Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Notable E-Book: Gran Enciclopedia de España

Sawyer Library recently added an important Spanish language reference set to our e-book database, Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). It is the 22 volume Gran Enciclopedia de España (Great Encyclopedia of Spain), a new edition of a classic encyclopedia published over a sixteen year period from 1990 to 2006. It constitutes the largest encyclopedic work done on Spain.

The massive reference set contains more than 150,000 entries dedicated to the art, sciences, culture, economy, geography, history, institutions, nature and society of Spain. Major specialists and scholars--from the Royal Academy as well as major Spanish universities--contributed entries. Altogether, there are more than 11,000 pages of content here, as well as 20,000 illustrations. Graphics include drawings, genealogical tables, statistics, maps and chronologies. Selected historical documents are also included.

Keep in mind that the encyclopedia is both in the Spanish language and designed for Spanish audiences, however. Entries may, therefore, not be presented as U.S. readers would expect. If you try looking up "Generalissimo Francisco Franco" in the GVRL search engine for the encyclopedia, you get no results--not even a cross-reference. And if you drop the military title, and look up Francisco Franco, you also don't get very far. The entry, which is extensive, is actually under his proper name, "FRANCO BAHAMONDE, Francisco." So, stay flexible as you search and browse through this resource.

Because it is on the GVRL platform, users will have the option of quickly opening and scrolling through HTML text with highlighted keywords. Or, if you prefer, look for the small Adobe icon at each entry to open up the PDF version that looks exactly like the original volume entry.

We hope that this authoritative reference tool will be useful for both Spanish speakers and Spanish learners....And especially for our students and faculty at our Madrid campus.