Biblioteca Virtual de la Filología Española

Why I'll probably be sticking with the Biblioteca Virtual del Señor Licenciado Pero Pérez.

Trebots @ Thursday October 28th 2010 20:37

Last week saw the launch of an interesting site by the Complutense: Manuel Alvar Ezquerra and his team's Biblioteca Virtual de la Filología Española, which aims to catalogue and link to all digitalised and publicly accessible Spanish dictionaries, grammars and orthographies. The catalogue of dictionaries is apparently more or less finished, and with 1346 entries it is at first sight more extensive than the comparable subset of a project with more wide-reaching ambitions, Open Library, which claims only 46 items. However, metatagging at OL is notoriously poor, and searches of it for diccionario (246), vocabulario (65), dictionary spanish (134), vocabulary spanish (115), etc etc, suggest that its total listings may well be in the order of BVFE's.

It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that--institutional pride apart--the Complutense budget might have been better spent improving and then piggybacking off OL. That clearly hasn't been done, since OL contains some classics that are absent from BVFE--two personal favourites are Tineo Rebolledo, A chipicallí and Besses Diccionario de argot español--and the shortest of straw polls (maybe someone would like to count some more? nope, thought not) suggests that both OL and BVFE are still way behind the disastrously metatagged and widely underestimated, which I think hosts the majority of the digitalisations listed by both sites. Here are the numbers and names for title queries for "diccionario gitano" and "vocabulario gitano" across OL, BVFE, Archive and Google Books:

Other people's needs are different, but there are two reasons why I don't often use services like OL or BFVE. Firstly, you can't do full-text search, which seems to me something of a sine qua non as far as dictionaries are concerned. The technical implementation doesn't strike me as particularly complicated--particularly for an organisation with the resources of the Complutense--so I imagine institutional hurdles are seen as too high.

Secondly, there's still some way to go before absolutely every lexicon ever created is available online, and so I place more faith in querying automatically-updated search than human-maintained lists, particularly now cash-strapped governments seem prepared to abandon funding for the humanities in favour of more obviously useful fields.

And so I've got my own little language+literature search workbench, which I ran up one day last year to reduce repetitive manual querying and to escape from the clutches of Google's main search interface, which likes you to nominate one language and stick with it.

The Biblioteca Virtual de la Filología Española is a tribute to Cipriano Muñoz, Conde de la Viñaza, an incredibly wealthy indiano and filology phiend (who I believed was once sued by Louis Marx's dad, but that's another story), so I've taken the liberty of rebaptising my tool the Biblioteca Virtual del Señor Licenciado Pero Pérez for the priest who burnt Quijote's books but saved Tirant lo Blanch.

  • (1) From a domain name: This is a redirect from a domain name to an article about a website (or the entity to which the official website belongs) that is more often referred to by its short name or company name rather than its domain name. Use this redirect link (without piping) when the link in the context specifically concerns the website.
  • Biblioteca Virtual de la Filología Española (1)
  • Complutense University of Madrid (1) The Complutense University of Madrid (Spanish: Universidad Complutense de Madrid or Universidad de Madrid, Latin: Universitas Complutensis) is a public research university located in Madrid, and one of the oldest universities in the world. The university enrolls over 86,000 students , and consistently ranks as one of the top universities in Spain.
  • Dictionary (2)
  • Don Quixote (33) Don Quixote (/ˌdɒn kiːˈhoʊti/ or /ˌdɒn ˈkwɪksoʊt/; Spanish: [doŋ kiˈxote], formerly [doŋ kiˈʃote]), fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha [el iŋxeˈnjoso iˈðalɣo ðoŋ kiˈxote ðe la ˈmantʃa]), is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon.
  • Google Books (1) Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print) is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR), and stored in its digital database.
  • Gypsy (27)
  • I hate tags (1)
  • Karl Marx (45) Karl Marx (/mɑːrks/; German: [ˈkaɐ̯l ˈmaɐ̯ks]; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Born in Trier to a middle-class family, he later studied political economy and Hegelian philosophy.
  • Language (4)
  • Lexicon (1)
  • Literature (1)
  • Miguel de Cervantes (65) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (/sərˈvɒnteɪz/ or /sərˈvæntiːz/; Spanish: [miˈɣel de θerˈβantes saˈβeðɾa]; 29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616), was a Spanish writer who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. His major work, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written.
  • Open Library (1) Open Library is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Created by Aaron Swartz, Brewster Kahle among others, Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation.
  • Philology (1)
  • Spanish language (402)
  • Spanish literature (158)
Categories: Heathen philosophers, Languages, Les bourgeois

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