The Early Caribbean Digital Archive
— Open Access | Digital Preservation | Collaborative Knowledge-making —

Browse ECDA Texts About Indigenous Representation

Many texts discuss....

Visitors can Search & Browse a widerange of texts, images, and maps. Our items include extended metadata as well as scholarly critical introductions for situtating researchers to publication histories, subject matter, and scholarly conversations.

Learn more about our approach to building the ecda archive here.


Have historical materials you'd like to add ecda central repository? Go to our contributions page to learn more.

New to studying the early Caribbean? Get started by reading this overview, or by visting the ecda Classroom space.

Looking for current conversations and project on the early Caribbean? Check out these curated exhibits contributed by ecda Scholars.

Participate in community annotations of our transcribed items


Extend your Research and Teaching of the early Caribbean

The ecda seeks to support the ongoing knowledge work of the field. We've created a Learn space in which teachers, students, and researchers at all all levels can access and contribute materials that extend our shared study of the early Caribbean field.


Learn how to use ecda archive materials and project building tools as part of classroom activities

Access subject guides and study resources for extending your knowledge of the early Caribbean

Read scholarly contributions on key themes, subjects, and texts of the early Caribbean

Locate bibliographies and secondary sources organized around subjects

Contribute to the colloborative pedagogy of the field by sharing sample syllabi, assignments, and methodologies for teaching the early Caribbean


Build new scholarship using digital technologies and methods

The ecda represents an initiative to introduce and guide the field toward implementing innovative and ethical digital humanities approaches in our research, teaching, and scholarship.

Users can create free accounts though the CoLab (collaborative commons and text lab) to experiment with digital tools in a sandbox environment. CoLab members can also manage independent and collaborative digital projects for publication as partnered with the ecda project through the CoLab project Toolkit.


Learn more about the CoLab

See our available project tools and access guides for using them

Signup, or log into your existing CoLab account dashboard space

Find other digital projects, tools, and scholarship around doing DH in early Caribbean Studies


Stay connected to the field

We believe knowledge-making is necessarily a collaborative endeavor. The ecda seeks to bring together a diverse community of researchers, educators, and scholars to engage each other as a community, to learn about events and activities related to the field, to ask questions, offer answers, and to stay updated on the activites of the project more generally.


A community discussion space

View and contact members of the CoLab community

Need help or have general questions for the ecda Team? Contact us!

Stay updated on happenings of the field and developments in the ecda project

Connect with the ecda via Twitter & Instagram


Uncover Early Caribbean Culture 
Make Accessible pre-20th Century Caribbean Writing 
Facilitate Scholarly Interaction

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


We are a project of Northeastern University's NULab: for Texts, Maps, and Networks and supported by the Digital Scholarship Group (DSG). Our archive data is managed through Snell Library's Digital Repository Service (DRS). And we have received generous financial support from,

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS)

Mission: Accessibility and Collaboration 

The ECDA has two primary related, overarching goals: the first is to uncover and make accessible a literary history of the Caribbean written or related by black, enslaved, creole, and/or colonized people. Although the first step in this process is through digitization, the ECDA is motivated by more than a digitization or cataloguing initiative. Instead, the project will enable users—both scholars in the interdisciplinary study of the Caribbean as well as undergraduate and graduate students—to view the materials as networks of related texts.

The inspiration for the project came during a symposium of the Early Caribbean Society in fall 2011. One of the important issues that came out of this international meeting of scholars from a variety of disciplines working on Early Caribbean studies, were problems of accessibility to the texts of this era. Documentary materials, particularly about the colonial Caribbean, are often located in archives and collections in various former colonial metropoles in Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, and the Netherlands. Neo-colonial consolidation has transmitted other archives and collections to the United States. In addition, although many of the contemporary archives in Caribbean countries are accessible, some are not, and other documents remain in private hands scattered across the globe. With these difficulties at the forefront of our minds, Nicole Aljoe and Elizabeth Maddock Dillon wrote and received an interdisciplinary program development seed grant from Northeastern University to create a digital archive of early colonial Caribbean texts.  Working initially with scholars from a number of departments across campus as well as graduate students, we envision the archive as an open-access, interdisciplinary project that brings together scholars of literature, history, library science, network science, digital humanities, and public humanities. By making these texts more readily accessible, it is our hope that more scholars will engage with these texts and contribute further to the international scholarly project of understanding colonial Caribbean cultures and literary histories.

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