DLOC and Doctoral Candidate Adam M. Silvia Launch New Resource on Haitian History
In 2014, Digital Library of the Caribbean (DLOC) launched “An Island Luminous,” an online resource about Haitian history. Created by Adam M. Silvia, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Florida International University, “An Island Luminous” combines rare manuscripts and photos digitally-preserved by libraries and archives in Haiti and the US with commentary by 97 scholars at 75 universities around the world. The resource was generously supported by the Green Family Foundation and is publicly accessible at http://IslandLuminous.FIU.edu.
An Island Luminous uses technology to present historical content preserved by DLOC’s partners, including the Archives Nationales d'Haïti, the Bibliothèque Nationale d’Haïti, the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l'Instruction Chrètienne, and the University of Florida. “The ways in which ‘An Island Luminous’ calls upon modern technologies to facilitate access to documents that are decades, centuries or only days old, the ways in which it brings together scholars from across the world in a unique platform, the ways in which it speaks to the general public and scholars alike–all of this makes ‘An Island Luminous’ an exciting project,” says Dr. Nadève Ménard, who teaches at the Université de l’Etat in Port-au-Prince.
“History is a vast assembly line,” says Silvia. “When we pick up a history textbook, it’s easy to overlook the many archives, historians, universities, publishers, etc., that work tirelessly to turn sources like photos and letters, some very old, into resources that everyone can easily consume.” The vision behind “An Island Luminous” was “not only to build that public resource but also to apply technology in a way that would make the historical assembly line more transparent.” When you visit the website, Silvia explains, “you can look at the sources that archives chose to scan, you can observe how historians, past and present, interpreted those sources, and you can see how those perspectives were woven into one seamless narrative.” It’s a “multidimensional history.”
“‘An Island Luminous’ is a timely contribution to Haitian studies,” says acclaimed author Edwidge Danticat. “For those who are interested in Haiti, scholars and non-scholars alike, not only does ‘An Island Luminous’ provide them with a concise yet comprehensive introduction to Haiti’s history, it also shows how unity and cooperation can produce extraordinary new resources.” With the Green Family Foundation’s continued support, An Island Luminous is currently being translated into French and Haitian Creole.
To learn more about An Island Luminous and Digital Library of the Caribbean, please visit www.DLOC.com. DLOC hosts more than 15,000 items about Caribbean history. It is administered by Florida International University Libraries and the University of Florida Libraries in consortium with various partners and member institutions.