Digital Scholarship @ CUA: On the Road to Research with Don Quixote and Sancho

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 - 1932) by Vitold Muratov
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza 3 .Madrid. Detail of Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes by Kullo-Valera (1876 – 1932) Picture by Vitold Muratov

2015 is the four hundredth anniversary of the novel Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel Cervantes. This article by Arturo Conde (NBC News) Cervantes Don Quixote Has become a Handbook for Life likens Don Quixote to a superhero – “a man who created a new identity, made his own armored costume, and fought to change the world into a better place.”

Readers treat the novel like an “open book with blank pages” because depending on where they are in life, they can see themselves reflected in many ways.

Blank pages is an apt metaphor for the beginning of an academic year; a new life on a college campus for First Year students and new challenges for all undergraduates; a deeper dive into research and teaching for graduate students; and new students, conversations and opportunities for faculty.

Blank pages mean something entirely different to the librarians collaborating with researchers. Librarians abhor blank pages – whether they be print or digital. We want those pages filled with the essential research you need. For your research quest – your essential research needs –  reach out to your liaison librarian, not so much squires, as subject experts, all!

While the “sad, but funny novel about a wandering knight” Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho Panza may remind us of the relationship between researchers and their librarians:

“The same sap flows through their actions, the same spirit interpenetrates them, and so they grow gradually nearer, attracting each other by the virtue of a slow and sure mutual influence, which is, in its inspiration and its development, the great charm and achievement of the book.” Salvador de Madariaga, Don Quixote: An Introductory Essay in Psychology (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 1966 [1st ed. 1934]), 136-137.

A better descriptor, the great charm and achievement of academia, is the mutual influence between a researcher and their librarian.

For your reading pleasure and more on Don Quixote of La Mancha look for:

Quixote: The Novel and the World by Ilan Stavans

and

Edwin Williamson (2007) The Power-Struggle between Don Quixote and Sancho: Four Crisis in the Development of the Narrative, Bulletin of Spanish Studies: Hispanic Studies and Researches on Spain, Portugal and Latin America, 84:7, 837-858.

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