Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

LLILAS-Benson Play Key Role in Bringing Guatemalan Archive Online

Mon, November 21, 2011

At a conference to be held on December 2, 2011, The University of Texas at Austin will unveil a website making publicly accessible approximately twelve million pages of digitized records of the Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional (AHPN), the Guatemalan National Police Archive.

The online archive is the cornerstone of a collaboration designed to transform the AHPN’s unique records into a living archive in service of Guatemala’s historical memory. The website brings to researchers, human rights activists, and prosecutors around the world an archive that has already begun to help rewrite the history of state repression in Guatemala.

The Politics of Memory conference is the beginning of a larger collaboration outlined in a 2011 letter of understanding between the AHPN and three institutions at the university: the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of American Studies (LLILAS), and the University of Texas Libraries, which is home to the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. In addition to making the AHPN available online, this agreement plans for the exchange of technical expertise, cooperation in research, and engagement in capacity-building for legal and academic networks in Guatemala.

The first round of exchange of technical expertise between the AHPN and the university began in early 2011 and will culminate with the December 2 launch of the online archive. Work in this phase was conducted as part of the LLILAS-Benson led Latin American Digital Initiative. Technical work in the Libraries was under the coordination of the Benson Collection Archivist, Christian Kelleher, with LLILAS-Benson Digital Curator Kent Norsworthy serving as the primary liaison with our Guatemalan partners. LLILAS-Benson Director Charles R. Hale is a member of the AHPN Project Coordinating Committee, along with Kelleher from the Benson, and Karen Engle and Daniel Brinks, Co-Directors of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

By bringing this archive online, LLILAS-Benson is helping to make it possible for people around the globe—from those searching for disappeared friends and family, to those studying institutions of surveillance and state repression, to those exploring the legacy of U.S. involvement in Guatemala—to undertake research using these materials. For more information on the December 2 conference, visit Politics of Memory. At the conclusion of the conference, the archive will be available online at http://ahpn.lib.utexas.edu/

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