The Archivo Histórico de Revistas Argentinas (AHIRA) has digitized more than 150 magazines—and the collection keeps growing every year in a continuous effort to expand the database. A group of scholars coming from literary studies, history, and social sciences founded AHIRA with the institutional support of the University of Buenos Aires and Conicet (National Scientific and Technical Research Council). Its main purpose is to offer scholars, teachers, and students an array of magazines and periodicals that covers from the mid 19th century to 2015, with both research and educational purpose. The work of Ahira has been quite a novelty for Argentina, where digital archives are still scarce.
AHIRA provides a unique resource to those doing research or teaching on Latin America with a focus on Argentina. The archive includes magazines of a variety of topics, although its focus relies on cultural and political publications. On top of that, the access to the printed versions of the periodicals and magazines digitized by AHIRA is particularly complicated, even for researchers placed in Argentina. For example, AHIRA offers the full collection of El escarabajo de oro, a literary magazine run by the Argentine writer Abelardo Castillo published from 1961 to 1974. It has also digitized more popular magazines like Satiricón, a satirical publication that gained notoriety in the early 1970s.
AHIRA is a wonderful tool for teaching purposes. In any class related to Latin American studies, students will be able to do research on a number of issues related to Argentine culture. Both a single-magazine and comparative approaches are possible. In addition, the website offers access to a number of critical studies related to the publications digitized, allowing professors and teachers to complement the use of primary sources with relevant secondary literature.
Although the website is in Spanish, the navigation is quite easy going for non-native speakers. All the magazines are grouped under the same “Archivo de Revistas” section. There are two ways to do a search. First, the user can classify magazines through its year, alphabetic order, or date of upload to the website. Although these options take more time, it can be helpful to explore the resources and get a sense of the cultural and political debates and how they change through time. A second way to navigate the site is through its search function. This option can be more efficient for those already knowing what they are looking for, since it lists all the issues where the word searched for appears. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the search engine only includes the tables of content but not the actual contents. There is one negative aspect of AHIRA: the magazine files have not gone through an OCR system which would make the text searchable.
AHIRA offers an invaluable resource for those interested in the cultural, social, and political history of Argentina. Students can gain access to sources otherwise inaccessible, offering a unique opportunity for training in archival research.