The Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (Miguel de Cervantes Digital Library, in English) is an open digital platform dedicated to digitizing and spreading Spanish and Latin American bibliographical, documentary and critical heritage. Its library materials, in Spanish, include research studies and a catalog in other languages and from different libraries of the world.
The Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes was funded in 1998 at the University of Alicante (UA), an educational and research center that quickly saw the huge potential of the Internet as an essential tool for heritage preservation, communication and cultural transfer.
The project was launched one year later as a digital collection of Spanish classical books with a search and classifying system similar to a library, and free access from anywhere in the world via the Internet. This idea of a huge borderless Spanish library was backed up by Banco Santander and Fundación Botín, which decided to support the whole project to promote it from the University of Alicante.
Thus, the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes began on July 21, 1999. In 2001 the Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes was set up and it was in charge of turning the project into the online Spanish.
The board of the foundation is chaired by Mario Vargas Llosa (Nobel prizewinner for Literature in 2010), the vice-chancellor of the University of Alicante is the vice chairman and Mario Benedetti is the trustee of Honor since June 2009. The board of directors is also composed of Ministers and Secretaries of State, the president of the Valencian Regional Government, the presidents of Banco Santander, Grupo Pisa, CRUE, Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruizpérez and Federación de Gremios de Editores de España, the chairmen of the Real Academia Española (RAE) and the Instituto Cervantes, and a representative of the Fundación Botín.
The quality of the library contents is ensured by a scientific committee, led by Dario Villanueva (Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela and secretary of the RAE) and composed of Currently, the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes has become an indisputable reference point of Spanish culture as a an open, international and unifying project whose aim is to keep providing its services to students, teachers, researchers, readers, etc. Moreover, the fact that it is configured as a bridge between Spain and Latin America was considered as one of its most important characteristics by H.R.H the Prince of Asturias.
In February 2013, the project won the Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL). This prize was also won by the National Library of France. According to the judges, the Cervantes Library received recognition for its premium content, highlighting its complete critical publications used by the global research community. The organization stressed that the Cervantes Library faces the challenges of digital libraries through an open, user-oriented design and an open-source, service-oriented architecture.
More information: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes