|Home||Who we are||What we do||Where we work||News, events & media||Contact us|
Last project update
‘U kúuchil Na’at’ – Mayan for ‘House of Knowledge’ – a digital archive for the Maya Indians of Yucatan province in Mexico is now up and running. The archive is the library’s first service especially for the Maya.
Mayan culture is primarily oral and illiteracy rates among the Maya are extremely high. The archive therefore mostly collects film and video, music, animation and art. However, they have also trained technical translators to work with the unique Mayan alphabet, and to upload content.
Impact assessment by the library showed that the archive’s popularity is growing. They recorded over 10,000 visitors to the archive in just six months. Universities, schools, authors, children and artists are creating and contributing material.
In addition to collecting and digitizing material, the library goes out to promote the archive in towns and villages. Librarians have trained over 450 teachers, students, farmers, housewives, workers and villagers across the State of Yucatan to use the archive.
They have won the support of five mayors, and librarians report that interest in ICT is increasing, especially among Mayan youth.
The library is exploring ways of including useful up-to-date news and information in Mayan, to add to the vibrant historical and cultural collections. And the idea is catching on: the library service in the State of Campeche, adjacent to Yucatan, is now keen to replicate the archive.
Previous project updates:
The coordinating agency for the 160 public libraries in the State of Yucatan, Mexico, is working to install a digital library focused on the Mayan culture. The online library will include text, audio, video and other visual resources from the past and present relating to Mayan culture and life. The aim is to preserve the Mayan culture and language.
Until 1984, there were 30 Mayan alphabets. These were unified in 1984 and a unique Mayan alphabet was created. However, under 5% of the Mayan people are able to read or write in their own language. There are a variety of reasons for this. Mayan history is mainly oral, and the language competes with two strong local and international languages used in Mexico and Central America – Spanish and English. There is also discrimination against the Mayan people, particularly the older people, who know the language best.
A digital library, named “U Kuuchil Na'at” (The House of Knowledge), will be installed and developed to help to preserve the culture and language of the Mayan population. The project will provide training for 25 translators from 25 Mayan municipalities.
The main partner in this project is the non-profit group ProIndígenas, which works with professionals for the development of the indigenous peoples. Other partners include The Delegation of the National Commission for Developing the Indigenous Peoples at Yucatan, the Direction of Indigenous Education of the Secretary of Public Education, INDEMAYA, the Cultural Institute of Yucatan, the 25 municipalities and Mayan associations.
If you want to know more about this project contact:
Robert A. Endean Gamboa
Mayan Digital Library /Public Libraries Coordination Yucatan
Calle 55 * 515 x 52, Centro,
Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico