The recent thawing of U.S./Cuba relations is a watershed moment and provides a unique opportunity for strategic collaborations involving the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí (BNJM). The University of Florida has expanded its historical collaboration with Cuban institutions by signing an agreement with the BNJM to create broad and deep open access to digital collections of Cuban Heritage materials. Under the 2016 agreement, the University of Florida and the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí have identified four major projects for the development and exchange of digital content from and about Cuba.
The George A. Smathers Libraries will coordinate partnerships with U.S. and Canadian institutions for digitization of maps, legal materials, and monographs, as well as journals and newspapers, in consultation and cooperation with the BNJM. The BNJM will serve as advisor to each project and contribute materials not held elsewhere. Once digitized, these sources will be available to all participating libraries and to users worldwide interested in studying and researching the history, literature and culture of Cuba. Digital materials will be contributed by the BNJM to the Digital Library of the Caribbean and also will be made available as digital files for partners who wish to locally host materials.
The University of Florida is actively discussing integration of existing and proposed efforts into this large-scale, coordinated project, which will define the parameters of Cuban scholarship for decades to come. Discussions with potential partners in the four target areas have begun, and expressions of interest from institutions with Cuban materials - whether original or digital, broad or specialized - are welcomed by UF Libraries and the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí.
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