Canaday Center creates digital archive of Hungarian collection

August 12, 2011 | Features, UToday
By Christian Stewart

The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections has an online exhibit to showcase its Hungarian book collection. Click here.

screen-shot-2011-08-02-at-12353-pmThe online exhibit began construction in January and was completed in the spring. Its creators were Digital Initiatives Librarian Arjun Sabharwal, whose native language is Hungarian, and Jenna Fausey, a student assistant.

“The online exhibit is an extension of our archive collection and allows us to reach out to our audience on the web,” Sabharwal said. “This is a way for the Canaday Center to reach out to those beyond our campus.”

Thanks to the Margaret Papp Perry Endowment Fund, which was established by Dr. Richard Perry in honor of his wife who was of Hungarian descent and worked at Carlson library for 11 years before her death in 1988, the book collection and the corresponding digital conversion of the archives were possible.

“I have a lot of respect for the Hungarian community,” said Perry, UT professor emeritus of higher education. “They are a proud and hard-working people. I thought this is something I could do for them.”

The Hungarian collection’s online exhibit allows viewers to browse and search the collection, view basic information about the books, access corresponding library catalog records for more details, and find related works.

“Students and faculty can compare across a broader region than is mostly covered in standard U.S. textbooks,” Sabharwal said. “It also can be useful to students preparing for a study-abroad semester in Hungary. I also think of those Toledo-born Hungarians who would be interested in learning more about their ancestors’ heritage and homeland.”

The collection began in 1995 and contains about 300 books and journals about Hungarian history, literature, culture and society. There are books in the archive dating from the 17th century as well as the modern era, and the collection includes books written in English, Hungarian, Finnish, German and even Latin.

“Hungarians are a great group of people, and I thought it was important to try to preserve some of their culture,” Perry said.

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