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Argentina’s National Library is Now Digitizing its Archives

More than 65,000 items are available for access.

By | [email protected] | July 30, 2019 4:02pm

biblioteca nacional argentinaPhoto via Cultura.gob.ar
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So many books, so little time.

Unable to make it to the library to check out a new book?  The Internet comes to our rescue once again, giving us another reason to never leave our houses.

At the end of June, Argentina’s Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno unveiled the digital platform RODNA – the National Argentine Digital Objects Registry – which concentrates digital resources from libraries and universities all across Argentina. Currently, around 67,000 items from 45 institutions have been uploaded to the platform. The platform goes well beyond books: maps, photos, and manuscripts are available, too. Researchers, students and the general public can access historic newspapers, famous letters, and more.

A map of the province of San Juan, available in the RODNA registry – Courtesy of Prensa Libre Online

Alright, we’ll admit it: despite all evidence that points to the contrary, the Internet is not pure evil. RODNA has huge potential to increase educational access and spread understanding about Argentina’s history, culture, and patrimony. Speaking to Infobae, National Library director Elsa Barber, who has spearheaded this initiative, called RODNA a “very important development that can have repercussions not only at the academic level, but can impact anyone.” Barber hopes that RODNA will eventually provide access to everything published in Argentina, as well as everything published abroad by Argentine authors.

Elsa Barber – Photo via Infobae

The National Library has invested in the technology to make this a long-term endeavor, acquiring 10 scanners that work with different types of media. In addition, the National Library is working with institutions that already have digitized their resources: RODNA will redirect users to previously digitized items.

Barber, the first-ever female director of the National Library, is nearing the end of her first year in office. Because the director position is tied to the presidential administration, Barber’s continuing tenure is uncertain. Nonetheless, she hopes that RODNA will continue to expand and flourish: “I would like to improve and continue everything we are doing, keeping in mind new trends and new technologies.”

In need of a new read?  Maybe start with a classic (if not complex): a translation of Borges. My pick? Exploring the gems of RODNA’s collection of feminist works.  You can check out the entire digital archive for yourself here.