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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:02:38 EDT by admin, 144412 views
Library of Congress
Science/Economics paper by Nyírády, Kenneth - Library Science (all papers)
Digital Hungarica on the Library of Congress Web Site
The Library of Congress aims to be a universal library; most of its 33 million cataloged books are in languages other than English and, in many cases, it possesses the largest collection of materials from and about a given country outside of that country. This is certainly true of its Hungarian collection, which numbers more than 200,000 volumes, making it the largest collection of Hungarica outside of Hungary.
Nevertheless, in the new digital era, the Library does not have unlimited resources and staff, so it must be highly selective in what it does digitize. Thus it concentrates on Americana—items related to American history and culture. Its digitized collections encompass millions of items, mostly photographs, documents, sound recordings, but also books, in cooperation with the Internet Archive and Hathi Trust. Although there are no separate “Hungarian” digital collections, there is digitized Hungarian material contained within other collections. This paper will attempt to describe some of the more notable examples.
The European Reading Room’s site is devoted to help researchers better find materials related to Europe. Of interest here are not digitized items but rather finding aids that direct readers to materials in more traditional formats, such as a guide to the Library’s Hungarian collections, an index to its Hungarian telephone directory collection, an index to its microfilmed collection Records from the War History Archives in Budapest, and a forthcoming index to Hungarian newspapers at the Library. The one digitized book concerning Hungary on the European Reading Room site is the bibliography Hungarians in Rumania and Transylvania, originally published by the Government Printing Office in 1969.
Elsewhere on the Library of Congress site, one can find Hungarian material in the Detroit Publishing Company’s postcard collection (ca 1900) and the American Memory project’s National Jukebox, which contains commercial recordings of Hungarian music. Hungarian folk songs sung by Hungarian-Americans form part of the collection California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties.
The above represents a selective sample, not a comprehensive listing of digital Hungarian material on the Library of Congress site. A finding aid for this material would be most useful and is in the works.
Brief Professional Bio:
A third-generation Hungarian-American, Kenneth Nyirady was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. In 1976 he received an M.A. in Russian History from the State University of New York at Binghamton (now Binghamton University) and in 1979 an M. Phil. in Uralic Studies from Columbia University. From 1983-1990 he was a research analyst in the Library of Congress= Federal Research Division, and from 1990 onward he has served in the Library's European Division as the Reference Specialist for Hungary and the Finno-Ugrian Areas of Russia.
His publications include the microfilm collection Materials for an American-Hungarian Lexicon: the Biographical Files of the Hungarian Reference Library of New York, 1937-1942 (1993), The History of the Feleky Collection and its Acquisition by the Library of Congress (1995), as well as a dozen other articles, chapters, and book reviews.