A recent agreement between the libraries at the University of the Virgin Islands, Florida International University and the University of Florida will offer digital access to library materials on the topics of history and culture in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This collaborative effort will provide access to new archival materials, while at the same time allow for the preservation of library materials owned by the University of the Virgin Islands. Also very important is its role as a model for future partnerships among libraries in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
The digital collection, entitled "U. S. Virgin Islands History and Culture," is intended to be an image and full-text collection of archival, library and museum materials documenting the Virgin Islands’ history and culture. The digitized collection will provide materials that illustrate the Hispanic and African-Caribbean influences, as well as the English and Danish colonial influences, on the islands’ history, including historical and cultural works in the form of biographies, educational materials, research reports and newspaper columns. In addition, the collection will make accessible materials unique to the Virgin Islands, such as an extensive collection of funeral booklets (programs of religious and graveside ceremonies that include family histories, songs and stories), many from the period of slavery. Also included will be materials from Project Introspection, a V.I. Department of Education project designed to record identity and culture of the Virgin Islands and used in the V.I. K-12 school system. Feel free to preview the project at http://webpac.uvi.edu/imls/project2002/2000.shtml
The primary role of UF and FIU is to host and support the collection through the "Publication of Archival, Library and Museum Materials" (PALMM), the cooperative digital library of the university libraries of the State of Florida’s Division of Colleges and Universities. Researchers will have access to the U.S Virgin Islands History and Culture collection through FIU, UF and their other PALMM partners. This project encourages collaboration and cooperative development of collections and services of mutual interest between partnership universities and provides, through its emphasis on access and preservation, a model for future collaborations between U.S. and Latin American and Caribbean libraries.