WRI Voices

The WRI Oral History Project documents the history of the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. The aim is to examine, via these oral history interviews, social movement activity at the level of a grassroots organization as exemplified by the WRI, which was developed to aid student welfare recipients to become agents of social change and actively involve them with policymaking.

Spanish Paleography Digital Teaching and Learning Tool

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) at City College has recently developed the Spanish Paleography Digital Teaching and Learning Tool, an online interactive resource to assist users in the learning of the deciphering and reading of manuscripts written in Spanish during the early modern period, roughly from the late 15th to the 18th century. Cynthia works as a metadata consultant on the project, which was supported by a $50,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities.

Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations

Cynthia worked as an interviewer for the Brooklyn Historical Society on the “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations” project, which analyzes mixed-heritage issues, cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity, and identity.


Cynthia Tobar is a cross-disciplinary metadata specialist/archivist experienced in digital project planning and implementation, including the development of metadata best practices, controlled vocabularies and taxonomies aimed at improving and maximizing information retrieval for digital content. Cynthia is adept at bringing together specialists in humanities, digital technologies, library science, and archival science to engage as a team in the planning and designing of open source, publicly accessible digital humanities teaching and learning tool prototypes.

Cynthia is the Library Archivist at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) at Hunter College, where she is managing the 100 Puerto Ricans Oral History Project, which aims to collect the memories of those whose legacy have made an impact to the stateside Puerto Rican community. She is also working to preserve Centro’s existing oral history collections and make this content available to researchers with the creation of digital humanities initiatives and collaborations. Prior to Centro, Cynthia has shared her extensive knowledge as an archivist, librarian, educator and oral historian at esteemed cultural heritage and higher education institutions such as the City University of New York, the New York Public Library, the Museum of the City of New York, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Vera Institute of Justice and Pratt Institute.

Cynthia is the founder of the WRI Oral History Project, which is documenting the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. She has also collaborated with the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group, where she conducted life history interviews with OWS occupiers. Cynthia received her Master’s degree in Political Science from New School University and her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a certificate in Archival Management, from Pratt Institute.

Research interests include:

  • Communication of Memory in Archives, Libraries, and Museums
  • Digital Archives
  • Metadata standards’ evolving role in the Semantic Web environment
  • Community-Based Oral History
  • Documenting Social Movements and Student Activism.

For more on Cynthia’s varied professional pursuits and interests, feel free to connect via LinkedIn

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