Electronic libraries, archives and other resources

During the last few years I have been running into more and more electronic depositories of information. Some are very aesthetic in their presentation, others simpler but useful nevertheless. I begin here a list of some of them, focusing more particularly on resources useful to those studying Latin America and US Latin@s. It is very limited at this point, but I thought it would be good to register the sources for myself and share them with others. I will be adding material as I discover (or remember) other sources. I also hope that by placing this list on-line I can get recommendations from visitors to my blog, so please leave any suggestions at the comments section.

Electronic libraries and other text collections

Biblioteca Ayacucho Digital

This site allows users to download on PDF many of the titles of this influential Venezuelan publishing house. The editions available here are always prepared by prominent scholars and are often critical editions which include very useful footnotes, introductions, chronologies and other scholarly articles about the texts and authors. I am very grateful for this project, but just wish that the PDFs were searchable.

Bibliteca Digital de Cuba

A collection of Cuban texts from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The texts are available in PDF format, some as scans of books, others as electronic copies. Also includes a collections of recorded books and bibliographies. In order to look at the texts one must first select an author from the list of available authors and then select a text from the options in the new window.

Biblioteca Digital, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa

A collection of digitized books and journals from this university. The collection is somewhat limited, but interesting nevertheless. While some of the texts are available on-line, others need to be requested from the library. It is divided into two sections: Antique Books – including incunabula and the sixteenth century; and Theatre – including monographs (most of the ones I tried to access needed to be requested at a library) and periodicals.

Biblioteca Digital Mexicana

A collaborative project of Mexico’s Archivo General de la Nación, Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Centro de Estudios de Historia de México, and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. While this collections is still somewhat limited, it includes scanned copies of documents, maps and pictures. It is well catalogued, easy to navigate, and most posts are accompanied by useful information. The site itself is also aesthetically enjoyable.

Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña

A digitized archive that seems dominated by images. Includes collections of cartoons, posters and maps, as well as the photography collection of the El Mundo newspaper. It also has sections dedicated to rare books and manuscripts.

Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes

A very complete collection including many texts written in Spanish. Many of its texts are electronic versions rather than scans of original books. Harder to navigate and less aesthetically pleasing than other collections, this is nevertheless a very useful resource.

Biblioteca Virtual Universal

A virtual library organized by Bibliotecas Rurales Argentinas with the purpose of making books available to a broader audience, the project contains over 30,000 books in PDF format.

Cornell University Library: Windows on the Past

Another eclectic digital archive with a broad range of material, ranging from The Alfredo Montalvo Bolivian Digital Pamphlets Collection and History of the Left in Latin America to The Making of America and Race, Ethnicity and Religion. It is a work in progress, with some collections just beginning to be built and with others limited to Cornell students, but it is well worth a visit.

Hathi Trust Digital Library

Brings together the digital collections of over eighty libraries and research institutions. It currently has over 10,000,000 volumes of over 5,500,000 different book titles. Some of its documents are available to the public, others require logging in through one of its partner institutions.

History Is a Weapon

Not precisely a digital library or archive, this is a very interesting project gathering a wide collection of books and other texts addressing world history from a critical perspective. I ran into it when I found this on-line edition of Howard Zinn’s foundational A People’s History of the United States. The collection might be a bit difficult to navigate, but this “Starter Page” serves as a useful introduction. The “Author List” page is another helpful way to enter the site, as it reveals the wide range of resources available here.

Library of Congress, American Memory Collection

A huge project by the Library of Congress focusing on US history. Contains over nine million items organized in more than 100 collections. Includes texts, images, maps, sound recordings and movies, among other things. A bit hard to navigate, but worth the visit.

Proyecto Ensayo Hispánico

A good collection of Latin American and Spanish essays. Includes theoretical texts and criticism. Organized by country or by author. The essays are electronic versions.

Smithsonian Digital Library

An eclectic collection of materials from the Smithsonian. Beautifully constructed. Includes also a link to a great amount of digital books.

University of California Press E-Books Collection

A collection of e-books from academic presses. Contains over 2,000 titles available to UC students, faculty and staff. Over 700 of the titles are available to the general public. These books are available in electronic format.

World Digital Library

A beautifully presented multilingual digitized archive bringing together primary sources from many collections from around the world. Beyond the information available, worth visiting just for the aesthetic pleasure.

Other archives

Archivo Electrónico Ricardo Flores Magón

The mission of this electronic archive, currently under construction, is to gather an exhaustive collection of the writings of this seminal figure for both Mexican and Chican@ political history. It currently contains a complete collection of Regeneración, published in Mexico City (1900-1), San Antonio (1904-5), St. Louis (1905-6) and Los Angeles (1910-18), including its section in Italian, and a partial collection of Revolución, published 1907-8 (all these are scanned PDFs of the original periodicals). It also includes, in electronic transcriptions, sections of correspondence (1899-1922) and of literary works (1910-7) – these being electronic transcriptions of literary texts taken from the Los Angeles Regeneración.

Aztlán Reads

In the words of this very interesting web page, this is “A database of Xicana/o Studies fiction & non-fiction work.” Its home page is a regularly updated blog. It also includes a rather comprehensive list of films in its link Aztlán Films, a bibliography on the link Xicana/o Studies Collection and a nice collection of videos in the Video/Audio Collection. The page is a good resource and also a work in progress which encourages readers to submit additions to the collections. The About page concludes by stating:  “Those of us supporting Aztlan Reads hope that our endeavor becomes one of the largest databases of Xicana/o Studies fiction & non-fiction work. It is made available by a community of readers and therefore sacred. We invite you to join us by contributing your recommendations and reviews. This website will eventually be a site for community book readings and discussions, as well as a forum for Xicana/o authors to discuss their own personal work.”

BBC Motion Gallery

An impressive collection with over 300,000 clips from the BBC and other news and media organizations. Provides a range of services including research and copyright clearing help. These services require a registration.

Bracero Archive

Winner of the 2010 Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History, this is an extraordinary resource for those interested in the Bracero Program (an early version of the “guest-worker” program – 1942-1964). The site is beautifully set up and includes many resources for the general public and teachers. Its resources tab teaches users how to use the archive and create their own material. It is also an open project, encouraging users to add new material to the collection.

Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños’ Digital Collections

Digital archive of the United States’ most important Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Includes a photo gallery of pictures and important historical documents, a link to the Centro’s on-line exhibits, a link to Puerto Rican writers (unfortunately at this point limited to three: Pura Belpré, Jesús Colón and Antonia Pantoja), and a link to other digital projects linked to the Centro’s collections.

Free Music Archive (Beta)

Not necessarily a source for research, this is a very interesting project “inspired by Creative Commons and the open source software movement”. It provides a broad range of music organized by genre or by curator available for use under Creative Commons licenses.

Historic Mexican & Mexican American Press

A large collection of newspapers published between the mid-1800’s and the 1970’s in Tucson, El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sonora (Mexico). Contains scanned copies of documents and electronic transcripts that can be seen separately or side by side. It also provides a useful timeline. Part of the larger University of Arizona Libraries Digital Collections which is also full of interesting material that I have not explored at length.

Immigrant Archive Project

A depository of many interviews with immigrants to the United States reflecting upon their experiences.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

Part of Harvard’s Open Collections Program, contains books, pamphlets, manuscripts and pictures. At a first glance I wish it included more on the Latin@ experience, but nevertheless, it is a useful resource.

Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya: Cartoteca Digital

Focused on Catalonia and Spain it also includes a large collection of material from other parts of the world, including a range of very interesting historical maps.

Jable: Archivo de Prensa Digital de Canarias

An impressive collection of over 440 newspapers and journals of the Hispanic world. Its mission is to gather publications either produced in the Canary Islands, by Canarian authors or focused on the Islands. While its scope might seem limited, the range of the material it presents is impressive.

Latin American Studies

A very complete site created by Dr. Antonio Rafael de la Cova. Can be navigated thematically or by countries. Includes an impressive amount of links and primary documents. Not as aesthetic as other sources, but a very complete site that deserves a visit.

Memoria Digital de Canarias

A very complete and nicely built archive of the Canary Islands. A very interesting example of what can be done to maintain a digital record of a region’s history and culture.

National Archives’ Hispanic-Heritage Links

While not necessarily a digital archive, this page does provide a series of links to useful collections, indexes, articles and other resources.

National Security Archive

Housed at George Washington University this is an impressive and constantly updated collection of declassified US government documents gathered through regular use of the Freedom of Information Act. Its link to documents includes a long series of thematically organized “Briefing Books”, each with an introduction and a whole collection of related primary documents. This section is divided into the following categories: Europe; Latin America; Nuclear History; China and East Asia; U.S. Intelligence Community; Middle East and South Asia; The September 11th Sourcebooks; Humanitarian Interventions; and Government Secrecy.

Open Culture

A broad eclectic collection of “free cultural & educational media on the web.” Its home page (and Facebook and Twitter feeds) provides a regular series of short articles about many of the peculiar items available in the collection. The site also provides an archive searchable by subject or date.

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

A beautiful and very complete collection of all sorts of maps.

Shahre Farang

I must sneak into my list this site which is, in itself, a beautiful example of aesthetic web design. It is an eclectic collection of images of Iranian life and culture. Posts range from prison calligraphy to images of a 1969 Vogue shoot in Iran, passing through comic books and images from the classic Shahnameh.

USC Digital Libraries

Includes a range of very interesting collections and I highly recommend it. For the purposes of my listing, focusing on Latin American and Latin@ resources, I highlight the following two archives.

El Clamor Público

Scanned collection of the first Spanish-language newspaper to be published in California after its occupation by the United States, 1855-1859.

Festival de Flor y Canto de Aztlán, Films and Photographs, 1973

A spectacular resource! Pictures and footage of a landmark event in Chican@ history. Many of the pioneers of Chican@ politics and literature are present.

UT Watch

I might be expressing my bias as a University of Texas graduate, but this is a great resource in many ways. A project that was active as a UT student organization between 2002 and 2005, it contains a very complete archive of “student publications, theses, dissertations, and research guides” focusing mainly on activism. It contains rather complete PDF archives of the following student publications Polemicist (1989-1992), The Other Texan (1992-1993), Tejas (1989-1996), (sub)TEX (1994-1995), The Working Stiff Journal (1998-2000), Issue (2003-5) and The Rag (1966-1977). It also has a very wide range of other student documents. Some are very interesting for their writing of a history, many are as pertinent today as they were when they were written. A link to a timeline of “UT student, staff, and faculty struggle” from 1960 to 2005 is a very welcome project.

Zinn Education Project

An excellent resource. Based on Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States the site offers lesson plans and material for the teaching of US history. The entries are organized by theme and time period.

5 thoughts on “Electronic libraries, archives and other resources

  1. Pingback: Remembering UT student media with UT Watch | My first blog

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  3. Doug Potts

    Hi Luis,
    I can send you a list of several organizations with digital collections. I have the URL for some. These are in Peurto Rico, Dominican Republic, Portugal and Spain:
    Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa
    Universidad del Turabo-cdm16337.contentdm.oclc.org
    University of Puerto Rico-http://bibliotecadigital.uprrp.edu/cdm4/search.php
    Museo de Arte de Ponce
    INTERAMERICAN UNIV OF PUERTO RICO, LAW-cdm15975.contentdm.oclc.org
    Orfeó Català. Palau de la Música
    CBUC (Consorci de Biblioteques Universitàries de Catalunya)
    Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya-http://vacani.icc.cat/
    CBUC (Consorci de Biblioteques Universitàries de Catalunya)
    Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
    Organismo Autonomo de Museos y Centros. Gabildo de Tenerife
    Instituto Cervantes
    Fundacion Perello

    I hope this is helpful.

    Doug Potts


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