The Academy of American Franciscan History supports the digital preservation of Franciscan ecclesiastical material from Latin America from the 16th through 20th centuries. Digitized materials become part of a digital library, the Portal to Franciscan History of the Americas (francis.indigo.net). The purpose of the Portal is to preserve unique and fragile materials, inform scholarship of Franciscan history, and open up new areas of scholarship, as most of the material is unique and is not available at other institutions. It will be a centralized archiving solution for Franciscan communities. Hundreds of years of Franciscan cultural heritage exist in the physical holdings of archives and libraries around the world. The Portal hopes to be a model for the digitization of these unique originals, preserving and presenting them online for long-term access, building connections between scholars, institutions, and collections. The material is a tremendous resource for Friars, and all students and scholars of Latin American history and theology. We hope that any objects within the repository are used freely and only ask for them to be properly cited to increase the impact of our repository, showcase the work that went into it, drive traffic to it, and hopefully inspire others to similar projects.
The majority of the material in the Portal was published prior to 1925. We follow the convention that items published before this date are no longer in copyright, though we understand that this may not hold for items published outside of the United States. We find ourselves in the situation of not having complete author or publication information for many of the items in the collection, and for the sake of access, present a liberal policy for claiming copyright. Should any individuals or communities cite moral objections or uncover sensitive information for any object or objects digitally preserved, we will review the concerns and take down objects determined to be problematic. All public records will have a take down notice as an option. For material after 1925, we will attempt to contact the publisher if still in existence and notify them that we have material we would like to publish to our repository for research.
Our repository is designed as a free and open access research portal and a means to publicly support academic endeavors worldwide, while at the same time preserving Franciscan intellectual and cultural heritage. We want no restrictions on access or circulation of material and wish for any object to be reused for research purposes or presentations. Non-commercial and academic re-use is encouraged and indeed is motivation for the project.
The Portal was designed specifically with reuse in mind, especially by archives and special collections with similar holdings. The platform allows for other institutions to export the images and metadata for objects duplicated in their own collections. This is encouraged, especially for those institutions who lack the means to digitally preserve and host surrogates for the objects in their own collections.
We ask that all objects be properly cited, including a link back to the instance of an object in our digital library. Citation of documents and images will be encouraged and facilitated as much as possible.
Revised August 2020