Mellon Foundation gift to UM Libraries will support software development of important resource

Grant Will Expand Cuban Theater Digital Archive

MIAMI, November 6, 2012 —The University of Miami Libraries has received a two-year $260,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for support-software development that will expand the functionality of the Cuban Theater Digital Archive.

“The Cuban Theater Digital Archive is a model digital humanities project, which fosters interdisciplinary collaborations,” said Dean and University Librarian William D. Walker. “As we celebrate the Year of the Humanities and Arts at UM, it is especially rewarding to be able to advance this model project.”

Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the “innovative digital humanities project provides an important resource for scholars and students and helps to advance understanding of the role that performing arts play in our culture.”

Mitsunori Ogihara, associate dean for digital library innovation and director of data mining in UM’s Center for Computational Science, will oversee the development of various software components that will add metadata extraction from the digital media (videos and graphics), add community tags and a search mechanism, and make a publication tool available that allows scholars to more easily access archived materials for research.

“I am very excited about being part of this project. Making this invaluable archive of Cuban theatrical productions more accessible with streamlined data processing and an advanced search mechanism will enhance its value to scholars,” said Ogihara.

The Cuban Theater Digital Archive was established by Lillian Manzor, associate professor of modern languages and literatures and Latin American Studies, and the UM Libraries as the result of a 2005 Digital Library Fellowship. Previous awards have included a six-month research and planning initiative followed by a larger award to rebuild the technical and organizational infrastructure.

Available online at, the archive serves as a resource for research, teaching, and learning in Cuban theater and performance and as a community repository for important Cuban theatrical materials. It is also a forum to foster scholarly communication in this field. The archive is managed as a digital humanities partnership between the University of Miami Libraries and the College of Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with Cuba’s National Council for the Performing Arts and the Center for Stage Design Studies.

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