Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes: judges' comments

  • Under the auspices of the Foundation, a unique university and private sector (Banco Santander) collaboration, the BVMC has developed through sustained commitment over many years an outstanding corpus of high quality and heterogeneous digital resources of Hispanic culture, supporting global research and academic studies, as well as serving as a rich, cultural resource accessible across the world. This material is being added to on a continuous basis through a large number of cooperative agreements of many national libraries and Latin American cultural heritage institutions. This rich online resource is freely accessible to all, underpinned by a philosophy of openness, with an open technical Architecture, open source platform, open data and open APIs - available for use and adaption well beyond the boundaries of the BVMC. Continuing innovation is ensuring provision of open social Web facilities, open linked data provision and the potential for data mining. In parallel the BVMC has creatively grasped the opportunity of playing a leading role in the EU funded Impact project which involved some 26 European libraries and research institutions, as well as commercial players, to focus on significantly improving and developing advanced technologies for complex OCR. Building on this success the Foundation is now leading the Impact Centre for Competency in Digitisation, which is dedicated to sharing best practice and know-how gained in the research programme, and now providing tools, facilities and services to ensure sustainable application across Europe and beyond, and to further advance document imaging, language technologies and the processing of historic texts. In summary, this winner combines the highest quality approach to building and making available Hispanic culture, with advancing relevant technologies and platforms in an open, collaborative, and inclusive way. This is simply an inspirational model for us all.
    – Dame Lynne Brindley, Chair, Former Chief Executive Officer, The British Library

  • It is the combination of several characteristics of this project, all working together, that in aggregate are notable: the focus on high quality openly available content which has been reviewed by experts, with a significant portion of the content published by the library; the continuous focus on constantly evolving and improving the underlying technologies supporting the user experience, especially an adaptive architecture which makes use of the semantic web; the active partnership with cultural institutions and, in particular the public and private sector collaboration that underpins support of the work of the BVMC. While delivering on its mission to advance Hispanic culture, the BVMC demonstrates creativity and leadership which is an inspiration for all.
    – Richard E. Luce, Associate Vice-President, Professor, and Dean of Libraries, University of Oklahoma


  • The project of the University of Alicante has developed a leading position among similar initiatives by its innovative methods and its consistent alignment to the interests of science and research - for example, by providing many documents in TEI for direct processing in virtual working environments and by providing the metadata in XML. So the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes succeeds in a brilliant way to balance technological innovation – e.g., active participation in relevant OCR / ICR projects with relevant contributions – and the substantial, well usable and numerically impressive contribution to the cultural tradition of Spain in the digital world.
    – Elisabeth Niggemann, Generaldirektorin, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

  • This recommendation intends to nominate the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (BVMC) for the Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL). Through its innovative programs the BVMC has achieved its objectives to disseminate digital content and contributed greatly to library digitization and preservation of the Spanish cultural heritage. The program shows evidence of the library’s ability to promote cultural heritage in an innovative digital form, and to address user needs of the contemporary world. Aiming at sustainable support of the creation, maintenance and deployment of the digital library content, the BVMC has implemented a user-oriented open technical platform based on a multi-tier architecture. This design logically separates functions of presentation, application processing, and data management, which makes possible for developers to create flexible and reusable applications. Also thanks to this service-oriented design, the implementation enhances the advanced management and access to metadata in a digital library, allows straightforward deployment of the platform by external institutions, and makes BVMC-provided web services available to all kinds of constituencies. Other than several distinct features of this digital library, BVMC should be proud of its vast amount of digitally-born content and advanced navigation capabilities. Owing to the hard work and thoughtfulness of the library and its experts, while the reference laden native digital content making the researchers work easier, the introductory material and contextual information armed library content provide a pleasant experience for users at large when they go and browse the digital library. The innovative nature of this program also manifests in its contribution to metadata management, through better integration for metadata collected from heterogeneous sources, a new semantic web paradigm, and application of linked data principles. The BVMC distinguishes itself with a unique public-private partnership. This might be introduced to other institutions as it proves to be a successful model of public university and private company partnership. The BVMC exemplifies the quality of an outstanding digital library program serving user needs, and inspires a unique approach that meets the challenges of the digital content. In closing it is with sincere conviction that the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (BVMC) is a deserved recipient of this year’s Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries.
    – Dongfang Shao, Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress