Skip to main content

Multilingual access to library catalogues


The objective is to facilitate multilingual (Greek/Spanish/English) access to library catalogues by the integration of appropriate new or existing tools. Solutions will be evaluated in terms of appropriateness and cost-effectiveness. Special attention will be paid to library requirements.

The tools, which will include dictionaries, conversion tables and thesauri, will be developed and integrated into the user interface of existing medium-sized bibliographic databases (Greek and Spanish). A high degree of modularity and user-friendliness will be ensured in the interests of low-cost maintenance and upgrading.

The result will be a software tool suitable for integration into the majority of existing library systems. It will be directed to library authorities and bodies responsible for libraries. It will also be applicable to library cooperatives, book-trade enterprises and library schools.
Impact and expected results:

TRANSLIB will provide multilingual tools, applied to OPACs, to enable Greek and Spanish speaking users to access English language library materials - initially domain specific literature in academic libraries - in their own languages.

The clear implication of proving the feasibility is that the approach can be applied to other languages for any theme in any library type.

Multilingual access to OPACs opens up knowledge sources to a much wider user public, and it also leads the way for projects to remove language barriers in other library operations.


The main deliverables, the software tools for bibliographic translation, are restricted/confidential classification. Reports in these categories include:

System Architecture;
INMIRT Design;
Multilingual Interface Design;
Testing and Refining Report;
Full Tool Documentation;
Exploitation Plan.

Documentation available in the public domain will comprise:

User Analysis;
Functional Specification;
System Evaluation;
Dissemination Report.

Demonstrations of the TRANSLIB tool will also be public events.
Technical approach:

The project is organised into six workpackages, subdivided into tasks:

Technical background:

Evaluation of user needs;
Analysis of bibliographic corpora of the participating libraries;
Functional specification;
Appraisal of existing tools and other project results;

System design:

System architecture design;
Design of INMIRT (Integrated Multilingual Information Retrieval Tool):
Design of multilingual user interface;

System implementation

Multilingual interface;

Integration and documentation:

Integration of modules;
Production of user guides;

Testing and evaluation:

Actual conditions testing;
Evaluation of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and user friendliness;

Dissemination and exploitation:

Dissemination activities;
Exploitation strategy.

Development will be based on an extensive study of the corpora of the collaborating libraries' bibliographic databases in order to extract the most widely used scientific terms. Determination of synonyms for the key topics of the databases and creation of a hierarchical classification for them combined with the incorporation of grammar formalisms will further improve the information retrieval process.

While the ultimate intention is to support all European languages, it is considered that for the purpose of this project three languages are sufficient to demonstrate feasibility and pinpoint potential problems for full multilingual development.

Tests will be carried out in the three libraries involved: two in Greece and one in Spain.

Key issues:

- extensive examination of user requirements;
- development of dictionaries, thesauri and multilingual interfaces based on library catalogues as corpora;
- interfacing the tools developed with existing library systems;
- user reactions.

Documentation is available from the contact below and from


Knowledge SA
Neo Patrou-athenon 37
26441 Patras

Participants (4)

Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (Biblioteca Hispanica)
Municipal Library of Patras
Calle Madrid, 126
University of Patras (Library)