Posted on Thursday April 9, 2015

Research the Local History of Girona

Europeana has a wealth of content available to researchers, both through its portal and its APIs. Europeana Research highlights this content and its research potential.

One of the many collections available to researchers via the Europeana portal and an API is a rich collection of over 2,000 photographs and postcards presenting the art and life of the Spanish city Girona . It covers nearly a century of history (from 1839 to 1930) and a range of topics, from cork stopper factories to tombs of the clergy and city monuments.

N.o 5.-Gerona.-Nuevas Ramblas., Rights:Unknown

N.o 5.-Gerona.-Nuevas Ramblas., Rights:Unknown.

How could this interesting and rich collection be useful to researchers? Simply browsing this content can lead to observations on handwriting, clothing, financial occupation of the population or even urban architecture. It could thus be said that it is a collection with multiple interpretations which serves the research interests of a variety of disciplines. Researchers wandering through the large number of postcards can simply be inspired to set innovative research topics and questions for their essays or dissertations.

Reconstructing the history of a city, its development through time and its traditions, can be an amazing adventure for local historians who wish to interpret the history of a local community. Dated in the 19th and 20th centuries, this collection serves as a ‘living testimony’ of the city of Girona which could not be approached through oral testimonies for example. On the other hand, since many of the postcards have written messages on them preserved during the digitization process, local historians may be lucky enough to reveal the microhistory of a citizen or family of Girona by transcribing these messages!

There are a few considerations to be aware of when accessing this collection.

First, despite the name ‘Girona’ in the title, not all results relate to the city of Girona. This is because the term ‘Girona’ relates to the fact that the images have been provided by the Spanish organisation Ajuntament de Girona. Researchers will therefore find images of other destinations, including the French capital Paris, alongside the predominantly Spanish content.

It is also important to note that the Ajuntament de Girona has provided all item descriptions in Spanish. Researchers who do not speak Spanish can overcome this barrier by using the translations available via the Europeana portal. Translations are also available when searching the collection, which means that English-speakers can refine their search by terms such as ‘bridge’ or ‘palace’, rather than ‘puente’ or ‘palacio’.