What is DonostiaTEKA?

DonostiaTEKA is Donostia Kultura’s Digital Library. It has been running since November 2020. It has replaced the previous digital library created in 2004.

DonostiaTEKA is an OAI-PMH repository of digital documents which aims to organise, preserve and disseminate in open access the collections kept by San Sebastián Municipal Library, since the year it was opened in 1874.

Right from the beginning the Municipal Library paid special attention to the local collection, including newspapers and magazines. In its collection it is also especially worth mentioning the donations, particularly from the Duke of Mandas’s library, and at the present time the collection of original illustrations by Asun Balzola (1942-2006) which were donated in 2007.

The digital library was modernised in 2004 to be able to meet the required technical standards so that our collections raise their profile as they are gathered by Euskariana, and by Hispana, a portal providing access to the heritage of digital culture and the national content aggregator to Europeana.

The digitization project began with the local historical press. These are publications from the 19th century to 1936. In many cases they are unique collections that are in great demand among researchers.

The most important titles in the first phase in 2004 were La Constancia, El Correo de Guipúzcoa, El Correo del Norte, Diario de San Sebastián, Diario Vasco, El Eco de San Sebastián, El Guipuzcoano, La Información, El Liberal Guipuzcoano, la Libertad...

Some small collections related to local projects were gradually added to the digitization of these 49 newspapers. The sheet music for the San Sebastián March, the six historical novels whose subject matter is related to the destruction of San Sebastián on the 31st of August 1813 and the digitization of fifty posters for the fireworks displays in San Sebastián that form part of the DonostiaKultura Fiestas Unit.

DonostiaTEKA is structured in eight collections. Within these collections we can find sub-collections. For example in the collection called Posters and Illustrations, we can find the sub-collection of posters, and within posters, Carnival, Euskal Jaiak, Fireworks, Regattas and Semana Grande (Great Week).

This framework is determined by the use of the computer tool, DSpace, the digital repository manager used by a lot of libraries.

The digitised collections make up DonostiaTEKA and these collections belong to Donostia Kultura, a public company that depends on San Sebastián City Council.

DonostiaTEKA’s structure is simply and highly visual. The video on the home page shows some of the bibliographic riches that we keep.

We start with eight collections: Articles; Posters and illustrations; Photographs; Books; Maps and Plans; Sheet Music; Newspapers; Journals.

The Municipal Library. A bit of history

As we have said the basis of DonostiaTEKA is the Municipal Library Collection.

The first Public Library in San Sebastián was a response to a very early initiative: in 1844 Sebastián de Miñano already offered his own collection of books as a donation. However, Miñano didn’t see his project come to fruition and it was thirty years later, in 1874, when the library in the Calle Andía was opened, whose first manager was José López de Aizpuru.

His successor, José de Manterola y Beldarrain, managed to give the Library a significant boost by setting up what he himself called the Special Basque Section.

Later on, Ricardo Baroja, the founder of the El Urumea newspaper was named manager of the Library.

On his death he was replaced by Antonio Arzac Alberdi. The librarian Arzac produced the first printed library catalogue.

In 1910, when Francisco López Alen was the manager, the Library moved to the School of Arts and Crafts building, in what is now the Post Office building in the Calle Urdaneta.

While Práxedes Diego Altuna was manager until 1931, the library was enriched by the donation made by Mr. Fermín Lasala & Collado, Duke of Mandas, who had a library of approximately 10,000 volumes, with magazines like the Gazette Nationale or Le Moniteur Universel and Revue des Deux Mondes.

In 1932, when Rufino Mendiola was manager, the Library moved to the San Telmo Dominican Convent, and finally in 1951, to the former Town Hall in the Plaza de la Constitución. An innovative aspect of this was the creation of the Children’s Library. Rufino Mendiola was the manager of the Library until 1960.

The Library continued to be a preservation and research centre until 1986 when the lending service was begun. In the following year, in 1987, the libraries in the Okendo and Casares cultural centres were opened.

In 1992, Susana Soto Aranzadi laid the foundations for the Donostia Kultura Network of Municipal Libraries, a Network that now has a Central Library, located in three buildings: the Children’s Library in the Calle Fermín Calbetón since 1994; the General section on the lower floor of the Town Hall, in the Alderdi Eder gardens since 1999, and the building in the Plaza de la Constitución that houses the Library Service offices and the Central Technical Unit, where the purchasing and cataloguing process is centralised.

At the present time the library network is run with 1 central library in three buildings, 10 libraries in cultural centres, four specialised libraries, and a dual-use library in the Arantzazuko Ama school in Martutene. In summer there are libraries on Urgull and Eguzkiteka.

Newspaper library

Rufino Mendiola saw the need to set up a Newspaper Library, as the Library had kept a significant collection of newspapers and magazines, which were mainly from the late 19th century.

Once the Carlist Wars were over, the Basque press, and especially the press in Guipuzcoa, increased considerably. Until that time, publications had been limited and short-lasting.

Between 1810 and 1879 100 publications were registered of which 72 were founded during the last quarter of the century.

As for magazines, we need to mention Euskal Herria, which was founded by José Manterola, and was published for 39 years.

Among cultural magazines we need to highlight the figures of Julio de Urquijo, who in 1907 founded the International Review of Basque Studies (1907-1936) and of Gregorio Múgica, who founded Euskal Esnalea and Euskalerriaren Alde, magazines that were no longer published after his death in 1931.

The Newspaper library was formed by taking this local collection as a starting point, as well as another large collection of Spanish and foreign magazines and newspapers. In 1992, due to its importance, the printed catalogue, prepared by Arantxa Arzamendi was published, supervised by Eulalia San Agustín Barraca , who was the manager at that time. At that time we already had 433 closed and 133 open publications, and it continues to grow today with a wide variety of publications, on the one hand general-interest informative publications, and on the other, specialised journals. The local publications have also been added to these.

An important aspect of this is the preservation of the collections, which in many cases are unique and which are constantly consulted by researchers and the general public. In order to meet this need the digital newspaper library appeared which via the Internet aims to make the bibliographic heritage of San Sebastián available not just to researchers but also to the general public.

Other collections and other projects will be continuing DonostiaTEKA as digitising new collections is a priority for the library service.