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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Latin American Studies

Primary Sources for Latin American History

These databases and web sites will help you to track down primary source materials about the history of Latin America.

English Translations of International News

From the UK

BBC Monitoring: International Reports

One source of English translations of international news is BBC Monitoring: International Reports, which can be searched via Nexis Uni and BBC Monitoring, Summary of World Broadcasts (Both links at the bottom of this section). BBC Monitoring translates and analyzes news and information from freely available media sources around the world, covering TV, radio, press, internet and news agencies in 100 different languages from 150 countries.

To search:

  1. Connect to the Nexis Uni database
  2. On the left side, under "What are you interested in?", click on "A publication"
  3. To the right, under "Find Publication", start typing: BBC Monitoring... the full name will appear, click on it
  4. Click "Search"

A screen capture of the Nexis Uni Guided Search showing 1. Selection of Publication 2. Typing of BBC Monitoring under 'find publication' 3. addition of keywords in the middle search box and 4. an indication of clicking the 'search' button

4. You can type in some keywords in the middle search box before you click on the search button to the right, and/or you can limit your search results and search within the results.

From the US

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 1941-2004. Since the 1940s, FBIS  monitored, translated, and republished selected foreign radio and television broadcasts, newspaper articles, government news agency releases, and political speeches. FBIS primary users - US government officials - determined which stories are included, so political, military, economic, and environmental topics are the major emphases. The translations were published as quickly as possible--usually within a few days of original publication--in a series of daily reports. In 2004, FBIS became the Open Source Center.

In 1996, FBIS became available online through the World News Connection database, maintained by NTIS (National Technical Information Service.) However, as of 2014, the Open Source Center stopped sending these translations to NTIS and the World News Connection database ceased to exist, except as an archival collection which the UO does not own. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) operates a similar service, and the CIA and BBC Monitoring cooperate to share information and divide regional responsibilities. You can get the BBC Monitoring Reports through the database Nexis Uni (see above).

For more information on the scope, history, and use of open source intelligence by the US and UK, see: Leetaru, K. "The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open Source Media Coverage, 1979-2008Studies in Intelligence (54)1: 17-37

The University of Oregon Library has FBIS translations in a variety of formats 1946-2004. See the box "FBIS Holdings in Knight Library" below.

Digital Collections of Mesoamerican Materials

These free online databases provide access to digitized images of Mesoamerican codices (folded books) from the pre-Colombian and early colonial era.

Digital Collections of Modern Latin American Political Ephemera

Political ephemera includes posters, flyers, pamphlets, and other disposable materials produced by governments, NGOs, and social movements. Several organizations have made special efforts to preserve these materials, notably the Princeton University Library and the Library of Congress's Overseas Office in Rio de Janeiro. These materials provide unique insight into contemporary social, political, and cultural life in Latin America.