Open Society Archives (Budapest, Hungary)


Open Society Archives at Central European University

Arany János 32.
1051 Hungary
Phone: + 361 327 3250
Fax: +36 1 327 3260

About the institution:
Established in 1995, OSA,, at Central European University is an archival and research institute focusing on the history of communism, the Cold War, and their afterlife as well as the documentation of contemporary human rights violations. Our traditional archival holdings currently comprise approximately 7,000 linear meters of records, among which are: the extensive archive of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Research Institute; papers of political, cultural, and counterculture personalities from the Cold War Era to the present; and several major series of Soviet, Polish, and Hungarian underground publications. Other holdings include the records of the UN Expert Commission on Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Index on Censorship, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and several fonds of the Open Society Foundations for which we serve as the official archives.

Holdings Related to RFE/RL:
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Research Institute:
The records consist primarily of clippings, abstracts of media reports, and transcripts of television and radio broadcast monitoring. Also included is the record set of publications of RFE/RL. The records are organized by the unit of the Research Institute, or its predecessors, that created the records. Many records series continued from the early years of the Radios to the close of the Research Institute, irrespective of the name of the organizational unit that created them. Most Among these or in separate subfonds there are the files covering the countries to which the Radios broadcast. Since OMRI was a successor of the RFE/RL Research Institute (Munich, Germany) which was dissolved in 1994, the latter's small stock of records were transferred to Prague to support the operation of the new institution
For additional information, please see

Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty Publications on Microfiche
The OSA Library holds the collection of the Radios' publications on microfiche in addition to the hard copies stored in the archival subfonds. They include the Radio Free Europe’s Background Reports, Situation Reports, and their successor, the Report on Eastern Europe as well as the Radio Liberty’s Research Bulletin with Supplement, its successor, the Report on the USSR, and the English language publication Soviet Area Audience and Opinion Research.
For additional information, please see

Open Media Research Institute
The fonds contains different types of materials including texts, video materials, and administrative files created by the OMRI departments. The research materials include mainly clippings, abstracts of media reports, news agency releases, scientific articles, and transcripts of national television and radio broadcast monitoring, mostly from the countries of East, Central, and Southeastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union, although Western materials are also present. The structure of the fonds reflects the functional units of OMRI as successor organization of RFE/RL Research Institute comprising the Information services Department files, the so called historical archives of the Research Institute and incoming new materials or electronic databases, files created in course of its transactions.
For additional information, please see

Online Collections:
1956 Digital Archive
An English language collection of texts, photos, and films on the 1956 Revolution in Hungary and its reception abroad. In this instance, dispersed materials housed in different institutions were reunited and put into their original context. The thematic collection includes  RFE/RL files  based on  various subjects in relation to the 1956 international reception  and refugee issues.
For additional information, please see

RFE/RL Publications: English textual material made available in both image and full text formats. The Background Reports (1952-1989) were produced by RFE staff members for the radio's management and subscribers in order to provide analysis of current events and trends in the eastern bloc. A comprehensive presentation of one of OSA's most requested collections; includes geographical and subject indexes. .
For additional information, please see

Transcripts of the RFE Broadcasts by the Hungarian News Agency
The Hungarian News Agency (MTI) monitored Radio Free Europe from 1953 to 1991 and transcribed them to confidentially inform the higher-ranking Communist party officials. The monitoring collection includes only the transcription from 1988-1989 as part of a bigger project to establish the press archive of the transition years in Hungary and the region.

Other Online Resources:
OSA Thematic Guides
Reference Information Papers (RIP), compiled by staff archivists, are thematic finding aids to guide researchers to archival material held by OSA relevant to particular topics. RIPs are cross-sectional digests of OSA’s holdings and typically cover several countries. Issues of the RIP series are published irregularly and always reflect the status quo of the holdings. The catalogue entries indicate the exact fonds reference, date span, approximate quantity, and occasionally, medium of the records.

Research at OSA
The goal of Reference Services at OSA Archivum is to encourage and support scholarly research on our archival, library, and audio-visual collections. Research at OSA Archivum can be conducted both on site and remotely. We provide remote reference services via the Internet and e-mail, the reference services staff is ready to respond to general inquiries on the collections and to facilitate online requests for materials and reproduction services.

Research Tool Developed  by OSA
Parallel Archive is an open source Web 2.0 content storage and creation tool that allows scholars to manage, share, and preserve their primary source archival documents. The tool is intended to complement and extend current research practices by addressing three critical needs of our target audience, a) the lack of effective online management tools for primary source archival documents, b) the lack of easy or transparent public access to many archives, and c) the lack of community collaboration tools that also link researchers with archives.
For additional information, please see

Gabriella Ivacs
Tel.: + 36 1 327 3250
Csaba Szilagyi
Tel.: + 36 1 327 3250

overlay image