Testimonies of Political Oppression and the Struggle to Preserve Them

Panel 15, June 1, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am

Moderator:     Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut
Presenters:     Jared Marchildon, Libros Latinos; Gustavo Castaner, International Monetary Fund, Archivists without Borders, Spain; Irene Münster, University of Maryland; Mark Grover, Brigham Young University
Rapporteur:   Barbara Alvarez, University of Michigan

The presentations on this panel documented the struggle against political oppression in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Chile, and described efforts to preserve memories of that oppression.

“ASARO” , the opening talk by Jared Marchildon gave an account of the presenter’s trips to Oaxaca in January and May 2011, where he went to meet the Asemblea de Artistas Revolucionarios de Oaxaca (ASARO) artists and purchase their prints. Delivered in English and Spanish, with strokes of vivid, visual language, the presentation painted the picture of the life of the ASARO collective, its members Lalo, Yeska, Baltasar, Pacheco, Mario Guzmán, and the creative process that happens in their studios and on the streets of Oaxaca, where they use stencils and graffiti art to express their political resistance. As Marchildon explained, the group formed itself in 2006 when a teachers’ protest turned into a general uprising involving one third of the Oaxacan population. A Japanese artist working at the Instituto de Bellas Artes taught the founding members of ASARO techniques of art protest he had learned in Japan and other countries. ASARO prints and graffiti painfully depict the social and political oppression, the poverty, the submissive state of women, the government’s abuse of power, and promote revolutionary ideals and human solidarity. Yeska and his fellow artists descend from the surrounding hills upon the city to imprint their political message upon the walls. They disguise, hide their spray cans and stencils, and evade police to aid la rebellion through unnerving and denouncing images. The other favorite medium of the ASARO collective are woodcut prints. Many of them are exhibited in Mexico and abroad and many are purchased by collectors and art vendors. The ASARO Blogspot page (http://asar-oaxaca.blogspot.com) features exhibits and works of individual artists, as well as publications and videos about the collective.

The following presentation, “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence: The Archives in the Battle for Retrieving Spain’s Historical Memory,” delivered by Gustavo Castaner, addressed the difficulties of recovering the historical memory of Franco’s regime. According to Castaner, Spain is often referred to as a model transition from dictatorship to democracy. In fact, this transition was achieved through an agreement with the dictator’s followers that guaranteed impunity for them and their crimes. The price of this agreement was silence. A look back after 30 years reveals that Franco’s regime, which was sustained for nearly 40 years, was much more dire than other dictatorships. Thousands of victims of Franco’s brutal repression still lie in forgotten mass graves without any recognition.

In 2007, the Law of Historical Memory was passed in Spain. This law condemns Franco’s regime and prescribes the removal of its symbols from public spaces. It recognizes the victims of violence on both sides of the conflict and ensures the assistance of the government in discovery, identification and exhumation of the bodies buried in mass graves. Archives are a crucial tool for the retrieval of the forgotten memory. Franco’s government kept exhaustive records that are vital to the research of this historical period.

Franquistas practiced a total war and dehumanization of the enemy, the same tactics that were used in the Spanish-Moroccan War (1909-26), such as the use of poison gas, mass executions and rape, and attacks on the civil population. The best known case was Badajoz, where Franco’s troops shot some 2,000-4,000 people in the bull-fight ring after taking the city. Francisco Espinosa Maestre documented in his book the bloody advance of ¨the column of death¨ that executed 10% of inhabitants of each village they had entered. The gang rapes were common, and the franquistas promised white women to the Moors fighting on their side.

Franco’s regime used war edicts as legal instruments in the first year of the war. The deaths of victims were recorded in civil registries as “application of the war edict.” In the following years, court martials took over the legal procedures of the repression. Ironically, people were condemned for aiding the rebellion where, in fact, the military were those who rebelled by organizing a coup d’état. The Law of Political Responsibilities, passed in February 1939, allowed the imposition of penalties such as total disqualification, banishment, exile, total or partial loss of assets and loss of nationality. By September of 1941, the regional tribunals initiated 229,549 such cases.

The violence on the Republican side mainly happened because the government lost control. In Madrid and Barcelona, the anarchists and union members got weapons and started their own revenge. It was estimated that the leftists killed some 85,000 people, but it turns out that a lot of victims were counted more than once. The latest studies account for some 130,000 victims of Franco’s regime.

Franco had an obsession about freemasonry and communism. Special military units searched for documents and collected them in a center in Salamanca. In Barcelona they collected 165 tons of records during five-month search. In Salamanca, 400 tons of records of institutions and organizations were gathered and members of the tribunal produced 3 million index cards with information on specific individuals. Many civil servants lost their jobs, and half a million people were in prison at the end of the war.

In conclusion, Castaner noted that since 2000, the Association for Historical Memory fights to recover the historical records and to exhume mass graves. However, the process is difficult because information is very fragmented and dispersed across the country and it is also  difficult to manage and understand for non-experts. The Law of Historical Memory is not applied to its full extent. Resources are not there and the government is not very helpful. Amnesty International Spain published a report called Disaster of Archives and the Privatization of Truth. The latest scandal is the publication of the new Diccionario Biográfico Español in which the entry on Franco is written by his past supporter, and calls him “authoritarian,” without any allusion to the fact that he was a repressive dictator.

Irene Münster‘s presentation, “Memorializing Memories,” took the audience to Argentina under the rule of the military junta of 1976-1983. Based on personal memories, her paper gave an account of the fate of some publishers, bookstores, libraries and community organizers that were active during those turbulent times. When the junta took power, Münster was 20 years old and worked at the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano under the leadership of Marshall Meyer, a young American rabbi.

With absolute impunity, the junta organized a systematic plan to persecute and repress thousands of people in more than 300 clandestine detention centers around the country. Fifteen thousand to thirty thousand people disappeared and 70% of the victims were under the age of 35. Fifteen percent were Jews. The junta aimed to subdue all areas of cultural activity and to impose on the population their moral principles and conservative authoritarian ideology. The Ministerio del Interior enforced censorship, took control of publishing houses and destroyed books. Operación Claridad established in academic centers identified subversive books and teachers who used them. Students and professors alike were pressured to report on each other. Many writers went into exile, others spent time in prison and were tortured, and some disappeared. “Dangerous” books and their authors were registered on a black list. Publishers and bookstores suffered from censorship, books were confiscated and burned, and their owners or vendors were detained or disappeared.

EUDEBA, created in 1958, shortly became the biggest publisher of Spanish language books. In 1974 it was taken over by the Peronist party. In 1976, 15 of its titles were banned and taken to the basement. In February 1977, four military trucks loaded some 80,000-90,000 volumes that subsequently were destroyed. In 1978 the police discovered thousands of books, magazines and encyclopedias of Marxism stored in a warehouse. In August 1980 the police burned 1.5 million books on a vacant lot of land. Witnesses were brought to testify that the books were burned and not stolen. The leftist newspaper La Nueva Presencia was attacked with explosives in 1981.

Marshall Meyer started to fight for human rights against the system, the junta and the Jewish establishment. He spoke to the press and to the community. Soon, he and those who worked with him started to receive death threats almost daily. Every Friday, Meyer went to prisons to provide comfort to Jews and non-Jews alike. He was subjected to the same humiliation as the prisoners. However, he brought back documents and letters to families. The papers needed to be hidden in case of inspection by the authorities. The chosen place was the library, between the huge volumes of Jewish law. This collection, hidden for seven years, is now at the Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

Most of the human rights organizations worked to denounce violations committed by the military and offer support to victims and their families. The most prominent were Asemblea Permanente de los Derechos Humanos, founded in 1975, and Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos, founded in 1976. Jews were not persecuted because they were Jews; however, a special vicious treatment was given to them while in prison. Their families did not get any support from Jewish organizations or other human rights organization. Therefore, Movimiento Judío por los Derechos Humanos was founded by Meyer.

Community and university libraries received lists of banned authors. The cards were removed from the catalogs, making their works inaccessible. In the province of Córdoba, the police demanded the borrowing records of community library users. Eighty two writers and 27 librarians are among the disappeared. To protect themselves, many people burned their personal libraries. To have a library was already dangerous because you were considered an intellectual which was synonymous with a leftist thinker. Münster concluded that “the memory of terror still lives among us. Argentina is a country living with its ghosts.”

The last presentation also focused on Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Mark Grover‘s talk “Under Threat: Academics Documenting Human Rights Abuses. The Case of Argentine Professor William Sill” recounted the story of Dr. William Sill, Research Professor and Curator of the Paleontology Museum at the National University of San Juan in western Argentina. Sill is mostly known for the establishment of the Ischigualasto Provincial Park that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but is also recognized as “a defender of human rights”. Sill studied geology at Brigham Young University (BYU) and the National University of Mexico (UNAM). In 1958, he was sent to Argentina by the LDS Church on a religious mission. He returned to the United States in 1961, graduated from BYU in 1963, and entered Harvard to study vertebrate paleontology. Between 1968 and 1970, he held a post-graduate research and teaching position at Yale University. In 1970 he received a National Science Foundation grant to spend a year at the Instituto Miguel Lillo in Tucumán examining and evaluating a collection of fossils from Ischigualasto. In 1971 the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo created a geology department in San Juan and he was offered a full professorship in paleontology. He and his family moved to San Juan in western Argentina. Soon after, Sill became involved in the creation of the Ischigualasto Provincial Park to protect a unique deposit of fossils from the Triassic period.

Grover interviewed Sill in Buenos Aires in 2001 at the time when the later had just received the Argentine Congressional Medal of Honor. During the interview, Sill passed onto Grover a copy of his diary, written between 1976 and 1979, which documented the kidnapping, torture, death or escape of some of his students and friends. As a scientist, Sill kept detailed records of the events, methods of torture, accounts of abuses and affected victims even though writing of such a diary was very risky. He created a special code to encrypt people’s names to protect their identity. The other parts of the dairy recount the story of two students Sill helped to escape from Argentina and a brief exposition of his philosophical and religious views on what was going on.

Sill was distressed by the violence, helplessness and the lack of opposition in certain sectors of society. The political situation had also a devastating effect on the university. Numerous faculty members were dismissed and 65 students disappeared. Many students came to tell him stories of their arrest and torture. Soon he realized he and his family were in danger. They secretly moved first to a farm in the country and later on to Buenos Aires. The soldiers who searched for him were told that the family moved back to the US. They lived concealed in Argentina for another two years, but eventually they had to leave the country. They arrived in Austin, TX where they remained for ten years, teaching for the Mormon Church and in the Department of Geological Studies at the University of Texas. In 1992 Sill returned to San Juan to work as Curator of Paleontology at the university’s museum. In 2002, seriously affected by muscular dystrophy, Sill moved back to Las Vegas to be near two of his children. His papers were donated to BYU in 2003. He became bedridden in 2004 and passed away at the age of 70 on March 15, 2008.

Questions & Comments:

Pamela Graham (Columbia University) alluded to the point that Spain is considered a model of transition from dictatorship to democracy and to the challenge of moving forward the process of recovery of historical memory. She asked Castaner about the effect that memory recovery movements in other countries may have on Spain. Castaner expressed hope that Spain will learn from the example of other countries, such as truth commissions in South Africa, to address this problem. “As long as we have people abandoned in mass graves […], each closure will be a false one.”

 

Cuba and Haiti: Archival Experiences at the University of Miami

Panel 8, May 31, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am

Moderator: Meiyolet Méndez, University of Miami
Presenters: Maria R. Estorino, University of Miami; Béatrice Colastin Skokan, University of Miami; Meiyolet Méndez, University of Miami
Rapporteur: Sarah Yoder Leroy, University of Pittsburgh

 

After Meiyolet Méndez welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers, Maria R. Estorino spoke about building the Cuban Heritage Collection (http://library.miami.edu/chc/) at the University of Miami Libraries. After giving some background on the history of the connection between Cuba and the University of Miami, and the interest in collecting Cuban materials by the University of Miami Libraries over the years, she described the official formation of the Cuban Heritage Collection in 1998, which brought together collections documenting Cuba, the exile experience, and the culture and literature of the Cuban diaspora, which had previously resided in different areas of the libraries. The Cuban Heritage Collection received a grant to build a space for the collections, and in 2003 the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion opened. The Cuban Heritage Collection serves the university, the larger academic community, and the general public, and focuses on four main areas: 1) collection development, 2) preservation and access, 3) teaching, learning and research, and 4) outreach. It brings together, preserves, and makes available primary and secondary materials in all formats, including digital resources. It works with faculty to support instruction at the university, and supports research by sponsoring undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowship. In addition, it coordinates events and exhibitions which reach the general public. Some challenges for the future include ongoing assessment of the collections, building more faculty relationships, and working with a changing donor base, as new demographics and associated relationships emerge.

Béatrice Colastin Skokan followed with a presentation on documenting the Haitian diaspora at the University of Miami Libraries. Miami-Dade is a center of Haitian life in the U.S., where Haitians are the second largest non-English speaking group after Hispanics, and the second largest immigrant population after Cubans. They are a marginalized group, and Special Collections at the University of Miami has made efforts to collect primary source materials documenting the social and political life of this group. The current focus is on collecting papers and documents of local activist groups. It also sponsors public events and outreach, such as the special event entitled Documenting the Fringe, which included a reception and discussion on documenting counter-cultural activism. Special Collections holds the Max Rameau papers (1998-2010) which document his activism for the homeless and the poor within the South Florida communities of the African diaspora. Materials are often acquired through donations from community leaders, and developing relationships is a key component in making this possible. Collecting oral histories is another way they are filling content gaps and documenting intangible culture.

Meiyolet Méndez‘s presentation was entitled “Blueprint for a Collaborative Instruction Model: a Multi-Disciplinary Approach”, and she spoke of developing partnerships with librarians working in other departments of the library in order to enhance the work of both. For example, the Cuban Heritage Collection’s desire to increase the use of its archival and digital material, and the Education and Outreach’s aim to incorporate the use of primary documents in information literacy sessions lead to a natural collaboration. Working together, the two librarians could identify classes with a Latin American/Cuban component, and introduce the Cuban Heritage Collection’s digitized primary materials in an instruction session. The blueprint for collaboration is as follows: identify a department in the library you want to know about, contact the librarians there, meet and identify common goals or needs. Reach out according to your strengths and prior relationships. If you are interested in instruction, identify programs or classes where you might work collaboratively. Document your activities. There are also possibilities for non-instructional collaboration, such as events and exhibits, where volunteering and agreeing to do something new are ways to stay aware of activities in other departments.

Questions & Comments:

Peter Bushnell (University of Florida) asked if there was a charge for non-University of Miami users. Special Collections and the Cuban Heritage Collection are open to all.

Gayle Williams (Florida International University) mentioned that it was a shame Lesbia Varona wasn’t in attendance since she would have so much to add.

Marisol Ramos (University of Connecticut) mentioned that she appreciated the presentation because it is so hard to find materials about the Haitian diaspora, and she is excited to find someone doing this. She is trying to collect Haitian ephemera as well. She is also collaborating with archivists at her institution, and wants to promote more collaboration among librarians.

Gerada Holder (National Library and Information System, Trinidad and Tobago) wondered what the collection strengths were with regard to the Caribbean countries. Colastin Skokan indicated that the University of Miami’s strengths are Jamaican and Haitian materials and the Caribbean Documents collection, which includes slave registers from Trinidad and Tobago, significant rare books, and 19th century materials.

Diane Napert (Yale University) asked whether gifts come with restrictions. Estorino said they are working on a standard deed of gifts for personal papers and organizational papers.

Paul Smith (University of California, Los Angeles) asked whether there is an organization in New York creating an archive of Haitian materials, and whether there was any Haitian migration to Quebec. Colastin Skokan answered that the migration distribution is South Florida, New York, Boston, and Quebec. The University of Miami is starting in South Florida, but some oral histories have been conducted with artists in New York as well. The Schomburg Center may be collecting Haitian diaspora material, but she wasn’t sure.

E-books, New Products/News Developments

Panel 13, May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm

Moderator:     Adán Griego, Stanford University
Presenters:     Melissa Guy, Arizona State University; Felipe Varela, e-libro.com; Lluis Claret, Digitalia; Barbara Casalini, Casalini Libri
Rapporteur:    Meagan Lacy, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

These presentations focused on e-book trends from the perspectives of students, academic librarians, and vendors.

Adán Griego opened the panel with a PowerPoint presentation introducing the evolution of the e-book, emphasizing that the availability of e-books in Spanish are not meeting user expectations. Griego cited a study in Library Journal to show that academic libraries are ripe to provide e-books in Spanish. Griego also cited an informal survey (sent out to SALALM libraries) that collected information about which platforms these libraries used (Ebrary, Netlibrary, Digitalia, Alexander Street Press) and whether or not, to the respondents’ knowledge, they provided content in Spanish. These results implied that public libraries are more ready than academic libraries to provide e-books. Anticipating skepticism, Griego stressed that e-books are a solution to space issues in libraries and that future college students, “digital natives,” will expect to have access to e-books. Griego concluded the presentation by listing resources academic librarians can peruse in order to keep current about the e-book market. Resources included: Blog de Libros y bitios (http://jamillan.com/librosybitios/), Libros electronicos (open group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/universoebook), and Javier Celaya (on dosdoce.com).

Melissa Guy continued the panel discussion (see PowerPoint here) describing how the systematic, patron driven acquisitions (PDA) program at Arizona State University (ASU) has affected e-book usage. ASU serves over 70,000 students in the Phoenix metropolitan area, many enrolled in its distance education programs. In order to serve this scattered student body, ASU prefers electronic sources. Due to the recession, however, ASU was unable to purchase anything for its collections between 2008 and 2010. This environment forced ASU libraries to devise a new system.

In 2009, Guy noted, ASU partnered with Coutts because they could provide an immediate, e-preferred approval plan. This plan had three components to accommodate the purchase of electronic books, books in print, and books from university presses. E-books are collected using a three-click model. Records to titles not exceeding $150 and that fit subject parameters are streamed in the catalog and after the third user clicks on the title, that e-book is purchased (so two uses are free). For print books, again records are streamed in the catalog, and titles are purchased automatically (through acquisitions) after the first click. Books from university presses are collected using the more traditional approval plan method (arriving automatically in print). One challenge with this system is deciding when to stop streaming MARC records in the catalog after they have been loaded (i.e. how to remove records to materials not purchased). ASU can buy books from other e-book vendors, but the PDA program runs on the Coutts My iLibrary platform.

At this point, there are 4,700 MARC records for print titles. E-books were loaded in 2009. It took an additional year to get print titles going because of backend issues. Because the plan is e-preferred, ASU has a 90-day hold on print titles. What this means is that when a print title is available, Coutts waits 90 days to see if the title will be made electronic, at which point it will be streamed as an e-title. If there is no e-version after 90 days, the record to the print title is streamed. If a book available in print becomes available as an e-book, the electronic book record replaces the print record, which has caused challenges for acquisitions.

Not surprisingly, social sciences and humanities disciplines dominated print titles, while demand for e-books was led by STEM disciplines. Almost all print books were selected by faculty (45%) and graduate students (40%). In FY2011, ASU spent $100,000 on print titles from University Presses, $152,000 on PDA e-books, and $24,000 on print books (much of these orders were fulfilled by Amazon since Coutts doesn’t have titles in stock).

Another challenge, according to Guy, included assessment as well as implications on area studies and foreign language collection development. Involving subject librarians from the beginning, continuing the approval plan with university presses, and permitting firm orders have all worked to mitigate some problems. When the PDA program was established all of the regular fund codes were eliminated, so subject librarians were drawing from the same pool of money for firm orders. Presently, since less money is spent on PDA, more money is available for firm orders. Also, area studies librarians were the exception; they had their own budget outside of firm order funds, so approval plans with international vendors could remain in place.

Following Guy, Felipe Varela (e-libro.com) opened his presentation by providing updates about changes happening at e-libro. First, ProQuest bought ebrary, and ebrary and e-libro have been working in tandem since 1999. So, ebrary and ProQuest will now distribute e-libro around the world. Ebrary will distribute e-libro in the United States; ProQuest will distribute e-libro throughout the rest of the world. Also, if any libraries subscribe to Academic Complete with ebrary, they can now update to Academic Complete con Español, which includes approximately 3,700 e-libro’s titles. The e-libro’s platform is exactly the same as ebrary so the features (highlighter, dictionary, translator) and the process for searching the text are familiar except that the searches can now be accomplished in Spanish. Students can print twenty pages a session or 40 pages per day – a restriction e-libro grants in order to please publishers and thus sign them. Also, every student can create their own library, which allows them to save their highlighted text and notes for later review. Currently e-libros holds about 45,000 titles including theses, articles, and books. Every year, e-libros is building momentum, and it is getting easier for the company to obtain new titles. For instance, they currently have 86 titles from Fondo (working toward another 200), Instituto Politécnico Nacional, UNAM, and Universidad de Guadalajara. In Spain, they have Siglo XXI. Other titles come from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Grupo Planeta.

 

Valera further explained that the price for e-libro depends on FTE at the university. Worldwide, e-libro has approximately 500 clients – doing well especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. In the US, they have four clients (all in Florida because Varela lives in Florida). Since e-brary is now distributing e-libros titles, e-libros expects to have more US clients.

 

Next, Lluis Claret (Digitalia) introduced his products and services. Digitalia was formed five years ago with a mission to provide quality e-content to libraries without disrupting traditional models for selection and acquisitions. The company has concluded that there are basically two purchasing models: subscription and ownership. Subscription works well in Latin America but not the US, where libraries prefer perpetual access. Claret admitted that PDA is a third option but intimated that it is not realistic for publishers who would be forced to do more “commercial stuff.”

 

Digitalia offers three purchasing models where customers can subscribe, buy, or lease-to-buy. New York Public Library uses this latter model, which allows them “the best of the subscription” as well as some perpetual rights. One feature that sets Digitalia apart from other vendors is that they provide subscriptions to e-books and e-journals. In addition, all titles are accessible by multiple users, and users can print as much as they want. The platform is very similar to myilibrary. Claret emphasized that Digitalia is academic and research focused and is working mostly with academic libraries. Digitalia is committed to acquiring quality academic titles in Latin America and the Caribbean as quickly as possible.

 

Finally, Barbara Casalini (Casalini Libri) explained how Casalini Libri, founded in 1958 in Italy, is fulfilling its mission to bring publications in the Romance Languages to Academic Libraries worldwide in the digital age. Its digital division started in 2000, and in 2004 they launched Editoria Italiana Online (EIO) and in 2006 Edición Española Online (EEO).

 

Recently, the EEO platform was launched. To demystify how Casalini Libri operates, Casalini explained the process of acquiring e-content. First, she said that they contact publishers who provide a print-ready PDF of the content. Then, MARC records are created. Finally, they sign the Digital Rights Management contract. The objective is always to develop a collection that is of enduring value to libraries (“long tail” titles). Casalini acknowledged that libraries need to know what content is available electronically in a timely manner.

 

Next, Casalini demonstrated EEO, mentioning that it holds approximately 500 books from 14 publishers and is growing. Spanish content is provided in the eBook format only (as opposed to being divided into clickable chapters), but features will eventually be enhanced. Currently, the subject content is focused heavily in Social Sciences and Law though subject content is expected to grow.

 

The new EEO platform was designed to sustain different economic models and meet Web 2.0 expectations. Its interface is available in 5 languages (Spanish, English, Italian, German, and French) and allows for customizable skins (to match institutional theme). From the user end, libraries can choose to either show e-content that it has acquired or show all of the content available, accommodating PDA in a variety of manifestations. Also, the platform was designed with federated searching (SUMMON, PRIMO Central) and usage statistics in mind.

 

In the future, Casalini Libri aims to acquire more titles from university presses and content that is already available in Open Access and to design a mobile interface. Finally, it is striving to facilitate agreements with CLOCKSS and Portico to promote digital solutions to publishers in Spain and Portugal and to collect more regional content.

 

Questions & Comments:

 

Jesús Alonso-Regalado (University at Albany, SUNY) questioned the fairness of pricing models based on FTE since Spanish readers are a minority on university campuses, and he asked the vendors whether or not they charge customers for Open Access content (such as that from CLASCO). Varela responded that FTE is the best solution they currently have to charge customers and that customers pay for a subscription – whether or not some of the individual titles are freely available. (E-libro was deleting free content, but customers complained when titles started to disappear from the database.) Casalini said that Open Access content has no fiscal bearing on the subscription price. Valera added that whenever e-libro signs a publisher, he only obtains what the publisher wants to give. In other words, he does not obtain exclusive rights. So, publishers are able to put their content anywhere else they choose, including through Open Access channels.

 

Peter Johnson (Hunters Point) asked what consideration the vendors have given to important publications (monographic and serial) that are issued by Think Tanks, NGOs, and branches of the government (at a national, provincial, and city level). Valera said that e-brary has close to half a million titles from NGOs and the like, but e-libro, still concentrating on finding publishers and university presses, is not even close to that number. However, he added that e-libro hopes to gather this kind of content in the future. Claret cited a publication from the government in Valencia that is included in his database and said that it took him three years to negotiate the deal – suggesting that the dearth of these kinds of publications might be traced to the time consuming process associated with obtaining them. Casalini agreed with Claret’s comment, saying his experience resonated with her own.

 

Patricia Figueroa (Brown University) addressed Casalini, asking whether or not she had plans to merge EIO, EEO, and any other platforms. Casalini clarified that the content is already available from one platform but that the interface is available in five languages.

 

Melanie Polutta (Library of Congress) asked Guy how they are receiving MARC records for titles they are streaming but haven’t yet been purchased. Guy replied that Coutts supplies those records but that for items obtained through Amazon, additional processing the MARC records is required on the part of ASU Libraries.

 

Martha Mantilla (University of Pittsburgh) asked the vendors whether or not, when they negotiate with publishers, they obtain exclusive rights. Claret responded that, though they do have some exclusivities, this is not always the case. They are not pushing for exclusivity because it is so difficult to obtain exclusive agreements. In the future, he expects to see that many platforms will have similar content and that it will then be up to the customer to decide which platform she wants to use. Mantilla restated her question, asking whether or not a publisher granting exclusivity to Digitalia could also sell that content to e-libro. Both Claret and Varela said that in the case of an exclusive agreement, no, but that such instances are rare. Now, agreements are almost always non-exclusive.

 

Miguel Angel Valladares (Dartmouth College) addressed Guy wanting to know whether or not there is a limit to the amount patrons can spend. In response, Guy recommended first that the audience participants interested in PDA go to the Library-Bookdealer-Publisher Relations committee meeting where Holly Ackerman (Duke) is expected to give a talk about PDA at Duke. Then, she explained that at ASU the library has the ability to deactivate this feature at any time. In addition, ASU Libraries set aside a large reserve of funds in case “people went nuts.” As it turns out, people didn’t abuse this feature, and ASU actually had a surplus for firm orders. Valladares followed up, asking whether or not ASU publicized the feature. Guy said that ASU libraries did not publicize PDA at all. Valladares’ also wanted to know how many eBooks titles ASU was able to acquire. Guy said that she would find this information and contact Valladares directly. In jest, Valladares asked Guy if he could use her name with his Coutts representative.

 

 

Exploring Collaboration, Classification, Information Retrieval and Innovative Library Service

p>Panel 17, June 1, 2011, 9:00-10:30 am

Moderator: Héctor Morey, Library of Congress
Presenters: Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University; Diane Napert, Yale University; Craig Schroer, University of Texas at Austin; Anton du Plessis, Texas A&M University; Alison Hicks, University of Colorado, Boulder
Rapporteur: Brenda Salem, University of Pittsburgh

The presentations on this panel described initiatives that made use of the latest information technology to provide better library service and to enhance access to information.

The first presentation, titled, “Search Engine Optimization for the Research Librarian, or How Librarians Can Beat Spammers at Their Own Game” was given by Melissa Gasparotto, a librarian at Rutgers University. Citing a project on search engine optimization she worked on, Gasparatto demonstrated how assigning appropriate high quality metadata can be placed in online academic works in order to place them higher on the results lists of search engines such as Google. She started out by explaining that Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a set of practices that modify elements of a web page in order for the page to have higher visibility among the results of particular search engine queries. All search engines have guidelines and best practices for SEO in order to make website more readable for both search engines and humans. However, SEO has gotten a bad reputation because it is something that spammers have long taken advantage of by means of inaccurate metadata and link farms to promote low quality content.

Gasparotto acknowledged doubts about whether SEO is appropriate for academia, but asserted that indeed, SEO is something that can be used to academia’s advantage, whether it’s for online journal articles, a database, an institutional repository, or an open access journal. Some of the reasons for the importance of applying good SEO practices in online academic work are the growing importance of open access and the higher probability that such work will be indexed by Google Scholar web crawlers. The practices that apply specifically to making academic works more accessible on the open web through search engines like Google Scholar is known as Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO), which is of particular use to librarians.

She continued by describing her project on optimizing her online bibliography of U.S. Lesbian Latina History and Culture. She mentioned that this was a particular good case study because searches for “lesbian latina” often result in links to pornographic sites, which make legitimate academic studies on lesbian Latinas hard to find. The project goals and methodology were based on an article written by Martha Kelehan about her project with two colleagues at SUNY-Binghamton on optimizing the SUNY-Binghamton website. These goals were to 1) increase the bibliography’s page rank for a targeted set of search terms, 2) increase the number of search engine referrals, and 3) increase the number of page views. She outlined the methodology of her project, which included first measuring the natural ranking of the online bibliography, then using analysis tools to select target keywords, optimizing the bibliography using those keywords, and finally measuring the page ranking after the optimization. This took her about six months, noting that SEO is a long-term process. Among the analysis tools she used were Google Trends, Google Insights Keyword Tool, Google Adwords, and Topicmarks. It turns out that the bibliography’s ranking was surprisingly high to begin with for many of the keyword searches she had chosen for the study, so no optimization was needed for half of the target keywords. To optimize the keywords, Gasparotto added some metadata to the site’s HTML code. At the end of her project, the site’s ranking improved significantly for her chosen keyword search strings. Gasparatto concluded her presentation by listing best practices for those wishing to optimize their online academic works, as well as recommended reading on SEO.

The second presentation was titled, “Digging for Treasure: Zarzuelas and Other Gems in the Historical Sound Recording Collection at Yale University” and was given by Diane Napert, a catalog librarian at Yale University. In this presentation, Napert described a grant-funded project that she participated in to catalog the large number of 78 rpm recordings that make part of Yale’s Historical Sound Recording Collection (HSCRC), focusing on their collection of zarzuela recordings. She started out by giving a short history and overview of the HSRC, which is strong in Western classical music, as well as American musical theater and spoken word recordings. She then described the project, which was funded by a $789,000 Mellon grant. The institutions that participated in this project were Yale, Stanford, New York Public Library’s Rogers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, and later Syracuse. In the end, the project contributed over 24,000 records to OCLC, which, she noted, is small compared to the number of 78 rpm recordings that remain uncataloged, but is a significant number nonetheless. In a typical cataloging record, she added access points for people and groups who contributed to the recording and was successful in connecting arias to the correct opera and excerpted songs to the correct musicals. The recordings that were cataloged came from over 360 recording labels, particularly Columbia, Edison, Decca, Gramophone, among others.

Napert gave an overview and history of the zarzuela, which is a lyric-dramatic genre that comes from Spain and originated in the mid to late 1600s. When cataloging zarzuelas, Napert used The Zarzuela Companion, written by Christopher Webber. Napert went on to play several samples of 78 rpm zarzuela recordings. The samples included: 1) a 1906 recording of “Vals del Caballero de Gracia” from La Gran Vía, written by Federico Chueca and sung by baritone Luigi Baldassare, 2) a 1924 recording of “Al Pensar en el Dueño de mis Amores” from Las Hijas del Zebedo, written by Ruperto Chapí and sung by soprano Elvira de Hidalgo, 3) a 1906 recording of “Ven Rodolfo” from El Anillo de Hierro, written by Pedro Miguel Marqués and sung by soprano Carmen Fernández de Lara and 4) a 1905 recording of “Granadinas” from Emigrantes, written by Tomás Barrera. One of the success stories of the project was that the great-granddaughter of famous soprano Paquita Correa was able to hear recordings of her great-grandmother for the first time. The great-granddaughter had been unable to find her recordings in Spain but was made aware of the collection at Yale. Napert played a sample of one of Correa’s recordings, which was “Brindis” from Apolinar Brull y Ayerra’s Ángel Caído.

Napert ended her presentation by mentioning the fairly new Library of Congress’ National Jukebox website (http://www.loc.gov/jukebox), which provides access to many American recordings made between 1901 and 1925. She also showed a screenshot of the HSCR project website, and mentioned that there are some non-zarzuela recordings on the site. She thanked Richard Warren, the curator of the HSRC and Nicole Rodriguez, who is a Library Services assistant at HSRC. She concluded by mentioning other types of Latin American recordings that are part of the HSRC and might be of interest to SALALM members.

The following presentation, titled “Primeros Libros: A Working Model of Institutional Collaboration” was given by Craig Schroer, an electronic resources librarian for the Benson Collection at the University of Texas, Austin and Anton du Plessis, a curator for the Mexican Colonial Collection at Texas A&M University. In the presentation, they described the “Primeros Libros” project, which is a collaboration between their institutions and certain Mexican institutions to digitize the earliest publications in colonial Mexico. Schroer started out by giving an overview of the “Primeros Libros” collection, which is an online digital collection of books printed in Mexico between 1539 and 1601, also known as Mexican incunabula. Representative of the earliest output of the printing press in the New World, these books include doctrinas and vocabularios, as well as mathematical and scientific works. The goal of the project is to acquire at least one copy of the 115 titles of early Mexican publications that are still believed to exist today. Ideally they would like to acquire more than one copy because of the variations found in individual copies, such as marginalia and other owner-specific marks. Currently, they have 41 distinct titles and 65 total copies, but hope to have 84 distinct titles and 174 total copies after completing phase 2 of the project. This is a substantial number considering the relatively small number of items still in existence.

Schroer then gave a brief history of the project, which was begun by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, Austin. Their website was launched in August 2010 and is maintained by UT Austin. There are various institutions in Mexico, Spain, and the United States that are partners in the project. Schroer stated that the purpose of their presentation was to promote the project and encouraged anyone at an institution that held similar material to consider contributing. Another purpose of the presentation was to give an example of an international and intercultural collaboration between institutions. Technological issues in digitizing, storing, and making available large amounts of data can often be a barrier for many institutions, so Schroer considers this collaboration a sharing of strengths and weaknesses, and a look at how the different partner institutions can contribute. They have addressed the issues of lack of technology and infrastructure in creative ways, such as lending out portable, preservation-quality scanners or having an institution with high-quality scanning capacity digitize another institution’s books. Establishing contacts with institutions also raises awareness of holdings that may not appear on OCLC or any listing at all. Digitizing these books promotes these institutions and raises awareness of the scholarly value of the books themselves. Also, in checking the condition of the books before scanning, curators are alerted to the need for repair of some of these books. Collaboration with certain institutions has helped them to understand the Mexican rare book trade, as well as the political structure among institutions and individuals in Mexico. This has helped them find opportunities and establish connections that would otherwise not have been possible.

They have backup copies of the digitized books stored at institutions such as the Texas Digital Library, the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, and Fresnet. They currently have about 2 TB of information. They are constantly learning new things and finding new applications for the project. Du Plessis then described an unfortunate situation in which a package of CDs of digitized books arrived damaged from Spain, with some of the CDs missing. Schroer concluded the presentation by urging anyone at an institution with material to contribute to contact him or du Plessis.

The final presentation was given by Alison Hicks and was titled “QR Codes en Español: Point of Need Mobile Library Services.” In her presentation, Hicks, who is a Romance Languages librarian at the University of Colorado, Boulder (UCB), described how she has used QR codes to better serve and reach out to students. She started out by stating that she feels that mobile technology is the next big thing in information access. She then asked how many people use a mobile device to connect to the Internet, how many people know what a QR code is, and how many people have actually scanned a QR code. Hicks explained that there is a growing number of people using mobile devices with access to the Internet. Librarians need be aware that these devices are used in different ways than laptops. Two things that need to be kept in mind are that these devices are ubiquitous and that they’re constantly connected to the Internet. Hicks feels that this ubiquity and connectivity allows librarians to provide “point of need” library services and to connect the physical and the virtual. Ultimately, the result would be a larger return on investment. Hicks then showed a clip from the television show CSI that explains QR (quick response) codes, which can be scanned by a mobile phone, which then opens up a specific web page. In order for the mobile phone to convert the code to a web address, a QR code reader application needs to be installed on the phone. There are also many programs for creating QR codes. The codes can link either to a URL, to text, to a digital business card, or they can connect you by phone to a specific phone number.

In the Fall of 2010, QR codes were introduced at UCB’s Norlin Library and in the Spring of 2011, they were introduced at the language departments that Hicks serves. Microsoft Tag was used to create the codes because of its interface, its good statistical functionality, and because other places at the UCB campus used it. Posters with QR codes that linked to maps of the library, tutorials, the catalog, and other help options were placed all around the Norlin Library and dormitories. In the language departments and library stacks, she placed QR codes that linked to her business card so students could contact her for research help. She felt that the results at the library (500 total scans) were successful enough to continue with the initiative. However, the statistics for the language departments weren’t so good (only 8 scans). Among the lessons learned from this project were the importance of educating users on QR codes and having other ways of accessing library information besides QR codes, since not everyone uses them. She concluded by giving tips and advice on implementing QR codes to those who would want to do so at their own institutions.

Questions & Comments:

Gasparotto asked Hicks if there had been any vandalism of QR codes. Hicks replied that there had been no vandalism.

Peter Stern (University of Massachusetts) asked why the QR codes Hicks used were in color. Hicks replied that it was the style of the proprietary Microsoft Tag QR code.

Peter Johnson (Princeton University) asked Schroer and du Plessis how their “Primeros Libros” project differed from a similar endeavor taken by the Gale Cengage company (a digitized collection based on Sabin’s bibliography). Du Plessis responded that “Primeros Libros” is a scholarly project and that participants get to keep the digital files of their holdings. Also, PDF files of the books can be freely downloaded. However, he hadn’t heard of the Sabin project and didn’t know how many of the books in their project are already in the Sabin project. Schroer emphasized that one of the advantages of “Primeros Libros” is that it’s open access and not commercial.

Lawrence Woodward (Government Printing Office) asked Napert what preservation efforts have been made for the 78 rpm records and whether there had been efforts to digitize the recordings. Napert replied that they were placed in acid-free boxes and kept in an appropriate environment. The reason they have not been digitized is that Yale wants to take an inventory of the recordings and determine which are the rarest, and therefore highest, on the priority list to digitize, but has not yet done so. Woodward then suggested to Schroer and DuPlessis that they visit the Rosenberg Library where they have on exhibit copies of some of the earliest books printed in the Western Hemisphere.

Napert asked Hicks to clarify what “QR” stands for.

Peter S. Bushnell (University of Florida) stated, regarding digitizing the 78 rpm recordings, that there may be difficulties regarding copyright and public domain. He also asked Napert how she was able to determine the dates of the recordings. Napert replied that she used certain books and discographies as references and acknowledged that there are difficulties in navigating around copyright.

The panel concluded with the moderator thanking the rapporteur and the presenters.