Friday, October 8, 2010

Presidential Message- October 2010

Greetings from Michigan! Hope you are all off to a productive Fall semester. As I write this message, my eyes are continually drawn out the window, to my favorite tree. There is nothing unusual about this tree, but I love it because it is the one that heralds the new season. Today, the leaves on the top branches are already turning a lovely shade of orange and I know it will not be long before Fall is in full swing. In fact, I am happy to report that temperatures in Michigan are already cooler.

While I watch the leaves rustle on that tree, I am thinking back to our meeting in July. I can say without hesitation that it was one of my favorite SALALM conferences; my thanks to Patricia and Fernando for the excellent program and local arrangements planning. Their efforts not only made for a truly enjoyable experience, but also netted a profit of approximately $11,000! For this I must also extend my thanks to the generous support of Brown University Library and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown and the Princeton University Library.

For those of you not able to join us in Providence or who simply missed the Town Hall, Business or Executive Board meetings, I would like to provide a few highlights. Foremost in my mind are the two proposals passed at the second Executive Board meeting: 1) a recommendation from the Editorial Board to cease the printed SALALM Newsletter and integrate its contents with the SALALM website and 2) the formation of a SALALM Communication Committee. Both of these proposals spurred lively discussion during the conference at a special session, then again in the Town Hall before passing in the final Executive Board meeting. Currently, I am forming and charging the Communications Committee, whose primary task over the next several months will be to plan the transformation of the Newsletter to its online form. In the interim, the SALALM Newsletter will appear in its same format as a .pdf document. This move will have the immediate effect of saving SALALM approximately $13,000 per year in printing and postage costs. Long term, SALALM’s activities will be more visible to SALALM members and to potential members internationally. It will also allow for a more timely and dynamic news forum.

Both of these proposals developed as a result of Pamela Graham’s e-SALALM initiative, which called for a review of “routine SALALM functions (i.e. Initial memberships and membership renewals, Conference Registration, SALALM election balloting); publications (i.e. Newsletter, Membership Directory,Proceedings and other publications); Publicity and Outreach (i.e. use of blogs, Facebook,podcasts, and other social networking tools to disseminate information and engage existing and potential members); and Intra-SALALM communication (i.e. Group work spaces for committees/subcommittees;tools for sharing documents, minutes, and any project documentation etc.)”. While the Newsletter and Communications Committee proposals take us half way to completing the goals outlined by the e-SALALM proposal, there is still much to be done. To continue this work, I have re-formed the e-SALALM Ad-hoc Committee, which now includes: Alison Hicks, chair; Suzanne Schadl, Nashieli Marcano. The group will focus primarily on a review of routine SALALM functions and Intra-SALALM communication and present their recommendations at our next SALALM meeting in Philadelphia. While I look forward to the committee’s recommendations, I also want to take this opportunity to thank Pamela Graham for her excellent work in developing the e-SALALM proposal and leading this initiative over the last two years.

No less important are two further proposals made by the Editorial Board and accepted at the final Executive Board Meeting. The first changes the “José Toribio Medina Award Criteria for Nomination” at, to a prize for a noteworthy publication, instead of the more limiting book-length publication and adds journal articles to the list of acceptable formats. The second proposal gives SALALM members the option “to repost papers originally published in SALALM conference proceedings three years after they have been published with the organization” with permission of the SALALM Secretariat. Permission will be granted for non-profit, open-access purposes only.

In other news, PRI, the Policy, Research and Investigation Committee, has initiated a review of the Operations Handbook with an eye toward enhancing its content. And, the Constitutions & Bylaws committee is rewriting the SALALM Constitution & Bylaws as well as drafting an official SALALM mission statement.

As you can see, this will be a buy year for SALALM. I will do my best to keep you updated as the year progresses. I hope you will feel free to send me any comments or suggestions you might have about the initiatives mentioned or anything else SALALM related.

On a final note, I urge you to renew your SALALM membership as soon as possible. The SALALM Secretariat depends on these renewals to carry out the work of the organization. I also encourage you to contribute to the SALALM Challenge Match, which will be matched up to $1,000 thanks to anonymous donor. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to support SALALM!

Nerea A. Llamas

University of Michigan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Instruction 2.0

Is nothing sacred? How far can the twopointopia wave go? If she thinks that I’m teaching a class via facebook while administering my twitter account all from the iphone 4, she’s got another think coming... In my previous columns I’ve written about how Web 2.0 can be used to help with various aspects of our profession. But Instruction 2.0 seems more populist than a Kirchner with an upcoming election. Should we really be using Web 2.0 tools in instruction sessions just because our students are? In short, no. My attitude to Web 2.0 is driven by the fact that it is more than a set of technologies. Web 2.0 is a state of mind that has deep social and philosophical implications and it is for that reason that instruction gets the twopoint-opian treatment. And really, instruction 2.0 is nothing new; instead, it’s about exploring the relationships between technology and pedagogy to truly take advantage of the potential of Web 2.0. It’s about a new paradigm of learning and collaboration; and if you end up throwing in a tagging schema or a flickr account then that’s a bonus. In this column I plan to explore the background of Instruction 2.0 before moving on to describe some of the theoretical constructs that drive its implementation.

What has caused this leap from Instruction 1.0 to 2.0? For a start, it’s important to recognise that the internet has reformed the concept of information. We produce over 2000 gigabytes of information a second and a wide body of human knowledge can be accessed within seconds from a variety of devices. Increased accessibility to growing amounts of information means that the concept of knowledge has to necessarily change too- knowledge became made or constructed and not found. It has become collaborative and less controlled; a far more creative approach. As a result, these evolving information and knowledge realities are student realities, and it is important that our teaching acknowledges these changes.

Recent shifts in technology have paralleled developments in learning theory. The 1970’s saw the rise of constructivist learning theory, which focused on the process of learning. Constructivism posits that learning is a complex internal process where student prior knowledge is key, and learning is a shared, active process. This has obvious comparisons with Web 2.0. The emphasis on participating and experiencing through Web 2.0 is a constructivist approach. Knowledge that is constructed collaboratively or understood through a combination of facts and human experiences is a Web 2.0 and a constructivist approach. Constructivism’s active, socially situated learning provides an ideal way to absorb the shifts in information and knowledge that form student realities today.

Notwithstanding, higher education has traditionally embraced behaviorist teaching theories that affirm that the environment or a teacher will cause students to learn. E.g. students absorb knowledge from a lecture. The teacher holds the power and responsibility and causes learning to occur. Consequently, there is an obvious disconnect between modern students who are accustomed to active control over their learning and these traditional behaviorist learning theories.

Instruction 2.0, therefore, needs to embrace the changes in the way we communicate and interact. While libraries have adapted to changing information realities, it is important that we also adapt to new learning realities in order to meet students where they are. This is different from using Web 2.0 tools because students are; it is adapting to the social and philosophical changes engendered in the information revolution in order to design for learning today. The structure and nature of the web means there is an increasing need for an emphasis on information evaluation and analysis and that library instruction is more valuable than ever. However Instruction 2.0 needs to participate alongside students in the creation of collaborative learning communities in order to meet student needs fully and to prepare them effectively for the information based future.

[I hesitated to write this column because there are a lot of far more experienced Instruction librarians in SALALM but this is something that I’ve been working on this summer and I wanted to share my preliminary thoughts. In the next column I’ll try and share specific examples of Instruction 2.0.]

Alison Hicks
Alison. Hicks @

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1st Conference on National Digital Libraries – Santiago de Chile 8th – 9th September

Aquiles Alencar Brayner (BL) and Lucia Shelton (OCLC) at the National Library of Chile

The digital library, as many people have suggested, is everywhere. New technologies allow us to gather a massive number of information in digital format and carry it with us in a myriad of technological devices such as laptops, pen drives, mobile phones and e-readers. Never in history have we had this easy access to information. The problem we all face is how to deal with this new digital situation: which sources to use for the retrieval of pertinent information? What to select and how to archive materials in electronic format for future generations? How to deal with issues of preservation in the digital world? As one might guess, the First Conference on National Digital Libraries held in Santiago (Chile) last week had more questions than answers. We all agreed that ours is an age of ‘infoxication’ and that national and academic libraries have to act quickly in order to find the antidote for the treatment of this new syndrome. Many of the presentations in the conference raised common issues faced by National libraries when dealing with electronic publications, including the lack of depository laws for digital-born material and the development of new tools and standards for managing electronic information. Participants had also the opportunity to learn about international digital initiatives such as the World Digital Library set up by the Library of Congress and other similar projects being developed in Latin America and Spain such as the Biblioteca Digital Pedro de Angelis, a digitisation project led by the national libraries of Argentina and Brazil; and the Biblioteca Digital Iberoamericana, a collaborative project between various Ibero-American national libraries. The message that came across in the conference was straight forward: by creating strategies for effective selection (especially by avoiding duplication of collections and coordinating digitisation programmes), sharing access to digital information and setting up best practices for preservation, libraries will be in a better position to take decisions and lead the discussion on digital information, providing efficient and innovative service for our users.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Additional Materials Related to the SALALM SWOT Analysis

These materials complement the blog entry published on Monday July 26, 2010. This entry includes all the resources presented and generated in a group-based activity during the Roundtable on the Evolving Role of the Latin American Studies Librarian. Quo Vadis? And What are We Going to Do About It? (Panel 6 included as part of the program of the SALALM LV Conference held in Providence, RI).

1. Context for the Roundtable

This presentation is an update of the following research article:
Four Decades of Position Announcements for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarians in U.S. Academic...

2. Discussant and Introduction to the SWOT Analysis
by Anne Barnhart.
Quo Vadis? And What Are We Going To Do About It?

3. SWOT Analysis (Group-based Activity) facilitated by Anne Barnhart.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SALALM LV: Reactions from a new librarian new to Spanish and new to SALALM

Before library school, I had never worked in a library. So, when I started on my MLIS degree, I was relieved to be hired as a student reference librarian at my university’s business library – that is, until I was left to field questions about multi-level marketing and harmonized codes all by my lonesome. Since I had no prior business background and no reference experience, I used to joke to my friends that it was like trying to learn how to do reference in a foreign language. Then I got my first, full-time professional position: assistant librarian with liaison duties to, among other things, the Spanish program in the World Languages Department.

Having just reading and writing ability in Spanish and no subject knowledge and no concept of how the collection was previously developed and having just graduated from library school and landed my first professional job (during, mind you, the worst economic situation of my lifetime), I was not only unsure how to proceed, but also paralyzed with fear that I would make a mistake so colossal that I would be sent to the cornfields…or, at least, to the unemployment line. So, as you might have guessed, my discovery of SALALM and the 55th conference held in Providence, RI, last July, was a godsend.

In particular, the pre-conference workshop, Latin American and Latino Studies Collection Development & Resources for the Non-Specialist: Tips for Tight Budgets, confirmed that the universe loved me after all. Led by Adan Griego, Anne Barnhart, Roberto Delgadillo, and Darlene Hull, the workshop was basically a daylong crash course on how to best do my job.

The workshop was held at the John Hay Library on Brown’s Campus. Seven of us confused souls sat around tables in a U-shaped configuration in the pretty (but chilly) Lownes Room, wondering whether or not we were allowed to bring in our cups of coffee. The session started with a brief history of the SALALM organization delivered by SALALM’s president, Fernando Acosta-Rodriguez, and the conference arranger, Patricia Figueroa.

After this introduction, Adan directed our attention to the peculiarities and challenges of Spanish Language publishing and distribution in Latin America, identifying the major players (Grupo Planeta, Grupo Santillana, Random House Mondadori) and describing the future of ebooks. I assumed that large media conglomerates, much like those in the United States, dominated the industry. But, until this conversation, I had no inkling that intra-continental distribution was almost non-existent or that print runs were so low in these countries.

Next, we discussed collection development: journals (and e-content), multimedia, websites, and selection tools. Major takeaways include:

While I was excited to learn something new, I was also relieved to find that I wasn’t totally flailing, that I was already sending my students to some of the best databases and websites (JSTOR, Project Muse, HAPI Online, Handbook of Latin American Studies, LANIC, DOAJ) and that I was already looking at top selection tools (America Reads Spanish and Criticas Reviews).

After this orientation to collection building, the afternoon finished with brownies (!) and also a sort of share-and-tell, in which Darlene Hull, a former bibliographer of Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut and now book vendor with Libros de Barlovento, described her book buying trips in Santo Domingo. A slideshow of open-air book fairs, disorganized warehouses, and hotel rooms converted into makeshift offices and mailrooms gave us a taste of the tremendous effort (in both the logistical and physical sense of the term) that it takes for vendors to bring materials from Latin America into the US. I left this session with a sense of the value that these vendors add and with the feeling that I should make friends with them as soon as possible.

Most impressive were the facilitators’ enthusiasm, kindness, and willingness to answer questions and offer advice. As the conference continued, I realized that this description was not unique to the workshop’s facilitators but characterized the conference attendees as a whole.

Five days later, as I waited outside my gate at the TF Green Airport, my SALALM LV tote bag loaded and hanging heavily on my shoulder, I found myself eager to return to work so I could implement all of the ideas and advice I’d gleaned from the conference. I also counted myself enormously lucky to be the librarian liaison to my school’s Spanish department. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but I like what I’m learning (more so than, say, learning about financial ratios). Best of all, between the SALALM conference and the mentoring available through La Cuna, I won’t have to go through this learning experience completely alone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SALALMistas around Bogota

Paula Covington (Vanderbilt), Patricia Figueroa (Brown), Miguel Valladares (Dartmouth), Paloma Celis Carbajal (Madison, Wisconsin), and Sarah Wenzel (Chicago) stand next to the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango and Museo Botero in Bogotá, Colombia.

Numerous SALALM members attended the XXIII Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá. The Bicentenial was the theme of this year's fair.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Panorama Nacional da Literatura Estrangeira em Língua Portuguesa

This article was written by Marta Raposa of Puvill Libros, Portugal for the February 2010 SALALM Newsletter and is being posted with her permission.

Panorama Nacional da Literatura Estrangeira em Língua Portuguesa | (África, Timor e Macau) – Algumas Consideraçöes

Fruto da experiência de cerca de 7 anos a efectuar selecções ao abrigo de mais de 20 planos de aquisição para Portugal, facilmente encontramos denominadores comuns nos mesmos, nomeadamente o particular interesse dos nossos clientes em autores e temáticas relacionadas com as ex-colónias portuguesas que se prendem obviamente com factores de ordem histórica. Nesse sentido, efectuámos uma breve compilação referente aos autores e temáticas que se publicam actualmente no nosso país.

Maioritariamente são publicados livros na área da literatura, nomeadamente no campo da ficção (romances). A poesia e os contos também se destacam na área de edição dos autores das ex-colónias. Curiosamente alguns destes autores já publicaram igualmente livros infanto-juvenis, como é o caso de Mia Couto (3 títulos), José Luandino Vieira (3 títulos), Ondjaki (3 títulos) e José Eduardo Agualusa (2 títulos).

São ainda editados alguns livros de diversas áreas, como estudos linguísticos, antropológicos, sociológicos, históricos e alguma jurisprudência, sendo esta de autoria essencialmente Angolana e Moçambicana (desde juristas, professores universitários a membros do governo).

São publicados principalmente autores do continente africano e, dentro deste, destacam-se Angola, Moçambique e Cabo Verde. O escritor que mais tem publicado em Portugal é o moçambicano Mia Couto, com 27 títulos. De um total de 123 registos presentes no catálogo da Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, cerca de 100 correspondem a títulos publicados no nosso país (incluindo reedições e reimpressões). As suas obras encontram-se traduzidas para diversas línguas, como o alemão, francês, espanhol, catalão, inglês e italiano. Segue-se o escritor angolano José Eduardo Agualusa, com 21 títulos publicados em Portugal. De um total de 109 registos presentes no mesmo catálogo nacional, 66 correspondem a títulos editados no nosso país. Os seus livros estão traduzidos para mais de uma dezena de idiomas. Pepetela é outro escritor angolano com forte expressão no panorama editorial do nosso país, com 20 títulos publicados. De um total de 105 registos existentes no catálogo da BNP, cerca de 83 correspondem a títulos publicados em Portugal (incluindo reedições e reimpressões). As suas obras encontram-se traduzidas para cerca de quinze línguas. S. Tomé e Príncipe e Guiné-Bissau assumem uma posição de retaguarda no panorama editorial nacional das literaturas africanas de língua portuguesa, no entanto podemos destacar nomes promissores como Alda Espírito Santo e Conceição Lima (S. Tomé e Príncipe) e Odete Semedo (Guiné-Bissau).

Não é de estranhar que estes e outros escritores africanos com particular destaque em Portugal sejam detentores de inúmeros prémios literários nacionais importantes. Mia Couto recebeu o Prémio Vergílio Ferreira em 1999 pelo conjunto da sua obra. Agualusa com a obra Nação Crioula foi distinguido com o Grande Prémio de Literatura da RTP em 1998, o livro Fronteiras Perdidas obteve o Grande Prémio de Conto da Associação Portuguesa de Escritores em 1999 e Estranhões e Bizarrocos obteve o Grande Prémio Gulbenkian de Literatura para Crianças e Jovens, em 2002. José Craveirinha (Moçambicano), Pepetela (Angolano) e José Luandino Vieira (Angolano) receberam o maior prémio literário de língua portuguesa, o Prémio Camões respectivamente em 1991,1997 e 2006.

De Timor os autores que mais têm sido publicados no nosso país são Luís Cardoso de Noronha e Fernando Sylvan. Xanana Gusmão, Ponte Pedrinha e João Aparício são outros nomes que pontualmente também já editaram em Portugal.

De Macau podemos referir o escritor ficcionista Henrique de Senna Fernandes com a publicação de dois romances no nosso país, o “Amor e dedinhos de pé” editado pela Gradiva em 1988 (esta obra foi adaptada para o cinema português em 1991 pelo realizador Luís Filipe Rocha) e o romance “A Trança Feiticeira” editado pela Fundação Oriente em 1993.

Diversas editoras portuguesas apostam neste segmento editorial em franca expansão e dedicam colecções específicas para a publicação de autores e temas lusófonos, nomeadamente:

- a Editorial Caminho com a colecção “Outras Margens” (com 81 títulos publicados nesta colecção) que se destina a publicar autores que, não sendo portugueses, escrevem em português: de Timor ao Brasil, de Cabo Verde e Guiné-Bissau a Moçambique, Angola e São Tomé e Príncipe;

- as Edições Almedina com a colecção “Estudos de Direito Africano” (com 16 títulos editados nesta colecção) e com a colecção “Cooperação PALOP (com 7 títulos publicados nesta colecção);

- as Edições Colibri com a colecção “Literatura Africana” (com 11 títulos publicados nesta colecção) e com a colecção “Timor - História, Política e Literatura” (7 títulos);

- o Instituto Camões com a colecção “Colecções Lusófona, Insularidades e Diáspora” (com 9 títulos);

- o Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros com a colecção “Biblioteca Diplomática” que compreende uma série de publicações divididas entre: obras de autores portugueses (série A), tradução de obras de autores estrangeiros (série B), política externa portuguesa (série C), teses de mestrado e de doutoramento (série D). Esta colecção é composta por um total de 44 títulos;

- a Editora Campo das Letras com a colecção “Chá de Caxinde” publica obras de autores angolanos ou sobre Angola (7 títulos publicados) e com a colecção “Estudos Africanos” (4 títulos) que resulta de uma parceria entre o Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto e a editora Campo das Letras;

- a editora Cotovia com a colecção “Série Oriental” que engloba textos do e sobre o Oriente (13 títulos) e a colecção “Série ultramarina” com textos da Expansão Portuguesa (4 títulos);

- as Edições Lusófonas com a colecção Africanológica (4 títulos);

- a editora Nova Vega com a colecção “Palavra Africana” composta pela secção Ficção (14 títulos) Teatro (1 título) e Obras Completas de Baltasar Lopes (3 títulos);

- INCM (Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda) com a colecção “Escritores dos Países de Língua Portuguesa” (7Títulos)

- a Imprensa de Ciências Sócias na sua colecção de estudos de “Antropologia” têm vários livros sobre lusofonia (cerca de 11 títulos);

- a Editora D. Quixote na sua colecção de “Autores de Língua Portuguesa” tem alguns escritores lusófonos como José Eduardo Agualusa (Angolano), Pepetela (Angolano) e Nelson Saúte (Moçambicano), uma vez que tem como prioridade editorial não só os escritores portugueses mas os autores de todo o espaço da lusofonia.

A nível académico em Portugal podemos encontrar alguns Centros de Estudos especializados neste contexto, como é o caso do Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE; o Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto; o Centro de Estudos sobre África e do Desenvolvimento do ISEG/UTL (que tem uma Unidade de Estudos Asiáticos), o Centro de Estudos Africanos da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa e o Núcleo de Estudos Sobre África (NESA) da Universidade de Évora. Neles podemos encontrar revistas especializadas nesta área bem como alguns estudos monográficos.

Marta Raposo

Puvill Libros, Portugal


Catálogo da Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

Direcção Geral do Livro e das Bibliotecas

Catálogo da Biblioteca da Fundação Oriente

Catálogos de editoras e centros de estudos portugueses:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More SALALM 55 (2010) Presos

Motivated by James Neal's tweet and the general e-SALALM vibe at SALALM 55, here by popular demand are some more presentations. This post is being edited as more people send their presentations. Thanks to all who have shared theirs already!

Panel 1: Envisioning and Shaping the Future of Latin American and Area Studies Collections and Research

David Block, University of Texas at Austin:
What’s Paper Doing in the Electronic Library?

James Simon, Center for Research Libraries, Chicago:
The Future of Collaboration in Area Studies Collections and Research

Panel 3: Welcome to the Mad Hatter House: Embeddedness and the Evolving roles of the Latin Americanist Librarians

Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut, Storrs:
Embedding Latin American Archives into Library Instruction and Practice

Panel 8: Documenting in Times of Adversity, Survival and Hope

Molly Molloy, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces:
Our Daily Massacre ... Thoughts on Preserving the Record of Juárez Homicides, 2008-Present

Lynn Shirey, Harvard University, Cambridge:Chilean Protest Murals

Panel 9: Historias y Contenidos en Revistas Latinoamericanas y Españolas

Marisol Ramos and Michael J. Bennett, University of Connecticut, Storrs:
Mujeres, damas y señoritas: el mundo de las revistas femeninas Españolas del Siglo XIX al alcance de la mano: The Women’s Magazine Digital Collection at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Panel 12: Roundtable on Collaborative Collection Development Part 1: A Survey of Collaborative Collecting Models

Moderator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University, Cambridge:Introduction

Panel 17: Beyond Institutional Borders: Archivists Document Underrepresented Communities

Yesenia López, Puerto Rican Community Archives, Newark Public Library
Organizing Our Communities’ Records: Connecting a Community to Its History

Joan D. Krizack, Northeastern University, Boston
Preserving the History of Boston’s Diversity: Northeastern University’s Project to Document the African American, Chinese, Latino, and GLBT Communities of Boston

Pedro Juan Hernández, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños,
Hunter College, New York
Becoming Visible: A Profile of the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora at the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SALALM 2010 Keynote Address by Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian at Duke University

“A Library by Any Other Name: Change, Adaptation, Transformation”
Prepared for SALALM LV
The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research:
Contributing and Adapting to New Trends in Research Libraries
Providence, RI, July 25, 2010
Deborah Jakubs, Duke University

It is a great honor for me to have the opportunity to speak to you today, to return to my roots here in SALALM, where I have made many lasting friendships, with library and bookdealer colleagues from whom I have learned so much over the years. Perhaps I can give a little bit back with my remarks today. I hope so.

It is wonderful to note that SALALM has been alive and well for 55 years. During these five+ decades, change has been our constant companion, and one of SALALM’s many strengths has been the organization’s – and its members’ – capacity to recognize change, regroup and adapt to it, and incorporate change into its character and mission. The ambitious agenda for this meeting clearly demonstrates the breadth of interests and expertise among the membership and highlights the many opportunities ahead.

Today I would like to talk with you about changes and challenges I see from my current perspective as the university librarian and vice provost for library affairs at Duke University. The title of my presentation is derived from the many times I have been asked if we “still need libraries,” or if “we should change the name” to reflect more accurately what happens in libraries these days. My response is always the same: that it has nothing to do with the word “library” and everything to do with how we define that word, and how the definition has changed, particularly in the past decade. The old interpretation of “library” was narrow; the new meaning is very broad, and our mission is expanding all the time. So it is time to take a fresh look at the work of libraries and discard the old image.

First, I want to share some information on trends in area studies that I have collected in preparation for two recent public presentations, the first to the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) at the meeting of the Asian Studies Association, as part of a panel on “The Future of Foreign Language Collections in Transformational Times: What is at Stake?” and second to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) membership in a session on “Recalibrating Research Libraries’ Approaches to Global Collections and Expertise.” In both cases, I was reporting on and interpreting dynamics that come to bear on area studies librarianship and global resources. I hope that the conclusions I drew from my preparation for those presentations, and from the comments they elicited, will be of interest. I will also offer some advice and raise some questions that might inform a conversation among us later on.

First, some general trends. WorldCat may be an imperfect tool, but an analysis of its contents can give some indication as to trends in collecting area studies materials among the member libraries. In the two previous talks I mentioned, one entitled, “Are Our Worries Over? Signs of Hope for International Collections and Services,” and the other “Are We There Yet? Trends in Global Collections and Services,” I provided an update on the state of area studies collecting, particularly following the establishment of the Global Resources Program at ARL, now the Global Resources Network hosted by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). The conclusions I drew in those presentations have relevance for SALALM and for today’s discussion, so I will share some of them with you today.

As I told the CEAL audience, for some time the area studies library community has worried that area studies materials are under-collected by research libraries and used by relatively few researchers, and thus even further threatened as budgets tighten, measures of use (potential or actual) negatively influence collection development decisions, and libraries make an inevitable transition to ever-increasing reliance on digital resources. Furthermore, there is concern that the specialists who identify, acquire, process and create access to such materials are in short supply, and the pipeline is very narrow. Fears that future scholars who want to use non-English resources will find only sparse collections have added urgency to our mission to address this situation. As a result of these concerns, and thanks to the efforts of many individuals, numerous cooperative projects have been created, and have borne fruit in many cases. We know much more now than we ever have about the nature of our collections, we have employed technology to build robust new means of access, and we are doing a much better job of sharing the materials we have. But there is still a nagging sense that we are falling behind, that area studies collections will be lost in the transformation to a digital world.

And now we have new worries, about the rising costs of access to electronic information, and especially the impact on our ability to continue to acquire traditional (print) resources. We are concerned about the availability of full-text databases – whether they are being developed for, or in, all countries, on compatible platforms, and how they will be archived. We see faculty turning to new kinds of resources, for example, new media and visual materials, and we wonder how to acquire or license and provide ongoing access to those sources, which are proving to be increasingly important to the broad field of cultural studies and beyond. Research and teaching interests have expanded greatly and interdisciplinary collaborations are also putting pressure on the ability of libraries to satisfy the broader and broader needs of scholars and students, ever more quickly. New topics, new technologies: how do we keep track of it all, identify the sources, and pay for everything? And of course there is the duality of our world, in which we continue to acquire print materials and primary resources while dedicating more of our funds to licensing digital access. We worry that our parent institutions do not fully appreciate our cause, our needs, our concerns, in the larger budget struggles.

I understand the worries because I used to be a worrier. I was a major worrier about the crisis in foreign acquisitions. But it is time to put those old concerns aside, and to focus on the successes we have had in expanding access to scholarly resources, capitalizing on technological means, and carving out a broader role for area studies. It is also important to ensure that area studies library operations are front and center in the new directions research libraries are taking. The future is bright and the opportunities are numerous. Here are some trends I see. Even some of those worries can work to our advantage.

From the crisis in foreign acquisitions, addressed by the Global Resources Network and its component projects, including the Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP), have come many digital projects that put area studies at the forefront of new developments that expand access for scholars to the materials they need, and which also strengthen the collaborations that have long characterized Latin American studies librarianship. This is especially important in the transition from print to digital, as we participate in the development of new models of digital dissemination. The area studies library community has provided leaders for these initiatives, and has developed and continues to develop models that have broader applicability.

From the image of few users of exotic materials in strange languages, area studies has been transformed by interests of faculty from across the disciplines whose work involves new topics, new media, and new collaborations. Area studies specialists are the original interdisciplinarians, after all, a fact that should be emphasized at a time when so many universities are making interdisciplinarity a strategic goal of academic programs. This is an opportunity to address a different set of needs and to work closely with other subject specialists and vendors.

Universities are globalizing, and encouraging cross-departmental, cross –school, and interinstitutional collaborations with an international focus, such as global health. More and more universities are establishing campuses abroad. This highlights the collections on Latin America and other regions as well as giving us opportunities to work with new and different groups of faculty and students.

The potential for increased outsourcing – of cataloging, for example – provides libraries with the opportunity to reallocate resources and deploy staff in new ways, while strengthening the relationships with book vendors who are providing new, valuable services.

Area studies collections are special collections. Foreign-language collections are integral to research libraries. It is our duty to collect broadly, to support the needs of researchers, and to consider the scholarly record internationally. As libraries focus on expanding access to their distinctive collections via digitization projects, area studies will become more visible.
And finally, university librarians are paying attention. The theme of the ARL meeting in late April 2010 was “Globalization of Higher Education and Research Libraries,” and featured presentations with a global focus on intellectual property, scholarly communication, partnerships across borders, multi-country universities, and other topics. The panel on which I participated, “Recalibrating Research Libraries’ Approach to Global Resources” addressed such questions as: “Are ARL libraries going to continue to build comprehensive collections of global publications and resources from all world areas? Is this an element that defines the research library in relation to the academic and research programs at our institutions? Are there opportunities for new forms of collaboration in the acquisition, cataloging, housing, use and preservation of our global collections? How are we going to recruit the staff who have the subject, language, cultural and technical skills to support global collection development?” In addition, ARL has just established a new task force to determine ways in which the organization can become more international. All good signs.

In his invitation to speak, Fernando asked that I share some “big picture reflections.” I believe that our new Duke University Libraries strategic plan, Sharpening Our Vision, can help focus those reflections. The plan is a concise framework, carefully and thoughtfully constructed, that contains/supports the key elements of the work of research libraries today. I am sure it is similar to the strategic directions of other libraries. These dynamics are pervasive, and Latin American studies librarians will see a role for themselves in each area. I would suggest that we look for more ways to integrate our work with that of others, rather than maintaining a distance. In many ways the organizational chart just a bureaucratic convenience. Through cross-departmental and cross-unit engagement, libraries, like universities, avoid silos; our work within the library and within the wider university is increasingly collaborative, as it has long been within SALALM inter-institutionally and internationally. This is evident from a brief examination of Duke’s strategic goals, and this look will also convey the relevance of my subtitle today: change, adaptation, transformation.

Improve the User Experience: Understand library users' research and library experiences and use that information to shape collections, spaces, and services.

Evaluating and assessing library services are increasingly important for justifying budget expenditures but also for improving those services. The better we understand what users want and how they do their work, the more successful we will be in meeting those needs -- and thus in demonstrating the value libraries add to the research process and student learning. Acting quickly to improve services, basing recommendations on data when possible, and encouraging innovation will all ensure that the library, its staff, and their responsiveness are recognized and appreciated.

Provide Digital Content, Tools and Services: Offer services and scholarly resources in formats that best fit user needs

It is a priority to increase the library’s capacity to create, acquire and manage digital scholarly content in a diverse range of formats, as well as to facilitate its discovery. Digital content in some cases is replacing print (journals, for example) and in others content is reformatted to be more widely accessible through digital means.

Develop New Research and Teaching Partnerships: Encourage new strategies for interacting and working with users, collaborating with other groups and embedding staff and services at the right place in users’ workflows.

Whether through e-science, e-scholarship, or e-publishing initiatives, librarians have many opportunities to partner with faculty, departments, programs and institutes on campus to develop innovative projects and services. This is a new and welcome role, and offers a vantage point from which to understand how the library might configure or reconfigure its services, how individual librarians and library staff might become more engaged directly with users. It also encourages cross-departmental collaborations within the library and a flexible organizational model.

Support University Priorities: Articulate how the Libraries’ collections, services and initiatives align with the University priorities of excellence in research and teaching, internationalization, interdisciplinarity, and knowledge in the service of society.

As university librarian, it is critically important to me that the library be seen as the intellectual center of the campus, and that our collections and services transparently and actively support the university’s directions. The better we understand those priorities, the more we can reflect them in our work, our planning, and our external communications.

Enhance Library Spaces: Ensure that the Libraries’ physical spaces are developed in coordination with the evolution of the teaching and research needs of the University.

In addition to the question of whether we should change the name “library,” another I am frequently – even more frequently – asked, is whether we still need physical libraries. I can only speak directly for Duke, where many more people than ever are coming to the Libraries, and they are staying longer. Our extensive building and renovation project, in which we nearly doubled our space, resulted in a dramatic increase in visits and also in the number of print books being checked out, a fact that for some reason comes as a surprise to many folks. We are always watching for ways to adapt the space; for example, given the heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary work, and a reliance on more e-resources in the sciences, we integrated three science branches into the main library, one each summer, over the past three years.

In conclusion, to me the big picture for libraries looks like this:
  • Increasing engagement for staff beyond the physical walls of the library – within the university, the region, nationally, internationally.
  • Staying on top of new trends in scholarship, publishing, and library services and sharing that knowledge, integrating it into our work, anticipating, identifying, and adapting to changes.
  • Increased focus on assessment and accountability.
  • Encouraging and rewarding creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
  • Increasing focus on “going where the user is” –e.g., delivery to mobile devices.
  • Not being afraid of trying new things, even if they might fail – we will learn from the experience.
  • Viewing collections not as print and digital, but just collections, integrated means of conveying information and sharing scholarship.
  • Reaching the point when the most innovative ideas and services become a natural part of our daily work, not perceived as add-ons to our “regular” work.
  • Budget pressures help identify what we can stop doing in order to do new things. Early retirements gave us the opportunity to consolidate functions and reallocate positions to new services.
  • Ensuring that staff have the requisite skills and training to meet the challenges we face.
  • Library staff will bring diverse experiences and take different paths to library work.
  • Library as place, library as collection.

Now is a good time to take a hard look at SALALM’s stated mission, given the changes in scholarly communication, publishing, and libraries. According to the website, the mission assumes the existence of a user (of bibliographic information, publications, collections, cooperation) but does not explicitly mention a focus on the changing needs of researchers, students, and teachers and the new means by which libraries address them – all themes so evident in this meeting’s agenda. Nor does the impact of the rapidly evolving role of libraries and librarians or the expanded scope of publishers and vendors appear in SALALM’s mission, although the actual work of SALALM recognizes these changes.

As we celebrate SALALM at this 55th annual meeting, I encourage you to make sure that the mission adequately represents the organization’s achievements and aspirations, in light of the environment in which we are living and working, and that it reflects the change, adaptation, and transformation of the new definition of “library.” SALALM has much to celebrate and still more to anticipate.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Screencasting: DIY visuals

Although the verb to screencast is still flagged as a spelling mistake in my word processing program, screencasting, or digitally recording your computer screen is one of the fastest growing web 2.0 trends. It's so simple- yet so effective! Finally, an easy way to quickly provide a snapshot of your screen that doesn't require IT support, the digestion of a help manual or weeks of planning the video fade, narration and special effects.

What makes screencasting different from more robust video tutorial software such as Camtasia? For a start, screencasting software is designed to produce quick on the fly video, narration or snapshots. Videos are normally limited to 5-10 minutes and don't allow sophisticated annotation, statistics or other features. On the plus side however, many of the software programs are free to use, work from your browser and don't require downloading. They integrate well with online video sharing sites such as Youtube and provide web storage too. And the programs are beautiful in their simplicity- it really only takes a few clicks to produce a brief but robust video.

From an academic point of view, the ease of screencasting provides another great way for people to interact and participate in the online conversation. Screencasting
allows for different learning styles by giving the option to view a procedure or a model rather than having to follow written instructions. And, most importantly, screencasting makes it a lot easier to communicate with people. The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is probably over-cited but it certainly rings true when you're trying to explain quickly and succinctly how the visiting scholar can get the full text of an article from their mobile device off campus.

Some of the most popular screencasting programs are Jing, Screencast-o-matic and Screentoaster. Jing is the easiest to use and the most flexible, but does require a download while Screencast-o-matic and Screentoaster work from your browser. Furthermore, Jing limits videos to 5 minutes while Screencast-o-matic gives you up to 15 minutes and Screentoaster allows you up to 20MB files. All three have web storage and the possibility of saving a local copy. Jing provides screen capture service too. The major factor in choosing a screencasting software will probably be whether or not you can download a program. I personally use Jing, and it has been so popular that I have persuaded Libraries' IT to support it.

So what can you do with this new software?! Tutorials are the most obvious use of screencasting. These tutorials could be for patron use, for specific databases that don't yet have their own tutorials such as Dialnet, or if you wanted to record a database tutorial in a different language. Tutorials for in house library use, for example for staff and student training, are also a great idea and serve as useful reference points throughout the year. These tutorials can also be embedded on subject guides using the ready made embedding code that is produced for each video.

Screencasting can also be used to great effect in instant messenger or email reference- instead of trying to explain where the link to scholarly articles is in Academic Search Premier, simply record your steps using screencasting and send it to the patron. You can also keep a library of most oftenly used videos. And why limit the librarians to making videos? Next semester I'll be undertaking a pilot to allow students to make quick videos as part of instruction sessions, as part of the drive to reflective learning.

And finally, screencasting can greatly improve communication and collaboration in personal projects. Planning a project? Use screencasting to record project progress or to provide verbal feedback or comments on a shared document. Videos are stored online, so there are no lengthy downloads and because they are short, shouldn't cause access problems. Screencasting can also be used for presenting digital exhibitions or projects. Create videos to narrate your photos or research, create a talking powerpoint or a brief introductory video for your project. All these uses create exciting visuals that draw different people in, and are easy to keep updated.

Have a go! Screencasting is easy and useful- a perfect combination!

Alison Hicks
University of Colorado, Boulder
alison.hicks @

Friday, July 30, 2010

Out and about in Bogotá

The last night at SALALM I was talking to Nerea LLamas and Teresa Chapa who mentioned they were going to Bogotá for the annual book fair. I mentioned a few places they should visit and then figured others might also want to hear about things to do in the city. So for those lucky folks who will soon be taking off to Bogotá soon, here it is;

City Sights
  • Monserrate – Church located at 3,152 meters above sea level and which overlooks the entire city, plus there is a very nice restaurant at the top. Take the teleférico up, or join the locals doing penitence by walking up the mountain on your knees.
  • Casa Museo Quinta de Bolívar – Simón Bolívar lived here between 1821-1826, and returned in 1827 with Manuelita Saenz. The house was often used for political gatherings during Bolivar's residence.

  • La Candelaria - Historic neighborhood in the heart of the city. Includes the lablaa, several major universties, a number of old churhes, and lots of good graffiti on the walls.

  • Usaquén - Neighborhood in the north of the city which includes a great outdoor crafts market, a fancy shopping mall, and lots of good restaurants.

  • La Calera - Located on the outskirts of the city, La Calera offers great views of the city, local artesanias, and typical food.

  • Planerario de Bogotá - Take a look at the moon, star, and sun.
  • Zona T - Located between 82th Street with Cra. 13, this is an area of the city closed off to cars, and full of restaurants, bars, cafes, nightclubs and fashionable boutiques.

Libraries & Museums


Day Trips

  • Laguna de Guatavita - Lake that inspired the ledged of El Dorado.

  • Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá - A large church built inside a salt mine. There is a train that goes to the catheral, but tickets sell out days in advance. The town itself is also quite beautiful and worth the trip, in it of itself.
If you have a couple extra days visit the "state" of Boyacá
  • Villa de Leyva - Colonial town in the "state" of Boyacá.

  • Ráquira - Lots of clay pottery and artesanias.

¡Gracias a mi amiga Sandhya por su ayuda con esta lista!