Meet Nelissa Caraballo-Ramos, Bilingual Processing Archivist

Nelissa Caraballo-Ramos, Bilingual-Processing Archivist

In September 2019, I began working as a Bilingual Processing Archivist in the University of Florida’s Special and Area Studies Collections (SASC) Department. The position was newly created to address access needs for the Department’s Latin American and Caribbean Collection (LACC). LACC is among a small number of academic research library collections in the United States devoted to collecting Latin American and Caribbean materials. One of the main projects I worked on was to create Spanish translations for over 60 finding aids, with a particular emphasis on the library’s Cuban collections. As part of the project, I developed and implemented new workflows for translating finding aids and collaborated with the library’s digital holdings at the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) to make these finding aids available and accessible, with a guide for the Cuban collections. Part of my daily activities includes processing LACC archival collections and creating bilingual finding aids to improve access for Spanish speaking researchers. I also provide support for other key projects including, a Covid-19 Farmworkers project and work on the Panama Canal Museum Collection. I also serve on the Bilingual (English/Spanish) Metadata Working Group, a committee focused on creating a Spanish-language authority file that is accessible, reliable, and that encompasses the diversity of Spanish-speaking cultures and peoples.

Mexico tourism poster
Poster from the Mexico Tourism Collection
Article on the Columbian Volcano Tragedy
Newspaper article from the Thomas Willey Papers

I recently had the opportunity to process various collections regarding tourism, politics, history, and religious organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Among these is the Thomas (Tom) Willey Papers, which is LACC’s first religious collection documenting various religious organizations in Latin America during the 20th century. Most of the documents are about an organization called World Relief Corp and its work in providing disaster relief assistance in different parts of Latin America and their work with refugee resettlement cases from Haiti and Cuba. I also processed the Mexico Tourism Collection, this collection is very colorful, it contains maps and brochures from different travel agencies and the largest oil company in Mexico to promote tourism in the country from 1935 to 1962.

Newspaper clipping from the Andrew St. George Collection

Another important collection that I worked on was the Andrew St. George Collection. St. George was a journalist and photographer who focused on issues related to Latin America. He was one of the first people to interview Fidel Castro and members of the guerrillas in Sierra Maestra, Cuba. St. George also met Ernesto Che Guevara and documented his participation in the Cuban Revolution and guerrillas in Bolivia. This collection captures different political events in Latin America, such as the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and François Duvalier’s “Papa Doc” in Haiti, and the Cuban Revolution.