The Cuban Heritage Collection has created a research guide to its archive of music-related documents, distributed in more than 40 collections of papers and/or recordings of musicians, singers, composers, music scholars and music amateurs in Cuba and the diaspora. A wealth of books and various types of published materials on Cuban music from the early colonial times to the present are also available in the Collection. A database of music scores in the CHC is available in the Scores Database tab within the guide.
by Sarah Block, Library Communications
The exhibition features materials that highlight how the physical characteristics of objects can provide insightful clues about the past and inform the present.
Curated by Meiyolet Méndez, interim chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and Dr. Martin Tsang, UM Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Area Studies, Objects in the Archive includes three-dimensional objects related to education, industry, and religion in Cuba from the Collection and outside materials. They span commodities and marketing materials from the tobacco industry, Republic-era educational memorabilia, creative works such as artist’s books from Cuba’s Vigía collective, and a rich variety of religious objects.
Tsang, a former CHC Graduate Fellow, culled religious ornaments and sculpture, many from the Lydia Cabrera Papers, that document influences of Afro-Cuban religion on the island and largely informed his own doctoral work.
“As an anthropologist I’m very interested in these material objects that remain and the inspiration, symbolism, and value that is given to and contained in these materials.” In his ethnographic fieldwork Tsang, who is also an initiated Lukumí priest, has also studied Afro-Cuban religion in both Cuba and on our doorstep through interviews and objects including religious icons and Afro-Atlantic beaded art.
“In some cases,” he explains, “objects have their own lives. A sculpture, such as that of a deity, can be as meaningful in a person’s life far beyond the concept of an inanimate object, taking on its own biography.”
One such object, a cement figure with cowrie shell features honoring the deity Elegua, is featured in the exhibition courtesy of Biscayne National Park, where it was originally found and is part of a larger religious use study that Dr. Tsang has conducted there. “The materials used and the way it’s created offer insights about origins of time and place, and broader cultural patterns and mobility.”
Objects in the Archive is on view through August 2016.
Library users at the U are about to witness a big transformation in how they locate and access information from the University’s libraries.
UM’s seven libraries across the Coral Gables, Miller School of Medicine, and Rosenstiel campuses are collaborating on a full overhaul of the online system that will streamline how materials are acquired, tracked, browsed, searched, and discovered. Most significantly, the new system, expected to debut this May, will integrate three independent systems into a single search and discovery platform for accessing the University’s millions of library holdings.
“Faculty and students on all campuses will be very pleased to discover that, with one search, resources from across the seven libraries will be displayed on their screen,” said Professor of Law Sally Wise, chair of the Faculty Senate Library & Information Resources Committee and director of the Law Library. “This will be especially beneficial for those researching across multiple disciplines. All libraries now collaborate on providing resources, and it will be very exciting to see them displayed to the researcher at one time.”
UM selected the new system following a search process that involved representatives across the three campuses. A team of 34 librarians and library and UM Information Technology staff chose the platform as the unified solution that would replace the disparate library systems, enable the library to streamline its workflows, and provide better patron services. The libraries are working with Ex Libris Group to lead the migration to the new system. When the months-long process is complete, UM’s resources will run through two Ex Libris programs, Ex Libris Alma for resource management, and Ex Libris Primo for discovery and delivery.
The transition will align the functions and features of UM’s catalog with a large number of research libraries worldwide that have adopted Ex Libris technologies, including the London School of Economics, Austrian Library Network, and the University of Edinburgh, as well as fellow Association of Research Libraries members Emory and Brandeis universities.
“The powerful combination of Ex Libris Alma and Primo forms the leading solution enabling libraries to move ahead with a unified platform that benefits both staff and patrons,” said Eric Hines, president of Ex Libris North America.
Many of the team members who developed the request for proposals and assisted in vetting and evaluating a range of vendors are now part of the implementation team, a total of 25 librarians and staff, working with Ex Libris throughout the transition to the new system.
“We are eager to unify and streamline our systems efficiently and effectively,” said UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.
On Wednesday, March 30, the Cuban Heritage Collection hosted the North American launch of the book The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents. The book, which explores immigration topics through the lens of sociology and public health, was co-edited by Alejandro Portes, University of Miami Professor of Sociology and Law. The event was co-presented with the Miami Institute for the Americas and UM’s Department of Sociology.
A panel of experts, including David Abraham (University of Miami Professor of Law), Jorge Dominguez (Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies Chair), and Felicia Knaul (University of Miami Professor and Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas), examined Dr. Portes’ work. President Julio Frenk delivered the closing remarks.
Portes described his inspiration for the book as “the way immigrants organize to both defend themselves and their identities. They promote their well-being in the receiving countries as well as protagonism in the regions and countries from which they came.”
One key finding of his work is that in many cases immigration as a cyclical process, in which people move back and forth between home and receiving countries, is not a “zero-sum game.” “People are very much attached to the culture and language that they came from, and such attachments are not inimical to successful cultural and political incorporation in the receiving country,” he said.
In the closing remarks, President Julio Frenk, who earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, said the book allowed him to revisit his scholarly roots. “I enjoyed reading both the insights and the arcane language of my colleagues in the social sciences,” he said. He also noted the event marked his first book launch since becoming president of the University of Miami. “These events greatly contribute to the intellectual vigor of our institution.”
Barry University’s Monsignor William Barry Memorial Library will present the book The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue on Thursday, February 18th, from 6:30-8:00pm at Brockway Memorial Library. More information in the flyer below.
The Cuban Heritage Collection is honored to hold the records of Brothers to the Rescue, generously donated by Mr. José Basulto.