Messages of the history of reading
TÓTH Gyula

In his essay the author deals with human factors of the library: readers and different forms of reading. The books on the history of reading, by Roger Chartier and Alberto Manguel, published at the turn of the millennium in Western Europe, brought a revelation, because they have directed attention on a way of research into reading which is independent of the issues of writing. In the past millennia, always aligning to the needs, mankind has created many ways of reading. The revolutions of communication – i.e. the „switch” from rolls to codices, then from codices to printed books, or from printed materials to electronic formats – always started by questioning the old rule. New formats came up as a replacement, an improvement, and resulted in their own „genres” only later. The literacy of new eras has always combined the old with the new. In our days, in the information age, new, corresponding reading methods and techniques have evolved again, which make us reconsider the role of reading both in cognition, and in learning. The history of reading points out for us rules that are valid not only in reading and communication, but in accessing and managing knowledge, in learning and thinking as well. Many issues of library history must be reconsidered too in the context of the history of reading. Today education must – in co-operation with libraries – convey new reading forms, such as non-linear (electronic) reading, browsing and scanning reading, reading and interpreting image and text together, the use of electronic search tools, critical thinking on information from combined searches, etc.

The symbolic interpretation of information transfer

The study is interpreting the process of information transfer as a symbolic object, because its relation-character makes it appropriate for symbolising human relations as well. The term ’symbol’ is used as in the anthropology of Geertz, and is seen as a cognitive tool for interactions in the library or related to the library. In the information transfer, under any ICT condition, there is a relation, a problem, a task, an apparatus and a symbolic background involved. This symbolic environment is analysed by the study in the segment of structural space, text space, semiotic space, relational, mediation and moral space. The most important findings are that the information transfer in the structural space makes up a hierarchical organisation, where a logical sequence predominates. The elements of information transfer have a function in the structure as a whole, and are factors of the relational system determined by the whole. Information transfer and its outcomes are semiotically seen as a useful text holding information. To every information transfer belongs a cognitive meaning. Information transfer is a complex of meaning: it is an organised, analysable, and a meaning-creating activity. As a semiotic process it means, that both partners in the process, the librarian (the mediator) and the user (asking for information) will become subjects of interpretation processes, and in both parties meaning-creations are being fulfilled. The question „what does it mean to be a good librarian” is also an ethical problem. The library is becoming from a mechanism to a space full with energy while solving its societal tasks, and the content of its activities and services changes from working to a metaphor through human relationships.

Five Hungarian search engines: precision and recall
TÓTH Erzsébet

The study presents the findings of an empirical analysis which has compared the retrieval effectiveness of Hungarian search engines. Precision and recall measures express mostly the effectiveness of information retrieval systems, therefore the author analysed the relevant Hungarian search engines on the basis of these two attributes. In the examination of precision she considered only the first 60 hits for the queries, and analysed precision from the aspect of usage (usage meaning how many relevant web pages were retrieved to various queries by the search engines in the first, second, and third 20 hits. The examination of recall was done on the basis of relative recall known from literature. Altogether five Hungarian search engines were analysed: AltaVizsla, Heuréka, Origo-Vizsla, Kurzor and Góliát. Queries were executed with these search tools in Hungarian on five topics.

János Szentmihályi Centenary
SZABÓ Sándor

The author recalls the memory of János Szentmihályi (1908-1981), one of the greatest personalities of the Hungarian bibliography and library science, a professor at the University of Budapest. Szentmihályi began his career in the reader services department of the University Library in Budapest, later he worked for the National Széchényi Library. He has acted as a faculty member for almost 25 years at the LIS department of the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. Many generations of librarians have learnt from him the basics of the bibliographical and reference work. His main fields of research were the theoretical issues of national bibliography and the control of hungarica literature. He edited Hungarica Külföldi Folyóiratszemle (a quarterly registering current Hungarian publications abroad). As a bibliographer he called attention to the theoretical and practical problems of bibliographies, and was interested in the issues of scope and completeness in collecting bibliographical data. As a professor he took part in shaping the librarian career and in the activity of the FID (International Federation for Information and Documentation) Training Committee as well.Round table on the future of LIS education in Hungary
Könyvtári Figyelő (Library Review), vol. 54. 2008. no. 4.
A round table session was organised on August 26, 2008 by the University of Debrecen (Department Library and Information Technology) for LIS departments in Hungary, which led to releasing a joint statement summarising in 14 points higher education’s main tasks for the future.


The Journal Népművelés (1906–1918) on libraries in the first two decades of the 20th century, Part 1

During the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) Hungarian librarianship had originally only one professional journal, Magyar Könyvszemle (f. 1876). In 1906 a new journal has started under the title Népművelés, a journal for education and culture, edited by the mayor of Budapest, Ödön Bárczy, a researcher in pedagogy, Ödön Weszely, and an author, Ödön Wildner. The articles related to librarianship have not yet been explored within the rich subject offer of the journal. The journal was very popular with intellectuals and has made them, first of all teachers, aware that Hungary needs better libraries, and the reports about good examples from abroad may serve as a good starting point. After describing the first period of the journal and the editors’ principles, the author analyses the first year’s library-related topics: modern public libraries (with outlook to France, Germany and the UK), school libraries, reading lists for young people, and quotes from the articles published between 1907 and 1910.


HILLENKÖTTER, Kristine: A virtual special library for book history, library and information science from Germany (Translated by Lajos Murányi)

A new portal was presented at one of the sessions of the German Library Association’s conference in Leipzig in April 2007, as part of a DFG project, built up in co-operation by five partners for researchers, students, librarians and interested laymen.

DÉVAI Péter: A new library journal for the profession: Journal of Web Librarianship

The Haworth Press started in 2007 a new journal that publishes material related to all aspects of librarianship as practiced on the World Wide Web, including both existing and emerging roles and activities of information professionals in the Web environment. The review describes the first issue of the journal in detail.


A new LIS handbook from Italy Biblioteconomia: guida classificata. Diretta da Mauro Guerrini. Milano, 2007.  (Reviewed by Anikó Dudás)

Search! How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture?

BATTELLE, John: Keress! Hogyan alakítja át kultúránkat, üzleti életünket a Google és az internetes keresés? Budapest, 2006. (Reviewed by Péter Dévai)

An etiquette for librarians
FODOR Péter – HAVAS Katalin: Könyvtári etikett. Budapest, 2007. (Reviewed by Gabriella Szabó)

Honoured librarians 2005–2008  (compiled by Gyula GERŐ)