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Romero-López, D., Bueren-Gómez-Acebo, J. (2016). Mnemosyne: A Smartlibrary for Rare and Forgotten Texts. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, pp. 661-662.
Mnemosyne: A Smartlibrary for Rare and Forgotten Texts

Mnemosyne: A Smartlibrary for Rare and Forgotten Texts

In recent decades European libraries have taken a giant step towards the mass digitization of their historical collections and the opening of their contents for the use of the global digital society. However, researchers and teachers experience great difficulties using, enriching or sharing that content. Our project aims to explore the new needs of the users of European digital libraries, databases and repositories in order to evolve the “traditional digital model” towards the SmartLibrary model, which proposes the compilation, integration and downloading of contents according to the needs of users and in order to enrich the European uses of the history.

Mnemosyne, for the ancient Greeks, was the personification of Memory. In our project the concept of memory comprises two uses:

1) The recovery of historical memory through European texts we consider rare and forgotten. We will analyse these concepts as conceptual categories in cultural studies (Alonso, 2008; Romero Lopez, 2014). This new paradigm will cover the analysis of a large and complex network of literary manifestations. We aim to record the history of the losers, looking for it in popular and mass culture texts that have been marginalized until now (Labanyi, 2003). This recovery requires making those digitized texts accessible and bringing together their interpretations so that the axes that have governed their oblivion within European cultures can be underlined.

2) The rewriting of historical memory. Once we have compared texts digitized in the Scriptorium, researchers and teachers will begin an enrichment of these texts through their collaborative annotation. This reinterpretation will allow historical memory to be restored by setting new categories of knowledge for the understanding of European cultures under common tendencies.

The prefix SMART- has been used as synonymous to agility, safety, ecology and sharing (Doran, 1981). It is a prefix that has been applied to phones, cars, houses and cities. So far, it has not been applied to libraries. The creation of a European SmartLibrary implies:

  • Simple access to integrated European databases on contemporary and alternative European literatures
  • Motivational search based on specific research content or didactic objects
  • Appropriate results based on the semantic Web search
  • Results discharged in a personal Scriptorium to be enriched with the specific tools
  • Transference of new digital objects to be shared with the global community

As a “smart digital model”, exportable to other areas of the digital humanities, we have been developing Mnemosyne: A SmartLibrary for Rare and Forgotten Texts, based on the research that the LEETHI, LOEP and ILSA (see below) research groups in the Faculties of Philology and Information Technology of the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) are jointly developing. Thanks to the collaboration of specialists in different European literatures and computer experts in the course of several national research projects, we have designed a new model of Scriptorium which allows for the integration of metadata and the enrichment of digital objects with new tools such as Clavy –an import/export tool for metadata- and @Note – a collaborative annotation tool.

About Mnemosyne. Digital Library of the Other Silver Age (Beta version):

1.- Mnemosyne. Digital Library of the Other Age of Silver is already accessible on the Internet (http://repositorios.fdi.ucm.es/mnemosine/). As you can see Mnemosyne contains authors’ data, access to digitized works and research collections. The field of study is rare and forgotten Spanish literary texts (1868-1939). The work is still in progress. Our current project ends by 06/31/2016.

2.- Mnemosyne records show the metadata imported by our tool Clavy from Biblioteca Digital Hispánica and from HathiTrust with the support of the Complutense Library.

3.- The Mnemosyne database works as a laboratory in which we experiment with Clavy the importation/exportation of metadata, and the tool @Note  and practise collaborative annotation. @Note promotes the collaborative creation of free-text and semantic annotation schemas on literary works by communities of researchers, teachers and students and the use of these schemas in a very flexible and adaptive model for the definition of annotation activities.

4.- As SmartLibrary, Mnemosyne will integrate @Note and other digital tools (forthcoming). Of course we are very much interested in DARIAH tools and its research infrastructure and we would like to collaborate with this European consortium. Besides, our SmartLibrary could be an extraordinary field of study in which to experience the development and integration of new digital tools. Mnemosyne, as a SmartLibrary, could become a field of international experimentation for the practice of tools with semantic interoperable networks.

5.- The Spanish Mnemosyne is the first example of what we would like to build. We would like to regrow our smart model in the international environment with the support of other European projects, interested, like the authors, in rare and forgotten texts and the uses of the past.

Mnemosyne: SmartLibrary for Rare and Forgotten Texts needs transnational collaboration. This project involves the integration of specialists in different European literatures and researchers in computer science to develop new research and resources for the common use of European citizens.

The research developed in Mnemosyne is being financed by: 1) Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Research Project: “Escritorios Electrónicos para las Literaturas-2”. Reference FFI2012-34666 (2012-2016). Directora: Dolores Romero López, Facultad de Filología, Complutese University of Madrid . 2) I Convocatoria de Ayudas a Proyectos de Investigación de la Fundación BBVA: “Modelo unificado de Gestión de Colecciones Digitales con Estructuras Reconfigurables: Aplicación a la Creación de Bibliotecas Digitales Especializadas para Investigación y Docencia”. Reference: HUM14_251(2015-2016).  Director: José Luis Sierra Rodríguez, Facultad de Informática, Complutense University of Madrid

RESEARCH GROUPS: LEETHI Research Group, ILSA Research Group, LOEP Research Group.

  1. Alonso, C. (2008). Sobre la categoría canónica de 'raros y olvidados'. Anales de Literatura Española, 20: 11-38.
  2. Doran, G. T. (1981). There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives. Management Review (AMA FORUM), 70(11): 35–36.
  3. Labanyi, J. (2003). Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Romero López, D. ed. (2014). Los márgenes de la modernidad. Temas y creadores raros y olvidados en la Edad de Plata. Sevilla: Punto Rojo Libros.
  5. Romero López, D. (2014). Hacia la SmartLibrary: Mnemosyne, una biblioteca digital de textos literarios raros y olvidados de la Edad de Plata (1868-1936). Fase I, en Humanidades Digitales: desafíos, logros y perspectivas de futuro, Sagrario López Poza y Nieves Pena Sueiro (editoras), Janus, Anexo 1: 411-22.
  6. Romero López, D. (2015). Bibliotecas digitales inteligentes para la docencia y la investigación. Eprints.ucm.es/31422/1/MySmartLibrary_Escorial_DRomero_2015.pdf.