Library - History of the Library

The history of the library, at least concerning  its holdings goes back further in time than the history of the Institute itself.

The Geographical  Data Archive (Földrajzi Adattár) was established on 8th October 1945 within the confines of Pál Teleki Scientific Institute. Its base was made up of three-hundred books and as many of maps, all have been picked up of the holding of the Political Scientific Institute. The Teleki Instite ceased on 15th September 1945 that had been renamed Eastern European Scientific Institute in 1948, at the same time the Geographical Library and Map Collection was established as a new institute directed by László Simon. By this time the Geographical Data Archive consisted of 1710 volumes, some 1300 maps, and other 500 books inherited from institutes broken up in those days.

In the October of 1951 the Geographical Library and Map Collection led by Koch Ferenc became a member of the Academic Research Network, then in a short time in January 1952 it continued its working named Geographical Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Geographical Library and Map collection functioned mainly as a scientific working group, yet from the beginning it played a significant role as a library. From 1951 to 1955 András Vagács not only as a geographer but also as a librarian worked hard that the Geographic Library and Map Collection could answer the demands of a basic geographical library. He started to build the alphabetical catalogue, besides, he created a special geographical system which revealed documents according to topic and geographical location applying letter signs. However, after 1961 this type of catalogue was changed for the internationally used, more modern UDC (Universal Decimal Classification).

In 1951 the publication of 'Bulletin of Geographical Library and Map Collection' was a great achievement, its copies were made by rotaprint yet. Even at this early stage not only the traditional library duties were typically completed but also the documentary work. The annotataed bibliographies of foreign, especially Soviet geographical periodicals' volumes were frequently published under separate heads in the Geographical Bulletin.

In 1955 the library moved from its old building in Zichy Jenő street 4 to a building in Nádor street 7. The transference did not solve the problems of storage. A new transference took place in 1958-1959, when the holdings were moved to Népköztársaság street 62. It meant a great achievement in the history of the library, since the conditions of operation were improved by setting new bookshelves, by modern storage of maps, and by getting rid of a significant amount of out-of-topic material.

The library was managed by Károly Léces from 1959 to 1963 then by Róbertné Cravero from 1963 to 1974. During the management of Róbertné Cravero, who was an active library manager, good organizer and who spoke several languages, the library flourished. The selection, weeding and processing of holdings that earlier had been unprepared was in permanent progress, and the increasing demand for foreign technical literature resulted in the widening of further documentary work. The employment of an extra documentator (Lászlóné Radó) was permitted, that enabled developing international relationships as well. The relationship with Bibliographie Géographique Internationale (BGI) and Institut für Länderkunde (IfL) started this time, which has been an interrelationship since then.

From 1964 articles of periodicals received by the library were supplied with title-translation and subject-headings, thusly, a documentary card catalogue could have been built. Nowadays, this registration has been being maintained in a computer catalogue. The work of typing, editing and copying foreign-language publications was supplied by the library, and since then it has been typical of the library to take active part in the edition of conference books and in the organisation of exhibitions.

Acknowledging its achievements, the Geographical Research Group was reorganised as an Institute entered in force on 1st January 1967, and since then it has been operating as Geographical Research Institute. The increasing number of research activities as well as the national and international events have made more and more necessary the work of the library. Several publications have been produced such as Geographical Abstracts of Hungary, Theory-Method-Practice / Elmélet-Módszer-Gyakorlat, Working reports, single publications (conference books), bibliographies (Geodok), technical bibliographies (thematically), geographical documentation (Physical Geographical Documentation, Economic Geographical Documentation, Soviet Geography) and repertoriums (Repertorium of Geographical Journals, Repertorium of Hungarian Geographical Journals). Their distribution through publication exchange have been managed by the library to this very day.

In 1974 the library and the documentation divided into two closely cooperating institutional units managed by Lászlóné Simonfai and Róbertné Cravero, later by István Asztalos. After 1982 the two units gradually reunited, hence forth arranging documentary work.

At the end of 1999 with the consolidation of research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the Institute and its library moved to a new building (Budaörsi út 45.) surrendering the old, illustrious, down-town palace. Despite the fears the present location represents a better quality than the previous one. The library can work in a spacious, sunny, light area in sophisticated circumstances.

Since 1st January 2012 the library has been belonging to the Geographical Institute of Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.