Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library


Description:

The Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library of the University of Alicante in Spain ("Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes") covers many different cultural and academic subjects.

Our books are basically public domain Hispanic classics written or published between the twelfth century and the nineteenth century, but some contemporary works are also included. Genres of these books include prose, drama, verse, dictionaries, history, and others. The books were encoded in digital form using the TEI markup scheme and the XML markup language. The digital texts, which are the vast majority of the library works, are easily accessible in HTML format through the Internet. HTML files are produced automatically from our TEI-XML source files by means of XSL transformations.

The library is meant for a wide audience covering different ages, interests and cultures. Apart from the Hispanic classics, the library includes such diverse resources as digitised cultural magazines>, a library for children, and academic research resources such as PhD theses. In addition, the digital library has whole sections devoted to many renowned academic institutions and national libraries of Latin America, who have contributed their valuable funds to our library for digitisation. These sections are meant to preserve and promote minority Hispanic-related languages, and to affirm different Hispanic cultures. The design of these sections does not only entail the use of new techniques, but also involves collaboration agreements whereby staff from the Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library travel to other centres, universities, and institutions all around different areas of Spain and Latin America in order to digitise the documents, objects, and works of art that will be finally published on the library main server. After some training, staff from the contributing institutions begin to digitise and correct the texts which are finally marked-up, supervised, processed, and published in Spain.

History:

The project began in late 1998 with a small team of 5 people performing preliminary trial and error tests to determine the viability of the project and to find the most adequate production methods and tools. After this initial phase, massive digital book production started in March 1999, with about 80 persons working on digitisation and correction of texts and a small team of computer technicians mounting the computer infrastructure, developing automatic tools for efficient production and designing the publication processes and the web site. The library was opened to the Internet public in July 1999 with approximately 800 books. By July 2001, we had reached 5000 entries in the catalogue.

Between 100 to 120 university graduates and technicians permanently work in this project as librarians, scanner operators, correctors, mark-up specialists, and computer technicians.

Since the opening of this digital library in 1999, about 70,000,000 accesses have been received in the first two years. Currently, the average number of pages served is 21,000 daily. 71% of our users are from Spanish speaking countries (Spain and Latin America), 6% from the rest of Europe, and 23% from the rest of the world.

Financial support:

The Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library is the result of a unique collaboration between the University of Alicante and Spain's biggest bank, the Banco Santander Central Hispano, who have joined forces to create the world's biggest digital library containing Spanish works.

It represents an example of a successful partnership between university and business, with the Santander Central Hispano bank providing complete sponsorship for the full development of the project.

The University, on the other hand, provides the academic expertise, technological know-how, and qualified workforce necessary to fulfill the objectives and ensures the international use of the Library's resources by means of collaboration agreements with universities and institutions all over the world.

Multilinguality:

The library collection focuses on Hispanic literature, history and culture, in various Hispanic languages such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician, or Latin-American native languages as Quechua, Mapuche, or Guaraní in addition to Spanish.

Some of our present multicultural sections include: the Library of Catalunya and the Joan Luis Vives Institute, both with works in Catalan language, country-specific collections as the National Library of Chile, the National Library of Argentina , the College of Mexico, the José A. Portuondo Valdor Institute of Literature and Linguistics of Cuba, and the section about Paraguayan Literature.

The library also features thematic portals such as DOXA, about the philosophy of law, Hispano-American Novel of the XIXth Century (Benito Varela Jàcome fund), XIXth Century Spanish Literary Society, Association of Spanish Theatre Authors, History and Critic on Spanish Movies, Literatura Gauchesca, and also our Library of History, and a section on Geographic Research.

Other important sections of this digital library, under the title of Authors' Libraries, are special collections dedicated to selected world-renowned Hispanic authors . They consist of personalized web pages describing their life and works with links to their digital books within the library as well as to external resources. Manuscripts and special valuable documents of the authors (like drawings, photographs, book covers, and personal letters) are usually provided. In the case of contemporary authors, videos and audio recordings give a closer appreciation of their personality.

Aims:

The Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library hopes to act as a vehicle for the Hispanic academy to promote their works, as a window to Hispanic literature and culture for scholars of Hispanic languages, and as a voice for the Hispanic community worldwide meant to reach an international multiracial and multilingual student and academic community of Internet users.

The Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library aims to become the most ambitious project of digitisation of Spanish works through the application of new methods of electronic publication for mass documental information.

Contact:

Alejandro Bia
Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library
University of Alicante
Apdo. de correos 99
E-03080, Alicante
Spain
Tel:+34 600 948 601, +34 965 909 567
Fax: +34 96 590 9477
Email: alexbia@cervantesvirtual.com


Last recorded change to this page: 2007-09-20  •  For corrections or updates, contact web@tei-c.org