The New Roots/Nuevas Raíces Latino Oral History Initiative Launches Bilingual Digital Resources, by Hannah Gill

The New Roots/Nuevas Raíces Latino Oral History Initiative Launches Bilingual Digital Resources

By Hannah Gill, The Latino Migration Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The growth of Latino communities in the U.S. South is one of the most significant demographic changes in the recent history of the nation. The New Roots/Nuevas Raices Oral History Initiative, established in 2007 to document this history from the perspectives of migrant newcomers, is pleased to announce the launch of a new website and digital information system in January of 2016. The website, designed to enhance global access to the collection, will feature an innovated version of Omeka software. Specifically, New Roots software developers have enhanced Omeka internationalization by creating a Spanish language interface, improving the security of the platform, creating new plug-ins, and developing interoperability with the University's CONTENTdm system, where interviews are archived.

The New Roots/Nuevas Raíces oral history collection currently consists of more than 150 digitized interviews in Spanish or English related to Latino migration to North Carolina and the formation of Latino communities. In-depth interviews in this collection have been conducted with immigrants of Latin American origin, U.S.-born second generations, professionals who work with immigrants, policymakers, religious leaders, educators, students, and business owners. The collection features a digital catalogue, finding aids in English and Spanish, audio recordings of interviews, abstracts, and full transcripts. New Roots/Nuevas Raíces is an ongoing research initiative of the Latino Migration Project at the University of the North Carolina at Chapel Hill in collaboration with the Southern Oral History Program and University Libraries, which assist with digitization, cataloguing, and preservation of audio recordings and transcripts.

The new bilingual website will make the New Roots collection more accessible in Spanish and English to regional, national, and global public constituencies that include Spanish-speaking interviewees and their families, public educators, researchers and students, and oral history colleagues in Latin American countries. We hope that these technologies will not only enhance the utility of the New Roots Oral Histories but also other archival collections in institutions that are rapidly digitizing their libraries' content repositories and seeking to improve global access to scholars' work. In 2016 and 2017, New Roots staff will engage in outreach activities to share the new resources with Latino communities, K-16 educators, national and international oral history networks, and Mexican universities in the origin states of migrants living in North Carolina. These activities have been made possible with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.