Celestinesque Website: CelestinaVisual.org

mainlogoDespite it having been on-line since long, I absolutely had forgotten to write a few words on this interesting on-line project launched and directed by Enrique Fernández Rivera (University of Manitoba), to which this blog has contributed some of its visual resources. Born with a similar purpose as, for example, the projects Banco de imágenes del Quijote: 1605-1905 or Iconografía del Quijote, and probably as a direct consecuence of the Biblioteca de obra: La Celestina of the Biblioteca Vitual Miguel de Cervantes virtually having been abandoned, CelestinaVisual.org aims to gather together as many on-line visual resources on Celestina as possible, including woodcuts, engravings and illustrations of ancient and modern editions of the text, but also depictions of celestinesque motifs in visual arts, generally speaking. This includes any form of painting, but also sculpture, stage adaptations and an interesting section on varia, in which coasters alternate with lottery tickets or high-school stop-motion animations.

The site, developed with Omeka, has a quite intuitive interface and, although its design could be improved with time and technical support, for an almost personal enterprise it is more than enough. Actually, I feel only the high amount of unnecesary intermediate steps to access certain collections could be criticised but, from my own experience with other content managements systems, I suspect this is related to how Omeka displays certain information by default. Other questionable aspect would be the lack of source attribution, not only because most images already were available on-line, the main contribution of CelestinaVisual.org being making all of them accessible -and searchable- in one place, but because users wanting to use the images with commercial purposes and, therefore, obliged to ask for the corresponding permissions do not know whom to address. Finally, CelestinaVisual.org being conceived as a mere repository, it lacks image, comparison and annotation/commentary tools, which, in any case, most users will not miss.

Due to the limited extent of its collections and its strictly informative character, CelestinaVisual.org is obviously better as a teaching resource than a research tool, however, it could become more useful with some private and institutional support. Individuals contributing their own images or pointing to some already existent ones would be of great help, however, the greatest boost this project should come from libraries (and museums) digitising and making freely available more content. In any case, it is an excellent initiative and I personally invite everyone to use it and keep it updated and alive.