2007. 1. szám – abstracts

Reading and value system. Trends in the changes of book reading

The previous parts of the study were published in: Könyvtári Figyelő (Library Review) vol. 16 (52) 2006. no.1 and 4. pp.36-44 and 457–484.
The study follows up the examinations published in Könyvtári Figyelő in 2006. The sociological survey (with a sample of 3674 persons) conducted by the National Széchényi Library and TÁRKI Social Research Centre in autumn 2005 examining the reading habits of the population over 18 years, shows a significant decrease in reading interest in Hungary. The number of adults reading one book per year has decreased from 60 to 40 per cent. Similar trends can be observed in the content and structure of reading interest: the effect of commercialism, pragmatism and Americanisation is evident.

The tables of the survey conducted by the National Library and TÁRKI SRC in 2005 show the trends of a moderate, but obvious change: between 1964 and 2000 the demand for (especially American) bestsellers was growing continuously, then till 2005 it sank significantly (from 31 to 21 per cent), but the attractiveness of romantic and classical authors (including Hungarians) grew to some extent.

Since the television campaign Big Read was conducted in the same year, its effect can not be denied: it may strengthen but not change existing reading attitudes.
The questionnaire was looking for correlations between religiousness, reading habits and library use. The overall picture is seemingly static, though dynamic changes have taken place in the background. The extent of freedom has increased, e.g. many ecclesiastical schools began to operate again, and two new ecclesiastical universities were founded in the last fifteen years. The recent data are very similar to the data got two decades before: the answers of the „religious in a special way“ category coincide with the country average results, the indecisive group is laggard, while the self-conscious non-religious and the religious categories are the best library users, and the best and fastidious readers.

Examining the books recently read it is evident that classical authors are preferred more in general, while the reserved attitude against bestsellers is more significant for religious people.

The cultural distance has grown between reader with a maturity exam (in a secondary school) and with a university degree. Two or three decades before the former ones became in all probability good readers, but this happens no more automatically because of today’s mass secondary education.

Examining the party voting preferences in relation with reading and library use there seems to exist a little advantage at the side of the conservatives. Age and educational differences may hide behind this phenomenon. (To be continued in the next issue)

Compulsory further education for librarians. Experiences of the Hungarian Library Institute in the first seven years (2000-2006)

The most important tasks of professional strategy in librarianship between 2003 and 2007 included: supporting the life long learning of librarianship and making their professional career more attractive. The legal regulation 1/2000. (14 January) on the compulsory further education scheme for professionals in the field of culture says that librarians must take part in every seven-year period in continuing education (120 hrs each), financed centrally by the Ministry of Education and CulturE. The training is organized in the frame of adult education, and the courses can be provided only by licenced institutions. The Hungarian Library Institute (HLI) has received a valid licence for the adult education of librarians till 2009, and provides relevant programmes and courses (e.g. training for library assistants). The staff of HLI took part in the reform of professional training (validation, working out competencies profiles, defining skills etc.). The training of library technicians at a higher level is waiting for implementation. The Institute‘s courses show a variety in themes (personality development, social inclusion for handicapped groups, computer skills, project planning, cataloguing, reference etc.). The HLI has had a licence for 25 training programms – and in case of 16 programmes was a founder.
The number of participating students made up 1 122. At the homepage of the HLI (www.ki.oszk.hu) information on the licenced courses was made accessible. Parallel with the courses two text book series have been issued: the first serves library assistant training, while the other offers professional reading for graduated colleagues. The report concludes with describing the experiences made at the Institute’s most popular courses (computer skills, librarians’ mental health, conflict management).

Thoughts about LIS students

Parallel with the Bologna process it is very actual to consider the system of library practicum of LIS students. The main purpose of a library practicum is to enable students to work in a library or other information setting under the guidance of a skilled library professional. This experience offers an opportunity to test professional skills and to re-examine concepts and theories against the conditions in which libraries and information centers must operate today. (This underlines the importance of different professional competencies.)
Many difficulties appear in the distance education and corresponding courses. To improve the present situation a unified central concept and management is needed: centralized guidance may prevent extreme problems. (The three typical faults occuring in the library practicum of students are 1) „censorship“, 2) the meaningless work, and 3) the „glass-wall“ effect (learning by hearing).
An other important question is the assessment of students working in the practicum. The mentors’ reports are one-sided, and the scale of given scores is simplified. The first step could be to settle the legal status of the receiving library and of the librarian leading the summer practice.
In the Eger College the main aims of students’ practicum are: to try the problem-solving ability of students in real situations; to strengthen their affinity to the profession; and to support the the application of theory in practice.
The content of practicum activities follows the curriculum. The working report of students compiled during the library practice serves the integration of previous experience and knowledge with the one gained in the paracticum, and gives an opportunity to use professional terminology.
The system of students’ professional practice practicum should be part of the quality management systems of both the internship libraries and of the College.
Hopefully the current surveys and analyses of the working group „Making library profession more attractive” may reach their goal, and the situation of the library practicum may rapidly change as well.

Efforts at controlling the world‘s knowledge in the oeuvre of Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine

The article describes the intellectual and theoretical background characterizing Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, and leading to the founding of the International Institute of Bibliography (Institut International de Bibliographie) in 1895. The author discusses not the life and works of its founders, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, but the development of the Institute, closing her survey with the death of the founders during the Second World War (1943/1944).
Otlet, who had worked on theory of a universal repertory before 1895, realized that the increasing mass of publications was becoming increasingly uncontrollable because traditional bibliographies and catalogues could not cover all the emerging scientific publications, thus it is not possible to gain a general overview.

Otlet and La Fontaine began to collect data of literature on legal and political science independently. In 1895 they convened an international conference on bibliography in Brussels, where the participating librarians and bibliographers agreed on founding a bibliographic office with the aim to research and develop bibliographical methods, and finally to establish a Universal Repertory covering all scientific publications in the world by building up a card catalogue. (The office started its activity in January 1900.) According to the plans the participating countries would have sent descriptions of all their publications to the IIB in an internationally unified way, where bibliographic publications would be issued by individual discipline. Otlet and La Fontaine hoped that the IIB and its publications will solve the bibliographical registration of the knowledge of mankind. In the later years the activity of the IIB was extended by documentation services and by working out unified terminology.
The realization of a world bibliography was not supported by the technical environment in the given period, but it may become a reality in the age of the Internet, links, and hypertext.

Museums, nationality, and public research libraries in nineteenth-century Transylvania

In nineteenth century Transylvania (now in Romania but then a province of Hungary) Germans, Hungarians, and Romanians all attributed special importance to research collections in the creation of their political nations. This study traces the development of the most important repositories of the respective nations: the Germans’ Brukenthal Museum, the Hungarians’ Transylvanian Museum Society, and the Romanians’ Astra. These institutions arose as hybrid museum-libraries and even included archives. Despite this common conception, they developed differently due to the nature of their constituencies, the growing professionalization of libraries, museums, and archives, and political change within Hungary and Romania.

Library ethics and the authoritative librarian

The Code of ethics of Hungarian librarians consisting of 10 chapters was issued in January 2006. The Code laid down that the librarian should be an authoritative person who is honest, reliable, works according to professional standards, and whose professional competence is indisputable. The author draws a parallel between the modern library and the authoritative places of the Middle Ages (the chaplainship issuing authoritative charters), in the sense that the acceptance of their activity relied on two premises, i.e. professional knowledge and public confidence. These two premises are valid for today‘s librarian as well, this is why the author reconsiders the code‘s content from the point of the ethical category of authoritativeness.

The library application of public lending right (PLR) in international practice. Part 1.

The Council Directive about rental and lending rights was formulated in 1992 for member states regarding the authors’ lending rights (92/100/EC). It is a basic principle that specifies that authors should receive remuneration for the circulation of their books in public libraries. Member states may request exemption from the exclusive right of public lending if they pay the authors a fee for the lending of their works. Member states may exclude certain institutions from the obligation of payment.
The Directive has been applied differently by the individual member states, in some cases not following the Directive which may involve sanctions. EBLIDA has recognised that the legal regulation has not precisely specified the scope of exempted institutions, and proposes that public institutions in the field of culture and education should be guaranteed a more flexible regulation. IFLA rejects lending rights as it feels that it threatens the right of citizens for free and global access. It proposes that the lending fees should be secured not by libraries, but by the state. The first part of the review article discusses the general principles and practice of those states where PLR has become part of every day legal practice.

(To be continued in the next issue.)

The information broker‘s work

Információból üzleti érték. Az információbróker környezete és munkája. Ed. MIKULÁS Gábor.
[Business value – from information. The environment and work of information brokers]
(reviewed by TÓTH Máté)

Hungarian literature in Voivodina

ISPÁNOVICS CSAPÓ Júlianna: A jugoszláviai magyar irodalom 1998-1999. évi bibliográfiája
[Bibliography of Hungarian literature in Yugoslavia, 1998-1999]
(Reviewed by GYURIS György)

Theories of information behavior

Theories of information behavior. Ed. Karen E. FISHER, Sanda ERDELEZ, Lynne MCKECHNIE
(Reviewed by HAJNAL-WARD Judit)

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