The dLOC project seen from Haiti's...
 Brief overview of the National...
 Nature of Archives Collection
 Description of the first contribution...
 Perspectives for future contri...

Title: Archives Nationales d’Haiti (National Archives of Haiti) and the DLOC Project : a new step toward regional cooperation and integration
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083680/00001
 Material Information
Title: Archives Nationales d’Haiti (National Archives of Haiti) and the DLOC Project : a new step toward regional cooperation and integration
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Archives Nationales d’Haiti
Publisher: Archives Nationales d’Haiti
Publication Date: 2006
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083680
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    The dLOC project seen from Haiti's perspective
        Page 1
    Brief overview of the National Archives of Haiti
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Nature of Archives Collection
        Page 4
    Description of the first contribution to dLOC: 5000 photographs
        Page 5
    Perspectives for future contributions
        Page 6
Full Text

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51th Annual Meeting, Santo Domingo (R.D.)
March 19th to March 22nd, 2006

Archives Nationales d'Haiti (National Archives of Haiti) and the DLOC
Project: a new step toward regional cooperation and integration

1. The DLOC project seen from Haiti's perspective

The Caribbean's colonial past has weighed and still weighs heavily on the region's

Numerous efforts deployed to overcome the linguistic, ethnic and geopolitical barriers
have remained ineffective, resulting in never ending and often hollow speeches, tainted
with hypocrisy, which are nothing but the product of contradictions that are very specific
to this region.

Nothing however seems to be able to stop this permanent quest for regional solidarity
initiated by the first socio-political movements of the 18th and 19th Centuries. The
culminant points of these two historically extraordinary events are and remain the
American and Haitian Revolutions which have strongly shaken the colonial yoke of the
Caribbean. The Caribbean however was soon to become the theater of struggle for
influence between the former colonial powers and the emerging new empires.

Geographical areas of political, economic and cultural influence profiled themselves and
translated into linguistic mosaics in which English became predominant. Our
educational systems were oriented more towards understanding metropolitan cultures
than understanding our immediate environment.

The sector of documentation and information witnesses this domination. Currently,
almost all regional centers and regional data bases of the Caribbean are located in
English speaking countries and their content is for the most part in English, A few of
these regional data bases are : the Caribbean Documentation Center UN/ECLAC and
the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre Library CAREC, which are located in Trinidad; the
Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) Library which is located in Jamaica, the
PAHO/WHO Documentation Center and CARICOM Information Services Unit
Documentation Center that are located in Guyana; the Caribbean Meteorological

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Institute Library and the Caribbean Development Bank Library, that is located in

Access to these data collections and bases remains very limited for Spanish speaking
and French speaking individuals, in spite of the vast opportunities offered by the new
information and communication technologies.

The DLOC formula appears to us to be a new and better way for us to collaborate and
to share our documentary resources at multiple levels, and on a voluntary and
unrestricted basis, by promoting collections that can make our respective countries
better known to ourselves and to the World.

The DLOC project will enable us to gain access to this important material in our own
languages. More importantly, we are going to acquire the appropriate technical training,
as well as essential equipment, not only to contribute to the DLOC, but also to pursue
our efforts to digitize other priceless collections that are threatened by destruction.

2. Brief overview of the National Archives of Haiti

The "Archives Nationales d'Haiti", were created by a Presidential Decree on August 20,
1860, by the Government of Fabre Nicolas Geffrard. This Decree established the
"General Archives of Finances" which were the Republic of Haiti's first formal and
official Archives. We are currently preparing the celebration of the Institution's Third

Although the Government has at a very early time legislated on the issue of Archives,
after Geffrard (1859 1867), the Institution was never granted the attention it deserved.
From 1868 to 1921, our Archives were completely abandoned, even on the occasion of
the Celebration of the first Centennial of our Independence in 1904.

Aside from the moving of the archives repository, in 1922, to the current premises which
were at first designed to shelter a public market, it wasn't until 1941 that a Decree Law
issued on October 20, 1941, changed the "Service in charge of the State's Archives"
into the "National Archives".

Several Decrees transferred the tutelage under which this Institution operated, although
it acts as the guardian of national memory. As such, between 1941 and 1975, the
National Archives were successively transferred from the tutelage of the Ministry of
Finances (1941), to that of National Education, than to that of Justice in 1974. We also
note the Decree of January 29, 1959, which granted to the graduates of the School of
Ethnology majoring in Anthropology with the title of Archivists, Librarians, in addition to
that of Museologists. The first organic law governing the National Archives was

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published on September 2, 1976, and comprises 56 articles Two major reasons have
caused however that his law has for the most part remained a dead letter: reasons:

a) It is encumbered with a whole series of details that should have instead been
consigned in its internal regulations.

b) No follow-up measures were taken-up after this law was published.

Between 1976 and 1983, the Institution lived through its last dark years and was
reduced to its merest expression under the Ministry of Justice: pressures on the Vital
Statistics data bases repository, removal of the Historical Archives repository and their
return to the Central Office, general disarray, successive changes in Management
without positive outcome until the formation of a Management Council in 1981, and the
designation of a new Director General.

This transition ended on July 11, 1983, with the installation of the current team.

The possibility for a new start appeared therefore on the sky-line with the Decree of
1984, which named the National Archives of Haiti a detached unit of INHACA, which
itself regrouped all the country's cultural institutions.

One last Decree was issued in March 1986, for the first time granting the National
Archives of Haiti the status of autonomous organization as well as an administrative
capacity. It was therefore a new start. In addition to being allocated funds granted from
the Public Treasury, the National Archives are now able to establish and use its own
income. The current team is now able to carry-out a whole series of projects with the
technical and financial assistance of UNDP, UNESCO, the OAS, ACDI, the French
Cooperation Mission, and AIMF. Here are a few of the projects among those

Rehabilitation of the Central Building (incomplete)
Rehabilitation of the Annex housing the Vital Statistics Department
Implementation of the Restoration and the Micrography labs
Training of approximately fifty (50) technicians (Archivists, Librarians, book
binders Restorers, Micrography technicians, Computer technicians)
Implementation of the "ARCHIVEX" data base, which is currently Haiti's only
reliable data base for Vital Statistics.
Microfilming of the Registers of Vital Statistics of the XIXth Century with the
technical and financial assistance of the Genealogical Society of UTAH

Two data base projects are currently underway:

1) Extension of the "ARCHIVEX" data base, and the automation of all the
customer service activities.

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2) Implementation of the digitalization lab within the framework of the DLOC

The National Archives currently have an annual provisional budget of 47,589,547.00
Gourdes ((SU$1.189.547.00) allocated as follows

Gdes 11,589.547.00 From Public Treasury funds
Gdes Own income (Research, production of abstracts and
other services)

We are currently in the process of planning the "Third Jubilee Program" which includes

a) Completing the Central Building
b) Opening up Annexes and making our Services available in the provincial cities
c) The development of the Archives Center (cite des Archives) over 5 hectares, a
complex that will be able to shelter our country's Intermediary and Historical
Archives for more than One hundred (100) years.

3. Nature of Archives Collection

The first archives repository of the Republic of Haiti dates back to the French
colonization period. Political turbulences have occasioned thefts, looting and destruction
by fire.

Certain specimens have however reach us in pie of all, as attested by the Registers of
Vital Statistics dating back to the 18th Century.

The countries very first public archives repository was located in Marchand Dessalines,
and were dispersed after Emperor Dessaline's death. The Archives of Christophe's
Kingdom suffered the same fate. Several items are in certain private collections in Haiti
and abroad; the Original Deed of Haiti's Declaration of Independence has however yet
to be found.

Several very important documents have reached us. Our repository currently comprises
8415,10 linear meters, categorized as follows:

Registers dating back to the Colonial period, as well the archives repository of
Moreau de St. Mery (114 rolls of microfilm);
Public documents:
3.2.1 from 1804 to 1914 (Letters, reports, laws, decrees)
3.2.2 from 1915 to 1934 (Period of American Occupation)
3.2.3 1935 to 1950(Letters, Finances, Customs, Registers of accounts and
letters, maps and sketches

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Collections of photographs (positives and negatives, including photograph and
records of the first Haitian migrants to Cuba.
Printed Archives (Official Gazette Le Moniteur as well as collections of old
Registers of vital statistics from 1793 through 2005, in a unique of repository
Registers that is shared by Haitian and the Dominican Republic (1826 1844)
Collections of books on the History of Haiti. 2,600 volumes

After 1986, we were given what remained of the Archives of the Armed Forces of Haiti,
and of those of the former Ministry of Information.

Two important facts are worth mentioning:

1. All the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are kept by that Ministry
2. There are currently more than fifty (50) years of archives dating back from 1950
to our days, which are warehoused in various Ministries and other public
organizations. Due to lack of sufficient and appropriate space, the National
Archives cannot receive these documents on a regular basis with the exception
of Registers of Vital Statistics.

Haiti's archives repository has, scattered here and there, information concerning other
countries of the region, more specially the United States, Jamaica, the Dominican
Republic, the Bahamas, Martinique, Guadeloupe, to name only these few.

As more than three fourths (3/4) of our archives repositories have not been processed,
many surprises still await us, as we have not inventoried these resources since 1860.

4. Description of the first contribution to DLOC : 5000 photographs

An astonishing discovery was made in 1998 by our archivists. They accidentally came
upon over 5000 negatives of photographs which we were able to collect in spite of their
bad state of conservation.

These are albums of well protected, identified, cataloged and inventoried negatives of
photographs taking during the period 1918 to 1950 of:

Public buildings taken prior to their restoration
Heads of State visiting Haiti
Roads and bridges at the time they were being built or restored
Haitian Heads of State
Haitian statesmen and writers

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Various demonstrations
Historical sits.

5. Perspectives for future contributions

The training that will be provided to the National Archives' technicians and the
equipment that will be put in place will be used to digitize other archives repositories
which may be eventually introduced into the DLOC. We are considering including in the
DLOC any archival documents that are of interest for Haiti.

Furthermore, there are other documentary institutions in Haiti that have most interesting
collections. As such, from the very beginning, we have invited the following institutions
to participate in our training and retraining programs.

The Library of the Fathers of the Holy Spirit where a digitization program is
underway, and which holds rare and priceless collections dating back to the 16th
Century, that are of interest for the entire Caribbean region.

The Haitian National Library which has just launched a digitization project of the
Des-Courtilz Library.

Agence Univesitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) which has expertise in
digitization, and which is currently assisting Bibliotheque Nationale.

The Library of Freres de I'Instruction Chretienne which has rich collection on Haiti
and on the Caribbean at large.

All these institutions have expressed their wish to become full partners of the DLOC

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