Formation of library networks in counties and districts in the 50’s. Part 1
The study describes the development of county and district library networks in the period 1952 through 1960. In Hungary public libraries were first founded in the period 1949 to 1952: these were the so-called district libraries. Later these district and town libraries – the latter operating in a few places only – were organized into networks. In 1952 county libraries were established too in every county. It was planned to organise central libraries in the 138 districts, but this task could not be implemented in a short time: it could only be realized in 1960, when the network of village, district and county libraries was set up. In communities, where the library had a tradition, the new county or district libraries were stronger, nevertheless, their re-organization and the cataloguing of collections took a long time. The decree of the Council of Ministers (1952) had not offered a model for county and district libraries, the relevant guidelines were completed in 1953–1954 only. County libraries were meant to be both research and public libraries, but because of their traditions, weak collections and untrained staff they could not fulfil these tasks – their activities remained similar to the volksbücherei. (They were actually village libraries of a bigger size, with functions similar to those of district libraries.) It was a mistake to tear away these libraries from the town’s funding body. In the early period also the merger of town and county libraries was merely formal. The National Conference on Librarianship in 1952 recommended setting up children’s libraries in the county and bigger town libraries. This was the first important step on the way to modern public libraries.
Prison libraries in Hungary in 2006–2010
The study describes, based on statistical data in the period 2006 to 2010 and on interviews with librarians working in prisons, the situation of prison libraries and prison librarians in Hungary. The libraries of modern correctional institutions must play a key role in supporting the education, recreation and rehabilitation of prisoners, helping them return to society. To accomplish these tasks properly, Hungarian prison libraries must be supported and developed. Nowadays these isolated libraries, operating within the framework of increasingly multicultural and multilingual institutions, are not able to meet all the needs of prisoners for reading materials and information: that is why these libraries should co-operate with other libraries and should take part in the interlending of books and other materials. It would be necessary everywhere to employ professional staff, and to develop a comfortable library environment with adequate furniture and spacious service areas. Modern information technology should be provided – without risking security, of course. Prison libraries as institutions of inclusion and providing chances may accompany prisoners into the knowledge-based society; this is why it is so important to develop them.
The role of library standards in working with authors’ names in institutional repositories
Institutional repositories are new tools in scientific communication. Digital repositories manage authors’ names in a way which is strongly different from the standards and guidelines applied in library practice. The open source software products as background to these databases do not offer possibilities to create authority files of personal names, to identify single authors and to link name variants, thus causing many difficulties and inaccuracies during the retrieval of publications uploaded to repositories. To improve the reliability and authenticity of systems it would be an important step forward to apply a data exchange format based on MARC, and to identify authors with a code (International Standard Name Identifier, ISNI) corresponding to the ISO 27729 standard.
Research and information acquisition in the digital age, in and beyond libraries. Part 2
The second part of the study offers methodological know-how for coping with the challenges mentioned earlier, brought about by technological change and the Zeitgeist. Acknowledging that the range of devices to manage library collections and to organise knowledge is almost infinite, the author illustrates, through some examples taken from the practice of special libraries; that also with the re-formed user preferences and expectations, the library does hold an added value for the field of scientific research. The practical ideas discussed in this paper help readers find their book, as envisaged by Ranganathan. Promoting Open Science, digitising library collections, contributing to shared catalogues relying on unified principles at the national as well as international levels, and exploiting the potential of web2.0, all provide an exceptional opportunity for future librarians to re-define their role in the digital age. As a result, they are gradually moving away from the passive attitude of the “keepers of knowledge” and are more likely to become encouraging-supporting research co-ordinators. To achieve this, however, they not only need new skills and abilities but the library as a physical space should also be re-invented, since the transforming patterns of scientific thinking and research may soon change the library into a primary centre of trans-disciplinary academic life and scientific debate.
FROM OUR PAST
Two core collections of the Budapest University Library: foreign prints from the 16th and 17th centuries
In the Budapest University Library new objectives have been formulated in recent years to make the library’s audience acquainted with prints held by the library as research resources. The materials from the pre-1800 period were organised into separate special collections by centuries, and their records were uploaded into electronic catalogues. To implement this concept the earlier storage system of prints was completely re-organised, parallel to cleaning and restoring prints on a continuous and planned basis. As a result of this work of ten plus years new storage systems for the 16th-century so called Antiqua collection and the 17th-century Baroque-collection were implemented, together with cataloguing this material according to a system elaborated within the library (now used countrywide as a national standard in the shared catalogue of old prints, MOKKA-R). The study introduces the two new special collections with a few examples of important books.
Tasks of librarians in the Dominican Heritage Camp in Vasvár, West-Hungary
The Dominican Order’s Historical Collection in Vasvár has been organising since 2004 youth camps on protecting cultural heritage. Each year, except for 2006 and 2008, enthusiastic young people provided assistance to selecting and cataloguing the archives and library material of this collection. The students of the Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Arts (specialising in librarianship, history, archives, art history and Latin) complemented their theoretical studies as a kind of in-practice training. To catalogue the volumes in the Dominican Order’s Historical Collections means a challenge for students, as this work requires to synthesise their knowledge in Latin, German and other languages, theology etc.). The study presents how students can contribute to the development of this Historical Collection, as well as the role this summer voluntary work plays in their special training.
Librarianship and reading culture in the Russian Empire (1830–1916)
In the last third of the 19th century Russian librarianship has gained an impetus as a post-effect of Alexander II’s reform decade. A new democratic institution, the public library was born, whose development was accompanied by a flourishing period of other cultural branches (publishing, press, museums etc.).
The author presents the first 25 years in the development of Russian public libraries: the years of evolvement between 1880 and 1905, as well as the short period of golden age in 1905 to 1916. He discusses in separate chapters: the evolution of reading, the appearance of new genres (people’s literature, thrillers) and their readers, the volume of books borrowed from libraries and their composition. In a new chapter he provides an overview about the situation of librarians, their co-operation, training, associations and journals. As a whole, librarianship in this age may be considered as ambiguous: central government in most cases has rather slowed down the liberally thinking public libraries gaining ground instead of supporting them. The spreading of reading, the desire for social mobility, the demand for entertainment, various civil initiatives, the appearance of supporters, the self-organisation of the library profession, all contributed to developing libraries. This trend has become later restrained by World War I, later by the Bolshevik revolution.
The collection of ephemera in international practice; lessons from abroad
It is a complex question of the collection development how to manage materials quickly becoming obsolete. Nowadays we must re-consider which documents belong to ephemera, and which part of these materials is worth cataloguing and preserving for a long time. The author describes the Anglo-Saxon, German, French and Swedish practice in the relevant national libraries, their collection development policies regarding the various types of ephemera: those to be collected and those not collected. International practice is not homogeneous; however, some examples should be considered for use in Hungary, maybe in a revised form. The author raises some further aspects about the collection of this material in Hungary: he proposes to introduce the term ephemera instead of small prints, to narrow down the scope and themes of ephemera to be collected, and to enhance the co-operation of libraries in collecting this type of material.
WIESENMÜLLER, Heidrun: The future of German library networks (BuB, Forum Bibliothek und Information, Jg. 63. 2011. H. 11–12. pp. 790–796.)
(Reviewed by Lajos Murányi)
At the end of 2006 the Standing Conference of German Cultural Ministers tasked its Scientific Council (Wissenschaftsrat) with evaluating the German library networks. Work began in mid-2009. The closing report „Recommendations on the future of library network systems in Germany” was published on January 28, 2011. The experts have explored the regional networks not only on their own, but also as a comprehensive system, at the national level. In the meantime also the Committee for Research Libraries and Information Systems of the German Research Alliance (DFG) dealt with the theme, and published on February 2, 2011 a „Position paper to develop library networks as part of a national information infrastructure”. These two papers differ only in nuances, but have the same key tone. The two bodies in question published a three page common statement as well, under the title „The future of the library network system”. Their overall assessment was extremely critical. In her article professor Heidrun Wiesenmüller of the College for Media, Stuttgart delivers her detailed opinion on these papers and provides recommendations.
József Szinnyei senior’s universe
GYURCSÓ Júlia: Idősb Szinnyei József bibliográfia 1–2. 2011.
(Reviewed by Sándor Szabó)
“Reading is relevant to all subjects taught.” Papers of a conference
Az olvasás össztantárgyi feladat. Szerk. Nagy Attila, Köntös Nelli, Imre Angéla. 2011.
(Reviewed by Géza M. Fülöp)
An English-language handbook by a Hungarian professional
KOLTAY Tibor: Abstracts and abstracting. A genre and set of skills for the twenty-first century. 2010.
(Reviewed by Ágnes Feimer)