Dr. Henry Snyder recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Dr. Henry Snyder and President Bush
photo by Christopher Henry Snyder

Dr. Henry Snyder, UCR professor emeritus and director of UCR's Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research has been awarded the National Humanities Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the humanities. In a ceremony held at the White House East Room on November 15, Snyder was one of 10 honorees to receive a medal from President Bush. The president acknowledged Snyder for his "visionary leadership in bridging the worlds of scholarship and technology. His direction of massive projects in the digital humanities has opened new frontiers in cataloguing and preserving ideas and documents for future generations."

Snyder is one of 10 National Humanities Medal recipients for 2007, the first recipient from UCR and the sixth faculty member in the UC system to receive the medal since the award was created in 1997. He was recognized for his work on three extensive research projects - one lasting nearly 30 years - that document the output of the press of the British Isles and North America in the early modern period. These projects include The English Short-Title Catalogue, The California Newspaper Project, and, of particular interest to Latin American scholars, The Catálogo Colectivo de Impresos Latinoamericanos hasta 1851 (CCILA). The CCILA is a searchable database of Spanish- and Portuguese-language publications printed in North and South America, the Caribbean and the Philippines from about 1539 through 1850. Initiated in 2000, it received seed funding from UC MEXUS for the Mexico portion and has been supported with two grants from the National Science Foundation.

"The thing that makes us human beings is memory. This is printed memory," Snyder said of the projects. "It's how we recall our heritage. As we try to recover our past and try to understand what happened and how cultures evolved, we need to have access to these records."

Snyder received two UC MEXUS grants in 2000 and 2001 for the development of a machine-readable database of Mexican imprints to 1850 as part of the first phase of research for CCILA. The seed project's goal was to initiate a catalog that would digitize these records, thus making them available online for Latin American scholars. Previously, only printed bibliographies existed in Mexico, many of them over a century old. Several major collections have been keyed in already, including the Lafragua collection at the National Library of Mexico, the Miscellanea collection of pamphlets at the Public Library of Jalisco in Guadalajara, and the collection of pamphlets at the Sutro Library in San Francisco. Snyder also set up an agreement with the Latin American Microfilm Project supported by the Center for Research Libraries to provide a complete set of records for the Lafragua collection. This collaboration serves as a model for similar agreements between the CCILA project and Mexican libraries to use a cooperative cataloguing system. As an additional undertaking for the Mexico project, Snyder began a canvass of all libraries holding Mexican imprints, not only in Mexico but also in other countries. For additional information on the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research, please consult the Center's website.

(for additional information please contact Louise Bachman, Reporting Analyst, UC MEXUS Grants Programs; louise.bachman@ucr.edu)