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OPEN SOCIETY ARCHIVES


The Open Society Archives (OSA) is a complex institution: not only an archive, but also an educational, research and documentation center, which has an exhibition hall of its own. OSA was established in 1995 with the purpose of saving, processing and making publicly available the materials of the Research Institute of the legendary "enemy" Radios: Radio Free Europe and the Radio Liberty. Since the start OSA's collection has grown continually and today OSA is recognized as one of the largest archives on Communism and Cold War, with the most significant Human Rights collection in the region.

Its holdings, 7,000 linear meters by archival measure, include in the first place the records of the Research Institute. The Institute collected background material for the programs that were actually broadcast between 1952 and 1993: clippings from the socialist press, transcripts of interviews with emigrants and tourists from the eastern block, transcripts of the daily news broadcasts of the socialist radios, samizdat publications smuggled out of the region, and, also, postcards sent to the Radio's music editors. OSA's holdings also include the documents of the International Helsinki Federation; the background materials of the famous, London-based journal of the freedom of speech, Index on Censorship; the research documentation of Physicians for Human Rights, an international group of doctors who excavated the mass graves in the Balkans. OSA holds audiovisual materials, too. Some of these are the products of its own research, like the Balkan Monitoring, which includes parallel recordings of the television news programs in the war-weary former Yugoslav countries, or the complete recording of the Iraqi and Kurdish television programming in the days immediately before and after the intervention. Several audiovisual collections were donated to OSA, such as Peter Forgacs's home movie collection, a unique record of domestic and everyday life between the 1940s and 1970s, or the world's largest documentary film collection on genocide, compiled by the International Monitor Institute. In 2003, OSA became the only Central European location where the entire database of the 20 million entries and a selection of one million images from the archives of the Communist International are accessible.

OSA's own library has a rich collection of books, periodicals and microfilms published in the region and in the West. Some of the subcollections are unique of their kind, such as the Russian press collection from the perestroika period, the collection of Polish samizdat publications, the documentation of the Prague Spring or the diplomatic and intelligence documentation of the CIA and the US Foreign Department. OSA's library is the only place in Central and Eastern Europe where the Wiener Library collection of documents on the Nazi movement and the history of European Jews from 1930-1960 is accessible.

The Archives teaches archival courses, runs public programs, organizes film screenings and exhibitions for-and with the active participation of-the CEU community. Students are encouraged to delve into the holdings to find research subjects for their theses, to identify materials for research publications, to prepare research papers and thematic guides (Research Information Papers) for the Archives, and also to apply for student internships with OSA. As interns, they can participate in the processing work, obtaining hands-on experience of using primary resources in research, and gaining an insight into the process of setting up exhibitions.

Research in the Archives is free and open to anyone both on-site, in the Research Room located 5 minutes away from the CEU main building, and off-site, through the Internet. Whether on- or off-site, OSA provides reproduction services in different formats, such as digital images, videotape and audiotape copies.

OSA Archivum is located in the Goldberger House in central Budapest: 1051 Bp. Arany Janos u. 32. The OSA Research Room can accommodate up to 20 researchers, providing them with a comfortable working environment and essential equipment including 2 microfilm/microfiche readers with integrated printers, 4 computers with Internet access, and 2 VCR+TV sets, a scanner and a digital camera. It has the complete set of finding aids and a wide selection of handbooks and journals on open shelves. This is also where OSA's film library is housed. Consultations with the staff of OSA can be requested personally at the reception of the Archives, by phone, fax or e-mail during the opening hours of the Research Room.
More information here.

Opening Hours: Monday- Friday 10:00 - 17:45. Closed on weekends.
Summer break: the reading room is usually closed from the last week of July till the first working day in September.

More information available at the OSA website