READERS from all over the world will soon be able to access UST’s heritage library and archives online under a digital preservation and re-publication project sponsored by one of the country’s top banks.

Lumina Pandit II: A Continuum, a project of the UST Miguel de Benavides Library in partnership with the UnionBank of the Philippines, aims to refurbish, digitize, and arrange more than 30,000 historical books from the library’s collections dating from 1492 to 1900 using a digital collection management software “CONTENTdm.”

One million pages have been scanned and are being uploaded online.

The project was formally launched last May 26 at the UST Miguel de Benavides Library.

Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said “history, immortalized in delicate books and evanescent vessels,” must be preserved and passed on to succeeding generations.

“We do not want the culture of intellectual transfer to end,” Dagohoy said in his welcome remarks, recognizing UnionBank’s Corporate Philanthropy and Social Responsibility arm for supporting the project since it signed a memorandum agreement with the University on April 27, 2011.

UST Prefect of Libraries Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. said the UST library’s historical collection, which served as textbooks and reading materials for students for more than 400 years, had been “pivotal in the formation and growth of the nation.”

“Undoubtedly, UST and its collections have contributed to the transformation of the archipelago into a society with a communal and public commitment to a life of dignity, justice, and freedom for all,” Aparicio explained. “These books, therefore, can still help keep alive that vision and to continue the transformation of our society.”

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In 2010, Lumina Pandit: An Exhibition of Historical Treasures, was launched. The exhibit trailed the 400-year history of the University and the evolution of the Filipino nation through rare books and memorabilia, presented in three different languages: Filipino, English, and Spanish.

Among the treasures in the UST library and archives are the Doctrina Christiana, a catechism in Spanish; documents in Baybayin; La Guerra Judaica by Joseph Flavius, printed in 1492 in Seville, Spain, the oldest and presumably the most priceless book in the UST Library; and the famous Plantin Polygot Bible, which appeared between 1569 and 1673, published under the auspices of King Philip II of Spain.

The UST Central Library was named after Miguel de Benavides, the second archbishop of Manila and founder of the University. Benavides bestowed his private collection of books for a future college of priesthood that became UST, making the library older than the University itself and the oldest university library in the country. Bianca Kristin A. Taray


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