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!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

collaboration's the word

Monday was filled with panels on collaboration, where I spent most of my time. (Really sorry to miss all the other excellent presentations on Monday and yesterday's Pecha Kucha or however you spell it. Thanks for everyone who has shared their thoughts, slides and all the tweeting)

I'll soon get my slides on the 2CUL Cornell-Columbia initiative up. Two of the other panels on collaboration brought up a wealth of ideas. We heard a lot about what works and what's different today about collaboration. I think there definitely has to be an alignment of certain pressures AND certain support to make this work. We heard from Dora Loh about Calafia and how they are moving forward, taking advantage of existing and emerging infrastructure in California for sharing print and coordinating acquisitions. Check out their site for descriptions of agreements. Denise Hibay walked us through the analysis of collections that was done as some major shifts and redirections took place at the NYPL. She shared an interesting schema for describing and categorizing collections--hope that will be available soon. Angela Carreno spoke about their cloud library project--understanding overlap between digital content and files deposited in the Hathi trust, digital content and overlap in the shared ReCAP facility. Can a library source what it needs from these digital and print repository "clouds" instead of duplicating the effort to store and manage print? Read more of this OCLC supported project. We heard more about Dartmouth and Brown's "boutique" collaboration for Brazil and Miguel Valladares showed us his impressive report analyzing LANE collections--how did he do this all with nothing more than regular WorldCat searches? Search strings are included for those of you who want to try this at home (but maybe not alone).

Take aways? We need to have a place on the SALALM website where we can centrally list all existing collaborative arrangements.

Perhaps we should have a preconference on collaboration next year. Start with having the regional groups work on this at their next meetings, and come to the preconference ready for a structured type of discussion or exercise.

We must work with vendors on this--they are an important part of the picture. Collaboration won't work without them.

faculty buy-in is key, as well as educating users about what we are doing and how this affects how they work and where they will find what they need.

Monday, July 26, 2010


On July 25, Jesús Alonso-Regalado and Anne Barnhart led a roundtable discussion called “Quo Vadis? And What Are We Going To Do About It? Roundtable on the Evolving Role of the Latin American Studies Librarian.” As part of the discussion, the audience was asked to break into small groups to do a SWOT analysis on the profession of Latin American Studies Librarian. We decided to use this format because, as presenter Anne Barnhart noted, as a profession we do not know how to speak with administrators. The SWOT tool is an example of the strategies, language and tools invoked by upper-level library and campus administrators. This discussion was just the first step in trying to establish where we, as Latin American specialists, are as a profession and how we want to position ourselves for a successful future.

Perhaps the most important conclusion from this exercise is the recommendation that SALALM create a strategic plan with a 3-5 year tangible workplan so we can better influence where we are going. Such a plan could also offer SALALM members talking points when communicating with campus administrators.

Please read the complete SWOT analysis.

Opening Remarks from SALALM's President Fernando Acosta Rodriguez

Some of the very productive discussion that have taken place at SALALM have already been posted by others, but I wanted to share with us all the remarks from SALALM's president at yesterday's opening session.

"Good morning, bienvenidos, bemvindo, welcome to the 55th meeting of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM). My name is Fernando Acosta-Rodríguez, I am serving this year as President of SALALM, and I am also the Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies at the Princeton University Library.

I want to start by thanking very specially our hosts in Providence, the Brown University Library, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Local arrangements group lead by Patricia Figueroa for making this conference possible and for their amazing generosity and hospitality. It is a pleasure to visit your beautiful campus, its libraries, and the city of Providence.

I also want to offer my special thanks to the Princeton University Library, which was another generous sponsor of this event, and to the vendors that have sponsored the coffee and bagel, ice cream and smoothie breaks that will make our conference a more enjoyable one. They are, in alphabetical order, Gale-Cengage Learning, Iberbook Sánchez Cuesta, Iberoamericana-Editorial Vervuert, Libros Centroamericanos, Puvill Libros, Retta Libros, and Susan Bach Books from Brazil.

I have to admit that in many respects, the theme of this year’s conference, The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: Contributing and Adapting to New Trends in Research Libraries, is not really a response to new or recent developments. I say that because many of these developments, at least those having to do with the incorporation of digital technologies into libraries, originated more than two decades ago, and research libraries have been both adapting to and implementing them since then. Latin American Studies and area studies librarians, the collections for which they are responsible, and also scholarly research and teaching in these disciplines, have of course always been a part of this process, even if sometimes from the fringes of the research library world.

On that note, please allow me to read a couple of quotes:

1. “Area studies collections, which had comprised the library vanguard, are perceived as relics of an outdated library philosophy emphasizing ownership over access, and of disciplines somewhere between quaint and archaic in their dependence on print formats.

Scholarly communication in general, as well as for area and LAS, is becoming ever more complex. The evolving process is straining all aspects of the traditional system. For research libraries, reduced buying power and diminished coverage are among the most immediately dramatic results. Our efforts to anticipate, react to, and utilize these changes will become increasingly crucial as we attempt to maintain the information base necessary for our scholars.”

2. “The increased availability of information in digitized format is leading to shifts in research libraries’ acquisitions patterns, reducing the portion of library budgets available for conventionally published materials…

Developing current and future cooperative arrangements among libraries is an important component of the project. The issues include: …delivery mechanisms for full text as well as bibliographic information to scholars throughout North America; and the need to further understanding broadly among librarians and scholars that the physical location of foreign language collections need not limit their utility geographically.

The first quote is from an article titled “Latin American Studies, Information Resources and Library Collections: the contexts of crisis,” by Dan Hazen, from Harvard University who is probably sitting somewhere around here. The second one is from an article by Jeffrey Gardner titled “Scholarship, research libraries and foreign publishing in the 1990s”. Both appeared in the Papers of the 36th Annual Meeting of SALALM, which was cohosted by University of California-San Diego, and San Diego State University, in June of 1991, almost twenty years ago.

So, fundamental concerns, key questions, aren’t new. What is different today is that we apparently are in a juncture where technological capacity and know-how, economic incentives and constraints, as well as personal preferences and biases among the various categories of stakeholders, are truly converging into new dominant models of access and of scholarly communications. The shift has already taken place in many disciplines, in the natural and physical sciences in particular, and is rapidly gaining steam across the social sciences and the humanities.

It truly is time then, as our colleague David Block invited us to do two years ago during the SALALM meeting at New Orleans, through his paper titled “Where are we; Where we may be going, What will we do there?”, to examine what all of these apparently systemic changes mean from the perspective of Latin American Studies, and of other area studies too.

This is essential because the conditions and circumstances that characterize our area of responsibility (the academic field of Latin American Studies, and in a broader sense, the intellectual-creative expression production that originates in the region – two things that aren’t exactly the same) do not, at least in my opinion, always fit well with the new models being implemented. To be sure, major changes in publishing, scholarly communications, and distribution are also taking place across Latin America, of course, but these are not always be related to the same set of circumstances that have driven change across the research libraries that most of us work at.

Some questions for us then are, what can we do to avoid or minimize the possibility of an increasing disconnect, in some areas, between the Latin American reality that we wish to document and to represent, and the systems of collection development and scholarly communication that scholars rely on? Conversely, how do we take better advantage of new technologies and other factors to reduce long existing documentation gaps? How can we achieve this when most Latin American Studies librarians are tremendously overstretched as they have had to undertake an increasingly wider range of duties and subject areas, not to mention the cases where even libraries with venerable Latin American Studies traditions have left vacancies unfilled for prolonged periods of time, leaving us wondering if these are permanent decisions? How do we achieve this when, amid talk of the need to globalize education, Latin American and area studies programs apparently lose weight and presence in many of our campuses and are slotted into generic international categories?

We are not going to answer these questions during the next three days, but I think that the program will help us to examine them, and many other related ones, from a wide variety of perspectives. At a minimum, it will at least help us to be better informed and to learn from each other’s experiences, ideas and strategies. Ideally, it will stimulate us to think about and propose new ways of acting in coordination to successfully adapt to and influence future developments affecting our field. We’ll see. "

Many thanks to Fernando who endured my many pleas to have his remarks forwarded to me so that I could include them here.

Analysing La Cuna

Bridging Physical, Virtual and Hybrid Spaces

If anyone wants to follow my presentation, or see the slides, they are available online.

Resources Mentioned in the Pecha Kucha

As usual, SALALM has me frantically jotting down ideas and resources as they get shared by colleagues on panels. Because there are so many excellent concurrent panels, I wanted to share some of these for those of you who may not have been able to attend yesterday's first (of many, I hope!) Pecha Kucha.

Katherine McCann (LoC) had a variety of suggestions for finding translations and reviews of translations:
The Complete Review: A Literary Saloon and Site of Review
(Contains Index of Latin and South American Literature)
World Literature Today
Open Letter
Words Without Borders

Kent Norsworthy of LANIC highlighted some of their projects:
UTLANIC is on Twitter
Latin American Government Documents Archive (LAGDA)
Latin American Electronic Data Archive (LAEDA)

Daisy Dominguez presented on her experiences with Twitter. If you tweet, use #Salalm55 to tweet about the Conference. She invites you to connect with her at @daisilla

Martha Kelehan mentioned a number of resources to help you create data visualizations:
Google Motion Charts
VUE (concept mapping software)

Daniel Schoorl also mentioned a number of ways to visualize data in his presentation on the Statistical Abstract of Latin America
Many Eyes
Social Explorer

In Orchid Mazurkiewicz's presentation on federated searching and Latin American Studies, she reminded us of a resource that many of us learned about at Berlin's conference:

And Luis Gonzalez talked about two databases/resource pages that he has been maintaining and expanding over the years:
Researching Brazil
Researching Mexico

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha has just finished, and I, for one, have three pages of notes to follow up on! Owing to wifi failure, I was seen without my computer surgically attached to my fingers; I even proved that I do still know how to write. However, I still managed to learn a lot from each presentation and hope that we have started a new SALALM tradition.

Thanks to Daisy for maintaining the Tweets!

#salalm55 - Twitter Search

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

A big thanks to all the presenters who did a fabulous job! Presentations are bring embedded on the blog

Moderator: Alison Hicks

Speaker 1: KD McCann

In Translation 3

Speaker 2: Daisy Dominguez
Tukushka Minga Virtual

Speaker 3: Kent Norsworthy
What's New at LANIC

Speaker 4: Martha Kelehan
Gapminder, GIS, And the Digital Humanities

Speaker 6: Daniel Schoorl

Speaker 7: Luis Gonzalez

Bibliographic Commons

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Second Day at SALALM's Conference in Providence

After a constant "vaiven" of back to back activities, the 2nd day of SALALM's internal meetings seemed less hectic but with just as intense discussions on a variety of topics.

The "libreros" gathering provided a forum for SALALM's vendors to address issues like the constant reduction of library budgets (will it ever end?) and how to position themselves as independent booksellers to face the competition from the larger and better funded media conglommerates. At some level it's preaching to the converted (we in SALALM) that vendors based in Latin America go the extra mile in trying to locate materials that dealers in the United States may not be able to do OR are not willing to do.

A much anticipated post-lunch meeting (e-SALALM discussion) drew a standing room only audience. We focused on ways in which the organization can transition into an electronic environment, make better use of emerging technologies and have a more dynamic online presence.

As participants approached the registration area, they could not miss the many souvenirs displayed on an overflowing table nearby. These are the items being raffled to raise funds for the Enlace/Outreach Subcommittee that for more than 20 years has been granting scholarships to bring Latin American information professionals to participate at SALALM annual conferences.

Stay tuned for tomorrow for a report on the keynote speech and much more.

SALALM's 55th Annual Meeting from Providence.

More than 180 SALALM members (librarians,vendors and visitors) have gathered at Providence for the group's annual meeting which started on Thursday (July 22nd) and is being hosted by Brown University.

SALALM's professional activities started with two pre-conferences:

1) An eclectic group of 22 SALAMistas enjoyed a unique experience: studying rare books dating back to the 17th century as part of the "History of the Book in Mexico" seminar.

2) A similarly eager group of 7 professionals new to Latin American Studies learned about collection development where topics ranged from Spanish-language publishing to the ever-present discussion of everything digital (e-books, e-journals...).

The first day of internal meetings (Friday, July 23rd) provided a full agenda where veteran librarians, vendors from Latin America and Europe and few newcomers participated in discussions on a wide variety of topics of interest beyond Latin American Studies Librarianship: reference services and BI in a digital environment; electronic resources; reduced budgets; cooperative collection development projects, etc.

It is all part of the umbrella of the conference's theme: "The Future of Latin American Library Collections and Research: Contributing and Adapting to Trends in Research Libraries."
As good colleague and friend from the other side of the Rhode Island borders says: more as it happens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear loyal blog readers,

Just sending along another plug for our eSALALM session on Saturday, thinking that this kind of stuff might be especially interesting to those of you who are part of our blogosphere. See some of you soon! //pamela


A reminder that we will be holding an e-SALALM Discussion on Saturday, July 24th, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. in State Suite B of the Providence Biltmore.

Please join us to discuss and provide feedback on several topics related to using technology and the internet to disseminate information about SALALM. The discussion will focus on the following topics and we welcome the attendance and input of all SALALM members.

SALALM Newsletter -- possibilities and opportunities for online publishing of newsletter content (a recommendation from the Editorial Board will be distributed via LALA-L prior to the conference)

SALALM Publications-- options for online access and publishing of SALALM content (conference papers, etc.)

Webinars -- opportunities for engaging in training and sharing SALALM expertise via webinars

For members who won't be attending the conference next week, please contact us with any ideas and suggestions related to these topics.

Since we only have an hour it’s going to be a tight squeeze but, should time permit, we’d love to hear what other ideas you might have.


Pamela and Orchid

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pecha Kucha: SALALM LV

I'd like to invite you all to attend SALALM's inaugural Pecha Kucha!

Also many other thrilling presentations; see the Program for more details.
See you there!
Alison H