Budapest Picture Archive


Information about the database


What is it?

As a computerised electronic archive the Budapest Picture Archive contains the data and digital copies of various city depictions, photos and drawings stored in the Budapest Collection of the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library. The archive is enlarged, modified and updated continuously.

Including the depictions of former faces of Budapest (and changes in the faces and infrastructure of the city), the archive has been developed not only to store the pictures but to make the oldest, frequently required and priceless pieces (museum pieces) needed for conservation available to the wide public.

The reproductions are good for selecting, studying and knowledge transmission. Other possibilities are provided – in the library and electronically -- for those who are interested in the original pictures and other formats of the copies. (See more: Legal points of view, copy making, usage conditions)

The pictures were taken from two sources:

  • The photographic archive of Budapest Collection where more than 200,000 photos are stored;
  • old illustrated publications, books and periodicals preserved in the collection.

Most of original pictures got into the collection in inaccurate, sometimes unreliable and unidentified forms after vicissitudes decades ago. We did our best to make the original data more accurate and endeavoured to make the pictures searchable by as many criteria as possible.

If it was possible, the buildings in the pictures were determined and identified with street-number precision, their architects and other creators were also given. If there were no pieces of information related to the picture, the image was identified by outer sources, the time of taking the snapshot was also determined by external sources; the persons and events as well as the institutions were identified by similar kinds of external sources.

All the details documented in a good quality in the picture were denominated in the process of giving subject words; the relations that can be illustrated by the use of the image were also denominated. Based on library standards, several other features of form and technique are made known.

Naturally, there is the risk of making mistakes, however, our colleagues did their best while processing by computer. Comments and suggestions can be sent through the possibilities of the commenting system of each item; please send them to the following address:

We are pleased to be informed on how and where the collection material is made use of.

Legal points of view, copy making, usage conditions

The rules in force, agreements with right owners and the conditions of the Rules for use of the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library are authoritative regarding the use of the pictures. It is the common responsibility of the library and the user to keep copyrights.

As a general rule in force regarding all the pictures, linking to pictures shown in the database is not restricted.

The following permissions and restrictions apply to copying, reception, republication and other usage of the pictures.

Picture with copyright

1. Part of the collection covers pictures with copyright; it means that some images can be seen only in the library, the database contains description of the picture and only „stamp-picture” version. The note „Rights: Author” in the column labelled Comment in picture inscription refers to that.

2. If „Authorial” is in the same column, it means that pictures are approved (by the owner of copyrights) to be published in internet database; so, they can be seen there, but any other usage is restricted by the Copyright Act.

Picture without copyright

The library has the owner right concerning the original pictures and digital copies; in case of those pictures that have time of protection no more, but it is this database where the pictures are published for the first time, the library’s legal due relating to property matters of copyright can be enforced (Act LXXVI/1999: about copyright; 32. §). It is indicated by the note „Rights: FSZEK” in the column labelled Comment in textual data of the picture.

In compliance with it, the usage of pictures are regulated by the library as follows:

1. Those pictures of the database can be copied, published and used in other ways for all activities aiming at neither the acquisition of income nor excess profit where only the library is indicated as the owner of rights. The following kinds of usage are not businesslike: private use at home, presentation in education, copying in test papers or in plan documentation. If a website does not deal with sale of promotional surface, the pictures mentioned above can be published on internet pages as well.

To publish the pictures and make them available to the public in various publications, on portals of business character and / or in films are considered as aiming at acquisition of income; illustration of advertisement products, decoration of consumer goods, business premises and offices, selling as picture cards or part of other products are also considered as aiming at acquisition of income.

If usage is not businesslike, you do not need to ask for library permission. However, the place of source has to be indicated in all cases by applying one of the forms listed below.

Other types of form can be claimed on address in case of non-businesslike aims. In that case, fee of copying is charged by the library and a legal declaration related to usage has to be written on the order form.

2. A library permission is needed for businesslike usage; in this case, usage fee has to be paid. If a copy different from the version downloadable on the internet is needed, it will be made on demand by the library; in that case, fee of copying is also charged besides usage fee. Fees can be found in current Rules of Use.

Sources of pictures have to be indicated in this case as well.

This kind of income is spent by the library on development of the collection, mainly purchase of newer pictures and publications.

Application form for bids and order for the usage of business purpose

Application form for bids for the usage of business purpose can be asked for on the enclosed form on the following address:

After acceptation of bids, the library will send an order form that should be sent back in a completed signed version; in case of institutions, please send back the sealed form with tax number on it, via mail or e-mail (PDF, JPG).

Your way of paying can be chosen: either to pay in cash at the cash desk on the ground floor in the library or transfer after being in receipt of library invoice. The electronic ways are preferred in case of picture transmission (e-mail, file sending service, FTP connection); however, the pictures can also be taken over personally in the reading room of the Budapest Collection.

Debatable (controversial) cases related to copyright

In case of photos, it may occur that authorial data cannot be identified exactly, so, unintentional infringement of lawful rights is possible. We always endeavour to use the pictures in a way advantageous and well-intentioned for all the parties concerned. That is why specification of data and the letter of intention - related to the regulation of picture usage - by the owners of rights who happen to become known and present themselves are welcomed.

Forms that can be used as representation of the source location of pictures

When a photo is published, the source of the picture has to be represented in all cases. Considering the typographical points of view and the ones concerning size, one of the following forms / versions of name can be chosen:

Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Könyvtár Budapest Gyűjtemény; FSZEK Budapest Gyűjtemény; FSZEK BGY;
Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Könyvtár; FSZEK;

Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library, Budapest Budapest Collection;
Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library;

Stadtbibliothek Ervin Szabó, Budapest Budapest Sammlung;
Stadtbibliothek Ervin Szabó, Budapest

Fee of copying:

Copies from the archive (Original size; 260-600 DPI; TIF/JPG)

HUF 800 / picture

New scanning on demands:

HUF 1250 / picture

The fees include value added tax.


Budapest, 17 April 2014