Notes from the Miami Zine Fair

By Jay Sylvestre, Special Collections Librarian


Zine Fair attendees on the plaza at HistoryMiami

On Saturday, April 30, Special Collections and the UM Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Studies Collective shared a table at the 3rd annual Miami Zine Fair. The Zine Fair, organized by Exile Books and hosted by HistoryMiami, featured 140 tables of zine makers, artists, and poets. The event drew more than 1,500 people who came to purchase and swap zines, chat with their favorite zinesters, or simply learn more about zines.



Special Collections Librarian Jay Sylvestre at the zine table.

Special Collections assembled a zine about zines that we called Zineology #1. With more than 6,000 zines in our collection we knew we couldn’t share details about each one so we decided to approach the collection thematically. Zineology highlighted several of our distinct zine collections along with zine subject areas like music, perzines (short for personal zines), gender and sexuality, science fiction, and Florida zines.


The UM Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Studies Collective

The initial focus of the zine collection was on Florida or Florizines, but it quickly became clear that just as zines serve to subvert and expand the conversation, we knew we couldn’t limit the collection geographically. Florida zines will always be a particular focus, but the amount of variety in the eclectic world of zines requires that we collect zines about anything and everything from here, there, and everywhere.


Zine artist and Special Collections Library Assistant David Rodriguez (right) recently donated this zine he presented at Zine Fair to our collection.

We met so many people at the Zine Fair that we ran out of business cards and gave away almost the entire first run of Zineology. We had countless conversations with people about the existence of our collection; many of whom had no idea that UM Special Collections has such an extensive zine collection. Participating in an event like the Zine Fair was the perfect venue to share this information. We lost track of how many new potential researchers we met, but we know that we’ve already been contacted by a few people from the fair about adding their zines to the collection.

If we met you on Saturday at the Zine Fair and you would like to add your zines to the collection please give us a call!






Stop by the Richter Library 8th floor and pick up a copy of Zineology #1 for detailed highlights of the zine collection.

Visit the Cuban Theater Digital Archive

The Cuban Theater Digital Archive (CTDA) is an online worldwide resource for historical materials related to Cuba’s renowned performing arts scene. Filmed productions, production stills, and many other theater-related materials are searchable in this bilingual, multimedia resource, drawn from more than twenty collections from the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection, the Center for Scenic Design Studies in Havana, and the holdings of individual collaborators in Cuba, the United States, and beyond.

The CTDA includes recordings of equity and non-equity productions digitized and filmed in Cuba and outside the island as well as information related to the subject of Cuban theater, with a special focus on theater produced by Cuban communities in the United States. The archive serves as a resource for teaching, learning, and research in Cuban theater and performance and related fields; a community repository for important Cuban theatrical materials; and a forum to foster scholarly communication in this field.

Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Click the image to visit the site.

Highlights of the CTDA include:

  • Over two hundred videoed productions and staged readings, as well as rehearsals and interviews of plays produced in Cuba, the United States, Spain, and Latin America.
  • An image database that includes over three thousand items digitized from the Cuban Heritage Collection as well as items received from theater practitioners.
  • A searchable directory of information on playwrights, directors, designers, actors, plays, productions, theater companies, theater venues, and awards.
  • More than 50% of the content has been the product of student research projects.

The CTDA allows project collaborators to add directory information and other resources via a backend data-entry module. When possible, site content is available for download and reuse in keeping with Creative Commons Open Content license requirements. CTDA content is also available through Scalar, a multimodal scholarly publishing platform.

Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CTDA is managed as a digital humanities partnership between the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences and the Libraries, in cooperation with Cuba’s National Council for the Performing Arts and the Center for Scenic Design Studies.

In 2004, a web-based archive of information and images on Cuban theater in Cuba and the United States was created by Dr. Lillian Manzor, a University of Miami professor, with the technical and web development support of Lyn MacCorkle of the University of Miami Libraries Digital Initiatives. In early 2009, a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was awarded to evaluate the importance of the archive to theater scholars and students and to outline a sustainability plan for the project’s future. This funding provided the support needed to develop a more robust version of the initial site.


Materials that have been digitized for the CTDA.

Building the site required developing a new data model, software tools, hardware expertise, and a set of best practices to support enhancing multimedia content and collaborative authorship. A development outcome is an open source content management system designed specifically for documenting theater performance. The “Romeu” software platform uses the Django (Python) Framework; the software is available at GitHub.

The Video Digitization Technical Guide, a set of locally developed practices for filming theater performances, authored in consultation with expert video consultants, can be found here. The CTDA User Manual can be found here.

For information on the theoretical and technical aspects of site development, please consult Dr. Lillian Manzor or Mitsunori Ogihara.

For more information on the CTDA, please contact Dr. Lillian Manzor.

Manzor, Lillian, Mitsunori Ogihara, and Kyle Rimkus. “Cuban Theater Digital Archive: A Multimodal Platform for Theater Documentation and Research,” in Information Technologies for Performing Arts, Media Access, and Entertainment, edited by Paolo Nesi and Raffaella Santucci. 7990: 138-150. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2013.

CTDA Word Cloud

In Search of Freedom: Cuban Exiles and the Cuban Refugee Program

University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections and the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) have launched In Search of Freedom, a digital exhibit with forty-two photographs and publications illustrating the early years of the Cuban Refugee Program. Items were selected from Cuban Refugee Center Records, a large and significant CHC collection described in this Finding Aid.

The exhibit is arranged to contextualize the activities of the Cuban Refugee Program in the early 1960s through the initial years of its operation. The Program was created by the US Government to help manage the scale and impact of a large number of political exiles arriving in South Florida from Cuba in a relatively short period of time. Located in downtown Miami, Program facilities provided needed aid to individuals and families in the form of language classes, job training, child services, medical services, and food banks. In addition, the Cuban Refugee Program created the infrastructure and procedures required to accomplish the relocation / resettlement of clients to areas in the United States outside South Florida.

The Cuban Refugee Program closed in 1994, after more than three decades of providing assistance to many thousands of refugees.

In Search of Freedom

In Search of Freedom

The In Search of Freedom website was created using Omeka, an open source software platform, developed by the History and New Media Center, George Mason University, to enable cultural heritage institutions, scholars, archives and libraries to efficiently develop and manage digital narratives, exhibits, and collections.

AEON is a service of the University of Miami Libraries that allows researchers to submit requests for items at UM Libraries Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and University Archives. Item descriptions for “In Search of Freedom” provide links to AEON, and visitors may request to view a copy of the original photograph or document at the Otto G. Richter Library, or request a digital reproduction of the original.

Additional images from the Cuban Refugee Center Records are available on the University of Miami Libraries Digital Collections website: Cuban Refugee Center Records. For more information, please contact the Cuban Heritage Collection at 305-284-4900 or