Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

University preserves history and culture with digital special collections

Noah Willoughby

Since 1974, UTSA Library’s Special Collections has been proactive in acquiring, preserving and providing access to donated cultural materials. Over the past decade, the university has been working towards providing digital access to the resources through its Digital Collections database. The digitization process is ongoing, and materials will be available through the database as they are scanned. 

The donated materials that are selected for digitization are outsourced to professional labs or captured by in-house digitization equipment through the digital curation workstation. The Digital Collections database consists of photographic prints and negatives, audiovisual material and manuscript folders. 

Among the materials is a collection of photographs and audio files from when San Antonio hosted its first and only World’s Fair in 1968. The photographs include the construction of the Tower of Americas, houses and buildings that were knocked down to make room for the celebration and postcards that could be acquired when visiting. The audio files include the voices of the famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong, former First Lady Claudia Johnson and actress Janice Page.

Copies of “The Marquise,” San Antonio’s LGBTQ+ newspaper that ran from 1992-1998, can also be found in the database. This paper covered important issues that were relevant to San Antonio’s LGBTQ+ community, such as gay marriage, lesbians and gays in the military, hate crimes, queer parenting, AIDS and anti-gay legislation. 

The Paisano is also among the preserved materials, with past issues being digitized and placed in its own special collection. The Paisano has almost 400 copies preserved in this collection, dating from 1981-1998. 

Other collections can be found as well, like historic interviews, Mexican cookbooks, photographs from San Antonio Express News, UTSA’s history and even redlining maps of San Antonio drawn by the Home Owners Loan Corporation. 

UTSA Library’s Special Collection has a “vision to bring national recognition to [UTSA] for distinctive research collections documenting the diverse histories and development of San Antonio and South Texas.” Collection priorities include the history of African-American and LGBTQ+ communities, the history of women and gender in Texas, Mexican-American activism and advertising, the Tex-Mex food industry and urban planning. 

For more information on UTSA Libraries Special Collection, visit

For more information on digital collections, visit

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About the Contributor
Noah Willoughby, Staff Writer
Noah (he/him) is a Communications major at UTSA. Noah was born in San Antonio and has been here all of his life. He has spent a large portion of that life working with people who have disabilities throughout various jobs, but decided to come back to college to find a new path. He enjoys reading and writing and hopes to do the latter as a full-time gig.

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