Computerisation of the National Library between 1969 and 2000


The computerisation of the National Széchényi Library had been motivated by the revolution that took place in bibliographic control and computer technology in the 1970s, however, the direction, pace, and subsidisation of the transition were determined by the social, political and professional context existing under the communist regime.

The professional elite and the leaders of the national library, making decisions regarding it, did not have an ideal relationship, and those struggling for development could not express their interests effectively. The lack of capital, characteristic of the age, also made development more difficult (when at last the purchase of hardware and software could be considered at all). The fact that the specific needs of the national library could not be satisfied by commercially available integrated systems also hindered the computerisation of the national library. It meant that the softwares used had to be enhanced considerably (at the cost and efforts of the national library) in order to make them suitable for the special duties of the NSZL. This slowed the pace of the computerisation down, and in the long run made it more expensive than buying a more costly system that would have suited the tasks better, or if the library had decided to develop a software of its own.

In international comparison, the computerisation of the NSZL followed the developments of more privileged national libraries not only in time, but also in quality. According to the original ideas, processing (cataloguing and bibliographic activities) ought to have been computerised in the NSZL, but due to causes described in the article in detail, the decisions shifted towards making publications maintaining parallel processing in the catalogue of the national library and for the national bibliography.

Due to the lack of financial resources, the library did not have a computer lab (a computer) of its own, and had to use leased computers outside the library for the preparation of the bibliography and for data storage. Finally in 1989, the library managed to purchase an IBM mainframe computer and an integrated library system DOBIS/LIBIS from funds raised by applications, within the limitations of the COCOM embargo. This system was followed by AMICUS in 1998/99. The adaptation of DOBIS/LIBIS for the purposes of the national library was achieved for the most important duties, however, some subtasks were solved outside the integrated system by a MicroCDS/ISIS system. (The successful operation of individual developments suggest that computerisation could proceed in the direction of developing an integrated system from the libraries own resources.) AMICUS that followed DOBIS/LIBIS, incapable of managing relational databases, and having no web interface, is more suited for the establishment of a unified computerised system in the national library, for the integration of databases stored separately, for the computerisation of special collections, though it is still not able to solve all the computerised duties of the national library.

The study presents the phases of computerisation in a chronological order, using literary sources, archival materials, and interviews to reveal the background of decisions. It enumerates the persons and institutions involved in the project. The dedicated computerised system of some national libraries are summarised in a table, including the date of beginning automation, and the system used at present.

The National Audiovisual Archive project

TÓSZEGI Zsuzsanna

Professionals have to face a new challenge: the processing of audiovisual documents in public collections. Sooner or later the archiving of television and radio programmes and services based on these will have to be taken care of. In September 2001 the European Union has issued the so-called European Convention in order to state what signing nations have to do in order to protect and use the audiovisual heritage.

In Hungary the law CXL of 1997 stated that the national registry of image and sound recordings has to be established of the documents stored in the archives of broadcasting organisations. Previously various collections (the Archive of the Hungarian Radio, the Film Archive, the National Széchényi Library) have catalogued these documents differently, and their services were also limited. The Ministry of the National Cultural Heritage (MNCH) and the Government Supervisor of Informatics gave subsidy to the Centre of Informatics, Budapest Technical University in 1999 for laying the foundations of the National Audiovisual Archive. Experts have surveyed the international practice of audiovisual archiving, and prepared a feasibility study. In Spring, 2001 the Government decided that the NAVA project be continued at the Neumann János Digital Library and Multimedia Centre (Neumann House). The government (MNCH, the Government Supervisor of Informatics, and the National Radio and Television Commission) provided 35 million forints for the first phase of collection development. Keeping in harmony with the intentions of the European Union, the statutory document of the NAVA project was prepared, and the aims of phase one were specified as follows: 1) preparation of legal regulations necessary for the operation of the project, 2) elaboration of standards and technologies for the digitisation, processing, etc. of audiovisual documents, 3) elaboration of the frameworks and documents underlying the operation of NAVA. Subtasks were dealt with by three working groups (legal experts, database management and standardisation group, and technological group). Committees have prepared the necessary documents creating thus the circumstances necessary for the operation of the project. Beside documents provided for the archive as legal deposits, there are also documents submitted voluntarily. By 2003 the legal background, upon which the services of NAVA can be based, will be created. A terminological dictionary has been prepared, and the adaptation of the Dublin Core standard is planned for audiovisual documents. The elaboration of the system is finished.

Preparations related to standardization in the NAVA project

BERKE Barnabásné

In December 2001 an analysis was prepared for the NAVA project (National Audiovisual Archive) with respect to international standards, rules, and normative documents regarding the registration, and processing audiovisual documents. Among others the following can be found among the proposals made in connection with Hungarian regulations: Hungarian translation of the Dublin Core, the adaptation of the ISAN standard, the compilation of authority files, and the application of a subject heading list.

By the Summer of 2002 a working group has prepared the draft entitled „Rules of assigning metadata to documents archived in NAVA“ that serves as the bases of the detailed regulations of bibliographic descriptions, and making entries. Some characteristic, and significant notions used in the field are presented by the author in Hungarian and English, and their definitions are given. The table of metadata is included in which data elements equivalent with the Dublin Core can be found in Hungarian and English with definitions and scope notes, and the indication of the mandatory/optional and repetition possibilities of data elements.

The study summaries the draft regulations briefly that deal with the subject of the object data refer to, describes the relationship between documents, defines the sources of descriptive data, the language and script of data. In the regulatory part rules regarding the sources, and selection of data belonging to the group of metadata are given, and illustrated by examples. A proposed search window and the display of hits in the NAVA database are also shown.

The assessment of information as an ecological process 2.


Part 1. of the study (see Könyvtári Figyelő 2002. 4.) dealt with the nature of the bibliographic entry and bibliographical information from the point of view of the evaluation of information. This part explains the role of authority. The primary aim of information retrieval is to provide the searcher with representations of textual means which can assist him to achieve his objective, i.e. to acquire information relevant as well as pertinent. Finding texts that represent authority in an area of interest expresses the main goal of the search. The study analyses elements of information which have the power to express cognitive authority, i.e. bibliographical information fields which consist of four groups: author, title, publication data, and other elements. The future usefulness of a document or a text discovered in the retrieval process may be evaluated according to how much authority certain components of a bibliographic entry can express. (The actual exploitation in turn depends on how much interpretative power or heuristic information the user brings to the search.) In the following, the author describes authority as it occurs in the natural and applied sciences, in the social sciences and in the arts and humanities. In the field of the natural sciences, the statement of responsibility, due to the communicational and research patterns of the area, has an almost exclusive importance from the point of view of cognitive authority. In the social sciences none of the four groups assumes substantial role, considered again from the point of view of authority. Instead, there has to be a coordination between various data fields selected according to the social context the particular entry stands for. In the arts and humanities content is influenced by form, and authority cannot be evaluated solely on the basis of bibliographical data groups singled out for this purpose alone.

Public library, information literacy and local public life

A case study in Norwegian-Hungarian comparison

NAGY Attila – AUDUNSON, Ragnar

In 2001 the plans of a Hungarian-Swedish-Hungarian comparative study were elaborated by the participating researchers: Ragnar Audunson (University College, Oslo), Joachim Hansson (Boras University College, Göteborg) and Attila Nagy (Library Institute, Budapest).

The main issue of the comparative study was: Can libraries help the creation of viable local communities in metropolitan cities, and through this will these communities participate more actively in public matters?

In phase one of the research (2002) the role of public libraries in the formation of local communities was surveyed by means of questionnaires and interviews. In the coming stages of the survey comparative analysis and proposals will follow. Industrial areas (Sandakar Turshow in Norway, Gamlestaden in Sweden, and Angyalföld in Hungary) of the three cities (Göteborg, Oslo, Budapest) similar in character and population were selected as the spot of the study. In the present paper the comparison and analysis of Norwegian and Hungarian data can be read. (Swedish data are not available yet.)

In the preparatory phase of the research first unstructured interviews were made with the representatives of the local government, teachers, and the local gipsy minority, then a randomly selected 400-member sample was surveyed in connection with their library use. Since expectations related to public libraries have changed considerably during the recent years, librarians had to reconsider how to serve their users in the future. They can rely on the results of such surveys. Should they be passive information providers, or should they assume a more active role in education, management, and mediating the cultural heritage? Data suggest that as compared to Norwegian people, Hungarians have a greater democracy deficiency. Acquiring information about local events still poses problems to Hungarian library users, and so does forming their opinion. Their majority expect and find the help offered by the library for getting information necessary. Hungarians, filling out the questionnaire, have also formulated their negative feelings, criticism, and ideas in connection with the community creating role of libraries. Beside a need for becoming more open, they are afraid of libraries’ loosing their traditional role in teaching people to love reading. The study contains quotations from the opinions.

New ISO-standard for the identification of the names of languages

KURUC Imréné

DUDÁS Anikó: From ancient times to the digital age.

The Vatican Library and its database

The Vatican Library had been developed by popes for centuries. Today it plays the role of a sort of „national“ library as well. It takes part in the work of international professional organisations, provides data for integrated databases. Much time had passed until the modern processing of the collection started. The work of scholars is aided by book catalogues, various scientific series, facsimile editions. The institution, dedicated mainly to the storage and study of manuscripts in previous centuries, is now making efforts to ensure widespread availability besides the more and more complex tasks of preservation. The information system of the library performs complex functions as a result of wide scale international projects. The computerised catalogue ensures the formal and subject cataloguing of documents and makes the display of many digital reproductions possible. By means of information technology the invaluable pieces of art, manuscripts and printed materials can serve as the bases of new knowledge or the subject of research without geographical limitations.

WORMEL, Irene: Infometrics and the use of bibliographic data in strategic planning

(Transl.: Mohor Jenő)

The study calls attention to the us of the methods of cognitive analysis and synthesis while searching large bibliographic databases. Infometrics is presented as an emerging field of information science. She illustrates how bibliometric methods combined with statistics, advanced information retrieval, data and text mining can be applied in the analysis of e.g. subject fields, research trends, the assessment of portals and electronic libraries. Through some research examples she shows the achievements reached by these approaches, e.g. the analysis of the impact of international scientific journals, or the subject analysis of national/international well-being research. She emphasizes the necessity that library and information professionals be the consolidators of information, i.e. persons who transform the gathered information bits to knowledge that can be used by the management of their organisation/institution/workplace in making strategic decisions.

Kategória: 2003. 1. szám | A közvetlen link.