Currently viewing the tag: "Melissa Gasparotto"

Rapporteur:     Jennifer Osorio, UCLA

Sócrates Silva, University of California, Santa Barbara
La Familia: Documenting LGBTQ Student Networks in Higher Education

Michael Scott, Georgetown University
Contad@s: Data Sources on LGBT-Headed Families in Latin America

Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University
Uncovering the US Latina Lesbian Genealogy

Sócrates Silva presented his work on the documenting LGBTQ student groups in California, entitled, “La Familia: Documenting LGBTQ Student Networks in Higher Education.” He began with a definition of family from The Queen’s Vernacular:  A Gay Dictionary (1972) as way to set the context for his study of family in the queer context, and how student groups at higher education institutions in California served as a space where ethnic identity is merged with queerness, and both are celebrated and embraced. In this way they contribute to campus political activity but also serve a social function. Silva focused on California groups with “La Familia” in their name, asking the following questions:

1) Why did the concept of family resonate with these groups?
2) What are the connections between these groups?
3) What kind of documentation can be found about these groups, and in a larger context, what function do university archives have in documenting student groups: and what is it about university archives that makes that function difficult? Why should this matter for a “transient” group?

Through interviews on the UCSB campus, he determined that the number of people on campus who were queer and Chicano was so small, that it almost felt like the group was predetermined. As such, many of the groups are not hierarchical and most social media groups are closed. Archiving them is difficult for these reasons, and also because of the transitory nature of the groups, there is little continuity to websites. This creates difficulty for web archiving, but it helps create a safer space for groups that still experience hostility and alienation on college campuses.

Next, Michael Scott presented “Contad@s: Data Sources on LGBT-Headed Families in Latin America.“ The main focus of Scott’s project was to investigate how governments construct sexuality, more so than the actual sources themselves. But gathering the data is difficult for a number of reasons, including the fact that census sites are often developed by statisticians, not information professionals. Thus, the data is often easier to find in reports, which he demonstrated with reports from Argentina, or in the actual questionnaires themselves. Even then, the questionnaires often don’t ask about orientation, they only ask about relationships, so people who are not part of a couple do not get counted.

Sócrates Silva (UCSB) asked where these non-governmental groups were getting their information, in that case and the answer was that they were mostly doing their own limited polling.

Scott named several non-governmental groups, mostly in Argentina and Mexico, that are providing their own data. Other entities, such as the Latin American Public Opinion Project has had questions about same sex marriages and other queer issues in their survey for the last five years, and the Gender Watch database is very good for getting primary resources on LGBT issues in Latin America.

Nora, from the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Sociales y Desarrollo (INCEDES) asked why Scott had not included Guatemala and he replied that Guatemala does not include questions about sexuality in their census. Only Brazil, Argentina, possibly Costa Rica and Mexico do, and Chile has plans to include them in their upcoming census.

Finally, Melissa Gasparotto presented her paper titled “Uncovering U.S. Latina Lesbian Genealogy.” She explained that her presentation was really about the value of raising students’ critical consciousness about hierarchies within the library, particularly in the context of overlapping identities, such as queer/latino. Rutgers, where Gasparotto works, has a very diverse population, include a Latino population that is more diverse than usual (most investigations at other institutions have been about Chican@s). Because of Rutger’s mission and past leadership, there is very active and enthusiastic queer activism. She initially started when students came to her looking to find themselves in the literature, and found that a lot of terms used to describe the population were static and inaccurate. She argues that it’s important to help students understand the histories of hierarchies, because it doesn’t occur to them that libraries are political entities. Working with faculty to ensure that class goals include critical thinking about data and sources on the part of students ensures that they will better understand the ways in which terminology can affect research.

A discussion followed with several participants discussing ways in which student groups could be encouraged to archive their materials. Ryan Lynch (Knox College) asked Silva if anybody has experimented with college archives helping students do some self-archiving and figuring out some confidential ways to store materials. Silva replied that, yes that could be an approach. One of the issues is that students are just too busy and so are archivists, so he was wondering how Rutgers managed it. Gasparotto answered that she thought it really came down to Rutger’s history as an activist institution.

Anne Barnhart (University of West Georgia) suggested targeting faculty advisors, but Gasparotto pointed out that those advisors change a lot; Lynch agreed, noting that the groups themselves also changed frequently and that some of them were not the kinds of groups that worked with advisor.

Sarah Hogan (University of Chicago) wanted to know if some of the groups on the UCSB campus that Silva had studied where splintering as they found themselves focused on different issues. He responded that at UCSB, El Centro was actually an umbrella organization with some 10 different groups of various affinities. Gasparotto asked if anyone worked somewhere where groups were not under student organizations but where instead situated under a fully staffed center, like at Rutgers. Roberto Delgadillo (UC Davis) said that they have a new cross-cultural center that houses many groups but that some are housed elsewhere and there are communications issues. Hogan mentioned two different projects occurring at the University of Chicago to document LGBT groups. Ryan Lynch pointed out that Cornell does a very good job of archiving LGBT student groups and has been doing so since the 1960’s.

Tracy North (Library of Congress) asked Gasparotto to talk more about the hierarchies of LoC subject headings. Gasparotto replied that subject headings are moving targets — that the terminology is always changing and we’ll always be playing catch up. Even the queer community doesn’t have terminology everyone can agree on, and she referred to Emily Stravinsky’s paper arguing that we should just leave the subject headings static so that people would be forced to confront archaic terminology and its effects. Gasparotto wants the word queer to just cover everything as it’s been “accepted” but Barnhart pointed out that acceptance of that term is very regional and that it is very problematic on her campus.

Ryan Lynch (Knox College) asked Scott if other countries had found a way to combat the situation in Bolivia, where questions about sexuality where left off the census because it was feared that people wouldn’t want to confess such matters to census takers. Scott replied that what really seemed to be changing attitudes was the passage of same sex marriage laws, as in Argentina and Chile.

Silva asked about the questions on the LAPOP and whether the questions were being asked in all the countries covered by the project. Scott said that yes, the same questions were asked in all the countries and that they tended to be things like “What do you think about gay marriage?” or “What do you think about homosexuality?”

Gasparotto asked if Silva had a timeline for finishing his project and visiting California Archive and he said that not yet, but he was also interested in conducting some oral histories.

Finally, Barnhart requested that the presenters put their materials in the SALALM institutional repository for use by others, especially any teaching materials.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:30am-10:00am

Moderator: Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University

Rapporteur: Emma Marschall, Tulane University


  • Not Ready for Prime Time: Measuring Publications/Citation Impact for Latin American Titles — Amelia Craig, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Subregional Headquarters, Mexico and Mirian Ramírez, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz
  • Seeking Stability Online: Analyzing the Online Availability of a Latin American Serials Collection — Lisa Gardinier, University of Iowa
  • Evaluating the Content of the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI): A Bibliometric Analysis of Latin American Serials — Bruce Bachand, University of Kentucky and Orchid Mazurkiewicz, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Documenting Pan-American Scholarly Communications: A Citation Study of Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages — Marina Todeschini Crumbacher, University of New Mexico and Suzanne Schadl, University of New Mexico

Melissa Gasparotto introduces the first presenters and thanks them for their willingness to be the trial for virtual presentations at SALALM. Amelia Craig (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Subregional Headquarters, Mexico) and Mirian Ramírez (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz) — Not Ready for Prime Time: Measuring Publications/Citation Impact for Latin American Titles

Mirian introduces herself and Amelia over the Skype chat and begins the presentation using Skype chat and Prezi PowerPoint. They will be discussing the findings of their study titled “Study about the Impact of ECLAC Publications in Academics”. The purpose of their study was to gather information about coverage and impact of ECLAC publications. The study was conducted between 2003-2012 by searching 5 selected databases – Scopus, Scimago, Google Scholar, SciELO, and Publish or Perish. Findings show low coverage; almost none in the open access platform, SciELO. The study also finds that while there was poor ranking in the world, there was good ranking in Latin America. One of the limitations of this study was that it only measured the impact on academic, not on public policy or the political world, where CEPAL has an arguably greater audience. These findings lead to the following suggestions: to start a new internal discussion; come up with strategies to increase visibility; develop a methodology for continued impact assessment. A review team was formed to work on these issues. Mirian’s chat function is dropped due to technical difficulties. Amelia continues for her. CEPAL is trying to increase visibility in selected databases including: Econolit, ISIThomson, HAPI, Scopus, Dialnet, DOAJ, IBSS, Pais International, EBSCO Open Access Journals, CLASE, and Latindex. Mirian comes back online and begins again, stating that CEPAL has a long tradition of freely available information, but they are working to make this information more accessible and stable, by: reviewing international standards, including international and regional indexes, redesigning the journal website. They will also be taking steps to: evaluate alternative indicators for impact factors, implement a new institutional repository, working on new marketing strategies that utilize social media and apps, and the library is planning new services and user training on the impact of researchers’ publication.

Amelia takes over, saying that Mirian has presented a review of the pilot program, and she will continue by talking about alternative ways of thinking about impact factors beyond the traditional citation method. She reads a quote by Jason Priem about problems with traditional impact factors. The academic world has different ways of sharing data and sharing research, professor to professor, through gray literature that the sharing of information doesn’t wait for publication; it happens through networks of people; so it’s worth considering the impact of research before it hits the traditional publication model. Problems with traditional research include: it is slow and conventional, it is retrospective, the quantity of citations is valued over quality, there is no way to distinguish between positive and negative citations, the lack of context from on discipline to another, and there and language and regional biases and does not include publications in all regions. Amelia talks about tools that use traditional citation metrics: Google Scholar Citations, SCIMago, Publish or Perish, SciELO. She reiterates that there are scholarly citations in formats outside the traditional measures used by these tools: through blogs, shared software, repurposed data, public peer-review, pre-prints, record management tools, and twitter. Therefore, it is worth looking at alternative metrics, promoted by people like Jason Priem, readership and diffusion and reuse through the web; Impact Factor is an example of a tool created through a Sloane foundation grant, that does this; Altmetric looks at social media; Mendeley looks at tags, etc.; Plum Analytics looks at likes, tweets, etc. Amelia offers up there contact information and invites further discussion.

Melissa Gasparotto introduces the presenter. Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa) — Seeking Stability Online: Analyzing the Online Availability of a Latin American Serials Collection

Lisa thanks Mirian and Amelia for doing this pilot program with the Skype presentation and for her opportunity to work with the Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz, where she worked on the project that she is presenting on. The Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz received 316 print-only periodical subscriptions. The study was to find out how many of these titles were available online, either in proprietary databases or freely accessible. The question was, if these resources were freely available online were they stable enough to stop receiving print copies of these titles? The CEPAL collection is mainly focused on the social sciences, economics, business, government documents, and includes formats such as academic journals, trade magazines, and government documents, received by subscription, exchange, and donation. The procedure was to check each title in the catalog, using Ulrich’s, although there were problems with title search, then searched by publisher. In the initial 2011 results, of the titles, 182 were from Latin America, 96 with some online availability, and 46 evaluated to be reasonably stable online.  At the time the study these titles where not broken down by region, but this was done for this presentation. Recommendations from this study include: need to update the catalog records for titles that were not being received; while 172 were available online, of those only 96 could be considered stable. This left 220 titles that could only be received in print. These titles were ranked, with the limitation of Lisa not being a digital preservation expert, so her professional judgment as a librarian was the key factor in ranking the stability of the online availability in the following categories: Yes/Probably/Maybe/No/Not satisfactory/By subscription. Latin American titles represent 46 of the 96 stable titles.

Currently in 2013, Lisa decides to revisit the findings that are relevant to Latin America for this presentation at SALALM.  She reviewed the academic journals and government documents from Latin America. In 2011, she had seen 40 academic journal titles and judged 26 of them to be stable; in 2013, 20 were still stable; 7 of these put their publications on Open Journal Source. She also checked holdings on Redalyc and SciELO. In terms of government publications, in 2011 Lisa was struck by the apparent transparency and availability of the Chilean government publications, citing an example of statistical information published by the Ministerio de Educación from 1986- in many formats; it was stable, had experienced titles changes and had two urls. 2011 coincided with the rise of the student movement. In 2013, there have been 4 education ministers since 2011.  The urls for the Ministerio de Educación are gone; the information only goes back to 2001; not captured by Internet Archive. Of the original 2011 study, 42 of the 316 titles were government documents; 26 of those were available on online; 12 were stable at the time. In 2013, only two have declined; of the instable government documents publications sites from 2011, 8 had improved. In conclusion Lisa there is stability and some stagnation, Latin American journals have support through open access, but the governments may not be ready to rely on online publication.

Melissa Gasparotto introduces the presenters. Bruce Bachand (University of Kentucky) and Orchid Mazurkiewicz (University of California, Los Angeles) — Evaluating the Content of the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI): A Bibliometric Analysis of Latin American Serials

Orchid notes this study is the result of an internship program with HAPI that Bruce did. This internship was set up to analyze the steady stream of new titles that are up for inclusion in HAPI, to find with titles represent the best candidates for inclusion. Most years, there are a number of titles that are indexed by HAPI that are ceased, so there is an opportunity to add new titles. Every year there are few days that HAPI staff considers the new titles and deliberates which to add based on fit with the existing titles, and strengths and weaknesses of coverage of subjects. The big problem is, for example, that if HAPI indexes 10 Brazilian economics journals, and in the new titles there are 2 new Brazilian economics journals, the decision may be made to exclude both, to favor a subject area that is not as well covered as Brazilian economics, even though they are both excellent. Currently, the process does not include a review of all 12 titles, the 10 already in HAPI, and the 2 new titles, as a whole, to evaluate the quality and choose the 10 best. In the long term, the potential consequence is that the subject coverage may not represent the best scholarship in that area. The internship was created to evaluate the titles indexed by HAPI for quality, excellence, and value. Orchid turns the presentation over to Bruce.

Bruce cites Jean-Claude Guédon’s definition of quality and excellence: Quality–Peer review, editorial board, style guide; Excellence–Impact factor, use. Bruce recognizes problems of cultural bias and industry practices that may affect these measures; many Lain American journals of high quality have low impact factors. Because of this, a third factor, that of value, defined as Journal’s influence relative to other titles in its field, was incorporated into the evaluation. The methodology for evaluation for HAPI’s 367 titles involved the use of the Latindex score (for quality) Impact Factor, Redalyc downloads, Global Use Measure, SciELO Visits (for excellence) and a survey of SALALM members (for value), although there were too few responses to incorporate this into study. The Latindex score found for 198 of the HAPI titles; Chile has the highest score, Mexico has the most titles rated, most in the near perfect, while at the same time having many in the lower ranks, more than most countries. This shows that Latindex is providing straightforward evaluation of quality of its own country’s production. Impact factor was available for 93 titles from the HAPI index; many came from SciELO and SCIMago. In these, the US publications had the highest impact factor (21 titles), followed by Brazil and Mexico. Providing the median, the impact factor for Latin American journals tended to be low. Also, the fact that only 25% of the titles in HAPI had information about the impact factor indicates that much citation work remains for Latin American bibliometric compilers. Readings are so few that we hesitate to draw conclusions. For one, it is quite likely that IFs range differently in each subject area, recalling Garfield’s statement that “the size of the scientific community that a journal serves significantly affects impact factor.” To test this, we compared the IFs for anthropology, economics, history, and the social sciences and humanities. When the IFs were averaged by subject area we discovered that economics journals have IFs that are, on average, twice as high as IFs for journals in anthropology, history, or the social sciences and humanities. Again, it is preferable to have more IF data before making such inferences, but preliminary findings seem to confirm Garfield’s observation. Despite the small sample size, we can be fairly confident that vast differences in excellence exist between titles ranked in the top 20 and those ranked in the bottom 20. It logically follows that those in the bottom 20 could become candidates for de-selection, or at least placed on a “need further investigation” list.

Bruce notes that they are running short on time and says he is going to skip through a few of the following slides. There are findings on excellence (based on use), based on Redalyc and SciELO; findings suggest that users of Redalyc are primarily Mexican and users of SCIelo are primarily Brazilians. The top ten titles by use in the respective databases reflect the regional bias; 8 of the top 10 are from that country. There is also information on the Global Use Metric, created for the purposes of this study by Bruce and Orchid, trying to get a handle on what regions the Redalyc downloads are coming from. The next slide discusses value. Bruce states that due to his background in anthropology, he has familiarity, through publication or serving on the board, with 4 titles in HAPI. What are the differences among these four journal titles? The crucial distinctions are: (1) feeder vs. synthesizer journals, and (2) invited vs. non-invited submissions (formally only), and (3) different degrees/levels/manners of cronyism.

We know that HAPI contains a large number of US titles, many with high IFs, and some of HAPI’s Latin American titles receive high marks in both quality and excellence. But a huge gap in our knowledge remains because no data or partial data are available for many titles. Even though HAPI comprises a miniscule slice of the Latin American serials universe, complete bibliometric data are available for only 10% of its titles. This makes it extremely difficult to develop an objective strategy for selecting and deselecting titles. Our overall impression is that HAPI’s content is very good, but there is ample room for improvement. HAPI most likely indexes a small number of titles that should be replaced with titles of higher quality/excellence relating to the same fields. The data we’ve collected helps us identify HAPI titles that should be safe from de-selection, but the absence of comprehensive data makes it difficult to confidently identify titles for de-selection. Going forward, we hope to combine the limited data we have with a strategy to assess the value. Our brief foray into the labyrinth of “value” suggests a new path for acquiring relevant qualitative information that could help HAPI make informed decisions about journal worth. This strategy would seek expert scholarly opinion on the nature of a specified group of journals within a narrowly defined field. With such information, the final piece of the evaluation puzzle would be in place. Because HAPI covers such a small slice of the Latin American literature, it is well-positioned to develop itself as a highly refined, authoritative information resource like none other for Latin America.

Melissa Gasparotto introduces the presenters. Marina Todeschini Crumbacher (University of New Mexico) and Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico) — Documenting Pan-American Scholarly Communications: A Citation Study of Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages

Suzanne Schadl introduces Marina, a student in Latin American Studies, who worked on this project to evaluate how language materials are being used in dissertation research at UNM. This presentation represents a part of a larger research project. This study, as the others, found problems with the metrics; the study began by looking at Spanish and Portuguese materials to determine which departments where using these materials, and they found the problem that, being a part of Spanish America, there were students using Spanish and Portuguese materials from the perspective of the New Mexico locality; there is a large indigenous population and there is a large group of Native American studies.  This information is being separated for the larger study, but this presentation focuses on Navajo, Mayan, and Portuguese.

Marina continues to explain the methodology: checking citations in UNM dissertations in Google Scholar Index for these languages, as well as circulation statistics for these language materials at UNM. The goal was to understand usage and embeddedness of language materials in order to propose outreach and collection development practices. She outlines the community profile at UNM: Population Spanish Presence (35% @ UNM) and Native Presence (6% @ UNM); Student Success Services; Academic Emphasis on Latin American & Native American studies and Area and including Programmatic Support of the Latin American and Iberian Institute, the Institute of American Indian Research, the Indigenous Nations Library Program, and the Inter-American studies Library Program. Collection coverage of language includes: Portuguese 61,300 Volumes (only Portuguese); Navajo 924 Volumes (mixed Navajo and Bilingual); Mayan 478 Volumes (mixed Mayan language groups and bilingual). Methodology: Small Sample, limited to one year (2010); searched for words in the title or abstract Dissertations with Indigenous or Brazilian content. They found 15 total = 2 Brazilian and 13 Indigenous (mixed New Mexico Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, Latin American peoples) In these dissertations, they then conducted a citation analysis for foreign language usage and compared the citations against the collection in order to analyze the availability of the works cited. Circulation analysis for usage in general and citation index analysis on circulating titles in Google Scholar. The findings suggest that limited accessibility, defined as limitations in publications or in collections, lead to limited impact, defined as the repeatability of references in scholarly communications, but not limited usage.

Marina proceeds to break down the findings by language. Findings for Portuguese, Navajo, and Mayan, referring to the measurements for Citations in dissertations, Circulation of materials from the UNM collection, and Citation Indexing of the cited titles. What can librarians do?

Suzanne reviews the implications for alternatives to collection development. Work actively with local scholars, and organizations to get foreign language materials into their hands. Identify opportunities for building collections. Library hosted institutional repositories allow for individuals and organizations to determine what resources illustrate their organizational goals and priorities.  There is precedent for this practice in special collections (oral histories and interviews), with the example of the France V. Scholes Collection; the American Indian Oral history Collection and with projects that are ongoing, such as the Latin American and Iberian Institute’s Lobo Vault and the K’iche’ Maya Oral History Project.


Peter Johnson (Princeton University) states that Bruce is one of the SALALM scholarship awardees. Peter cites the case of Chile, a country that prides itself on access to education and information about Argentina. The fact that a decade of information can disappear, especially if paper publications are not available, this is a concern in this area of information and has implications for other Latin American countries.

Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa) has heard that other colleagues are ceasing to collect print government collections. She was shocked to find that this information had disappeared in Chile. With academic journals, she feels that these are stable enough, especially with platforms like OJS.

Emma Marschall (Tulane) states that she doesn’t have a background in Government Documents and is not knowledgeable of how the governments of different Latin American countries make information available, in what formats and how it is distributed, and that this presentation opens the way for a discussion of that topic. She asks how we can become more informed about government publications as librarians.

Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa) that it does seem that government publications were often irregular, this is continuing in online formats, and they are ceasing print publication and distribution, and online is unreliable.

Paul Losch (University of Florida) trying to bring together some of the points discussed in this panel and another panel on e-books, he posits that if freely available electronic information is considered to have increased value, through adding metadata, accessibility, maybe vendors can be encouraged to deal with these kinds of materials.

Allison Hicks (University of Colorado) has a question for Amelia. Have they encountered regional bias for Impact Story and have had any success introduction impact factor metrics to researchers? Amelia (very hard to hear) can’t say for sure, it would need more study, but believes that while there may be some bias towards the U.S. right now, there is potential for similar application in Latin America. She asks Allison to repeat the second part of the question.

Allison asks Amelia to write that study.

Amelia talks about potential to study the government documents, too and her experience when she was previously in Chile, where the question of whether or not to archive online government publications came up.

Allison repeats her question: have you had any success introduction impact factor metrics to researchers?

Amelia has not had much experience, but has some researchers who might be interested. She cites a study by Jason Priem that dispels the idea that there is an age-gap for researchers using Twitter as an academic tool, and believes that this supports the idea that many researchers would be interested in these newer tools and invites further conversation.

Melissa says that there is time for one more question, but there are no more questions. She asks that the presenters put their Power Points in the SALALM repository because they offer helpful models. Melissa thanks the presenters.

Panel 10, Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 11:00 am-12:30 pm

Moderator: Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University
Presenters: Kumaree Ramtahal, University of the West Indies; Elmelinda Lara, University of the West Indies; Sarah Aponte, City College of New York
Rapporteur: Ellen Jaramillo, Yale University

The first presentation was “Opening Doors to Our Cultural Heritage: the Indian Caribbean Museum of Trinidad and Tobago” by Kumaree Ramtahal, University of the West Indies. Ramtahal began with a brief overview of Trinidad and Tobago’s history and geography. The nearby islands were administered as one colony and achieved independence as one state in 1962. The country enjoys a very unique ethnic mix, where the most dominant ethnic groups in the population are of African and East Indian descent. When slavery was abolished among the British colonies in 1838, plantation economies sought other sources of cheap labor. When attempts to draw Europeans proved unsuccessful, indentured workers from the Indian subcontinent were contracted and on May 30, 1845 the first East Indian immigrants arrived. Between 1845 and 1917, approximately 144,000 East Indians came to Trinidad and Tobago as part of a widespread migration of laborers within the British Empire. Only 29,448 returned to India. By 1871 East Indians formed a quarter of Trinidad’s population, and by 1990 their descendants form the single largest ethnic group in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Indian Caribbean Museum in Carapichaima, Trinidad is dedicated to the preservation and memory of the rich cultural heritage of over one million East Indians who settled in various parts of the Caribbean. It is a unique and specialized non-governmental organization, opened on May 7, 2006. Its collection was assembled through field trips by its administrators, and grows through gifts and donations of artifacts and documents. Its vision is to serve the public, providing an informative and enjoyable visiting experience, organize events such as lectures and workshops, to develop collaboration with other organizations and to forge links with other stakeholders in culture, education and tourism. Its purpose is to collect, restore, preserve, arrange and display artifacts and cultural documents relating to the East Indian diaspora in the Caribbean. There are household, agricultural and musical artifacts, print resources, historical documents, coin and art collections. There is a reference library, and a replica of an East Indian clay house on the museum grounds.

The village in which the Museum is located is a tourist attraction site, with four other cultural sites endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago celebrates Indian Heritage Month every May and also an official holiday known as Indian Arrival Day, so the number of visitors noticeably increases during that time. In 2008, National Geographic included the Museum in its book Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, which showcases spiritual places and guides travelers who wish to visit them. Rich in social history and cultural heritage, the collection reflects human rights issues, Indian cuisine, religion, education and music. There is anticipated collaboration with a proposed Museum in Kolkata, India (Calcutta) dedicated to its early emigrants in the Diaspora. Plans have been made for creating a botanical garden with some of the rare endangered plants of Indian origin in the museum’s outdoor space, and to erect a permanent screen on a Museum wall for showing historical films and documentaries. Challenges to the Museum include a lack of professional expertise in digitization and preservation, the need to develop finding tools for items in the collection, and because it is a non-profit organization, finances, space, security staffing and collection development.

The second presentation was “Illegal Immigration into Trinidad and Tobago: Human Rights and Justice” by Elmelinda Lara, University of the West Indies. Lara began by showing a map of Trinidad and Tobago and its proximity to North and South America, in order to visualize immigration to Trinidad and Tobago. Her presentation concentrated on immigration patterns during the past five years based on a scan of local newspapers, and highlighted broader social implications and human rights issues.

Immigration to Trinidad and Tobago preceded Columbus, as it was practiced by the native peoples in moving about the Caribbean Islands and establishing trade routes. Today there are patterns of intra-regional migration, migration based on seasonal labor needs, and Trinidad and Tobago have always been a link to Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. It serves as a resting place and a launch pad for migrants; a supplier and receiver of migrants, both legal and illegal; and the country’s multi-ethnic character reflects that. They have had successive waves of settlers reflecting European settlement and expansion, the enforced migration of Africans and voluntary migration of Asians, subsequent migration of Chinese, Syrians, Lebanese and other Caribbean islanders, and finally, migrants from the rest of the world. Some of the reasons for immigration to Trinidad and Tobago have been its relative economic prosperity compared to the uneven economic development in the region, a well-established network of Caribbean immigrants for support, its political stability, and its geographic location between North and South America.

Statistics do not provide an accurate count of illegal immigrants; the numbers in actuality are much higher than that. A large number of Nigerians and other Africans have been entering recently. Africans mainly come through unauthorized ports of entry or if they come legally, overstay their legal stays. They engage in paid employment and are mainly employed by private security agencies. If caught, they are arrested and face detention, but because of the distance, it is difficult to repatriate them quickly, resulting in long periods of incarceration and complaints of poor treatment. Illegal immigrants from other Caribbean countries are by and large employed in both skilled and unskilled jobs in any trade. If caught, they are deported quickly, and because of the proximity, they often return. Among Central and South American illegal immigrants, a significant number of women work in the sex trade, and this human trafficking is a cause of concern to the government. Chinese illegal immigrants also come through unauthorized ports of entry or if they come legally, overstay their stay. There have been reports of collusion with authorities or persons unknown to receive work permits for a fee, and also in human trafficking and criminal activity. Chinese illegal immigrants face deportation but in some instances they are regularized because they don’t depend on the government for employment and they create businesses which are seen as a boon to the economy.

In terms of human rights dimensions, the basic human rights of illegal immigrants are not protected. There are reports of sweat shops, inhumane conditions and habitation, Chinese workers sleeping in restaurants, etc. In the case of Africans, lengthy incarceration prior to repatriation leads to complaints of poor treatment, and they were at one time kept in prisons with common criminals. The government has since established detention centers. In cases of human trafficking, the victims/illegal immigrants aren’t paid for their labor, their passports are confiscated by the traffickers, and they are reluctant to go to the authorities because they are here illegally. The response of the government has been to enact an anti-trafficking in persons law, and to establish a financial intentions unit that tracks and investigates sources of funds used in illegal activities that involve immigrants.

The third presentation was “Preserving and Documenting the Presence of Dominicans in New York during the Early 20th Century” by Sarah Aponte, City College of New York. Dominicans are one of the largest and fastest-growing Latino population groups in the United States. The greatest concentrations are in the New York/New Jersey region. The New York City borough of the Bronx has the largest Dominican population, while Washington Heights/Inwood is the most populous neighborhood.

Dominicans have been coming to the U.S. since 1613 when Juan Rodríguez, a Black or Mulatto from Santo Domingo, was brought to the New York area by a Dutch merchant ship exploring the northeast coast of North America. After landing in New York harbor, Rodríguez was left for a few months while the Dutch crew returned to the Netherlands. He was still there when another Dutch ship arrived in the area which was populated by Native Americans. This makes him the first recorded non-native person residing in the Hudson Bay area, first non-native merchant, first immigrant, first Afro-descendant, first Latino and, of course, the first Dominican to reside in what is today New York. His story was not well-known until the 1990s and today, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute is conducting further research on Juan Rodríguez. The Institute is also compiling information on Dominican immigration to New York from 1892 to 1924, gleaned through the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation website. This material is helping to reconstruct and contextualize the early Dominican presence in the U.S. So far, ships’ passenger lists obtained from the website have helped to compile a list of 5,191 Dominicans who entered the U.S. through Ellis Island. The main characteristics of these immigrants were: they were mainly of color, between 25-34 years of age upon arrival, could afford 1st or 2nd class tickets, carried more than $50, were able to provide an address where they would stay in New York City, and they were overwhelmingly single (until they married and established families). The highest numbers arrived between 1919 and 1921. According to data analyzed from these lists, many of these immigrants became U.S. citizens and established homes and businesses in the New York area.

At the turn of the 20th century there was a vibrant Hispanic cultural and literary circle in New York City. There were 341 Hispanic periodicals published in New York State before the 1960s, mainly written in Spanish. In 1916, at least 29 journals were on the topic of Latin America, highlighting the growing interest in Latin American affairs at that time. For example, Las Novedades, or Las Novedades: España y los Pueblos Hispanoamericanos, a weekly Spanish language publication in New York City, was also distributed to Spain and throughout Latin America. Founded in 1876, it was Dominican-owned between 1914 and 1918. Its articles covered political, literary, business and cultural issues relating to Latin America and of particular interest to the Dominican community in the U.S. and New York. That many articles were written by Dominicans is of interest today because this was occurring at a time that is not generally recognized as being a period of Dominican presence in the U.S. At a time when the numbers of Dominicans in New York City was presumed to be relatively small, Las Novedades was widely distributed and published much about an active Dominican community in the city. In 1915, the publication announced that the intellectual, essayist, philosopher, philologist and literary critic Pedro Henríquez Ureña, one of the most prominent Dominican writers of all time, had joined its editorial staff. Scholars use the articles he published to trace his political thought regarding the U.S. The headquarters of the journal was also home to a library, bookstore, and printing office offering services to travelers and residents. They even had a department that served as a clearinghouse for questions from Dominicans in the U.S. and New York, and Las Novedades serves as a source that documents the growth of this community since it published the names of persons arriving or departing the city. Aponte says this is a work in progress and she intends to continue recovering works published in Las Novedades written by or about Dominicans and to make them available collectively.

Questions & Comments:

Melissa Gasparotto (Rutgers University) to Lara: The statistics you presented on illegal immigration, are there groups that contest those numbers? Have you seen competing analyses of the numbers of illegal immigrants into Trinidad and Tobago?

Lara: Not just yet because the statistics are recent, covering 2005 to 2009. The ones for 2009-2011 are still in progress (of being compiled).

Mary Jo Zeter (Michigan State University) to Lara: About Chinese immigration, we know the Chinese are investing a lot on infrastructure projects in Africa and Latin America. Are Chinese laborers coming to work on the infrastructure, and overstaying?

Lara: We’ve had successive waves of Chinese immigration since emancipation in the 1920s and 1970s, and we’re seeing another wave of immigration, because we have a Chinese community, albeit a small one. The pattern we’re seeing now is also associated with legal Chinese immigration whereby the Chinese government has worked with ours in contracting short-term Chinese laborers for infrastructure development. What’s happened is that illegal immigrants and also the Chinese criminal element have used that opportunity to illegally enter.

Gasparotto to Ramtahal: You mentioned a few organizations appearing in the educational archives that’s included in the collection, and one was a Canadian organization?

Ramtahal: The Canadian Mission, a Presbyterian-based organization sought to educate the East Indian community, teaching them to read and write in English. They studied Hindi, and published books and hymns in order to convert the East Indians to Presbyterianism. They opened several primary and secondary schools and were instrumental in educating the community.

Gasparotto: Are the Canadian Mission’s documents available outside of Trinidad and Tobago?

Ramtahal: They should be available in their own archives and some are also in the library where I work (University of the West Indies), but the Museum has a lot of their documentation.

Zeter to Ramtahal: Are you in the process of cataloging the Museum’s documents collection?

Ramtahal: I don’t work for the Indian Caribbean Museum. As a new organization they lack a lot of professional expertise in preservation, information technology, etc. that needs development.

Nerea Llamas (University of Michigan) to Ramtahal: You talked about the Museum collaborating with a museum in Kolkata; are there strong ties between these countries?

Ramtahal: They communicate through their High Commissions and network to bring artists on tours through the Caribbean to showcase the culture.

Gasparotto to Aponte: I wasn’t aware until now of the Dominican publications in New York for this time period; besides Novedades, are there more?

Aponte: Yes, we’re still tracing them all, but as far as we know, that was the only Dominican-owned one at that time. We found out that El Diario La Prensa was at one point owned by a Dominican.

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 (, 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.