The project is titled Film on a Boat: Digitizing Historical Newspapers of the Caribbean.
January 10, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GAINESVILLE, Fla, January 9, 2019 – This three year project totaling $434,124, Film on a Boat: Digitizing Historical Newspapers of the Caribbean, was one of 16 from a pool of 100 applicants and received the second highest awarded amount from the Council of Library and Information Resources, Digitizing Hidden Collection Program, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant award will support a continuing partnership between the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR)-Rio Piedras Campus Libraries to digitize each institution’s unique, hidden holdings of Caribbean newspapers on master microfilm. The team, partners of the Digital Library of the Caribbean, will digitize and make freely available 800,000 pages of pre-1923 Caribbean newspapers.
While all of the newspapers for this project are Caribbean Basin newspapers, the collections have been held separately. In the 1940s, the Farmington Plan assigned US collecting responsibilities to UF for collecting materials from all of the Caribbean, except for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. These island newspapers were microfilmed in situ by UF librarians traveling by boat in the 1950s and 60s. The master acetate microfilm is deteriorating and poses a threat to future access.
The US Newspaper Project designated UPR as the institution responsible for preserving newspapers from Puerto Rico, and through its Microfilm Center actively microfilms historic newspapers. UPR has singular access to materials, which otherwise must be duplicated on microfilm and shipped outside of Puerto Rico. Existing urgency for preservation and access has increased since the 2017 hurricane season.
Once available digitally, these resources will provide scholars, teachers, students and the general public access to previously unavailable information. Newspapers capture the history of daily life in the Caribbean to enable new research and research questions from a variety of fields and disciplines on cross-cutting issues including migration, social movements, history and literature. Selected materials were published in Antigua, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Puerto Rico. This interdependent collaboration will leverage and expand these shared capacities and resources to ensure broad access to historical newspapers for current and future generations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Fletcher Durant, firstname.lastname@example.org