PROVENIO - Web Portal Launched

The PROVENIO web portal, launched today 15 November 2012, will provide information on book provenance research and newly discovered historical book collections as well as the individual items connected with a specific owner, no matter if that was an important figure or a reader who is entirely unknown now and has inscribed his/her name in a single book. PROVENIO - The Book Provenance Database whose web search interface also forms part of this project, has so far focused mostly on the National Museum Library as a test sample where the methodology for the processing and cataloguing of provenance records in books is being developed. We are however open and welcome cooperation with any library that is interested.

We are ready to provide methodological advice to the parties interested but also to publish their provenance records by means of the PROVENIO database. We hope that the PROVENIO database will in future be augmented by the provenance records of book collections and individual units deposited in other libraries and that it will thus be possible – at least virtually – to reconstruct and unify again the dispersed libraries and the remains of the libraries of the Middle Ages, Early Middle Ages and the Modern Period. A part of the portal is also a virtual forum where you can post photographs of unidentified provenance records (ex libris, supralibros, stamps etc.) that you have found among the books in your collection and which another user of the forum may help to identify. In the ‘Cataloguing Rules’ section, we will gradually publish the methodological guidelines for the cataloguing of provenance records in books (MARC 21 – Bibliographic Data) as well as for the catalogue records of particular book owners, be they individuals, families or corporations (MARC 21 – Authority Data). In the ‘Relevant Literature and Links’ section, you can find a list of books and websites related to book provenance and its research and processing. The ‘Contacts’ section contains the email addresses of the investigators of this project. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have.

This portal is intended for the wide professional public connected with research activities in the areas of book culture, book and library history, cultural history, history of education and culture in general.

The procedure used in the project and its outcomes, including the applied structure of the MARC 21 format of the catalogue entries of provenance marks and owners, have been presented at the conference Archives, Libraries, Museums in the Digital World Archives, Libraries, Museums in the Digital World, which took place in the National Archives in Chodovec. The conference presentation is available here.