Hispanic Heritage Month

Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed here in the United States. It is September 15th through October 15th. Throughout this month, the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanics in the United States is celebrated. Whether it is the history of people from Spain, Mexico, Central & South America, or the Caribbean. So, how did Hispanic Heritage Month come to be?

It began in 1968, when there was a Hispanic Heritage Week. Although it started under the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson, it expanded under President Ronald Reagan in 1988. According to the Government Printing Office, it became a law (Public Law 100-402) in August of 1988. This month is celebrated in many different ways.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month pic

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography.

Nationally, the Library of Congress has events, exhibitions, and stories. Among the events, a book talk by Carmen Boullosa, who is a Mexican poet, novelist, and playwright. Others who are being honored are author Cindy Trumbore and illustrator Susan L. Roth of Parrots over Puerto Rico.” They will be awarded the 2014 Américas Awards for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. For more information, be sure to visit the Official Page of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Locally, UIUC has a couple of events going on around campus and the community. Among them are:

CLACS (The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies) has organized the 2014 Latin American Film Festival. This Festival began on September 19th and will go all the way through September 25th. Seven films will be showing. The countries and cultures from these films are diverse and showcase that while the countries may be in Latin America, each one has their own unique language/dialect and culture. For the movies and showings, check out the schedule.

There is also a Lecture Series that provides talks and lectures on many different subjects and interests related to Latin America and the Caribbean. Topics such as, “Big Business as Usual: the 2014 World Cup.” For more information, be sure to check out the full schedule.

For more events, La Casa Cultural Latina has a whole schedule for the month. La Casa was part of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations’ (OIIR) initiative to the “recruiting and retaining underrepresented students, diversity education, civic engagement, and fostering the leadership skills necessary to develop global citizens.”

Just because Hispanic Heritage Month is just that, for a month, it doesn’t mean that it stops there. The University and Library offer many resources for students of Latino descent, or for those who would like to learn more about Hispanic Culture and/or language. Lucky for you, we compiled a list for you.

UIUC Mi Pueblo: This a Spanish-conversation group. They meet at different parts of campus for 1-hour sessions led by UIUC students. For more information about the sessions. Check out their website.

La Casa Cultural: Founded at UIUC in 1974, La Casa Cultural Latina has been committed to Latino/a students on campus, as well as the community [.

Browse through the Registered Student Organizations (RSO) and pick which ones would be the best for you.  For a complete list of RSO’s, browse a whole list of them.

Don’t forget that your library also has some great resources. Did you know that the International and Area Studies Library has a collection of Latin American books? Not only books, but newspapers and journals as well, so that you can keep up with the news. A lot of them in Spanish!

The Undergraduate Library also has a media collection with many movies and documentaries in Spanish and Portuguese, ranging from many different countries in Latin America. Some examples include, “Diarios de Motocicleta” (The Motorcycle Diaries), “Maria Full of Grace“, and “El Norte” (The North), just to name a few.

The Undergraduate Library’s QB (Question Board), has received questions from students since 1989. There have been many different questions throughout that time. Among them:

“Could you come up with a list of native women writers (novelists) writing at the early part of this century in Mexico? Preferably titles that have been translated into English”

“I was recently in New York, being a salsa person like myself, I went to a salsa nightclub. I heard of a band that was originally from Japan and came to New York to learn Spanish in order to become a salsa group. Their name was Orchestra de la Luz. Can I have some more info please? Signed, Inquiring Minds Want to Know”

“There is a popular song in Spanish called “La Macarena” (I think). There are different versions (2 that I know of). Can you tell me what “La Macarena” refers to and where did the song originate? Thanks. Signed Curiosita”

The above are just a few of the different types of questions that QB receives. To browse, search, or even submit your own question, visit QB!

For more resources that the library has to offer, browse through the subject guide offered.

There are so many things, that even we can’t list all at once in this blog post. We hope that you have found some new activities to take part in and new resources around the library.



Scottish Independence: Domino Effect, Isolated Case…or False Alarm?


Note: This post was written in part before (Part 1.) and in part after (Part 2.) polls opened on the morning of September 18, 2014 (GMT) for the referendum on Scottish independence.


As Scotland votes on the seemingly simple yes-or-no question of “Should Scotland be an independent country?” this Thursday, September 18, a slew of other sociopolitical issues come to the fore. For one, what will become of other similar stateless nations that are currently debating opening or reopening the issue – whether formally or informally – to break away from their current governments? Wales, Catalonia, the Basque country, and even Bavaria come to mind as a few prominent examples in Europe. And what of Kurdistan or Western Sahara, in the Middle East and North Africa, respectively? Or the predominantly Francophone Canadian province of Quebec, which, as recently as 1995, with only a slim margin (50.6%: Drolet, 1995) voted to remain a part of the Canadian Federation? If the Scottish “domino” falls, will these and other stateless nations reconsider their status on an official level with a referendum – or perhaps other more drastic measures – at some point in the not-too-distant future?

The Kingdom of Scotland became integrated into the United Kingdom in 1707 with the Act of Union, solidifying as a political unit what had hitherto been united by the ascendancy of the monarchy of King James of the House Stuart over a century earlier. In large part, Scotland was pressured by economic forces into agreeing to the Union as a result of its disastrous attempts to colonize Panama in the 1690s, which depleted much of the state’s capital and left its elite bankrupt and desperate for aid from London.

The Celtic character of Scotland has been one of variable but important nature ever since the Anglo-Saxons and their language and culture have made inroads into the country from the south since medieval times. In most regions of Scotland, this led to the supplanting of the Scottish Gaelic (also known as Erse) language and culture that had existed there since prehistory. Obviously certain artifacts survive from the pre-Anglo era, such as kilts, bagpipes, and the distinctly Celtic tones and peculiarities of Scottish English – not to mention the Scots language, which by many linguists is seen as a separate descendant of Middle English along with Modern British English (Aitken, 1992). And many Scottish highlanders and the islanders of the Hebrides, Shetlands, and Orkneys still hang on to many ancient folkways, including the Gaelic language. But is Scotland so very different that it should finally achieve full sovereignty after over 300 years of tightly-knit integration in almost all aspects of the UK’s – not to mention the British empire’s – affairs?

With straw polls coming in almost neck-and-neck during the days leading up to the referendum, Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Alex Salmond and his “Yes” campaign hope that cultural and historical solidarity among Scots will supersede more practical concerns. These include major doubts over the lengthy process of reapplying to the European Union as an independent nation, systemic central banking reorganization, and off-shore drilling rights. But even if the “No’s” have it on September 18, at the very least Salmond has assured doubters that the achievement of a referendum – regardless of its result – will be a sure sign to Parliament in London that Scotland demands more autonomy. According to the Economist, “Even if Scottish voters reject independence on September 18th, then, Britain will not continue as before. The state will become looser and more untidy” (13 September 2014).


Around 6:30 AM GMT (12:30 AM CST), the announcement was made of the result of the referendum for independence: 2,001,926 for “No” to 1,617,989 for “Yes,” a ratio of approximately 55 to 45, with a turnout of 85% of the electorate (BBC, 2014). The Scottish people spoke, and the United Kingdom will remain united.

In the immediate aftermath, Alex Salmond has stepped down as First Minister as well as leader of the SNP. According to the BBC, Mr Salmond said, “For me as leader my time is nearly over but for Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall never die” (19 September 2014). How this “dream” will manifest itself in the future is yet to be determined.

In the meantime, it is understood that much work has yet to be done in order for the United Kingdom to press forward as a nation comprised of four “home countries” while simultaneously allowing three of those – Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – a certain real level of autonomy in the midst of England’s historical and economic preponderance.

As for the other stateless nations around the globe that had been waiting with bated breath for the result of the referendum, a sense of disappointment certainly prevails. Nevertheless, in one prominent case, semi-autonomous Catalonia is pressing forward with its own campaign to allow a referendum on November 9th, despite Madrid’s claims of the illegality of any such measure that does not allow for the participation of all Spaniards.


Aitken, A.J. in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford University Press 1992. p.894.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), “Scotland Decides”, on bbc.com (http://www.bbc.com/news/events/scotland-decides/results). September 19, 2014.

Drolet, Daniel. “By the numbers”, in The Ottawa Citizen. November 1, 1995.

Glocal Notes Travels Around DH

This past Tuesday marked the final day of Around DH in 80 Days, a collaborative project that showcased a different digital humanities project from around the world every day for eighty days. Inspired by Jules Vernes’ classic novel, the project illustrates the diverse range of work that can be considered part of the “digital humanities.” Today, Glocal Notes is traveling Around DH and highlighting some of the projects from our service areas. Just in case you were wondering, there are plenty of copies of Vernes’ text in the library.

Image of the complete map of Around DH projects.

The complete Around DH map. / This image from arounddh.org is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US.

Around DH was started by Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Coordinator at the Columbia University Libraries, and built with the help of many contributors. The first project was posted on June 22, 2014 and the last was published last week on September 9, 2014.

The project was motivated by the desire to highlight the disciplinary and regional diversity of digital humanities projects. Indeed, as you can see from the map above, multiple projects from every continent were included. If you are wondering what, exactly, digital humanities is all about, a look at some of the projects highlighted here should give you a better idea.

The concept behind Around DH is simple: every day for eighty days, a new digital humanities project appeared on the map. Crowdsourced suggestions for projects to include were submitted by contributors from around the world. The editorial team selected and wrote up the projects which were featured on the website. Each project is accompanied by a description of its scope and coverage. Most of these descriptions are rather brief, providing just enough information to give you a sense of the project before directing you to the project itself. Finally, the website was designed according to minimal computing principles, so as to be accessible in places with limited bandwidth.

Below are just a few examples of Around DH projects from our service areas here at the International & Area Studies Library. Visit arounddh.org to learn more about the project and see what other resources it has to offer. You can also follow along, or share additional projects, using the hashtag #arounddh on Twitter.

Day 10: Aluka

Aluka is a collaborative project to build a digital library of scholarly sources “from and about Africa” tailored to an undergraduate student audience.

East Asia
Day 1: Frog in a Well | 井底之蛙

This project, the first one to be featured, is a blog dedicated to publishing open-source scholarship about China, Japan, and Korea. Its name comes from an East Asian proverb that highlights the importance of openness and collaboration.

Eastern Europe
Day 76: Digitális Irodalmi Akadémia

This project is a “digital academy” of living Hungarian authors. Beyond providing digital access to the texts themselves, the project includes a rich collection of supplementary materials contributed by the authors.

European Union
Day 24: Quijote interactivo

Quijote interactivo is a beautiful digital edition of Cervantes’ Don Quijote. It is a high quality reproduction of the first edition of the work that allows the reader to turn the pages and search the full-text. Supplementary materials about the novel are included as well.

Latin America & the Caribbean
Day 16: Memorias de la Patagonia Austral

This project aims to provide access the a rich collection of primary source materials about the Patagonia region. It includes a wide variety of materials, ranging from newspaper articles to oral histories.

Middle East & North Africa
Day 52: AlexCinema

This project aims to preserve the history of Egyptian cinema, specifically in Alexandria. The film-making tradition in the city is over 100 years old and AlexCinema is an extensive bibliography documenting that tradition and its modern-day revival.

South Asia
 Day 33: Indian Memory Project

The Indian Memory project is an online archive dedicated to the history of the Indian subcontinent. It includes a variety of resources, including images and oral histories.

Europeana- Europe’s largest digital library

Europeana.eu is an internet portal that provide access to millions of digital and digitized books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitized throughout Europe. It is so far the largest digital library in Europe.

One of the logos of the Europeana Digital Library.

One of the logos of the Europeana Digital Library.

This project began in 2005 as a conversation among national leaders in European countries about building an integrated library to share European culture with the world. The result of this conversation was the creation of European Digital Library Network (EDLnet), launched in 2008 with the Beta version. It started with 4.5 million cross-discipline, cross-domain digital items from over 1,000 contributing organizations all across Europe, including national libraries, galleries and museum collections, and so on. Europeana came out to replace EULnet in February 2009. This collection hit 10 million digital objects in 2010. Up till today, more than 2,000 institutions across Europe have contributed to Europeana, some of the best known ones include Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the British Library and the Louvre. There are also plenty of regional and local collections, including archives and museums from members of the European Union contributing to this collection. Some interesting items in this collection include digitized Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music pieces.

With such an impressive collection, Europeana tries to make active use of its digital objects and share them with the world. To achieve this goal, they work hard on customizing their website. Their browsing and search functions are also well designed. They set up different organizing groups for browsing: fields, titles, creators, subjects, dates/ periods, places for browsing. When users search a term, the search box will show up other relevant and more specific search terms as a drop-down list to choose from.
Serving as an online portal, Europeana does not have the full content available on their website. However, on every item’s record page, a link guides users to the host library. Users can follow the link to the host library to use the materials. Europeana contributing libraries have open download link to their digital materials. On an item’s record page, there are links to share on social networks, or sent to email. There is also a Wikipedia link so that users can read more about it on Wiki. Also, the record can also be translated into 40 major languages around the world.

    Interior de les Àligues, posteriorment seu de la Universitat de Girona. (Public domain image accessed through the Europeana Digital Library.)

Interior de les Àligues, posteriorment seu de la Universitat de Girona. (Public domain image accessed through the Europeana Digital Library.)

Another neat feature of Europeana is that curates digital exhibitions on various themes. They bring up items related to the theme and attach them with detailed information. This collection is still growing: check the new content page for their recent additions. They are also experimenting with new projects, such as 3D ICONS ( digitizing archaeological monuments and buildings in 3D), ATHENA (aggregating museum content and promotes standards for museum digitization and metadata), Europeana Regia (digitizing royal manuscripts from Medieval and Renaissance Europe), and many more.

1.Europeana. http://www.europeana.eu/
2.Europeana-wikipedia. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europeana