Date: March 2018

Activity:  Developing a Collaborative Relationship with Fundación de Culebra (Culebra, Puerto Rico)

With the help of the PR Endowment for the Humanities, the Culebra Foundation partnered with the Diaspora Project of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras to support the creation, dissemination, use, and preservation of the Foundation’s physical archive through digitization. Through its partnership with the Diaspora Project, Culebra Foundation is structuring its community archives by actively engaging community members in public archiving events. 

Work sessions were developed from March 2018 to December 2019 with the help of Rosadel Santos (digital librarian), Joel Blanco (professor of digital archives), Mirerza González, Nadjah Ríos (researchers). Research assistants Daniel Ramos (History) and Gabriela Rivera (Comparative Literature) also collaborated in these efforts with support from consultants Laurie Taylor (Digital Library of the Caribbean) and Jennifer Guiliano (Digital Humanities project developer).

The project was developed following an action-based research model. Culebrenses identified materials that represented elements of their collective memory and learned about the management, cataloging and preservation of those materials using tools provided by the digital humanities. This allowed for the education, dissemination and preservation of community history in a cost-effective manner. Our current working prototype features curated archival content developed using this methodology.

The initial collection and exhibitions were created using a hands-on workshop model. In the first iteration participants were Culebra Foundation board members and invited community members who explored our collection located in FC to select relevant materials. The next workshop included a new group of community members along with local school students from Culebra which gave us a chance to experiment with sustainable, open source information and communication technologies (ICT) for digitization.

Thanks to funding from the Puerto Rican Humanities Foundation, Rosadel Santos and Daniel Hernández collaborated from 2018 to 2019 in the completion of the Digital Community Archive of Culebra. Rosadel Santos designed and produced the web digital archive using the open source platform Omeka and was responsible for training members of the Culebra Foundation in its management. In the case of Daniel Hernández, he collaborated in the development of metadata for cataloging the collection of maps and infographics that is also display in the digital archive.

A workshop on collecting oral histories has served as a test bed to measure the efficacy and effectiveness of the website’s proposed digital interactions between our prospective users and our archival objects, aiming to facilitate meaningful experiences in a contextually rich and integrated digital environment. We intend to replicate this proven model as part of our proposed activities. 

The final product is the Fundación de Culebra Digital Community Archive, available at https://fundacionculebra.omeka.net/.

Related Project Activities:

Related Publications:

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