Welcome to the ecda's Archive Portal!

Browse the archive database, or read on to learn more about the ecda's archive and how to use it

Open Access
Digital Preservation
Collaborative Knowledge-making .

The Early Caribbean Digital Archive (ecda) is a publicly available archive platform for accessing, researching, and contributing pre-twentieth-century Caribbean archival materials.

Continue reading to learn about . . .

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About our Archive

Our archival mission is to provide early Caribbeanist research and teaching communities a publicly available web repository of pre-twentieth-century Caribbean historical materials. We acquire and preserve a wide range of literary and cultural artifacts, but have a particular focus on materials otherwise inaccessible or understudied.


Our acquisitions model prioritizes texts and materials that meet an immediate need of researchers and teachers of the field. Our first major acquisitions phase was based on a preliminary core text list, established by the early Caribbeanist research community, which you can see here, and with the aim of supporting the creation of our first two ecda scholarly exhibits: the Early Caribbean Slave Narrative and Obeah and Atlantic Studies: a Short Anthology .


Have materials to contribute or wish to suggest a text to our Core Text list for acquisition? Learn how below.

By the Numbers

(updated: 2017-03-10) Currently, we have acquired upwards of 70 primary source materials, with roughly 30 items ingested and publicly available through our archive portal. We perform bulk ingests at three points in the year (end of Fall, Spring, and Summer), with smaller ingests and updates periodically depending on the public need of newly acquired items. Our Research Team generates extended metadata and scholarly introductions for each of the archive items we ingest.

Researching the Archive

Navigating the Repository

All of the ecda's archival materials are housed in Northeastern University's newly developed Digital Repository Service (DRS) and made accessible via a repository connector built into our project site's custom WordPress setup.(You can learn more about the DRS and how NU's Digital Scholarship Group is supporting ecda2.0 through its "Ceres Toolkit Sites" services by going to our Credits page.)

Scroll down to learn more about the archive's Browse page and Record Interface


Find your materials!

This custom setup allows our user community a direct pathway to our stored materials via our WordPress project site.

To query the full ecda database and project site, use the search bar at the top of our project site pages. You can also browse all current items of the archive in a filtered grid view via the archive browse page.

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Discover Your Texts in Context!

All ecda archive records include,

  • Detailed metadata and accompanying scholarly introductions to situate researchers to the publication history, authorship, and scholarly responses to the historical item
  • Information on the Contributing scholar and the acquisition source library or repository from which we've retrieved the item
  • A feed of current ecda projects and exhibits that include this item
  • A "contribute" panel for researchers to participate in the development of each archive item

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Contributing to the Archive

Involving the early Caribbeanist community directly in the building of the ecda's archive is central to our project's mission. We are a relatively small team, and, therefore, look to you to help us identify, acquire, and share materials essential to the ongoing knowledge work of the field. We also believe that if our project is to meet the changing needs of early Caribbeanist scholars, teachers, and students, it must invite and support their active participation in determining the quality and kind of archive we build and use together.

There are several ways you can contribute to the ecda's ongoing development.

Suggest Archival Materials!

Looking for an archive item not yet included in our database? Suggest it to our Acquisitions Team and we'll add it to our Core Text list. Review the list here. Then complete this short Suggest an Archive Item form, and we'll get started.

Contribute Archival Materials!

Individual Scholars

Have access to archival materials not yet in the ecda's repository? We would love to host your materials! Go here to upload your materials into an ingestion queue.

Want to add these items to your own personal archive space? A free myECDA account through the Co-Lab will allow you to do just that! Sign up for a beta myECDA account today!

Partnering Institutions and Repositories

Much of our materials were made possible through partnerships with outside libraries and repositories looking for ways to increase access and use of their early Caribbean materials by scholars, students, and the general public. Become an ecda project partner by contacting our Acquisitions Team.

Develop Archival Materials!

Head over to the ecdaClassroom page to learn about using the ecda in classroom instruction and for course related projects. Here you will find resources for teaching and studying the early Caribbean, including sample syllabi, assignments, reading lists, and subject guides and glossaries.

Curate Archival Materials!

Our newest project component, the Co-Lab, invites researchers at all levels to build curated exhibits with the ecda's archive materials as part of individual, classroom, and public projects. You can learn more about the Co-Lab project space and myECDA accounts by visiting the Co-Lab Homepage

Now Check out a Fun Timeline of ECDA Archive Materials using Knightlab’s Timeline Builder

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