“A love letter to librarians”, special dLOC issue of archipelagos, the top journal of Caribbean Digital Scholarship

I love sharing joyous things, and this is super joyous! archipelagos: a journal of Caribbean digital praxis, the top journal of Caribbean Digital Scholarship, has just published a special issue dedicated to the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), and guest edited by Hadassah St. Hubert and Perry Collins. This is a fantastic special issue!

The issue begins with an introduction by the archipelagos editors, Kaiama Glover and Alex Gil, entitled “A love letter to librarians”, which includes:

At the heart of this issue is the gift to all of us that is the Digital Library of the Caribbean, one of the largest and most stable such open access regional digital libraries on the planet. Its collections range from historical newspapers, to literary magazines, to contemporary academic production. In recent years, dLOC has begun to explore collections as data, planting the seeds for our future exercises in computational analysis of our cultural and historical record. Their partnerships span across the different languages and geographies of the Caribbean; dozens of institutions have long benefited from their non-extractive, redistributive model. The relationships they have nurtured consistently translate into research opportunities across and beyond the region. At the moment of this writing, the networks engaged by dLOC are easily as expansive as those that participate in major Caribbeanist academic conferences. In addition, dLOC’s librarians have increasingly entered the classroom as facilitators of pedagogical materials and lessons and as teachers in their own right.

It would be impossible to do justice to this vast and beneficent ecosystem in a single special issue, let alone in an introduction. Nonetheless, we hope that this issue will encourage our readers to learn more, and to become more involved in the maintenance and use of this invaluable resource. We hope, too, that this issue resonates beyond a tribute to dLOC to praise the work of all the other, smaller digital libraries, archives, and exhibits curated and produced in and for the Caribbean. We stand firm in our conviction that the first step in combating historical silence is to make sure all the voices of our Caribbean Digital community become celebrated contributors to the lasting record.

In announcing this issue to the Libraries at UF, Dean Judy Russell, shared how much dLOC means within our community as well:

“UF is a founding partner of dLOC and has contributed in numerous ways, spanning vast areas, across the richness of the Latin American and Caribbean Collections (as well as many other collections), the technical innovation and diligence of Library Technology Services, the production powerhouse of Digital Services, and the daily excellence of our work shine through in “Ask A Librarian” transcripts and other compliments from dLOC users. Our community greatly contributes to and is and active and important part of dLOC.”

And, shared a note on librarians:

The Association for Caribbean University, Research, and Institutional Libraries defines librarians as employees of organizations including, but not limited to, libraries, archives, documentation, information, or media centres, the business of which is to collect, organize, and make available recorded information. The love letter is to all of us.

I hope everyone reads and enjoys the present joy of this issue!

I also hope folks who have been around can enjoy the joy that comes from building and growing over time.

I remember when a librarian called dLOC the library of Carifesta, from the very early days, when dLOC was not a stable site, a project and not a program, and the site had under 100 items, and all of them articles about Carifesta (with great metadata, shared by CARICOM). Now, dLOC is a robust site with millions of pages, so many users, and such a vibrant community. This issue of archipelagos celebrates this and asks questions on how we grow and expand from here. And, the issue includes an article on Carifesta.

Thanks to the editors, guest editors, authors, users, and all who have contributed to dLOC for so many years!

This is a joyous milestone!