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Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid

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Access the Biblioteca Nacional de España's dataset within the HPB (197,250 records)

The following content description is also available in Spanish

Historical note

Created by Philip V, the Royal Library opened to the public in 1712. It contained in its initial collection works originally from the Librería de la Torre Alta del Alcázar (which included the collection of Philip IV), books brought from France by Philip V, and the deposit libraries of the supporters of Archduke Charles of Austria in the War of Succession. From this century onward a strong acquisitions policy allowed for growth through incorporation of important manuscript and print libraries.

The 19th century saw important growth in the collections of the Library that, from 1836 on, would be called the National Library. During this period, convent libraries abolished by the 19th century’s secularisations were added, as well as important personal libraries purchased on the deaths of their owners or donated by their heirs. These include the libraries of Juan Nicolás Böhl de Faber (1849), Agustín Durán (1863), Cayetano Alberto de la Barrera y Leirado (1868), the Marquis de la Romana – that formed a large part of the Camarista de Castilla Fernando José de Velasco y Ceballos library – Serafín Estébanez Calderón, Luis de Usoz y Río (1873), Countess de Campo Alange (1884), the Ducal Houses of Osuna and Infantado (1884), Ricardo Heredia (1891 and 1894), Francisco Asenjo Barbieri (1894) and Pascual de Gayangos (1900).

During this period specialised libraries on topics such as the federalism of Francisco Pi y Margall (1902), those of José María Asensio y Toledo (1949) and Juan Sedó Peris-Mencheta (1968) on Cervantes and his works, that of Antonio Graiño (1959) on Philippine works, Tomás García Figueras (1966) on African topics, and the Manuel Gómez Imaz collection (1977) on the War of Independence against the invading Napoleonic forces were also added.

Coverage of file

The file includes bibliographic records for early printed resources up to 1830. Most of the records have book-in-hand descriptions. The less complete records, mainly originating from the reconversion of manual catalogues, which at the time are undergoing a process of review, have also been included. The file also includes holding records for all the items, containing information about provenance, bindings, sources of acquisition, censorship and other notes.

Mode of cataloguing

All of the records catalogued using book-in-hand have been created according to the ISBD Consolidated specific rules for older monographic resources and the Spanish Reglas de Catalogación and are rich in notes information including signatures and illustrations. The copy notes are included in separate holdings records. Copies bound together have been individually described, linking them to the record for the corresponding edition. In the associated notes for such records the circumstance for their being bound together will be indicated. In the case of incomplete copies description has been made using different reference works treating complete copies of this title. The missing parts are indicated in a copy note. If the correct edition for the copy cannot be identified, the description dates are included between brackets. If no complete copies have been identified, the records include a note indicating the record is based in an incomplete copy.

Present/Absent fields

Most of the records, except the ones originating from the reconversion of manual catalogues, have full descriptions of the editions including imprint, physical description and notes. Most of them are provided with a collational formula. Fingerprint is not provided.

Personal name headings, whether authors, collaborators or subjects, have been standardised in access points. Birth and death dates are included in some of the personal name entries, as are titles designating nobility, office, or religious order. In recent records many materials have genre/form terms to facilitate retrieval.

Treatment of multivolume works

The general policy is to make a single record for the entire publication, except in specific cases. When a title, printer or pagination discrepancy is found in different volumes of a work, individualised description is provided. In some cases, two levels of description can be observed in a broad contents note or individualised description for each volume.

Recommendations for searching

It’s possible to search by author, title, printer and place of publication, in the form in which they appear in the work and in the standardised forms. Uniform titles exist for some literary, legal, and religious forms in accordance with the Reglas de Catalogación. Information regarding persons related to a work can be identified in many records thanks to the use of relators added to the access points such as “impresor”, “editor”, “grabador”, “editor literario”, “traductor”, “autor del comentario adicional” etc. In legacy records the following abbreviations are also to be found: “anot.” (anotador) “com.” (comentarista) “dib.” (dibujante) “ed.” (editor) “ed. lit.” (editor literario) “grab.” (grabador) “il.” (ilustrador) “imp.” (impresor) “pr.” (prologuista) “tr. o “trad.” (traductor).

Descriptions of illustrations included in the works can be found looking in the notes for engravers or woodblock printers using “grabados calcográficos” or “xilográficos” or their abbreviations: grab., calc., or xil. Searches can be limited by country or language of the publication using standardised codes. The same is true for the date of publication. In the case of printings without a publication date on the title page or colophon, the abbreviation “s.a.” can appear in the publication field (although in recent records there is always an estimated date), but the coded information reflects whatever date was included as a note in the description and can approximate a date of publication (certificates, licenses, commendations, described events, known flourishing date of the printer). Subject headings and geographic access points are present in many records, including form/genre terms assigned for some works such as ballads, sermons, carols, plays, legal statements, etc.

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 resources/hpb/content/biblioteca_nacional_de_espana_madrid.txt · Last modified: 2022/05/18 10:09 by lefferts



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