Unanswered questions in the training in library and information sciences

BÉNYEI, Miklós

The graduate training in library and information sciences is currently available at 13 training institutions in Hungary. The training is offered both in full-time and part-time mode and in the form of distance education. The approximate number of LIS students is 4,000. Students obtain a university or a college degree diploma when they finish their studies.

As a consequence of the restructuring in compliance with the Bologna process, the system of higher education in Hungary – including the training in librarianship – is facing significant changes. Starting in 2006, the system of higher education will follow a new, linear structure. This means that the current coexistence of colleges and universities will end and a three-level system will be introduced: 1. the three-year, undergraduate programme requiring 180 credits (BA), 2. the two-year, masters degree level programme requiring 120 credits (MA), and the three-year doctoral degree programme (PhD) requiring 180 credits.

From 2006, the number of subjects available within the undergraduate programme will be radically reduced. New fields of studies and study programmes will be defined. Within the individual programmes, the same core training will be provided. In the first draft of the new law on higher education, the graduate training in LIS was not distinguished as an independent programme. Prominent figures of the training in librarianship and of the library field then decided to lobby jointly for the independence of the programme. Their arguments were accepted, but the next step was to range LIS under the Hungarian language and linguistics study programme. The professional associations, the training institutes and the library department of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage then launched a new offensive to achieve that the LIS programme was included in the multidisciplinary social sciences field. The decree coming into force in August 2004 (252/2004) already reflects this achievement, showing the training in LIS as a BA degree level programme to which post-secondary students can enrol directly.

This is how the independence of the training in librarianship was saved. Nevertheless, a few problems still remain to be solved: e.g. the decree does not provide for the questions of full-time, part-time, evening courses and distance education. The current system allowing for students to follow in parallel another programme in addition to library sciences may not be maintained. Completing one programme only would be considered as a setback, however, one advantage could be that the credits related to core subjects would be extended, making possible a more in-depth acquisition of basic professional competencies. Another advantage of the new system is that each programme of the field can be completed with teacher’s training, allowing for a teaching librarian MA programme.

After the decree came into force, the experts involved in the training in LIS started to elaborate the requirements related to the training and the degrees that will be offered.


Training in library and information sciences: current situation and tendencies, opportunities and threats


The author examines the tasks of the training in library and information sciences from five points of view:

in the strategic context: the training in library and information sciences needs to find its place in the system of local, regional, national and European strategies related to information society.

in terms of structure and content: the training in library and information sciences has become part of an interdisciplinary field, the core programmes of which (informatics, communication, general management) can be advantageously combined with the training. The convergence with other subjects needs to be reflected in the curriculum. The training objective has to be defined as it is stated in the decree 129/2001, the degree requirements need to follow the requirements of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee. It needs to be clarified how the disadvantages of the one-discipline qualification can be balanced. The relationship between undergraduate and masters degree levels needs to be elaborated.

in terms of cooperation of teaching staff and organisations: on the one hand, the conditions for collaboration between teachers, library schools, students, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Library Institute, the professional associations and libraries need to be examined. On the other hand, the participation of teachers and students in international cooperative fora (EUCLID, BOBCATSSS) and in grant and exchange programmes (Fulbright, ERASMUS) needs to be encouraged.

as far as research is concerned, clear research objectives, strategies and priorities need to be defined together with mechanisms for stimulating the participation in research.

the minimum requirements as well as the development concepts of the infrastructure necessary for successful operation need to be elaborated.



The 100th anniversary of the special library of sociology.
From the world bibliography of Ervin Szabó to the online sociological databases

REISZ, László

The Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library has a rich professional history both as a metropolitan public library, and as a national special library in social sciences. Ervin Szabó, its founder and first director, was an internationally outstanding figure of the social and library sciences of his time. His level of professionalism and his innovative spirit had been decisive in the development of the library and continue to influence the library’s image today.

The sociological collection of the library was created in 1973 with the two-fold objective of cataloguing both the professional literature of the past and the contemporary Hungarian sociological literature. The current literature has been catalogued since 1972. The automated cataloguing started in 1987. The latest development, dating of February 2004, is an online database of approximately 110 000 entries called “SzocioWeb” that can be accessed free of charge by all users.

As part of the retrospective conversion, some important works were accomplished, among others the publication of the five-volume Hungarian Bibliography of the History of Sociology, containing the bibliographical data of social sciences publications between 1900 – 1929.

The retrospective cataloguing of Hungarian social sciences literature is going on in the Digital Social Sciences Archive. This is a full-text database aiming to collect selected monographies and periodical publications in social sciences and related disciplines between 1848 and 1948 in pdf format. This conversion method ensures that the original format and layout of the texts – in the case of books, usually the first edition – is maintained. It is expected that 550 – 600 books will be digitised, with 120,000 – 130,000 pages in total. Periodicals will include The 20th century; Freethought (1911 – 1918), the official journal of the Hungarian Freethought Association; Hungarian Social Sciences Review (1908 – 1914); Women and Society (1907-1913), the official journal of the Hungarian Feminist Association; Social Sciences (1921 – 1942) and Social Review (1931 – 1933). The Hungarian Digital Social Sciences Archive also constitutes an excellent educational resource.

The Social Theory and Contemporary History Collection of Szeged University Library

LACZKÓ, Sándor

The collection was created in 1985 by the teaching staff of the Faculty of Humanities of Szeged University with the objective of collecting social theory and political history literature related to the 20th century history of Hungary and Central and South-Eastern Europe. The collection interest included emigré and samizdat publications, manuscripts, translations in manuscript, research literature. Between 1985 and 1989, this was the only collection where students could legally access samizdat and emigré literature.

During the political and economic transition period, the profile of the collection underwent a few changes. Priority was given to the 20th century history and contemporary social theory of Central and South-Eastern Europe, with a special focus on nationality / minority issues. The collection has a two-fold function: it supports the professional education in Regional History and Minority Studies at Szeged University and also constitutes a valuable resource for research.

Since 1994, the collection has been functioning as a special collection of Szeged University Library and is open to the general public too. It contains 8,500 documents, most of which are unavailable in print publishing, Hungarian periodicals published abroad, minorities-related journals, and other scholarly and cultural journals in English, Serbian, Croatian, Romanian and German languages. The collection is covered by the online catalogue of the university library. The homepage of the collection (http://primus.arts.u-szeged.hu/doktar) offers access to the databases, bibliographies as well as the full text of studies and articles published by the library.

The new library of Szeged University was opened in December 2004. The new location, as well as the integration into the new structure hopefully holds new opportunities of development and cooperation for the special library of Social Theory and Contemporary History.

The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences supporting research in humanities and social sciences


The Library of Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1826 and was opened to scholars in 1844. Its collections interests are literature and linguistics, classical studies, oriental studies, science policy and history of science. The holdings include over 2,000,000 documents of all types. The collection development is ensured mainly by donations and exchanges, and occasionally by purchasing. From 1949 to 1994, the library was functioning as the central library for the network of research institutes run by the Academy of Sciences.

Since the 1960s, the library has been publishing a number of reference works. Research and Development included 868 reviews, 53,000 bibliographic records, 2,082 articles published between 1961 and 1994. HungInfo, Hungarian Social Sciences and Humanities, Contents of Periodicals was published from 1986 to 1989. Analecta Linguistica, a reference journal of linguistics was edited at the library between 1976 and 1992.

A few reference works were published in international cooperation, e.g. in the framework of the International Social Sciences Information System (1976 – 1990) and the European Cooperation on Social Sciences Information and Documentation (ECSSID) coordinated by the Vienna Centre. Within this latter programme, publications on current researches were issued and the ECSSID Bulletin was edited at the library.

The library played an important role in the computerised reference services of the 1980s: they were providing information retrieved from ISI, SCI, SSCI, and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index. At the moment, the library has access to these services within the Electronic Information Services programme run by the Ministry of Education in Hungary. The Library is participating in other consortia for accessing electronic services such as Periodical Contents Index, Literature Online, European Sources Online by Proquest, Biographical Resources Index and EBSCOhost. A digitisation programme was also launched out of external funding. A so far unpublished bibliography of Hungarian writer’s biographies and works (compiled by Pál Gyulás) has recently been made accessible in electronic form and the official documents of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences are being digitised as well.


The special library for Regional Studies in Hungary


The Transdanubian Research Centre in Pécs was founded in 1943 and has been integrated in the network of research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences since 1955. Its original mission was to carry out research related to geography, economy, ethnography and history. The library of the institute inherited the collection of the related department of Pécs university.

In the 1970s, multidisciplinary research started which resulted in an enhanced role of the library. Its collection interest was enlarged and started to include literature in economy, public administration, law, sociology etc. In 1983, the Centre for Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded as a network of institutes of complex social science researches. Its main strategic objectives are the interdisciplinary research of long term national and international processes of regional and urban development and their systems of institutions, as well as support to decision making concerning regional development in Hungary. The core library of the Centre for Regional Studies is the library of the Transdanubian Research Centre. In our days, the library’s collection interest focuses on economic and societal development and social sciences works related to research methodologies. The collection contains 43,000 items, including monographies, periodicals, maps, grey literature. 75% of the library’s budget is spent on journal subscriptions (currently 42 foreign periodicals can be consulted). Since 2001, cataloguing has been carried out in the TinLib integrated library system.

The United Social Sciences Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


The youngest social sciences library in Hungary was founded five years ago with the merging of libraries of three research institutes of the Academy of Sciences. Before 1994, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences operated a network of research institutes with a corresponding network of 40 research libraries of special profiles, offering limited public access. The network system was ended by the law on the Academy of Sciences in 1994. As a result of this measure, the research libraries have remained without professional supervision and support. They are also at a disadvantage due to their status: they do not belong to the category of “libraries open to all” defined by the library law of 1997, consequently do not benefit from central funding for library development.

In 1999, three research institutes of the Academy of Sciences (the Institute of Political Sciences, the Institute of Sociology, and the Institute for World Economics) moved to the same location. The united library was created by the merging of the holdings of the three individual libraries of these institutes. The united library started to operate with a collection of 150,000 volumes and 8 staff relocated from the previous libraries. Most of the difficulties of the merging arose from the differences as far as the level of cataloguing, the depth of cataloguing, the applied indexing system, the expectations of the library users (researchers), the scope of library services and the work processes within the three libraries.

Following the organisational changes, the united collection was established. Double copies were filtered and some volumes were cancelled. In 2001, more changes followed in the library. The Institute for Minority Studies was created that took some space from the library’s periodicals reading room as well as from the offices of library staff.

The core mission of the library is the support to research carried out at the institutes. Its primary users are researchers from the four institutes served by the library, but the library is open for scientists from other institutes as well. A few obstacles hinder the collection development: the library does not have an own budget and there is no separate budget for library purposes within the budgets of the four institutes either, so the institutes’ financial contributions are uneven. The library staff is planning to convert the collection catalogued in TINLIB into HUNTÉKA, a Hungarian integrated library system. Due to the lack of third party funding, retrospective conversion is progressing slowly. A long term plan is being elaborated for the setting up of a virtual catalogue covering other social sciences collections of the Academy.

Legal deposit and national bibliographies.
An overview of international practices


Legal deposit regulations are of primary importance from the point of view of keeping a national published archive. The legal deposit of print documents goes back to a long history, its regulation does not create problems today. But the legislation of the deposit of electronic publications raises a new challenge. Including digital publications into the legal deposit system is one of the tasks of utmost importance for the national bibliographical agencies and offices.

The overview focuses on the presentation of the legal deposit practice of the United Kingdom. The British regulation can be exemplary for Hungary in many respects. During the long preparatory negotiations, all parties concerned were brought together and the regulation turned out to be satisfactory from the point of view of the publishers’ interests too.

The regulation was elaborated in accordance with copyright rules. However, the deposit and storage of online databases and websites remain to be solved. A few other national and international projects are also described, namely NEDLIB, EPPP, PANDORA and TEL.


Open Access on the offensive?
A report to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom Parliament

Reviewed by KOLTAY, Tibor

The 10th report (2003) of the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons of the UK parliament contains a number of positive elements in connection with the political support to expanding access to scientific information. As the report states, due to the serious constraints on library budgets, libraries are cancelling their journal subscriptions. As a consequence, publishers suffer revenue loss, while library users’ unrestricted access to information is jeopardised too. It is a common interest to keep the costs at an affordable level, based on an agreement acceptable for all players of the scientific information market. Free of charge access leads to a more effective use of scientific literature and enhances the return on public money invested in research. Similar conclusions can be found in the Action Plan of the World Summit on the Information Society that draws the attention to the initiatives facilitating access to scientific literature by affordable subscription prices, or by open access journals and books, as well as open access archives. Electronic-only publishing, differentiated price models as well as open access initiatives are strongly recommended by WSIS.


A few aspects of the antiquarian bookselling of the 19th and 20th centuries

ROSENTHAL, Bernard M. (Summary by MOHOR, Jenő)

Local library policies in Italy.

Reviewed by MOHOR, Jenő

Local governments in Italy have published their principles of library policy in 2003. The policy was discussed at the 4th national library conference in Florence. The review presents the policy document itself and the reaction that it produced in the library field. For the better understanding of the policy by Hungarian readers, the review provides a summary on the system and current situation of Italian libraries.

NAGY Attila – PÉTERFI Rita (eds.): Public Libraries and the Cultural Integration of Gypsies in Hungary

Summary by ÉGER, Veronika

ECSEDY, V. Judit: Characters and images used by old Hungarian printers (1473–1600)

Summary by BÁNFI, Szilvia

POGÁNY, György: Bibliophilia and the art of books
POGÁNY, György: A brief history of Hungarian book trade

Summary by KENYÉRI, Kornélia

50 years in the information services of the Hungarian agricultural sector.
The history of the National Agricultural Library and Documentation Center 1952 – 2002.

Summary by ÉGER, Veronika