In a statement, UMinho said that the site allows citizens to access a vast collection, which includes thousand-year-old documents, early press editions, works from the legal deposit and publications on the latest scientific advances.

“The project reinforces the role of this academy in open science and shows its unique documental wealth in the country, as it integrates university and public libraries and archive units,” They add.

According to UMinho, in Portugal, Caminho “only has similarities with some municipalities or cultural bodies, but whose holdings and type of valences are smaller”.

“At UMinho, it is fascinating to have university libraries, repositories and very current and increasingly digital documentary funds, but we also have, for example, a district archive with thousand-year-old documentation and a patrimonial public library with a remarkable historical fund, receiving legal deposit for 90 years, which is also shared and made available by the Lúcio Craveiro da Silva Library”, says the director of the Documentation and Library Services (SDB) of UMinho, Eloy Rodrigues.

The new service speeds up the simultaneous search in the several catalogues.

At the moment there are 1.4 million records, including 393,000 from the Lúcio Craveiro da Silva Library, 387,000 from the Braga District Archive, 351,000 from the SDB, 167,000 from the Braga Public Library, 68,000 from RepositóriUM (digital deposit of UMinho's scientific publications) and 40,000 from the Martins Sarmento Society.

To make it easier for users to search, more than 100,000 copies already have a miniature image of their cover or first page.

The SDB collection includes the general libraries of UMinho in Braga and Guimarães, as well as the libraries of the schools of Architecture (called the Nuno Portas Library), Law and Medicine (or Joaquim Pinto Machado) and the libraries of the institutes of Education and Letters and Human Sciences (or Vítor Aguiar e Silva).

The collection should soon reach 1.5 million records, with the indexing of some groups of already existing documents and the continuous input of new publications.

It will also become part of the catalogue of magazines and books of UMinho Editora.

The initiative was first started five years ago, for the modernisation of the library management software and the creation of the collective catalogue, also aiming at a greater cooperation and sharing of resources among the documentary units.