Currently viewing the tag: "Lynn Shirey"

Tuesday May 21, 2:00-3:30 PM

Moderator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University

Rapporteur: Sarah Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University

This session grew out of a discussion on H-Latam, which many SALALMistas belong to.  A historian with a specific research question asked if there were an online hub to identify key depositories and open-access search tools for Latin American resources (that would lead him to the resources on a specific topic that he was looking for).  Lynn Shirey (Harvard University) and others pointed out that generally requests on H-LATAM are for specific information and a general hub would have limited use for such requests.  Thus, Shirey, Rafael Tarrago (University of Minnesota), and others suggested to the person making the query that he or she talk to the Latin Americanist librarian at his or her institution.  The problem, however, is that this professor, and many others, probably does/do not have a Latin American specialist(s) at his/their institutions.

As this session was a round table discussion involving most of the audience, this report highlights major points made.

Lynn Shirey (Harvard) began the discussion pointing out that scholars seemed to know about LANIC and perhaps we should look at that as a model.  Librarians also mentioned SALALM and institutional repositories at different universities.  David Dressing (Notre Dame University) mentioned that there are wonderful digital libraries with primary source material available online but there is no one site that points to these different pages.  There is a need for a central hub to get to online, freely accessible, primary sources.  Some of the resources mentioned by Dressing and others included the Early American Digital Archive, Libreros Primeros at UT Austin, the University of New Mexico, Tulane, and Princeton University Libraries, the Cuban Heritage Collection at University of Miami, DLOC, and UTEP’s Bracero Project.  Dressing pointed out that LANIC is often referred to as a link farm and others agreed.  It is hard to keep a site of that scope up and it is overwhelming to search.  Dressing said that he had understood the query to be focusing on primary sources, and those present agreed that we would like to focus on helping users gain access to primary sources, which makes sense since the discussion and potential project had grown out of a research need and request from a Historian.  Sarah Buck Kachaluba (Florida State University) was also thinking that the portal would point to free webpages and  search engines for data, periodical literature, and or books, such as those offered by the UN, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, U.S. government, CEEIB, Redial, Redalyc, Scielo, Cibera, Latindex, CLACSO, and dissertation search databases.

At this point there was discussion and disagreement over whether we wanted to create a reference site (a portal into links) or a database in which you could actually search such resources.  Melissa Guy (Arizona State University) introduced Melissa Gasparato’s (Rutgers) idea of purchasing LibGuides or something similar that already existed, which could allow a few editors to create a central hub with this framework.  She pointed out that it would be important to distinguish between sources in English and other languages.

Allyson Williams (Inter-American Development Bank) said that it IS possible to have users from multiple institutions share editorship of a libguide.  Betsaida M. Reyes (University of Kansas) suggested using something like, which is a free platform to create websites which can work like libguides.

Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa) said that she believed this was beyond the scope of a Libguide and at the same time she was concerned about creating a link farm that ended up looking like Yahoo Directories from the 1990s (which is outdated for students).  Lisa wanted to build a database in which students could search for sources.  Guy and Buck Kachaluba felt that was too ambitious.

Rafeal Tarrago (University of Minnesota) suggested that one way around the question of what kind of resource would we built or how it would be built would be to propose the idea to H-LATAM or another organization and offer SALALM’s assistance; let them worry about the cost and design and let us identify the resources.  Lynn Shirey (Harvard University) and Adán Griego (Stanford University) disagreed because this is an excellent opportunity for SALALM to gain visibility and to reach an audience beyond large ARL libraries with subject specialists.  Adán said we should create something – a Facebook page with links, a blog, something on the SALALM website with newsletter – of use especially for small and medium-sized undergraduate institutions without Latin American Specialist Librarians.  Rhonda Neugebauer (UC Riverside) added that this allows us to highlight SALALM as an organization and our expertise as librarians and scholars. Sarah Buck Kachaluba suggested that it would be nice to have a link to some kind of reference site from the SALALM Tab “Resources.”  Melissa Guy added that it’s best to get something out there and use our expertise to point to resources rather than build something which will take a long time and delay the project.  Lynn Shirey added that we didn’t need to do everything at this point – we could start with some of our own institutions’ primary-source repositories.

At Lynn Shirey’s suggestion we looked at WESS’s resource’s page ( to see if it would serve as a useful example for what we’d like to have on the SALALM Resources tab.  The main page of WESS links to separate pages (portals) for different regional and linguistic areas, such as British Studies, Iberian Studies, etc.; Contemporary Europe, which lists Selected Newspapers and News Services, Key Facts & Figures About Europe, National Resource Centers (Title VI NRCs) for Foreign Language, Area & International Studies; [Online] Texts & Text Collections; Guides to Library Resources, which includes links to a page with links to European Library Catalogs, a link to “Historical Research in Europe, which goes to a portal to identify and link to relevant Archives, a link to Indexes and Guides to Western European Periodicals, and a link to WESS Members’ Subject Guides, which goes to a page with links by region and subject; and Book Reviews, which links to two portals for European book reviews.  This is a complex network of webpages and links which are maintained by various WESS members.  It would be challenging to keep something like this up, and, in fact, many of the links need to be updated.  It is, nonetheless, a model worth investigating.

At the same time, we looked at the “Resources” tab of the SALALM website, which would seem to be the logical place to link to a search portal for “Online Research Resources.”  Right now, no such subcategory under Resources exists; subcategories include Salalm Wikis (including wikis on Bibliographic Instruction and [Locating and Evaluating Latin American] AudioVisual material), Institutional Information (including Latin American Collection Statistics for SALALM institutions and a page with links to Latin American National Libraries by country), Cost Data on Latin American Collections (listing costs of Latin American & Caribbean monographs and periodical subscriptions by country), Webinars (linking to SALALM-organized and sponsored webinars), Special Collections Resources, with information on the History of the Book in Latin America and Special Collections focusing on Latin America, and Promotional ToolKit, which provides important information about SALALM such as its purpose, some of its achievements, and its conferences for potential members.  Having a new link under “Resources” for an “Online Research Resources” tab makes sense and it could even incorporate the links from Latin American National Libraries and Latin American Special Collections.

David Block (University of Texas Austin) added that there were two strands to the original discussion on H-LATAM.  One was the query as to whether or not such a portal already existed.  The other was in response to the specificity of the Scholar’s question.  We were not ever going to be able to put together a comprehensive resource but we could at least provide a beginning that would be useful to ourselves and other librarians doing reference work and providing research assistance.   David suggested putting together a committee to identify the resources we are familiar with and create something.  Others, including Dressing and Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University) agreed that we should do something to help students and scholars without librarians to assist them to find primary source materials.  Paula imagined a scholar looking to find out where something is in an archive using this resource.  Steve Kiczek (University of California San Diego) checked to confirm that we are talking about highlighting primary sources that have already been scanned and are available online.  Philip McLeod (Emory University) added that he wanted to create a service/pointing to sources that would be used by scholars, not just librarians.  He liked the idea of partnering with H-LATAM to find out what scholars wanted from the resource, and put our name out there but also drew upon the critical mass of scholars tapping into H-LATAM to define the resource and promote ourselves.  Guy asked whether in thinking about going to H-LATAM we were taking one conversation, getting answers, and then developing a new conversation.  Neuberger liked the idea of asking scholars on H-LATAM what they were interested in accessing through such a resource.  Dressing pointed out that although we probably couldn’t create something comprehensive, it is often useful for students to be able to go somewhere and browse.

Shirey suggested that we focus for the time being on creating a portal/guide to digital primary source collections in SALALMista institutions.  Guy, Reyes, Buck Kachaluba, and Covington all pointed out that in order to have the resources included organized and presented in a consistent way, it would be best to have 2-3 “editors” in charge of shaping and adding to the resource.  At this suggestion, Shirey suggested the possibility of creating a sub-committee of approximately 3 people underneath the umbrella of the Reference and Instruction Committee to take on this project.  She would talk to Anne Barnhart (University of West Georgia) and Meagan Lacy (Indian University –Perdue University Indianapolis) to find out if Reference and Instruction was amenable to this and then take it to the Town Meeting.

Dressing, Neugebauer, and Tarrago, were all present at the Round Table discussion and members of the Reference & Instruction committee were interested in sitting on this sub-committee.


June 19, 2012, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm
Facilitator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
Rapporteur: David Block, The University of Texas at Austin
Incoming officers: Stephanie Rocío Miles of the Nominating Committee announced the results of the 2012 elections:

  • Vice President/President Elect: Roberto C. Delgadillo

  • Members-at-Large: Paloma Celis Carbajal and Daisy V. Domínguez

Remembering Alan Moss: Gayle Williams reminded us of our recently deceased friend and colleague, Alan Moss. The Secretariat will make a donation in his memory, see below.

Treasurer’s Report: Peter Johnson highlighted several issues:

  • SALALM endowment (1993- ) the endowment, managed by the Investment Working Group, is intended to support SALALM’s activities as the organization faces an uncertain future. The endowment currently holds investments valued at $736,000 and has an annual payout, which has normally been reinvested, of $20,000 per year;

  • SALALM scholarship (2012- ) This scholarship, funded by donations earmarked for it and from the SALALM budget, awarded 3 grants of $1,000 each this year. The recipients are students involved in an information-oriented curriculum at any ALA-accredited institution who have expressed interest in a career that involves Latin America. Johnson announced that our advertisement was well received, producing 25-30 applicants, and that several runners-up received encouragement from the selection committee in the form of a complimentary SALALM membership for the coming year;

  • Johnson concluded by thanking the members of the scholarship task force and the SALALM Executive Secretary and her assistant, Carol Avila, for their advice and assistance over the year.

Executive Secretary’s Report: Hortensia Calvo reported:

  • At his family’s request, SALALM will make a donation to the Barbados Cancer Society in the name of Alan Moss

  • Memberships stand currently at 204 personal members, 101 institutional members (23 of whom are sponsoring members), and 13 student membership

President’s Report: Lynn Shirey reviewed conference issues:

  • By popular demand, SALALM LVII was a four-day meeting; Shirey announced that a follow-up survey soliciting observations on the conference will be distributed soon. At this point, she opened the floor for members to comment on the conference;

  • Speakers supported both the four day (on the basis of economics and member commitments) and five day (citing the difficulties in conducting necessary business on a reduced schedule).

  • Meeting with book dealers – some libreros expressed frustration with their inability to capture adequate attention from SALALM librarians. As with past meetings, the difficulties of scheduling and conflicts with panels reduced the time available for conversations and the lack of private space deterred some from raising necessary issues. Several possible remedies surfaced in the discussion—setting aside a period with no activities other than bookseller time, staggering activities to open spaces with the meeting among them.

    • All agreed that while there is no single solution to this issue, paying attention to scheduling and reducing competition for librarians’ attention is something that future schedulers should consider.

The meeting closed with Paula Covington’s appeal to members to share their memories of Howard Karno for a memorial that she has been asked to post on the SALALM website.

p dir=”ltr”>Panel 7, June 1, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Moderator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
Presenter: Alexandra Halkin. Americas Media Initiative
Rapporteur: John B. Wright, Brigham Young University

Alexandra Halkin is a documentary filmmaker and founding director of the Americas Media Initiative-Cuba Media Project, a new initiative to distribute Cuban independent and community videos in the US.

Halkin indicated that university librarians have helped get a lot of these films distributed and then noted having directed Living Juarez. Halkin discussed the real resistance to President Felipe Calderón’s policies on the war on drugs. She then explained having had no production money, just money for research. This is an advocacy film. Halkin noted that she would like to work in Juárez to create a feature film, but that is not possible because of security issues in protecting the film crew and the characters (the groups of youth).

Living Juarez looks at the events and aftermath of events in the Juárez neighborhood of Villas de Salvárcar where in January 2010, a group of youth attending a birthday party were brutally murdered. Calderón characterized the youth as gang members. The outraged families personally confronted Calderón at public forums in Juárez during his visits to the city after the massacre.

Living Juarez tells the story of the real victims in Calderón’s Drug War: regular people just trying to survive in a city overrun by senseless violence and corruption. The neighborhood of Villas de Salvárcar is organized and speaking out against the arbitrary and frequent abuses that are committed by the armed forces against civilians and particularly the youth in Juárez.

Questions & Comments:

Anne Barnhart (University of West Georgia) asked “How do you produce films?” Halkin replied “Filmmakers get 60% and we get 40%.”

Martha Mantilla (University of Pittsburgh) asked “What about the safety of the people who appear in the documentaries? Will they be at risk?” Halkin responded, “I don’t produce any video of someone who can be at risk.”

Halkin next presented two episodes of TV Serrana that was founded with funding from UNESCO, the Cuban government, and the National Association of Small Farmers. These episodes cannot be sold via the Internet.  TV Serrana is a television project that has helped rural Cubans in the Sierra Maestra Mountains produce nearly 500 documentaries since 1993. The idea is to show people a vision of Cuba that they’ve never seen before.

We watched an episode called “The Four Sisters.” It was made in 1997 and lasts 15 minutes. It tells the story of four elderly Cuban sisters who are still living in the home of their parents. Each sister plays a role in maintaining the home and the livelihood of each. They take care of one another.

The next episode was called “¿Adónde vamos?” It was made in 2009 and lasts 20 minutes. It is very controversial. TV Serrana is able to present a critique of Cuba in Cuba. The director of this episode grew up with TV Serrana. She is now its famous director. It tells the story of farmers who grow loads and loads of fruit. They pick it, bag it, and prepare it for shipment. The bags of fruit sit by the side of the road, ferment, and rot waiting for government transportation to pick them up for distribution. The farmers are feeling quite cynical, wondering what is to be done.

Questions & Comments:

Barnhart asked “How has this evolved?” Halkin answered, “UNESCO started the series and it is now quite a good model for what is happening with good television programming in Cuba.”

John B. Wright (Brigham Young University) asked, “Has the exposure of some of these problems in Cuba helped anything change?” Halkin replied, “TV Serrana has been an advocate for communities to government officials. Transportation to market of food produced in the country is still a very big problem, but at least the people feel they have been able to communicate some of their grievances to the government.

Laura D. Shedenhelm (University of Georgia) asked, “Looking at your list of products, I see prices. How do you do invoices? We don’t do purchase orders.” Halkin replied “Most items are prepaid.”

Saturday, May 28, 2011 9:00 – 10:00am

Participaron 15 personas.

Se entregó un informe impreso de Lynn Shirey (de Harvard University) sobre el proyecto piloto sobre “Digitalization of U.S. Holdings of 19th Century Cuban Monographs.”

Eudora Loh (de UCLA) y Teresa Chapa (de University of North Carolina, Chapel  Hill) hicieron un reporte sobre un viaje de adquisiciones realizado a Cuba en febrero/marzo de 2011 y entregaron un informe impreso “Cuba Contacts”, con nombres y direcciones de librerías, centros de estudio y editoriales de Cuba.

Mei Méndez (de University of Miami) informó sobre un importante trabajo que está realizando University of Miami sobre “Teatro Cubano.”

Se intercambiaron ideas y experiencias sobre los problemas de los envíos de libros desde Cuba al exterior.

Luis A. Retta
Retta Libros
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