ARL Fellowship for Digital and Inclusive Excellence: Developing Online Exhibits for the George A. Smathers Latin American and Caribbean Collection Presentation Script (May 4, 2018) By: Katiana M. Bagu (Slide 1) The purpose of this internship was to introduce undergraduate students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to acquire experience and develop expertise on digital stewardship in archival settings and research libraries. Through this internship, I h ave been fortunate enough to not only help develop online exhibits that further my understanding of digital work within the library setting, but have also been able to participate in discourse regarding diversity and inclusion (Slide 2) This type of disc ourse is imperative in any archival and research institution. How can we begin to tackle underrepresentation if our major cultural institutions do not allow for diverse perspectives to emerge and collaborate in order to combat some of the social issues pre sent in society? Combining online exhibit work with themes about underrepresentation and diversity seems like a step in the right direction. It can offer audiences a new perspective and the space to reflect on something they have never considered before. D uring this internship, with the help and guidance from Margarita Vargas Betancourt, I was able to develop four online exhibits that dealt with material from the George A. Smathers Latin American and Caribbean Collection. These exhibits, in some way or anot her, challenged underrepresentation and provided new perspectives about certain areas in Latin American culture. (Slide 3) The George A. Smathers Latin American and Caribbean Collection is located in the Smathers East library building on the University of Florida Campus. It was established in 1951 to support academic interests in the Latin Americana and Caribbean studies. It has grown immensely since its foundation and has 000 volumes, over 50,000 microforms, thousands of historical and current serials, and an extensive amount of digital resources. (Slide 4) Cuban American Dream Timeline : The first task of this internship was to convert the physical exhibit of the Cuban Ame rican Dream, curated by Margarita Vargas Betancourt with assistance from Alexis Baldacci to an online timeline The Cuban American Dream was exhibited from March 27 th to June 2 nd he immigration of Cubans to Florida. The objects exhibited included photographs, books and government documents that spanned from the 16 th to the 20 th century. The goal of the exhibit was to encourage audiences to really consider the strife of Cuban Americ Dream
(Slide 5) Both Margarita and Alexis envisioned the idea of presenting the materials and labels from the exhibit in a timeline format. This type of format seemed appropriat e with the structure and theme of the exhibit as it covers a large time span of Cuban immigration Timeline JS an open source tool from Knightlab.com, thus worked well with the idea and concept. A digital timeline was created by simply using a Google spreadsheet, and inserting the labels from the physical exhibit, images of the items in a jpg format and other important metadata. (Slide 6) Most of the process consisted of transferring the information from the physical exhibi t into the Google spreadsheet. However, additional labels were created in order to include the major events in Cuban history that in some way influenced immigration to Florida. Online images from the Miami Herald were placed alongside these labels, as the newspaper has an extensive coverage of Cuban history and affairs. It was also important for the timeline to include recent events and questions about the state of Cuban immigration today. This works to remind audiences that the topic and struggles of Cuban immigration is still quite relevant in present day society. (Slide 7) Another task from this internship was to collaborate with the Alachua County Public Schools Media Centers in order to challenge underreprese ntation in youth novels that centered on Latin American and Latin@ culture. The publications I found were quite fascinating and ranged from stories about immigration, traditions, arts and culture. A list was then created, that included the metadata for each publication. After creating a selectio it was important nd find items that could be paired with the books. Moreover, the items from UFDC could provide supplementary information to media center instructors when teaching about these particular books and themes regarding Latin Americana and Latin@ culture. The bo ok and item pairing proved to be a successful process. (Slide 8) Thanks to Suzan Alteri Curator of the who instructed me in how to work with Omeka I was then able to create an online exhibit dedicated to these book and digital item pairings. Omeka is an open source content management system that allows individuals to curate and publish online exhibits. One is able to sign up for the online tool and upload any images and items unto their account. For each item, one has to enter the appropriate metadata using the Dublin Core standard. Omeka then allows you to create as many pages as you need for the exhibit, arrange images and items unto the pages, ty pe in label text and provides some themes for the webpage color and design.
(Slide 9) The Expression and Legacy of Landownership in Mexico: Maps from the Luis Garcia Pimentel Collection: The Pimentel Collection gathers a multitude of documents from the m iddle of the sixteenth century to the early 1900s that show the transactions of ownership and management of sugar mills in Mexico Curating an online exhibit for this particular collection proved to be the most challenging part of this internship, given th at it requires knowledge in paleography in order to research and understand its documents. Nonetheless, the process was a great learning experience and the online exhibit was successful. After much time and patience exploring and researching the Pimentel c ollection, I decided to curate an exhibit dedicated to its maps. The maps, hand drawn using ink and pencil, show how individuals thought of or regarded land properties. In all, the exhibit explores the aesthetics of the maps and how they express and at tim es emphasize land ownership. (Slide 10) After collecting the map images from UFDC and writing up the exhibit labels, I decided to use the program Adobe Muse to create and design the webpages for the online exhibit. Lourdes Santamaria Wheeler, the Exhibits Coordinator at the UF George A. Smathers Libraries, instructed me on how to use the program and gave me helpful insights regarding design principles. Adobe Muse is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud and allows one to design websites without using code. Star t ing with a blank page, users can design pages by adding color, text and images. Additionally, with the Widgets Library, one can add a menu, slideshows and other interesting features. Designing the exhibit for the Pimentel Collection required much creativity and attention to detail, considering that one must design a whole website from just a blank page. The process was enjoyable and the final product proved to be quite rewarding. (Slide 11) Black & White, Blanco y Negro: Reflections of Puerto Rico Looking at Photographs from Helen Icken : The final major project for this internship was to curate an online exhibit on any theme or topic that I desired. Hence, I explored the University of lections, both physical and digital, and tried to see what items I found interesting. A pattern emerged and thus I realized I had an interest in the photographs from the UF collection. In UFDC, I found a series of black and white photographs regarding indi viduals living in a shantytown in Puerto Rico during the 1950s and 60s. (Slide 12) After some research and with the assistance of my supervisor Margarita Vargas Betancourt, it was established that the images came from a case study done by Helen Icken Safa renowned anthropologist, feminist scholar and former professor at the University of Florida This information however was not included in the metadata for the images. The metadata was very limited and did not give much descriptive information about the i mages. Thus, as a side project, I created and enhanced the metadata of the black and white photographs and made sure to mention that the images were a part of an anthropological case study. (Slide 13)
After writing up the labels for the exhibit and receiv ing feedback from both my supervisor, Margarita, and Efra n Barradas, Professor for Spanish and Latin American Studies I decided to experiment with Adobe Muse again. Given that the title and the photographs reflect a theme of black and white, I thought it appropriate to design the online exhibit using minimal coloring. (Slide 14) To conclude, this fellowship has not only helped me gain knowledge about digital stewardship, but has also allowed me to participate in discourse about diversity and inclusion. T he online exhibits I helped develop I think introduce audiences to diverse perspectives about Latin American content, and bring forth stories that are at times underrepresented.