How can area studies librarians leverage global resources and collaborative expertise while challenging systematic barriers to the free and equitable flow of archival sources between Latin America and the US? Latin Americanist scholars, archivists and digital scholarship coordinators at the University of Texas – Austin (UT) partnered with archivists in Latin America to offer an exemplary solution to this question: adopt a post-custodial archives model which replaces physical acquisition of documents with digital management of materials that remain in the custody of their creators.2 This model enables Latin American organizations creating and/or collecting digital documentation to pool financial and technical resources with US institutions on in order to facilitate wider preservation, access and discovery. The devil of this model, however, is in the details of the contract between institutions bound – often -- to more traditional acquisitions models and restrictive state or national funding structures.
Sharing Resources and Overcoming Barriers to US/Mexico Cooperative Access: A Digitization/Open Access and Discovery Partnership builds on the concept presented by UT, but offers new insight on articulating binational collaborative transparencies. It also underscores LARRP’s mission: “to provide access to information that supports all forms of scholarship; to promote free and equitable access to these resources for the global scholarly community; and to actively seek partnerships with institutions thatcontribute to the flow of information.”3 An already proven partnership between UNM and FAPECFT, now advancing the first phase of the project as described in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Board of Regents, the Dean of the College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences, and the Chief Procurement Officer in the Purchasing Department at UNM and the General Director and Administrative Coordinator at the FAPECFT, means that many of the kinks associated with securing documented trust and accountability across international borders and institutional collections have been effectively straightened. Training and troubleshooting has also already occurred and contributed to processes that promote efficiency and the free flow of work as well as documentation between UNM and FAPECFT. The risk to LARRP is minimal as a result and the reward is already measurable in an active and accessible digital collection already utilized in classes and among researchers.
Sharing Resources and Overcoming Barriers to US/Mexico Cooperative Access: A Digitization/Open Access and Discovery Partnership works within existing systems across national boundaries to unite and share well-preserved and unique collections of 20th century Mexican documents in an accessible well-maintained digital platform at UNM. This second phase will deliver in theory and function as a result of the lessons learned in planning and articulating shared understandings of workflow, responsibilities, copyright, terms, renewals, amendments, termination, and dispute resolution.