5. Digital libraries

The Hungarian Electronic Library
Magyar Elektronikus Könyvtár (MEK)

The Hungarian Electronic Library started as a civil initiative in 1994. Thanks to the efforts of a group of enthusiastic librarians eager to set up an electronic library, the initiative became a project of the National Information Infrastructure Development Programme and received state funding for further implementation. Since 1999, the Hungarian Electronic Library has been hosted by the National Széchényi Library and constitutes one of its departments.
The Hungarian Electronic Library aims to collect and preserve freely available electronic documents related to Hungary and Central Europe in the fields of culture, education and academic research. Documents are collected from a variety of sources: the World Wide Web, publishers, and the authors themselves. The Hungarian Electronic Library also coordinates a large scale digitisation project, the Digital Library of Hungarian Studies, which will make available online thousands of books and reference works related to Hungarian studies.

The National Electronic Periodicals Archive and Database
Elektronikus Periodika Archívum és Adatbázis (EPA) 

EPA is a bibliographic database that collects, archives and makes available Hungarian and Hungary-related electronic periodicals available freely on the Internet or on the servers of state-funded academic or scientific institutions and libraries. These resources may be the digital versions of printed periodicals or solely digital material. In addition to the central searchable database of the metadata and access information of these e-resources, EPA also provides hosting services and offers full-text content based on agreements with the publishers of the resources.

Bibliotheca Corviniana Digitalis

This ambitious programme of the National Széchényi Library was established in order to virtually reconstruct King Matthias’ library (the “Bibliotheca Corviniana”). The virtual library currently makes available in digital form 36 “corvinae” from the collection of the National Library, and provides information on all the other “corvinae” held by libraries in 14 countries around the world. In addition to the digitisation of manuscripts, a comprehensive database is being built that will contain the full codicological description of the codices, their art historical context, as well as the full bibliography of the Bibliotheca Corviniana.

National Digital Data Archive
Nemzeti Digitális Adattár (NDA)

As part of the national ICT development strategies and action plans between 1997 and 2003, state funding was allocated for a large number of digitisation projects to be carried out by libraries and museums, as well as scientific and cultural institutions. However, there was little coordination to prevent parallel digitisation efforts, and the sustainability of the projects depended entirely on the availability of ongoing state-funding. In response to this, the Hungarian Information Society Strategy was published in 2003. In a section related to the digitisation of cultural heritage, the strategy promoted coordinated and standardised ways of making available digital content. The National Digital Data Archive, created in 2003, aims to fulfil this coordinating role for the digitisation projects of libraries, museums, archives and other public institutions. NDA regards itself as a collaborative programme based on the use of a standard meta-information system and shared data operation, enabling high level cooperation between partner institutions and ensuring the highest level content and service integration for users. At present, over 300,000 digital documents from 60 digital libraries can be accessed via the NDA’s search engine. There are nearly 50 partner institutions working with the project.

National Audiovisual Archive
Nemzeti Audiovizuális Archívum (NAVA)

NAVA is the digital legal deposit archive for locally-produced programmes of Hungarian television channels and radio stations. Provided for by the Act CXXXVII/2004, it started to operate in 2005. The records of the database are freely accessible on the Internet. The amended Hungarian copyright law authorises public access to the full content of the records for research purposes, via a dedicated service network (“NAVA workstations”) operating at libraries, museums, audiovisual archives and educational institutions.

John von Neumann Digital Library
Neumann János Digitális Könyvtár

The John von Neumann Digital Library was set up in 1997 as a state-funded, non-profit institute for carrying out various projects in the field of digitisation of cultural heritage. Extensive work in the fields of collection, preservation and delivery of digital content and web resources have made the library a centre of excellence in digitisation. It produces various virtual collections supporting e-learning, and also runs the Digital Literary Academy, a collection of contemporary Hungarian literary works in full text. As these works are protected by copyright, a special funding structure is made available by the government to cover the costs incurred by agreements with the authors.

LIBINFO - a national online reference service

LIBINFO is the shared online information service of Hungarian libraries, hosted and coordinated by the National Széchényi Library and operated by a large consortium of libraries, academic and research institutes and even individuals. Questions can be submitted via an online request form and they will be answered within 48 hours by reference librarians participating in the service.


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Home page of the Hungarian Electronic Library
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Philostratus Corvina (1487-14)
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Home page of the John von Neumann Digital Library
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College Library, Nyíregyháza, computer area
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Library of the University of Szeged, computer area with atrium