|...began not much
after the Internet had been first introduced in Hungary, after the
launching of the gopher project of the IIF
in 1994. As a result of the project, experiments on the promptly
established gopher infrastructure and related services (FTP, WWW,
Listserver) have revealed an increasing interest for high-quality
web-content in Hungarian language, as well as for professional solutions
and arrangements that would improve access of this kind of material,
since navigating the Internet has become more difficult with the
rapidly growing number of available documents.
In the spring of 1994, during the first/annual
GOPHER-WORKSHOP meeting, a few enthusiastic librarians came forward
with an Initiative Plan concerning the establishment and operation
of a future Electronic Library. The first draft of the proposition
has been developed through the discussion on the mailing list
MEK-L@huearn.sztaki.hu during the summer of 1994, with the distribution
of ideas and the examination of similar projects abroad. Simultaneously,
two test-collections were established on the gopher servers of
the University of Miskolc and the University of Economics in Budapest.
In September, 1994 the National Information Infrastructure Development
Program (NIIF) included the Hungarian Electronic Library (MEK)
Project into its first three-year agenda, and, in early 1995,
work started on the central collection of the MEK, hosted on one
of the devices of the NIIF, initially as a gopher-service on the
A year later, the web-interface was created,
and the mainstream service of the MEK switched to a http server
Due to the invaluable assistance and work of several individuals
and institutions the collection grew to about 4000 items between
the years of 1996 and 2002, with 60-70 thousand visitors each
month. Also, the collection development policies were formed:
the MEK collects resources concerning Hungary or the Central European
region, in the fields of culture, education and academic research.
The collection consists of text-based resources, but does not
exclude other formats such as maps, sheet music etc. The Hungarian
Electronic Library also collects periodicals and journals, and
links to other relevant resources, services and documents concerning
In 1999 the non-profit
association was established for the support of the
Hungarian Electronic Library. In the autumn of the same year
the Hungarian National Library
decided to provide a new home for the MEK project. As a result
of this decision, the MEK-Department
was formed, starting with a two-men staff. In the year 2001 the new
service launched on the MEK's own server (mek.oszk.hu)
with an enhanced collection and system, and the addition of the Electronic
Periodicals Archive. In 2004 an accessible homepage was created (VMEK),
followed by a mobile interface in 2012 (m.mek.oszk.hu).
In the year 2007 a new subcollection, the Digital Archive of Pictures launched (dka.oszk.hu).
Between 1999 and 2001 the MEK also hosted the MIT-HOL (lately known as LIBINFO)
online reference service.
During the course of the past few years the Hungarian
Electronic Library became one of the most popular and most significant
text-archives of the Hungarian webspace. Technically a civil movement
has formed around it, due to the fact that anyone, even with the
simplest of methods and means can contribute to the development
of the collections: individuals can
digitized works (their own or by other authors) with due respect to
copyright-issues. Also, users can make propositions concerning the archiving
of material found on other servers, give a hand in document-conversions
for the collection, or help by simply taking part in PR-tasks.
Contribution or financial support are both welcome. For further
information please read our leaflet or contact us via e-mail.