The National Audiovisual Archive of Hungary: Digitisation and Access

Printable version Tuesday 04 December 2012 Last updated at 09:03

NAVA (National Audiovisual Archive of Hungary) constitutes the legal deposit archive of the Hungarian national broadcasters. The scope of its collections ranges from the programmes of the national broadcasters produced in or relating to Hungary, plus any other audiovisual content which facilitates the preservation of audiovisual content as part of cultural heritage.
In addition to retaining and cataloguing audiovisual material, NAVA also wishes to be a centre of research and to keep up with the recent trends such as long-distance and optimal storage of audiovisual documents, and working out guidelines for sorting media texts by searching their subject-matter based on auditory, textual and visual elements.

Preserving the past

The preservation of audiovisual material in Hungary was formalised with the passing of an act which created the National Audiovisual Archive in December 2004 and which came into force in January 2006. In 2005 NAVA began its pilot operation as a department of an institution maintained by the Ministry of Informatics and Telecommunication, while professional supervision was provided by the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage.  NAVA’s objective is to keep track of programmes produced in or related to Hungary. Presently it includes 3 public service and 2 commercial television channels, plus 3 public service radio channels, with the number of archived channels due to increase from 2013.

Through its online catalogue NAVA makes metadata and a one-minute extract of every programme available for the public on the Internet. Furthermore it also maintains ‘NAVA-points’ where the whole legally permissible content of the archive can be viewed online for the purpose of scientific research or personal study within dedicated networks in public libraries, educational institutions, museums, record offices, picture and sound archives across the country.

As well as recording Hungary’s cultural heritage, within its special collections, NAVA includes 115 of the most notable fiction films from the Hungarian National Film Archive and these again became available through ‘NAVA-points.’ After restoration and digitization projects in the Hungarian National Film Archive a large number of newsreels from 1932-1942 were acquired by NAVA’s which have subsequently been added to the online collections. These remarkable reports, being important historical and cultural sources are accessible online in NAVA’s special collections and can be shared thanks to a new, user-friendly interface implemented in 2009.  This collection was broadened in recent years, making available the newsreels from 1914 to 1949. Gramophone records are also valuable historical documents from the first half of the 20th century among which the legally permissible pieces digitalized by collectors are accessible and listenable freely through a NAVA homepage. The 5th anniversary of NAVA was celebrated with creating a special collection by colleagues within the archive. The selection of one-minute extracts from the favourite programmes of the archivists are also available on the homepage.

Making available

In 2006 NAVA joined the VideoActive project, which made selected material from European audiovisual archives available on a single website. The continuation of the project, EUscreen introduces themed selections of content, including the history of European Television and Being European which includes a selection of materials from 20 different digital archives.  NAVA has made 1350 programmes available on the EUscreen portal and they can all be freely accessed here. These NAVA programmes include entertaining programmes such as Final Songs of the Dance Music Festivals in 1966, 1967 and in 1968, cultural programmes like this programme presenting world-famous cinematographers and animation films such as Gustav and the Collecting Mania.

Current affairs programmes or documentaries about historic events can also be seen including this documentary about the iron curtain Behind the Scenes of the Regime. Moreover educational material is also shown on the EUscreen portal, like this episode of a series entitled Hungarian Firsts, which reveals the circumstances of the first Hungarian television broadcast.

For its own EUscreen Virtual Exhibition NAVA has created a collection on Hungarian Music and Dance (Magyar zene és tánc). This virtual exhibition allows an insight into the world of traditional and contemporary Hungarian music and dance culture represented amply in the collections of the NAVA.

NAVA’s exhibition presents lesser-known folk dances, such as Lads' Dance (Legényes) of the village of Türe and Fresh Csárdás (Czardas), both from the collection of György Martin. In an interview, the world-renowned Hungarian choreographer and dancer, Joseph Nagy (Josef Nadj) tells, among other things, about his recent works and international career, while Zoltán Kodály’s Háry János and from Beethoven’ Ode to Joy performed by István Berczelly can also be viewed. Footage of Félix Lajkó and Béla Szakcsi Lakatos’ performing successful New Hungarian Gipsy Jazz concerts on the A38 Ship in Budapest can also be viewed, along with a programme on traditional musical instruments which introduces viewers to the history of the tambourine and the long flute from Somogy. Europeana has selected NAVA’s exhibition as one of the Europeana Exhibitions, making the virtual collection also available online via the Europeana portal.

Discover Hungary’s audiovisual heritage and explore NAVA’s material on EUscreen at


Katalin Palyik

Katalin has been the asset manager of National Audiovisual Archive of Hungary (NAVA) since 2005. She organizes the workflow, control and optimization, media management and service system development.

Krisztina Tajta

Krisztina is working as the office manager (NAVA) since 2004. She was involved in several EU projects. Her main role at different project is coordination like at EUscreen project.

Diana Handó

Diana joined NAVA 2006 and helped select programmes for the VideoActive project. She helped to work out the selection criteria for EUscreen project and was responsible for annotation, selection and the uploading of new programmes.



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