3rd update – Spanish Book History Website

Hello there again!
I promised that I would post again once I was working on the final products of my project, the website and the paper.

The website is basically finished. It has taken me basically the entire week to finish it, apart from a day at the Library of Congress. My goal is to improve it even more over the coming year, but for now, it is necessary to hold back a bit so that I can write the paper.

The website is split into different areas so that user can easily find information on different topics. I have one page which contains the catalog, which is basically where users can browse the books contained with the inventories and filter their results by about 20 different metrics.

Getting the catalog to work and be a polished product was a great deal of the work. I’m using the gadget Awesome Table to accomplish it, and I highly recommend it if you need to display data within Google Sites which is the platform that I am using. It allows you to create templates in order to view your data in different ways. The templates were half of the battle! While I did take some HTML classes in middle school, I’m not familiar with the language used to create the template. I had to apply the “monkey see monkey do” approach to it, but I finally got it to work. I’m very pleased with the result.

Other sections of the website include one about the authors that appear in the inventories (911 authors to be exact). On this page, user can search for authors and see how many titles are attributed to a given author overall and how many cases a given author appeared in. While the popularity overall is interesting to see, the popularity of an author across cases gives a much better indication of the popularity and prevalence of an author. It’s no surprise though that the Catholic Church wins by both measures though! As time goes by, I’d like to add links to biographies of the more famous and/or numerous authors.

Another section is that of the genres. Creating a classification system of genres was one of the most important steps of this project. Fields of knowledge and genres have been divided up in different ways depending on the culture and the time period. I needed to divide the books into genres in a way that was not anachronistic. After consulting several secondary sources that talked about the classification of Spanish libraries in the 16th and 17th centuries, I decided on a system, which is displayed and explained on this page. I also plan to add tables similar to those in the author section.

A fourth section is the owners. The owners homepage has links to individual pages for all the owners. The plan is eventually to have short biographies, some analysis, and the transcription of the individual’s library. For now, there are transcriptions for all individuals which in most cases also indicate the identity of the book in the inventory. Publishing the transcriptions will be helpful to other scholars studying private libraries. I will admit though that I need to edit my transcriptions for spelling to make them a bit more readable!

Finally, there is a section of statistics. I haven’t quite figured out a way to nicely show graphs, but I will be adding some tables of statistics. Whoever invented pivot tables was a great person, because it makes getting good statistics from data much easier!

Here’s the link to the site so you can check it out! https://sites.google.com/view/bibliotecasnavarras/home

That’s all for now. Wish me luck as I finish up the website and write the paper on the women’s libraries.