The HDL has different search options – simple search, advanced search and search by collections:

To run a simple search, enter a term into the search box at the top of the screen and search in all fields or choose a specific field from the drop-down menu. It is also possible to run a search about the text of documents.

The advanced search lets you search more than one field at a time, narrowing your search by date or language, or by type(s) of document(s).

In the Discover Collections section you can browse highlighted collections, which include works selected due to their particular relevance, interest, appeal or importance. You can also explore by subject or document type.

Search tips

  • Quotation marks: If you would like to find a specific term or phrase expressed exactly as it is entered as a search, put it between quotation marks. For example: “Miguel de Cervantes”.
  • The characters * and ? search for terms that share the same root and words that have
    uncertain spelling. For example: biblio* will retrieve the words biblioteca,
    biblioteconomía, bibliografía, bibliófilo, etc.; and primiti?a will retrieve the terms
    primitiva and primitiua. You should not use these characters at the beginning of a search term.
  • You can also use search operators to state the relationship between different
    search terms:

Y: retrieves documents that contain all the search terms
O: retrieves documents that contain one of the search terms
NO: retrieves all the documents that contain the first term, except for those that contain the second term.

Imagen de un filtro

Viewing and browsing results

Once the search has been run, the results are shown in a list that includes the basic information for each result (title, author, date, document type). You can choose how many results to view per page and how to order them by using the drop-down menus at the top right. 

The filters on the left of the results list can be used to refine your results.

You can also view the results of your search in the Ibero-American Heritage Digital Library (BDPI) and Europeana, and access each one by clicking on the links at the top of the page.

Clicking on the title of a work takes you to a full view of the entry, and clicking on the digital object (thumbnail) takes you to the digitised work

You can also run a search from here for the same work in other external sources by clicking on “Search in other sources“.

Additional features

Some further tools available at the Hispanic Digital Library include:

  • saving records so they can be exported;
  • sent or downloaded;
  • alerts service for specific searches;
  • commenting and voting on works, “other users have viewed”;
  • sharing on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Readspeaker, for text-to-speech.

Relationship between the Library’s general catalogue and the Hispanic Digital Library catalogue.

There is a two-way relationship between the Hispanic Digital Library and the Library’s general catalogue: if a work is in the Hispanic Digital Library, the general catalogue shows a link to a URL that starts with and this takes you directly to the digitised version of the document. 

Similarly, you can access an entry in the general catalogue from an entry in the Hispanic Digital Library by following the link “Catalogue bibliographic record” in the full view.

Using images

Images of works in the public domain are under a Creative Commons – Attribution 4.0 International licence or equivalent. Public use of these images is free and does not require prior authorisation; a reference to the origin of the reproduced work must be included such as "Images from the holdings of the Biblioteca Nacional de España”.

       Logo de la licencia CC-BY de Creative Commons

For the public use of copyrighted works, you must request authorisation from the owners of the copyright of the work, normally through the copyright management societies or independent management agents. You can view this contact information on the website of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.


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