University of Arizona

The Documented BorderAn Open Access Digital Archive

Special Collections Online Exhibits


The Documented Border: An Open Access Digital Archive is an interdisciplinary effort whose goal is to advance understanding and awareness about the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and its peoples during a period of unprecedented societal change. The innovative archive focuses on untold and silenced stories and events about this transnational region.

The project was generously funded by one of five Faculty Collaboration and Innovation Grants awarded by the University of Arizona’s Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry as well as additional funding by the University of Arizona Libraries.

The archive divides into four parts: Journalists from the U.S., Journalist from Mexico, Human Rights Activists, and Academics. It includes oral histories of journalists from both sides of the border who cover northern Mexico, and human rights activists and academics who are working to improve freedom of expression in Mexico. The oral histories are being collected by two professors from the School of Journalism, Celeste González de Bustamante and Jeannine Relly. The oral histories help illuminate the complex environment in which journalists must work, as they negotiate between political and economic forces, and the need to inform the public.

The second part of the archive features the inner-workings of U.S. immigration policies through the documentation of “Operation Streamline.” Lawrence Gipe, School of Art professor has created illustrations of the proceedings, which are not allowed to be photographed or videotaped. Gipe’s drawings provide a unique record of the journey of undocumented migrants.