The Szécnényi Library, the national library of Hungary, presents its progress-report for the first time.
Firstly, however, I would like to bring back in mind a notable event which happened in 1989. The ICA (International Cartographic Association) held its 14th World Conference in Budapest. On the occasion of the conference the Szécnényi Library Map Department contributed to the success of this conference with a large-scale exhibition on the history of Hungarian map- making. The exhibition, entitled "Old Maps on Hungary 1528-1900", had two 2 selection from almost 400 years of map-production and nearly 200 maps and atlases were on display accompanied by contemporary survey instruments, geographical books, explanatory texts, and photographs. The exhibition got a fairly good reaction both internationally and in the Hungary.
In 1990 the Map Department possessed some 196,200 cartographic records, which quantity, with an increase og approximately 2,300 items annually, will exceeed 200,000 items at the end of 1992. The main source of the growth, ca. 70-80 %, comes from the legal deposit copy law that directs the map publishing houses to deliver two copies of each of their cartographic products to our department. Unfortunately, conditions for compulsory delivery have deteriorated since political changes occured in 1989. The firms have not delivered their obligatory copies, only temporarily we hope. Only 10-15 % of the annual accress is purchased and donations and exchange copies are diminishing, unhappily.
The cataloguing of the new material has been progressing smoothly; in this field we've been up-to- date for years. However, in some groups of holdings -as is the case with manuscript maps and part of the printed cadastral maps- a reconstruction of the catalogues is needed. This work is expected to be finished at the end of 1992. In 1992 atlas recontruction was started with the help of some first-rate reference-books that we have obtained meanwhile. In the past two years more than 5,000 items have been catalogued.
In the frame of the stocktaking that has been going on in the library for years we checked the part of our printed map collection that consists of non-Hungarica maps – ca. 19,500 pieces. Our task was to revise the correspondence of every piece to the storage-book and to complement the lack in the entries. The revision of the map department stock of reference-books and periodicals has also been managed.
The card duplication for our catalogues -we own separate catalogues for different stock groups- has been continually interrupted. There has been a lack of a well working copying machine for a long time, which means that there is a backlog of some 15,000 type-written cards which are not multiplied. Nevertheless, most of our catalogues' state as a result of the work of a recently acquired machine will have corresponded, in all likelihood, the actual stock at the close of this year. Up to the present, roughly 54,000 cards have been filed. We accomplished a catalogue of the monographs on the history of cartography found in the national and international periodicals we possess. (Approx. 20,000 type-written items, according to authors, titles, subjects and time). Naturally, we've been proceeding this work.
The entries of maps and atlases published in Hungary and will be about 350 in this 1990-1992 period, are quarterly isssued with detailed annotations as a supplement in the library's periodical: Hungarian National Bibliography, Bibliography of Books.
The number of the readers and the researchers hasn't changed for years – 1,300-1,500 annually. The quantity of the used items naturally surpassed this -the readers use regularly more than one piece. It's been fluctuating around 25-26,000 in number.
Our library lays big stress on book-caring. In the frame of this work the restoration of 75 maps and 31 atlas volumes, the binding of 85 periodicals, books and atlases have been done in the library's restoration workshop and in its binding section. There's caring in the map department itself, but only small repairs are made and new maps are bordered.
We compile temporary exhibitions in the department's showcases three times a year. These exhibitions show the preceding years' new acquisitions of valuable and missing, "fill-in-gap" map pieces; besides this we display precious items from our collection on the occasion of different anniversaries or according to various thematical aspects. Moreover, we regularly take part in exhibitions organizing by the library or by other institutes.
In 1990 and 1991 two members of the department's staff travelled abroad, for Yugoslavia and Netherland, gaining scholarship for Hungarica map research five times.
In the hard financial situation of the country our annual sum for purchaces is understandably restricted. Despite this we bought some excellent Hungarica manuscript maps. For example maps by Charles Juvigny, a 17th century French military engineer, by Janos Tomasich, an 18th century Hungarian county surveyor and by some unkown authors. All maps show different parts and areas of the country. Besides we obtained some missing editions of maps of Hungary and of Transilvania by Sambucus, Mercator and the Blaeus and seven other engravings of Hungary which supplement our set of maps showing the country of the 17th-18th centuries. We hope to acquire some more till the end of this year.
In the middle of 1992 the map department succeeded to obtain 32 atlas-cabinets, for which we had to wait for four years. Now we can give the atlases the appropiate environment equal to their value.
The library's long-range plan implies the development of computerized cataloguing of maps. As we lack yet effective results we cannot give a more detailed account of it on this present occasion.
Klara Patay, National Széchényi Library