Net archive speaks volumes

February 11, 2000

Scholars of Romance languages have a new facility for research via the internet. The Biblioteca Angelo Monteverdi at Rome's La Sapienza University has set up a vast digital archive of original works and philological texts relevant to the Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan, Provencal and old French languages.

Access is open to all and comprises material contained within the library itself, including 130,000 volumes, as well as hundreds of links to potentially useful archives and libraries elsewhere.

"We are now one of the world's most useful websites for students of Romance languages, with texts from the Middle Ages right through to contemporary literature," library director Gianfranco Cupi said.

"In many cases, users can even download entire texts. But beyond this, our aim is to act as a filter and evaluator of other sites, giving ratings and indications of what can be found in each. We are both a very important library, which was created in 1996 to bring together a number of Roman archives and libraries, some of them very old, and a kind of search engine for research in this field."

Mr Cupi said that in organising the website, international standards for digital archiving, including International Standard Bibliographic Description for Electronic Resource, were taken into account.

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