British Library awards University of Alicante digital library

The BVMC.Labs digital library research team from the Department of Languages and Computer Systems and the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library, made up by Gustavo Candela, María Pilar Escobar, María Dolores Sáez and Manuel Marco-Such, has been awarded several prizes in different categories at the Labs Awards 2020 organised by the British Library: first prize in the BL Labs Public Awards category; second prize in the “Teaching and Learning Award” category; and a special commendation in the “Community Award” category.


The BL Labs is run by Mahendra Mahey, and has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for several years to encourage collaborative and transparent innovative and creative reuse of digital collections, removing barriers and promoting multidisciplinary teams. The BL Labs has facilitated the creation of the GLAM Labs International Community, which consists of the British Library, the Library of Congress, several national libraries and universities that make a number of digital collections with different types of materials and formats available to the public under open licences.

The award-winning project promotes reuse of digital collections published openly by GLAM institutions (English, Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) through Jupyter Notebooks. Jupyter Notebooks consist of collaborative and executable documents that allow the combination of documentation and code, making computer access to digital collections easier. For this reason, they are considered a pedagogical component with enormous potential, both in Digital Humanities education and in Computer Engineering and Multimedia degrees.


The proposal has been inspired by BL Labs, the GLAM Labs community, the Collections as Data initiative and the GLAM Workbench. A number of prestigious researchers such as Sally Chambers (Royal Library of Belgium) and institutions and organisations such as the ONB Labs (Austrian National Library Labs), the Data Foundry (Scottish National Library) and Wikimedia Spain have also supported this project. The University of Alicante team has a long history of research, in collaboration with Rafael Carrasco, based on the reuse of digital collections provided by GLAM institutions with several research articles published in the most relevant journals. The team has been actively involved in writing proposals in collaboration with the IMPACT Digitisation Competence Centre, currently managed by the University of Alicante.

As a result of the first two GLAM Labs events in London and Copenhagen, 16 researchers from the most relevant GLAM institutions such as the Library of Congress, British Library and National Library of Scotland, Gustavo Candela from the University of Alicante among them, were selected to attend Doha for a week to write the book Open a GLAM Lab. The book has been recently translated into Spanish by the team of the University of Alicante and is available in the institutional repository of the University of Alicante.

It is hoped that these awards will contribute to making the University of Alicante and the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library an international landmark in digital libraries and their open collections, as well as in Digital Humanities. The collaboration with the GLAM Labs community will promote the sharing of resources and knowledge as well as the possibility of holding global events, giving a first-class international dimension to the technology and contents of the Miguel de Cervantes Virtual Library.

Source: University of Alicante


European Higher Education Organization

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe. The EHEO general plan stresses that: Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected. The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders. Thus, EHEO plans: improve academic and scientific interaction of universities; protect the interests of universities; interact more closely with public authorities of European countries; popularize European higher education in the world; develop academic mobility; seek funding for European universities.

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