RebAl - the anarchist and libertarian libraries network
RebAl is a collaborative network of libraries, archives and documentation centers focusing on/ specializing in the history, the theories, and the cultures of anarchist and libertarian movements. (NB 'libertarian' understood here as 'left libertarian' , not the right-wing, 'Californian' variety)
RebAl is born out the desire to facilitate access to the libertarian cultural heritage, in the belief that a broader circulation of such ideas is an important tool for the social transformation process, and for spreading anti-authoritarian principles and practices.
The RebAl project is an initiative by a collective of Italian archives and libraries, but seeks to become an international reference to foster the collaboration between those centers which share the same objectives.
RebAl's core instrument is the collective virtual (publications) directory, offering one-click access to, as well as search and retrieval of, the full stack of documents held by the various participants to the scheme.
Its single and simple format allows for a simultaneous query of the various participating centers' OPAC directories -emulating a browse through a single directory for the user. In order to offer maximum coverage, it includes also non-RebAl members institutions when these hold a sizable collection of documents pertaining to anarchism and libertarian culture - and are willing to share it with RebAl.
Every participating institution shall remain autonomous and independent with regard to the management and choice of contents of its directory, and it will remain actually separate from other members' directories while continuing to be accessible over other channels, as, e.g., the institution's own website, national repertories, and other collective directories.
The collective directory is set up using VuFind open source software (http://vufind-org.github.io/vufind/) which is hosted on the site www.rebal.info independently from the sites of the libraries and archives participating. It will enable the inclusion of library directories, but also of additional resources such as digital libraries, archives inventories, bibliographies, and open access publications - all this so as to make RebAl a full-fledged cultural portal.
General and technical site maintenance of the collective catalog are under the responsibility of a voluntary, unwaged working group, which will also be tasked with integrating new members' directories and share the necessary technical maintenance how-to with them. Coordination will be effected by way of scheduled meetings and on the email@example.com mailing list.