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Hungarian Periodical Resources

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When the reorganization of Széchényi Library began in 1868, the quantity of periodicals housed there was unknown because these issues had been cataloged and stored with books. The discrete collection of newspapers, however, was deemed to include approximately 3,600 volumes. Its cataloging commenced in the late 1870s when the processing of books and periodicals in the library’s collection had already been finished.

In the 19th century, bibliographical processing of periodicals and newspapers on the national level was tied to the name of József Szinnyei, Sr. After publishing a retrospective index of 18th century on the columns of Vasárnapi Újság, he continued to issue his annual current bibliography in the pages of the same periodical between 1867-1894 and later in the Magyar Könyvszemle. Although Szinnyei and his colleague, Lajos Aigner, also made attempts to address the need for a current national repertoire of articles, such a repertoire was not put together in the last half of the long 19th century. However, current national repertoires did appear by fields of specialization in several journals like the Századok. This particular journal also published historical survey of journals.

After Szinnyei’s death, work on a current bibliography was interrupted for a long time. Nevertheless, retrospective indices appeared for the years between 1911-1920 and 1945-1954. In the meantime, the publications in A magyar sajtó évkönyve substituted the missing current bibliography in 1935-1943. Until 1976, there appeared only a few annual indices and annotations for the most important journals were covered in the book section of the national bibliography. As a response to a continuing need, the National Library took the responsibility to compile and publish a current bibliography of periodicals and newspapers in the late 1970s. Published in 1977 and 1978 in several volumes initially under the title Kurrens időszaki kiadványok, the current bibliography appeared at first annually (1977-1986) and later bi-annually under the name Magyar nemzeti bibliográfia. Időszaki kiadványok bibliográfiája. Starting in the mid-1980s onward, the Széchényi Library also began developing a number of databases in order to be able to respond better to patrons’ demands and so as to make work on bibliographies more efficient. Today, there are several databases (IKB, IKER, NPA, HUMANUS etc.) available online, enabling patrons to use the Library’s rich resources on periodicals.

Note: Unlike other similar collections, Hungarian bibliographies of periodicals have included both journals and newspapers from the beginning. Therefore, in this section, unless otherwise specified, the term ‘periodical’ will denote both types of printed material.

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Current National Bibliography of Periodicals: Precedents, 1860-1918

As in the case of other initial attempts, the publication of periodical bibliographies was inconsistent in the early period. Hungarians began the compilation and publication of current periodical bibliographies in the early 1860s in almanacs and journals. Although the preparation of a current general bibliography of periodicals by the National Library began only after World War I, the growth of scientific and public interest allowed the intermittent publication of current indices. The first detailed presentation of periodicals was edited by Ferenc P. Girókuti and appeared in Pest in 1861 under the title Országos nagy képes-naptár. It described 48 Hungarian newspapers and 10 journals published in the same year. Another journal, the Magyar Tudományos Értekező, undertook the simultaneous preparation of a complete list of journals and newspapers and published them under a separate section called „Folyóiratok” („Periodicals”) as part of their annual bibliographies entitled 1861-ki magyarországi könyvészet and1862-ki magyarországi könyvészet. Edited by Lajos Aigner, these publications comprise the annotated subject-index of 222 Hungarian and non-Hungarian journals and newspapers published in the Hungarian kingdom and in Transylvania. The Magyar Tudományos Értekező was discontinued in 1862, yet attempts to assure the steady publication of periodical indices continued to be made. Editing and publishing the Irodalmi Értesítő in 1867, József Demjén sought to register all the literary and artistic publications printed in Hungary. The first issue of the periodical entitled Magyar időszaki irodalom included 99 titles arranged in alphabetical order and listed separate periodical issues individually. Although the annotations point to the careful work that went into its preparation, this index remained a modest endeavor to lay the grounds for a current national bibliography of periodicals. Issued by Aigner&Rautman Co. in Pest, the next attempt was the publication of the Magyar Könyvészet. In this monthly Lajos Aigner published an annotated index of newspapers and journals printed in 1869 with the cooperation of the well-known bibliographer József Szinnyei. The January-March and June-August contracted issues of 1870 also included an alphabetically arranged annotated index, not only of Hungarian but also of German periodicals published in Hungary. Like so many previous attempts, however, the Magyar Könyvészet ceased its activities at the end of 1870. It was the publication of the Vasárnapi Újság and the old and new issues of Magyar Könyvszemle, the official journal of the National Library, which established the basis of a current bibliography of periodicals.

Vasárnapi Újság, 1861-1867/1868-1894.


Image for Vasarnapi Ujsag

Although bibliographies of periodicals had appeared intermittently in other journals, the Vasárnapi Újság was unique to the extent that after publishing its first index of newspapers in 1861, it issued the current national bibliography of periodicals for three decades. In the first four years, the Vasárnapi Újság listed Hungarian-language newspapers issued in Hungary excluding publications from abroad since 1862. The index for journals became part of this bibliography only from 1865 onward. The bibliography appeared also in the year of the Austro-Hungarian compromise (1867). However, this moment also marked the birth of the plan to compile a complete bibliography of periodicals. Although with the compromise, Decree no.18/1848 entered into effect announcing freedom of the press and boosting the number of newspaper and journal publications, the August issue of the Vasárnapi Újság published only statistical data on newspapers in 1868, issuing an index from the following year. The author of the article was József Szinnyei, who had made earlier contributions to the journal with his series on the history of periodical publications in Hungary from the beginnings until 1853. Besides containing statistical data on press publications in the world in 1826-1868, this article also included the list of Hungarian and non-Hungarian newspapers and journals published in Hungary (including Croatia) arranged alphabetically according to the place of publication. The publication of an annual bibliography underwent some important changes in 1870, when Szinnyei was commissioned to take care of their preparation. Szinnyei based the collection on the territorial principle including all periodicals published in Hungary and Croatia. Journals, arranged thematically under Roman numerals, became integral parts of the bibliography. Issuing regular request to recently established newspapers, the Vasárnapi Újság, based on the responses it received, published supplements to the annual indices in its column entitled ‘Tárház’ between 1870-1876. The structure of the bibliography underwent changes throughout its publication. It excluded non-Hungarian periodicals from 1871 and included Hungarian publications from abroad from 1883 onward. The compilation of the index was discontinued after 1894, since with the growth of publications and the lack of cooperation from newly published periodicals, the preparation of an index became less and less a worthwhile undertaking for the Vasárnapi Újság. However, the foundation of the National Library of Periodicals in 1884, active at first as an independent section of the National Museum and subsequently as a department of the Széchényi Library, and the new issue of the Könyvszemle assured the continuation of the systematic collection and processing of periodicals in the coming years.

Magyar Könyvszemle, 1876-1877.


The Magyar Könyvszemle, the official journal of the Széchényi National Library, began the publication of a current national bibliography with its first issue appearing in 1876. Besides preparing an index which included all types of documents (except dross and other small printed material), the periodical also published the article entitled „Hírlapirodalmunk 1876-ban” by József Szinnyei which registered newspapers and journals based on his indices printed in the Vasárnapi Újság. The author had volunteered to prepare this annual bibliography as a continuation of his retrospective bibliography of journals entitled „Hazai és külföldi folyóiratok magyar tudományos repertóriuma,” which he was compiling under the commission of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Appearing in three segments, the bibliography of periodicals for 1876 contained no reference to bibliographical sources or mandatory printers’ copies. The first two parts contained the alphabetical title-indices of Hungarian-language journals and newspapers appearing in Budapest and the country-side, respectively. The third, on the other hand, listed German-language ones printed in the capital and in the provinces, arranging them into two corresponding groups, each organized according to the alphabetical list of titles. Annexed issues were listed as individual titles. As it is evident from the first segments of „Hírlapirodalmunk 1876-ban” and „Hírlapirodalmunk 1877-ben” available online, the separate entries included the full description of titles based on the following set format: title, subtitle, editor, publisher, year, printer, date of publication, size, price of subscription, year of establishment. These entries also show that, compared to Szinnyei’ previous lists published in the Vasárnapi Újság, these indices reflected the growth of titles included in the bibliography as well as the change in the format of annotations, which relied significantly on the ones used by Lajos Aigner in the monthly issues of Magyar Könyvészet. The issue of a current bibliography of periodicals in the Magyar Könyvszemle ceased after two years probably because of the parallel publication of a more complete bibliography in the Vasárnapi Újság, which after 1868 also included non-Hungarian and non-German domestic publications as well.

Magyar Könyvszemle, 1895-1913. Budapest, 1895-1914.


Title page of Magyar Konyvszemle, 1895-1913

When the Vasárnapi Újság discontinued the publication of its bibliography in 1894, Szinnyei, who had become the head of the National Library of Periodicals a decade earlier, continued to collect bibliographical data, hoping that the public would need periodical indices again in the near future. Relying on the invaluable cooperation of Szinnyei, Gyula Schönherr, the commissioned editor of a new Magyar Könyvszemle, managed to resume the systematic publication of a current bibliography in 1895 as a supplement to his journal. Like the first bibliographical sections of the Vasárnapi Újság, the first index of periodicals included only Hungarian-language newspapers and journals; yet it listed separately the periodicals discontinued or established the previous year and a multivalent statistical table on domestic Hungarian and non-Hungarian periodicals entitled “Összevont átnézet.” An important change took place in 1896 when, as supplement no. 2 to Szinnyei’s traditional bibliography, István Kereszty published the index of non-Hungarian newspapers and journals under the title “Az idegennyelvű hazai hírlapirodalom 1896-ban.” Until 1909 Szinnyei’s and Kereszty’s compilation appeared in the form of one supplement to the Magyar Könyvszemle under the title “A hazai hírlapirodalom.”

The provisions of a new law passed in 1897 changed the deadline for the deposit of mandatory printer’s copies leading to alterations in the processing of periodicals. The Magyar Könyvszemle and the Vasárnapi Újság had been preparing their annual current bibliographies based on issues published at the beginning of the year and had included subsequent changes taking place during this period in the next annual current bibliography. The new law changed not only the processing but also the function of this bibliography since it allowed the editors to register all periodicals issued during the year. Another important change in the structure of the bibliography took place with the publication of László Kováts’s collection of journals and magazines entitled “Folyóiratok.” From this moment on, Szinnyei’s and Kereszty’s indices included only newspapers, while the coverage of other periodicals continued separately in the next couple of years. In 1899-1900 Kereszty and Szinnyei switched their format to an alphabetical index of newspapers within separate subject-groups, while the “Folyóiratok” was compiled based on language, location (metropolitan or provincial) and alphabetical order, in this sequence. It should also be noted that, because of the large quantity of periodicals, the bibliography only listed annotated titles of new and discontinued periodicals in 1906-1909 and 1910-1914. For other years, the bibliography had detailed annotations for all titles.

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Current National Bibliography of Periodicals

Kurrens Időszaki Kiadványok Bibliográfiája, 1976-1980. 5 vols. Budapest: OSZK, 1977-1981.

U of I Library Call Number: International & Area Studies Slavic– Hungarian Reference 015.439035 K966

As mentioned previously, after Szinnyei’s death, the compilation of a current bibliography of periodicals was suspended until the 1970s, when the National Library resumed work in this area. Despite the fact that, at that time, bibliographers in more developed countries described only the newly-issued periodicals, their Hungarian colleagues, wishing to have a more detailed overview, prepared annotations for most Hungarian journals and newspapers issued in 1976. In the first volume of the Kurrens Időszaki Kiadványok Bibliográfiája (KIK), the newly-issued periodicals were summarized shortly, while those published before 1976 were described in more detail according to the requirements of the first published ISBD/S. The subsequent volumes contained the bibliographical descriptions of newly-issued periodicals and the titles of newspapers and journals printed and processed previously.

Magyar Nemzeti Bibliográfia. Időszaki Kiadványok Bibliográfiája, 1981-1991.Budapest: OSZK, 1983-1994.

U of I Library Call Number: Main Stacks 015.439 M2772

Beginning with 1981, the previously described bibliography was formally included into the Hungarian national bibliography and appeared, as a result, under the title Magyar Nemzeti Bibliográfia. Időszaki Kiadványok Bibliográfiája (MNB IKB).  Published annually at first, it appeared biannually after 1986. Its structure corresponded to that of its immediate predecessor, with the exception of the title entries of previously published journals and newspapers. From 1985 onward, these entries also contained the subtitle, the publisher’s information, the heading number of the bibliographical description printed either in the KIK or the MNB IKB, the ISSN, the OSZK call number as well as the periodical’s numbering information. Although feedback from patrons interested in Hungarian periodicals was very positive, the potential for further improvements depended greatly on the benefits offered by information technology. Bibliographers at the National Library began developing the first database for periodicals in the mid-1980 and the fact that today the Hungarian national retrospective and current bibliographies as well as the national repertoire of articles are accessible online through several databases speaks of their success in this area.

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Current National Bibliography of Periodical – Databases

IKB – Magyar Periodika Adatbázis/Hungarian Database of Periodicals


Work on the Hungarian Database of Periodicals (IKB) started in 1986, online accessibility being made available in February 1999. This database contains the bibliographical and cataloging information of periodicals, for which mandatory printers’ copies were deposited at the National Library from 1986 until June 2003, and is no longer updated. It does not list materials published for conferences, exhibitions and other events, which can be found in the databases for books. The IKB was updated retrospectively and it was continuously expanded to include entries on the following printed materials held by the National Library: general title, data and name indices, institutional reports, projects, product guides, publishers’ catalogs, press reviews, prospecti on specialized literature, student journals, performance brochures and local advertisement leaflets.

Hungarian Database of Periodicals

As shown here, the interface of the IKB is Hungarian. Diacritics are not needed.  The database is readily searchable with both an advanced search, ‘Keresés,’ and a browsing capability, ‘Tallózás.’ The former is suggested only in cases when the patron has exact information on the item searched such as  a combination of the following pieces of information: full title, title keywords, publisher, year of first issue, year of last issue, periodicity, editors’ names, ISSN, etc. Browsing is recommended when only one piece of information from above is at hand. Since the advanced search and browsing functions both have a long list of search options, non-Hungarian speakers may find the use of an informatics dictionary helpful.

The patron may also choose to display the search results for an item in one of the following three formats. The database’s default display corresponds to the option ‘Aktuális.’ In the case of materials published in 1986 and after, it displays the periodical according to the information of its first issue. If the publication is from an earlier period, then the search results contain the data of the periodical’s first issue deposited in 1986 or after. To access information on the first issue for periodicals printed before 1986, patrons should choose ‘Katalógus’ as a display option. The full record of materials included in the database can be retrieved by clicking on ‘Címkés.’ Cross-referencing among the three formats is available and greatly improves navigation in the database.

IKER – Időszaki  Kiadványok Repertóriuma/ Repertoire of Periodicals

Work on IKER began in 1993 and online accessibility was made available in March 2001. It contains the bibliographical entries of select articles chosen from periodicals in the social and natural sciences published in Hungary. More specifically, it processes periodicals dealing with science, literature and the arts as well as almanacs and newspapers with national circulation. However, it does not register the independent publications of exhibitions, conferences, and events; book series; publications in applied science, literary pieces, reviews, news materials, field trip reports and glossaries. It does also not contain the articles processed extensively in specialized bibliographies like the Hungarian Bibliography of Agriculture, the Hungarian Medical Bibliographand Technical Articles in Hungarian Periodicals.

IEKRThe search interface of IKER is Hungarian and no diacritics are needed. Just as in the case of IKB, there is an advanced search and a browsing function. Both can be used by selecting the following search options: keyword, author, biography, subject, ETO(earliest title only), periodical title, year of publication, cataloging number, abbreviation of the periodical’s title, ISSN.








NPA – Nemzeti Periodika Adatbázis/ National Periodical Database


National Periodical Database

The NPA contains the location-index of periodicals which were either published abroad after 1665 or were issued in Hungary after 2005 and are housed in Hungarian libraries.  Work on this database began in 1981 and it was built based on the current files of the Külföldi Folyóiratok Központi Katalógusa (KFKK), the previous central catalog for periodicals from abroad. According to the initial plans, the NPA was also supposed to catalog Hungarian periodicals. However, after some years the processing of newspapers and journals developed independently, as a result of which  the NPA became primarily a database for foreign periodicals. Online access to the NPA is available through the main catalog of the National Library. The interface is in Hungarian and diacritics are needed. The database can be used for browsing, simple, advanced  and Boolean search.

EPA – Elektrónikus Periodika Adatbázis&Archívum/Electronic Periodical Database& Archive


Electronic Periodical Database & Archive

According to the description given on the main page of the database, the EPA is the initiative of the Hungarian Electronic Library (MEK). It aims to create a bibliographic database and register of the Hungarian e-periodicals and seeks to provide hosting services to certain ongoing resources. The main task of the EPA-services is to produce and maintain a centralized, well-organized and searchable database of the metadata and access information of the Hungarian e-journals, and to promote the publication and distribution of these resources. The development of the “Electronic Periodical Archive” started in 2003. Most items of the collection have their own web sites as well, but some of them can be found exclusively in the EPA Archive. The advantages of the hosting in the EPA services are stable access, uniform technical standards and design principles. Further, full-text search has been successfully enabled in the majority of the HTML- and PDF-format materials. The new database of the Hungarian e-periodicals available on the web opened in summer, 2004. This register stores the bibliographic data and access information of the Hungary-related e-journals. The database resembles a library catalog, in the nature of the descriptive elements and their appearance. Useful additional information is added to each record (i.e. related resources, search URLs). Users can search through the Hungarian interface by title, available years, subject, type and access method.

MATARKA – Magyar Folyóiratok Tartalomjegyzékeinek Kereshető Adatbázisa/Hungarian Periodicals Table of Contents Database



MATARKA is a database of the contents of journals issued in Hungary and covering the following fields: agricultural sciences (45), economics (21), linguistics (11), social sciences (55), law (6), general sciences (5), technology (31), and natural sciences (62). It was established in 2001 and currently works as a library consortium with 15 members. The search interface is available in English and the database can be searched in several different ways. Individual journal issues can also be browsed and if they are available online in a full-text database then the title of the journal will be marked as a hyperlink to the source. The retrospective processing of journals is in the hands of each library, as a result of which such issues are available only for some periodicals.