A two-hundred-year-old library in the 20th century: the modern history of the Archdiocesan Library in Eger
Among the works on Hungarian library history there are not many dealing with the events and issues of 20th-century librarianship, although this era has had a great impact on the fate and future of many institutions. The archival materials may provide new and important data for understanding how the present situation has developed.
The history of the Archdiocesan Library in Eger (f. 1793) is well documented till the end of the 19th century, except for episodes that have remained hidden in some archives’ files. Essays on the library’s history have, however, dealt only infrequently with the decades after 1900 and the changes lasting till our days, i.e. with the new era of decline and, later, of flourishing. Lajos Antalóczi (1947–2000), the former director of the library, described in his work the main events in the life of the Archdiocesan Library in Eger till 1996, but he cited only some of the existing archival sources. It was the aim of the present study to publish some further details of the modern history of the library, citing letters and official reports. These contemporary documents help to trace the fate of this valuable collection, and inform about the changing rules and habits of library use and the principles of collection building. At the same time, the library’s 20th-century history reveals some segments of the history of the mother institution (the Lyceum), and thereby becomes an organic part of the recent history of this old and respected school.
Collecting, organizing and recording old books in church libraries of two Dioceses (Nagyvárad and Szatmárnémeti in Transylvania) in the period 1998 through 2008
In recent years the author re-collected, organized and processed the old book-collections in two Transylvanian dioceses that had been dispersed in many church institutions. In 1998 the registration of the book collections began in the Roman Catholic Diocese Nagyvárad (now Oradea), that has a remarkable past from the Middle Ages on. The reconstruction of the book collections started as an individual venture, later support was gained from grants, and also the rare book research team of the Széchényi National Library joined the work. As a results of this work 1) every old book printed before 1801 was recorded, 2) a monograph on the history of the prebendal library was compiled, and 3) two catalogues of the book collections were prepared.
The chuch institutions of the Diocese Szatmárnémeti (now Satu Mare) look back to a shorter history, compared with the Diocese in Nagyvárad. In 2005 the author was commissioned with the assessment of book collections located in different places, as well with planning their utilization and long term reservation. Except for two collections, that remain in their original locations, all books were collected into the renovated episcopal palace in Szatmárnémeti as a protected historical library. Ca. 5000 volumes were disinfected, restored and registered. Work started on compiling a catalogue of books printed before 1701, while the works printed before 1801 were recorded by the staff of the Széchényi National Library. The processing of the whole collection located in this diocese is in progress yet.
Semantic and sign relations in the library
According to the thesis of this study a library can be examined as a sign that carries and transmits information. The information transfer in the library can be viewed also as an interpretation process.
The author describes the elements of the set of signs serving library operations, and states that categories of library space affect semantic categories. She analyses the presence of alphabetical and binary signs, researches the signs of documents and the sign contents in each work process. She has found, that the disclosure and reception of signs have opposite dynamics: namely, the librarian starts from operation, and it is the problem of transmitting operation, that makes her/him create library signs, while the user starts from the sign, and tries to decode it to lrarn about the operation.
One of the important conclusion of the study is, that using bibliographic or full-text databases consisting of closed structurs (data, data fields, record), and even when searching in the information of servers, that have open structures and are linked occasionally together, the process is „saved” against the user’s perceptions. It is also true, when the user is present. The user gets the productive component, and is neither a witness, nor a subject of receptive participation. Therefore, the author emphasises, that the most important „sign” in reference work is actually the librarian, also in the age of computer-based information transfer.
MESSAGES FROM THE PAST…
The journal Népművelés (1906–1918) on modern public libraries, Part 3
The journal was published between 1912 and 1914 with a new title Új Élet (New Life) and with a broader thematical content: it dealt with almost every branch of knowledge, from the history of science to fiction. As a consequence, articles on libraries were rare in the journal, but now and then an important study still appeared (e.g. Aladár Schöpflin’s article on trashy literature and its readers). In the years of World War I the plan of building a new city library in Budapest was cancelled from the agenda, so there were fewer articles on librarianship in the journal. Mostly articles and materials from abroad were published, e.g. on cultural institutions, such as public libraries in England, or an interesting report on Russian public libraries (taken over from an American journal). In the fall of 1918, during the Hungarian Bourgois Revolution a new editor took over, but the journal was ceased at the end of 1918 because of the changes in the City Hall’s leadership.
Wikipedia articles as assignments: developing the Wikipedia in the academia
In some of the library work process (e.g. collection development, reference etc.) different on-line encyclopedias and dictionaries provide useful assistance. The authenticity of the articles of the community-edited Wikipedia is permanently being questioned. The articles related to individual professional areas can be reliable only, when they are controlled by specialists. Another solution for controlled content may evolve in the academia, when the articles are created by students in the frame of higher education courses or seminars as their research assignments. This practice is not present in Hungary yet, but there are many examples for this abroad. Creating wikis as coursework has the benefit, that, since the articles become available for public use, they inspire the students to work in a good quality, and the teachers’ presence and their control secure the reliability of the texts evolving.
The author demonstrates on examples from Austria, Mexico, and Slovenia that the Wikipedia is not an information resource only, but a very useful and effective tool in higher education.
Disparity in professional qualifications
MAHON, Barry: The disparity in professional qualifications and progress in information handling: a European perspective (Reviewed by Éva Viszocsek Péteri)
The Journal of Information Science published on the occasion the 50th year jubilee of the foundation of Institute of Information Scientists (IIS) a special issue, where information policies of the past 50 years was overviewed.
This paper is a personal view of the development of the role(s) of information professionals in the 50 years since IIS was founded. One of the justifications for the formation of IIS was that the then current professional bodies were not relevant to the needs of those employed in industrial information services. This paper reviews briefly the situation when IIS was formed, from the viewpoint of professional requirements and the developments since. The conclusion is drawn that today’s information world, very different from that of 50 years ago, faces similar problems of a lack of suitable qualifications and a confusion in the roles of different actors in the field. (Original abstract)
Information policies: yesterday, today, tomorrow
ORNA, Elisabeth: Information policies: yesterday, today, tomorrow
This article presents a brief history of the development of ideas about national and organizational information policies, from the first establishment of a UK Ministry of Information in the First World War to the present day. The issues and tensions that have characterized attempts to develop and implement policies on the national and organizational scale are discussed, with particular reference to: the power relations between the parties to them; the relative significance accorded to information technology and information content; the transition from formulating policy to acting on it; and the threats to the survival of those policies that get as far as implementation. In conclusion, the contribution to date of information science to the theory and practice of information policies is assessed, and suggestions are offered on directions for future efforts, in the light of the past of this interesting field. (Original abstract)
Ten years of the journal Library Philosophy and Practice (LPP)
The review introduces a free accessible electronic journal Library Philosophy and Practice (LPP). Its first issue was published in 1998 by the Library of the University of Idaho (since 2004 by the Library of the University of Nebraska). The aim of the journal is to connect theory and practice in library work, so it focuses on the problems of developing countries. The review calls attention through examples on some interesting articles published in 2008 (e.g. on the librarians’encyclopaedic and philosophical erudition, applying of RSS in libraries, or a survey on the habits of collecting information by teachers at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University Lahore, Pakistan).
A new alliance for promoting books and reading in Italy
SOLIMINE, Giovanni: Leggere dentro i dati sulla lettura in Italia. (Bollettino AIB, 2008. 2/3. no. 233-248. p.) (Reviewed by Jenő Mohor)
In the journal of the Italian Library Association (Associazione italiana biblioteche) a study was published by Giovanni Solimine that presents and reviews a book of Adolfo Morrone and Miria Savioli La Lettura in Italia (Editrice Bibliografica, 2008). The work analyses data on readers and reading published since 60 years by the Italian Statistical Office (ISTAT). The Hungarian translation of the Italian Manifesto on reading, created by civilian associations is attached to the article. The action was initiated by teachers, publishers, librarians and booksellers, in order to broaden the basis of reading and readers in the society.
A very important book on Roma integration
Nagy Attila, Péterfi Rita (szerk.): Hídszerepek. Cigány integrációs kérdések. Bp. : OSZK ; Gondolat, 2008. (Reviewed by Imre Monostori)
A textbook on quality management in libraries
SKALICZKI Judit – ZALAINÉ KOVÁCS Éva: A minőség értékelése a könyvtárban és az információs szolgáltatásokban. Veszprém : Pannon Egyetemi Kiadó, 2008.(Reviewed by László Fejős )
On the history of the Municipal Library Szabó Ervin 1945-1998
KATSÁNYI Sándor – TÓTH Gyula: A fŐváros könyvtárának története 1945–1998. Bp. : FSZEK, 2008.) (Reviewed by Béla Mader)
Management of change
WOOD, E. J.- MILLER, R .- KNAPP, A.: Beyond survival. Managing academic libraries. Greenwood : Libraries Unlimited, 2007. (Reviewed by Judit Hajnal Ward)
Pictures at a library
BLASKÓNÉ MAJKÓ Katalin: A Magyar Képzőművészeti Egyetem könyvtárának története és különgyűjteményeinek bemutatása (M. Képzőműv. Egyetem, 2007.) (Ism.: Éger Veronika)
FROM FOREIGN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION JOURNALS