In the public mind, an archive should hold not opinions, but usable material. The archive should serve researchers' inquiries and guard the documents entrusted to it, but not concern itself with their contents or analyses of the documents, since this, according to the accepted division of labor, is the task of the researcher.
The seed of the OSA Archivum's collection is what was once the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty archive. This was not simply a repository for documents that came into being over the course of the day-to-day activities of an office, but a collection of sources put together according to a conscious process of selection, and which served as a basis for the Radios' work. By using documents stored in the Radios' archive, staff attempted to intervene in external events, and thus archiving itself became a form of social activism.
Nor is the OSA Archivum's collection work driven by chance. We solicit, copy in order to publicize, present, exhibit and analyze those documents we feel are important for understanding post-World War II Hungarian and (primarily Eastern and Central) European history. Unlike fish in the aquarium, we not only live in the archive, we are professionally and intellectually interested in the relationship between the document, historical fact, information, and knowledge of the past. We research ways and forms of bringing the document up from the basement into the daylight, and making these historically-grounded sources accessible to those who, until now, were not generally compelled to understand the past and its influence on the present on the basis of facts.
OSA Archivum is launching a Hungarian-language blog entitled utánlövés (afterthought) so that historians and archivists who work here can, in relation to their other activities, publicly express their own opinions on current historical questions, generally on the basis of archival sources. Blog entries will be written not only by OSA Archivum staff, but also other, external authors interested in the recent past and with a healthy respect for facts, but who are not necessarily historians or professionals. utánlövés is open to all: anyone can comment on an entry, as long as comments are relevant to the subject under discussion. The blog is moderated: we will not allow statements that attempt to make historical assertions without referring to rational arguments or sources. Everyone is welcome to respond to articles published on this blog by citing arguments, and not just providing commentaries. Blog entries will, in every case, reflect the personal opinion of their authors. Alongside the current entries, the blog will also operate a continually-expanding archive of public debates concerning a number of key questions of Hungarian twentieth-century history, in searchable format.
It is our view that historical debates linked to problems in the present are often short-tempered and often do away with citing facts supported by sources. Some of the historians participating here are existentially vulnerable, and will think twice - and not necessarily just out of professional thoroughness - about what they write. Since we are aware of the difficult circumstances in which colleagues work at various other professional institutions in Hungary, we will naturally - out of necessity - allow comments written under pseudonyms, in the hope that, eventually, these will not be necessary, and that everyone will be able to express their own opinion (even retroactively) under their own name.