Un Archivo Audiovisual para Baja California Sur

Note: The following contribution is Lefteris Becerra’s text of the Desmantelando Barreras/ Breaking Down Borders webinar presentation from last March 27, 2017.

by Lefteris Becerra Correa, estudiante de maestría del posgrado en Ciencias Sociales, Desarrollo Sustentable y Globalización, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, México

La propuesta de crear un Archivo Audiovisual en Baja California Sur (BCS) surge en primera instancia de la práctica de la exhibición alternativa independiente en los cineclubes de La Paz, la capital. El reconocimiento de los límites de esa práctica (una función por semana en espacios no diseñados para esos propósitos, sin contar con recursos financieros para las actividades), y el hecho de que no existen instituciones locales dedicadas al cine y otros medios audiovisuales, son parte de las razones que me llevan a pensar en la propuesta de un Archivo Audiovisual (AA) local.

Aunque en México existen instituciones de preservación fílmica como la Filmoteca de la UNAM (fundada en 1960) y la Cineteca Nacional (1974), ambos archivos se encuentran en la capital de la República, muy alejados de nuestro estado. Además, pese a que en el capítulo VIII de la Ley General de Cinematografía, dedicado a la Cineteca Nacional, en su artículo 39 establece que es obligación de los productores o distribuidores depositar una copia de toda película exhibida en el país, esto parece no cumplirse del todo[1]; por ello es pertinente que la preservación de los materiales cinematográficos relacionados con BCS se realice de manera local.

La investigación propuesta tiene como objetivo identificar las condiciones de posibilidad de creación de un archivo que resguarde y difunda la cultura cinematográfica de BCS y del mundo. El archivo audiovisual sería de carácter cultural, así que la investigación se propuso también examinar el contexto más amplio del cine en México y BCS para tratar de entender las coordenadas sobre las que se podría instituir un AA.

El cine en cifras

En resumen: las producciones hollywoodenses ocupan el 90% de las más de 6,225 pantallas que hay en México. En BCS hay 75 pantallas (el 1.20%) y en 2016 se estrenaron 25 películas mexicanas, mientras en todo el país se estrenaron 90. La producción ha ido en aumento, en 2016 se alcanzó la marca histórica de 162 películas nacionales realizadas, de modo que no es la escasez lo que origina el reducido número de películas mexicanas estrenadas. Del cine del resto del mundo, sólo llegan cantidades marginales que no guardan ninguna relación con las cifras de producción del mundo entero. El casi monopolio del cine estadounidense ahoga al cine nacional que se queda sin ventana de exhibición, provocando lo que el realizador Paul Leduc (2016) llama la “invisibilidad del cine mexicano”; todo ello bajo el crecimiento sostenido del aumento de la asistencia a salas, 9.5% en promedio del 2009 al 2016, con la marca histórica del último año en 321 millones de entradas vendidas.

El espacio simbólico del cine en disputa

Para entender esta realidad, es útil revisar un episodio de la historia económico-política contemporánea relacionada con el cine, en los tiempos en que se empezó a instrumentar el actual modelo neoliberal: la Ronda Uruguay del Acuerdo General sobre Aranceles Aduaneros y Comercio (conocido por sus siglas en inglés como GATT), en específico las negociaciones multilaterales sobre la liberalización de los servicios audiovisuales (1990). Ahí se enfrentaron dos modos de concebir el cine: el de países como Francia vs. Estados Unidos. Una postura sostenía que debido a la dimensión cultural de los bienes y servicios audiovisuales, se debía ejercer una excepción, y permitir que los diferentes países adoptaran medidas para la protección de sus mercados e industrias, mientras que la otra, defendida por Estados Unidos, abogaba por un tratamiento del cine idéntico al de otras mercancías para las que ya se habían tomado acuerdos de desregulación mercantil.

Las dos posiciones en pugna revelan una confrontación que sigue viva hasta nuestros días (y que hunde sus raíces hasta los años de la Primera Guerra Mundial) aunque en los quince años posteriores a las discusiones en el GATT el argumento de la excepción cultural evolucionó hacia un consenso casi mundial a favor de la diversidad cultural promovida por la UNESCO (2005), sólo votada en contra por Estados Unidos e Israel. En México, el modelo que opera respecto del cine, a pesar de la adopción de la Convención sobre la Diversidad Cultural de la UNESCO y de la legislación cinematográfica vigente que reconoce el carácter cultural del cine, es el meramente mercantil con una clara inclinación a favor de los intereses empresariales estadounidenses.

Pese a ello, existen diversas instituciones y múltiples esfuerzos que ponen el acento en la dimensión cultural del cine. De hecho es en estas opciones en las que ocurren los atisbos de diversidad acordes con la Convención citada. La Cineteca Nacional, por ejemplo, con un millón de asistentes durante 2016, proyectó 50 de las 90 películas mexicanas estrenadas en todo el país, con un 24% de asistencia al cine nacional (el porcentaje de taquilla en todo el país fue de 9.5). Contar con una institución de ese tipo en BCS resulta relevante para una sociedad que no tiene opciones de exhibición cinematográfica fuera del acceso a las plataformas digitales que hay en Internet y que excluyen a grandes sectores de la población que no cuentan con acceso a la red.

Preservación fílmica latinoamericana

Por otra parte, si nos remitimos a la historia de la preservación fílmica en Latinoamérica, que aunque comienza en México en la década de 1930, cuenta con un capítulo de su historia que es central en la lucha por consolidar una cultura cinematográfica regional, cuya razón de ser era exhibir la producción propia y su objetivo contribuir a la lucha de las décadas de 1960 y 1970 por la liberación en los países en los que se padecía la opresión de las dictaduras o el neocolonialismo denunciado, por ejemplo, por el Grupo Liberación argentino en su emblemático film La hora de los hornos (1968).

Janet Ceja (2013) ha reconstruido parte de la historia de la preservación fílmica en Latinoamérica, centrándose en un episodio central que unió e involucró muchos de estos esfuerzos en diferentes países desde México hasta Argentina y Chile, pasando por Centroamérica y el Caribe, en la Unión de Cinematecas de América Latina (UCAL; fundada en 1965), que seguía un principio de preservación volcado por completo a la praxis social, afín con el modelo seguido en la Cinemateca francesa bajo la guía de su secretario general y cofundador, Henri Langlois, quien desde la década de 1950 había brindado ayuda a los archivos latinoamericanos de diferentes modos, sobre todo prestando filmes de la colección de la Cinemateca para su exhibición en tierras americanas. El cine que se produjo por parte del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (1967), con la contribución decisiva de las organizaciones miembro de la UCAL, estaba comprometido socialmente con las luchas populares, llevando a cabo una tarea de combate ideológico bajo diferentes posturas y propuestas, contra la hegemonía cinematográfica estadounidense, pues los intereses de las empresas de ese origen dictaban las condiciones de las diferentes cinematografías nacionales, además de que los filmes de aquel origen eran percibidos como una de las tantas estrategias de neocolonización.

Este hito en la historia de la preservación es digno de recordarse y recuperarse pues aunque el contexto político, social y cultural de nuestra actualidad en la segunda década del siglo XXI, ha cambiado respecto de las realidades vividas en Latinoamérica entonces, también se verifica la continuidad en muchas dimensiones y condiciones que han sufrido no una recomposición o desaparición sino incluso una intensificación gracias a la instauración global del neoliberalismo. Un ejemplo elocuente es la hegemonía cinematográfica estadounidense que en las décadas recientes sólo se ha reforzado en un proceso en el que anula o neutraliza la mayoría de los reclamos que los grupos de profesionales dirigen a sus respectivos gobiernos para que se adopten medidas de protección frente a las desregulaciones neoliberales.

Filmografía de BCS

Volviendo a la realidad contemporánea en BCS, la presente investigación se propuso elaborar un catálogo de identificación de las películas relacionadas con BCS, un requisito previo (y presupuesto en el señalamiento de la carencia de instituciones relacionadas con el patrimonio audiovisual del estado). El catálogo lleva hasta el momento 80 registros con filmes pertenecientes a cinco categorías posibles:

  1. Películas sobre BCS (sobre alguna historia que ocurre ahí, .
  2. Películas realizadas en BCS.
  3. Películas de creadores y artistas locales.
  4. La combinación de 1 y 2.
  5. La combinación de 1, 2 y 3.

La mayoría de los registros pertenecen a producciones del siglo XXI, aunque también hay otros de diferentes décadas del s. XX. La metodología aplicada para la elaboración del catálogo consistió en entrevistas a personas relacionadas con la cultura en BCS, consultas en los archivos fílmicos nacionales, en bases de datos de archivos de México y de otras partes del mundo, así como en fuentes hemerográficas y bibliográficas. De la visualización de poco más de la mitad de los registros se ha obtenido la noción clara de la valía cultural del material que configura una diversidad interesante y que puede ser del interés de los habitantes del estado, así como una fuente fértil para la investigación.

Por una globalización incluyente

La propuesta del archivo audiovisual estatal recupera de la historia de la preservación fílmica latinoamericana el énfasis puesto en la orientación social de los archivos o cinematecas agrupados en la UCAL, aunque considerando las transformaciones económicas, políticas y sociales que han sucedido en las últimas cuatro décadas. Un ejemplo de ello es el componente jurídico y las políticas públicas mediante las cuales el Estado mexicano le da forma y sentido a la actividad cinematográfica nacional, un campo de lucha también entre la postura del Estado neoliberal y la que defienden las agrupaciones de profesionales del cine; en resumen, estamos ante una economía-política del cine de carácter neoliberal, con trazas de la visión del campo cultural que se reflejan en asuntos como el apoyo del Estado a la producción y la política de preservación, siempre en riesgo de ser eliminados, de acuerdo con los intereses de los representantes en México de la Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), con el respaldo gubernamental mexicano.

La invisibilidad de las representaciones cinematográficas sobre BCS configura su inexistencia, que con un archivo como el formulado tendrían un espacio en el que los interesados podrían acceder a ese material cultural hasta ahora condenado al olvido. En el contexto contemporáneo de la globalización neoliberal es de primera importancia para las poblaciones de los países “subdesarrollados” como México, el que los grupos que las componen, cuenten con representaciones audiovisuales, de preferencia elaboradas por ellos mismos, que promuevan la memoria de su territorio y las formas de vivirlo; en el caso de Sudcalifornia, inextricablemente unido a las culturas que ahí se han desarrollado, amenazadas de despojo y con ello, de desaparición. La intensidad de los debates y las disputas desde la época de la Primera Guerra Mundial hasta el capítulo contemporáneo de la excepción cultural, denotan el ámbito de influencia estratégica que el cine representa para las partes en discordia.

El espacio del Archivo debería servir para practicar otro tipo de globalización, una no centrada en el dinero, sino en el intercambio cultural, una ventana a la auténtica diversidad cultural expresada en las creaciones de todo el mundo, panorama en el que BCS debe encontrar su lugar con sus producciones simbólicas, las representaciones cinematográficas portadoras de las identidades, valores y tradiciones que componen su sociedad en su diversidad y complejidad. Un espacio para que, como dice Godard, las películas dialoguen entre sí.

Mirando al pasado y al futuro

La relación del archivo con los filmes sobre BCS es la introducción de la perspectiva de la memoria,  un ejercicio de recuperación de la memoria cinematográfica. Además, el archivo también debería estar orientado hacia el desarrollo de las capacidades audiovisuales, aplicando la teoría del desarrollo humano de Martha Nussbaum (2012) a esa característica que forma parte de nuestra realidad y que algunos autores llaman “era visual” (Mirzoeff, 2003). Con ambas proyecciones temporales, una mirando hacia el pasado con la continua revisión del patrimonio cinematográfico local y mundial, y la otra volcada hacia el futuro mediante la creación de capacidades audiovisuales entre la población local, en especial la juventud. En la actualidad tampoco existen instituciones encargadas de ello, los jóvenes interesados en la producción deben salir del estado para desarrollar sus capacidades, como es el caso de César Talamantes, autor del reconocido documental Los otros californios (2008), quien tuvo que ir a la Ciudad de México a estudiar en el Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos de la UNAM.

A continuación un demo (6’37’’) de Los otros californios (2008) preparado por César Gutiérrez, director de fotografía del documental de César Talamantes, un retrato de diferentes rancheros de Baja California Sur, que es un ejemplo de los materiales que forman parte de la filmografía de BCS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnsFjd-hGtM

Referencias

Ceja Alcalá, J. (2013, Spring). Imperfect Archives and the Principle of Social Praxis in the History of Film Preservation in Latin America. The Moving Image, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 66-97. Recuperado de http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/movingimage.13.1.0066

Convención de la UNESCO sobre la Protección y Promoción de la Diversidad de las Expresiones Culturales [versión electrónica]. (2005). Recuperada de http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001429/142919s.pdf

Huerta, C. (2017, abril 17). México hace, estrena y desecha películas. El Universal. Recuperado de http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/articulo/espectaculos/cine/2017/04/16/mexico-hace-estrena-y-deshecha-peliculas#.WPONKfhbpew.facebook

Leduc, P. (2016, mayo 29). El invisible cine mexicano y la Secretaría de Cultura. La Jornada. Recuperado de http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2016/05/29/opinion/030a1soc

Mirzoeff, N. (2003). Una introducción a la cultura visual. Barcelona: Paidós.

Nussbaum, M. (2012). Crear capacidades: Propuesta para el desarrollo humano. Barcelona: Paidós.

Nota

En relación con una pregunta del público sobre si existe algún material relacionado con grupos indígenas de BCS, sí lo hay, se trata de un documental experimental sobre la celebración de la Semana Santa por parte de la comunidad yaqui de Santa Rosalía, Desierto indígena (2017) de Elti Alejandro, que será estrenada a finales de mayo de 2017 en la Ciudad de México y en el verano en La Paz. El autor, artista visual de La Paz, se acercó a la comunidad de yaquis de Santa Rosalía y solicitó su permiso para hacer su trabajo.

A la pregunta de si piensa mostrarles el trabajo, expresó que sí es de su interés hacerlo y que incluso intentó mostrarles el corte previo pero, aparentemente, la cuenta de Facebook por la que los solía contactar, ha desaparecido. Se le comunicó la inquietud de la pregunta formulada desde ¿Colorado, Arizona?, sobre la importancia de contar con el permiso de la comunidad y lo delicado de exponer una ceremonia sagrada en el trabajo documental, a lo cual respondió que la solicitud de hacer su corto había sido aceptada e incluso, comentó, ellos mismos solían compartir sus registros de la ceremonia en su cuenta de Facebook. Al ver el corte preliminar, quien escribe esto, identifica una aproximación respetuosa y dignificante de una comunidad tradicionalmente ignorada y despreciada. De cualquier modo será muy interesante poder conocer la opinión de la comunidad yaqui misma; el plan del artista es compartir el valioso documento —uno de los pocos que existen sobre indígenas en BCS— de forma libre en la red, de modo que todo interesado podrá tener acceso libre a él.

[1] Según nota periodística (Huerta, 2017), en el periodo 2010-2015 se realizaron 700 películas mexicanas, de las cuáles sólo 250 depositaron una copia en la Cineteca Nacional y 13 en la Filmoteca de la UNAM.

Reflections on a Getty Intern “Study Trip” to Photography Archives in Mexico

By: Charisma Lee, Getty Research Institute Graduate Intern, Vocabulary Program

From this past September through May, I had the privilege of working as a graduate intern in the Getty Vocabularies, at the Getty Research Institute at J. Paul Getty Trust. In addition to regular duties, interns are allowed time off for educational travel. The “study trip,” as it’s more informally known, encourages individuals to pursue their professional and personal research interests at a location of their choice. Some have used this opportunity to make advances in dissertation research, broaden their networks, or simply visit institutions and collections which for various reasons would be more difficult to access without Getty support.

I took my cue from the Getty initiatives Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA and Connecting Art Histories to craft a project that would explore visual heritage documentation in Mexico. Unsure of where to start, I contacted Natalie Baur at Colegio de México. Natalie suggested possible contacts and became a guide through the process. Karen Heller, an assistant curator in the Getty’s Department of Photographs, was kind enough to discuss my project and suggest additional collections, both in Mexico City and beyond. For reasons of length, in this blog post I am focusing on my visits with two different kinds of organizations: federally-supported and community based.

The Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca and the Chiapas Photography Project in San Cristóbal de las Casas provide an interesting comparison between a federally-supported institution and a community-based collection. First, The Fototeca Nacional is best known as the home of the Casasola Archives, the foundational collection comprising photographs taken and collected by Agustín Casasola and his descendants. The founder of one of the world’s first photographic agencies, Casasola saw it as his mission to document the history of Mexico, whether through his lens or others’. By the time the collection arrived in state custody in the 1970s, it included photographs by nearly 500 photographers.

CasasolaSign

Sign for Casasola Archives at Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca, Hidalgo, México

The Casasola archives provide visual records of events from the late 19th century onwards, witnessed by the likes of Hugo Brehme, Antonio Garduño, and the Mayo brothers. Many more photographers were uncredited, and the Fototeca Nacional continues to work at identifying these individuals. The Casasola archives and the rest of the Fototeca’s collections can be combed through online via simple search by keyword. Typing “Casasola,” for instance, will yield more than 2000 photos as well as associated search terms that metadata technicians have captured. For more advanced inputs—e.g. photographic process and image format— the user has to create an account.

Given my interest in cataloging and discoverability, I spoke at length with the cataloging team. It was especially interesting to discover that the Fototeca maintains its own thesaurus. While similar in function to the Getty’s Art & Architecture Thesaurus, the Fototeca’s thesaurus is a monolingual resource for internal use only. It does not appear online, although the vocabulary terms are used in the metadata for each digitized photograph. The Fototeca’s website does provide a list of the types of descriptive and technical information that staff try to record when processing collections. Relationships between terms and concepts is reflected only in a list of searches by previous users, whether or not immediately relevant.

CasasolaResultsscreenshot

Screenshot of search term “Casasola” on the Fototeca website. Note the “people also searched for” and “most frequent searches” sections.

 

The second institution I want to discuss is the Chiapas Photography Project (CPP). One can glimpse samples of work done on its website, but its complete inventory is offline. Founder Carlota Duarte maintains a three-ring binder, with texts outlining CPP history and activities since the project’s inception in 1992. There is an overview of the collection, and a complete list of works by participants, most of whom are Ts’eltal or Tzotzil Maya. Digitization activities are in another section; in some cases, the reasons for digitizing a photograph is given (e.g. for publication or an exhibition). The binder also includes press clippings about exhibits and excerpts from dissertations and theses, names of past staff and volunteers, and lists of CPP collaborations with other projects.

CPPzines

Some of the first zines, or fotonovelas, as CPP calls them, of CPP work, at the Chiapas Photography Project in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México

I discovered CPP as I was leafing through a catalog of modern photography in Latin America. The blurb accompanying a piece by Maruch Santíz Goméz mentioned the artist’s involvement with CPP. Later I learned that the project uses photography to center the perspectives of local community members from various ethnicities and faith practices. For instance, when support for the CPP’s Archivo Fotográfico Indígena ended in 2012 (until then housed at the local social research institute), the participating photographers collectively decided that the original works would be returned to their creators. The CPP staff, themselves photographers, continue to assist community members with developing photography skills and exhibiting and publishing their work.

At the moment it is unclear where the holdings of this decidedly community-oriented project will find a permanent home. Whether this home will be in the U.S. or in Mexico is also undecided. Underlying this issue of affiliation are intersecting considerations of value and sustainability. Where might collections like those of the CPP find the optimal conditions for scholarly and financial support? Where might staff and users be located so such resources can be properly be cared for, promoted, and most importantly, utilized?

These concerns are central to the information professions, and I continue to reflect on them more deeply with time and distance. Truthfully, the photography fan in me was more immediately enamored with the mere existence of these resources, rather than academic questions. Still, speaking with individuals who are similarly excited was refreshing. Though at times I’ve questioned my involvement in libraries and archives, exchanges like those I had in Mexico assure me that I’m on the right path.

Interview with Gayle Williams, Head Librarian, Latin American & Caribbean Information Services Center at the Green Library of Florida International University

by Ana D. Rodríguez

Here in SAA LACCHA we strive to present and stay current of events and people in connection to Latin American and Latin@ archives and libraries, in and out of U.S. borders. Traditionally the focus has been on archivists advancing changes in the field or promoting their work. By adding this section we’re hoping to expand and diversify our archival focus to profile places and stakeholders who have carved also a pivotal role in the development of Latin American and Latin@ scholarship.

Last month of April I had the opportunity of sitting down with one of my colleagues, Gayle Williams, head librarian for the Latin American & Caribbean Information Services Center at the Green Library of Florida International University (FIU). My intention was to talk, know more about her career and life as a Latin American studies librarian, and professional ties with SALALM, and indeed, what an amazing career Gayle has had!

20170530_093610.jpg

My first question is about your genesis in the field, how you first became interested in Latin American studies?

It was like a lot of things, where I had taken on one interest and it can often converge with another interest. Just started with taking Spanish in the ninth grade. Much against my will, my mother and stepfather pretty much said, “well, we think you should do that.” I wanted to take Latin because I thought that would be cool, and they were like, “no Spanish is more practical.” And even though this didn’t make sense, I wanted to take Latin. I didn’t want to take Spanish because I thought it would be like mathematics which I’ve never been very good at, and I thought it would be one more group class where I will get a C. Instead, what I discovered was that I had a facility for languages, and then, kind of prophetically, my very first Spanish teacher in the ninth grade was Cuban who came into the US at age 17 in 1960. My school was his first place to teach after he got his college degree.

Did you grow up here in Miami?

No, I am from Oklahoma, and that’s where he got his degree, at one of the Oklahoma schools. It was just the fact that I did discover that I was good at languages, so I kept taking it all through high school. At the same time, in the seventh grade, I was returning to work as a volunteer in the library, so before I started college I knew I wanted to be a librarian. Then the question came up of what can I do, because I don’t want to give up knowing Spanish, and is there some way I can work with that? I started discovering there were these people in libraries called research librarians and subject librarians or bibliographers who worked precisely on one specific area. So that helped in all. Because in college was where my interest in Latin American studies came. In Oklahoma the usual reference people had with anything with Latin America are Mexicans, and not in the best light unfortunately.

And that was because of agriculture?

Yes, because of day laborers coming in. That was my point of reference when I started college at Oklahoma State University. I was going to the Spanish club meetings, and the students from Latin America attended this. We had mainly young men, only very few women, but essentially they were in the big programs at Oklahoma State, in petroleum engineering because they were from Venezuela and even Ecuador. A lot of guys in the agriculture school who were also from Venezuela but whose families had huge cattle ranches, and a lot of Colombians who were in different programs, a lot of them mainly in business. One of them was someone I got to know quite well, and he was in business because his father was a big executive in Avianca, the national airline. The idea was he was probably going to go back to Bogotá and follow in his father’s footsteps. What was interesting about that was meeting these guys who also spoke Spanish, but a little differently. It was also, of course, finding out that a couple, some of them, would not eat Mexican food. Because when they got to Oklahoma, ever again, everyone assumes if you have that accent and you speak Spanish we assume you’re Mexican. So people were, you know, it was the usual thing of, “I am going to invite you into my home because you are a foreign student” and then they serve them tacos. And then, some of the Venezuelan guys never saw a taco. So that was also news to me but it also got me, okay so there is a common language but there are these differences in culture and food that I don’t know anything about. And that was really what started my interest.

Then again by the time I started taking library science courses as an undergrad, I found out that I could focus and maintain my Spanish. Initially I thought I was just going to get my MLS at the University of Oklahoma’s program, but then I started going to Austin, Texas on spring break to visit a friend there, and she said “well you know, the University of Texas has one whole library that’s filled with books from Latin America” [the Benson Latin American Collection]. So that’s how I also discovered the library school program also had a Latin American bibliography track. My mother was a little shocked when I announced to her, “you know I am not doing OU, I want to go to University of Texas,” and that meant out-of-state tuition, and I convinced her that this was important to me for my career. She said, “well you know you’ll have to work while you’re in school,” and I said that’s fine. So that was really the start of where I got my interest in Latin American studies.

And when you started, the program was one year or it was still two years like now?

It was a two-year program. I started in spring of 76, and William Jackson, who taught there for many years and did the Latin American bibliography courses, was starting that fall. He was an interesting person, and I just found out he passed away about two years ago. A very nice man in many ways, but a little eccentric. For one thing, in the 1950s and 60s he apparently had a friend in the State Department who was always funding him to go on all these different kinds of fact-finding trips about the state of libraries in Latin America. He was also instrumental in helping build a library science program in Medellín, Colombia, that’s there to this day. Because in Latin America they realized they didn’t have formal library science training like in the states, so he was involved in that. So he was a good person to get to know.

The other nice thing when I got to UT, since I already knew Spanish, I wanted to learn Portuguese which I hadn’t been able to do at Oklahoma State. The course at UT had a whole immersion course for grad graduate students only, and even though it wasn’t going to count for my library degree, I took it. It was a lot of fun because, of course, about 85% of us in the class already knew Spanish. Once you know Spanish, learning Portuguese is very easy since they are both romance languages, and I called them cousin languages. Our language instructor said, “well you have to go to language lab, but most of you already have good pronunciation, and you are understanding things, so I’m going to leave a bunch of my Brazilian music records and you can listen to those instead of all those dumb tapes.” That was really nice that I also got to bring in Portuguese as part of the background, and again just having that opportunity.

For a lot of my coursework that the classes actually took place at the Benson Latin American collection. I eventually started working there. My first job at UT I worked my first semester shelving books at the main old library where the tower is. That didn’t last very long. Then I got a job for a year as a filing clerk position that no longer exist, filing the cards into the card catalog at the Humanities Research Center, the preeminent research collection at the University of Texas with strong emphasis on American and British literature, 20th century culture theater and so on. I was also spending a lot of time, as we said “up the hill” at the Benson, and when a clerical position came open there I was able to apply and get it. It was also really nice and I got to work at the Benson.

It was an interlibrary loan position with a very fancy title, the Benson liaison interlibrary loan clerk, which meant the main interlibrary loan department on campus sent over all the requests that were for things that were held at the Benson. The librarian who I reported to would leave those books in my box, so it was up to me to prepare the things that needed photocopying or microfilming, and pulling the books needed to go out in interlibrary loan, and she would approve which could and couldn’t. It was a great job because I got to know the collection inside out—that was one way that I started learning more about the rare book collections and archives, especially since rare books don’t circulate. I often had to go to the rare books room and asked them to bring out a copy of something so I could get an estimate on how much it would cost for photocopy or microfilm, and one of these requests was for quite a large set of early 19th-century Mexican government documents. One day when I walked in, and it was a bad day because the clerical staff were out sick, and the head of the rare books room was really frazzled, she had all kinds of people there. When I told her what I needed she thought about it very carefully, looked at me and said, “Gayle, I think I can trust you. You worked with us for a while now. I just don’t have time to bring everything out to you the way we normally do, I’m going to let you go into the rare book stacks and work with what it is you need to get so you can keep working on the estimate.” It was a rare privilege because she was a very wonderful woman but very strict, so she almost let no one else in who wasn’t in.

So then from UT Austin, how did you land here at the Green Library?

Boy, that’s quite a few different jobs. Actually, my first job as a librarian was at UT. I got my library degree, my MLS at the end of 1977, so I was starting to apply for jobs, not just as a Latin American specialist, but also just anything general. I knew I needed to get some experience, and during sometime in spring 1978 the head of the Benson collection, Laura Gutiérrez Witt, as I was walking by one day, and she saw me and she gestured for me to let her approach her. She said, “I don’t know if you’ve heard yet that we just got this big federal grant from the Department of Education that involved cataloguing the backlog.” It was an immense catalog backlog over the main library of the Latin American books, more than anyone could do.

Was that because of a lack of specialized staff?

Oh no, they had one full time monographs cataloger working just on Latin American books and, probably books about Spain as well. There were just way more than she could keep up with. They had approval plans for acquisitions. The Benson still gets massive donations and gifts because a lot of people out there in the world think it’s very highly prestigious to have their books sitting in the Benson Latin American collection. Part of this grant was both to do some special acquisitions and micro-filming, but the other part of it was to try to keep up or just dispose of some of the cataloging backlog. They were going to hire the first year three librarians, two to do monograph cataloging, and one for serials. She said naturally if you apply you’d really be reporting to the cataloging department of the main library, and I really encourage you to because I know this is what you are interested in. So I applied for the position and I had really no background in terms of being a cataloger except I taken the usual cataloging courses including an advance class on LC classification and OCLC had just started. So yes, we had an OCLC terminal in the library school and they would let us go and have time to sit down and play with it, but I still wasn’t exactly sure how to use it fully.

So basically you started your career at that point when the card catalog was being replaced by computers?

The card catalog itself still took a few years for it to be replaced. It was the cataloging process that was being replaced, with OCLC of being able to share cataloging records from throughout the country. It meant that the days of also having a clerk typist who typed out cards sets, which is something I have also done, was going to end. You’re sitting in a terminal, and you do all your work with preparing a cataloging record through OCLC, then, everything batches, you get these long boxes of cards in the mail, and you file them into the catalog. UT was pretty standard with a lot of places, but it was still taking about 10 to 15 years to the real transition of having an online catalog. But that really started in the late 1970s, and that was the end goal.

I was happy with the idea of cataloging because actually, the other position I’ve had for years while I was in library school was as a clerk in the main library’s reference department. And again, this was when the main library on campus was still in the big administration building that has the famous Texas tower where the guy went up and unfortunately shot and killed people in 1960s, 1966 actually. But they were running out of space in that building. So in 1978 the Perry Castañeda Library opened on campus which is now the main library. So that had already opened and, what I discovered when they hired me, was they like to hire people from Library school because it would give us an experience with dealing with the public. Since I’m still at that point fairly introverted and shy, I did discover that I didn’t really like working with the public that much, based on that experience. Whether they were students or faculty members, people came in wanting everything, blaming you if we didn’t have the latest addition of a reference book that we would sometimes point out, that we don’t even know if there is a newer edition than this. A lot of people don’t like cataloging because it’s very detail oriented, it is away from the public, but I was satisfied to go into it. Also, just because it was a way to start having a Latin Americanist librarian job, so that was fine with me.

What a very interesting beginning, I’m pretty sure that cemented your foundation as a librarian, definitely.

I think every reference librarian should do cataloging for a year. I think every cataloger should be a reference librarian for a year, even if they each come out of it saying I’m never going to do that again. I think it would give them each a better perspective of what’s involved. Catalogers tend to think that reference librarians are the ones buying all these weird books that no one ever reads, and then sit in their offices to drink coffee all day. Where we are the ones that have to get the stack of books catalogued in and out constantly, it never stops. And, reference librarians think, well these catalogers all they’re hipped on is they want to get periods in the right place, instead of getting our advice on good subject headings to use, they don’t listen. They want to use these stupid subject headings that don’t make any sense. I still feel that way to this day, because I was a cataloger for the first ten years of my career. To me it was an invaluable foundation for understanding bibliography, understanding how to find things and why things are organized the way they are.

On the first year of this Department of Education Title II-C grant, the position was only going to be for a year and it only needed one librarian for cataloging serials. At the end of my first year, the other cataloger they had hired with me had already left for a permanent job, and so had the serials cataloger. We had already met our goal of cataloging backlogged monographs as it was projected in the grant, so for the last month and a half of the job I was kind of afraid, and my boss said, “well since we met the goal on the books and the serials cataloger left, we are going to have you work with Oscar, the Benson’s main serials cataloger so you’re going to expend the last part of your time cataloging serials.” It meant I learned how to catalog serials because a lot of catalogers really, when I was a cataloger most catalogers, just like people are right-handed and left-handed, most only fit into one format of it. Monograph catalogers and the serials catalogers, or maybe once in a while I am a music catalog, even rare or AV catalog. I thought I was the ambidextrous cataloger because I could catalog in two different formats, which I thought was good.

At the end of that year I had applied for the next job in the meantime, just to be on the safe side. I had interviewed for a position elsewhere that I didn’t get and I was waiting to interview for the new grant for the serials cataloger position. I thought I will have a good chance of getting it as I have already gotten some experience. They had hired someone temporary to come in who had a lot more serials cataloging experience. Also, there was a position I saw for a cataloger at the College of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas at the US Virgin Islands. I vaguely knew what the Virgin Islands were, that, you know, that is clumped over somewhere around Puerto Rico, and I knew where Puerto Rico was. I was just trying to figure out how I could work as a librarian in Latin America. I looked into it and it turned out that it was really not that easy to do because, of course, I would’ve been a foreign national.

And you probably needed a visa?

Yes, just all the things that I was young and just not understanding that, but here’s this position in a U.S. territory in the Caribbean, and I thought, why not go for that? So, I applied for it and they flew me down to interview me; it was my first time going to the Caribbean. I’d been outside of the United States a few times, like the summer I turned 17 I got to go on one of these big high school five-week trips to Europe. Also, with my family, we had been over the border into Mexico about three or four times starting when I was age 5. I wasn’t a neophyte to being outside of the U.S., but I was not an experienced traveler either. Essentially, I interviewed for the job, came back to work, and a couple weeks later I was walking into my department from a meeting, and everybody was kind of jumping up and down, “you got a message from the Virgin Islands and they said they want you to call them back.” That was when they had made me the offer, and then my boss said, “well you know,” she just talked to me confidentially, “I really think you should go ahead and take that, as you know the other person is more experienced with cataloging serials even though you’ve been doing a good job, so probably this should be a good opportunity, although it’s not quite Latin America but it’s the Caribbean and this is something you want to do, I think this would help you.”

So, then I had to figure out how you moved to the Virgin Islands? In terms of not just getting on a plane that I discovered that most airlines have airfreight, air cargo and that was how you could move, cause back then I didn’t have a lot in the world. I had just my clothes, but I did have some boxes with few books, and little kitchen goods I had. I couldn’t take it all in the planes, and that was when I discovered what you could do.

I’m imagining you in your process of moving…

I didn’t have anyone that I can really call to say, how you move to an island? Especially because I was in Austin and my family was up in Oklahoma, and as my mother thought it was kind of crazy that this is something I wanted to do. After I moved to the Virgin Islands, as soon as I got there within six weeks she is calling saying, “can we come for a visit?”. Meaning her and a longtime friend of hers that I grew up with who I considered an aunt, and I said sure.

So again, now the College of the Virgin Islands is now the University of the Virgin Islands, I got there and that was a very different experience. The first thing I discovered was people spoke a different kind of English. Just because in the West they had their version of a West Indian accent. How they spoke, how they pronounced certain things, they talk fast. I talk fast as an English speaker but they did it with a different rhythm, so I was wandering around in my first week there, when someone would say something like “can I help you today?” Every so often someone would say, “well, that’s a pretty Americanized place, so it probably wasn’t a big deal for you.” It’s a U.S. territory that is still part of the West Indies where you have a predominantly African descent population, and they can be a little suspicious of newcomers on the island. There are different ways of doing things, and you have to learn, and if you want to get along with people you have to take up a little bit of how they do things and not always think that everything you know is always best or superior.

There was a humbling process with it. The first six months were the hardest. I got there just after a big hurricane, and it meant that when I went to apply for phone service, the hurricane had just downed most of the power lines. It took six months before I got a phone in my first apartment, and luckily it wasn’t an apartment complex on the highest point of St. Thomas, and I had a phone booth. I had to go out and call my mother collect just to let her know how things were going, and that I was okay. One month she complained because my sister had just moved to New York and was doing the same thing, and the collect calls were adding up pretty quickly, and she said, “maybe you don’t need to call for every little thing unless it’s an emergency. Maybe you could wait to call me every couple of weeks.”

It was an interesting position because I was one of three full-time librarians. The director of the library, who’d been there since the college was founded in 1962, and therefore, he was one of these people who thought it was his library only, and that he knew everything to do best. Then, the full-time reference librarian and me as the cataloger. My title really should have been head of technical services, because I cataloged but I also was in charge of getting the cards filed. That job was also living catalog history because after having been used to using OCLC for cataloging and name authority, then I get to a place where we don’t have it, and we still were doing the old-fashioned thing of ordering our card sets from the Library of Congress and then, typing in the headings often. I wasn’t managing serials or acquisitions; the director took care of those.

For how long did you work at the Virgin Islands?

I was there for two and a half years. The first day on the job he said, “well, I don’t know anything about cataloging, so whatever you do back here is fine.” My predecessor left a whole shelf of books along one wall that were waiting for me to take care of, because apparently CIP, cataloging in publication, was still fairly new. She had books sitting up there waiting for the card sets, and it was like, we don’t have to wait for cards sets. This is revolutionary when I told my boss, “you know I can go ahead with a lot of these if we’re still waiting on the card sets. The CIP gives you enough information to put a call number on it, to label it, and get it out of the shelf.” He just thought that was wonderful, but it was also living cataloging history because every time we got a new supplement of the national union catalog, I would go through it. For anything that I needed to order, or to see if they had it in there, so that I could go ahead and photocopy and also start making cards.

It was very different but I also got into the early steps in terms of collaboration because it turned out that the public library system there did a catalog of Virgin Islands documents holdings. That would show which of us had the Department of Health annual reports, the police department statistics. I found out about it because one day I got a phone call from the woman at the public library who coordinated it [the Virgin Islands documents]. Because when I walked in, my predecessor had left no notes or anything about where things were, and again, I had a boss who had no idea what cataloging was.

It turned out that there was a large amount of Virgin Islands government documents just sitting in the back. She was very upset because they actually coordinated getting the copies to our library and into the library on St. Croix CVI campus. She said, “if you are not going to really catalog these, or add your holdings so we can put it into the catalog, I think we need to stop sending them.” So, I said to her, “now let me look into it.” And, so I did. My boss tended to say, “those things are not worth that much, and I don’t want you to spend a lot of time on it.” But, I already looked through them and they’re all serials. I said, “all I have to do is add these to the holdings record in my shelf list, and that it really is not to take much time.” I didn’t tell him that a couple of cases that I was going to have to do some more cataloging because there were names’ changes. I made that my little secret so he would approve.

I also worked reference there one evening a week, so that meant I had a day off where I could go get errands done, and that was really good. It was a good position in a lot of ways that I was interacting, because again in terms of both the local Virgin Islanders, there were populations of people from other neighboring islands like St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and Nevis, visitors from places like Barbados. I was getting a real sense of West Indians. You always think there’s the Pan West Indian, Pan Latin America, everyone coming together because of the commonalities of language, of geopolitical situations. But, you also realize one among all the different groups how they can also differ. I liked to joke that by the time I lived there, I could tell by accent, I could distinguish a native St. Thomian from a second-generation St. Lucian. I just started to pick up on slight differences in how they each spoke.

It was a job that I knew I wanted to move on from because it got to a point where I had done everything there that I could do. There were no real new challenges, and as much as I liked living there, and my mother would, if I had just stayed there permanently, my mother would have moved down and bought a house. But I realized, the longer I’m down here, I’m going to miss out on—I was mainly thinking of myself still as being a Latin American cataloger—in missing out on everything going on with OCLC because it was still relatively a big deal. And, the other part of it was realizing too, when I got my MLS, I realized that to be a Latin American subspecialist, I really didn’t have a great background. My B.A. was in Humanities, which was a great do-it-yourself degree because you could take courses from a variety of areas, and I think they like you to choose two major areas, and mine were Spanish and an undergraduate library science. I was only one course shy of having the equivalent of what it would’ve been a B.A. in Spanish in Oklahoma State. I knew I didn’t really have the subject background. When I was finishing my MLS at UT, I was looking into the Masters in Latin American studies program there, and wondering, should I go ahead and start thinking about enrolling? But at the time, because I got right in from my undergraduate to my graduate degree, I was 21 when I started my MLS which is very young since it’s usually a secondary career for a lot of people.

Gayle, how competitive was the field of library science back then? Now we have many librarians with multiple graduate degrees, but back then, how rare was that?

It was not that rare really. Some of the earliest people in SALALM that I met were doing this. Didn’t always have a PhD but they usually had, at least a Masters in Spanish literature as opposed to actual Latin American studies. But know this, in my area I have always contended, we are actually one of the narrowest job specialties for which there is a high rate of competition. If you look at ads for other positions that can go begging better but still very valuable especially science librarians of all disciplines, those positions can be very hard to fill. Again, it’s a very narrow pool because you do need the educational background. So, I decided that I was tired of being an overworked and underpaid student. I wanted to get out, start working, and get a little experience. My sense was for myself that by the time I was 30 I needed to be somewhere that had a good and a strong Latin American studies graduate program that I could get in. That was part of the other reason that I knew I wanted to leave St. Thomas.

That’s what worked out. After two and a half years there, I went to the University of New Mexico. I was there for seven years, and again, I was hired primarily as a cataloger but the librarians in New Mexico back then were also tenure-track faculty. As I remembered seeing job ads for them in the late 70s, it would have been black type “faculty status obligatory,” in that it would blacktop boldface, it would say, “Publish or Perish,” to make people understand they were serious about that. So, I was hired there as a librarian for the, what we call the Ibero-American cataloging team, and actually was a split position. I was working both in monographs and down in the serials department, on their serials cataloging team as their Latin American specialist. Because again, I could catalog in two different formats.

The other opportunity I had at New Mexico was that because of the faculty status, most librarians there, not just the people in public services, had a subject selection assignment. So, they were asking me would that be something of interest, because it’s changed now in New Mexico but at the time subject selection was actually spread out with the person who had been considered the head bibliographer. Then, there was a reference librarian who was also a Latin American specialist, and so was the team leader for the monograph cataloging team. They were very interested to see if that was something I wanted to be part of, and I said very much so. The woman in reference, she’s been doing literate language and literature because she had an MA in Spanish literature from Duke. Since that was really my strongest area in terms of subject preparation, she wanted to give it up and work more on some of the social sciences assignments, especially women studies. Because, again, kind of the growing thing, it was a new discipline within libraries to look at for collecting. So, I was also able to get my feet wet with collection development in New Mexico as well as being a cataloger, which was really good and it was also where I started learning how to work with faculty as their liaison.

Forging ties and collaborating with faculty…

Yes, and also because New Mexico, just as Texas, had a very robust collection. There was the Institute of Latin American studies, that was a Title VI program, and the director there was a strong advocate and supporter of us at the library. He freely gave us funding for our work and for travel. When I first got there he was like, “we want to take you over to Miguel Merck because he will give you travel money as well as the library to go to SALALM.” So that was really great.

Did you become a member of SALALM from your work at New Mexico?

I was already a member, because when I was in library school, again Bill Jackson, my professor, he was president of SALALM around that time for the 1978 meeting that got held in London. He was encouraging the group of us that he was teaching in the Latin American bibliography courses. This was an organization we should all belong to and it had, of course, the usual student rate that made it less expensive. So, I think I joined as a student, and I don’t really remember anymore, but certainly by the time I finished my MLS, I had joined SALALM. My first SALALM meeting was in 1979 when I was a cataloger. Because of my position as a cataloger, we were actually over at the Benson, because even though the Perry Castañeda library was new, the cataloging department was already out of space for adding three new people. The Latin American serials cataloging unit was already over at the Benson because it also had an acquisitions module. So, they just put us under the supervision of the woman who was in charge of that unit. Even though for the two of us doing monographs, she said, “no, monographs are not my thing.” And this was to help us with the monographs cataloger back at PCL [Perry Castañeda], they put in a phone that only went to her office number. You couldn’t even dial it. If we picked it up, it would ring, and if Anna was sitting at her desk and she would answer it, “Hi, this is Anna.” “Hi Anna, this is Gayle, I have a question about this kind of subject heading,” and that was how it was, part of how we learned.

So, in 1979 SALALM, like ALA, used to have midwinter meetings. It no longer does. UT and the Benson Collection was hosting the 1979 SALALM midwinter, so they were encouraging me to sit in on the meetings, and Laura Gutiérrez Witt, she had a reception at her home for SALALM members, and good people volunteered to pick them up at the hotel and drive them to her house, and I did that. You know, that was my first meeting with Peter Johnson who was the bibliographer at Princeton for many years until he retired in 2002; and with Margarita Anderson Imbert, who was the bibliographer at Harvard for a long time. Her husband was the famous Enrique Anderson Imbert, who if you studied or took any course in Latin American Spanish literature, you would’ve used his textbook. It was the standard in the field. That was my first exposure, and actually, my first SALALM meeting was in 1979 when it was held at UCLA. Then, it being at the Benson was a tremendous advantage because people would look at my name tag that said, University of Texas. I was just part of, as far as I’m concerned – part of the group. “Oh come on over, come with us, we’re to go out of the patio, we’re going to have a beer, why don’t you join us.” “So tell us what Nettie Lee is doing these days.” I didn’t know Dr. Benson that well. She was retired but she was still at the Benson working with the last of her doctoral students, and then using the library on her own.

And that was a funny thing too because I was never formally introduced to her [Nettie Lee Benson]. She made it her business to knew who everybody was working there. So, when I finished my MLS and I was job hunting, she came up to me one day and said, because I applied for a half-time position in the reference department at PCL and I didn’t get it, she said, “well, are they going to hire you for that or not?” because she had a very strong Texas accent even when she spoke perfect Spanish. I said, “I haven’t heard yet,” Then she said, “well, you know there’s that job at Florida, did you apply for that? Do you want me to call Rosa? You know Rosa Mesa, the head of the Latin American collection there?” And I went to Laura Gutiérrez Witt, a couple of years later, I was telling her that. I said “I didn’t even know if she knew who I was,” to Laura, because Laura had been Dr. Benson’s protégé. Laura just smiled and said, “oh believe me, she had her own way of finding out everything about everybody.” She said, “yes, from when you were hired, she would have found out who you were, she would’ve found out that you were in graduate school of library science and everything that she could about you.” So that was kind of strange but a good thing.

I got to know Dr. Benson a little, which really is something I’m very happy about. That is because some of the other leaders of SALALM, the women at the time, the woman from Florida, Irene Zimmerman. She only passed away in about 2005. She was already retired but I never had the pleasure of meeting her. There was another woman, her name escapes me now, but who is actually Brazilian who married an American. She had been working up at Northwestern. They had this early-on cataloging project called the “Venezuelan project” where they were helping create an online catalog for the national library in Venezuela. They had a grant and they were thinking about trying to hire one more person. That was another job I applied for it, but I can’t think of her name, just terrible. Because I never got to meet her in person but I talked to her on the phone. Emma Simonson, that was her name, and people in SALALM just sang her praises. Because they had Nettie Lee who tended to be very opinionated and strong-willed. They also had Marietta Daniels Sheppard who was one of the women who kind of brought SALALM out of under the wing of the OAS (Organization of American States) as an independent organization. Marietta would run these meetings to tell everybody what to do.

I have five more minutes

Okay, sorry

It’s okay. You have a very interesting career, and I didn’t know you worked at the Benson and the Virgin Islands too.

Okay, so I can compress it from there. So, New Mexico seven years. I started my Masters in Latin American studies, finished it, and there was an ad for a job at the University of Georgia as a Latin American studies bibliographer. My colleague Russ Davidson at New Mexico, who was pretty much our chief bibliographer for Latin American and Iberian collections, encouraged me to apply. Russ gave me many reference letters over the years. It was a brand-new position. It was just time to go in some ways. So, I moved on. I was at the University of Georgia for 13 years which is actually a little bit longer than I would’ve preferred. They had a small Latin American studies program there, and the library administration didn’t necessarily support what I could’ve really been doing. I had a very small budget but, on the other hand, Georgia was where I really started doing much more in terms of information literacy at the risk of bibliographic instruction. That was something I worked on. So, there were things about Georgia that were not great but, the great thing that I really worked on with Georgia were my relationships with the faculty. I had an advantage. The person who is now in charge of Portuguese at Georgia had been there for about three years. She got her PhD in New Mexico where I knew her. We knew each other, we weren’t good friends but we became and we’re still very close friends to this day. Because I had Brazilian literature as one of my big areas in my Masters, but I also had gotten to know the Latin Americanist in the history department. So there were people that I started finding out, who were the ones offering classes and wanted me to do instruction for them, and they’d bring the class over to the library.

And then, the other thing that happened towards the last about three years at Georgia that was really exciting to me was the Latin American Research Resources project, LARR, had been in existence for about not quite ten years. They had gotten one of these Department of Education grants with an even crazier acronym that I will not go into. Essentially, it was a grant to help enhance what they were doing with building a periodicals table of contents database. They had started it as a pilot with just journals from Mexico and Argentina but they wanted to expand it. They wanted to have a coordinator who could actually work with different libraries in Latin America, train them to input into the database. So, they wanted someone to do it on a half-time basis and, Georgia was only too happy to do some salary savings. So, from 2000-2002 I was half-time at my job in Georgia and, half-time in LARR as the Latin American partners’ coordinator.

I was doing about two trips a year, but first we had to find a partner had a good regional collection of Latin American journals. We did CIRMA in Guatemala, the big research Institute, rather than just one of the Guatemalan universities that would only have Guatemalan journals since CIRMA had a regional collection. That meant part of my duties were spending about a week to ten days with the different partner libraries, to show them how to input the database. That part was really easy but, then also, talk to them about what their selection assignment should be for the titles they needed to put in. We wanted them to avoid duplication with HAPI, the Hispanic American Periodicals Index. That was really a great part of my position because it strengthened my Spanish for one thing, because I was doing training all in Spanish except when I went to Trinidad for the University of the West Indies.

I was really proud when we brought in the University of Puerto Rico as a partner. The library director, you know, UPR can be somewhat bilingual but some people really don’t speak much English. Then, the director who was fairly new, I convinced him to let them be part of this. If he knew English I never could figure it out but, he wanted me to meet with his technical department heads, because some of them when they heard about this project they had nightmares about what it meant. The head of interlibrary loan sitting at the table across from me said, “so you’re telling me I am going to get hundreds of interlibrary loan requests now from libraries in Chile and I have to fill them.” And I said, “no, it’s nothing like that.” I was doing all the speaking in Spanish and, the woman who is head of cataloging said, “I just want to tell you that I speak English and I speak Spanish, and that I could never do what you’re doing right now in English,” she said. And believe me, I’m still not really a fluent Spanish speaker.

But there is the fact that you understand it, and you have an interest in improving yourself.

And the library director said to them, “I haven’t heard her speak English once since I met her. We’d only spoken in Spanish on the phone.” And speaking Spanish on the phone is often, you know, “can you speak very slowly please.” Or, the other thing I find when I travel to Latin America, I never have a problem making myself understood but, I always seem to find when I’m out on the city street and I’m a little lost, it always seems like I find the people to ask directions from are usually people who have dental problems. So it’s like a little old man with no teeth, so probably even the locals in that vicinity can’t understand that guy.

Do we have to wrap it up?

I have to go, but I have a couple more questions. You don’t mind if I send you an email? They are very important but, it has been a pleasure talking to you. I have learned so much from you right now.

***********

Five more minutes with Gayle

Can you tell me, again (share with me) how you first became interested in Latin American Studies?

Let me finish here. I left the University of Georgia in 2003 and became Emory University’s first Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian that same year. I was at Emory for four years and very content there. However, when I saw the Florida International University vacancy, I evaluated my future career, and thought FIU might provide some new challenges. I was right!

How long you have been associated (part of) with FIU Green Library?

I started working at FIU in September 2007 so I’m just a few months from my 10th anniversary.

Which current subjects you deal the most? Areas of expertise?

I work most often with history and literature but have provided assistance for sociology, international relations, political science, anthropology, African diaspora studies. Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti are currently the countries I get asked about the most. My MA in Latin American Studies emphasized Brazilian literature and history. I’ve developed a strong knowledge of Brazilian Cordel poetry, Latin American cinema, and Caribbean history.

How do you envision Latin American librarianship in the future?

Latin American librarianship for the foreseeable future has its feet in both the waters of traditional acquisitions/collection development, and an increasingly virtual environment. Buying print material that’s not available in another medium is still crucial to providing a good research collection. At the same time, we need to chart which publishers and creators are switching to fully digital delivery. The potential for digitizing heritage collections and employing digital scholarship methods to research also provides a rich and exciting future for the Latin Americanist librarian.

 How is your involvement with SALALM? Your history with SALALM?

I became a SALALM member by the time I received my MLS, and have become increasingly more active over the years. I have the honor of being a Past President, twice elected as SALALM Executive Board member-at-large, and have served as Local Arrangement host/co-host for 2 meetings: Athens, Georgia in 1995, and Miami, Florida in 2013.

I founded SALALM’s official listserv, lala-l in 1991, and continue to serve as its listowner. I have chaired numerous SALALM committees and task forces. I have been editor of the SALALM-published Annual Bibliography of Latin American & Caribbean Bibliographies since 1992. I have moderated several panels and delivered papers at annual meetings. I helped broker getting the University of New Mexico Libraries to host the SALALM Secretariat in the 1990s. Because SALALM is a small organization, members get to know one another very well plus there are always new attendees which means I meet someone new every year. SALALM is my top professional priority, and attending the annual meeting is like being at a family reunion.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Sharing my expertise with students so they can best utilize our great resources at FIU and beyond is what means the most to me. That process often puts in me the territory of new research demands which means I’m often learning from them while sharing what I know.

How much has the city of Miami changed in terms of Latin American populations?

The Latin American populations were pretty much in place when I arrived so I can’t say I see much that’s different over ten years, especially when I compare it to my time in Georgia where I did witness massive demographic shifts of Mexican and other Hispanic populations, first in north Georgia, and then Atlanta, when I went from UGA to Emory.

Finally, do you have any words of advice for incoming (future) Latin American librarians?

Understand the balance between the subject expertise and technical skills needed in the workplace. I’m not going to be impressed by a resume with a whole page of software programs and apps someone’s mastered if they can’t speak to the subject needs for a particular collection. Maintain flexibility when it’s necessary to expand your subject expertise. You may have an MA or Ph.D. in Mexican history but if you’re at an institution where Mexico isn’t a priority, put your skills to use in learning the rigors of a new region and/or discipline. The best thing a new librarian can learn is the art of building a professional network to draw upon for support and guidance. That’s where a professional organization like SALALM can come into play.

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. *

***********************************************************************

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