Manuscripts Reading Room

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  • Research in the reading rooms of the special collections is only available to our readers by prior reservation. Please make your reservation at least 24 hours in advance of your visit, if possible. If you are unable to come despite your reservation, please let us know so that we can make the space available to someone else.
  • To reserve a place in the reading room of the Manuscript Collection, please send an e-mail to;
  • We respond to all booking requests, but we can only process out-of-hours emails on the next opening day, so we kindly ask for your patience and understanding. Please include your telephone number in your e-mail enquiry, if possible, so that our staff can contact you more easily if necessary.
  • Use of shared computers is not possible due to epidemiological regulations.
  • We also accept requests for document preparation at the above e-mail addresses – until 12 am on the day before your planned visit.
  • Compared to previous rules, the number of documents requested at the same time is limited; please always consult the member of staff at the Reading Service.
  • Information on manuscript documents and other information can be obtained by calling (+36-1) 224-3890, (+36-1) 224-3830, (+36-1) 224-3729, (+36-1) 487-8656,
  • Documents in the special collections can still only be searched with a Reader Pass valid for at least six months, while the Day Pass only entitles you to use the catalogues and open shelves.
  • Library registration is open from Tuesday to Friday until 16.30. Monthly, half-year and annual readers do not have to return their plastic bags when they leave, these will be replaced when they are worn out.
  • We will continue to reserve books from the repositories, but in order to minimise physical contact, there will be no exchange of books between readers.
  • Books and documents pre-ordered from the special collections or used in the reading room from the open shelves will be quarantined for 72 hours, during which time we will not be able to distribute them for the protection of our readers.
  • Books removed from the open shelf after use should be placed in the designated area to ensure their separation.
  • In the interests of increased security, we are temporarily suspending the use of the Readers' Professional Workstations and all other devices, so please bring your own electronic device (laptop, tablet) if possible. Wifi is available to our readers in the public areas of the library.
  • In order to minimise physical contact, requests for document copying can be fulfilled in-house with a time limit depending on the quantity of the request, and sent electronically or by post. Payment of the service fee can be made by bank transfer or cash on delivery. Please contact the repository staff to discuss the deadlines for document copying requests.

Use of the Manuscripts Archive

NSZL’s staff will be happy to give you information via phone or e-mail. You can submit your questions by e-mail or via the following phone numbers: + 361 232 3563 or + 361 224 3775.


Registering for a Reader Pass

Original documents of Manuscripts Archive can be used only by those who own a valid Reader Pass to NSZL for at least 6 months. Also needed is a permit from the Head of Archive which is granted on the basis of a Research Declaration filled in by the researcher. The auxiliary library of the Research Room can be used by those holding a daily pass. In this case, there is no need to fill in a Research Declaration.

Use of the Reading Room

The joint Research Room of Manuscript Archive and the early Printed Books Archive can be used only by researchers holding a valid Reader Pass. Researchers who have just a daily pass are entitled to use only the auxiliary library. To have a look at the original documents, you need to own a Reader Pass for at least 6 months and a Research Declaration signed by the Head of Archive. It is strictly forbidden to make phone calls in the Research Room or to disturb the order and piece of research in any all way. It is also forbidden to take your bags to the research tables, so you are kindly requested to place them on the shelves dedicated for this purpose. We draw your attention to the fact that our Research Room is equipped with a safety camera system.

Request and order of documents

Preparation of documents can be asked by researchers in person, filling in a Request Form, by e-mail or via phone (+361 232 3563, + 361 224 3775). Orders are served on the following day, with the exception of microfilms which are served immediately. Requests coming in by e-mail will be served if they arrive on the previous day the latest, until the end of the opening hours of Manuscripts Archive. Orders coming (in any way) on Friday will be served on Tuesday. An order can be served only if the storage reference number given by the user is correct. Medieval manuscripts can be researched only on microfilm. Original medieval manuscripts are permitted to take into one’s hands only with the permission of the Head of Archive and solely in highly justified cases. Research of unprocessed manuscripts can be permitted by the Head of Archive, based on a detailed research plan submitted in writing. The use of closed fond units can be permitted by the Head of Archive only on the basis of a written consent from the curator of the fond unit.

The use of documents

After submitting his or her Reader Pass, researcher gets the ordered manuscript and verifies this by his or her signature in the diary placed in Research Room. We kindly ask you to check whether the manuscript is not damaged. Any damage or loss should immediately be reported to NSZL staff working in the Research Room. One researcher can use a maximum of two manuscripts at the same time. However, documents ordered by and reserved for researcher can be used during the course of stay in any optional order. In Research Room, you can write only with a pencil. It is forbidden to ruin the order of documents or to endanger their physical state in any all way. Researchers not keeping themselves to rules and regulations valid in the Research Room can be deprived of their Researcher Pass.

Returning documents

Manuscripts have to be returned by researchers 30 minutes before the closure of Research Room. At the same time, no new document will be served. NSZL staff in charge of Research Room checks the state of manuscripts and verifies having taken it back by his or her signature in the Diary of Use. We kindly ask our researchers to let the staff in charge of Research Room know if they want to use the manuscript on the following days.

Reservation of documents

On demand of the researcher, manuscripts are reserved on the researcher’s name by assigning a number to the query. Apart from that, researcher can ask for further documents from repository but the total number documents cannot exceed 10 items. If the researcher does not ask for a prolongation of his or her reserved documents, after a period of two weeks, they will be carried back repository. No medieval manuscripts will be reserved. These items must be ordered on each occasion when the researcher wants to use them.

Making copies

Ordering copies

A copy of documents in the Manuscripts Archive can be ordered in Research Room or by e-mail ( Orders will be accepted only on the basis of exact data, with no missing details. The following copy types are provided in Nationl Széchényi Library: microfilm, photocopy, Canon-copy or digital copy. There are certain documents of which no photocopy can be made (e.g. manuscripts in binding), due to art protection reasons. Only NSZL’s Restoration and Bindery Department can make a copy of any item in the stock of the Manuscripts Archive.

Copy reproduction

Copies ordered can be used exclusively for the purpose of research. If researcher wants to reproduce the copy in any traditional, paper-based publication, electronic publication or on a web surface, he or she must submit a written application for publication from the Head of Archive, stating the exact bibliographic data of the publication. Fee of reproduction is determined by the Head of Archive, in line with the all-time valid Rules and Regulations of National Széchényi Library.

Copyright issues

NSZL’s Manuscripts Archive is not the owner of the copyright of documents stored by it and NSZL cannot take on the responsibility to have its users keep to these rights. It is the researcher’s moral and legal responsibility to keep to valid copyright regulations when using texts from manuscripts or publishing them in excerpts or as a whole.

Bibliographic reference

Researchers are kindly requested to use the following form when making a bibliographic reference in their publications:

OSZK Kézirattár (NSZL’s Manuscript Archive), document reference code

Getting around in the collection

We kindly draw our researchers’ attention to the fact that following the foundation of National Széchényi Library in 1802, after the establishment of the Hungarian National Museum in 1810, NSZL had been integrated in the organization of the Museum and the Library had worked within this framework up until 1949. That is the reason why old releases and bibliographic references usually state the name of the Hungarian National Museum as the place of storage (e.g. Hungarian National Museum, Library of the Hungarian National Museum, National Széchényi Library of the Hungarian National Museum). All such names cover National Széchényi Library of Budapest, Hungary.

Electronic catalogues

Researchers can get information about material, which has been processed until 2000, from the following electronic catalogue:

Card catalogues

Researchers can get information about material, which has been processed until 2000, in a card catalogue placed in the corridor of the Research Room.

Fond unit lists

A detailed list of personal fond units is made available for researchers in the Research Room. Electronic version: Arcanum database.

Printed catalogues

  • First printed catalogue of National Széchényi Library:
    Catalogus manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Nationalis Hungaricae Széchényiano-Regnicolaris, I-III. Sopron, 1815.
  • Catalogue of codices in Latin, acquired until 1940:
    BARTONIEK, Emma: Codices manu scripti Latini. Vol. 1. Codices Latini medii aevi.Budapest, 1940. (Catalogus Bibliothecae Musei Nationalis Hungarici – Title Register of the National Széchényi Library of the Hungarian National Museum 12.) Electronic version: Arcanum database
  • Catalogue of codices in Latin, acquired after 1940:
    VIZKELETY, András: Mittelalterliche lateinische Handschriften der Széchényi-Nationalbibliothek. Budapest, 2007. (Fragmenta et codices in bibliothecis Hungariae, VI)
  • Catalogue of codices in German:
    VIZKELETY, András: Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der altdeutschen Handschriften in ungarischen Bibliotheken. Bd. I. Széchényi-Nationalbibliothek. Budapest, 1969.
  • Catalogue of new-age manuscript volumes in Hungarian, acquired until 1950:
    Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár magyar nyelvű újkori kötetes kéziratainak katalógusa, 1-3. (Compiled by the staff of the Manuscripts Archive of National Széchényi Library, in collaboration with a working team operating with support of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.) Budapest, 1956. Electronic version: Arcanum database
  • Catalogue of manuscript volumes in Hungarian, acquired after 1950 – electronic version: Arcanum database
  • Catalogue of manuscript volumes in French:
    Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár francia nyelvű kötetes kéziratainak katalógusa. - Catalogue des volumes manuscrits français. Compiled by Ágnes Cz. Musztács in cooperation with Helga J. Hajdu. Budapest, 1960. (Publications of National Széchényi Library 52)
  • Catalogue of manuscripts in Greek held by National Széchényi Library and by other collections in Budapest:
    KUBINYI, Mária: Libri manuscripti Graeci in bibliothecis Budapestiensibus asservati.Budapest, 1956.
  • Catalogue of manuscript volumes in Latin of the National Széchényi Library – electronic version: Arcanum database
  • Catalogue of Slavonic manuscripts:
    Catalogue of the Slavonic Cyrillic Manuscripts in the National Széchényi Library. Ed. by Ralph CLEMINSON, Elissaveta MOUSSAKOVA and Nina VOUTOVA. Budapest, 2006. (CEU Medievalia, 9)
  • Analecta catalogue – electronic version: Arcanum database
  • Letter collection  – electronic version: Arcanum database

Monographs, statements, printed and manuscript aids supporting research

  • Art historical presentation of codices acquired in until 1928:
    HOFFMANN, Edith: A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum Széchényi-Könyvtárának illuminált kéziratai. BUDAPEST, 1928. (Az OSZK Tudományos Kiadványai, 1)
  • Register of selected historical sources:
    Kéziratos források az Országos Széchényi Könyvtárban, 1789-1867. Budapest, 1950.
  • Arabic manuscripts:
    GOLDZIHER, Ignác: A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeumi Könyvtár keleti kéziratai, I. = Magyar Könyvszemle 1880, 102-125.
  • Turkish manuscripts:
    GOLDZIHER, Ignác: A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeumi Könyvtár keleti kézirata, II. = Magyar Könyvszemle 1880, 222-243.
  • Hebrew manuscripts:
    KOHN, Sámuel: A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum héber kéziratai. = Magyar Könyvszemle 1877, 16-27.
  • Manuscripts in Rumanian held by National Szécéhnyi Library and by other libraries in Budapest:
    POPA, Mircea: Manuscrise româneşti in bibliotecile budapestane. = Anuarul de Istorie şi Arheologie Cluj-Napoca. Extras. XXIII (1980).
  • Armenian manuscripts:
    P. FOGOLYÁN, Vilmos András: Örmény kódexek az Országos Széchényi Könyvtárban. = Magyar Könyvszemle 1943, 16-23.
  • Manuscripts in Italian:
    ZAMBRA, Luigi: I manoscritti italiani nella Biblioteca Széchényi del Museo Nazionale Ungherese di Budapest. = Bibliofilia (Ed. Leo Olschki) 1911.
  • Manuscripts on alchemy in NSZL:
    Typewritten list of Andrea SCOTTI. (Placed in the Research Room of Manuscripts Archive.)

Catalogue of the auxiliary library
Researchers can get information about the material of the auxiliary library in a card catalogue placed on the corridor of Research Room as well as in the Central Database of National Széchényi Library.

Unprocessed documents
Staff of Manuscripts Archive will give you information about documents acquired after 2000 and also about still unprocessed manuscripts, based on the inner register of Manuscripts Archive.


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