The main part of the books kept in the Biblioteca de Reserva of the Universitat de Barcelona comes from the convents of the Barcelona province, as a result of the depriving laws of Mendizábal in the first third of the 18th century. Nevertheless, provenances such as the University of Cervera as well as some donations produced along the time have increased the number and importance of the collection.
The fate of the books from the Barcelona convents, until their definitive location in the University buildings in 1880, was not free from removals, accidents and dangers. Many books were lost, but those that have been preserved show the ownership evidences of those who possessed them, in their great majority religious institutions, but also individuals and associations.
In 1986 The Library of the University of Barcelona started with the retrospective cataloguing of its historical collection. The OPAC includes from its very beginning a specific field for recording the origin of the items, with inclusion of information about the provenance data. However, the provided references and the limited retrieval options soon proved to be insufficient.
When considering the limitations of the system used to state these evidences as well as the increasing interest in these data, in february of 2009 in parallel to the cataloguing of our collection, the details of the previous owners, individuals or institutions, are described in the authority file. At the same time, the entries of the ownerships, characterized by the term "ant. pos." and already standardized, are included in the bibliographical records where provenance evidences are present.
During a second phase of the project, the information present in the item's field that have not been yet standardized will be retrieved to proceed to the establishing of the authority files and to the inclusion of the secondary entries of the former owners, with the aim of offering an exhaustive and accurate vision of the provenances of the historical collections of our Library.
This way, the starting point of the database are some of the former owners`authority records of the catalog, with the basic goal of viewing the images of the related evidences and, if feasible, to show their context in the document, as well as to obtain their description. In the same way we provide wherever it is possible, historical or biographical information on the former owners, indicating bibliographical sources, together with the link of those with the bibliographic records in the Catalogue of the Library of the University of Barcelona .
Whereas all the identified institutions are included in the base, the presence of persons depends upon a number of criteria: their active and known participation in the cultural and social history either in Catalonia or elsewhere, the existence of a significant number of documents with their mark in our collection, their belonging to a unique group such as women and, lastly, the original design of the mark itself.
The database offers the following search fields:
See the leaflet of the Database