[György Bessenyei:] A humble proposal for a Hungarian society. Vienna, 1790, Hummel János Dávid. 46 p.

[György Bessenyei:] A humble proposal for a Hungarian society. Vienna, 1790, Hummel János Dávid. 46 p.


Between 1999 and 2005, the national library’s organisational and operational system underwent continuous major changes. The professional basis of the preceding organisational structure was that the library’s own functions and its central library functions were different from one another. Another principle was that maintenance was the national library’s main goal, therefore stock protection with its own organisational unit (a chief department) was vital. Although work was logically structured, there were several parallel activities, which relying on the integrated library system (Amicus), could be eliminated. The library established its central services on its own internal library work, resulting in the central service itself (The national bibliography is, to a large extent, the result of cataloguing; the common national catalogue is the main source of inter-library loans; Libinfo reference assistance is based on our own information supply and organisational work.).

According to regulations in force in 1999, we had a professional and a financial deputy director working beside the library’s director general. Below them, there were eight chief heads of department and a further level down, 51 heads of department in the hierarchy. One of the main features of the recent changes is a decrease in the levels of decision-making, resulting in a system composed of a director general and directors (Directors are at the head of finance, IT, acquisitions and processing, information supply, special collections, research work, and finally the Library Institute). The second main change is that in addition to co-ordinating the activity of a particular department, a director is responsible for certain projects. For example, the director of acquisitions is responsible not only for the core collection, but also for special collection sites, although their staff have the research director as their direct superior. On the other hand, the research director deals not only with collections, but is also responsible for the full retrospective system of bibliography. The IT director is supposed to be involved in and managing all computer applications and developments, wherever they may take place within the library. Also, in external communications, the portfolios are represented by their directors rather than the director general. Directors constitute the Directors’ Board, which is the library’s actual decision-making body. Taking theoretical decisions is the job of the Director General’s College, assisted by the trade union and the Union of Public Employees.

We consider placing the retrospective national bibliography system and the special collection sites under the direction of one person as an important step ahead, as the basis of bibliographic work may be, to a large extent, the processing of the material in these collections.

Over the past six years, the number of departments has decreased by twenty, while two new ones have been set up (i.e. Hungarian Electronic Library and the Hungarian National Shared Catalogue). The task of the Hungarica Documentation Department has changed dramatically, because with Hungary joining the EU, the notion of ’hungarica’ in library documents and Hungarian scholarship requires a new definition. From now on, this Department is to devote its attention to creating a national professional literature database for humanities, a full documentation of the literature related to Hungary and Hungarians in general.

Formulating “Program” as an institution is a vitally important new element, meaning that a professional project in which more than one department is involved will have its own leader (a head of department or the director himself), and the program may be an activity of the European Library History Centre, which co-ordinates book history work in the library, as well as, if possible, in the whole of the country.

The prestige of the national library as a scholarly centre is enhanced by academy research teams active there. Relating library processing to research activities as strongly as possible is a main priority.

We believe that the new library structure enables more effective leadership and management, making sure that in future it will fulfill the combined functions of a modern supply library, a museum of books and a centre of scholarship.

István Monok monok@oszk.hu