In the summer of 2007, in the context of the celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of the Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios, and thanks to several initiatives promoted by Blanca Calvo to rehabilitate the memory of Tomás Navarro Tomás, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas [Spanish Higher Scientific Research Council] (CSIC) proposed to take up again the publication of the Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica [Linguistic Atlas of the Iberian Peninsula] (ALPI), which had been interrupted since 1962. Earlier, David Heap, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, had located and photocopied the ALPI questionnaires and had begun posting them to a webpage in Canada beginning in 2002. After considering the importance of the ALPI and the viability of publishing it, the CSIC entrusted to Pilar García Mouton, Research Professor at the Instituto de Lengua, Literatura y Antropología [Institute of Language, Literature and Anthropology] (ILLA) within the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales [Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences] (CCHS) and a specialist in linguistic geography, the task of coordinating the group preparation of an ad hoc scientific proposal which was then submitted to international peer evaluation. As a result, the CSIC decided to take the lead in this project in order to grant the scientific community to access the whole ALPI, taking advantage of storage and content search potential which electronic tools currently allow. This project, entitled Elaboración y edición de los materiales del Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica [Development and Publication of the Linguistic Atlas of the Iberian Peninsula (ALPI) Materials] and termed an ‘intramural’ project because it is financed by the CSIC itself, was approved finally in March 2009, with Pilar García Mouton coordinating a team made up of Inés Fernández-Ordóñez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), David Heap (University of Western Ontario), Maria Pilar Perea (Universitat de Barcelona), João Saramago (Universidade de Lisboa) and Xulio Sousa (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela). see SCHOLARY TEAM
In addition to their scientific and historical interest, the final publication of the unpublished ALPI materials is of great symbolic value, since it means completing one of the main projects of the School of Spanish Philology, designed and directed from the Centro de Estudios Históricos [Centre for Historical Studies]. These materials were later handed over to the CSIC by the project’s director, Tomás Navarro Tomás, specifically so that the surveys could be completed and so that the materials could be published.
It is obvious that the development of an atlas of this size had to be carried out using the huge technological advances made available in recent years. The current project is based on the potential which computer technologies provide to geolinguistic research for mapping and especially for searches through a large corpus of linguistic and ethnographic data of an atlas like the ALPI. Once it is completed, it will allow users to create classic maps (with the response from each one of the survey points), area maps or maps with isoglosses, symbol maps, as well as any other type of development which the online tool allows. In this way historical data can be presented and consulted in a highly novel way, with the advantage that they can be used not only by specialists but also by anyone interested in knowing about the speech and culture of the Iberian Peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century.
The publication of the atlas will be almost entirely in electronic form, on the web, using a geo-referenced database hosted on a CSIC server, with all the potential of current Geographic Information Systems. In principle a limited number of maps are to be published on paper, a medium so dear to specialists and so necessary to ensure future consultation of the data.