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Library Fellow Project

2017 Spring Library Fellows Project

Helguera Colombiana Independence Project (1790-1830)

Description: Library Fellows have supported several digitally based Helguera projects in recent years.  A database with accompanying essays now features selected broadsides and pamphlets published in Colombia in the 19th and 20th centuries. The library has recently purchased the other portion of the Helguera Colombiana, promising to make Vanderbilt a premier collection in the United States.  Several Colombian scholars very familiar with his private collection have attested to its uniqueness and scholarly worth and to the impact digitization would have on scholarship here, in Europe and in Colombia.

This project intends to make available digitally select materials from the Helguera collection through the database and online exhibition. The recently purchased collection contains early materials not available for researchers, specifically, pre-Independence Nueva Granada (present day Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador) through the revolutionary wars and nation formation (1790-1830).


  • Select materials to be prioritized for digitization and design and prepare an online exhibition of selected images and text that reflect the society and culture of colonial Nueva Granada and its Independence period.
  • Become familiar with 19th-century Colombian social and political history and the appropriate historical reference resources, with the help of the Latin American Bibliographer.
  • The exhibition should reflect several key themes in history based on the broadside, pamphlet, and manuscript collections.
  • Develop descriptions/metadata of the items to be included in the digital collection and in the online exhibition. 

Skills Needed:

  • knowledge of Spanish required
  • organizational skills and a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines
  • an interest in Latin American history and culture
  • strong writing skills

Skills To Be Developed:

  • research skills using primary sources to gather information about Colombian events described in the materials
  • web design for online exhibit and metadata creation

Mentor: Paula Covington, Latin American & Iberian Bibliographer, Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies


  • Kathy Smith, Associate University Archivist, Associate Director of Special Collections
  • Carla Beals, Coordinator, Digital Exhibits & Projects
  • Jodie Gambill, Librarian
  • Sara Sterkenberg, Cataloging & Exhibition Services Librarian

Dates of Employment: spring 2017 semester

Contact: Paula Covington, or (615) 322-6282

Please follow the Application Process to apply for this fellowship. Applications will be accepted through October 21, 2016.

See other Spring 2017 fellowship opportunities