RealTime IT News

Spain Launches Virtual Library

Thousands of Spanish-language classics are now paperless and only a click away, following the recent inauguration of the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library.

The online library, a joint project by the University of Alicante and the Banco Santander Central Hispano, has already received close to half a million requests in less than a week since its launch.

The library's creators plan for the site--named after the Spanish language's most emblematic writer--to become a major Internet portal for Hispanic cultural issues and an indispensable reference for universities, institutions and individuals.

"With the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library we're aiming to fulfill the most ambitious digitalization project of classic works ever, using new methods of electronic edition for mass quantities of documentary information," stated a library spokesman.

"[The library] has from the beginning had a clear Latin American flavor, bringing together authors from throughout history," said the spokesman, adding that it is "totally open to universities, institutions, corporations and individuals interested in Hispanic cultures."

The original offering brings more than 2,000 works of 400 writers-- from Spanish classics like Cervantes, Quevedo, and Lope de Vega to modern Latin Americans like Rubèn Darío and Mario Benedetti. Currently, some 30,000 works are being digitalized and offered online for free to "a Spanish-speaking population of nearly 500 million people."

This first phase of the project is schedule for completion within three years. In addition to Spanish-language works, the library will also include works in languages tied to the Hispanic world, such as Spain's regional languages or the indigenous languages of Latin America.

The library was named after Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote de la Mancha, and was bankrolled in part by the Marcelino Botmn Foundation.