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European Association for Health Information and Libraries
Association Européenne pour I'Information et les Bibliothèques de Santé


Our library over the last ten years:
tendencies of changes

Medical training in Hungary has been based within four medical universities: Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged, Pecs. My workplace, the Central Library of the Medical University of Pecs is supplying scientific literature for the specialists of five counties in the Trans-Danubian Region. Already before the political changes in Eastern European countries, our library was playing an important role among the information centers, in the fields of health sciences and medicine in Hungary. Since its foundation (1961) the library has had as its mission to serve health education, scientific research and to coordinate regional interests at the same time. To support this mission our library at the end of the 80-s had a life sciences collection of 122.718 books and 81.202 journal volumes in its stock. Now, ten years later these numbers have increased only to 140.000 books and 90.000 journal volumes.

The year 1989 brought not only political changes but also gave a lot of new tasks for all the places of work including libraries. For our patrons, obtaining relevant information as quickly as possible became a priority. Only computerization can meet this expectation, so maintaining our classical functions at the same time, step by step, we have increased the number of our computers. We started with one single PC in 1989 and nowadays we have about 20 PC-s networked. We have purchased databases like Medline, Current Contents, Books in Print or Ulrich's on Disc etc. Interactive CD-s help the students in their most detailed studies of anatomy, histological cuts or surgical methods (A.D.A.M.) etc. To make this scale even more colourful, we also have insured access to some full-text online journals. The library users, mainly from the younger generation, want to see and use more and more of these online journals.

On the WEB-page of our university www.pote.hu anyone can click on the library services (konyvtar). I would like to emphasize two of these, the list of our current foreign journals and the impact factor list.

Both the patrons and the staff are more and more enthusiastic about new information technology methods.

From the point of our collection development, however, our situation is much less optimistic. In the latter years inflation has touched all libraries very closely. The librarians is that that the price of specialised literature is already reaching the sky for us, and is increasing constantly.

The following chart contains data between 1990 and 1999.




Interlibrary loan



1990 2930 1195 1614
1993 2025 937 2376
1996 1300 955 2771
1999 706* 835 2771

*till end of Sept. 1999

No comment on the above data. The numbers speak for themselves...

As we buy less and less books and cancel more and more journal subscriptions, the role of the interlibrary loan service has increased. In my opinion, the importance of this interlibrary service will grow even more in the coming future. It assists our work greatly that the majority of Hungarian public libraries, university libraries and special libraries already accept requests sent by fax or e-mail. This shortens the delivery time considerably. In the last two years new databases have been developed for finding the location of home sources quickly, like NPA (National Database of Periodicals) or Book-Finder. From this June our work was made easier also by the Ariel document delivery software.

Last but not least, we must underline the human factor: we have very good links not only with colleagues in this country but also abroad. We have excellent professional relations with German, Spanish and Dutch university libraries and naturally with those in the neighbouring countries of Romania (Cluj-Napoca), Slovakia (Kosice) and Yugoslavia (Novi Sad).

Besides patron services, cataloging has changed greatly as well. There is a current order by the Ministry of Culture about the retrospective conversion of the Hungarian library-catalogues into integrated library systems. Our library started this work in February 1999 buying the CORVINA (Voyager) software. We have finished with the old card-catalogues. Up until now we have about 4500 records online.

To close this short summary I would like to mention the latest news:

from the first of January 2000 my hometown institutions of higher education will merge so from that time on we shall function as the Medical School Library of Pecs University. This will of course again mean a new challenge also for us and our services offered.

(Translated into English by: Thomas Kiss)

Veronika Martos

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Contents No. 49


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