Note to this digital edition

Toledo en el siglo XVI. Detalle de un mapa de Joris HoefnagelThe Virtual Library of the Old Toledo School of Translators has been created (as broadly outlined in theIntroduction) with the most advanced techniques for coding information and linking data. This means, in library terminology, the MARC21 formats and the RDA rules.

And it also means Linked Open Data in its profile for libraries, archives and museums and the data models of Europeana (Europeana Data Model) which has recently been adopted by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Unlike other databases, the basic records are those of the translators, not the authors, since it is considered that the translators of Toledo, or translators related to them, did not limit themselves to translating the texts from one language to another - as is currently the case - but carried out a more complex process.

The translators and translated works

The names of the authors or translators are related to the titles of the works they wrote or translated, although not all the titles have a bibliographic record because it has not been possible to find an original or digitized copy of them. However, it allows a much more precise approach to the work in question.

It should be noted that these are mainly translations (or rather versions) and that their titles have undergone many changes over time. To give an archetypal example, the title of Ptolemy's work in transliterated Greek was Μαθηματικ Σ?νταξις (Mathematik Syntaxis), but in Latin it was translated by Syntaxis mathematica. Later, it became known as Hè Megalè Syntaxis, which transliterated from Greek would give Al-Majisti in Arabic, from which the name Almagesto as it is known in Spain is derived.

This functionality will be used by specialists to browse through the list of authors and works that were translated by the different authors of the old Toledo School of Translators.

Browsing by names that lead to other names

Following the recommendations of the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group, and in particular Europeana, the records are enriched by information from other databases or datasets accessible on the Internet.

Among them are highlighted VIAF (Virtual International Authorities File) that is, an international file of authorised or recommended name forms and their variants - very important in a library like this one—.

Thus, each author is linked via a web address (which is an address with special technical characteristics) to the VIAF database. In this way, the user can browse, by clicking on the links, to the different information resources that VIAF gathers, obtaining information that is often very rich, such as co-authors, timelines, written works, attributed works, etc.

Browsing by subjects that lead to other subjects

There is also a systematic link of records of subjects with the concepts of the Subject Headings List published by the Sub Directorate General for Library Co-ordination of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in SKOS (a representation of the knowledge organisation systems, whose structure supports the W3C).

There is, in addition, the fact that these SKOS records are linked with other lists of subject headings, such as the Library of Congress of the United States, that ofFrance, that of Germany or the List of Subject Headings in Catalan.

In the same way, as we explained in VIAF, by clicking on the link that interests us, it is possible to browse to other records and from them, again, to third records, thus broadening the navigation paths through the information available on the Web.

Browsing through data in multiple languages

A third resource systematically used to link records of persons or institutions is the DBpedia. DBpedia is Wikipedia transformed into Linked Open Data that, in addition, aggregates the different entries in the different languages in which Wikipedia can be consulted in a single record.

Thus by using the same procedure, by clicking on a link you can browse from this source of information to another and from it to another new source of information and so on.

Browsing can lead us to data located throughout the Web

From a consultation, the user of the database can move around the Web, guided by the links established to the datasets, created and maintained by prestigious and powerful international institutions such as those already mentioned, and from there to others.

In the future, applications will be designed on the basis of this structured and linked information (applications that already exist in the bibliographic area, but are experimental in nature) which, so to speak, automatically link some browsers to others by means of a procedure called graphs. But we will only announce here the intention to implement these applications in new versions of the Virtual Library of the Old Toledo School of Translators because this functionality is not yet available.

Use of the 'Year of publication' field in the search form

This Virtual Library is a very novel production and allows you to search by date for the electronic resource, which should not be confused with the date of the original resource, so the user will not find a 12th century manuscript by its first date of publication but by its date of digitization.

Sometimes there will be no digitization dates; this will happen when the data provider (any European library or archive) does not provide them to Europeana, from which we collect the records we offer in this Virtual Library and which significantly enrich its bibliographic resources. It happens in about 50% of the records.

In any case the date of creation of the electronic resource has been identified whenever possible. Similarly, if the date of the original is available, this appears on the bibliographical record in the "Notes" section, which also contains a brief description and bibliographical analysis of the digitized original material.