Archivist Spotlight: Elvia Arroyo-Ramírez, Processing Archivist for Latin American Manuscript Collections, Princeton University

(editor’s note: Elvia was recently elected to the SAA 2018 Nominating Committee)

Laccha-Eliva

Elvia Arroyo-Ramírez, at Calle Londres, Mexico City, in front of Frida Kahnlo’s “Casa Azul.”

Please give a brief introduction of yourself and your interests in Latin American and Caribbean cultural heritage archives.

Hi there, I am the Processing Archivist for Latin American Manuscript Collections at Princeton University. Prior to my current position I was a project archivist at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, an independent grassroots archive that collects social movement posters with strong concentrations in the Vietnam War era and 20th-21st century Latin America.

As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, my interests in Latin American and Caribbean cultural heritage archives stem from a very personal place and are closely tied to my identity. I feel very privileged to lend my labor to—and make accessible—the archives of Latin American and Latinx individuals and communities. It is also a privilege to put my language skills to use and work with Spanish language materials on a daily basis.

Tell us about your work at Princeton University Library Rare Books & Special Collections Department as the Latin America Processing Archivist. What are some of the collections you’ve worked with?

Princeton has extensive holdings of literary correspondence, manuscripts, and personal papers of contemporary Latin American authors, critics, and other intellectuals, with special emphasis on authors of the Boom (1960s-1970s) era. We have about 70 author archives and related collections that are processed and readily available for access.

Since I’ve started my position in June 2015, I’ve mostly concentrated on the backlog of unprocessed collections. These include the organizational and editorial files of the Mexican literary journals Plural (1971-1976) and Vuelta (1976-1998), both edited by Octavio Paz; the papers of Argentine poet and human rights activist Juan Gelman (1930-2014); and numerous other smaller collections and new additions to existing collections. I am currently processing the papers of the late Ricardo Piglia (1941-2017) who just passed away earlier this year, and the papers of Edgardo Cozarinsky (1939- ).

I am also working on an audiovisual migration project to digitize the audio cassette and reel-to-reel assets found in our Latin American collections. We have collections that feature audio recordings of authors such as Pablo Neruda, Elena Garro, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, José Donoso, and many more. I am very excited about this project as it is a pilot project that will help inform the start of a reformatting program to digitize other AV materials held in our manuscript collections.

You recently presented at the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) this fall, and posted your comments on medium at https://medium.com/on-archivy/invisible-defaults-and-perceived-limitations-processing-the-juan-gelman-files-4187fdd36759#.u2k2zc6nc. How do you see the future of archives, especially digital archives, in relation to traditionally marginalized groups?

There seems to be a tendency to fully endorse technologies as egalitarian and democratic. That thanks to current technologies, information can now not only be immediately accessible, it is also accessible to a wider audience, and more folks can create and contribute content. Yes, there is truth to this; however, we cannot simply rely on this blanket promise without holding accountable those that are building the tools or otherwise making this information accessible. There has been recent critical scholarship (OLITA spotlight talk at the Ontario Library Association, 2015) about the implicit biases in the way technologies are built and how they simply mirror the biases and perspectives of those that build them. This argument elucidates that the same systemic structures that exist and oppress minority or marginalized groups in society are perpetuated in the technological tools we use to access information because the industries that make these tools, and related industries that purpose them, are created and used by the majority white and the majority male. Understanding this, how does that affect the preservation and access to digital archives of those from traditionally marginalized groups?

In my talk I argue that it takes critical awareness, consciousness, and ethical responsibility to uphold the cultural and political integrity of archival collections that are located outside of the majority, which I called the (in)visible default of “western, white, straight, and male”   and collections that are not in English. Without active intervention to uphold the cultural and political integrity of archival collections of creators that are not English speaking, western, white, straight, or male, we run the risk of projecting this default onto them in the ways that we preserve and provide access to them.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work? The most challenging?

The most rewarding parts of my day are getting to learn about individuals I never met through the ways they lived, wrote, thought, and interacted with others felt vis-a-vis the traces they left behind. When I was a child I liked to scavenge through my mother’s purse while she and my father were out dancing during family parties. I liked to pull everything out of her purse to figure out what everything was and why my mom needed to carry it. I think there’s something in this weird childhood pastime that has endured in adulthood. My work is part detective, part psychologist and getting to figure out and preserve the puzzle of a person or an organization’s records and projecting this out to the world for access is still the coolest and most rewarding part of what I get to dedicate my 9-5 to.

What I find the most challenging in this field is remaining critical and constructive about the silences or deliberate obstructions in archival representation, in particular when it affects the representation of marginalized communities. The majority of archival collections I currently work with come from the established literary canons of Latin America; this is a fact that does not escape me. Though through my writing, presentations, and other outlets I try to contribute critical thought and perspective to these issues in the field.

Finally, what advice and words of wisdom would you give to new and aspiring archivists?

Even though I have about 6 years of post-MLIS experience working in archives, I still consider myself an early career professional so I am learning with everyone who is getting started in this field. I’ve recently offered some advice to students and new professionals in the SAA SNAP blog. Beside what I said there, all I can offer is my experience—what has worked and not worked for me. For both grad school and taking the job at Princeton, I’ve had to move away from my family and friends which is part of the challenge of working in archives. If you are able to pick up and relocate to gain the experience you need to get your foot through the door, do it. I recognize that because I did not have any geographical limitations or familial responsibilities of taking care of an elderly parent or children of my own, that I could do that easily.

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age – Webinar 3

caribbeanscholarshippic

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Please join us for an upcoming event featuring innovative digital work with Colony in Crisis, April 11, 2017, at 11am (Miami Time).

Presenters: Nathan Dize and Abby Broughton (Vanderbilt University)

 Click here to participate in the online event: http://ufsmathers.adobeconnect.com/Caribbean

 About the Presentation:

A digital project created in 2014 through the collaboration of two graduate students and a librarian, A Colony in Crisis (CiC, https://colonyincrisis.lib.umd.edu/) exemplifies interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research in the contemporary, media-enhanced age of humanities scholarship. Working through the framework of the grain crisis of 1789 in colonial Saint-Domingue, CiC provides English translations and introductions of original French pamphlets in hopes of promoting a glimpse into one of the many alternative histories of the Atlantic World in the years preceding the Haitian Revolution. With the goal of curating archival documents in order to offer students and scholars alike the possibility of working with archival texts across language barriers, the team partners with instructors to implement the project in the undergraduate classroom. Fall 2015 saw the implementation of CiC in an upper-level French literature course. One year later, the team reflects on their first foray into the classroom and where to steer the project over the years to come.

 About the Speakers:

Abby R. Broughton is a PhD student in the Department of French and Italian at Vanderbilt University, where she specializes in 20th century queer literature, body and identity politics, and the intersection of illustration and text. Abby is a co-author, translator, and editor of A Colony in Crisis: The Saint-Domingue Grain Shortage of 1789.

Nathan H. Dize is a PhD student in the Department of French and Italian at Vanderbilt University where he specializes in Haitian theater, poetry, and revolutionary poetics during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Nathan is the content curator, translator, and editor of A Colony in Crisis: The Saint-Domingue Grain Shortage of 1789.

About the Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age Webinar Series:

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), in partnership with the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL), the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University of Puerto Rico, the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), has organized a series of online events, Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Other upcoming webinars in the series include:

·        May 10, 11am Miami time, Dr. Sara Gonzalez on 3D printing services

Recordings of all webinars will be available in dLOC soon after the webinar.

Please join us for next stage conversations from the webinars, to take place at ACURIL’s 2017 annual conference, focusing on Interdisciplinary Research in the Caribbean: http://acuril2017puertorico.com/

Twitter: #digcaribbeanscholarship

Twitter: @dlocaribbean

Invitation to Webinar: Desmantlando Fronteras / Breaking Down Borders

WebinarLogo
Desmantelando Fronteras/Breaking Down Borders

Webinar 27 marzo 2017 | March 27, 2017
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1709261575635267075

Están cordialmente invitados al próximo webinar de la serie Desmantelando Fronteras/Breaking Down Borders. Los presentadores invitados son Lefteris Becerra, estudiante de maestría del posgrado en Ciencias Sociales: Desarrollo Sustentable y Globalización, de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, y las doctoras Janet Ceja y Mónica Colón-Aguirre, ambas profesoras de Bibliotecología y Ciencias de la Información en Simmons College, en Boston, Massachusetts.

En el estado mexicano de Baja California Sur no existe hasta ahora una institución encargada del resguardo y difusión del patrimonio audiovisual propio. En su presentación, Lefteris Beccera expondrá la configuración de un archivo audiovisual local orientado al acceso de los usuarios a la filmografía del estado, con el auxilio de la tecnología digital que lleva a cabo en su investigación: Formulación de propuesta para la creación del Archivo Audiovisual de Baja California Sur (1895-2016). Actualmente realiza una estancia de investigación breve en el Simmons College bajo la tutela de la Dra. Janet Ceja.

Conforme la detención y deportación sistemática de inmigrantes continua amenazando a familias y comunidades en EE.UU, los archiveros y bibliotecarios tienen un papel educativo y humanitario en difundir información sobre los derechos civiles y de inmigrantes. En esta plática, las doctoras Ceja y Cólon-Aguirre discutirán cómo el tema del desarrollo de registros es pertinente a las necesidades de información de inmigrantes en riesgo de deportaciones forzadas o inhumanas.

Las doctoras Ceja y Colón-Aguirre trabajan en el proyecto Latino Literacy, Librarians and Archivists in Boston, el cual se enfoca en la identificación e incorporación de las necesidades informáticas de la comunidad Latina a servicios de extensión comunitaria dirigidos por bibliotecarios y archivistas en Boston, Massachusetts. El proyecto es financiado por Emily Hollowell Research Grant.

El evento será en español y en inglés y se llevará a cabo el lunes, 27 de marzo, 2017 a las siguientes horas locales:

  • EEUU 14:00 horas EST / 13:00 CST / 11:00 PST
  • México D.F. / Honduras 12:00 horas
  • Quito / Bogotá / Lima 13:00 horas
  • Buenos Aires/Santiago 15:00 horas
  • Caracas 13:30 horas

Please register for this event HERE and log-in on the day of the event
Por favor regístrese para este evento AQUÍ e ingrese a la sesión el día del evento

*Después del webinar, por favor de contestar la encuesta AQUÍ.*
*At the end of the webinar, please fill out the survey HERE. *

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You are cordially invited to the next installment of the Desmantelando Fronteras/Breaking Down Borders webinar series. This event will feature speakers Lefteris Becerra, a Social Sciences Graduate student studying at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, and Dr. Janet Ceja and Dr. Mónica Cólon-Aguirre, assistant professors in Library and Information Science at Simmons College.

In the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, there is no institution charged with the stewardship and administration of its audiovisual patrimony. During this talk, Lefteris Beccera will lay down the framework for the configuration of a local audiovisual archive oriented towards user’s access to the state’s filmography, aided by digital technologies, which forms the basis of his research project: Formulación de propuesta para la creación del Archivo Audiovisual de Baja California Sur (1895-2016). Currently, he is a visiting researcher at Simmons College under the direction of Dr. Janet Ceja.

As the systematic detention and deportation of immigrants continues to threaten families and communities across the United States, archivists and librarians have an educational and humanitarian role to play in disseminating information on civil and immigrant rights. In this presentation, Dr. Janet Ceja and Dr. Mónica Cólon-Aguirre, will discuss the “records issues” embedded in the information needs of immigrant communities during immigrant raids.

Dr. Ceja and Dr. Colón-Aguirre are working on the Latino Literacy, Librarians and Archivists in Boston project, which focuses on identifying and linking the information needs of the Latino community to outreach services conducted by librarians and archivists in Boston, Massachusetts. Project funded by the Emily Hollowell Research Grant.

The event shall take place in English and Spanish on Monday, March 27, 2017, at the following times:

  • USA 2:00PM horas EST / 01:00PM CST / 11:00AM PST
  • México D.F. / Honduras 12:00PM
  • Quito / Bogotá / Lima 01:00PM
  • Buenos Aires/Santiago 03:00PM
  • Caracas 01:30PM

Please register for this event HERE and log-in on the day of the event
Por favor regístrese para este evento AQUÍ e ingrese a la sesión el día del evento

*Después del webinar, por favor de contestar la encuesta AQUÍ.*
*At the end of the webinar, please fill out the survey HERE. *

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age – Webinar 2

caribbeanscholarshippic

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Please join us for an upcoming event featuring innovative digital work with a small axe platform for digital practice: sx archipelagos, February 28, 2017, at 11am (Miami Time).

 Presenter: Dr. Alex Gil, Columbia University and sx: archipelagos

 Click here to participate in the online event: http://ufsmathers.adobeconnect.com/Caribbean

Click here to view a recording of the webinar: http://dloc.com/AA00015557/00005/video.

About the Presentation:

a small axe platform for digital practice: sx archipelagos (http://smallaxe.net/sxarchipelagos/) is the latest born-digital articulation of the Small Axe Project. It is a peer-reviewed publication platform devoted to creative exploration, debate, and critical thinking about and through digital practices in contemporary scholarly and artistic work in and on the Caribbean. Given the wide implications of the “digital turn” for our very conceptions of knowledge, our mission is to discern the ways in which the digital may enhance and transform our comprehension of the regional and diasporic Caribbean. sx archipelagos responds to this challenge with three distinct dimensions of critical production: scholarly essays; digital scholarship projects; and digital project reviews.

About the Speaker: Alex Gil is Digital Scholarship Coordinator for the Humanities and History at Columbia University and affiliate Faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He serves as a collaborator with faculty, students and the library leveraging non-trivial technologies in humanities research, pedagogy and scholarly communications. Current projects include Ed, a digital platform for minimal editions of literary texts; the Translation Toolkit; and, In The Same Boats, a visualization of trans-Atlantic intersections of black intellectuals in the 20th century. He is founder and former chair of the Global Outlook::Digital Humanities initiative, co-founder and co-director of the Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities and the Studio@Butler at Columbia University, and founder and co-editor of SX Archipelagos.

About the Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age Webinar Series:

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), in partnership with the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL), the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University of Puerto Rico, the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM), has organized a series of online events, Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Other upcoming webinars in the series include:

  • April 11, 11am Miami time: Nathan Dize and Abby Broughton on Colony in Crisis
  • May 10, 11am Miami time, Dr. Sara Gonzalez on 3D printing services
  • Date pending for: Caribbean Memory

Recordings of all webinars will be available in dLOC soon after the webinar.

Please join us for next stage conversations from the webinars, to take place at ACURIL’s 2017 annual conference, focusing on Interdisciplinary Research in the Caribbean: http://acuril2017puertorico.com/

Twitter: #digcaribbeanscholarship

Translations of SAA Guides and Pamplets

A new initiative led by LACCHA co-chair Ana D. Rodríguez aims to expand the mission and reach of SAA and make it multicultural.  The group, including Fernando Herranz, Amanda Moreno, Belinda Cavazos, Ximena Valdivia, Maria Isabel Molestina-Kurlat, and Roberto Pareja, have teamed with SAA Publications Editor Chris Prom to translate the popular pamphlet, “Donating Personal/Family Papers.” This document is now available as “Guía para donar sus documentos personales o familiares a un depósito,” on the SAA website “About Archives” tab (http://www2.archivists.org/about-archives), with the other guides and documents on the right column, or directly at http://www2.archivists.org/publications/brochures/donar-docfamiliares.

This translation is in addition to the “Guía para donar los Registros de su Organización a un depósito,” (“Donating Organizational Records”).

The group is currently working on a translation of “A Guide to Deeds of Gift.”

screenshotdonorguidetranslation

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age – Webinar 1

caribbeanscholarshippic

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Please join us for an upcoming event featuring innovative digital work in Dominica on January 18, 2017, at 11am (Miami Time).

 Presenter: Dr. Schuyler Esprit, Dominica State College, Create Caribbean Inc.

Click here to participate in the online event: http://ufsmathers.adobeconnect.com/Caribbean

Click here to view a recording of the webinar: http://dloc.com/AA00015557/00004/video.

About the Presentation:

In the small island developing state of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the push towards Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development has risen rapidly on the national agenda. This is true for several sectors, including entrepreneurship and education. However, national efforts to understand the impact of expanding technologies, particularly through the use of digital humanities or humanities computing, has been much slower despite collective enthusiasm among library and museum experts, academics and other intellectuals workers about developing the technological scope and reach of their work. For the most part, efforts and resources to encourage ICT use have minimized these very knowledge and culture nerve centers that inform the content of entrepreneurship through technology. Create Caribbean Inc. is a research institute located in Dominica, designed on the principles and values of digital scholarship and practicing digital humanities methodologies, and is one of the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean to formalize the confluence of archival studies, heritage preservation, academic research, higher education curriculum development and the wave of technological advancement. Founded in 2014, the Institute has entered into a partnership with the Dominica State College to institutionalize and create national conversation and impact on innovative knowledge acquisition and sharing amidst economic and geographic constraints that create large social gaps in access to libraries, research, cultural activities and technological experimentation. This presentation will explore the best practices of Create Caribbean Inc., the Research Institute at Dominica State College to consider its goals and objectives, growth process, challenges and plans for enhancement and expansion beyond Dominica and into the wider Caribbean. The presentation will outline the role of each of the institute’s core areas – heritage preservation, academic research, higher education curriculum development, college teaching and community outreach – through the lens of the digital humanities and its impact on the Caribbean space. I will also include a discussion of the benefits of adopting digital humanities vocabulary, theory and praxis within the region, adapting those elements to considerations of economic, social and political peculiarities of the Caribbean.

About the Speaker: Dr. Schuyler Esprit is a scholar of Caribbean literature and cultural studies, and postcolonial theory.  Dr. Esprit holds a PhD in English literature from University of Maryland – College Park. She is the Founding Director of Create Caribbean Inc. (http://createcaribbean.org/create/), Research Institute at Dominica State College. The Research Institute supports students and scholars to use digital technologies for research, teaching and learning in areas of Caribbean development, especially its culture, history and heritage. She currently works as Dean of Academic Affairs at Dominica State College. Dr. Esprit has also taught and held professional positions at a number of universities in the United States. She is now completing her book entitled West Indian Readers: A Social History and its digital companion, both of which are historical explorations of reading culture in the Caribbean. She has also written the introduction to the 2016 Papillote Press edition of The Orchid House, the 1953 novel by Dominican writer Phyllis Shand Allfrey.

About the Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age Webinar Series:

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), in partnership with the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL), the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University of Puerto Rico, and the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), has organized a series of online events, Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Other upcoming webinars in the series include:

  • Feb. 28, 11am Miami time: Dr. Alex Gil on small axe: archipelagos
  • April 11, 11am Miami time: Nathan Dize and Abby Broughton on Colony in Crisis
  • May 10, 11am Miami time, Dr. Sara Gonzalez on 3D printing services
  • Date pending for: Caribbean Memory

Recordings of all webinars will be available in dLOC soon after the webinar.

Please join us for next stage conversations from the webinars, to take place at ACURIL’s 2017 annual conference, focusing on Interdisciplinary Research in the Caribbean: http://acuril2017puertorico.com/

Twitter: @dlocaribbean

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age

caribbeanscholarshippic

Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

About the Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age Webinar Series:

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), in partnership with the Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL), the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University of Puerto Rico, and the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), has organized a series of online events, Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, a webinar series showcasing digital and/as public research and teaching in Caribbean Studies. The series provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.

Recordings of all webinars are available at the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) at
http://dloc.com/AA00015557/00004/allvolumes.

Upcoming webinars in the series include:

Please join us for next stage conversations from the webinars, to take place at ACURIL’s 2017 annual conference, focusing on Interdisciplinary Research in the Caribbean: http://acuril2017puertorico.com/

Twitter: @dlocaribbean

Archivist Spotlight: Rachel E. Winston, Black Diaspora Archivist at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections (University of Texas at Austin)

rachelwinston

Please give a brief introduction of yourself and your interests in Latin American and Caribbean cultural heritage archives.

My name is Rachel E. Winston—I am a graduate of Davidson College (Anthropology and French), the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and The University of Texas at Austin (MSIS). Throughout my educational and professional career, I’ve been passionate about representation and access within cultural institutions and in community programming initiatives. As an archivist, I’m interested in the ways in which people of color are represented, described and preserved in our institutions, and further, dismantling imposed barriers to access for these kinds of materials.

You recently started in the newly created Black Diaspora Archivist position at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin. Tell us a little bit about the new role and your goals for collecting and establishing the Black Diaspora archive.

The Black Diaspora Archive is a collaborative initiative between UT Libraries, Black Studies and LLILAS Benson. In my role as Black Diaspora Archivist, I’m leading the university’s effort in developing a special collection that documents the Black experience throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.  One of the things I’m most excited about is being able to highlight the experiences and works of people of color as told/documented by they themselves—there’s a huge void in this space.  I’m especially grateful to be doing this work at LLILAS Benson where there is real concern for ethical collecting, social justice and post-custodial archival practice.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career? Any advice to fellow new professionals?

Getting this job! In a lot of ways, I was preparing myself for this position before it even existed and I’m looking forward the achievements the Black Diaspora Archive will make in the years to come. To those who are committed to countering or changing the narrative and creating space for others in our field—stay encouraged and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

More on the New Archives Law in Mexico

by Margarita Vargas

As a consequence of the activism of historians and library science professionals, the law will not be presented to the Mexican Senate during the next period of sessions. This gives time for more work, analysis, and proposals. The objective is to have a law that allows transparency and unrestricted access to archives. This way, the law will give way to an inclusive and plural historic memory. To achieve this, the Board of the Mexican Committee of Historic Sciences asks historians to continue the activism against the current initiative: http://www.h-mexico.unam.mx/node/18771.

Por el Derecho a la Memoria (For the Right of Historic Memory)

Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, International Archives Affairs Section

In past weeks, Mexican scholars, archivists, and LIS professionals have organized forums and issued declarations to make known their discontent with the new General Law of Archives that was presented to the Mexican Senate on November 17, 2016. This new law would supersede the Federal Archives Law which has been in place since 2012. Why is this new law troublesome?

The new law proposes the creation of a Ruling Council of the National Archives System. The Council would be under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. The law also states that the president of the country would designate the Director of Mexico’s National Archives. These provisions take away the technical and administrative autonomy of the National Archives and the National System of Archives, and thus eliminate the checks and balances that such institutions should provide.

Although this law is supposed to guarantee transparency, it does not guarantee access to public and historic records. For this reason, scholars and LIS professionals request that the new law sets standards to regulate the transfer of government records to the National Archives and to prevent the restriction of access, the deaccession, or the destruction of such records.

Enrique Chmelnik, President of the Association of Mexican Private Archives and Libraries (AMABPAC) and Director of the Center of Documentation and Research of the Jewish Communities in Mexico (CDIJUM) participated at the SAA’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Atlanta. There he explained two concerns that Mexican private LIS institutions have about the new law. The first is that the new law did not set up a democratic procedure to select the representative of private archives and libraries to the Ruling Council of the National Archives System. The second is that the new law gives the Mexican state the power to expropriate private archives, but does not set up a transparent and accountable way to exert such power, such as the creation of interdisciplinary and autonomous councils that might supervise and advise on the expropriation.

On November 28, 2016, scholars and LIS professionals met with the Mexican senate to discuss the new law. They demanded that the new law be modified to meet the needs for transparency, access to information, and accountability. These needs are especially urgent because in the last years, human rights have been constantly violated in Mexico.

For the petition by scholars and LIS professionals see: http://www.h-mexico.unam.mx/node/18666

For a summary of the meeting see: https://youtu.be/w1x_3h-ZDGQ

For Enrique Chmelnik’s petition to the Mexican senate see: https://youtu.be/kHUjFJGnhEc