of participants, number of bibliographic and authority records, number of documents, time limits, software, hardware, search interface, duplicate control, internal data exchange format, import and export data exchange format, number of uploading and downloading libraries, database, character set, etc., were summarized in a table. As data are analysed, more recent trends in the development of Hungarian librarianship have been observed that reinforce libraries’ efforts to create a union catalogue system in which members were able to utilize bibliographic data input in the system. There is need for making special documents available in the frames of interlibrary lending. (At present the VOCAL programme is able to perform the functions required by the National Document Supply System).

The unified cataloguing system of state maintained libraries, based upon unified principles, is still to be realised. The use of different MARC formats presents one of the greatest obstacles. The National Széchényi Library and the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library use HUNMARC, while the majority of academic libraries use a type of USMARC which is, in turn different from the standard USMARC format used by MOKKA, though compatible with the requirements of the VOCAL system.

The conception of MOKKA should be reconsidered, it should be investigated if the records of the participating libraries ought to be included in a single central database, or a virtual union catalogue is to be established using the three major systems. The problem of different data exchange formats has to be solved, too, etc. The study offers of possible plan for development.

User interface of union catalogues on the web

The first generation of OPACs was essentially an automated version of card catalogues offering the same data and retrieval possibilities as card catalogues. The second generation of OPACs, using keyword search and Boolean operators appeared by the middle of the 1980s. From the end of the 1990s the use of webPACs (online catalogues with web interface) is characteristic. The last one has the advantage over the former generations that it uses graphic tools and hypertext possibilities offered by the web. The concept of the catalogue has broadened since it offers more than information on the material of one single library. The author enumerates typical problems encountered during search from the users’ point of view, and tries to answer them pointing out how these difficulties may be overcome by creating proper search environment. She summarizes the characteristic features of the three search possibilities (browsing, simple and advanced search), demonstrates the problems of keyword search, the issues related to the display of hits, and illustrates the examples with screens.

MÁTRIKSZ – Broad Hungarian Information Retrieval Language Dictionary.
A new chapter in subject retrieval


The idea of setting up a professional committee the aim of which would be to examine the chances of the elaboration of a common subject retrieval system, that supported the searching of various library, bibliographic and other databases in the frames of a central service, occurred in Spring, 2001 at a meeting of the representatives of the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage, the Hungarian National Union Catalogue (MOKKA), and the national library. The committee (Subject Heading Committee) made a proposition regarding the tools of subject retrieval. The members of the committee have formed a consortium in order to be able to realise the conception, and submitted an application to the Government Committee on Information of the Prime Minister’s Office. The conception included the elaboration of a broad information retrieval language dictionary that would be a cooperative system of sub-dictionaries, in which one of the dictionaries would be distinguished, but from the point of view of the user, the participating lists would be equal, and the bibliographic databases of participants could be searched with the same search interface. That is to say, MÁTRIKSZ would be the common dictionary of participating systems, forming a separate subject heading database, that would be independent from the databases of the participants, but would serve for searching them. The author shows the method of common searching and the use of the distinguished dictionary. The existing systems at the time of starting the MÁTRIKSZ are the following: the National Széchényi Library’s thesaurus, the LCSH adaptation of the Debrecen University Library, the traditional subject heading list of the Szeged University Library, and the alphabetic index of the UDC. The article deals with the relation to UDC, describes the user software, and the interface as well as the technological background. The terms of the dictionary can be exported and imported in the HUNMARC/USMARC data exchange format for filing data elements. The unified database will start its operation in April, 2002 containing 113,000 subject terms. The way of development is unification, the further elaboration of equivalences, the enrichment of the services provided by the software, and the broadening of the scope of retrievable databases.

The metamorphoses of books (Les métamorphoses du livre)

CHARTIER, Roger (Transl.: Ádám Anikó)

A philosophical essay on the relationship between books and information science, on the sociology of reading habits, on the economic aspects of book publishing approached from the history of written culture and that of books.

Recent battles in the periodical market.
The final battle or a standing war?


Members of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), universities and research institutes, accepted that they buy SPARC supported publications for the value of 7,500 USD annually. Electronic publishing could reduce costs, but researchers insist that their articles be available through abstracting and indexing services. The Public Library of Science (PloS) makes efforts to convince publishers that the full text of articles in their journals should be put into archives open to the public, otherwise researchers will boycott these journals. According to another proposal, authors may themselves archive articles that have already got through review. Libraries may help academic institutions in changing the situation in journal publishing by supporting alternative ways of publishing.

Digital reference in the USA


Library reference tools have been enriched by possibilities offered by the internet. The author offers a survey of various forms of digital reference (e.g. asynchronous, such as e-mail, synchronous (chat), controlled (virtual reference), reference over IP (streaming video discussion between the librarian and the reader) in the on the basis of the Teaching Librarian homepage.

10 reasons why Internet is no substitute for a library


Libraries from a European perspective.
The role and work of EBLIDA