The Library of the Parliament, the second library in Greece in size and importance, is now using the openABEKT service of the National Documentation Centre (EKT), for the management and public access to its Catalogue. openABEKT is a cloud service and an integrated library system developed by EKT. The Parliament’s Library Committee and the Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs hosted a presentation of the collaboration between EKT and the Library of the Parliament on Thursday 19 April 2018.
The presentation was attended by a great number of MPs from all parties, who commented favorably on the collaboration between the two institutions and pointed out how important is the work of the Parliament Library, as well as the crucial role played by EKT in the public dissemination of digital content and information literacy. EKT’s active role in supporting the public interest for the dissemination of knowledge produced by the Greek system was praised, as well as the integration of new technologies in libraries and solving interoperability issues.
openABEKT is a cutting-edge cloud service developed by EKT responding to modern-day requirements of libraries. At the onset of EKT’s collaboration with the Parliament Library, the migration of the library catalogue to the new system took place. The Library’s staff were trained to use the new system, on the openABEKT eLearning platform, while 24-7 support was possible through eHelpdesk and eKnowledgeBase. The new public catalogue interface offers advanced search and browse functionalities in a user-friendly platform, for easy navigation of the Catalogue’s content.
So far, the Parliament Library catalogue incorporates 366,800 bibliographic records out of which most are monographs and about 30 thousand are periodicals. Most of the bibliographic records relate to text documents, but one can also find cartographic collections, audiovisual material, manuscripts, audio recordings and multimedia records. A large number of records are in other languages, mainly French, English, German and Italian but also Latin and Ancient Greek. The oldest book in the catalogue is from 1435, that is, dating before the printing press, and there are many interesting documents from the 20th century such as the speeches of E Venizelou and D.Ralli from 1917 and documents from WWII, while the library collections include early 19th century periodicals such as ‘The Naval Chronicle’ or the ‘Journal du Palais’.
openABEKT (www.openabekt.gr) is a cloud-based upgrade of ABEKT, the Integrated Library System developed by EKT since1986. It helps libraries and other organisations such as museums and archives, to manage their catalogue and functions, while opening up their catalogues online. To date, more than 100 libraries have received the service and 64 library catalogues have been made available online.
All individual library catalogues feed into an openABEKT Union Catalogue, which aggregates, indexes and presents them in real time and in a single user interface. The Union catalogue already contains more than 1 million bibliographic records. The service is offered as a public service to a large number of institutions with quality cultural and scientific content such as universities, libraries, museums, archives, research centres and scientific institutions.
The Library of the Hellenic Parliament
The Library of the Hellenic Parliament was founded by the first elected Parliament following the Hellenic Constitution of 1844, to support the work of the Parliament. From 1846, Georgios Tertsetis a scholar and jurist from Zante, was the Library and Archives director and it was during his term of office that the institution became a leading knowledge centre of the time. The development of the Library of the Parliament as we know it today was spearheaded by Timoleon Philemon, member of the Parliament representing Attica, lawyer and publisher of the newspaper ‘Aion’. During his tenure (1875-1887), the number of library volumes increased from 5,000 to 100,000 thanks to foreign and domestic grants. Today, due to the large volume of its collections and its numerous activities, the Library of the Hellenic Parliament is housed in more than one building: a) the Main Library at the Parliament Building, b) Benakeios Library (2 Anthimou Gazi St.) temporarily being hosted at the former Public Tobacco Factory Building and c) the former Public Tobacco Factory at Lenorman St. 218.