México: the journey begins

A little over  a month ago, I finished up attending the Society of American Archivists conference in Cleveland, and two days later I was moving to Mexico City for my 2015-2016 Fulbright-García Robles project. It’s been a whirlwind of a time, and I’m still learning the ropes and settling in at my host institution, the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información at the Universidad Nacional Autónomo de México.

During the last few weeks, I’ve been getting to know the lay of the land here in Mexico City, which is a very

Torre II Humanidades, where the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información is housed at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Torre II Humanidades, where the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información is housed at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

complex place to say the least. I’m enjoying the hustle and bustle, delicious food and getting to know friendly chilangos, the coloquial term for residents of this megalopolis. On the research side, I’ve been working on my literature review, attending local conferences and talks, and having lots of cafecitos and lunches with colleagues.

I am here to get a better sense of the state of digital preservation work in libraries, archives and museums in Mexico and, using Mexico as a springboard, in the Latin American region in general. Based on my past work collaborating across languages and borders, I hope to be able to create a synthesis of trends, actualities, realities and current practices on a Pan American scale.

Since this is a foray into the research world on a scale I’ve never been able to do before, I’m also using this project as a platform to test out new research methods and analysis tools. Most of my work will be centered around interviews, and I plan on using XML markup to help me extract patterns for data analysis. I also will be spending some time on beefing up my Excel and programming skills so that I’m able to take that raw data and work with it in more meaningful ways, through data visualizations and relational schema.

And lastly, I’ve already started archiving twitter data around library, archives, museum and open access and open government conferences here in Mexico. I had a little bit of experience working with twitter archiving at the Cuban Heritage Collection during the US-Cuba Policy Change twitter archive project, and I want to keep exploring this area of work on my own through a project to analyze the types of conversations coming out of meetings between information professionals, government agencies, and (I hope) citizens.

Needless to say, this will be keeping me very busy for the next seven-and-a-half months!