Formation of library networks in counties and districts in the 50’s. Part 2
The second part of the study presents, using new sources, the impact of the dé-tente in library policy having started as a result of political changes in 1953-54 (when Imre Nagy became Prime Minister), and the first signs of attitude change in the work of public libraries. This was also manifested in the so-called commemorative contests organised in 1954-55 in the honour of liberation with an increasing focus on quality improvement (replacing the earlier forcing of quantitative indicators and direct political influence). However, this was actually an interlude: Mátyás Rákosi’s return stalled this process, and caused a regression. After the 1956 revolution positive changes appeared again. This part of the study discusses the development and growth of county libraries, and the evolution of research library features in their activities. It deals in detail with the formation and strengthening of their internal organisation, as well as with the growth and differentiation of their collections. It qualifies the start of their local history activities, their applying of the methods of library science (in publishing press bibliographies and annuals related to local knowledge etc.), the (re)emergence of open shelves, to be more precise, their spreading in libraries as a step towards the public library.
Analysis of the utilisation of mobile public library services
This paper analyses mobile library services in Hungary based on statistical data, a questionnaire survey and interviews with library managers maintaining such services. The staff of the Hungarian Library Institute investigated during the related research a) the utilisation of the four existing mobile library services (supplying 87 communities), b) the demographics of users, c) whether the service brings economic return, d) the forms how these services are utilised. Utilisation was understood not only in terms of financial returns, but also as indirect benefits underlying service provision. In some places, the services represented a value for the entire municipality. Utilisation can be measured in many ways and by several methods, however, results can never be exact. It also had to be considered during the relevant survey that the mobile libraries (the buses) have a different technological infrastructure, and as a result, can offer different services. During the analysis every service factor was investigated, and the conclusions were drawn from combined results. The mobile libraries operating in the towns Encs, Szendrő, Pécs and Cegléd are definitely serving the most deprived and disadvantaged population whose social development and integration to work constitute an important economic issue. In an economic sense, different findings were achieved depending on the principle of measurement, but, as regards the utilisation of services, 97% of the interviewees considered that mobile libraries have improved the quality of library supply in the relevant municipality.
Space, place, library
Libraries are spaces filled with materials, librarians and users. The internet constitutes another kind of space; defined e.g. as space lacking space. The author first analyses the characteristics of space in general, and overviews the characteristics of library and virtual spaces. In the information society, the former closed space becomes an open and continuously evolving space. Parallel to space the personal feature also becomes relative, because info-communication eliminates spatial constraints, and makes personal presence superfluous. Space can be represented in a variety of ways (e.g. through maps and buildings). There may be social, commercial and intellectual, cultural etc. spaces. Libraries, similar to other spaces carrying cultural symbols, have been established to fulfil a given socio-cultural function: to offer services to all segments of society. The use of library space is regulated by certain rules (e.g. those manifested in signs, classification systems, shelving marks etc.). Conceptual and information systems and rules allow librarians to dominate the library space. New media types create new spaces in libraries. The author shows the roles of librarians in the narrative of information society.
Traditional and/or digital reading?
Following a summary presentation of survey data indicating a declining intensity in reading culture in Hungary, the author presents the findings of a survey based on interviews among 17 young (20-40-year-old) university students and graduates working in various field. The interviewees (regular users of the internet) underline the growing opportunities and advantages of digital reading and e-books (quickly and widely available information, practical use, environmentally friendly equipment etc.), but are strongly attached to traditional, printed forms of acquiring knowledge/reading. Several respondents mentioned positively the intimacy of retiring with books into a quiet place, the smell of books, the traditions of home libraries, their role as cultural status symbols, the „sense of reality“ and tangibility of books, the fact that they have „beginning and ending“, which means that they represent a small piece of universe: namely, that traditional, written communication modes are related to a certain „feeling of wholeness“. Among the arguments against the means transmitting writing in an electronic form (harmful to the eyes, expensive, etc.) the most important one was, perhaps, that we access the media carrying the text rather by technical tools (pressing the „mouse“ or keys) instead of personal ties.
Most of the respondents see the future in some division of functions: we are mostly going to read quick and partial information – such as the daily press, special literature and travel readings – digitally; however, we will read fiction (novels), longer and more comprehensive publications in a traditional print form.
FROM OUR PAST
Is library-related knowledge a science or only practice? Thoughts of and controversies between Máté Kovács and László Mátrai
POGÁNYNÉ RÓZSA Gabriella
The study reviews the “encounters”, contact points in the professional careers of Máté Kovács and Lász¬ló Mátrai in the period from 1945 to 1972 (the date of professor Kovács’ death), based mainly on their bequests in the Manuscript Collection of the National Széchényi Library and the Archives of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), respectively. The professional views of these two prominent figures in post-World War librarianship in Hungary differed mainly in that Mátrai (Director of the ELTE Library) denied, in contrast to Kovács (having served between 1956 and 1972 as the Head of the Library Science Department at ELTE) that library-related knowledge represents an individual discipline, and, therefore, doubted the legitimacy of LIS in university education and of a related university chair as well. According to the sources analysed, Kovács’s efforts have been opposed by others as well. Máté Kovács as head of department did a lot for consolidating, expanding and modernising LIS education within a continuously changing social, economic and technological environment, and elaborated at the same time a new concept on bibliology.
Public libraries serving the Bolshevik proletarian dictature in the Soviet Union (1918–1928)
The years after the October 1917 coup (as Stalin him¬self used to call the Great October Socialist Revolution till 1928) are a period of political struggles by the Bolshevik Party striving for dominance, civil war, War Communism eliminating every initiative and – partly as a consequence – an unprecedented period of devastating famine. From 1921-1922, the New Economic Policy (NEP) has somewhat loosened the political pressure, but it was only by 1927-1928 that Soviet production (both industry and agriculture) had reached the earlier Tsarist level of 1913, i. e. the last year before World War I. Education and culture developed in the first ten years with extremely lot of zigzags, while the main problem continued to be illiteracy. Nadezhda Krupskaya (1869-1939, deputy minister of education) exercised a comprehensive ideological control, which manifested itself, among other things, in “cleaning” former collections (sometimes at an absurd level). From the second half of the NEP period ideological offensive attributed a greater role to libraries as a (cheap) ideological transmission sub-system of the state’s political propaganda. Nevertheless, in the first ten years librarians could discuss professional issues even in their central journal Krasnyi bibliotekar (Red Librarian). The lexicons published in 1928–1929 (first edition of the Bolshaya sovetskaya entsiklopediya, the small Soviet encyclopaedia, and the Siberian encyclopaedia) added a variety of interesting features to our knowledge about this period. The sociology of reading having been cultivated very intensively in the period in question also deserves attention.
ANDRESEN, Leif – BRINK, Helle: Document supply in Denmark
Interlending and Document Supply. vol. 39. 2011. no. 4. pp. 176–185.
(Reviewed by Éva Viszocsek–Péteri)
The purpose of this paper is to present the Danish inter-library lending (ILL) environment with the focus on its current status, the level of automation and future development. The paper describes Danish ILL cooperation, and finds that focusing on standards and automation delivers a better service. Danish ILL has a high level of automation. The combination of standards, interaction between systems and dedicated functions in the national system delivers an effective handling of ILL and document delivery. (Based on the original abstract)
WALSH, Andrew: Blurring the boundaries between our physical and electronic libraries. Location-aware technologies, QR codes and RFID tags
The Electronic Library. vol. 29. 2011. no. 4. pp. 429–437.
(Reviewed by Jenő Mohor)
This paper aims to consider the use of technologies including GPS, QR codes and RFID tags to personalise the learning environments in academic libraries. It reports on the use of QR codes at the University of Huddersfield, UK, including information on how the QR codes have been received by users. It also outlines other technologies used elsewhere and reported in the LIS literature. The paper finds that, although location-aware technologies are being used, for most libraries they are impractical. Instead, one could use QR codes (which have significant barriers to their use) or preferably RFID tags (already widely used for other purposes) to create smarter libraries. Libraries are increasingly using RFID tags in their holdings, occasionally as part of library or campus smart cards as well. When considering how to use, or justify the cost of, RFID tags in libraries, one should also consider the potential additional benefits outlined in this article. While most of the technologies described have been used in experimental ways within libraries, no one has yet used RFID tags for much more than circulation and control. This is the first article to suggest using them to access the wealth of data in order to personalise the learning environments of our libraries. (Based on the original abstract)
Old and rare prints of Hungary. Vol. 4.: 1656-1670
Régi magyarországi nyomtatványok 1656–1670. 4. vol. / ed. by János Heltai, Ilona Pavercsik, Péter Perger, Judit P. Vásárhelyi. (Budapest, 2012.)
(Reviewed by Szilvia Bánfi)
A world-wide panorama
Libraries in the early 21st century. An international perspective, vol. 1. / ed. by Ravindra N. Sharma. (Berlin ; Boston, 2011.)
(Reviewed by Tibor Koltay)
How to become a successful information consultant?
Information consulting. Guide to good practice / by Irene Wormell, Annie Joan Olesen, Gábor Mikulás. (Oxford, 2011.)
(Reviewed by Tünde Lengyel Molnár)