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date: 24 April 2018

Digital Resources: The Documented Border Project

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Please check back later for the full article.

The Documented Border: An Open Access Digital Archive combines creative and research strategies to contribute to the digital humanities. Officially launched in October 2014, the project advances understanding about the US-Mexico border and its peoples during a period of unprecedented change. As a repository and interactive tool, the open-access archive is useful for faculty and student researchers, journalists, and the community at large.

The archive is divided into two parts: “Journalists and Human Rights Activists” includes oral histories of journalists from both sides of the border who cover northern Mexico, and human rights activists who are working to improve freedom of expression in Mexico. More than one hundred journalists in Mexico have been murdered in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. The oral histories help to illuminate the complex environment in which journalists must work as they negotiate between political and economic forces and the need to inform the public. The second part of the archive features the inner workings of US immigration policies through the documentation (artist illustrations) of Operation Streamline,” a “streamlined” legal proceeding in federal court, in which a judge determines the status of migrants who are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A unique aspect of the project is its living archive status. As archives struggle to close the gap in representing underrepresented communities in the historical record, the Documented Border Digital Archive has gotten in front of research and primary source documentation being created now. The documentation being created by interdisciplinary researchers is not only presented in digital form, but also donated to the institution to ensure long-term preservation and access. The project forms part of the Borderlands Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries’ special collections.