Alma Mater is the Digital Library of the Ancient Fund of the University of Coimbra and it is composed by a wide estate mostly published before 1940. This estate enhances several important nuclei that compose the rich bibliographic and documental heritage of the libraries from the several faculties, as are the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Letters, Life Sciences Department of the Sciences and Technology Faculty and the General Library.
This Digital Library offers the access to ancient books, manuscripts, letters, photographs, drawings, etc., and part of the estate from authors that graduated from the University of Coimbra and from others who passed by Coimbra and left here their intellectual production.
The set composed of about 5000 items, to which correspond around 1.900.000 images, is representative of a precious estate that exists in the several Libraries of the University, and it also testifies to the process of providing free and universal access to important works of the University heritage. This fulfills a strategy of development and updating, accomplished by the digitalization, conservation, and dissemination of the documents available in the Libraries of the University network.
Alma Mater congregates and enhances several existent digital libraries: Digital Library of the Faculty of Law, Digital Library of Botanic from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Digital General Library, and Digital Library of the Faculty of Letters. It results from several projects financed by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, aside from equity capital from the University that has been investing in the enhancement of the “treasures” that keeps.
Through Alma Mater, it is possible to make a global search of digital documents that exist in the Libraries of the University through common indexes. Each document can be consulted in detail.
Promoting an effective coordination of efforts, Alma Mater has been developed by the Joint Service of the Libraries of the University of Coimbra (SIBUC).
The contents of these digital libraries are, partially, integrated into Europeana, the major digital project on Cultural Heritage, promoted by the European Union.