CoSA * NAGARA * SAA Annual Meeting Agenda


The Council of State Archivists (CoSA), the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA) will be hosting a joint meeting August 12-18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

We are joining forces with the International Archival Affairs Section (IAAS) to hold our annual section meeting at the SAA Archives Records Conference. The joint meeting will take place on Friday, August 17, at 11:00 am, room Washington 4 (Exhibition Level), at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel.

Our agenda for the meeting includes the following:

11:00 am:              Welcome, LACCHA & IAAS Updates
11:10 am:              Hilda Teresa Ayala-Gonzalez, LACCHA Guest Speaker
11:35 am:              Maria Canela Garayoa, IAAS Guest Speaker
12:00 pm:              Q & A, Any other business
12:1 5pm:              Meeting Ends

You are all invited to attend and participate in our meeting. Hope to see you all there!




Archivist Spotlight: Itza Carbajal, Metadata Librarian, LILLAS Benson Library, University of Texas Austin


Tell us about your beginnings in librarianship and archival science, what sparked your interest in the field?

Prior to my graduate degree in Information Studies I worked as a cultural arts programmer in San Antonio, Texas with a 30 years old non-profit called the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. While there, I came across a small sized room full of what I now call records. Back now I would have probably called it stuff or things. These things consisted of everything from newspaper clippings, grant submissions and paperwork, legal proceedings, VHS tapes, life size puppets to protest banners, flyers, leaflets, newspapers, and magazines. These records documented almost every aspect of the organization’s history as well those communities the organization worked with and for. For some reason I became obsessed with creating order out of what many staff considered disorder, but as I sought out guidance on how to organize these sorts of things I quickly realized that I lacked the proper training to do it. As a result, I decided to pursue a degree in archival studies and my hope had initially been to learn more about community archives and how it related to efforts such as the ones I was involved with while at the Esperanza. Long story short, I applied to the University of Texas at Austin School of Information in hopes of remaining in close proximity to the Esperanza to continue the community archives work I had started before I left.

Your current position as metadata librarian at LILAS Benson Collections, what does it entail?

Working as a metadata librarian on exclusively post-custodial projects means I am responsible for many unusual tasks as well as those typical of an information professional working with digital collections. I personally consider myself a trained archivist and my current work duties more closely reflect the responsibilities of a digital archivist with an emphasis on metadata collecting, managing, and development of practices. As we work to build post-custodialism at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Special Collection, I work on several tasks from normalizing and managing existing metadata from previous Latin American partners to creating methods for the collection of new metadata from our more recent Latin American partners. This can include learning more about the diverse metadata needs of our partners to thinking through how the creation of metadata would benefit the multiple stakeholders of the project. In addition to strengthening our post custodial work, I also consult on the technical and metadata specific aspects of our soon to be now digital repository system with a particular focus on incorporating linked data principles. On other occasions, I work on revaluating or consulting with the librarians and archivists at the Benson regarding their metadata practices or special projects in hopes of empowering the full LLILAS Benson team to adequately create, manage, and reuse our collections’ metadata.

Can you share with us any other project or initiative dealing with Latin American or Latino communities?

At the Benson we always have exciting projects with some in very early stages to others in a more mature phase. I previously mentioned my work with post-custodialism, so I love to share information on the project, Latin American Digital Initiatives ( This project started around 2013-2014 with featured collections coming from partners in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. My current position contributes to the growth of this project with new partners coming in from Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. The Benson is also conducting groundbreaking work in transcription using the software known as From the Page ( as well as hosting multiple post-doctoral scholars with one currently focused on reevaluating the older digital collection, the Archivo Historico de la Policia Nacional de Guatemala (Read CLIR scholar Hannah Alpert-Abrams article on her current position: .

Outside of the Benson, I really enjoy looking through community digital archives projects, organizational community archives, or community driven digital records such as the following to name a few:

How do you envision the field of Latin American librarianship (in terms of archival collection development and outreach)?

As a first generation daughter of Honduran parents, I oftentimes wonder how the US latinx communities and Latin American communities will continue to converge. As an archivist and metadata librarian, I oftentimes see these convergences or possible points of intersection when I look at the materials and the things they document. For the Central American communities I exists in or work with, the changes in migratory practices whether forced or long existing really have an impact on who these records document and where they end up. I suspect and frankly hope that this intersection will strengthen the bonds between our geographical regions and that libraries in particular those with a digital footprints will create connections across borders, lands, and time.

Finally, what has been the most rewarding part of your career as a multicultural librarian?

Working in multicultural context whether directly through the materials I engage with or through the collections my colleagues develop and manage has really given me multiple opportunities to learn, unlearn, and appreciate the breath of Latin America and what some call Latinidad. I was not born in Honduras and that has oftentimes created a cultural barrier between my parents, my family that still lives in Honduras, as well as between other recently arrived Hondurans and me. I grew up with a different language, cultural practices, values, food, expectations, etc. that even though I frequently traveled back and forth between Honduras and the States I am still very much a gringa in some respects. One of the most rewarding aspects of working at a Latin American Special Collection is the ability to continue learning about not only the history of the country I know I should have a connection with, but also about the people, the current realities, and the ways in which both of my worlds continue to collide. One of the biggest fears includes the fact that I could be the generation that disrupts or distances itself from my parents and grandparents cultural history and practices. I hope that by being constantly surrounded by Latin American materials, people, and information there is less of a chance that I forget, overlook, or ignore the things I do not see on a day to day.


Latin@ Scholar Spotlight: Dr. Jorge Duany, Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University

Jorge Duany
Dr. Jorge Duany

By: Ana D. Rodriguez

What motivated you to pursue a career in Latin American studies?

I was born in Cuba but grew up in Panama and Puerto Rico. I came to pursue my university studies in the United States, returned to live in Puerto Rico, and moved to Miami six years ago. I have always been fascinated—perhaps even obsessed—with questions of identity, particularly among migrants and their descendants. After studying psychology in college, I shifted my main disciplinary interests to cultural anthropology. I finally found an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where I concentrated in anthropology, history, and literature. I have been fortunate to have had a long and productive teaching and research career in the field of Latin American Studies, focusing on the three countries of the Hispanic Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic) that I know best. For me, specializing in Latin American Studies has been a way to answer deeply personal questions about my own family and cultural background as well as broader academic issues such as how people adapt to different environments when they move to another country.

How often do you collaborate with Latin American librarians at FIU?

As part of my administrative duties as Director of FIU’s Cuban Research Institute, I work closely with the Díaz-Ayala Collection of Cuban and Latin American Popular Music. We often organize public events such as lectures on Cuban and Cuban-American music, we administer an annual scholarship program that awards library travel grants for scholars and graduate students, and we cosponsor the annual Classically Cuban concert series, now in its 14th installment.

Tell us about your current teaching role at Florida International University (expertise, research subject areas).

I am a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies. I usually teach courses on Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin America, as well as on diasporas. My areas of expertise are migration, ethnicity, race, nationalism, and transnationalism in Cuba, the Caribbean, and the United States. This fall I plan to teach a graduate/undergraduate seminar on Cubans in the United States, a topic I have worked on since I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Cubans in Puerto Rico.

I am currently involved in two major research projects. The first examines the massive displacement of people from Puerto Rico to Florida, particularly after Hurricane María struck the Island on September 20, 2017. I am trying to assess the ongoing “Puerto Ricanization” of Florida, especially the central region of the state, regarding the demographic, social, cultural, economic, and political effects of the growing number of Puerto Rican immigrants. A second initiative is to analyze the “last wave” of Cuban migration (1995–2017), which concluded with the cancellation of the “wet foot/dry foot” policy, in comparison with previous waves of the postrevolutionary exodus. I am interested in how recent changes in the socioeconomic composition of Cuban immigrants are reshaping the public profile and internal dynamics of the Cuban-American community in Miami.

How do you envision the panorama of Latin American scholarship in the future?

Latin American scholarship has expanded substantially in the last few decades since I obtained my Ph.D. The sheer number and diversity of experts teaching and researching on Latin American topics have grown spectacularly, as the membership of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) suggests. Caribbean Studies, however, have expanded more modestly, and are still marginal to many academic programs in the United States. Perhaps most exciting for me is the development and consolidation of the interdisciplinary field of Latino Studies, devoted to the burgeoning communities of Latin American origin in the United States, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and people of other ancestries. I hope that the latter field (typically considered part of “ethnic studies”) will be better connected to the well-established centers of international “area studies,” so that the transnational links between the countries of origin and settlement can be scrutinized and comprehended from an interdisciplinary perspective.

What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching Latin American studies?

Teaching and research in Latin American Studies have been intellectually and professionally satisfying because they have allowed me to cross multiple disciplinary and geographic boundaries. In my teaching, I have always tried to combine the insights of the social sciences (especially anthropology) and the humanities (mainly history and literature). My research and publications have similarly bridged numerous fields of knowledge such as sociology, history, literature, art, and music. In the end, the most rewarding aspect of my academic career has been to understand myself more fully as I seek to capture the experiences of others like me, particularly people from the Hispanic Caribbean in the United States and Puerto Rico.


Cuban American Dream Timeline

By: Katiana M. Bagué

“Once on the boat, we had to wait for permission to sail. We waited and waited, but the Cuban government did not grant permission until a storm began. The storm and the mysterious companions made the passage to Miami dangerous and long.”

This excerpt comes from a longer testimony made by Roniel Cabrera, Associate Professor of Medicine at UF’s Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, who at eight years old was part of the thousands of Cubans who participated in the Mariel Boatlift. This testimony along with books, photographs and a collection of government documents, spanning from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century, was compiled and showcased in the Cuban American Dream, an exhibit curated by Margarita Vargas-Betancourt with assistance from Alexis Baldacci. It was put on display in the Smathers Library Gallery from March 27th to June 2nd 2017, and it encouraged audiences to look at different perspectives regarding Cuban immigration to Florida. For instance, it analyzed the strife of Cuban-Americans as they adjusted to their new homeland and worked to attain a vision of the “American Dream.” I was fortunate enough to see this exhibit and as I wandered through the gallery space reading the materials in the display cases, I felt immersed in the Cuban immigration history. Because its stories can easily go underrepresented, it is crucial to tell them.

The exhibit, both innovative and engaging, seemed short lived. With the university’s Latin American and Caribbean Collection constantly acquiring new materials related to Cuban history, and with a large population of Cuban-Americans within the campus community, the information from the exhibit was both significant and relevant. Thus in order to continue to broadcast its content and the discussion about Cuban immigration, and immigration in general, within academic and community settings, Margarita and Alexis envisioned the creation of a digital timeline.

On October 2017, I was awarded the ARL Fellowship for Digital and Inclusive Excellence, an internship that allowed me to work closely with Margarita on digital projects for the Latin American and Caribbean Collection. When she presented me the timeline idea, I was both motivated and excited to be a part of a project I had interacted with before. A timeline was an appropriate format for this digital exhibit considering that its physical counterpart spanned a long time period. The project not only required me to transfer the information from the physical exhibit to a digital format, but also to create new labels to include the most recent events of Cuban immigration to Florida. These were especially significant given the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Cuba (2014) and the subsequent slowdown of such process.

In this day and age, it seems that digital projects have become more doable and accessible. Timeline JS, an open source tool from, helps users create visually engaging digital timelines with a simple four-step process. With a Google spreadsheet, I was able to add text alongside significant dates, and insert images in jpeg format that were eventually displayed digitally in the timeline presentation.  After this process, the final product was published unto the George A. Smathers webpage for online exhibits.

The Cuban American Dream Timeline not only preserves the original exhibit showcased back in 2017, but it also offers audiences an interesting interactive online experience. The viewer can engage with the archival material from the exhibit section by section, which can allow for deeper reflections and connections regarding the history of Cuban immigration to Florida. As proven with the recent presentations done by Margarita, the timeline can also be an engaging learning tool in classroom settings. It not only presents valuable information, but it can also inspire students to pursue their own digital projects related to their studies and research.

The timeline can be accessed here:



Aurora de Mena (Cuban),

The pearl key, or midnight and dawn in Cuba,


Vance Print. Co.,

972.911 M534t,

Rare Book Collection, Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida




Arnold Eagle,

Cuban man talking on the phone, circa 1950-1960,

Special & Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida







Refugees are processed inside a hangar in Key West’s Truman Naval Base. Miami Herald


Latin@ Scholar Spotlight: Dr. Antonio Sotomayor, Librarian of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

By: Ana D. Rodriguez

Sotomayor. Illinois News Bureau 2

Tell us about your career in academic libraries, what motivated you to pursue a librarian position?

During my doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, I always kept an open mind regarding professional alternatives. When the position of Assistant Professor and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarian opened at the University of Illinois, I was very excited about the opportunities it could provide. I was particularly interested in this position because it is a tenure-track faculty position in one of the best academic libraries in the world, with an equally unique Latin American and Caribbean collection. The required emphasis on research was a perfect match with my career aspirations: to educate and contribute to the academic conversation with original research. The educational work involved in libraries was and is very appealing to me. Librarians have a unique opportunity to impact the lives of students and scholars. As librarians, we are entrusted with the duty to organize information and teach the critical lessons of information literacy. I do this from the point of view of a published scholar. With students I not only discuss the (re)sources necessary for their studies, but I also talk about the ways to use them in a scholarly argument, and sometimes even how to organize them in a paper. I truly enjoy discussing the research process with everybody as well as to aspire to understand a region of the world we all are passionate about.

Sports and Nationalism are two prominent subjects in your teaching curriculum (looking at, how do you get to this professional intersection (how you became an expert in these disciplines)?

My main scholarly interests are culture and politics. I find fascinating the ways in which groups of people find ways to define themselves. Particularly, I am interested in the processes by which societies identify themselves as a nation. National identity and nationalism are powerful concepts that have mobilized humanity in dramatic ways. Sport is a recent component in the study of nationalism and national identity, despite being an increasingly powerful social aspect of modern societies throughout the globe. To me, Puerto Rico represents an ideal place to study the power of sport in the process of national identity formation, especially the Olympic Movement, due to Puerto Rico’s special political and cultural condition: a colony of the United States considered a Caribbean and Latin American nation. Officially, an unincorporated territory of the United States for almost 120 years now, I find fascinating how this society has adhered so tightly to its definition as a Hispanic people, while possessing citizenship from a country mainly thought of as Anglo-Saxon (despite being really a multi-cultural country). The Olympic Movement plays a crucial role in this process of identity. By having a sovereign Olympic delegation, Puerto Ricans participate as a unique nation, with their own flag and anthem, and separate from the United States. By doing this as U.S. citizens, they challenge the notion of both the meaning of Latin America and the United States. That is, are they Latin Americans or U.S. Americans?  The answer is not easy and such requires close study. In this sense, Olympic sport participation provides a powerful component in a cultural practice of vital stature. Puerto Rico’s Olympic Movement also has a direct political role. Puerto Rico’s Olympic delegation acquires a prominent role in the discussion of whether the island can or should become a state of the Union. I argue that Puerto Rico’s Olympic delegation poses a serious obstacle to Puerto Rico’s bid for U.S. statehood, especially for local statehood promoters. But for the U.S., Puerto Rico’s unescapable profile as a Caribbean and Latin American nation should also be considered as they ponder on this prospectus.

As the Latin American librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, how you serve the community of Latin American and Latino students?

I serve the Latin American and Latino student population in multiple ways. I receive numerous visiting scholars and students from Latin America at the library. Given that my native language is Spanish, and that I’m also fluent in Portuguese, students and visitors can discuss their projects in their native language if they wish. This breaks a huge language barrier and they quickly become more comfortable and express better their research projects. Our conversations are thus more meaningful and productive, just the way I do with English speaking patrons. We have prepared introductory library guidelines in different languages, including Spanish and Portuguese, for those scholars new to the country who would like to begin their stay on campus on a familiar language.

But for all students, Latino or Latin American or Caribbean, I hope I can serve as a role model. I hope they can see that it is possible to achieve what they aspire to. I always enjoy being approached by a Latina/o student to talk about my experiences and trajectory because others did it when I was in their shoes. I’ve served as a faculty mentor, dissertation committee member, or simply a good listener. I like to think as someone open and available for mentorship, advice, or just chit-chat. I have also been asked by different Latino/a organizations on campus to give talks about my research, which I’m always happy and honored to do so. I was even invited to read to local elementary school children on Latino book night, and I found that particularly special.

Describe to LACCHA the focus (collection development policy or plan) of the Latin American Collection at Urbana-Champaign University Library. By materiality, by country, by Latin American communities present in the state?

Our collection development plan is comprehensive. Today, the collection is nearly 990,000 volumes, covering multiple languages and formats. It is one of the largest in the nation, known for its size and comprehensiveness. We have material from all countries and territories, but our strengths are the Andes, Brazil, and the Southern Cone. Nonetheless, we have many special items from all over the region including a strong Mexican collection that includes a series of legal documents from 1562-1623 New Spain, and a very rare collection of some 1,476 pamphlets from Mexico from 1813 to 1908. The papers of anthropologist Oscar Lewis, notable for his work in Mexico and Puerto Rico, are available in our University Archives. Our library has been collecting material on or about Latin America and the Caribbean since its foundation in 1867, when the library’s first collection included titles such as History of the Conquest of Mexico (1843) and History of the Conquest of Peru (1847) both by the eminent historian William Prescott. By 1916, the collection had some 2,500 titles, covering multiple languages, and from different countries. Back then, the focus was Argentina and the Southern Cone, with Brazil also getting good coverage. Later, in the middle of the 20th century, Illinois’s responsibility under the Farmington Plan was Brazil and we began collecting more strongly on that country led by prominent scholars like economist Werner Baer and historian Joseph Love. At the same time, Illinois enjoyed a serious scholarly focus on the Andes with preeminent anthropologists such as Tom Zuidema, Norman Whitten, Joe Cassagrande, and Donald Lathrap, among others, while keeping its strong tradition on Brazil. After the 1960s, and as part of the University Library’s traditional commitment to collections, Latin America and the Caribbean grew overall, including Central America and the Caribbean, especially after the Cuban Revolution. All of this activity enjoyed a very productive partnership with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, one of the first to be established in the nation in 1963. Today, we still collect material (books, DVDs, music, serials, etc.) from all countries in the region. We have established a strong and productive collaborative relationship with specialized academic book vendors throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe that supply academic books in Spanish and Portuguese through a system of approval plans. I prepare an acquisitions profile that these book vendors use to select materials for us. This profile takes into consideration our traditional collection strengths, the current needs of scholars and students on campus, and prepares for future research coverage. A special focus on the collection since I arrived here is a Latin American and Caribbean Sport collection, the first of its kind.

How do you envision the panorama of Latin American scholarship in the future?

Latin American and Caribbean scholarship in the 21st century has to include the digital world. More and more students and scholars immerse themselves in the digital platform, and librarians have been good at embracing this now almost basic format. Websites, online research guides, digital humanities, digital scholarship, social media, are all the new turf and the landscape of the field. This trend is not necessarily driven by scholars in the U.S., but also many Latin American countries are developing initiatives and projects related to the digital humanities spectrum. Their robust open access policies for journals are more advanced than the States, and it’s up to librarians to disseminate this knowledge and show users how it affects their scholarship. That is, we need to effectively communicate that there are a variety of digital platforms that are of use in our scholarship. Organizing and optimizing the digital world is our major task. This is the aspect that’s missing in Latin American open access policies; there’s no consolidated space to gather all these journals. Redalyc and SciELO are starting points, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Not everything exists in digital form. Communicating and teaching our students that there are more books and other resources in the physical world than in the digital is another challenge. Teaching about online resources needs to include the important caveat that not everything is online, and much work needs to be done to locate all possible resources for our studies. Lastly, if we want to advance Latin American and Caribbean scholarship we must become part of the academic conversation and engage dynamically with the scholarly community. Librarians need to go beyond the library, as well as to bring people to the library, all in the effort to see the library and librarians as part of the scholarly endeavor. We need to attend campus lectures, as well as device programs or design our spaces so that the library community are seen as collaborators, teachers, and colleagues equally significant.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career? (teaching Latin American studies)

By far the most rewarding part of my career is having a chance to talk to people about what most interests us: Latin America and the Caribbean. I enjoy working with undergraduate students, and having the chance to play a small roll in teaching them about this fascinating region of the world by introducing them to the plethora of resources. I enjoy explaining how to search, how to use the information, and even how to structure arguments based on the sources. I also truly enjoy working with graduate students because I make sure they are taking full advantage of the library. With them I push a bit harder and begin to inquire about experience with databases, archives, etc. I do this in the most casual and sympathetic manner because my goal is to develop a working relationship that, hopefully, will last their entire graduate career at Illinois. Lastly, but certainly not least, I enjoy collaborating with fellow faculty members. We are here to make sure we best prepare our students and to contribute to making Illinois a world-class institution for comprehensive research on Latin America and the Caribbean. I do most of this work through collaboration with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies. As such, dealing with visiting scholars is highly important. We want them to feel that their time at Illinois was very productive and that they have colleagues here that they can count on.

The other rewarding aspect of my job is collection development. I have been given the most challenging and extraordinary task: to steward and build on a preeminent collection at a world class library. I undertake this job with lots of humility, pride, and enthusiasm. The materials I acquire, the guides I curate, the resources I organize will have a much larger impact than my time at Illinois. I’m working on a bibliography of the collection done by the first Latin American faculty historian, William Spencer Robertson, from 1916. Robertson, perhaps the first Latin American “librarian,” sought to make a catalog of the library’s holding at the time, probably to evaluate our collection needs, to help others find resources, or to make a case to the administration to bring more attention to the collection. Whatever his intentions, he left us with a snapshot of the collection at a crucial time of the institution and, indeed the world, given that the “Great War” was fully underway. Back then, the collection was around 2,500 volumes in size. One hundred years later, the collection nears one million. Who knows how the collection will be in 2118 but knowing that I played a small role in the library’s collection during my tenure is truly exhilarating.

New Website Redesign!



By: Leah Rios

We are thrilled to announce our new website redesign! While we kept all the same content we thought it would be great to refresh the site and change the website address to include SAA. Our old website will still be available but eventually will be fazed out. Please feel free to send us feedback through our contact page and share the site.

Please check out our website at the new address:

We will also be creating a new logo which should be completed soon. Looking forward to a great new year!