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A Prototype Online Archive of Documents Related to Indigenous Peoples in Colonial Spanish Florida.

Author: Emilia Thom
Faculty Mentor: Clayton McCarl


During the summer of 2020, I worked on a research project titled “A Prototype Online Archive of Documents Related to Indigenous Peoples in Colonial Spanish Florida.” This project focuses on creating a prototype online archive containing digital editions of primary source documents relating to interactions between Indigenous peoples and Spaniards during the colonial period in Florida. With the help of Dr. Clayton McCarl and Dr. Denise Bossy, I worked to edit five documents from eighteenth-century St. Augustine. Dr. McCarl and I explored different formats for an online archive, and new digital editing criteria relating to the documents. The project is still in progress, with draft editions co-published by coloniaLab (colonialab.org) and the North Florida Editorial Workshop (nfew.org). The finished prototype will include digital editions that provide a transcription view, reading view, and an intermediate view; lexical and historical annotations; and an indexing platform that includes document summaries, historical context, and editorial criteria. The finished project will provide a platform for students to continue to publish primary source documents online in a way that is both comprehensible and accessible.
Research Types: Undergraduate Research

9 Responses

  1. This is wonderful work, Emilia. I know that there are some very tedious aspects to it, but how incredibly valuable to create a digital archive (even if it is a prototype)! As someone who has worked with challenging documents in archives, I have no doubt that the transcriptions and annotations will be incredibly beneficial. Congratulations on very fine work.

  2. I’ll echo Dr. Chamberlain’s comment. I know this work took a tremendous amount of effort, but it’s worth it. The digital archive will make these documents more accessible to future researchers and that will ease their ability to use them in scholarship projects. I’ll also second Dr. Pfister’s comment that it’s wonderful to see indigenous peoples of northeast Florida highlighted.

  3. Great work, Emilia! I really like that you include definitions of words that originate from Indigenous languages and include other features that make the site more accessible to the general public. Students’ ability to add primary sources in the future demonstrates that this archive will be a useful pedagogical tool as well.

  4. As a fellow Spanish paleographer, I really love your project, Emilia. I understand the care and effort (sometimes the struggle!) involved in the work of transcription (and later, perhaps, translation) of these documents. Well done! Did you find it rewarding as you studied the words inscribed by (or for) people from the past?

  5. This is very interesting, Emilia. This prototype that you are creating will help to create a big database for the future, and for many to use. I find it interesting that there are many documents from the indigenous people during the Spanish colonial times. It will be interesting to see what they were dealing with, how they were treated.

  6. Emilia,
    I appreciate the challenging work of creating a prototype. It seems that you have made some good progress so far. Any documentation on the methodology and criteria you can do will pay tremendous dividends for future work in this area. Best wishes for your future work.

  7. Great job, Emilia! This important archival work you’ve conducted is fascinating. Creating the prototype of this online archive contributes so much to the current and future study of Indigenous peoples in colonial Florida.

  8. Wow Emilia, this is great! The importance of promoting the visibility of indigenous history is so important and I’m glad you found such an effective way to highlight it.

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