Our guest author from Hungary is Daniel Takacs and lives in the capital, Budapest. He is working as a weblibrarian at the Library of the Moholy-Nagy University of Applied Arts and Design. Besides he studies library and information science and Hungarian literature at the Eötvös Loránd Science University Budapest.
In the nineties of the last century in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences an Arts Hannover and Rijkshogeschool Ijselland (Deventer) the university developed a curriculum for library education.
For more information about library scene in Hungary take a look at http://www.goethe.de/z/30/infomoe/ungarn/deung00.htm or call Daniels blog ‘Élet és könyvtár’ (Life & Library) up at ek.klog.hu.
The Hungarian biblioblogosphere
Hungarian libraries are using blogs for a short time – if they are using. The first blog dealing with librarianship, libraries, librarians was the Könyvtároskisasszony (“Library Mistress”), it runs since 2003. It doesn’t belong to any library, and it’s typical for the earlier liblogs. The publishers were also from the younger course. The Könyvtárkisasszony’s publisher, Sorsha was a guest editor on a very popular communal blog, called Kispad. She was writing about librarianship for a month (march, 2006).
The real break-through was in 2006. Most of the blogs were born at that time, including the first Hungarian blog for library patrons and the KLOG.hu. The main idea of the KLOG.hu (Könyvtár-LOG, Library-LOG) was to make a free blogging space for librarians and libraries. The first posts were written in the middle of october.
The first four blogs were quite various: a testblog for the University Library of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE EK), the Fiatalos | Könyvtár | Szemlélet (FIKSZ), the Élet és Könyvtár (ék) and the Könyvtárépítészet (see them below). This community had been growing to 23 klogs in a half year.
The central portal was launched a month ago, including a forum, a wiki, a news blog and also an advertising platform for librarian and library related jobs. We made our own social network on ning.com, and began to collect libraries and librarians on the biggest Hungarian social network, called iWiW (international Who is Who, with over 1 million users) – we’ve got 544 relations until now (and still counting). At least, we’re doing all of this under the Creative Commons licence.
There are a lot of liblogs outside KLOG.hu, some of them decided to move to our domain, but some moved under it’s library’s domain (this is the ideal solution, one of our main ideas to spread) and also there are others, running on free blog-hosting spaces (for them KLOG.hu wants to be an alternate decision when choosing a hosting service).
Now, as I wrote before, there are 23 klogs and 12 liblogs – these 35 library-related blogs make up the Hungarian liblogosphere at this very moment. We’re just at the beginning, the hardest thing is the self-identification and -determination, and generally to get familiar with “2.0” and honoring the advantages it offers. The klogs want to help in this with referring to and translating foreign materials and also with creating own texts (guidelines, tutorials, examples etc.).
2. Three blogs
It was difficult to decide which blogs I should introduce. At last I chose the FIKSZ (which is the most active klog at the moment), the blog of the Justh Zsigmond City Library (the first liblog for the patrons) and my own one (as it was in the task).
The FIKSZ (“YA is in Focus”, if I have to translate) is a personal-professional klog. It originally run under the name “Olvasónapló” (Reader’s book), then it was moved and renamed when KLOG.hu was started. Probably it can be described as the Hungarian equivalent of the Yalsa-blog and the TeenLibrarian, it tries to help young adult librarians and deals with young people, what tools methods can be used to get them into the library, and how to keep them after getting in. The Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 transfixes his viewpoint, he’s looking for these tools and methods, shows and uses them. He is standing out for the need of the young adult librarians beside the child and adult librarians, who’s specially concerned with the claims of this age-group. He is also writing English resumes for the foreigns, who are reading this klog. As the editor, Ádám Paszternák told me, ‘working, telling and inspirating’ are the main actions. He guesses his work is underground and absolutely nonprofit, but hopes that the situation will change and the FIKSZ will be followed by others, may overtake the tendency.
The Justh Zsigmond City Library (JUSTHVK) of Orosháza has a liblog since september 2006. As its editors said, the idea came from the need of change. They have a static library portal, and wanted to develop it to more dynamic platform. Then the final decide was made: they leave the portal as it is and launch a new one as a blog. They made one at a free blog-host. It seemed to be a good choice because of its directness. They wanted to reduce the distance between library and patrons by using the blog as a tool, moreover they can deliver the news of the librarianship in a much more personal intonation. The title came from this feature, too: ‘The librarians of justhvk.hu say so…’
Every colleague has a permission to blog (everybody posts with her/his own name), but still there are colleagues who haven’t got familiar with it. Finally the blog managed to be uploaded to the domain of the library, and nowadays the old one is edited by a librarian as a professional/selfblog.
The list of benefits is endless. The most important points: the subject is just the same, the point is the view of a librarian. Furthermore the disclosure is far not so formular as on the main page of the library. The virtual interaction with the librarian makes the patron-library relation a closer one, the librarians are able to get a quick and informal feedback on their work and opinion. The librarians of Orosháza organized a blogger-patron meeting not much ago – this turned the virtual contact into a real one, and successfully drew on a new group of readers. At last it gives feedback also for the Hungarian librarian community in general.
The Élet és Könyvtár (“Life and Library”) is my own klog, it’s a “semi-selfklog”. Originally I launched it for documentating a measuring in december 2005 but after I finished, it began to deal with the whole world of the Library 2.0. I’m writing about web applications for libraries, Web 2.0, databases, news from outside Hungary, but sometimes I reflect to the Hungarian news, events and also write about my job and related problems. I like to blog “live” from conferences. The original blog is on the domain wordpress.com, later (october, 2006) I grew it out and this gave the idea of the KLOG.hu.
It’s important to emphasize: these blogs are just pieces of the whole picture. It’s just a bit extreme to say that almost every week a new liblog or klog is born. So it is a very dynamic area of the Hungarian librarianship.
3. A valuation of the degree of utilisation
The Hungarian liblogosphere is still far from the mainstream at the moment, so I think we cannot speak about general utilities. I can emphasize just single cases, like the ELTE EK or the JUSTHVK. But the librarian-librarian line is much stronger, it’s progressing fast.
One of the head utilities could be transvaluing the Library as an idea in the society. The libraries have unfortunately low prestige in Hungary these days, it is also measureable in the financial support. We would like to change this on long distance. The personal liblogs in addition could (and some already did it!) facilitate cooperation, so we can read about each other, about the projects of the others and works of other people constantly and applicate the things done and new tools developed.
4. The future
It is hard to say what is going to be. When I launched KLOG.hu last october, I would have never thought that it will be so prosperous. We are still at the beginning, most of the librarians just started to get familiar with the web (and also with blogging). The main group of blogger librarians is formed by younger people and some “brave” libraries, but there is also the personal initiative what is typical and important. I see two real goals:
- the “older” librarians get this form of the communication
- and the number of the library-related blogs will increase.
It is interesting to see that this tendency is thrown back by the iWiW social network. It has a message-board what fits better for a big percentage of the librarians than the blog, because it is more simple, easier and they have a relatively big number of partnerships, so they must not “hunt” the users and patrons. From their point of view blogs are pointless but the experiences of the JUSTHVK shows the opposite.
5. …and the other things
Ideas of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 came to Hungary mainly from the foreign liblogosphere. The community of the KLOG.hu wants to explore and utilize their opportunities both from social and technological aspect. Our colleague, Sándor Koroknai (his klog’s name is Open Library) is prospecting and using open source integrated library systems (to be exact it is the Koha). He sets up Koha in some school libraries and besides this he is developing his web applications and databases (the newest one he customized is the VideoDB).
Ádám Paszternák made the KlogWiki and the KataKer which is based on the Google Custom Search Engine and searches in the Hungarian librarian mailing list (called Katalist). He also created FIKSZ E-ngine which searches 1000+ sites (more than LISZEN…). I created Hungarian librarian community on ning.com and began searching after the libraries and librarians on the iWiW. There is also an OPAC-project, called UTCA, currently being developed by András Kardos and Iván Csámer at konyvtar.info. They would like to make a complete OPAC for the whole country, with integration of tools of the social web. This means they want to invite the patrons to build and correct the database. It’s going to be something like LibraryThing but with features and possibilities much more than that; it is going to be an independent catalogue. At last to mention, we are planning to build a site, similar to the Google Librarian Central.
[Hála. Nagyon köszönöm. :)]