The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative digital library that provides students, scholars, and the general public access to digitized resources from and about the Caribbean region. In partnership with archives, libraries, and private collections throughout the world, dLOC pulls together a comprehensive collection that include books and manuscripts, audiovisual, maps, gazettes, oral histories, newspapers and periodicals, photographs, and datasets. The platform covers a whole spectrum of themes, including agriculture, culture and history, economics, science and medicine, music and arts, politics and government, race and gender, religion and philosophy, slavery and resistance, geography and the environment, law, and archaeology.

From the dLOC homepage, students can begin their searches by using the Search Collection box. They could also browse the site’s main collections, such as: Caribbean Maps, Caribbean Newspapers, All Topical Collections, Law & Legal Materials, and Teaching Guides. The will bring students to collections organized by formats (i.e. oral histories, books, photographs), thematic groups (i.e. agriculture, slavery and resistance, geography and environment), special collections (i.e. Celebrating Cuba! Collaborative Digital Collections of Cuban Patrimony). Through the page, students can use optional search fields and perform Boolean and phrase searching. Using the tab, they can focus their discovery on their area of interest and search by either entering an address to search, by drawing a region, or by simply pointing to the map. A search on “San Juan, Puerto Rico”, for instance, will display maps of the Antilles that date back to the early 1700s. The dLOC site also allows users to conduct href= “text searching and href=”” browsing.

One of the highlights of dLOC is the href=”“ Teaching Guides and Materials, a pedagogical collection featured in the homepage. High school teachers and college instructors of world history would find this section quite useful, as it offers access to content, syllabi, education modules, and lesson plans to help incorporate the Caribbean into their curricula. This collection is browsable and searchable, plus includes a selection of introductory videos that provide users tips on how to navigate the dLOC site, conduct simple and advanced searches, and set up digital bookshelves.

Of particular value is the Highlighted Examples of Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials in dLOC, a document that contains award-winning lesson plans. For example, the lesson plan “Teaching Genocide: Caribbean Dictatorships Compared to the Holocaust,” facilitates discussions on genocide in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. This source can aid instructors and students in contextualizing genocide that has taken place in other countries and regions, like Rwanda, Darfur, and Serbia. Another great set of teaching resources to explore is href= “Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Migration, Money, and the Making of the Modern Caribbean, an online course (with two versions) that explores two important, yet overlooked labor migrations in the Caribbean that helped build the Panama Canal: the immigration of contract laborers from India and China, and the emigration and return of Afro-Caribbean workers from the West Indies. Even though this course was originally designed for graduate-level students, it can be modified and presented to undergraduate college and AP World History students who are gaining an understanding of cross-cultural contacts, trade routes, diasporic studies, and consequences of industrialization.

Another feature from the Teaching Guides page that can facilitate learning and research is dLOC’s compilation of crowdsourced bibliographies that cover the breath of fields within Caribbean history and culture. These lists, which reside in href=”” Google Drive, include primary and secondary sources on special topics, such as: pandemics, environmental history, health and medicine, and locally-produced periodicals.

Overall, the Digital Library of the Caribbean is a valuable cultural heritage archive that provides access to an array of resources and shared experiences tied to race, colonialism, political economy, and the environment. Educators, students, and scholars interested in understanding the strategic conflicts between European powers, the experience of Africans during the transatlantic slave trade, the emergence of the modern capitalist system, and the rise of neoliberalism would find in dLOC a wealth of content to draw from for their studies and projects.

Reviewed by Nashieli Marcano, Kennesaw State University
How to Cite This Source
Nashieli Marcano, Digital Library of the Caribbean in World History Commons,