Tag Archives: archives

The Libraries Afield: Launching the Guatemalan National Police Archives Website

Documents at the Guatemalan National Police Archive (AHPN). Photo courtesy Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional, Guatemala.

University of Texas Libraries Director Fred Heath traveled to Guatemala in December 2011 to participate in the launch of a joint project between the Guatemalan National Police Archive (AHPN) and The University of Texas at Austin. Together, AHPN and the Libraries would provide public access via the web to records of human rights violations by government agents that were discovered in a military munitions dump in 2004.

This is Dr. Heath’s travelogue of his trip.

Our flight to Guatemala City, 5,000 feet up in the Central American highlands took two and a half hours.  Our destination was the National Police Archives, where on Friday we would celebrate with our colleagues, the recent opening of the AHPN website.  I had yet to write my brief remarks.

In the cramped rear coach seat of the Boeing 737, I held my laptop in my lap, with the screen tilted slightly forward to accommodate the encroaching seatback of the traveler in front of me, and edited my three-minute talk.  I was working from the draft I delivered the week before, when we first opened the web site of the Guatemalan National Police Archive.

Our next day — Friday, December 9 — would be International Human Rights Day, and AHPN director Gustavo Meoño had shrewdly decided to reciprocate the previous week’s events with a ceremony in Guatemala City celebrating the partnership between AHPN, administratively housed within the Ministry of Culture, and the University of Texas.

At 35,000 feet, I was not sure what to expect.  I did know that Christian Kelleher (program coordinator for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative), Karen Engle (director of the Rapaport Center for Human Rights and Justice) and Daniel Brinks (professor and co-director of Rapaport) would all address the audience at AHPN, projected to be some 200 in number, but I knew little about the attendees.  I also knew that all three of my colleagues would deliver their remarks in Spanish; so I was determined to keep my Anglo remarks brief.   As I wrote, I wanted to answer the question of why democracies elect to archive and preserve even the dark chapters of their histories, rather than deny or erase them.  I chose to use the example of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum, whose holdings allow researchers to address the issues of the transfer of presidential power in the aftermath of the assassination of John Kennedy, to study an epochal period in our own tumultuous civil rights movement, and to inquire into the dark chapter that was the war in Vietnam.  My hope was that in my brief remarks I could remind our Guatemalan audience that in a democracy it is necessary to study all parts of our past, in order to learn from our accomplishments, and avoid the recurrences of our missteps. Continue reading The Libraries Afield: Launching the Guatemalan National Police Archives Website

Ransom Center Nabs Laureate

J. M. Coetzee signs the authors' door of the Ransom Center during a visit in May 2010. Photo by Pete Smith. Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center.

One has to wonder how they do it.

The Harry Ransom Center has just announced a major addition to their stellar collection of contemporary writers, and yet another Nobel laureate, no less.

The archive of UT alumnus J.M. Coetzee is now part of the Ransom Center’s vast holdings of original manuscripts and source materials from major modern works of literature. The archive includes materials from all of Coetzee’s works, including his two Man Booker award-winning novels, Life & Times of Michael K (1983) and Disgrace (1999).

The South African Coetzee has a fifty-year history with the university, earning his Ph.D. in English, linguistics and Germanic languages in 1969. He’s kept close ties with UT, teaching at the Michener Center for Writers in 1995, and most recently, visiting campus last year to give a lecture as part of the Graduate School’s 1910 Society Lecture Series, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school.

Don’t get between him and his Easter bunny

From the LA Library archives:

“Wrapped in Thought: Four-year-old Philip Ross finds ABC Easter Bunny more interesting than his guns and spurs. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Ross, 12605 Califa St., North Hollywood, he said he can’t read but ‘didn’t mind looking at pictures.’ Librarians at North Hollywood branch library said he is a frequent visitor.”

(via BoingBoing)

 

HRDI in DC

T-Kay Sangwand is the Archivist for the Human Rights Documentation Initiative.

Since its inception in 2008, the Human Rights Documentation Initiative has garnered attention within the academic, archival, and human rights communities.  At the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting this week in Washington D.C., the HRDI hopes to raise awareness of its preservation partnerships and connect with members of the archival community who are working on similar projects.

At this year’s Annual Meeting, the newly formed Human Rights Archives Roundtable will hold its inaugural meeting.  In 2009, I worked with Valerie Love, Curator for Human Rights and Alternative Press Collections at the University of Connecticut, to establish SAA’s first Human Rights Archives Roundtable.  The Roundtable “aims to create a space for SAA members and other stakeholders (human rights advocates, scholars, government officials, and non-governmental organization workers) to increase dialogue and collaboration on issues related to the collection, preservation, disclosure, legal implications, and ethics of human rights documentation.”  The first half of the Roundtable meeting will be jointly held with the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives (LACCHA) Roundtable and will feature the panel, “Silence No More! Archives Threatened by Political Instability in Central America.”  The second half of the meeting will feature a presentation on the Center for Research Libraries’ “Human Rights Electronic Evidence Study” preliminary findings by project coordinator, Dr. Sarah Van Deusen Phillips.

SAA’s Oral History Section has invited HRDI Project Manager / Benson Latin American Collection Archivist, Christian Kelleher, to present on the HRDI’s work with the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and its collection of Rwanda Genocide survivor testimonies.  The Oral History Section Meeting will feature three other speakers discussing archival projects with human rights and social justice components.

If you’re in the D.C. area this week, please join us!

UT Digital Repository ranked among the world’s top institutional repositories

TDL.org stacked logoThe UT Digital Repository received some welcome recognition recently when it was ranked #50 in the Ranking Web of World Repositories’ list of the top 400 institutional repositories worldwide. We are excited to see that the repository, which is less than two years old, is already among the best.

The Ranking Web of World Repositories is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group that is part of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain. The group creates the rankings, Continue reading UT Digital Repository ranked among the world’s top institutional repositories

Ransom Center opens “Making Movies”

Making_Movies_Taxi_Driver_300dpiThere’s always something going on around the UT campus, but there are certain organizations to whose calendar I tend to pay particular heed.

Our friends at the Harry Ransom Center are opening their newest exhibition today, and it promises to get a rave from the critics.

Making Movies” will draw on the significant film holdings of the Ransom Center to examine the creative process in filmmaking. Continue reading Ransom Center opens “Making Movies”