Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) and Protecting Haitian Patrimony Initiative


>>Good afternoon everyone.>>[ Audience Member] Good afternoon.>>Thank you for coming out. I’m Minkah Makalani, Director
of the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and we are helping to
co-sponsor today’s talk. And I am here to introduce
Doctor Hadassah Saint Hubert, did I pronounce that right? Okay, who is currently
the Counsel on Library and Information Resources
Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Latin
American and Caribbean Studies with the Digital Library of the Caribbean at Florida International University. She took her PhD in History
from the University of Miami and her dissertation,
Visions of a Modern Nation: Haiti at the World’s Fairs, focuses on Haiti’s
participation in World’s Fairs and Expositions in the 20th century. Doctor Saint Hubert served
the Assistant Editor for Haiti: An Island Luminous,
a site dedicated entirely to Haitian history and Haitian studies. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Library of the Caribbean, she leads programming
and digitization efforts in collaboration with a French institute. I’m going to butcher it if I say it. (audience laughing) In this cooperative project,
she will provide training and expert technical
assistance to the institute in its digitization efforts. In addition, she will increase access to and preserve Haitian information resources by digitizing archives, mapping sites, and making the archive
available in English, French, and Haitian Creole. She is here today to talk about her work with the Digital Library of the Caribbean and it’s Protecting Haitian
Patrimony Initiative, which emphasizes accountability
and transparency. The Digital Library of the Caribbean actually built Haiti: An Island Luminous to help readers learn
about Haiti’s history by combining rare books,
manuscripts, newspapers, and photos digitized by
archived and libraries in Haiti and the United States with commentary by over 100 authors from
universities, world. And her presentation today
Digital Library of the Caribbean and Protecting Haitian
Patrimony Initiative will discuss cultural
preservation initiatives in Haiti supported by dLOC. So join me in welcoming
Doctor Saint Hubert. (audience clapping)>>Oh thank you everyone. Thank you especially to LLILAS Benson and the Warfield Center. Thank you Minkah for
the great introduction. I’ve very happy to be here at UT Austin, this is actually my first time in Austin. I’ve been to Dallas before
but I was like Austin seems like the place to be. I’ve had a number of friends move here over the past few years so I’m
very much happy to be here. So let’s talk a little bit about Digital Library of the Caribbean. It was established in 2004. It’s a platform for
Caribbean research materials, which are free and open access. It’s administered by the
Florida International University where I am located, in partnership with University of the Virgin Islands. And University of Florida
leads our technical head so they are in charge of the website. I know I said that and
all of you are like, “What does that even mean?” Three librarians, many years ago, in 2004 met up at a conference called ACURIL, that’s the Association
for Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries. So they were concerned that
there wasn’t a central area where their researchers
could actually find Caribbean research materials
from Caribbean archives. And so they submitted a grant to the US Department of Education, at the time it was called TICFIA, the Technological
Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access grant. And then they won and
that’s how dLOC was born. All right, so dLOC as a
platform was actually launched in 2006 and after about half a million from this TICFIA grant, they only had maybe
300 and something views on the website, to their dismay. But I’m happy to report today that we average seven
million views per month now. So, what a way what we’ve come. We’re actually celebrating
our 15-year anniversary over the summer so the logo
that you actually see here is done by a Trinidadian artist. That’s a humming, it is a
humming bird even though he says, “Well, it’s inspired by a humming bird.” (audience laughing) Which just happens to be native to the Americas specifically. The line represents the turning of pages. So we’re very happy to
work with him on, you know, trying to rebrand Digital
Library of the Caribbean and hopefully in the next coming months, we’ll actually do that all
over our website as well. So Digital Library of
the Caribbean’s partners serve an international
community of scholars, students, and peoples by working
together to preserve and provide enhanced electronic materials, specifically cultural,
historical, legal, governmental, all different kinds of research materials, even from museums, available
for free and open access. dLOC’s partners collaborate
with scholars, teachers, archivists to promote and
perform educational outreach for the Caribbean and create new works of digital scholarship
and develop other research and teaching initiatives. So dLOC’s partners are very
crucial to what making, what dLOC actually is. Without our Caribbean
institutions, we would not be dLOC. So we also actually conduct
a lot of training sessions and help them develop resources
that, collaboratively, that they can make available online and for free and open access. But most importantly, dLOC
does not make any claim to ownership of these
materials that it hosts and serves in its collections. All the project partners are
responsible for the copyright and control of their
own submitted content. And that is very much very important to us to establish whenever we gain new partners that this is your Caribbean patrimony. It is up to you what you
would like to make available and what you would not
like to make available. So, at times we find
that institutions prefer to use us as a repository. So here it says that I have
3.5 million pages of content. It’s actually four
million pages of content, about half a million. Our partners are just
choosing to kind of hold on and just leave it in
the repository for now until they’re ready to make
it free and open access. And this is part of us
kind of building capacity for our Caribbean institutions. At many times, they don’t have their own developed repositories yet to store this information so Digital Library of the
Caribbean has been able to kind of step in and help them, at least, with this process. So right now, we currently
have about 70 partners in the Caribbean, Europe,
and the United States, averaging about seven
million views per month. About 41,000 different titles
with 217 items on the website. Let me speak a little bit more
about our training program. Since 2005, we’ve delivered
over 70 onsite trainings in the Caribbean. dLOC digitization presentations
are also held at ACURIL, that’s our Association
for Caribbean and yeah, you understand. (laughs) So every year, we do meet up with our Caribbean partners
directly in the Caribbean. This year they’re holding
the conference in Aruba, who wouldn’t want to go to
Aruba, so we do the trainings in Aruba for many of our partners
there to reach a lot more. We also have trilingual
digitization manuals available on our website, Spanish,
English, and Creole. Some of them are in French as well but Creole happens to be
the preferred language for our Haiti partners. New opportunities for training
always continue to develop. At the end of the month, we’re
actually hosting scholars from, well archivists, from the University of Guyana Libraries, from University of West Indies, Saint Augustine and Trinidad, and also Archives Nationales d’Haiti, the National Archives of Haiti, and we’re doing like a week training specifically on audio,
visual materials, and books. They want to know how
to do books. (laughs) They also want to know a
little bit more information about grant writings
so we basically respond to whatever their needs are at the time and we’re lucky enough
for that week of training to have sponsorship
from our Latin American and Caribbean Study Center at Florida International
University to bring a lot of these scholars to
Miami for this training. Scholarly collaborations. So Laurie Taylor, who is the
Digital Scholarship Librarian at University of Florida
who is part of dLOC as well and myself, we actually
recently reorganized our scholarly board. So our scholarly board,
we’re still deciding what should they do? (laughs) we gave them actually but
most importantly for me, it was, I had to make sure that
half of the scholarly board were actually scholars in the Caribbean, working in the Caribbean,
and the other half could be from the US and wherever else. So, we actually have scholars
from Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, Belize as well, who are a
part of that scholarly board who’ll be advising us on different things. One of the things that they actually, the scholarly board has participated in, is in the writing of grants. Specifically, we’ve had a number of wins with the Endangered Archives Program. Haiti, Barbados, and
there’s a few more hopefully coming down the line as well. And what we do, we actually, scholars are always
interested in gaining access to archival materials, but
they don’t know exactly what that means, right? Especially when you’re
writing a grant project. They think, “Hey you just
need some machines, right? “That’s it?” No, they need the money for the labor, you need to cut the check. (laughs) Oftentimes, we have to
consult with them and be like, listen at least 70, 80%
of you budget or more needs to go directly to the
archives in the Caribbean. We understand that, you
know, your institutions have to take French
and so on and so forth, but as much as possible
needs to be made available to actually make these projects happen. Because sometimes, what we have
found is all this equipment would be staying in the
archives and no one has the time to actually work on the digitization that you actually proposed. So this is how dLOC has
been able to intervene and work in collaboration with scholars to actually make more materials available and we’ve been, with the EAP Haiti grant. They made about 19 different newspapers from the 19th century available and they’re all posted on dLOC right now. And these were very delicate and fragile. Same thing with the
Barbados Mercury Gazette. I mean, without this grant,
these documents probably would’ve perished unfortunately, just because of the
state that they were in. So, in this particular
case, digitization served as preservation but that’s
not always the case. I prefer to actually preserve
the actual documents, if possible, rather than
just a digital access to it. For educational outreach, dLOC
actually does a lot of work with Miami Day Public
Schools and teachers, specifically to develop a
K through 12 curriculum, so we actually have a
number of materials online at dLOC.com. So you can find resources,
lesson plans, syllabi and other education resources about various different topics on dLOC. We have a shared governance. Similar to our scholarly board we, I think, our executive board is about 60% Caribbean institutions and about 40% US based institutions. So, it is Digital
Library of the Caribbean, we very much value the
materials that the Caribbean is providing and so the
ownership is something that is very valuable to them and being incorporated into this kind of democratic structure was always a major point of emphasis. So, this is actually a list
of just part of our partners, some of them haven’t sent
their logos in so (laughs) so it’s not as updated but
we have about 70 or so. And this is starting from
just nine initial partners that dLOC has had in Haiti,
also CARICOM, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, in addition to Florida International
University, University of Florida, and the University of Central Florida. The next few years, we’re
actually going to probably see a lot more growth in
collections coming from Cuba and Puerto Rico, just because of a number of grant initiatives that we’ve been on. Recently University of Florida
Libraries in collaboration with Digital Library of the
Caribbean has been working to make newspapers pre-1925
from Puerto Rico available. So there’ll be a number of
digitization efforts going on at the University of Puerto Rico and probably see a little bit more ’cause there’s been a lot more interest in preserving information
from Puerto Rico. As well, Cuba just because
we’re located in Miami, large Cuban diaspora, there’s
been interest in acquiring a lot more materials so we’ve
made a number of partnerships in the past few years, particularly with religious institutions who have a very interesting archives be, that are beyond their scope. Apparently, at a certain point, after the 1959 Revolution in Cuba, this is where certain people
were hiding their documents in religious institutions. So, you know, we’re
looking forward to seeing what actually comes up out of this and what kind of things we’re looking at. One of our partners happens to be the Cuban Genealogy Institute as well, so they’ve uploaded a
number of information just to kind of, you know,
inform other people as well. But now, to the main
part of the presentation. Protecting Haitian Patrimony. So in 20, well actually in 2009, a graduate student by
the name of Adam Silvia at Florida International University had an idea about connecting
Haitian archival materials to commentary by
scholars, but specifically from 1934 to 1957. He chose a very specific
time period, he was like, “Small project, you know, very feasible. “We can do it.” And then, the 2010
earthquake happened in Haiti and then, there was increasing
interest and it was like, “Well, why don’t you put everything, “do all of Haitian history?” And he was like, “I’m a graduate student.” (laughs) And then, I got brought on
boards about 2011, 2012, to kind of assist in the
recruitment of scholars, particularity since I was heavily involved in the Haitian Studies Association, of which now, I am a member of the board. So, a lot of the expert contributions was very much through
the both of our efforts and Brooke Wooldridge at the time who was the director of Digital
Library of the Caribbean. But we wanted to highlight
the archives in Haiti, right? But not to bring attention
to the state of the archives in Haiti which a lot of them were damaged, particularly after the 2010 earthquake. So, one of our partners in
National Archives of Haiti, we actually helped them setup
the digitization center. They took our advice. They made their walls 18%
gray and everything. (laughs) We helped them purchase
materials and equipment and they’re all setup and
ready to go, they’re trained, and what I like to see is that,
they value the work so much. A lot of the workers could
easily use these skills and transition to other places. But now, they go to
conferences in Utah and France talking about the work in digitization that they’ve been able to do as a result of this protecting Haitian
patrimony initiative that dLOC sponsored. So, Haiti: An Island Luminous, we made sure that was
trilingual, it’s very important that the Haitian community would be able to actually read the
information that’s on there, even though the documents
would be mostly in French given that the Haitian state at the time at least before 1990, French was the official
language of documents, and it’s still the case today, even though there’s some
kind of denial on it. Hopefully, over time, the Haitian Creole will be more representative
in government documents and so on and so forth. So, initially, as I said, I was supposed to cover 1934 to 1946, well, 1956, really, but we named it An Island Luminous after a poem by Jacques Roumain who is a major Haitian literature figure, but we feature contributions
from current scholars, students, providing direct links to access to the actual archival
materials on the website. And it was actually proudly funded by the Green Family Foundation as well and that’s how they were able
to pay us crowd students paid. I’m going to put emphasis on
that to conduct this work. We launched in late 2013, early 2014, and I put these photos specifically here, ’cause I know Edwidge Danticat was here and only a few weeks ago. And so, that is myself and my husband. We see her every other week in
Miami so it’s fine. (laughs) She’s wonderful. We actually put a kiosk in the
Little Haiti Cultural Center as kind of more of a public outreach. The cabinet was actually designed by a famous Haitian artist,
Edouard Duval-Carrié. The Green Family paid for
that, so we’re very happy. This kiosk is actually
going to be relocated to the North Miami Library. I was actually just talking
about gentrification and changes in Miami and so on. More of the Haitian community
lives in North Miami. North Miami Public
Library has been insisting that they have this, that, you know. There’s more Haitians willing
to visit and see the exhibit. So, we are placing it there in May for Haitian Heritage Month. We also have another kiosk at Sant La Haitian
Neighborhood Community Center. They requested it, so that way, they can do teaching materials for their students that come in for help. So, we’ve been getting a lot of requests and that actually, trying to make plans to kind of make this off-site and offline and actually available on
Haiti in kiosk as well, so we’re working with focale
which is based in Haiti to see what we can do to
actually make it more available. But, it’s been a few years
so we need to refresh. I’m also working on a
grant in collaboration with the Green Family to actually re-solicit more contributions, include more archival materials and re-jumpstart the website again. Current work I’m doing now
during my clear post-doc. Okay so, part of the Haitian
Patrimony initiative, ISPAN, which is basically the National Patrimony Institute in Haiti. They are responsible for
the UNESCO designation of this building you
see here, the Citadel, which is the highest
fortress in the Americas. So, when it comes to any
historic preservation in Haiti, they are the ones that
are in-charge of it. They actually got
designations by the government for, I believe, 33 years
or so historic buildings across Haiti, probably more. A number of famous architects
established ISPAN in 1979. Albert Mangonès, in particular, who, I’m not sure if
many of you are familiar with the unknown maroon statue in Haiti but he is the architect
who constructed that, but his concern was to preserve a lot of the Haitian architecture
all throughout the country, so him and a number of
architects and engineers established ISPAN to make sure to protect this national heritage. As part of the partnership with dLOC, they don’t have enough funding as with most Caribbean institutions. So, part of that was applying for FIU to have be a host for the CLIR fellowship and then they got me, how
lucky they are, (laughs) who happens to, you know, funny enough, my work with
expositions and so on, there was an exposition in 1949, so I knew a number of the architects who actually established the institute. So, it actually paralleled
my work very closely. They actually have a number
of just architectural designs in their archive. I mean, just from all
throughout the country of all the historic buildings, recordings of the comet preservation work, also like ceremonies that were held on these different sites. They needed the help to actually
try to acquire more funds so they can actually
jumpstart their archives. So, part of the work I do is
called digital stewardship, rather, it’s really grant writing, it’s just a fancy word for
grand writing. (laughs) So, I’ve done a number of
different grants for ISPAN and I’m happy to announce
that there’s one coming down in the next few months. There’s World Bank funding
that’s coming through to kind of help whiff their archive which now looks like this. I would show you the before photos but it will be a bad if I didn’t. So, this is the after. (laughs) You know, after consultation
with us and so on. So, the World Bank
funding is coming through. There’s another few grants that are possibly coming through as well. One in particular that I’ve
worked on is to provide about 300,000 dollars to not just ISPAN but a number of our Haitian partners for Digital Library of the Caribbean for the preservation of Vodou
arts and culture and sites. So, I work, luckily, my
advisor, Kate Ramsey, happened to be an expert
in Haitian history and Vodou and the law, so I
was like, gather your friends. She did. (laughs) In consultation with a number of friends, I was able to push back with the funders and be like, this is what we
want, this is what we need. Having a person actually
do that in this role is actually very important
because sometimes funder think, “Oh, we just going to fund this.” And they’re not quite sure what it means especially when we’re talking
about the preservation of Vodou art and culture. Like, what does that
mean to an outside funder who’s not from that country. So, it was very good to actually
have those conversations and consultation with many scholars who a lot of times, what I find, at least, with a lot of grant-provided
funds, and so on, they come in for a few
years, and then that’s it, they kind of cut-off. Whereas Digital Library of the Caribbean, we’ve been there for like 15 years. So, part of our agreement with the fund was like, hey, so these people
are coming on as partners but we’re going to work with them
for the ongoing preservation. You guys, do their
emergency, we understand, but we’d love if you did it long-term. So, hopefully, from there, they’ll have better conversations but no matter what, Digital Library of the
Caribbean is around. (laughs) Another project I’m working on of ISPAN is the mapping of forts throughout Haiti. I’ve managed to gather a data set which I am so excite about. I was like my first. Now, I just have to find
the exact geo location and quotes I’m working on with them and I happened to meet a collector who has a number of aerial shots
of these sites and so on, and I’m working with another scholar, who on foot, one day, she just visits all the
different forts whenever she can to get more recent photos. We’re doing kind of a collaborative, like mapping project together. And hopefully, we can get
started on that a little bit more over the summer after, ’cause
spring is always grants period so it’s like, grants, so after May, we’ll be doing more work with this. Let’s see, so, I realized, I’ve actually gone through
my presentation very quickly, but I would very much like
to end kind of emphasizing about dLOC not owning
any of these materials, and then that would giving
these organizations, not giving, rather, they own their collections, period, right? So, that’s something I feel like has been in contention with other archives, especially as we talk about
post-custodial archives, or as we speak about repatriation
initiatives and so on. So, even at dLOC, we’ve had a number of
request from partners. Like, “Hey, we know that this person “this institution has our stuff.” So, trying to move those
conversations forward in a productive ways. One of my colleagues
at another institution is working on digital repatriation to Caribbean islands and so on, just because, unfortunately,
some of those institutions are not quite setup yet
to actually take care and steward the material so, I mean, it’s been interesting doing
this work in the Caribbean. At least, when I was doing archival work for my dissertation, I actually got to see Digital Library
of the Caribbean setup, the digitization lab at
Archives Nationales in Haiti, and troubleshooted for
them when I could. (laughs) That’s the thing, getting
them setup for that, but also, the long-term
aide that they would need to continuously do this work, which means trainings, right? But unfortunately, sometimes, I find that there’s not
enough funding to actually do that ongoing capacity-building work. That’s at least some of the
challenges that I’ve experienced in the past few months in my positions. There’s money for my grading
to other platforms, or so on. There’s money for other things, but not necessarily for the
institution in the Caribbean who are scholars want
the information from. So, I’m hoping, you guys, have some ideas shifting
conversations and all, especially for these grand-funders that we very much rely on to do this work for them to understand the situation on the ground in the Caribbean and the needs of these
institutions directly. So, all into that. For more information, visit us at dloc.com islandluminous.fiu for if you want to look at
Island Luminous exhibit. And I welcome any questions
that you might have. I’d love this to be
very much a conversation about Caribbean archives,
American archives, and well, thank you. (audience applauding) Any questions? Sure.>>Tell a little bit more about. Oh, thank you. Great talk, by the way. Thank you for sharing your work with us. Could you elaborate more
on your outreach efforts. Now with the K through 12 work, but then, also, how. (mumbles) I’ve heard it also,
but, how do you activate the archive in the communities,
the digital archive? How do you activate
that in the communities where they are from? Can you just talk a little
bit more about those efforts?>>Sure. So, I do want to say, before I started a Digital Library of the Caribbean, we’re averaging maybe four
millions views a month. I want to say, two months after I started, after going to numerous conferences, suddenly, we jumped to seven million. Part of that is actually
meeting with people, talking about Digital
Library of the Caribbean in various different
places and institutions, connecting with Caribbean
scholars, Latin American scholars, to make sure they’re
aware of the resources. So, and also in the classrooms as well, like, telling people. I feel like this is a wider conversation about archives in general, getting people who do the humanities to come and visit the archives, come and see the archives,
work with us at the archives, like, we have so much to
contribute, so much to learn. I feel like that has to be,
you can put things online, but that doesn’t mean that
they’re accessible, right? You have to tell people how to find them. So, part of the work is
actually going to people, doing a lot of conferences,
speaking to people, telling everyone, hey, by the way, oh, you’re doing this research, maybe you might find it at
Digital Library of the Caribbean. So, as far as our K through 12 outreach, we do this in collaboration
with our Latin American and Caribbean Study Center who
has like a whole summer focus of workshops and resources just for Miami Day Public Schools. Every summer, we have a
number of different sessions just for materials that
they themselves can develop, that they’re interested in developing. So, we involve the Miami teachers
directly in this process. And, we also, even during the year, we do visit a number of
different institutions throughout Miami Day, I
believe, Miguel Asencio, who’s the director, does
a number of projects with, there’s this institution,
smaller public school that is nearby in Sweetwater, Miami, that he does like a lot
of outreach work with for Digital Library of the Caribbean. Also, I do some outreach with Superintendent Carvalho’s institution which is called iPrep, which is an online public
school, pretty much, but it’s, you know, not online. It’s more like we do digital work. We don’t use paper, that’s their emphasis. So, I do a number of workshops telling like the teachers there how to use it. But a lot of it is a
person-to-person outreach, which I think is sometimes undervalued, but, we need to be our
own propaganda machine.>>Thank you for your talk. It was so compelling. I have a two-part question.>>Sure.>>The first, if you could
tell us a little bit more about the infrastructure
of dLOC at the university and kind of how you project management and how as an organization you structured and get things done, and
as an extension of that, my second question, if
you could talk about, more about the trainings. Is it about the staff at
dLOC that does that training? Is it the scholarly board
that does that training? And kind of how you manage
that part of the work?>>Okay, so, as far as the infrastructure, so FIU is the administrative
base, it’s very strange, but we still do work on
the website obviously and upload on the website. But the system itself is based on SobekCM, that’s their online repository platform. So, it’s open-source, it’s free. So, a number of our Florida
institutions have been using it, so FIU’s digital collections repository is de-pampered but it’s
still based on Sobek. Think, University of Central
Florida also uses Sobek as well so that’s how what houses
the digital collection and the platform and so on. I think, there needs to be some updates. They’re working on some updates, at least aesthetically on the site, and also to make the
searches a little bit easier. I’m kind of annoying to them. So, I usually send them
like a list of like, hey, by the way, this
one needs outdated, yeah. Or sometimes, I just
like, just do it myself and just send it. (laughs) But, when you do have that much materials, it does become very hard to curate, right? So, I find myself, at times, just like, hey, if you are ready, you
kind of working on a project, using dLOC materials, hi, would you like to curate a collection? So, I’ve been doing a lot
of that, just kind of like, if you’re already doing
it, I don’t want to do, I don’t want anyone doing extra beyond what they’re doing, right? Because it’s unfortunately,
it’s unpaid work. I guess, I should talk
a little bit how dLOC was established at FIU. Initially, it was housed in our Latin American and
Caribbean Studies Center, so after we lost the TICFIA
grant, like, 2008 happened. Once your grant-funded,
there’s, yeah, and so on. But the libraries decided to
fund the director position, so we moved into the libraries, but we still very much do a lot of things with Latin American and
Caribbean Studies Center. So, even for the trainings, like, Latin American and
Caribbean Studies Center, they are the ones who
actually have been paying for a number of scholars
to make the visit to Miami whenever we can’t go to the Caribbean. So, that’s been a great help for us. University of Florida, since they provide our
technical infrastructure, they’ve applied for a number of grants on behalf of Digital
Library of the Caribbean. But, Digital Library of the Caribbean actually only has one full-time employee, which is Miguel Asencio,
I am the second full-time, but, once again, this is a
contingent position, right? But our colleagues at UF, they do so much in terms of, like, even just making sure that all these collections are available, particularly the ones, the
CLIR grant that they won just for University of Puerto
Rico’s newspapers, amazing. So, that’s part of the
infrastructure question. As far as trainings and who does it, we actually invite a number
of people just to come, even if you’re a scholar, archivist, it doesn’t matter who you
are if you’re interested. We actually allow people
just to come, like, so history in Miami is one of
our number of our partners, so it’s a local, just basically,
Miami Heritage Collection. So, they come and we train them and they train others in turn. It depends on the kind of expertise that, ’cause we’re responding to the needs of our Caribbean partners and
what they’re interested in. So, even the trainings that
we’re going to do in April with University of Guyana, University of West Indies
SALICES, and National Archives, these are the, it’s especially requested. They’re like, “We want this and want this, “and we want this.” So, whenever we even know someone who has that kind of
expertise, we’re like, hey, would you like to come and actually help us with this training? So, we’ve been actually
working with Steven Fullwood, he used to be the head archivist at Schomburg Center, exactly. So, we bring people
who have the expertise, if we don’t, so, in addition to doing, we do the trainings, but
it really depends on, it’s about our networks. So, once again, dLOC
is about its partners. Whoever has the expertise for responding to our Caribbean partners’
needs, we invite them. We’re like, hey, could
you help us out with this? So, we even have Miami
Day Wolfson Archives who has a number of
audio-visual materials, particular their Miami news collections that they’ve been digitizing. And that’s the kind of expertise that the National Archives is requesting, so we’re doing an on-site visit there. So, that way, they can see. That’s part of our trainings work as well. The trainings vary in terms
of the deeper content, like, later on during the week, but the first two days, it’s
pretty much fadgy, federal. It’s basically the federal
guidelines for digitization. That’s we go over the specifics on the manual and stuff like that. And they’re like, “Oh god”, (laughs) for the first two days until we finally get them to the hands on were like, “Okay, when you digitize, “you digitize to the highest standard. “Preservation, quality.” They’re like, “Sure, fine”, you know. But yeah, we basically
do trainings in response to our Caribbean partners and their needs. And we welcome anyone from, not just our South Florida community. If anyone’s actually just interested in just learning these techniques. We have a number of graduate
students who are like, “Hey, I’m going to the archives and Haiti “for like a month or something like that. “Do you know if they need
any help or something? “What can I do to prepare myself?” So, they come to us and we include them as part of trainings. We had another, so FIU has a DC campus. There’s a Emilia Cueto
collection that FIU, University of Florida houses, and we train like a
student worker in Miami who was selected as part of the internship to make sure she was prepared
and ready to do the work when she actually went
to DC for her internship. So, yeah, we do a number of (laughs). I hope that answered everything.>>Yes, yes, thank you.>>Hi, thank you so much for your talk. I have two questions.>>Sure.>>One is about repatriation initiatives. Like, I know that the Netherlands has been particularly activist, but I was wondering about
other places like the UK. And what that processes look like. And then, my second question
is about government bureaucracy with some of these projects
and how does that impacted some of the work you’ve done? Have you found that a challenge in terms of some of the archives that
are under direct, you know? You know what I’m saying.
>>Oh yeah, I know, okay.>>That’s my question.>>So, I haven’t had to deal
with repatriation directly. Potentially, that might be
the case next coming months. We’re looking to acquire
a particular collection and I told at least a
number of the librarians that some of the stuff cannot
stay at this institution. Yeah, no. So, because dLOC has a
number of Haiti partners, I was like, well, we need
to at least speak to them and evaluate what is the
proper place for these items because, at least, I wouldn’t
want that association. And also, it would look
bad with the institution, so we’re actually, I’m in discussions, but it hasn’t actually,
I haven’t actually seen like a full process go through
and what that looks like. I know, France returned a number, or is returning a number
of objects to Benin. I’m not sure if they’ve
been returning yet, because I’ve been following
one of the museum directors on Twitter and it seems
like they’re not there yet. So, I think, we’re still
kind of waiting and seeing ’cause, you know, it’s one
thing to return the item but I need help with the
collection stewardship. I need help with archivists,
I need help with curators. Those are the kinds of
needs that they want at these archival institutions. That’s what we’re really looking for. So, I’d love to see the
conversation move to that as well. We’ll see. Your second part, government
bureaucracy. (laughs) So, a number of Haiti’s
partners and how it works in the Caribbean as
well, lot of the archives are government, you know, they’re part of the
government, pretty much. There are different
branches of the government. So, even when we make
certain things open access and free online, there’s
a discussion before them because it’s like, well, if
we make this free online, a number of Caribbean
institutions have to list, well, you scholars won’t come, you know? And they’ve seen the opposite to be true. More scholars have come as a result, but there’s still this, but it’s still a real issue of theirs. How can we have enough money
to support our archives? So, we’re still figuring
that out ourselves. How can we help these institutions better? So, whether it’s true like
this EAP grants and so on to making sure that they have enough money to pay their staff members when
these projects are going on, but we’d love to hear more
sustained conversations about, hey, can you support
this archive directly? As far as more government
bureaucracy particularly in Haiti, ISPAN is part of the Haitian government. So, certain grants you cannot give to governmental institutions. That means, it actually limits
them to the pools of money that they’d be offered if they were just like their own autonomous archive. At the same time, they wouldn’t have the infrastructure setup if they weren’t linked to the government. But in particular, at least this year, it’s been a little bit harder in Haiti, because of the travel
warnings by the US government. So, as a FIU and Florida State employee, I cannot go to Haiti on FIU’s
time, which is a problem. But luckily, our Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center said that they will, you know, fly out certain people from Haiti to Miami to get the trainings that they need so that’s how we’ve been able
to circumvent certain things but at least, what we find
with government bureaucracy, particularly, Haiti has a lot of turnover when it comes to the
directors of these libraries. We deal with the employees. They’re the ones who are
there everyday, more often. That’s the longer relationship
that she wants to establish, rather than, at least,
certain scholars themselves, they try to deal with the directors, but those positions sometimes
are politically appointed, so people don’t stay as long. You want to work with the
employees, see what their needs are, and you get actually
probably better evaluation of what’s going on in the archives. So, we have worked with
directors and workers ’cause some of them,
like national archives, the director has been there for significantly longer than others, and the private archives are always very much easier to deal with, but other government archives because they turn over sometimes. It’s hard to get some projects initiated and even, when you’re
dealing for them directly. So, at least, we’ve found it’s easier to deal with the employees
who are actually there on a day-to-day basis, yeah.>>Thank you for your presentation. So, I’m going to make a statement and then ask you a question that seems to contradict the statement. So, the statement is, I’m really impressed by the fact that dLOC combines materials from across the Caribbean right and isn’t limited by the
post-colonial remnants of Balkanization that can
happen along linguistic lines, right, and that has
sometimes happened in terms of scholarly organizations
within Caribbean studies. But then, my question
that will contradict that. I’m curious if you have data about usage along linguistic lines? So, people accessing
French language materials, Creole, Spanish, English. I’d just be curious to hear
if that information exist.>>I don’t know off the
top of my head, but I know. At one point, because
of the 2010 earthquake in the funding that we received
for the Haitian archives. Digital Library of the Caribbean was called Digital Library of Haiti. That was kind of, because,
it was as high as 30% of dLOC’s materials are
actually Haiti-related. Now, they’re down to
like 20 or so percent. So, we found that, yes, at one point, the French language materials
were being used the most, but our most popular,
it’s Diario de la Marina, it’s from Cuba, actually has
been used, the most ever, and by Cuban-Americans
in Miami in particular, because, at least from what
another person has told me, they’re looking for
they’re pre-1959 properties and businesses through this newspaper that was published since
the 18th, 19th century. It’s interesting to use
this ’cause even though I’ve been talking a lot about scholars using Digital Library of the Caribbean, obviously, you get seven millions a month, it’s beyond that at a certain point. So, people have very different usages for what they’re looking at dLOC. In regards to even the Jamaican materials, a colleague emailed me
just maybe a few weeks ago was like, “Hey, I’ve found my uncle “who happened to be a poet.” “I found his poetry on dLOC
and this is so wonderful. “I need to tell more people about it. “I recognize this other person.” So, people are making connections that were not necessarily doing on our own just by making these materials available, but I very much would love to see a lot more curated collections because, on the site itself sometimes, it’s a little hard to navigate if you don’t know specifically
what you’re looking for, which is okay especially when
I was in graduate school. That was okay, I just type in Haiti. I don’t know what you have,
then you see what you have. The number of too many newspapers came up. Okay, maybe I need to be more
specific, right? (laughs) But yeah, as far as linguistic, we’ve seen a lot more Spanish, French, but also from Aruba. There’s been a lot of
access from Aruba as well, and I think, they had
a number of things in, is it Papiamento? Yeah, so we’ve seen a
number of different usages but the highest is
definitely, as of right now, Spanish language materials and then French language materials.>>So, we, considering the volume of the collection, right? The millions of pages, and I ask this because we’ve been getting inquiries in terms of doing big data
analysis over these materials. First question would be, are you all getting that sort of inquiry for essentially corpus
wide, the other metadata or being able to OCR those materials, to do more the data-mining text analysis? And if so, how are you all dealing with, not only the demand, but then also, how are you all purveying that access considering that it’s not,
they’re not materials, they are in your institution specifically?>>Okay so, as far as
kind of those requests. So okay, when Sobek was developed, it was maybe two or so developers who no longer are at
University of Florida, so recently, I want to
say, a few months ago, they re-hired a new developer to work with all these millions
of pages and so on. OCR depending on the kind
of materials they are. It hasn’t worked because
a lot of it is written and scripted unfortunately. But we’re still working on making it as accessible as possible. So, we’ve been having at least talks with University of Florida, and what we can to make these collections even more accessible. I do want to mention the early
Caribbean digital archive, which is one of our partners. So, with the Barbados Mercury materials that we have on dLOC, they’re actually working on a project to make them more readable and so on. Sometimes, we’ve been exporting work into other people who can do that, just because we just have so much to do on the technical side and
on, at least, grant projects that we find ourselves
ultimately, we’re understaffed. So, the work that we’d love to do, we’d love to kind of like. Oh, I have so many projects in mind, but it just comes down
to the understaffing. Yeah, so, but we’ve been
talking about it, at least. Just speak with Laurie
Taylor a little bit more, like, probably later this week to see what our technical
updates have been because we’ve been, even the harvesting from our different partners
for the materials and stuff to make sure that those
updates are occurring. It’s only because we got a developer now that they can start back up again, so.>>One last question, I swear. (laughs) you have over 70
partners, right, you said?>>Yes.>>How do you cultivate
those relationships? What are the expectations? Is it a one-time project? Yeah, can you talk a
little bit more about that? ‘Cause it’s quite a
few partnerships there.>>So, some of them happened
by accident, like, remember, we were at the Museums Association
of the Caribbean meeting a few years ago when it was held in Miami and that’s when we met the
director of the museums in Houses of Cultural Beliefs, and that’s how we started the partnership. So, sometimes, it’s just
something like that. Just, you know, do these
certain particular conferences and so on, but then like, you would, certain people bring up our attention to other collections that are available. So, we would just go out see like, hey, would you like to
make your stuff accessible via dLOC or so on. So, even with ISPAN, the relationship from what I understand,
Miguel, the director of the Digital Library of the Caribbean, happened to meet one of the
ISPAN members on a flight sitting next to them and they were talking about the archive, and he was like, “Wow, I happen to work at Digital
Library of the Caribbean,” and then, that’s how the
partnership got started. So, some of them are
more like orchestrated, like, “Ah, you’re an
institution, LLILAS Benson, who will be receiving an
invitation probably very soon. Would you like to be a partner of Digital Library of the Caribbean? So, some of them are
more formalizing that way through a number of our different
conference organizations. But sometimes, some of them
are by accident. (laughs)>>Thank you.>>Yeah.>>Thanks, this was really interesting. I love hearing you talk about your work. I’m curious if you could
say a little bit more about your work as a grant writer? And just what that looks like? Are you sort of writing grants
for these other institutions? Is that, what’s the
relationship of that work to the rest of the partnerships, I guess?>>Okay so, for ISPAN specifically, when I write the grants, it’s through FIU. So, I make sure that everything
is transparent with them. They see the budgets at what we do. They know how they’re going
to get paid for so on. That means, FIU, they
have to be brought on as sub-contractors or consultants. So, whatever that paperwork
process is needed, we make sure that we do that with them. FIU, and I’m sure, other
institutions as well, there’s a preference
to give directly to you as base institutions, at
least from what I found, when you’re applying for grants. That’s just how it is. And then, it’s weird, you
serve as like the third-party to kind of, but that’s
how it is unfortunately. Whenever there is a way to
give them the money directly, we tell them, we will help
them write it and just, you know, help them submit it or so on. But that has been very rare unfortunately, except for the World Bank where
we’ve been in conversations, like, but dealing with
the World Bank, I realize, is more difficult than
I initially thought. It’s just a lot of back and
forth when you actually, they grant you the money, but then, dispersing the money becomes a problem. There’s always excuses to not disperse the money that was
promised and so on, yeah. We try to intervene however we can by using our status as
a US-based institution to, I don’t want to say, argue in behalf, but sometimes, it does become
that way, very unfortunately. So, at least when dLOC,
when we work with partners, we make sure we’re transparent
in the grant process as much as possible. Unfortunately, when you
do work at an institution, they’re like, “Well, you still
need to add on your fringe, “and then, you’re
indirect cause and so on.” We do a lot of negotiations with our Office of
Research and Development to make sure we mitigate those cause as much as possible to give
the most back to the partner, because ultimately, once
again, we want access to this. We need to make it happen,
we need to actually support the archives that are doing the work. But yeah, it’s not fun. It’s not fun at all especially, just the writing. I mean, the writing process
itself is intense, right? But then, you have to deal with
these kind of bureaucratic, just to get funds
dispersed, unfortunately, and that’s what we’re finding. And, as I said, because of
this travel warning for Haiti, I don’t know what the means in terms of dispersing funds later in the future. We haven’t seen any issues with it yet, but I hope that doesn’t become a problem. Any final questions? Thank you so much, thank you. (laughs) (audience applauding)

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