Digital Memory of Catalonia (MDC)

Digital Memory of Catalonia (MDC) is a cooperative repository where can be consulted, in open access, digitized collections of Catalan ancient journals, photographs, maps, posters, ex-libris, etc. related to Catalonia.

The main purpose of the MDC is to increase the visibility and consultation of the special and heritage collections of libraries in Catalonia. It prioritises the inclusion of the most unique and exceptional documents, and those likely be consulted by a larger number of users. This goal is achieved due to the following objectives:

  • Promoting the Catalan heritage digitization
  • Highlighting some collections which, due to its rarity or physical condition, are restricted or difficult to access.
  • Being the interface that allows to query this heritage together
  • Providing the tools for its preservation

This repository is open to the libraries and archives of Catalonia collaboration of which want to display their digitized special collections related to Catalonia or their heritage with predominantly graphic documents. Priority is given to the incorporation of the most unique and rare documents, as well as those capable of being accessed by a larger number of users. The digitization of documents is carried out by the institutions themselves that should do it according to the parameters and criteria contained in the "Standards for digitization: minimum requirements" that "Open Science" updated regularly. The incorporation of documents is done after consideration of intellectual property rights that may affect its operation.

The repository includes digital copies of photographs, drawings, maps, posters, pamphlets, incunabula and many other items with a total of over three million documents related to Catalonia from 34 different institutions (universities, specialized libraries, archives, etc.). It also includes ancient Catalan periodicals digitized through the Archive of Ancient Catalan Periodicals (ARCA) portal of the Library of Catalonia.

The repository contains such important collections as the first images of the albino gorilla "Floquet de Neu" playing in its natural environment at the Ikunde Centre in Equatorial Guinea, images about Catalan farmhouses from the beginning of twentieth century and, in the ARCA, periodicals published clandestinely during the Franco dictatorship. It also has outstanding collections related to the political, economic, social and cultural events that took place during the Spanish Civil War.

Simple or advanced (allows users to choose between searching ARCA magazines or the other collections) searches can be done from the main MDC web page. Results are shown grouped into collections of images and audiovisual media, text, ARCA magazines, or other collections not staying at the MDC. The "Collections" section leads to the "MDC collections Gallery" where all the collections are shown and from where you can also access to a view list. From both views a brief description of the collection contents are displayed. Cooperating institutions, the future collections and technical information (that includes internal documents related to the operation of the repository) can be visited through the top menu. The homepage also provides an sliding news window that presents a tag cloud with the most used words in the documents titles and two new MDC projects: Searching images via its position on a map from "Arxiu fotogràfic del Centre Excursionista de Catalunya" and the crowdsourcing initiative "Transcriu-me", where anybody can transcribe old handwritten documents and improve its accessibility.

The MDC was set up in late 2006 in the CONTENTdm programme of the OCLC. Since then, some local developments have been made such as the possibility of viewing the search results in collections of images, texts or periodicals. The images meet international standards of description (Dublin Core, ESE, METS, PREMIS) and interoperability (OAI-PMH), which has made it possible to increase their visibility by offering them jointly with other international repositories such as Europeana (European portal for access to cultural collections that currently includes more than 30 million digital objects) and OAIster (Union catalog that includes more than 30 million records representing digital resources from more than 1.500 contributors). MDC collections are catalogued in CCUC (University Union Catalogue of Catalonia) and they are also accessible in the Special collections page.


If you want to take part in MDC or you need more information you can contact mdcatcsuc [dot] cat.