The University of Minnesota Libraries has begun digitizing Spanish American texts of a political nature in its collections, The Spanish American Political Texts. At this point this digital library is small (6 titles), but the plan is to enlarge it.
If you have any difficulties accessing it, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rafael E. Tarragó
Librarian for Iberian, Ibero-American & Chicano Studies
University of Minnesota Libraries
On the same trip that took him to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham purchased an enormous cache of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals that are among Yale University’s prized possessions. A century after Bingham’s acquisition, I’m visiting Lima on behalf of the Benson Latin American Collection. But I get ahead of myself.
The passage of time and the consistent investment of library funds in the region has diminished the expeditionary character of working in Peru– llamas are no longer employed, DHL is. But the excitement of discovery remains very much a part of working here.
Because it is too fugitive to identify, too cheap to profitably distribute, or in formats that booksellers disdain, much of what scholars desire to view cannot be acquired through established channels. For instance, this trip enabled the purchase of Peruvian feature films, many of which are located nowhere in North American research libraries, and a side trip to Bolivia brought back (alive) a collection of early 20th century photographs from Amazonia. Hiram would be proud!
Travel also nourishes relationships in a country where face-to-face contact remains a coin of the realm. Over the past year I have met twice with the director of Peru’s National Library to establish an agreement that deposits the personal papers of the feminist poet and political activist, Magda Portal, in the National Library and sends scanned images of the materials to Austin for mounting in our digital library. Expect additional details soon.
Your man in Lima,
Lisa Cruces has been a scholar and professional specializing in Latin American materials for the last 7 years. Her specific interests include archival enterprise, special collections and non-textual materials relevant to the Latin American sphere. After completing dual B.A. degrees in History and Latin American Studies at Texas State University-San Marcos in 2009, Lisa began her Masters of Science in Information Science at The University of Texas at Austin, concentrating in archival studies and librarianship.
Before beginning her graduate studies, Lisa conducted work in public history, exhibits, and libraries, with the shared goal of increasing scholarship and access to Spanish-language materials. Past work includes cataloging sueltas at the Harry Ransom Center Research Library and assisting the UT-Library System
with digitization projects.
Along with her previous work involving Mexico and El Salvador, Lisa traveled and conducted independent research in 2010 and 2011 on archival enterprise, preservation, and librarianship in Panama. She presented her poster, “A Case Study of Archives in Central America: El Archivo Nacional de Panamá” at the 2011 Annual Meetings of the Society of Southwest Archivists and the Society of
Her most recent activities at the University of Texas include archival work, digital exhibits, and translation with the Benson Latin American Collection and the Human Rights Documentation Initiative.
Timothy Thompson is a dual-degree master’s student in library science and Latin American and Caribbean studies at Indiana University. In his application essay, Tim highlighted his keen interest in both digital libraries and Brazilian studies, two areas that have gone hand in hand with his professional development as a librarian: within his MLS degree, he is also pursuing a digital libraries specialization, and his first two years of study at Indiana University were funded by consecutive Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships in Portuguese.
He has worked closely with Luis A. González, Indiana University’s Librarian for Latin American, Iberian, Latino, and Chicano-Riqueño Studies, under whose supervision he completed an internship centered on digital collection development. Using open-source reference management software, he helped implement a complete redesign of González’s Researching Brazil, an online gateway that provides a searchable index of Brazilian scholarly journals.
In 2010, Tim received a Boren Fellowship to spend the following year in Brazil. During the first half of 2011, he continued his study of advanced Portuguese and took language courses at the University of Brasília, where he also completed a graduate-level course in Information Architecture. Concurrently, he enrolled in an independent readings course supervised by González and wrote a review essay of 12 recent books related to library and information science in Brazil.
In April, he was selected to receive the 2011 Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship, awarded annually by the Council on Library and Information Resources to sponsor travel to the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, held this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, he was able to network and share his research interests with information professionals from throughout Ibero-America and the Caribbean.
During the latter half of the year, he conducted fieldwork for his master’s capstone project, which he will conclude during the upcoming semester. His research focuses on the contribution that digital libraries can make as educational resources supporting human development. He is undertaking an analysis of 13 major digital library initiatives in Brazil and has carried out a series of semi-structured interviews with project managers.
“The goal of my research is to determine the extent to which human development has formed part of the rationale for creating digital libraries in Brazil,” says Thompson. “My research is guided by the conviction that the expansion of digital information services can play a role in bridging the gap between libraries and local communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”
With Cavan McCarthy (Louisiana State University, retired), he is currently co-authoring a chapter on Brazil for the second of a two-volume IFLA publication titled Libraries in the Early 21st Century: An International Perspective, scheduled for publication in early 2012.
Since returning from SALALM LVI in Philadelphia I have been busy with my colleagues working on the digitization of the Puerto Rican Civil Court Documents Collection. Thanks to the CRL’s LAMP award we were able to retain our digital photographer and start digitizing the collection right away. Because of the excellent workflow at the digital lab, we are able to digitize and, after post-production, upload the files into the Internet Archives, which allows users to start reading and downloading the records as they are made available online. You can see what we have done already here (http://tinyurl.com/3lfhnl9).
So far, we have received good feedback and some genealogical inquires but we hope as more people learn about this project that more users will take advantage of this amazing collection. We are in the process of creating a press release in Spanish to distribute in Puerto Rico to continue to spread the word about the project. Again, we thank CRL’s LAMP support in funding this project, which we feel is already bearing fruit.
Curator of the Latin American and Caribbean Collections
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, UConn Libraries
CRL and LAMP (formerly the Latin American Microform Project) are supporting the efforts of the Ministério Público Federal in Brazil to digitize nearly one million pages of the collection Brasil: Nunca Mais, which contains court documents (processos) from Brazil’s Military Supreme Court. These proceedings document the cases of over 7,000 persons arrested, convicted, and/or executed by the Court between 1964 and 1979. Copied in secrecy, the official records document human rights violations by the military government in Brazil during this period.
LAMP received the collection in 1987 from the Brasil: Nunca Mais project director Rev. Jaime Wright, who was seeking a location to deposit the microfilm copy of the records for safekeeping and use. CRL stored the 543-reel set (OCLC# 31811010), created a reel guide to accompany the 12-volume index (OCLC# 47935623) to the case files, and made the collection accessible to member institutions. Only recently has Brazil expressed readiness to receive these records for public access.
With the support of LAMP and CRL, copies of the film are being sent to Brazil for digitization, after which the collection will be openly accessible via a public database.
This initiative expands CRL’s support of human rights documentation and preservation, described in more detail on CRL’s Topic Guide for Human Rights.
The Latin American Travelogues digital collection draws on the expertise of Prof. James N. Green, Professor of Latin American history; Patricia Figueroa, Curator of Iberian and Latin American Collections; students; and the staff of the Center for Digital Scholarship at Brown University Library.
The goal of this project is to create a digital collection of Latin American travel accounts written in the 16th-19th centuries. The works selected are linked to critical essays produced by undergraduate students who are enrolled in Prof. Green’s courses on Latin American history. This site will serve as a free-access visual and research tool for students and scholars alike.
The main purpose of the project is to integrate Brown’s Latin American special collections into the classroom; to introduce students to their research value; to promote them as an undergraduate research tool; to make them freely accessible world-wide; and to preserve them for a future generation of scholars.
We welcome questions and comments about this project.