UST brings out rare books, puts up first-edition Noli Me Tangere online

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ASIA’S oldest university brought out its rare books for public display and announced that it had uploaded the precious volumes, including one of the first copies of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere,” online in a historic launch on Friday.

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The Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Union Bank of the Philippines on Friday unveiled massive, multi-volume catalogues of rare books and periodicals to allow a wider audience easier access to priceless collections that have “nourished the minds of countless generations of Filipino students.”

PRECIOUS AND RARE A visitor inspects one of the rare tomes on display at the University of Santo Tomas’ ‘Semper Lumina’ exhibit and launching at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong. PHOTO BY JAMILLAH STA. ROSA

Titled “Semper Lumina” (“Always the Light”), the event showcased vast treasures found at the UST Miguel de Benavides Library and the Archivo de Santo Tomas. It was a follow up to “Lumina Pandit” (“Spreading the Light”), an exhibit of UST’s rare books during its 400th anniversary in 2011.

University officials launched a six-volume catalogue of rare publications, a two-volume catalogue of the UST Archives, and a digital library that includes the first-edition Noli.

“The collection of rare books of the UST Library is an eloquent witness to the role of this institution in nurturing the values that have contributed to the birth and growth of this nation,” UST Prefect of Libraries Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. said.

Volumes 1 to 3 feature catalogues of rare books from 1492 to 1900, while Volume 4 covers rare Filipiniana periodicals up to 1945.

The 466 books from 1492 and 1600 catalogued in Volume 1 include Josephus Flavius’ “De Bello Judaico” (The Jewish War, 1492), Nicolaus Copernicus’ “De Revolutionis Orbium Coelestium Libri VI” (1592), and “Biblia Regia Plantin” or the Polyglot Bible (between 1569 and 1573).

With 5,861 entries and presented in three parts, Volume 2 focuses on UST’s collections from the 17th to 19th centuries, which were used as textbooks. Among the volumes in the collection is Pope Leo the Great’s “Opera Omnia” (1614).

Volume 3 showcases UST’s rare Filipiniana collection, considered one of the richest in the Philippines. The first edition of Rizal’s Noli, one of the three original copies preserved by UST, is also in this volume.

Rare periodicals like “La Solidaridad” and “La Independencia” are in Volume 4.

The two-volume catalogue of the UST Archives is set to be released, with archivist and Philippine church art and architecture historian Regalado Trota Jose as editor.

Documents included in the catalogue are the UST Foundation Act of 1611, Apolinario Mabini’s 1898 Decalogo, a copy of Rizal’s “Ultimo Adios,” and documents in the ancient script baybayin (1623), recently declared National Historical Treasures.

Digitized versions of books and periodicals from the UST library (834,000 pages) may be accessed through the UST Digital Library (digilib.ust.edu.ph). A total of 1.5 million pages have been scanned, through a grant from Union Bank.

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