Where is Electronic Philology going?

Present and Future of a Discipline. Some Considerations apropos of the Cataloguing and Electronic Editing of the Foulché-Delbosc Collection, Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina.

© Francisco A. Marcos-Marín

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)

  Raymond Foulché-Delbosc. A portrait by R. Casas  

Revised version: 12/02/1998


The word "Philology," in its broad sense, is generally understood as the study of texts, particularly those texts requiring the use of certain tools. Those instruments include (but are not limited to) transcription, critical editing, codicological study, application of the laws compiled in historical grammars to elucidate textual quizzes, and placement of each work inside a tradition. The philological activity, therefore, combines a technical character and a theoretical perspective, together with a quantitative appreciation that makes it suitable for computational treatment. Moreover, several developments in the storing of images have added to the previously restricted philological possibilities (limited to writing) a new impulse, related to the history of books and Art History, as applied to small objects.

Typologically, the scholar can distinguish data, procedures, and results, all of them sharing a common quantitative basis. This presentation will be based on a typology of procedures and results, followed by examples of each class. Procedures will be classified as extensional, intensional, and selective. Results as primary or extractive, secondary or differentiated, and tertiary or interpreted.

The examples given will allow the audience to appreciate the diverse efforts that combine to produce results of different value, progressing from ordered lists of words, to indexes, concordances, and furthermore, by applying electronic collatio and recensio to obtaining critical editions, and formal glossaries to dictionary building.

Thus, the new Philology can be more ambitious that it was in older stages, and evolve from accumulative criteria to selective and critical ones, until achieving the goal of the Digital Textual Archive, in the widest sense, whose first step was climbed by ADMYTE, the Digital Archive of Spanish Manuscripts and Texts, as early as 1992.

This presentation, therefore, continues the lead set by books such as the critical edition of the 13th c. Spanish Book of Alexandre (1987), Informática y Humanidades (1994) and El Comentario Filológico con Apoyo Informático (1996), as well as that of ADMYTE (CDs issued in 1992, 1993, 1998), and points to new goals open to scholars, in a field that pours old wine in new vessels.

* * *


Our starting point will be located in Buenos Aires, where an Argentinean group of scholars, under my direction, is working in the cataloguing and studying of the Foulché-Delbosc collection, in the National Library. The project is supported by the Bilateral Agreement between Spain and Argentina, and funded by a number of institutions(1) in both countries.

Raymond Foulché-Delbosc was one of the main French hispanists of all times. He developed his activity mostly during the end of the 19th c. and the first third of the 20th. In 1894 he founded the well known journal Revue Hispanique, where he published, under different names, his editions of old texts, as well as substantial contributions to Spanish studies. Many of the books that so came to light in those pages were part of his personal library. After his death, that excellent collection went under the hammer in 1936. The catalogue of the auction was published, the content of the library was therefore known by everybody(2). From that precise moment on, however, most scholars lost any trace of a substantial number of those books, that were marked as "lost" in the bibliographies, reference catalogues and data bases devoted to Medieval and Classical Spanish. Nobody seemed to know who had bought more than one thousand and two hundred of those books, and where they could actually be.

It would not be wise to reveal now, prematurely, what happened to those volumes, without first taking advantage of the expectation created to explain what those Iberian bibliographical data bases are, what their meaning from a new philological perspective is, and how we propose to present the contents of our libraries and archives to scholars in the digital era.

In 1990, the Spanish Agency for the Celebrations of the Quincentennial of the Discovery of America opened an Area of Language Industry. When the Spanish authorities invited this speaker to take the reins of the Area, they had in mind the work that was being done in the Science Center IBM-UAM, at the Autonomous University of Madrid, whose main philological goal was the creation of UNITE, a package comprising several programs for critical editing of texts, including not only the collatio, but also a large part of the recensio(3). The first result of the UNITE project had been published in 1987, as the critical edition of an early 13th c. Spanish book, the Libro de Alexandre(4). Among the different projects supported by the Area, one, ADMYTE, the Digital Archive of Spanish Manuscripts and Texts in CD-ROM, has been specially relevant for Spanish Philology. ADMYTE was the result of the collaboration among several institutions, in different countries. Some of the projects included in the CDs pre-existed ADMYTE, and that made the Digital Archive feasible. In the field of bibliography, the name was BOOST, Bibliography of Old Spanish Texts, which had reached by them its third edition on paper, published by the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies in Madison, Wisconsin, and had become a basic tool for any library interested in Medieval books written in Castilian Spanish, Catalan, or Galician, and Portuguese. Names as those of professors Charles B. Faulhaber, Arthur L-F Askins, Ángel Gómez Moreno, Harvey Sharrer, Martha Shaffer or Gemma Avenoza are associated to it.

The difference between BOOST and Philobiblon, which is the name of the electronic version, illustrates clearly a first issue in the debate between old and modern Philology. BOOST had, as any printed book, a reduced number of indexes: titles, authors, subjects. Philobiblon, which is implemented as a relational database in Advanced Revelation, allows more than 350 fields. It also permits the interactive handling of three different bibliographies: BETA. Bibliografía Española de Textos Antiguos(developed from the original BOOST), BITECA, Bibliografía de Textos Catalans Antics, and BITAGAP, Bibliografia de Textos Antigos Galegos e Portugueses(5). I will not insist on the differences between indexing a book and browsing a database, because we all are well aware of it. It is actually more interesting to offer a quick glimpse of the system, which is now available in two versions. The shortest and easiest version to use is implemented for the World Wide Web, its URL is: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/PhiloBiblon/phhm.html . The largest version was distributed with ADMYTE-0, in 1993, and has been updated several times since then, with new releases of the program, which runs as a DOS program, or as a DOS window in a 32 bits operating system. It would be misleading also to limit ourselves to consider that the advantage of a database on an indexed book is limited to the possibility of including a larger number of fields. No. The main advantage is that it allows, and even makes, the scholar to ask himself more questions, to plunge into many details scattered around his data, that may now be ordered and related to other aspects of his research.

The question of a better implementation of the program and the well-known limits of DOS should not concern us here today: it is an issue for computer scientists to deal with. As philologists, we must realize the improvement implied by a system that offers the possibility of relating any copy of a manuscript to the rest of the copies, informing us not only of the basic details, such as author, date, copyist, location, catalogue description and identification, number of known copies and their location, titles, but also about the owners, persons related to the book or to any person related to it, bibliography, with new links to any names mentioned in the bibliography, and even more practical details, such as where is the library located, its address, phone, fax and e-mail numbers, which facilities it offers, opening hours, and even how to address the librarian, a courtesy sometimes not so irrelevant in the highly sophisticated Iberian world.

Philobiblon, therefore, is a first model for descriptions and primary access to the information to be considered when a team finds a huge deposit of books, whose trace was lost by the scholarly community. The scholars involved in that finding have, as their first goal, the need to make that information available as soon and accurately as possible. This was actually the situation in Buenos Aires when, in 1996, Arthur Askins and Harvey Sharrer, in their search of manuscripts for the databases included in Philobiblon, particularly manuscripts of Portuguese authors, visited the new building of the National Library in the Agüero street, a name probable auspicious, as "agüero", in Spanish, means "omen". When looking at the card files in the Sala del Tesoro, they noticed that several manuscripts carried the FD mark. They then remembered all of a sudden the unknown destiny of the still missing manuscripts of the Foulché-Delbosc collection. The quest for the treasury had started in the right place. They did not keep the finding for themselves, and communicated it to other scholars, as Buenos Aires was currently hosting a conference of medievalists. However, nobody paid special attention to the news, and, thanks to the collaboration established between Arthur Askins and our team, since the days of ADMYTE, I took good note of the information and started working in the Biblioteca Nacional, with the assistance of some of my collaborators in Buenos Aires, with the aim of launching a joint research venture sponsored by the two governments, as it is now the case. A catalogue is being written, and will be published not only on paper, but also across the web, in electronic format, which implies digital facsimiles of at least some chosen pages, and transcriptions of excerpts of each manuscript, until a CD-ROM with the whole versions can be produced.

Our departing issue becomes now more concrete. We had rediscovered, 60 years later, the whereabouts of a huge part of the books auctioned in Paris in 1936. It is only fair to add immediately that it is not totally true that nobody knew that the books were in Buenos Aires. At least four notes had been published since the acquisition. They did not seem to hit the audience. The acquisition was duly reviewed in the Memoria of the Biblioteca Nacional corresponding to 1936, and in 1937, in the first issue of the Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional,(6) published again under the direction of Gustavo Martínez Zuviría (Hugo Wast), Director of the Biblioteca Nacional Argentina 1931-1955  Gustavo Martínez Zuviría,(7) after a long period of silence following the publication of the last number of the Anales de la Biblioteca Nacional, which had been directed by Paul Groussac. The copies entered in 1937 the "sala de reservados", presently Sala del Tesoro, as Colección F-D(8). In 1992 a new reference to the collection(9) was made, although it was included in a publication with limited diffusion. After moving to the new location of the Library, Hugo Acevedo(10) wrote the chapter on the history of the National Library of Argentina published in the joint volume edited by the Association of Libraries of Spain and Latin America, ABINIA, where he referred to the acquisition in 1936 and put the accent, among other bibliographical treasures, on "varias ediciones de La Celestina", with special mention to the volume of "Sevilla 1502", one of the three extant copies of that printing(11).

When the collection was rediscovered in 1996, and its full importance was duly acknowledged, there existed only two sources of information about it: the old card files of 1937, whose information was very limited, and the more detailed, albeit also restricted, information included in the catalogue of the auction. In the first case, the card files, only the first of the several books often included inside the same binding was mentioned. When a volume contains several books, there is no information of its whole content on the card files. In the second source, the auction catalogue, there was no indication of who had bought the books and, in a more concrete wise, of which books had actually been bought by the Argentinean government in 1936. There was, therefore, no possibility to know which was the identification and location given to them in the Library shelves. Georgina Olivetto undertook the heavy task of preparing the lists of concordances between the card files and the auction catalogue, with the valuable help of Librarian Hugo Acevedo, perhaps the only person who really knows the deposits of the Biblioteca Nacional.

With those tables in our hands, we could start preparing the way to detail to the scientific community the contents of the collection. As I said, many of the books were considered lost. The auction had taken place in 1936, times were not peaceful after that date, neither in Spain nor in the rest of the world. Most people had taken for granted that the books could have been destroyed. Even those who knew that there was a Foulché-Delbosc collection in Buenos Aires had no means to know of how many books it consisted of, and which its condition was, unless they visited the Library and investigated from the card files.

Although times are changing very quickly, editing the catalogue in book format is still necessary. It is insufficient, though. We have to establish a link between the old and the new Philology, again, by preparing a format that could achieve three goals: being published in printed form, being incorporated into the electronic catalogues of the Biblioteca Nacional that uses Micro-Isis as its cataloguing database, and getting ready to be accessed through Internet. Another requirement was the need for a system that includes text and pictures.

We were aware of the existence of a group of the Text Encoding Initiative that prepares an SGML proposal for the cataloguing of collections of ancient books, which means that our system will have to be translated into that format in the future. Philobiblon has evolved meanwhile from the DOS limited possibilities to its new web presentation, Arthur Askins announces the preparation of a CD-ROM with a new version, and Charles Faulhaber, as director of the Bancroft Library, in Berkeley, kindly offered any collaboration needed for the development of our project, as we had already done in the past. We opted for a text template, as the most suitable form for further translations into the different sources envisaged. The template is included as Appendix A. An HTML version is built automatically from that source, the XML version becoming the immediate goal.

The kind of information suitable to be collected by a printed catalogue is not enough. It has to be complemented in several ways. We cannot detail all of them now, but their main spheres can be delineated. For the sake of this presentation we shall speak of a hypertext version, not withstanding whether its concrete form is HTML, XML or SGML. All of them, from the linguistic perspective, are dialects of the same basic markup language. After opening the hypertext, the immediate options will lead us towards the following lines. In the first place, the interrogation of the database, to build our own indexes, according to the parameters we can choose by interrelating the different fields of the template. Technically, it can be done with a series of small programs or CGIs, implementing different search options. A second line can take us to the text of the book itself, its transcription, preferably in paleographic format. The third line will take us to the facsimile reproduction of the book, usually in either compressed TIFF format, or JPEG.

For those who know our previous work, it will be clear that this implies an evolution of the ADMYTE format. A representation of the parallel columns of text and facsimile, which allows an easy checking and correction of foreseeable transcription mistakes is given in Appendix B. A clear advantage is that the digital reproduction is much more accurate than human sight, which means that we can store the information in a highly precise definition, whilst for its presentation to the human eye a much reduced definition is enough. A thumb rule says that it is sufficient to store the images at a resolution that doubles that of its presentation. Storing at 600 dpi, for instance, will give clear printouts at 300 dpi, a quality that improves clearly that of any photocopy. Digital reproduction, by the way, implies no harm for the books themselves, quite differently of the suffering, both of the bindings and of the actual pages, implied by the forced position imposed by the photocopying, and the heat and strong light necessarily involved.

Until now we have presented facts related to data. Some possibilities of information retrieval and further analysis will be dealt with in the second part of this presentation.


Once we have proceeded to the presentation of the raw data, the most important objective for any philologist will be their analysis. Any computational analysis of texts is, by definition, quantitative. The whole matter consists of knowing which elements of the binary code are in which positions and of comparing those elements or those positions, or both, with other elements or positions. This is, of course, an extensional definition, because it allows the definition of a set by its elements. Together with the extensional definition, there are cases in which intensional definitions are possible, definition after the properties that characterize the elements belonging to the same set.

In postulating a typology of Electronic Philology, we must take into account the data, the procedures, and the results. The data can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous. In our case, the different types of fields and the need to deal with texts, but also with images, points to heterogeneity as a characteristic of the philological data. That characteristic makes necessary to develop standards that limit the presentation of the data, in such a way that the effort made to collect them is not lost: data must be encoded in a way that allows scholars to reuse them. The encoding of books in a catalogue, in our case, involves structural description, and formal description as well, because each book is, at least partially, treated as a unique copy.

The typology of procedures is more complex, and more interesting, too, because the researcher is not only dependent on the data, but also on his interests, the means and devices at his disposal, and also his limits.

By straight quantitative procedures we understand those aimed at obtaining a mass of results justified simply by its dimension. Counting is a typical case of a quantitative procedure. A few years ago, it was utterly complicated to know the number of words, or vowels, or particular narks, that constituted a text. Any word processor solves in our days this difficulty, adding much more information. We are so used to it, that we do not realize how easy it is now to know that in the dictionary Latinum-Hispanicum by Nebrija, included in ADMYTE-I, there are 240 words that appear more than 20 times (between 21 and 3,659, to be precise), or that the famaous Spanish epico poem of the 12th c. Cantar de Mio Cid contains 439 instances of the word Çid with cedilla and only two of the same word with a simple c. Quantitative procedures, however, are not limited to counting, they can include any procedure that considers the data following strictly the extensional characterization of a set, for instance, when comparing two files to know whether they are or not two instances of the same text. This activity must not be confounded with the collatio, which involves more complex considerations.

Searches, contrasts, including the collatio, and all aspects involving an intensional characterization, must be classified as qualitative procedures. Those procedures are characterized by a common feature in the definition of the compared or related elements, therefore, they take into account features that belong to the compared elements themselves. ADMYTE, f. i., includes a formal glossary, a context-free glossary of lemmata and forms that permits an extremely productive association among variants of a lemma that differ graphemically and also morphologically. The system is limited by a rigidly established hierarchy of associations between forms and their possible lemmata, but has proven its usefulness as a general tool for the analysis of the highly polymorphic medieval texts. Another significant example of a qualitative procedure is that of the collatio in UNITE, our system for critical editing of texts. The new UNITE release for 32 bits systems collates simultaneously up to 50 versions of any ASCII text, in any language, in either prose or verse (as can be seen in our Appendix C.) It also provides the scholar with a rich panoply of results, which will be considered shortly, because, as a part of the recensio, they are included in the last type of procedures.

The exploitation of huge textual resources has driven to the development of complex information retrieval systems, and rich query languages. These are characterized because they act on a mass of data, which for the sake of the exposition we shall call a database, extracting from those data entities or references whose value is given in terms of quantity, for instance, how many pages contain the word "Cid". The entities or references defined in those terms of quantity are called operands. Those operands can be related and combined. An operator relates two operands and offers as the result of that combination the combined value of the two operands related, which now may serve as a new operand to be related to another operand again. Any procedure that associates, for instance a lemma with its forms, operates by building lists of the elements, its operands, associated by the operator = (association). Until this point we are limited to the qualitative procedure, by simply searching and locating.

However, we can go further, by assigning a value to an operand, such as an integer n that gives us the possibility to make searches of words separated by n, or by using the typically selective operators, the boolean operators (.or, and, .not). This third class, therefore, groups the so called selective procedures. The main application of selective procedures for philologists goes far beyond the establishment of ranges or the application of boolean operators, though. It resides, from our point of view, in the automatization of the recensio from the collatio. Once again, the advantage for the scholar consists not only of the amount of data processed in a very short time, but of the number of possibilities delivered for selection by the application of quantitative and qualitative procedures.

UNITE offers the possibility to produce either a short résumé of the processes involved in the collatio, or a much larger file with an extended version of the whole development, both partially reproduced in our Appendix D. The objective of a mostly automatic recensio is closer everyday.

We have considered the data and the procedures. It is also possible to categorize the results in three types, separating that which is accumulative from that which is select and that which is critical in the three types of primary, secondary, and tertiary results.

As primary results we consider those which are purely extractive or accumulative. Any list of words, sorted in any order, can be a good example. Most word processors, and even basic commands of operating systems, offer that possibility. More complex packages, such as TACT, allow for changes in the distribution of the graphemes in different scales: Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Traditional Spanish. It is convenient to link those programs with routines that allow the cleaning. and even the interpretation, of certain tags. An example could be the tag remark {RMK:} in the texts coded following the HSMS system. Between the braces of that tag words are included which express the opinions or doubts of the transcriber, and therefore do not belong to the original text. As observations written by the transcribers, they can even be in a language that differs from the language of the text that is being transcribed. This is often the case when American scholars transcribe Old Spanish texts: their remarks use to be written in English. If a list of words is produced automatically, disregarding that issue, the foreign words are also included. No need to give a concrete example of that failure in this moment, but it could be produced, if required.

Primary results conform a mass from which secondary results can be obtained. It can be interpreted as that tertiary can be selected from secondary. A clear case can be the list of selected words obtained from a whole list of words. The list so selected constitutes the base to prepare kwic, indexes, and concordances. There are many examples of commands, such as grep in UNIX, instructions or programs that help obtain secondary results: Word Cruncher, OCP, TACT are names that come easily to the mind. However, it is remarkable how many colleagues do not feel at ease with those packages, and how much there is still to be done to familiarize scholars with those valuable tools(12). In the field of editing, a typically select result is the result of the collatio, the file containing the so-called unified text, i.e., those elements extracted and grouped automatically by the program.

Tertiary or critical results are obtained from the selected ones, following an exact pattern. In this case, the human interpretation is crucial, and the human factor needed. When we use a concordance or an index to build a dictionary, or the results of the collatio to prepare a critical edition, we are aiming at critical results. It goes without saying that different types of results can be combined in a final product, as when we prepare a critical edition, with an index and a list of words ordered by frequency.

The following table presents a scheme of the proposed quantitative analytic typology:

Data Homogeneous Heterogeneous

Procedures quantitative,
extensional definition
intensional definition
examples inventories,


direct searches,


searches with operators,


Results primary secondary tertiary
characteristics extractive, accumulative differentiated interpreted
examples ordered lists of words indexes






criteria accumulative select critical

Back to the beginning

Once we have designed the broad perspectives of Electronic Philology, we can go back to the practical example with which we started our presentation. The Foulché-Delbosc collection constitutes an excellent test for many of the issues we have presented, in a somewhat simplified fashion.

The application of the lessons learned from Philobiblon or ADMYTE seems quite straightforward. The publication of the catalogue and the preparation of a CD-Rom with facsimile and transcription being starting points in that kind of task. However, I would not finish this presentation without insisting in what seems to be the core of our purpose. Electronic Philology is not only a way to make things faster and inventories more accurate. It is not a tool. It is also, and more deeply, a change in our attitude. For certain aspects we must understand that limiting ourselves to a well chosen set, a well designed corpus, for instance, can be suitable. There is also, however, the unlimited capability to deal with the whole: the whole Text, in a comprehensive corpus, the whole Work, in a comparison of all versions of the same work, the total number of copies of a manuscript, all variants of a construction, a formula, a sentence.

That is the reason why a typology is necessary, to adapt the means to the goals, the efforts to the needs. Philology has been, for centuries, the main humanist activity. Many people are still looking at computers as enemies of the intellectual activity that characterizes the approach to texts since the beginning. We are not convincing them by saying that we get more accurate accounts of words, or several thousands of examples. What is different is not the quantity, it is the new insights, the new questions that we can ask, even more than the old questions that we can answer, a fact not to be forgotten, anyhow. What is also different is the facility with which we can share our resources and our knowledge with scholars all over the world. The Foulché-Delbosc collection had been forgotten for sixty years, in spite of notices published in different printed sources, as we remarked. The situation, in less than two years, has changed dramatically: in a few months, more than one thousand texts, offering a richer view of Spanish Culture, will be ready for scholars to publish them, to study them, to connect them with other versions or with other aspects of human written production. That goal can be achieved only through the computer, and it is also the computer the ideal tool to make the texts themselves available to the large public, and also for research, without endangering them by direct unnecessary exposure. The ideal of preservation and usage is feasible thanks to the new techniques. Going beyond, discovering the new frontiers of Philology, does not depend on the computer, it depends on us, the scholars.


1. The Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, AECI, the Secretaría de Cultura of the Presidency of the Argentine Republic, the Secretaría de Estado de Universidades, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura of Spain (PR1997-0019 0023659550), the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and the Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina. It is only fair to acknowledge the debt to the personal involvement of Esperanza Aguirre, Minister of Education and Culture of Spain, and Beatriz K. de Gutiérrez-Walker, Secretary of Culture of Argentina. Both gave a courageous support to the project since the moment they knew about it.

2. The Catalogue, actually, reproduced a previous publication, Catalogue de la Bibliothèque Hispanique de M. R. Foulché-Delbosc. Abbeville: Imprimerie F. Paillart, 1920, it was issued in Mayenne: Imprimerie Floch, 1936.

3. See F. Marcos Marín: «ADMYTE (Archivo Digital De Manuscritos y Textos Españoles); The Digital Archive of Spanish Manuscripts and Texts,» Literary & Linguistic Computing, 6/3, 1991, (News and Notes) 221-224. «Computers and Text Editing: A Review of Tools, an Introduction to UNITE and Some Observations Concerning its Application to Old Spanish Texts», Romance Philology, XLV/1, 1991, 102-122, (Bibliography: 205-237).

4. See F. Marcos Marín: «Computer-Assisted Philology: Towards a Unified Edition of OSp. Libro de Alexandre,» Proceedings of the E(uropean) L(anguage) S(ervices) Conference on Natural-Language Applications, section 16, Copenhague: IBM Denmark, 1985, and Libro de Alexandre. Estudio y edición, Madrid (Alianza Universidad, 504) 1987.

5. BETA is compiled by Charles B. Faulhaber, Ángel Gómez Moreno, Ángela Moll Dexeus, and Antonio Cortijo. BITAGAP is compiled by Arthur L-F. Askins, Harvey L. Sharrer, Martha E. Schaffer y Aida F. Dias. BITECA is the work of Vicenç Beltrán, Gemma Avenoza and the late Beatrice Concheff. The disk 0 of ADMYTE, Archivo Digital de Manuscritos Españoles, was edited by Francisco Marcos Marín, Gerardo Meiro, Charles B. Faulhaber, John Nitti, Ángel Gómez Moreno, and Aurora Martín de Santa Olalla, CD-rom, Madrid: Micronet, 1993. ADMYTE and UNITE are registered trade marks by Francisco Marcos Marín. John May designed Philobiblon. Information about ADMYTE and related projects is to be found at the URL: http://www.lllf.uam.es/~fmarcos/informes/admyte/admyteix.html.

6. "La Biblioteca Nacional durante el quinquenio 1932-1936." Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional I.1 (enero-marzo 1937): 206.

7. Whose pen name was Hugo Wast. Born in Córdoba in October 30, 1883, he was appointed Director of the Biblioteca Nacional by the de facto government of general José Félix Uriburu, on October 30,1931, and remained until March 30, 1955, with the exception of two very short periods in 1941 and 1943. During the first of them exerced as Federal Interventor in the Catamarca province. During the second he was the Minister of Justice and Public Instruction in another de facto, government, that of general Pedro Pablo Ramírez. He died in 1962. Cfr. Horacio Salas, Biblioteca Nacional Argentina, Buenos Aires: Manrique Zago ediciones, 1997, pages 80-82. The person who actually bought the books at the auction was also well known in the intellectual circles of Buenos Aires, Jorge Max Rohde.

8. At that moment they were taken care of, catalogued and included in the card files of the Reserved Room. Then their trace was almost lost, as I said. In any case, a reference was included by Milton A. Buchanan in his "Bibliographical Notes," Hispanic Review, 9, 1941, 228-230. When I and Verónica Zumárraga visited the Library in 1990, trying to prepare an ADMYTE CD-rom with manuscripts and old printed books of the Biblioteca Nacional, at those times under the direction of Mr. Castiñeira de Dios, still in the Calle México, nobody could give us any information nor assistance. Even those who had the vague idea of the existence of a collection of ancient books, had never actually seen them, with the exceptions of those who could write the notes referred to in this presentation. Nevertheless, when a substantial part of the old funds of the Library was microfilmed, most of the F-D books were preserved in this way also. Even if the quality of the filming is not excellent, particularly in the case of manuscripts, and microfilms do not improve with the pass of time, that basic step was taken.

9. Ofelia N. Salgado, "Buenos Aires, Bibliothèque Nationale (Mexico 564, 1097 Buenos Aires, Argentine). Fonds Raymond Foulché-Delbosc." Nouvelles du Livre Ancien 71 (été, 1992), 5-6.

10. Hugo Acevedo, "Biblioteca Nacional de Argentina". In: Historia de las Bibliotecas Nacionales de Iberoamérica: pasado y presente. Asociación de Bibliotecas Nacionales de Iberoamérica (ABINIA). Edited by José G. Moreno de Alba y Elsa M. Ramírez Leyva. México: UNAM, 1995 (2ª ed.), pp. 3-24, esp. 15-16. Jack Weiner has included a note about the collection in his paper "Sebastián de Horozco (1510-1579) y su Prouerbios y Consejos que Qualquier Padre Deue Dar a su Hijo (Salamanca, 1607): Estudio y Edición," Annali, Sezione Romanza XXXVIII, 1996, n. 2, 431-450. Isabel Jones, the vidow of Foulché-Delbosc, had a copy of the Catalogue where she had written the names of the buyers at the auction. That copy of the Catalogue was donated by her to the Library of the University of Toronto, where it is preserved.

11. See Georgina Olivetto, forthcoming, "Las ediciones de Celestina de la colección Foulché-Delbosc en la Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina", Celestinesca, 1997, to be published in 1998.

12. For Spanish, the author has given a large number of examples in his book El Comentario Filológico con Apoyo Informático, Madrid: Síntesis, 1996.

13. As a procedure.

14. As a result.


  1. CNUM [only for Medieval texts included in Philobiblon]   
    BOOST [only for texts of the Bibliography of Old Spanish Texts]
    Other titles:
    Nº in the Auction Catalogue:                        BN Argentina: FD                        (R [microfilm number])
    Date:                        Date of copy:
    Notes to the book (bound with / ocupies ff ...): [pormenorized description of volumes containing several works]
    State of preservation:
    MANID: [key in Philobiblon, when it exists]                        TEXID: [key in Philobiblon, when it exists]
    Manuscript: ___                        Printed:___
    Medium (paper, vellum, etc):
    Textual type: prose ___                        verse ___
                                                            Poetic forms:
                                                            Types of stanza:
    Explicit gender (when mentioned in the book):
    [In case of poetic works, the table of titles and first lines is included here]
       columns:                        type block size:
       folio numbering:
       lines per page:
       typeface or letter type:                        font size:
    Other marks, seals, etc:
    History of the register:
       date of entry:                        by: [acronyms of the compilers]
       date of revision:                        by:


    (facsimile and transcription in ADMYTE-I)

    ADMYTE-I: Nebrija's Institutiones Latinae


    qualitative procedure

    (collatio of the first stanza of Gonzalo de Berceo´s Vida de San Millán, 13th c.: output limited to the first verse only)

    Comienza el proceso de unificación (July 20, 1998 7:13:43 pm)

    Estrofa 1:

    Estrofa original versión 1:

    Quien la Vida quisiere de Sant Millan saber

    Estrofa original versión 2:

    Qui la vida qui siere de San Millan saver

    Estrofa original versión 3:

    Qui la Vida quisiere de Sant Millan saber

    Estrofa original versión 4:

    Qui la vida quisiere de San Millan saber

    Versos: 1A

    Unificado: qui__ la vida quisiere de san_ Millan sauer

    Versión 1: qui__( ( 2 3 4 ) 1 ) la( 1 2 3 4 ) vida( 1 2 3 4 ) quisiere( ( 1 3 4 ) 2 ) de( 1 2 3 4 ) san_( ( 1 3 ) ( 2 4 ) ) Millan( 1 2 3 4 ) sauer( 1 2 3 4 )

    Versión 2: /.../ /../ /..../ /......../ /../ /.../ /....../ /...../

    Versión 3: /.../ /../ /..../ /......../ /../ /..../ /....../ /...../

    Versión 4: /.../ /../ /..../ /......../ /../ /.../ /....../ /...../

    The process includes the results of the comparison for a whole section in the form of coincidences grouped after the maximum of versions as well as in pairs. The example shows the first stanza:

    Estadísticas por grupos:

    Versiones 1 2 3 4 : 28 coincidencias

    Versiones 1 3 4 : 4 coincidencias

    Estadísticas por parejas:

    Versiones 3 4 : 32 coincidencias

    Versiones 1 4 : 32 coincidencias

    Versiones 1 3 : 32 coincidencias

    Versiones 2 4 : 28 coincidencias

    Versiones 2 3 : 28 coincidencias

    Versiones 1 2 : 28 coincidencias


    Selective procedure

    (These files list the procedures applied for the collatio and their results. The output has been limited to the first verse, for this example).

    short version:

    Estrofa 1:

    Versos: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A

    Unión de las palabras 'qui' y 'siere' en la versión 2

    Letras comunes: Quien (1) Qui ( 2 3 4 ) ==> qui__

    Letras comunes: Sant ( 1 3 ) San ( 2 4 ) ==> san_

    whole version:

    Comienza el proceso de unificación (July 20, 1998 7:13:43 pm)


    C:\UNITE\Mp1.duv (1)

    C:\UNITE\Mp2.duv (2)

    C:\UNITE\Mp3.duv (3)

    C:\UNITE\Mp5.duv (4)

    Estrofa 1:

    Versos: 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A

    Proceso de unificación de posiciones (radio 6)

    Se unifican la (1) la (2) la (3) la (4)

    Se unifican Vida (1) vida (2) Vida (3) vida (4)

    Se unifican quisiere (1) quisiere (3) quisiere (4)

    Se unifican de (1) de (2) de (3) de (4)

    Se unifican Sant (1) Sant (3)

    Se unifican Millan (1) Millan (2) Millan (3) Millan (4)

    Se unifican saber (1) saver (2) saber (3) saber (4)

    Se unifican Qui (2) Qui (3) Qui (4)

    Se unifican San (2) San (4)

    Proceso de unión de palabras (radio unión 4, radio comparación 4)

    Se unifican quisiere ( 1 3 4 ) quisiere (2)

    Proceso de letras comunes (radio 4, mínimos 1 , 70% )

    Se unifican Quien (1) Qui ( 2 3 4 ) ==> qui__

    Se unifican Sant ( 1 3 ) San ( 2 4 ) ==> san_

    Proceso de separación de palabras (radio 4)

    La Colección Foulché-Delbosc de la Biblioteca Nacional Argentina.