Spain, the United States & the American Frontier:
Historias Paralelas

More About the Project

The project grew out of several visits by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington to Spain where he discussed creating an "America and Spain" digital library with the cooperation of Spanish institutions. The intellectual significance of this project resides in its capacity to mount on the Internet unique materials in collections in Spain and in the United States, creating new opportunities for research to a vastly increased public on both sides of the Atlantic.

The development of the Internet and the explosion of the World Wide Web in the 1990s have offered a new and broadly based technology for establishing contacts and exchanging information among individuals and institutions throughout the world. The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program initiated in 1995, was one of the large-scale efforts to use the Internet to disseminate high-quality educational and cultural content-digital versions of manuscripts, maps, films, photographs, sound recordings, and printed material-for use in schools and by the general public. "America, Spain, and the Meeting of Frontiers" uses technologies pioneered in the National Digital Library Program to tell the parallel and interacting stories of Spain, the Anglo-American settlers and later Americans through digitized images and texts of original source materials.

The "America, Spain, and the Meeting of Frontiers" pilot is based mostly on materials from the collections of the Library of Congress. The next stage of the project will emphasize addition of material from other important libraries and archives in Spain and the United States. Partner institutions will add both collections and new thematic modules.

Partner institutions in Spain, to date, include the Biblioteca Colombina y Capitular (the Library of Hernando Colón and the Cathedral) in Seville and the National Library in Madrid. The latter will be in charge of recruiting other Spanish libraries as partners in this project. The Secretary of State for Culture of Spain supports the project fully.

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Comments: Ask a Librarian (02/02/00)