Taken by Wesley Ng

The UCR Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research (CBSR) has received a grant of $250,000 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The award is dedicated to the Un Catalogo Colectivo de Impresos Latino Americanos hasta 1851, or the CCILA, which is an ongoing project of the CBSR that looks to catalog printed work of Latin American and the Philippines. The grant will enhance the size of the database, as well as scholars’ access to Latin American works dating back to 1851.

CBSR is a research center that catalogs and archives a variety of works.  According to its website, the center “seeks to support and encourage intra- and extramural study in its chosen areas of specialization.”

The grant will provide students with further access to early Latin American works that were previously difficult to track down or obtain. The project is composed of two phases. This grant funds the second phase of the CCILA project, which is the expansion of the database to include more sources of early Latin American works from other libraries, and consolidate them into one. Phase two will double the size of the database.

The first phase of the project has already been completed. It involved importing significant printed bibliographies and library catalogs into a file of approximately 60,000 entries from about 500 libraries. Written works are translated in Portuguese, Spanish and original native languages.

Expansive cataloging of Latin American literature is known for being a greatly understudied area, according to UCR Today. The long-term goal of the project is to enable scholars of Latin American bibliographic studies to have an open avenue to the printed material, heretofore exclusive, to academia and UCR. The catalog, available at the CBSR website, is a free resource open to all students.

In a press release, Brian Geiger, the director of the CBSR, commented on the grant they received from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). “IMLS’s support will profoundly transform research based on early Latin American printing,” he said, “and will go a long way to providing the unified catalog that scholars and librarians have sought for decades.” Created in 1996, the IMLS is an independent U.S. agency that provides most federal funding to museums and libraries nationwide.

According to the CBSR website, since the project’s inception, Geiger has visited libraries all across the globe in hopes of soliciting participation from as many sources as possible to contribute to the CCILA. His travels have taken him to libraries in Latin America, North America and Europe.

As reported by Geiger, interest in Latin American studies has grown over the last few years and the timing of the research grant could not be better for the CBSR.

“North American interest in the culture, history and art of the one-time Spanish and Portuguese sphere has increased dramatically in recent decades,” Geiger stated in a press release.

The CBSR hopes to cater to the growing interest in the Latin American culture by completing the remaining phase of the CCILA project with the help of the $250,000 grant that is currently funding the research.