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date: 23 February 2024

Digital Resources: Chilean Historyfree

Digital Resources: Chilean Historyfree

  • Danielle B. BarefootDanielle B. BarefootDepartment of History, University of Arizona


The 21st century brought with it a mass digitization of archival materials that rapidly changed preservation, research, and pedagogy practices. Chilean digital databases, archives, and humanities projects have grown steadily since the late 1990s. These resources developed with the central goals of democratizing access to sources and removing obstructive barriers including accessibility and physical distance. Remote access capabilities coupled with open access of collections encourages greater interaction with repositories including libraries, museums, and archives and materials such as historical documents, newspapers, paper ephemera, music and audio recordings, and photography.

While not exhaustive, these sites demonstrate the extensive range of digitized sources available that span from the pre-Columbian through modern periods. Researchers, teachers, and students seeking primary sources will find a multitude of themes including indigenous peoples, culture, science and technology, history, politics, environment, and human rights. Some sites, such as Memoria Chilena and the National Security Archive, feature a fully digitized collection with articles and downloadable PDF material. Others, such as Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos, and the Biblioteca Nacional Digital, have non-digitized holdings that call for an in-person visit. Lastly, the Dirección de Bibliotecas Archivos y Museos and Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano serve as digital source aggregates that collect and allow users to search across affiliated sites. Aggregation is the newest step in the digital revolution. This newer process permits the archiving of entire archives, which will transform how scholars understand source collection, non-immersive “fieldwork,” and research methodologies.

Digital resources drastically improve the accessibility of sources concerning Chile. At the individual level, user skill may affect the browsing experience, especially when searching for sources. Many digital resources allow for truncated and Boolean logic queries. Users can customize their browsing experience by implementing these tools to expand or narrow the search. At the website level, these resources incorporate open access coupled with universal design practices to democratize the individual browsing experience. Open access allows users to access content free of charge. Universal design ensures access equity through coding and website design. However, in terms of accessibility, room for improvement exists. Users employing screen readers and captioning technologies will have vastly different experiences within each of these resources based on the device and software utilized. Organizations who have undertaken the digitization process must ensure they continue cultivating equitable digital spaces that all users may enjoy.


  • History of Southern Spanish America
  • 1492 and Before
  • 1492–1824
  • 1824–c. 1880
  • 1945–1991
  • Digital Innovations, Sources, and Interdisciplinary Approaches

Dirección de Bibliotecas Archivos y Museos (DIBAM)

DIBAM was originally founded in 1929 as a means of preserving important cultural patrimony through connecting different libraries, archives, and museums under one network. The system expanded into the digital realm in the early 2000s to further extend the institutional cooperation and public reach. The website is available in Spanish and English, although the English site contains more limited offerings. The website menu design incorporates the standardized digital symbol instead of text, which might prove challenging for those accustomed to navigating browsers on desktops instead of portable electronic devices. The menu features a drop-down function with twelve sections: “about,” libraries, archives, museums, patrimonial sites, research, intellectual property, monuments, calendar of events, digital collections, news, and the Revista Patrimonio—a publication dedicated to Chilean patrimony.

The website mainly serves as a repository. It connects the individual institutions and digital resources affiliated with the DIBAM network and provides confederated searching across participating sites. Lamentably, the search feature does not include links to specific materials in the affiliated digital collections. The digital collections section will be particularly helpful for those seeking information about offerings available throughout Chile.

The museum collection, broken down by national, regional, and specialty, might be an especially useful section for teachers and students. In clicking around some of the links for the regional and specialty museums, one will discover a “Didactic Zone” with links to institutional pages created especially for instruction.1 For example, the Museo de la Educación Gabriela Mistral in Santiago allows students to explore the museum through photographs of the rooms and holdings, downloadable classroom activities, and games created utilizing museum content.2 Users will need an updated version of Adobe Flash to interact with this site, as well as other features from the Didactic Zone. This resource serves as an excellent starting point for finding digital resources on Chile.

Memoria Chilena

Launched in 2003, Memoria Chilena was the first digital program of its kind in Chile. This website, published by the National Library of Chile, hosts one of the most comprehensive collections of digitized content known in the country to date. It incorporates a multidisciplinary team who selects and digitizes materials that “reflect the diversity and richness of Chilean culture, facilitates access to information, and stimulates the production of knowledge.”3 Archivists working on the digitization process employ rigorous standards for digital conversion and the presentation of the materials including short, descriptive essays. The website and all documents are in Spanish. Main headers, standard across all pages, link to the digital content broken into five different sections: lugares (places), temas (themes), fechas (dates), formato (document format), and especiales (special features). The homepage holds these links plus a search bar, links to social media, a flow of highlighted materials, news, popular holdings (separated by mini-sites, documents, and images), information about Memoria Chilena, and associated sites.

Each of the website subsections are further subdivided. The “place” link splits the holdings into six regions: Norte Grande (Arica, Parinacota, Tarapacá, and Antofagasta), Norte chico (Atacama and Comquimbo), zona central (Metropolitan, Valparaíso, O’Higgins, and Maule), Zona sur (Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Rios, and Los Lagos), Extremo sur (Aisén, Magallanes, and the Antarctic), and Chilenos en el extranjero (Chileans abroad) in twenty-eight countries. The “themes” section is broken into ten categories: architecture and urbanism, science and technology, important people, culture and art, literature, history, historiography, press and journalism, first peoples, and land and environment. Many of these categories further divide into subcategories. For example, a wide range of fourteen temporal and thematic subsections forms the history category. The “dates” link features an interactive timeline; the user may select from the date range or also drag the timeline to find clickable content with brief entries noting important happenings on a certain date. Lastly, the “special features” tab offers rotating highlights from the collection.4 Current selections include historiography published by women, Baby Jesus and Christmas, 20th-century political propaganda, school manuals and developing childhood citizenship, Research Center Diego Barros Arana (1990–), a tour of Chilean music, men and photography, celebrating the seventieth anniversary of Gabriela Mistral’s Nobel Prize in Literature, the First Copa América in Chile, the 2014 International Book Exposition (FILSA) hosted in Santiago, a gallery of Chilean author illustrations and caricatures in honor of FILSA, Chilean agriculture, Chilean cartography (1768–1929), and city highlights of Coyhaique, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, Copiapó, and Antofagasta.

Three highlights of the available digitized content include: Pre-Hispanic architecture in Chile’s great northern region, Chilean historiography published by women, and exile, a constant throughout Chile’s history.5 An entire mini-site devoted to Pre-Hispanic architecture introduces users to the topic. The site includes an introductory essay, documents, images, timeline, bibliography, and relevant links focused on first peoples of Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, and San Pedro de Atacama. Users can browse a combination of primary and secondary sources including photographs, maps, articles, and monographs. Relevant links lead users to related themes on Memoria Chilena, as well as to the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Women’s historiographical contributions incorporates a similar set-up, including a gallery of relevant sources, an essay to contextualize the historical and social relevance, and a collection of digital objects that leads to other website pages, books, and articles. Some of the authors listed include Asunción Lavrin, Amanda Labarca, and Alejandra Araya Espinoza. The final example of the Chilean exile experience covers a broad timeline from the colonial through the modern periods. Topics range from Jesuit expulsion in the colonial era through exiles fleeing Agusto Pinochet’s military regime and the complicated experience of returning. As with the other examples, this mini-site features an essay, documents, images, timeline, bibliography, and relevant links. Downloadable document PDFs range from political exile magazines, letters, pamphlets, and books. Images include children’s drawings and pictures taken in Chile and abroad.

Memoria Chilena features fourteen different content types. These include: mini-sites, books, magazines, articles, letters, music scores/sheet music, manuscripts, newspapers, chapters, fragments, papers, photographs, maps, recordings, plans, drawings, paintings, audio cassettes, music records, compact discs, and videos. Temporally, the collection spans from pre-Colombian through the contemporary period. Given the vast span of available and growing material, this resource would prove invaluable for students of multiple levels, teachers, and advanced researchers.

Biblioteca Nacional Digital

The Biblioteca Nacional Digital forms the trio of Chilean digital sources including Memoria Chilena (a part of BND) and DIBAM. This digital platform, founded in 2013, serves as a repository for all digital collections and services of the country’s national library. Per the website’s “about” section, a new platform launched in 2016 increased the available digital objects to over 244,000.6 BND pursues a three-pronged mission, of collecting, preserving, and circulating information in keeping with its colleagues Memoria Chilena and DIBAM. This site is available in Spanish only.

BND’s website includes easy navigation. The homepage features links to ten pages, a search bar, and a drop-down menu with links to different information pages. Users can access ten sub-sites from the main page. These include: discover, collections, thematic libraries, regional library locations, Memoria Chilena, Chile for children, a Chilean web archive, virtual tours, patrimonial maps, and connecting to online librarians. The website even contains downloadable mobile and tablet applications that allow for distance interaction by permitting virtual exploration of the library.7

This site serves as a helpful starting point for locating other digital resources on Chile. The “fondo y colecciones” section will be particularly useful for researchers planning a visit to Chile seeking collection and holding information.8 This page features links to twelve collections of the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, located in Santiago. On the page, users can choose from the audiovisual archive, Chilean writers archive, music archive, critical references archive, photography archive, the digital collection, the general collection, newspaper library, maps, periodicals, the Sala Medina, and the Chilean collection.9 Several of these subcategory titles have some odd semantics overlap, as with the “hemeroteca” and “periódico” and the “general” and “Chilean” collections. These twelve respective subsites nevertheless contain useful information, including digitized primary sources, secondary authors, and places.

Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano (BDPI)

Created in 2012, Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano (BDPI) serves as a digital portal for the collections of members of the Asociación de Bibliotecas Nacionales de Iberoamérica (ABINIA)—a collective of Iberian and Latin American national libraries. Users will find navigating the website fairly easy. The website offers users Spanish, Portuguese, and English language options for general browsing; the documents are posted in their original form and language. From the home page, users will find the language options in the top right corner, with contact, help, and about API (more on that later). The search bar is located immediately below these links. It features a drop-down menu to narrow searches by title, author, subject, or description. Additionally, users can select the advanced search option to further refine their query. Below the search bar lies the site navigation links: home, collections, about BDPI, and participants. The homepage features rotating content links including new and showcased collections. The bottom of the page links to the contributing member libraries.

BPDI divulged its website coding details, providing insight into how the site and its features work. The website was developed using OpenSearch API coding technology.10 OpenSearch API ensures a more accessible browsing experience for all users. OpenSearch API coding allows users to conduct BDPI searches outside of the website if using the external search website database link. This allows other digital resources to tap into the power of BDPI’s existing system and database. For example, users on the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile’s website can search BDPI’s holdings from the BNC website. This allows for greater collaboration and proliferation of materials.

Users can find content on BDPI through two different means. General queries can view the collections link and explore featured content. Those with specific queries should utilize the search bar and advanced search options. When searching, keep in mind the key words used. For example, a search of “Chile universitaria” resulted in 550 items solely in Spanish. None of these results overlapped with the 87 results in Spanish and English results for the query “Chile university.” The advanced search feature allows for searching via member library collections, by field (featuring a drop-down menu with eleven options), within document text, by type of document, and by language (101 options). The advanced search by field drop-down menu items include: all fields, title, place of publication, author, volume, date, material, ISBN/ISSN, signature, CDU, and geographic location.

BDPI features a wealth of sources from the pre-Columbian through modern eras. Given the vast collection, it would be useful if the website added an option for users to search items by country—not just by library holdings. A user cannot search ABINA member institutions for resources on “Chile.” Currently, the website only allows for searches by location and item. If users do know more details, they might have better luck discovering whether other institutions also had materials. For instance, one of the main page features a collection of over twenty-five thousand “sound records.”11 This remarkable resource allows users to browse ABINA member audio music recordings and bibliographic information from BDPI. Unfortunately, users can only narrow the results of this tremendous source by institution, type of material, and type of document. Providing additional options, including sorting items by language and country, could aid users to hone their query and more easily find sources.

Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos (MMDH)

Chile’s Memory and Human Rights Museum (MMDH) opened in 2010. This initiative features a collective of physical and digital spaces with the goal of recuperating and reconstructing the memory of human rights abuses during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–90). In addition to the multi-use museum, documentation, and cultural center located in Santiago, MMDH also offers a digital archives and exhibits. These resources are accessible through the main website by selecting the “recursos e investigaciones” tab and then the link of the respective digital archive platforms or interactive exhibits of interest. MMDH’s homepage and interactive sites are available in Spanish only.

Teachers and researchers alike will find a wealth of useful resources on the MMDH site, especially the digital archive and interactive exhibits. MMDH’s digital archive exclusively focuses on the human rights violations from 1973 through 1990.12 The site gives users two language options, English and Spanish, for the page text. When searching the digital archive, users should keep keywords and language in mind. For keyword searches, the Spanish page works much better. The searches do not only populate when using Spanish keywords. For example, both “university” and “universitaria” returned fourteen and eighty respective results. The results for “university” include documents from a greater variety of languages than “universitaria.” While many of the archival entries include digitized PDF documents or images, some of the entries just lead to bibliographic information and the user would then need to contact the archive to inquire if a digital copy exists. Several other sites complement the digital archive. These include an oral history archive, testimonies, an audiovisual catalog, and a digital library.13

Five interactive exhibits engage users as thought-provoking and remarkable given the attention to detail and scale. The exhibits—victims, memorials, the detention camps, forensic anthropology, and justice—may be browsed individually, or as a collective.14 Each of these mini-sites connects and complements the museum’s central goals of recovering memory, truth, and justice. Two of the interactive sites, victims and justice, allow users to search for information on those disappeared and the prosecution of those who carried out these acts. Respectively, these mini-sites feature lists of victims, political executions, disappeared prisoners, judicial sentences, and a list of victims and those who carried out the actions (whether it be interrogation, torture, disappearance, or execution) in addition to allowing searches. The memorials, detention camps, and forensic anthropology exhibits allow browsing by each of the fifteen regions of Chile. Once a region is selected, users may then choose from a list of locations within the region. Each of these locations includes entries detailing the events that occurred there, a Google map locating the space, images, and dates (if available). Using the Metropolitan region as an example for these three exhibits reveals 95 sites of memory, 168 sites of detention, and twelve forensic sites where human remains were found.

In terms of accessibility, this website exhibits the complicated relationship between aesthetics and ease of use. MMDH is the only website included in this resource analysis that features an accessibility panel so users can make certain real-time adjustments. The accessibility pop-up, located on the left side of the home page, contains four options that allow users to invert page colors and provides three text magnification options. Unfortunately, though visually pleasing, the interactive exhibits discussed below in further detail, are not user-friendly for screen reader software when tested for both Macs and PCs. These design flaws limit the reach of the interactive exhibits to potential users.

Cantos Cautivos

Cantos Cautivos developed as an interactive part of Dr. Katia Chornik’s research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which examines the relationship between captivity, music, and memory of prisoners detained by the Pinochet regime. This digital resource exemplifies the possibilities of scholarly research coupled with institutional collaboration, as Dr. Chornik first developed it in collaboration with Chile’s Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos. The website offers Spanish and English versions, including project information and song lyrics. From the homepage, users can easily navigate to the rest of the site. Users navigate the website via the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner. The menu includes nine tabs: homepage, about the project, testimonies, victims remembered, detention centers, share your memories, frequently asked questions (FAQ), press, bibliography and related projects, and a contact button.

The website functions as a dynamic digital archive that connects memory with music—allowing for interaction with the processes of collective and individual historical memory. Formerly detained individuals are invited to contribute their memories (even anonymously). The combination of testimonials from interviews and crowd sourcing has resulted in a growing list of songs and experiences and contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the social and cultural ramifications of life under dictatorship. The “Testimonies” section features a growing list of testimonials organized by song title. Users may custom sort the content by witness name, alphabetically by song, and by publication date. Each of these songs is linked to individual pages with composition information, the name of the attester, the location of the detention center and date, tags, lyrics, links to audio or video recordings, and images listed alongside individual or group memories. The tags feature links to relevant content including other testimonials by the same witness, related to the same music piece, or in the same detention center or region. The detention center tab features an interactive map of Chile with dropped pins that plot detention centers across the country’s geographic zones. Users can navigate the map via the text links on the left side, broken down by region and detention center name, or by the map on the right side of the page. Each regional or detention center minisite includes a map, the current number of available testimonies, the name of detention centers with available testimonies, a link to the Museo de la Memoria interactive map of detention centers, a link for users to share their experiences, and a links, organized by song title, to the testimonials from that region.

Cantos Cautivos serves as a sonic living-museum and offers essential content for survivors, researchers, and teachers. The site encourages the sonic exploration of the Pinochet regime. Coupled with the music works, the testimonies, survivor biographies, and detention center details encourage critical analysis of the Pinochet regime on detainees. History, political science, music, and human rights serve as just a few examples of scholarly areas that would benefit from using this source. In the classroom, this resource would serve as a useful tool to introduce students to topics including Chilean history, culture, music, and human rights. The current songs span the globe including, but not limited to Chilean folk songs, hymns, Mexican corridos, and popular international songs. The testimonial and song publications began with the first entry on December 2, 2014 with the constant addition of new content.15 The ongoing process reveals participant interest and entreats users to return in order to stay updated with the ever-growing song and testimonial library. The tag feature allows users to explore individual stories and find connections that speak to the collective experience. Currently, four different versions of the Chile’s “Himno nacional,” the national anthem, are published on the site.16 Although the witnesses were detained in different centers at different times, their experiences overlap. Furthermore, their testimonies reveal that the national anthem served not only as a tool of the military against those detained, but also as a means of subverting official authority.

National Security Archive (NSA)—George Washington University

The National Security Archive (NSA), housed at George Washington University, was created in 1985. While the site encompasses various geopolitical areas and themes, one section focuses entirely on Chile. The Chile Documentation Project (CDP), directed by historian Peter Kornbluh, serves several functions. First and foremost, it is an open access repository for digitized declassified US government documents dating from 1957 through 1998. Additional features include scholarly blog posts and links to media posts that feature National Security Archive—Chile Documentation Project materials.

NSA’s website is easily navigable, featuring ten links at the top of the page: home, publications, postings, projects, documents, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), DNSA (Digital National Security Archive), blog, the Russian archive, and “about.” Several of the tabs feature drop-down menus that appear when the user hovers over the text with a mouse. To search the holdings, click on the Document tab to enter the Virtual Reading Room. The archive provides brief instruction on using their search engine. Users may search by term and date to narrow the return. For example, a quick search of “Chile” located 103 documents. The website is in English. Documents for the CDP are available in English and Spanish. Each document features a brief synopsis in English, usually with links to other relevant documents. All documents are available as searchable PDFs with options for continuous page scroll, individual page viewing, and reading the document as text-only. The website and most of the PDF files easily convert for screen reader viewing.

Some interesting highlights from the collection include Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) communiques and an essay accompanied by documents on the Orlando Letelier assassination in Washington, D.C. The September 8, 1973, CIA report, issued from the Santiago station, divulges the impending military overthrow and highlights concerns of how President Salvador Allende and his supporters might respond.17 This five-page report includes detailed information as to the exact time and location of the Chilean Navy’s plan for initiating a coup d’état against President Allende and the Chilean government on September 10 in Valparaíso and moving inland toward the capital. The document underscores the uncertainty of the moment, especially whether Allende would be able to maintain his supporters and the possible responses to a military overthrow. Historian Peter Kornbluh wrote the essay, “CIA: ‘Pinochet personally ordered’ Letelier bombing,” for the NSA briefing book series.18 On September 21, 1976, Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador and political exile, and Ronni Moffitt, a colleague, were assassinated by a car bomb planted by DINA (Chilean National Intelligence) on orders from Augusto Pinochet. The briefing includes an essay contextualizing the events, actors, and historical moment alongside three documents related to the Letelier assassination, links, and images. Each of the briefing book sources follows this same template.

Harvard University Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection

Harvard University’s digital archive collection focuses on Latin American pamphlets from the 19th and early 20th-centuries. Although labeled with this broad geographic focus, most materials center on Chile, Cuba, Bolivia, and Mexico. The Chile holdings were largely amassed by Luis Montt, a Chilean historian who collected many of these materials during his tenure as a professor and head of the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile.19 Upon a general search, 1,056 records include the term “Chile.”

The website itself is only available in English, but the source languages include, but are not limited to, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and Latin. While the website has an appropriate search feature, the “browse indexes” page leaves much to be desired. Users can choose to browse by title, name, subject, or genre, but have no options for a more advanced search that might narrow a search by geography or document language. One glitch affects sorting the collection by subject. Only three options populate the search box after clicking the letter “C” under subject. It is unclear how these results—Juan Álvarez Maldonado, history, and organization and administration—relate to the subject search for letter “C.”

Two collection highlights include an 1891 Liberal Party convention announcing Claudio Vicuña as their presidential candidate and an 1881 treatise arguing for the annexation of Perú to Chile.20 The 1891 pamphlet praises Vicuña and pledges support to his candidacy. Vicuña went on to win the presidential election, but never took office because of a civil war. The 1881 treatise reveals ongoing political tensions over borders and access to the Pacific Ocean. Arguably, anyone could use this resource. However, it seems especially valuable for advanced researchers.

Princeton University Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera Collection

The Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera was launched in 2015 as a means of making the extensive ephemera collection more readily available. Creating a new digital archive also afforded the library the opportunity to reduce the backlog of uncatalogued ephemera sources—given the time necessary to devote to the cataloging and microfilming process. Ephemera refers to printed paper sources—including pamphlets, posters, flyers, and letters—with fleeting use, normally meant to be discarded after serving their purpose. However, as with the Harvard and Rutgers collections, these pieces were preserved thanks to librarian efforts begun by Barbara Hadley Stein and continued by Peter T. Johnson.21

Users may select from English, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese to navigate the digital archive portal. The collection is searchable by keyword, title, creator/publisher, and subject. Users may also browse all 12,219 of the available digitized holdings, filtering by genre, date created, geographic origin, subjects (thematic and geographic options), and language. While 11,481 Spanish items form the bulk of the collection, the totality of available sources spans a range of twenty-two languages.

Sorting an advanced search by geographic subject reveals 2,218 items focused specifically on Chile. Most of the sources are available in Spanish, with the rest divided into English, French, Portuguese, German, and Swedish. The date range of these items runs from 1958 through 2017, but the bulk of the collection holdings spans from 1995 to the present (over 2,014 entries). 2013 marked the fortieth anniversary of the military coup d’état and many materials reflect the commemoration of life under the junta. A more limited selection of 112 documents comprises the years 1958 through 1994. These documents range from political materials, official government papers and advertisements, economics, human rights, and family. One example, a 1975 treatise penned by M. Rodríguez admonishes the Pinochet regime.22 In the document, he rebukes the economic shock doctrine espoused by the Chicago Boys that Pinochet enacted in Chile alongside the actions of the military and DINA agents throughout the country. Students, teachers, and researchers alike would find these resources useful.

Twentieth Century Latin American Pamphlets—Rutgers University

Rutgers University has also curated a specialized pamphlet and ephemera collection. The name of the archive refers generally to Latin America, but this label is deceptive. Currently, the archive features a “part 1” Southern Cone-specific database, and it is unclear whether intentions exist to expand and include content from other countries to align with the broad geographic parameters of the collection name. Many of the sources available in this collection stem from personal collections of Rutgers faculty members, activists, and members from other institutions who donated their personal papers to Rutgers libraries. Ultimately, this archive would most benefit advanced researchers who are able to visit the university. It serves as more of a digital database of archival holdings instead of a digitized collection with downloadable sources.

The website is fairly easy to navigate. The homepage directs users to search, Rutgers University Libraries (RUL) and Scholarly Communications Center (SCC), an “about” page, and feedback links. Per instructions on the “about” page, users may search by author, title, subject, keyword, publication year, and language (four options: all languages, or Spanish, Portuguese, or English only) on the search page. Familiarity with the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) or the Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas (CeDinCI) finding and thesaurus guides, which are published, may aid users in formulating their queries based on search terms used in these respective sources.

Selecting Chile during a query by country will yield 598 sources. The online search gives users a good idea of the content because of the thorough description and bibliographic information provided. Most of these pamphlets relate to Chilean politics of the 20th century. Two highlights from these sources include a 1938 pamphlet from the Business Owners Association of Chile (Asociación de Propietarios de Chile) and a 1974 pamphlet by Augusto Pinochet. The business owners released a seventh annual report to members during the annual meeting on April 28, 1938. This pamphlet, while seemingly solely an update of events and changes, also includes—per the description—an instance of anti-Socialist lobbying.23 Pinochet’s pamphlet, titled A seis meses de la liberación nacional, was released the year after initiating a coup d’état against the elected government of President Salvador Allende. The posted archival description states the document discusses “reforms prescribed by the Pinochet regime to cure [social] ills [spread from an infected] Communist government.”24 Although users cannot view digital copies of these items online, they may visit Rutgers Libraries or check whether microfilm copies of the materials are available through Inter-Library Loan.

Discussion of the Literature

Over the last twenty years, a wealth of digital resource collections focusing specifically on Chile has been launched. The advent of these sites made an abundance of sources available that have fostered research, education, and collaboration. Most significantly, these resources encourage open access instead of continuing restricted institutional access practiced by many libraries and archives. Even with a substantial amount of digital resources available, a search probing secondary literature on the topic of digitalization revealed a dearth of scholarship. The query yielded zero results of books or articles analyzing and contextualizing Chilean digital sources. Expanding the search to include Latin America generated Jennifer Lambe’s review of the History of Science in Latin America and the Caribbean Digital Archive edited by Julia E. Rodriguez.25 Ultimately, this exposes the persistent disconnect between scholarship and technology. While many historians incorporate primary sources found on these websites into their research, few dedicate time to contextualize the significance imparted by these websites and their content. Furthermore, integrating digital sources would overhaul pedagogical practices by reinvigorating the notion of applied history where students analyze, evaluate, and contextualize primary materials.

History as a field still faces a steep learning curve in understanding and harnessing the power of digital resources. The so-called “digital turn” emerged swiftly and promises continued growth. In 2012, a group of twenty-three scholars petitioned the American Historical Association (AHA) to develop standards and guidelines for evaluating digital history scholarship and its role in the field.26 Shortly thereafter, a task force formed. Within three years, AHA members had approved not only a set of recommended practices, but also formed two committees dedicated to developing digital scholarship as a robust area vital to historical study.27 Additionally, the AHA has established a site devoted to teachers incorporating Digital History (#DigHist) into classrooms.28 John Rosinbum, a historian and educator, blogs about different digital history websites and lesson plans, offering suggestions as to how teachers could incorporate these sources and ideas into their own classrooms.29 Currently, none of these sites discussed focus specifically on Chile. However, the wide range of digital history projects referenced may be useful for those looking to develop classroom activities or to conduct research and draft scholarly writing. Other prominent professional organizations devoted to Latin America, including the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) have not yet issued such guidelines. Continued attention to the value of these digital resources will undoubtedly strengthen historical research and pedagogical practices.


Special thanks to Paul Ruffner, PhD student at the University of Arizona’s History Department, for his assistance in cross-checking some of these websites for screen-reading capabilities.