The Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities today launched its renewed Enciclopedia PR, an online reference and general education resource on the society, history, and culture of Puerto Rico.
This free access publication, available at enciclopediapr.org, has more than 1,300 texts in Spanish, with revised English versions to be incorporated in the upcoming weeks. Its comprehensive content includes biographies of prominent Puerto Rican figures, such as actor Benicio del Toro and composer Catalino “Tite” Curet Alonso; essays and keynotes by Humanists of the Year such as Luce López-Baralt and Luis Rafael Sánchez; as well as reference articles on Puerto Rico’s arts, popular culture, science, sports, diaspora, history, government and public health, among many other topics.
The Endowment is committed to the sustained growth of the project, which includes continuing to update and expand its contents; the reincorporation of sound and video components with optimized quality; and the integration of new accessibility tools.
“To be effective, an educational project like this must be updated, renewed, and expanded towards new themes, approaches and audiences. For example, adding to the traditional humanistic disciplines the necessary dialogue between the sciences and the humanities; and diversifying the reflection on the changing factors that affect our circumstances. We dedicated a good part of 2020 to this great task,” explained Margarita Benítez, executive director of the entity.
Among the outstanding aspects of the new Enciclopedia PR are its graphic and technological transformation, which enables a more user-friendly experience for the reader and easy navigation from various types of devices, an essential requirement today. Essential aspects for an online encyclopedia have been incorporated, such as tags, an improved search tool, and accessibility functions for users with special needs.
On the other hand, among the new contents, it is worth highlighting a section on public health, which includes articles on topics of current interest, such as the pandemic from a historical perspective. Each revised article now has bibliographic records and references from additional sources that validate the rigor of the contents and provide guides to the reader interested in continuing to investigate.
At present, the project has new collaborators. Since 2020, its general editor is Dr. Lizette Cabrera Salcedo, a renowned researcher, educator, and manager of successful public humanities projects - such as exhibitions and museums with a historical theme - which, like Enciclopedia PR, promote greater public access to contents about history and culture.
Cabrera is also in charge of seeking alliances with researchers, organizations and documentary archives, a management that is also led from the FPH by Dr. Margarita Benítez, thanks to her vast experience and network of contacts in higher education both in Puerto Rico and in the United States. Likewise, the communicator Rosalía Ortiz Luquis collaborates in the publication, whose knowledge in web design and development, multimedia production and digital marketing will continue to contribute to the growth and future impact of the project.
“Enciclopedia PR is one of the most ambitious and pertinent projects of the FPH. Since its creation in 2008, it has been included in numerous bibliographies and lists of recommended resources in libraries in Puerto Rico and abroad. In this uncertain time of isolation and pandemic, we are hopeful that the renewed and expanded Enciclopedia PR will make it easier to meet some of the challenges of distance education and find, once again, inspiration in the achievements and efforts of so many of our countrymen reviewed here. In addition, we trust that its bilingual content serves to build bridges with our people in the diaspora and with users from all over the world. We are confident that we can continue adding allies to this valuable digital humanities project,” Benítez said.