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An integrated view to medieval illuminated manuscripts

The purpose of this application is to provide the user with access to two collections of illuminated manuscripts from different libraries (accessible online at and The descriptions of these two collections follow different metadata schemes, and contain values from different controlled vocabularies for subject indexing. The user should however be able to search for items from the two collections using his preferred point of view, either using vocabulary from collection 1 or vocabulary from collection 2.

The main feature of the application is collection browsing, which uses hierarchical links in vocabularies: if a concept matching a query have subconcepts, the documents indexed against these subconcepts should be returned. The application also turns to mapping links between the two vocabularies. The elements from the two vocabularies have been mapped together, and depending on the link between the query concept and another one, documents indexed by this concept shall be returned.

Additionally, the application enables search based on free text queries: documents can be retrieved based on free-text querying of the different fields used to describe the documents (creator, place, subject, etc.). For the subject indexing, if a text query matches the label of a controlled vocabulary concept, the documents indexed against this concept will be returned.

The two collections use respectively the Iconclass and Mandragore analysis vocabularies (Iconclass being described in EucIconclass)

Mandragore contains 16000 subjects with French labels. Most of them, the descriptors used to describe the illuminations, compose a flat list. Some structure is given by topic classes which organize the descriptors according to general domains:

      .zoologie (généralités)
        bernard.l'ermite  [crustacé]
        crabe  [crustacé]
        crevette  [crustacé]
        écrevisse  [crustacé]

A descriptor is specified by a label (“cochon”), optional rejected forms (“porc”) and optional definition (“mamifère ongulé”), and a reference to one or more topic classes (“.mammifères”). A note can sometimes be found.

To enable integrated browsing, elements from Mandragore and Iconclass vocabularies shall be linked together using correspondence equivalence or specialization links, e.g.:

- “25F72 molluscs” (Iconclass) is equivalent to “mollusques” (Mandragore)
- "25F711 insects" (Iconclass) is more specific than "autres invertébrés (vers,arachnides,insectes...)" (Mandragore)
- "25F(+441)  herd, group of animals" (Iconclass)  is equivalent to “troupeau” (Mandragore)
- “11U4  Mary and John the Baptist together with (e.g. kneeling before) the judging Christ, 'Deesis' ~ Last Judgement” (Iconclass) is equivalent to the combination “s.marie”, “s.jean.baptiste”, “christ” and “jugement.dernier” (Mandragore)