J. Michael Francis, Ph.D., and graduate student Saber Gray, on the cover of USF Magazine.

Digitizing project seeks to preserve important slice of Florida’s history

As Florida marks its 500th anniversary, J. Michael Francis, the Hough Family Endowed Chair in Florida Studies at USF St. Petersburg, is leading an effort to digitize and preserve centuries-old documents that tell the story of the Spanish Colonial period in St. Augustine.

Dr. Francis is featured on the cover of the Spring 2013 edition of USF Magazine. Francis is supervising two graduate students, Saber Gray and Arthur Tarratus, who are digitizing the fragile parchment paper, a painstaking process designed to preserve the documents and put them online to make them accessible to scholars and the general public around the world.

“As we make this material available I think we will see a real renaissance in Florida studies,” Francis says.