The MELCOM experience

MELCOM (Middle East Libraries Committee) Conference @ Budapest

Üdv mindenkinek! Hi Everyone!

I did not think that one day I would see again this beautiful city in the heart of Europe passing through the Danube River. I am so lucky for going to Budapest in this June to attend MELCOM International 40th Annual Conference at The Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

I did not only attend the conference but I also had the chance to make a presentation about The Koç University Manuscripts Collection and the book named “Union Catalogue of Manuscripts” which was prepared by SKL in order to provide accessibility of the bibliographic identities of manuscripts.

The conference lasted 3 days which included 16 presentations on various topics and discussions about Manuscripts collections of different Institutions in several countries, cataloging intricacies, digital collections and renovation projects, copyright issues, and fair use with attendances.

Of course it was not just the conference we enjoyed. At the end of the conference sessions we joined tours organized by the MI committee and the MTA team. We visited the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at Széchenyi Square, at the end of the Chain Bridge. The Library of MTA was founded in 1826 by István Szécheny and comprises 2 million items which makes it the largest scientific library of the country.

The second day of the conference we visited the The National Library of Szechenyi, which is located in the Institution of the Hungarian cultural heritage. It was founded in 1802 by Count Ferenc Széchenyi, father of the heroic István, who donated to it 15,000 books and 2000 manuscripts. The building is decorated with marble floors and large corridors that are typical of Soviet architecture. Movie makers still use this building for “Cold War” movies because of its decoration.

It was an amazing experience for me to see Manuscripts, Antiquarians, Rare Books and Maps, and even more exciting to take a glimpse at 2 rare books: a book about Count Dracula. Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler ( Vlad Tepes )or Vlad Dracula and the Gutenberg Bible Fragment. We also joined a traditional dinner at the Academy after the excursion and made a toast to the following MI conferences.

On my free time I continued my visits to beautiful Budapest. I visited the Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Fisherman’s Bastion, which is looking like a castle used in Disney Movies, the Szechenyi Chain Bridge, the Parliament and the Buda Castle.

If you ever visit Budapest, you won’t feel hungry! Do not worry! A plate of Goulash seasoned with paprika and other spices is so delicious and everyone should try it. And if you want to pamper yourself, you can just drink velvet blue latte and accompany it with a piece of a delicious cheesecake.

You can easily use public transportation in Budapest but I preferred to walk on the streets and see these lovely streets and buildings. Some of the street names seemed so familiar to me…


I was so glad for getting the chance to see this lovely city again and join the well-organized and educative 40th MELCOM International Annual Conference!

Naz Özkan
Historian, Branch Librarian (ANAMED)

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