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SALALM 57 Keynote Address
Presenter: Professor Doris Sommer (Harvard University)
Moderator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
Rapporteur: Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University
June 18, 2012 9:00am-9:45 am (this started later than was originally scheduled)
Dr. Sommer’s keynote address served to introduce and contextualize the three-hour “Pre-texts” workshop that she facilitated. Pre-texts (http://pre-texts.org/), she explained, introduces literature to students of all ages as “recycled material,” and encourages all workshop participants to own pre-existing literature and ideas and author new ones, thereby fostering literacy and civic engagement by promoting the role of Arts and Humanities education – including the study of literature – in cultural and social organization and development.
Sommer began by explaining that she came to her “Pre-texts” workshop as an academic, through her disappointment at watching her best graduate students leave literary studies in the Humanities to go into more “useful” fields such as law, public health, and government. After reminding the audience about the classical relationship between civic responsibility, arts, and education, she also credited two undergraduates with shaming and charming her into working to revive this relationship through academic and civic work. These students had created an NGO to organize after-school arts-workshops for girls in India, keeping girls in school by requiring them to attend school in order to stay in the workshops. Pre-texts, she argued, similarly engages children, their parents, and their grandparents with the Arts and literature, “recycling” literature into new works of art (literary, visual or performance) in order to examine and find new solutions to social problems. One example of how such workshops have translated into civic action is when children participating in Pre-text workshops acted out the stages of AIDS in preparation to talk to officials about public health needs. Sommers also pointed to cartonera projects as an example of how literature can be literally recycled into new forms of art and used as a springboard for civic engagement.
Literacy, Sommers argued, is critical to civic engagement, as literacy levels serve as an indicator of wealth, violence and crime, and health throughout the world. Pre-texts teaches this in theory and practice. It similarly illustrates practical applications of other theoretical concepts. As Sommer articulated, participants have “learned more literary theory than she ever thought possible by doing arts and crafts.” One reason for this is the core concept that literature is recycled material.
In the question and answer session, David Block (University of Texas Austin) thanked Lynn Shirey for bringing Dr. Sommers to SALALM.
Adán Griego (Stanford University) asked what Dr. Sommers would say to the criticism that cartonera projects, which began with noble beginnings, have become rather chic. Sommers responded that as an academic, she would say this is a problem as something loses its edginess and productiveness as it becomes popularized. However, as a cultural agent, she would ask: what we can do to refresh the cartoneras project?
Peter Johnson (Princeton University) asked how Sommers mixes generations in a workshop and how we can use the workshop process to cut across social and class lines. Sommers answered that she could not model this at SALALM but that everyone can cut and paste and everyone can be human statues to model a literary figure. She explained that workshops host parent and grandparent nights and authorize children to facilitate them. She also described a workshop project done with Boston public school teachers, called “grandmother tells a story” in which the teachers have students in ELL families go to their grandparents with stories, have the grandparents help them to translate the stories and then ask the grandparents for new stories to bring back to school (which validates diverse languages and traditions).
Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico) asked Sommers to talk more about ownership; how students become authors and owners of something they had not realized they were invested in. Sommers replied that the first thing to do is read the text and ask questions of it, which authorizes/makes the reader an expert. This departs from the conventional classroom in which the teacher asks a reading comprehension question, putting the student on the defensive and discouraging creative thinking.
Panel 9, June 18, 2012, 9:00am-10:30am
Moderator: Gerada Holder (National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago)
Presenters: Sandra Boyce (National Library Service, Barbados); Gerada Holder (National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago); Danielle Fraser (National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago), Glenroy Taitt (University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
Rapporteur: Peter S. Bushnell (University of Florida)
Sandra Boyce presented “Safeguarding the Barbados Crop Over Festival: A Collection Management Approach.” In Barbados, Crop Over originated as a festival in the plantation society to celebrate the end of harvest. The enslaved looked forward to this celebration with music, dancing, food and games. In 1974, the festival was revived to attract tourists during the slow month of June. Since then it has become a national festival, part of the island’s intangible cultural heritage. The documents relating to the festival include both print and non-print formats. The collection is diverse and dynamic with governmental and non-governmental institutions responsible for its management because of their role and function. The four agencies reviewed in this presentation were the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), the Nation Publishing Company (NPC), the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and the Government Information Service (GIS).
The NCF was established in 1983 to manage the festival. Its collection contains photographs, newspaper clippings, video, CDs, and posters. It is in the process of being digitized along with moving towards standardization and a more proactive collection development policy.
The NPC was established in 1983 and automated in 1994. It covers the social, economic and political development on a daily basis. It produces the annual Crop Over Souvenir and recently launched the website www.nationcropover.com. There are plans to digitize the collection.
The development of a cultural heritage includes both tangible and intangible aspects. Its valorization is undergoing rapid development. Bills concerning cultural industries and antiquities are being drafted. Conversations, dialogues, and symposiums on cultural policies to facilitate partnerships and collaboration are being held. Finally, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2011.
The way forward: collection management is critical to the development and sustainability of the intangible cultural heritage; librarians and information specialists must manage the Crop Over Collection effectively and efficiently; it must collaborate to maximize limited resources; standards and guidelines must be set; best practices must be adopted in designing a model collection; there is a need for open access in light of intellectual property and copyright; preservation policies and guidelines must to designed to make the collection sustainable; timely and accurate information needs to be provided through various channels; skills and expertise must be constantly upgraded; changes must be embraced constantly; roles need to be redefined and revamped to accommodate these changes. This will enable collection management to be dynamic and diverse.
During a question and answer discussion it was mentioned that Barbados did not have carnival on a regular basis until the 70s. Angela Kinney (Library of Congress) asked about copyright. An audience member answered that it lasted until 50 years after a person’s death. This led to a brief discussion of copyright in general. There then followed a brief discussion about publishing crop over material.
Next, Gerada Holder presented “Collecting Carnival: Creating a Carnival Collection at the Heritage Library Division, NALIS.” The goal of the Heritage Library Division is to preserve and promote the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The sections of the division consist of: operations and client services; preservation and conservation lab; and collections management (oral history, genealogy and performing arts; special collections; indexing; acquisitions).
Carnival itself is defined as Trinidad and Tobago’s annual pre-lent festival that originated in the period of African enslavement. At its core is music, masking and merriment making. Significant influence has come from the islands’ French, Spanish, African, British and Indian cultures. For the period 1997-2004, statistics were given as to visitor arrivals (from a low of 27,414 in 1997 to a high of 42,646 in 2000). For 2004, the average expenditure per tourist per day came to $345 ($95 for accommodation, $109 for entertainment, $56 for shopping and $45 for other).
The major components of carnival are music (extempo, calypso, soca, chutney soca, rapso), mas (junior, ole mas, traditional, pretty mas), fetes (public and private parties), competitions (extempo, calypso/soca/chutney soca), and steelpan (the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago).
The importance of carnival is reflected in the cultural and historical development of Trinidad and Tobago. It also has a significant impact on the economy, provides a showcase for creativity, and helps create communities.
Existing carnival information at the Heritage Library Division include: Wayne Berkeley Collection, Bill Trotman Collection, calypso lyrics database, interviews, photographs, audio visual (music CDs/carnival shows/competition DVDs), periodicals, monographs and information files/pamphlet collection. The Performing Arts, Genealogy and Oral History Section (PAGOH) deals with four major areas: record life-history and thematic interviews; record-on-the-spot interviews with performers, record cultural activities through photographs and video; network with performers and cultural organizations to collect ephemera and other non-published information.
The four major methods of acquisition are through purchase, gifts/donations, deposits and loans. Sources include newspapers, carnival organizations, networking with collectors and traditional booksellers/music shops.
As part of the UNESCO Memory of the World: Trinidad and Tobago Register, there is a digital archive.
The challenges of collecting carnival material include deciding/narrowing on what should be collected, creating non-traditional avenues for the collection of carnival data/information and changing the public’s attitude towards valuing and saving cultural (and by extension) carnival material. The challenges of then indexing carnival is the creation of information files per carnival topic, the adaptation of relevant LC subject headings to accommodate local terms, the creation of carnival descriptors/thesaurus and the use of carnival subject specialists (non-librarians). Carnival information files can include: information by year, carnival bands with their bandleaders listed in alphabetical order, specific biographical files on calypsonians which can include sobriquets along with surname. In addition to traditional carnival descriptors, specific terms such as jab jab, blue devil and Dame Lorraine can be used.
Finally there are two general questions to consider for the future. What additional methodology should be applied for carnival acquisitions/collections? What should be the form for collaboration among carnival stakeholders given the different organizational mandates?
Kinney (Library of Congress) asked about Indian (Hindi) influence in carnival which led to a brief discussion. Hortensia Calvo (Tulane University) talked briefly about Tulane’s carnival collection.
“Keeping Our Culture: A Look at the Development of Preservation and Conservation at the National Library of Trinidad And Tobago” by Danielle Fraser started with an overview. The National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) was established September 18, 1998 by the government of Trinidad and Tobago as a statutory authority. In preserving Trinidad and Tobago’s national heritage, NALIS is responsible for collecting Trinidad and Tobago imprints, works by Trinidad and Tobago nationals, other works about Trinidad and Tobago or the Caribbean, and oral history of Trinidad and Tobago. A look at trends in library preservation cannot ignore work done by the Library of Congress, the British Library and IFLA. For IFLA, a core activity on preservation and conservation (PAC) is to create a focus on issues of preservation and to initiate worldwide cooperation for the preservation of library materials. There are 14 IFLA-PAC Regional Centers with NALIS being made the regional center in 2004 for the English-Speaking Caribbean.
In 2005 a preservation consultant recommended the following: develop a PAC laboratory; hire library conservators; and develop policies and practices. Early implementation of a preservation plan included the purchase in 2005 of a Wei T’o Dryer and Insect Exterminator (BDIE) and hiring and training staff to develop a laboratory.
Some of the lessons learned include: keep stakeholders informed; prevention is better than the cure; everyone wants to know how to preserve; document everything.
Tony Harvell (University of California, San Diego) asked if there was a disaster plan. It is under exploration. Stacy Norris (Library of Congress) asked about the preservation of non-book material. They know that the need is there but they are just in the early stages. Some digitizing is being done and they are slowly replacing obsolete formats with more current ones.
The final presentation was by Glenroy Taitt on “Write It, Say It, Snap It: Documenting the Heritage of St. Joseph, Trinidad’s First Capital.” This is a project in the works with a final goal being a book. Using his background as a librarian, historian and photographer he has been able to gather a lot of information. For gathering memories of St. Joseph itself, he has worked with his mother and godmother. He gave his mother a copybook with the hope that she would write down her reminiscences about St. Joseph. After some delay, she finally filled up one book and asked for a second. Eventually she used a third. For his godmother, he recorded a batch of interviews for oral history. Between these two sources he was able to get a large amount of information that now needs to be edited. He then entertained us with a few stories from his mother and godmother. The final part of his presentation was a comparison between historical and contemporary photographs. For the Mosque built in the late 40s, there was only his photo.
Panel 1, June 18, 2012, 11:30 am-1:00 pm
Moderator: Wendy Pedersen (University of New Mexico)
Presenters: Pablo Delano (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut); Jolie Rajah and Georgia Alexander (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago); Gabrielle M. Toth (Chicago State University)
Rapporteur: Ellen Jaramillo (Yale University)
Imaging Trinidad: Art, Activism, Archive / Pablo Delano (Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut)
Delano began in saying that he has spent a large amount of time in Trinidad over the last fifteen years. In 2008 he published “In Trinidad: Photographs by Pablo Delano”, a book of black and white photographs that tries to capture the essence of a uniquely intercultural society at work, worship and at play. He displayed photos from the book throughout his talk, wherein he explored some of the issues around being a practicing artist/documentarian.
Trinidad struck a chord with him from the time of his first visit in 1997. The drumming he heard during Carnival in Port-of-Spain was essentially the bomba drumming done by Afro-descendants in Delano’s native Puerto Rico. He thought: how is it that Puerto Rico has sent a delegation of bomba drummers to Trinidad and Tobago? Well, he said, they hadn’t; this was bomba drumming from where it originated, in Africa. He felt because of his Caribbean upbringing that he had an inherent understanding of Trinidad, but at the same time also felt as though he were in a foreign place because of the East Indian presence, which is not found in Puerto Rico or in other parts of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Delano stated that we’re all products of this colonization which began with Columbus, but has taken varying forms throughout the Caribbean. For example, he was very taken with the huge influx of sailors in Trinidad during World War II, and the incidence of “Sailor Mas” during Carnival. He calls Trinidad a country of tremendous visual contrasts that demonstrates a high level of “convivencia”, a word that he feels doesn’t translate well from Spanish: “It’s a kind of balance where people have found a way to live with each other. Convivencia allows for disputes and feuds but there is nevertheless a kind of coexistence. Coming from my background in Puerto Rico, where everything artistic is politicized, I was very taken with the way Trinidad has identified the arts as a way to build a post-colonial identity. All artists, especially documentary practitioners, have something of the archivist in them. When your subjects bring out family photos, what do you do with them?” Delano’s response was to photograph the photographs, and return the originals to the family, but he thinks that the idea of setting up a databank of photographs that people have kept in their families could prove to be an extraordinary resource, an incredible treasure trove of vernacular photography. He’d like to delve further into the relationship between archivist and arts practitioner, because one thing that is most obvious when one does this kind of work is that one inevitably documents things which will change, because the subjects die. In looking back over the last fifteen years of photographs that he’s taken in Trinidad, he thinks some may not be his best work from an artistic standpoint, but the photos memorialize people who have made huge contributions to this culture and to this island. He thought he’d use this opportunity to throw out these questions about what the relationships are between practicing artists who are compelled to document the images they see around them, and archives. Where will all these images end up? He doesn’t know what to do with all the photographs he’s taken, or with the old postcards he’s bought on E-bay, some of which are quite unique. Delano is still dealing with the archives of his parents, who were artists in Puerto Rico. He concluded with the hope that practicing artists and archivists find more common ground and ways to work together to make sure that these kinds of materials are not lost.
The Writing is on the Wall: Graffiti as Social Commentary in Trinidad and Tobago / Jolie Rajah and Georgia Alexander (University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
Rajah began by saying that as soon as they heard the theme for this conference, graffiti immediately came to mind. They recalled a lot of graffiti in the urban areas of Trinidad and Tobago, especially in Woodbrook and Port-of-Spain, and saw graffiti every day on the UWI, Saint Augustine campus. She noted a lack of academic research in this area and they thought that they could contribute to this body of knowledge. By way of introduction for those who don’t know much about graffiti, they provided a few definitions. One identifies graffiti as intrusive, emblematic and opportunistic, a form of popular protest, a people’s art. The second identifies graffiti as a form of communication that is both personal and free. It offers intriguing insights into people and the society to which they belong. Graffiti has a rich and ancient history, dating back to prehistoric man, and ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome [displayed slides up through 1960’s and 1970’s wall tagging]. The 1980’s marked the worldwide spread of graffiti. Hip Hop identified with the art form, and mass media played a role in spreading it from New York around the world, including Trinidad. There are two types of graffiti: the public and the private. The focus of their presentation was on public graffiti, and Rajah pointed out that in Trinidad and Tobago, graffiti is illegal.
Graffiti has a language of its own. “Tagger” is the person doing the graffiti. “Bomb” is the act of going out and doing graffiti. “Tag” is your name or nom-de-plume, written up on a wall (and may identify your work). A “throw-up” is a piece on a wall in which someone puts their tag or a few letters, in some colors or in an outline, to show that they were there, to take up space to grab attention. There is a lot of literature about graffiti, particularly in North America and Europe. Some of it focuses on whether graffiti is art, vandalism, or visual pollution. Rajah spoke of graffiti as communication, and of its role in the culture, saying: “We are all actively involved in the communication process, whether we are sender, receiver, the source, or the destination, or bring something to bear when we look at or construct a message. Graffiti represents a communicated opportunity, and reveals something about the society in which the artist lives.”
Alexander went on to profile some graffiti found in Trinidad, some of which no longer exists. They secured the
permission of someone who has photographed graffiti throughout Trinidad to display these works. Some of the tags (or names) of local graffiti artists give food for thought (Ghost, Craze, Louse, etc.) and she showed numerous examples of spray-painted and some of pasted and of stenciled graffiti. One that particularly impressed the audience was of the early construction of the National Academy of the Performing Arts where our host reception will take place. There had been controversy in the local media on the government’s decision to award the construction contract to a non-Trinbagonian company. The slide showed the security wall surrounding the construction site on which was stenciled the words: Made in China.
Alexander showed a video on the work of the artist Mamph, wondering what roles librarians could play in capturing and preserving these kinds of works. Little has been documented so far. One is the Urban Heartbeat project, encountering art in public spaces. One event took place in Queen’s Park, Trinidad. Another site that nicely displays Trinidad graffiti art, but in talking with the site owner, she mentioned that he is thinking of taking it down due to there being little traffic on the site. Another interesting site is Alice Yard, an artistic space in Woodbrook that is used for various types of artists to display their work. She noted that perhaps one way libraries can help to preserve this transient art is to adopt sites like these.
Rajah and Alexander created an on-going, open-ended questionnaire using Google.docs, which is a work-in-progress. They posted on social media, sent mass emails, nagged, harassed, and begged local artists to respond. (Because of the nature of graffiti and its illegality in Trinidad and Tobago, many prefer to remain anonymous). They learned that many refer to themselves with terms like bomber, paster, etc., based upon the media that they employ. They asked what materials they used, at what times of day (generally early hours) and where they prefer to do graffiti. Respondents said that their themes are mostly taken from their own creativity and from social, political and environmental issues. They noted that through their work as artists, because they consider themselves artists, or social activists in some cases, they hope to change people’s interpretation and understanding of graffiti. They also hope to provoke thought and to make art more accessible to the public, who in some cases would never visit an art museum or gallery, or to get the public to pay attention to certain social or political issues. This is their way of raising awareness. The majority of respondents thought that there should be designated legitimate spaces where graffiti art could be legally displayed, and that it should be captured for future appreciation, examination and study.
Art, the Americas, Abstracting and Archiving: Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art: A Digital Archive and Publications Project / Gabrielle M. Toth (Chicago State University)
Toth began by saying that she has the good fortune to serve as a research assistant for this project. She provides indexing and abstracting of documents pertaining to Latin American and Latino art, specifically governing the U.S. Midwest. As an example she showed a slide of a letter of thanks for a presentation on “Posada: Printmaker to the Mexican People,” an exhibition held at the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 1944. This was the first major showing of Posada’s work in the U.S. [José Guadalupe Posada, 1852-1913]. The project digitized a gorgeous catalog of the exhibition, and a corrido she found that was written in honor of this event, and which refers to Chicago’s gangster heritage: “Corrido of the Coming of Don José Guadalupe Posada to the Famous North American City of Chicago,” which includes a verse that reads: “In the book by these two professors it tells how Don Lupe hated crime. Had he come here in our 1920’s, he’d have had a magnificent time.”
The documents in this archive cover high art, low art, formal art, activist art, and everything in between, across the Americas. In January 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, in collaboration with its research institute, the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA), launched the book series “Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art.”
The Museum of Fine Arts and the ICAA have devoted ten years and approximately $50,000,000 to the recovery and publication of primary source materials related to 20th century Latin American and Latino art. The launch in January is the first phase of the archive which will ultimately feature more than 10,000 primary source materials hunted down by hundreds of researchers in 16 cities throughout the Western Hemisphere. There are currently about 200,000 documents from Argentina, Mexico and the American Midwest. All of the documents should be available by 2015 and the website will continue to develop over time. It will continue in perpetuity, making it an indispensable archive of Latin American and Latino art. Along with the online archive, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Yale University Press will co-publish a series of thirteen books, called: Critical Documents of 20th Century Latin American and Latino Art. Some of the documents in this archive will be translated into English and organized by theme, so that the documents will be accessible to the non-Spanish speaking generalist (think: the undergraduate student at many of our institutions) as well as the higher-level researcher. The books and the archive will refer to each other, so that a researcher can see something in the book and then go to the archive to find the full document in its original language. Toth played a video in which the founder and director talks about the project. In the spirit of social justice, this archive in many instances brings to light artists or regions which were neglected in the past. In addition, the project seeks to remind everyone that Latin American and Latino art are not merely derivative or flow from European art but they bring great contributions and encapsulate some of these major art movements in and of themselves.
The project had a three-pronged approach. The first phase was a recovery process where various researchers looked for missing or unknown documents. Once the documents were found, assistants indexed and abstracted the articles or documents, which were turned into local units and were later sent to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The Museum sought permissions and had the documents digitized, and had the information put into the database. Toth demonstrated the database and pulled up an article she had worked on, by Victor Sorell, who taught at Chicago State University for over 40 years and has recently retired. It shows the citation information, and a brief synopsis of the article. Sorell is one of the editors of the book series and was overwhelmed by the amount of material he found. Toth became involved when Sorell heard her speak on Chicago’s Latino community (incidentally it was a paper she had given at a previous SALALM conference). He said who better to index and abstract these articles than a librarian familiar with Midwest Latino communities? She was grateful to be of assistance and was able to learn a lot about art. As a librarian, she expected there to be some kind of thesaurus or some guidelines as to how to handle these documents. There being none, she was given free reign to index every word that she thought important. Toth said that she didn’t know much about art, so she assumed that every word could be important. For example, our previous presenters talked about the materials artists used, both paint and spray paint. Toth said she would have agonized: are they the same, are they different, so she would have indexed them both. As a Chicagoan she would recognize local names, like Mayor Daley. Neither the first nor the second Mayor Daley was at all artistic, but they were mentioned and scholars at some point might find this kind of information useful, so she put that down. Another thing was that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and of neighborhoods within neighborhoods, whose names may change over time. For example, she ran across mention of “La Villita” a neighborhood which is currently primarily a Mexican neighborhood. It was once known as “Little Village” and earlier as “South Lawndale.” Which name should be noted? She put them all down. She wanted to make sure that whoever wants to access this will be able to find the information.
Toth said it was interesting to see how the work that she did later appeared in the database. She showed examples of the forms she filled out about each document, which helped to populate the database. They show the numerous descriptors that she assigned, and a brief abstract (they were told to be brief). She then showed the resulting database entry where many of the descriptors had been stripped, and the abstract has been expanded by someone more knowledgeable about art, who had added a lot of specific commentary which helps put the artist’s work into a broader context. Again, a social justice aspect of this is recovering and publicizing the fact that there are Latino artists in Chicago, and in Gary, Indiana, and in other tiny little hamlets all over the Midwest. The project gave voice to a lot of artists, collectives and groups active in the Chicago area in the 1970’s. Toth ended by urging all to have a look at this database, pointing out that it’s very easy to search, and it’s all free.
T.K. Sangwand (University of Texas at Austin): I was hoping you could talk a little bit about the demographics of the graffiti artists and if you were able to distinguish any sort of stylistics in the social theme patterns among the different demographic groups.
Rajah: What I have noticed is that it’s generally thought that graffiti is a young person’s thing. Of the ten graffiti artists we’ve interviewed so far, out of the eighteen that we know exist, five of them were over 26. What we didn’t mention in the presentation is that there are crews, loosely-based groups, many of whom are all under 26. They tend to be taggers, the most basic style. As they hone their art, they deal with more themes. Mamph, for example, is in his forties.
T.K. Sangwand (University of Texas at Austin): What is the gender ratio?
Rajah: I had thought it was only men and was surprised to find that two of our respondents were women, and there is another we haven’t met yet, who we suspect is a woman. Georgia asked me to mention the artist “Rap 868.” “868” is the area code for all of Trinidad and Tobago. One of the artists we spoke with said that using this as a tag is neutral: it doesn’t identify, race, gender, color, class, etc.
Jeff Staiger (U. Oregon): You mentioned providing legitimate spaces for the graffiti; could you elaborate? My initial reaction was that transgression is of the essence and once you provide sanctioned spaces, you’ve neutralized it or contained it. How do the artists feel?
Alexander: They said that there’s definitely a need for space for young people to express themselves. One respondent said that you can provide space, but someone may push the envelope and cause trouble for everyone else. People may still seek to go outside of those spaces to get the thrill factor.
Toth: I have a question: In Chicago graffiti is a problem, but we also have murals. Some of what you’ve shown appears muralistic. Chicago spends a lot of money quickly painting over graffiti, because they see graffiti as the first step in horrific crime coming into a neighborhood. How is balance achieved between the artist and the state?
Alexander: Graffiti is a form of protest. To legitimize it allows the protest, but at the same time there’s that
adrenaline rush of doing something risky, the thrill of being caught, etc. There’ll always be that aspect because some of it is considered vandalism. Art is open to interpretation: who’s looking and what do you perceive it to be, so that is a message in itself.
Rajah: There isn’t a clear-cut answer; that’s a chance we take, but by putting up a space for it, it sends the message that we embrace graffiti as a form of art.
Barbara Robinson (University of Southern California): In Los Angeles we’ve had a large mural movement. Graffiti taggers have actually destroyed a lot of the murals, requiring them to be painted over because they were so defaced. The images you’ve shown seem to me to be more like murals, not at all what we’re used to seeing in L.A., which seems to be put up to merely show that they’ve been there. The beautiful murals that were there for 20 years are now gone.
Alexander: That’s happened in Trinidad, too. There’s the deviant aspect – the gang-related, focused more in certain more dangerous areas. But sometimes it’s a dialogue between artists. You don’t know the identity of who has left something and the only way you can comment is by writing on that piece.
Robinson: After they got rid of the murals that had been defaced, they created a hanging that shows the previous mural, but it’s not affixed to the wall. They’re attached temporarily so if someone destroys the hanging it can be removed.
Alexander: These people are obviously venting, so maybe there should be designated space for graffiti.
Delano: It’s not easy to draw a line between the so-called “good” graffiti and the so-called “bad” graffiti. Even the so-called “good” graffiti comes from a history of transgression. For example, in Hartford, Connecticut, there is an old art-deco building called the Beacon Lighting Company and this building was plagued by graffiti. Finally the management decided to reach out to the taggers and commission them to do a mural. They ended up with a beautiful mural, with the name of the company. Where you place that is kind of complicated. Another example is Barcelona, a city filled with spectacular graffiti that overall respects the stone. The graffiti is on the steel gates and stops at the ancient stone walls. It’s a delicate balance. Sometimes when taggers hit established graffiti, they don’t think that they are defacing it; they think they’re adding or becoming part of it.
Toth: In Chicago, the murals were threatened by urban renewal. This speaks to quality art versus non-quality. If part of the project is to have the community involved, it means that all sectors should be involved.
Rachel [Dean?] (NALIS, National Library and Information System Authority, T&T): Just a statement in regards to graffiti: one of the artists you mentioned, Clinton, is exhibiting and selling his graffiti.
Rajah: Some of the artists are becoming quite sought-after and have been asked to do things like sneakers, air-brushing them graffiti-style, etc.
Alexander: Graffiti is becoming quite commercial here and is showing a positive social message.
Panel 15, June 18, 2012, 3:30pm-5:00 pm
Moderator: Teresa Chapa (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Presenters: Denise Stuempfle (Indiana University); Sara Levinson (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Teresa Chapa (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Rapporteur: Brenda Salem (University of Pittsburgh)
The presentations in this panel discussed collecting artist’s books from Latin America at an academic library from the perspective of librarians in acquisition, collection management, and cataloging. The moderator, Teresa Chapa, started out by introducing herself as well as the other two presenters.
The first presentation, titled, “Latin American Book Arts: Challenging Tradition and a Challenge to Collect” was given by Teresa Chapa, the librarian for Latin American, Iberian, and Latino/Latina studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC). Chapa started out by relating how she acquired her first (Ediciones) Vigía book as a new bibliographer in 2001. Each of the Vigía books is hand-made by artists in Matanzas, Cuba. The purpose of Chapa’s presentation was to inform others about the challenges of collecting Vigía books, which she was unaware of as an inexperienced bibliographer. She clarified that she would be using the general term “book arts” to describe books that come from Vigía and other books of an artistic nature because she does not have a background in art librarianship to confidently differentiate among the different kinds of artist’s books. Using that term also allows her to include the more inexpensively made “cartonera” books, as well as works of art, such as “Todos Los Mares Del Mundo” by Venezuelan artist Ricardo Benin, which cost $1,000. Throughout the presentation, she passed around several examples of book arts.
Chapa explained that book arts in Latin America are different from book arts in other countries in that Latin American book arts are more socially and politically engaged. As such, convention is disregarded, so alternative or everyday materials are used to create these books as opposed to the fine material used in conventional book arts. The structures of these books are also unconventional. She named a number of publishers throughout Latin America that specialize in book arts and described their different approaches to making books. She mentioned Eloisa Cartonera in Argentina, Ediciones Vigía in Cuba, Taller Leñateros in Mexico, and Ral Varoni in Argentina. Their unique and unconventional approaches to creating book arts create special challenges in the storage and preservation of these items in libraries.
Among the things she wishes she had considered before deciding to collect Latin American book arts were the high cost of the books, whether the books would be housed in the art library or rare book room, and whether the rare book curator or librarian would even accept the care of these books. In her case, the rare book librarian was hesitant to accept the books but was eventually won over. Still, whether or not care of these books will be accepted is something to consider when taking on such a collection. There are also the costs of housing, preserving, and cataloging the books to consider, which are significant. As an example, she talked the book titled “Altar Maya Portátil: Hechizos Mayas de Bolsillo” that consists of a miniature altar with candles, incense, figurines, and three small books. She described the creative solution to storing this collection of items devised by the preservation department. Other things to consider are how funding for the acquisition and care of these books can be justified; how these books fit into an academic curriculum; and how the collection can be promoted in order for it to be used. She went on to list possible reasons that would justify having a collection of book arts at an academic library as well as the challenges in acquiring these books. At the end of the presentation, Chapa talked about her experience in organizing an exhibit of UNC’s book arts and the activities related to the exhibit. The exhibit was named “Hecho A Mano: Book Arts of Latin America” and focused on the book arts of Cuba, Argentina, and Mexico. She stated that it was a lot of hard work, but it paid off because she now receives a lot of requests for the books. She also showed the searchable exhibit website as well as the Artist’s Books resource page in the UNC Libraries website.
The second presentation was titled, “Voices from the Margin: An Exploration of Themes in the “Libros Cartoneros” of the Indiana University Libraries Collection” and was given by Denise Stuempfle, a catalog librarian for Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Studies materials at Indiana University. In this presentation, Stuempfle discussed the subject treatment of “Libros Cartoneros” held at Indiana University (IU). She started her presentation by defining “Libros Cartoneros” as chapbooks manufactured by alternative publishing houses, known as “cartoneras.” The books have covers of corrugated cardboard that are hand-painted with unique designs. She then went over a brief history of the cartonera publishing houses and provided background information on the cartonero book collection at IU, which was started in 2004 and contains approximately 500 cartonero books. Stuempfle previously presented on this topic at the SALALM conference in Providence. In that presentation, she gave an overview of IU’s collection and described how they were being processed. The objectives for this particular presentation, however, were to explore the themes in the works that make up IU’s cartonera collection and to demonstrate the creation of subject access to these works using the Library of Congress’ special provisions for increased subject access to fiction.
Stuempfle talked about the practice of many academic libraries to not add subject headings when cataloging works of fiction, opting to have author and title as the main access points. The disadvantage to doing this, she asserted, is that works cannot be searched for by similar themes. Also, it is assumed that the searcher knows the exact titles and authors he or she is looking for. While this practice works for established authors, it makes cartonero books harder to find because their authors are not well known within mainstream publishing and do not have an established canon. An example of such an author is Washington Cucurto. Omitting subject headings when cataloging works of fiction, particularly cartonero books, is often a time-saving measure for catalogers dealing with a large backlog, but it puts the burden on the researcher when it comes to discovering these works. The Library of Congress has a provision for allowing the addition of subject headings when cataloging works of fiction, but these apply only to certain works, such as biographical and historical fiction, as well as animal stories. She then cited several academic articles that emphasize the importance of subject headings in works of fiction for improving discoverability. She also said that many users have expressed the same sentiment. In order to promote and improve access to the works in the cartonera collection, which the Special Collections Department already spent money in acquiring, it made sense, she concluded, to invest the time and money in providing subject access to them.
Since 2001, the Library of Congress has had special provisions for increased subject access to fiction. However, these provisions were made with public libraries in mind as a way for patrons to more easily search for recreational reading. With the exception of the New York City Public library, no public libraries have cartonero books, so cataloging and providing subject access to these books should fall upon the academic libraries, because many of them have cartonero books. Besides helping the recreational reader, subject access to fiction, she asserts, would also help save the time of the academic researcher, particularly those who might be conducting a literature research. Also, it is important to provide enhanced access to these works because the Library of Congress classification numbers for works of literature correspond to the author, not the subject matter of the work. Moreover, these provisions were aimed at English-language works, but it stands to reason that they can be applied to non-English works as well.
When it comes to providing subject access to the cartonero books at IU, certain subject headings and form subheadings are commonly used. For example, to indicate the country of publication, the subject heading “chapbooks” is used with the country of publication as a subheading. The works found in the cartonero books cover a large range of literary genres and themes. Stuempfle went on to list many of the titles held in their collection. She then made a subject analysis of three works of fiction found in the collection. The examples included La asesina de Lady Di by Alejandro Lopez, Barrio Miseria 221 by Daniel Hidalgo, and Trento by Leónidas Lamborghini. Subject headings were assigned according to the work’s individual characters, class of persons to which the primary character belongs, and settings in the story, all according to certain considerations such as the Library of Congress special provisions for subject access in works of fiction. Headings for topical access and genre headings were also assigned. In some cases, new subject headings are proposed through Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO).
Stuempfle ended her presentation by concluding that the thematically diverse libros cartoneros are a rich resource for literary researchers, particularly those in the field of Latin American Studies. As such, institutions with strong comparative literature, linguistics, and Latin American Studies programs should ensure that access to these works is enhanced so that scholars can benefit from them. Subject access to the humanities has been historically difficult but the problem is compounded when it comes to literature from Latin America. Stuemple considers creating enhanced access to cartonero books part of a larger effort to expand knowledge and use of Latin American and Caribbean literature.
The third presentation, titled “Creating Access to the Vigía Collection of Artists’ Books at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill” was given by Sara Levinson, a catalog librarian at UNC. In her presentation, Levinson talked of the challenges of the descriptive cataloging of UNC’s collection of Vigía artists’ books. Unlike regular books that are in roughly the same physical form in relation to each other, what sets artists’ books apart is what they look like. But to be cataloged, words can only be used to convey something that is mainly visual. The Vigía artists’ books at UNC are housed in the Rare Book Collection section of the library. They are not available in the open stacks and cannot be checked out, so the only way to access them physically is to go to the Rare Book Collection section of the library and request to see them individually. In order to give library patrons a good idea of what these books look like before they see them, Levinson tries to provide as much description as possible in order to “paint a picture” with words. She tries to imagine who would be searching for these books, what they would be searching for, and how they would search for it. She uses genre headings from the Rare Book and Manuscript controlled vocabulary, as these headings are familiar for those who work with rare book collections and those librarians who provide rare book-related reference help. She also uses headings from the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, as these books are considered art works and would be familiar to students and researchers of art, as well as to art librarians. However, these terms are not searchable in all of UNC’s catalogs, so when cataloging each item, Levinson uses long descriptive notes, which are keyword searchable. When possible, Library of Congress subject headings are also used. The materials and techniques used to create the book are often included in the description. Levinson read examples of the descriptive notes she writes in the records for these artists’ books.
Levinson ended her presentation by saying that she hoped that in providing a large number of potentially searchable words in her descriptions, patrons would be more easily able to find the records for these books. She also thanked the people who helped her in putting together her Powerpoint presentation, which included beautiful photographs of the artists’ books she described.
Questions & Comments:
Meiyolet Mendez (University of Miami) asked Levinson if she is the only cataloger who writes such detailed descriptions of artists’ books in bibliographic records and how long it takes to catalog such a book.
Levinson replied that bibliographic records for some of these books already exist, but she enhances those records by adding subject headings, genre terms, and searchable headings. The cataloging takes a while so she tries to spread the work out, but she wants to make them as complete as possible because she wants patrons to be able to find the records for these books. She ventures that in the future, when the Art and Architecture subject terms are searchable in all catalogs, such detailed descriptions won’t be necessary.
Stuempfle then asked Levinson if these record enhancements are done at the local level or if she applies them to OCLC records as well.
Levinson replied that it depends on whether she is doing original or copy cataloging. She contributes her original records to OCLC with all enhancements but if she makes any significant changes to existing OCLC records, she makes them only at the local level.
Wendy Pedersen (University of New Mexico) commented that at her institution, the catalogers have worked on artists’ books, adding detailed description as well. She then asked Stuempfle if IU’s cartonero books are special collections and what considerations are taken in shelf-listing them.
Stuempfle said that IU’s cartonero books are individually put in special preservation boxes and placed in the library’s storage. If patrons want to look at them, they can be requested and sent to the patron within half a day.
Martha Preddie (University of Trinidad and Tobago) asked Chapa what the print run for artists’ books usually are. Chapa replied that depending on the publisher, the print run might be as little as 20 to as many as 200.
Chapa added that she had not been able to bring any Vigía books to the conference because they cannot be checked out of the UNC library, but that she does have some books in her office to use as examples when she does presentations in classrooms.
Preddie then asked if the books are digitized and Chapa replied that they cannot be digitized as her institution does not hold the copyright for these books. Moreover, getting the permission to digitize the books has not been a priority for the library as they are busy digitizing other material. But for the artists’ books exhibit website, images of the featured books were digitized.
Stuempfle disclosed that she ended up with the responsibility for a box full of artists’ books that had not been cataloged when the previous art librarian had moved on to another position and that she is currently trying to figure out how to catalog them.
Sarah Leroy (University of Pittsburgh) asked whether the multiple copies of artists’ books are meant to be identical in spite of a small print run. Having them being identical, she added, would make it easier to use a bibliographic record for different copies.
Chapa replied that usually, copies in a print run are identical. Leroy said that it would be useless to write a detailed description of a cartonero book in an OCLC record since each cover in a relatively large print run of a cartonero book is different.
Stuemple and Chapa explained how the creation processes of cartonero books and artists’ books like the ones at Vigía differ from each other. Levinson added that artists’ books, unlike cartonero books, are numbered.
Luis A. González (Indiana University) asked Chapa if she had ever been challenged to justify the acquisition of artist books.
Chapa replied that putting together the exhibit on artists books helped to get support from the library director. The library’s new rare book curator is a bit resistant about accepting the care of the books, but the assistant art librarian, who is a book artist, has been very supportive and promotes the materials.
The panel concluded with the moderator thanking the rapporteur and the presenters.
Panel 19, June 19, 2012, 11:00am-12:30pm
Moderator: Alison Hicks (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Presenters: Samuel Wicks (University of Pittsburgh); Tina Gross (St. Cloud State University); Sarah G. Wenzel (University of Chicago); Carolyn Palaima (The University of Texas at Austin); Laura Shedenhelm (University of Georgia); Barbara Alvarez (University of Michigan)
Rapporteur: Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa)
Alison Hicks introduced the presenters and explained the pecha kucha format. Generally speaking, pecha kucha presentations are 20 slides for 20 seconds each for a presentation of 6 minutes and 40 seconds.
In the first presentation, “What Digital Collection? Issues of Collection Development, Cataloging Trends and Standards, and Ethical Considerations of Underground Music in the Caribbean and Latin America,” Samuel Wicks explored initial considerations in planning a digital collection for Latin American punk music. A collection such as the one proposed potentially includes media in a variety of formats, including text, images, audio, and video, from a variety of original carriers, including audio cassettes, vinyl records, ephemera, and fan zines. Wicks discussed open source digital collection management software, briefly reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of systems in relation to this project, including Archon, DSpace, ICA-AtoM, and Greenstone. Ultimately, CONTENTdm provides the most robust platform capable of handling audio and video files in addition to text and images, as well as allowing the creation of compound documents to group related items. Wicks created a “materials and techniques” metadata elements to more adequately describe objects such as album covers. Wicks also looked for other punk collections. He found a variety of projects, such as museum exhibits in Slovenia and Reno, Nevada; the Fugazi Live Series with the support of the original band; and fan-created digital collections like Killed by Death Records and Kill from the Heart. Finally, Wicks briefly discussed the challenge of identifying and obtaining copyright permission from members of sometimes obscure punk bands that have not been active since the early 1980s.
Because Wicks had to leave for the airport immediately after his presentation, there was a short question and answer period before moving on to the next presenter.
Miguel Valladares-Llata (University of Virginia) asked about the availability of the presentation. Hicks confirmed that she would post the presenters’ slides on the SALALM blog.
Laura D. Shedenhelm (University of Georgia) asked if links would be included. [At the time of writing this report, the slides have been posted on the SALALM blog, but links have not been compiled and posted.]
Meagan Lacy (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) commented that her library had difficulty identifying the copyright owners of a journal included in a digital collection. The journal itself did not include any copyright information. The library chose to post the content with a note that the copyright holder should contact the library and the library would remove the material if requested. Wicks commented that a similar practice is commonly seen on YouTube, in which content is posted with a note that the person posting the material does not own it, does not intend to profit from it, and will remove it if requested.
An unidentified librarian from NALIS commented that Greenstone is capable of handling audio files, as the NALIS Digital Library runs on Greenstone and includes mp3 files, notably in the storytelling collection. [Wicks later verified that the version of Greenstone he used was not capable of supporting audio files.]
Kumaree Ramtahal (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine) asked Wicks to elaborate on the process of uploading video in DSpace. Wicks used KeepVid to extract a file from YouTube and other streaming video.
In the second presentation, “Developing Local Cataloging Procedures for Access to Foreign-Language Films,” Tina Gross discussed providing better access to foreign films for patrons. Standard cataloging practice focuses on the physical object which, in the case of films, describes the location of the publisher, not the production of the original film. Patrons looking for foreign film, however, frequently want to search by country of production. Two new MARC fields, 257 and 044, have been introduced to capture “Country of Publishing/Producing Entity.” However, many integrated library systems are not configured to include that as a searchable field. Further, many OPACs do not distinguish between the MARC coding for the primary language of the film and the subtitles, making it difficult to search for a film based on its original language. Gross and the staff of the St. Cloud State University Library reasoned that activating the search functionality of the new MARC fields or language coding was a low priority for their ILS vendor, especially with the impending implementation of RDA, but still an important search strategy for their patrons. Gross and her colleagues chose to add local subject headings in the 655 genre/form fields:
Foreign language films – Language.
Motion pictures – Country.
These headings are browseable in the old catalog interface and appear as genres in the next-generation catalog with faceted search capabilities.
Sarah G. Wenzel followed with her presentation, “Patron- or Demand-Driven Acquisition: Strategies for Successful Implementation.” At Chicago, selectors were allowed to implement patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) however they best saw fit for their collections and patrons. This case-by-case implementation was chosen to foster support and buy-in from the selectors. Wenzel and her colleagues were seeking solutions to three primary questions: how to supplement selection without a budget increase, how to streamline and speed up selection, and how to serve faculty and other patrons who normally have little or no contact with the selector. The PDA program has not changed existing approval plans but adds a new approach to slips titles, or titles that are not completely peripheral to the collection but not core titles either. In Wenzel’s experience, this has not interfered with purchasing and she has made titles available by PDA rather than adding them to a desiderata list. Slips profiles have required some tweaking. Wenzel gave the science collections as an example in that they added “how-to” titles for programming languages, which they normally do not purchase but there is a point-of-need demand. Other selectors have imposed price limits on purchases and budget ceilings on call number ranges to preserve their existing budgeting patterns. Wenzel and other selectors use usage and PDA purchase statistics available through Ebrary to inform purchases, especially in fields in which they have little contact with faculty and students. Since records for PDA titles are loaded in the online catalog, purchases are not constrained by the availability of the paper book, but can be bought on demand, be it tomorrow or in five years. If a publisher ceases to offer their content by PDA but the library has already bought it, the library does not lose access, as opposed to the risk of losing content in a leased collection. Overall, selectors at Chicago who have participated in the PDA program and have spent the time to tailor their profiles have been happy with the program. Chicago would like to see more vendors offer PDA purchasing as the practice enriches the library’s catalog and provides greater access to patrons.
In the next presentation, “Collaborative Digital Archiving: A Non-Custodial Approach,” Carolyn Palaima discussed the Primeros Libros project as a case study. In this project, the University of Texas at Austin has worked with Texas A&M University and the Biblioteca Lafragua of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla to digitize New World incunabula, beginning with those published in Mexico. The collection is defined, also the first step in building a digital collection, as books printed in the New World before 1601, of which there are 220 known titles and 136 known to still exist. Primeros Libros’ initial focus are those printed in Mexico and to include as many exemplars of each work as possible. The next step in such a project is to identify lead partners in content, technical aspects, and digital preservation. University of Texas and Texas A&M are the initial partners, with 16 and 18 primeros libros respectively. The main Mexican partner, the Biblioteca Lafragua, was chosen more for its willingness to commit to the project than for its holdings. Initial content partners had as little as one item to contribute to the project. Scanning standards were developed by University of Texas and Texas A&M. The project website with access to the complete collection was designed and is hosted by University of Texas. In terms of digital preservation, the TIFF images are stored with the Texas Digital Libraries Preservation Network and the Repositorio Digital Mexicano. All partner institutions receive a complete collection of TIFF and/or derivative images. The primary documentation for partnership is the project agreement and the digitization standards. Both are available in English or Spanish on the Primeros Libros website. Both University of Texas and Texas A&M set up scanning stations and trained staff to digitize their collections of primeros libros. A mobile scanning station was set up in Puebla with trained staff, which can travel to other content partners in Mexico. Other content partners are brought into the project based on institutional holdings. The project is non-custodial as materials do not have to be physically acquired by the organizing institution, digitization takes place locally, each partner receives a complete collection of the digital images, and the framework of the project can be adapted to the needs of participating collections. The project achieves a consolidated collection of dispersed holdings, allowing comparison of copies across institutions, and demonstrates international collaboration. University of Texas has used the non-custodial model in previous digital collections, notably the Human Rights Documentation Initiative and the Guatemalan National Police Historical Archive (AHPN).
The following presentation, “Library Outreach Using Library a la Carte (TM)” by Laura D. Shedenhelm discussed adapting selective dissemination of information (SDI) as a value-added service to Library à la Carte, an open-source content management system intended for subject and course library guides. Shedenhelm learned SDI in library school and used it early in her career in law firm libraries. In her current position as the Bibliographer for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal, she has used it to open lines of communication to faculty and students by capturing content about Latin America, Spain, and Portugal in otherwise general works, especially those that are not classed in the usual F and PQ call number ranges. While some of these titles would be readily apparent from scanning the New Titles List, the link for that list is a small one on the library catalog. Many of the chapters in other general works are searchable unless the table of contents is listed in a catalog record and are delayed in their inclusion in index databases. Shedenhelm used to gather new titles and relevant chapters in a document that she e-mailed to her liaison departments but she now maintains a Library à la Carte page, “Spanish & Portuguese: New Works in the Libraries.” Once a month she creates a list of the newest material and saves the old list as attached files, which are available for a year.
In the final presentation, “Publish, Not Perish! Supporting Graduate Students as Publishing Authors,” Barbara Alvarez discussed a workshop on publishing for graduate students. Alvarez and a colleague observed that they saw graduate students mostly early in their studies and less as they progressed. They felt, however, that research was only the beginning and they could offer support through the publishing process as well. While publish-or-perish is often associated with junior faculty, it creates anxiety amongst graduate students as well, who are concerned with making themselves competitive in a shrinking academic job market. Graduate students, though, may be reluctant to ask for advice from their professors and senior faculty may be decades removed from the experience of publishing as an early-career scholar. University of Michigan Libraries now house the University of Michigan Press as a department within the libraries, including MPublishing, which provides publishing consultation services and employs publishing outreach librarians, providing a natural partner for this project. Alvarez and her colleagues first began with a survey to find if such a workshop was needed and to identify what questions students have about the publishing process. The survey reported interest from students at all stages of graduate studies, including beginning students. Working from the survey results, they sought to address the following in a one-hour workshop:
the current publishing environment with information on Open Access and authors’ rights (covered by publishing consultants)
what and when to publish (covered by an invited junior faculty member with a strong publishing record)
how to select journals and publishers (covered by Alvarez)
how to respond to reviewers’ feedback
Future plans include open sessions available to students in all disciplines on general issues such as authors’ rights and sharing the workshop model with subject librarians to create discipline-specific workshops. Overall, the workshop was well-received. Alvarez and her colleagues concluded that it makes sense for librarians to be involved in the publishing process as an extension of research training. Graduate students may find the rapidly changing publishing environment to be overwhelming but it is a natural topic for librarians to keep up with. The workshop also supports change in academic publishing by educating young scholars about Open Access and their rights as authors.
Graduate Students’ Guide to Publishing: http://guides.lib.umich.edu/gradspublishing
Questions & Comments:
Palaima asked Alvarez if the LibGuide is freely available. Alvarez replied that it is.
Anne Barnhart (University of West Georgia) asked if Alvarez had worked with faculty, as she has noticed that faculty need guidance on publishing strategy as well. Alvarez replied that they are especially hoping to attract faculty to the discipline-specific and focused topic workshops. Faculty present a lot of opportunity for this program, such as inviting currently active faculty for informal, focused conversation with their colleagues and graduate students.
Meagan Lacy asked Alvarez what departments were represented in the graduate students who attended the workshop. Alvarez replied that the initial workshop focused on Romance Languages and Literatures students as an experiment. They are planning to talk with other subject librarians to share details and offer the survey for reuse, with hopes that others will approach their respective departments.
Alison Hicks asked Shedenhelm if her lists on Library à la Carte are available by RSS. Shedenhelm replied that it is available through the UGA Libraries website and is freely available. It takes her about 20 minutes each month to create the lists. Meagan Lacy asked if Shedenhelm manually compiles the lists or generates them through an automated process. Shedenhelm replied that she types the lists.
Margarita Vannini (Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica) asked Palaima to elaborate on the institutional relationships involved in digitizing the AHPN collection. Palaima replied that the AHPN was a very large project with lots of people working on it. The archive is approximately 80 million pages. Agreements signed with the AHPN require open access. Digitization was done on-site in Guatemala. UT sent hard drives which were returned full. The first batch was 11,000 documents which were sent to the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to be processed into TIFF files and derivatives. The site launched in December has sparse metadata but is open access. It is structured much the same as the physical archive, with documents organized by provenance and original order. Researchers can browse the digital archive by year, much as they would do with boxes of documents. There is currently no metadata for names and places. UT is expecting another 10 million documents and is working with the TACC to extract metadata the document images. This is challenging because of different handwriting, formats, and other variables throughout the collection. It has been a major collaboration over a long period of time. As soon as the website went live it received heavy traffic.
Rafael E. Tarragó (University of Minnesota) asked Palaima if Primeros Libros is limited to New Spain or if it includes all of Latin America. Early publishing also took place in Peru. Palaima replied that choices were made at the beginning of the project to limit the initial collection to Mexico. They hope to expand the collection geographically in the future.
Hicks asked Wenzel if Chicago’s PDA program included print or just e-books. Wenzel responded that it is currently just e-books. One factor in that decision is the speed of delivery and that it is currently faster to deliver materials through interlibrary loan or unmediated consortial borrowing. It is unclear if PDA for print would be an improvement in service.
Alvarez asked Wenzel if PDA records are loaded after a title-by-title selection or if they are loaded in a large batch of PDA records. Wenzel replied that PDA titles are loaded by batch based on the refined slips profile she has set partly based on subject headings. For example, she does not purchase language learning or ESL materials so those records are excluded from any PDA batch load.
Tagged with: Alison Hicks • Anne Barnhart • audiovisual • Barbara Alvarez • Carolyn Palaima • cataloging • digitization • film • Laura D. Shedenhelm • Lisa Gardinier • Margarita Vannini • Meagan Lacy • Miguel Valladares-Llata • music • PDA • Rafael E. Tarragó • rapporteur reports • RDA • Samuel Wicks • Sarah G. Wenzel • Tina Gross
Panel 4, June 17, 2012, 2:30 pm-4:00 pm
Moderator: Richard Phillips (University of Florida)
Presenters: Dr. Louis Regis (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago); Guillermo Molina-Morales (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago); Gabriella Reznowski (Washington State University)
Rapporteur: Sarah Yoder Leroy (University of Pittsburgh)
After Richard Phillips welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers, Dr. Louis Regis began with his presentation entitled “The Day of the Gorgon: The Calypso and its Engagement with the Burgeoning Crime Menace.” Calypso, which now comprises 98 years of recorded lyrics, represents an archive of the social history of Trinidad and Tobago, originating in the African communities, and reflecting those perspectives. Dr. Regis introduced three figures that have evolved in Trinidad and Tobago, and which have appeared in calypsos: the kalenda batonnier, or stick fighter, who guards tradition, is a romantic figure, and participates in ritualized violence; the badjohn, or street fighter, who appeared in the late 19th century and threatened public security, but disappeared by the 1970’s; and the gorgon, the product, propagator and victim of a homicidal culture, sociopathic and amoral, who appeared in the final decades of the 20th century, and is much more violent. He then spoke of the calypso response to the gorgon, citing lyrics from numerous songs. These responses include descriptions of violence, the linking of the ethnic and political, lamentations and anguished cries, corrosive satire, and frantic appeals. There are appeals to end the current madness and return to a mythical time, appeals to prayer to stem the tide and return to godliness, appeals to the bandits and killers themselves. There are appeals to authority (counterbalanced by the questioning of authority), and appeals to strengthen the school system and to restore capital punishment. There are appeals to strengthen family and fathers. There are appeals for the sacrosanctity of Carnival (let us party in peace!). There are rhetorical threats aimed at the bandits and warnings from policemen calypsonians. Unfortunately, there is no database of all the song examples that would facilitate needed research in this area.
Guillermo Molina-Morales followed with his presentation “La cultura popular latinoamericana en la era de ‘YouTube’: El Caso de ‘Wendy Sulca’, ‘Delfín Quishpe’ y ‘La Tigresa del Oriente’.” He discussed three Latin American artists who are well-known because of their presence on YouTube, and showed clips of each. La Tigresa del Oriente is well known in both Spain and Latin America, her YouTube videos having more than 12,000,000 visits. Her videos are unsophisticated, her voice ordinary at best, she is kitsch and campy, and intentionally humorous. She is well known not because of her quality but because her videos are on YouTube. Wendy Sulca, on the other hand, is more serious. She is a Peruvian child who dresses in traditional garb and sings traditional Andean songs, and she has become known and has toured internationally. In Spain, however, due to the cultural differences between her and the class of people viewing her on YouTube, she is seen as amusing and a little freaky. Delfin Quishpe is harder to interpret, perhaps. He sings a song about a girlfriend who died on 9/11 (a serious theme), yet his manner of dress and the presentation of the video makes it less clear whether he is serious or not. It is like baroque art–here the events of 9/11 are in the background, whereas the singer, along with his contact information, is in the foreground. These kinds of artists have become very popular, and there is a question of how the culture industry has taken advantage of them, for example, using these artists to promote a cause, such as a pro-Israel campaign.
Gabriella Reznowski’s presentation was entitled “Hip Hop Mundial: Hip Hop’s Latino Roots and Global Appeal”, and she spoke of the culture of hip hop over 35 years, since the 1970’s when it spread around the world. Reznowski was in middle school in Winnipeg when it started, and for her, hip hop ushered in an era of cultural exchange. Hip hop has now come of age, and is analyzed and studied. Some major universities now have archival hip hop collections, and artists are collaborating with the research being done at those institutions. Reznowski spoke of the contribution of Latinos to hip hop, especially their participation in underground hip hop, giving many examples. Latinos influenced hip hop in all four of its elements—MCing (rapping/rhyming), DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti. They expanded the genre worldwide, adding to its many varieties with innovations from their own cultural heritage, enlivening it by fusion with the Latino culture. The underground artists in hip hop often make use of autobiographical lyrics (joys and sorrows, dreams, etc.), are skeptical of its commercial aspects, show allegiance to the roots of hip hop, use social networking to disseminate their music, form networks and cooperatives with other artists, and tend to be less boastful and more able to laugh at themselves. Their themes include comments on economic realities, the blue collar struggle (famous nights and empty days), and the struggle of keeping hip hop real in spite of the commercialization of the genre. She then gave examples of several individuals and groups active in latino hip hop today, particularly latinos in the diaspora.
Questions & Comments:
Seth Markle (Trinity College) asked about the differences in hip hop in the Latin American diaspora versus in Latin America. Reznowski is interested in this topic but hasn’t had time to research it fully yet. Certainly each community will interpret hip hop through its own lens.
Phillips asked Dr. Regis what the word “cutlass” referred to. It is a machete. He wondered whether there were gun laws in Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, there are laws against the possession of firearms, but no one is willing to surrender their guns. Police officers and military servicemen have even been known to rent out their firearms, although it is against the law. He also asked where La Tigresa and Quishpe were from. La Tigresa is Peruvian; Quishpe from Ecuador.
Joan Osborne (NALIS) spoke of databases for calypso. The National Library started a database of calypso lyrics, but with the long history of calypso, it is pretty overwhelming, and she wondered if other libraries are doing similar projects with other types of music, and how to approach such an undertaking. Cornell has over 7,000 hip hop records, a good base for research, and has institutional support. It is harder for scholars that have to use their free time for research.
Phillips wondered how much of calypso, hip hop, etc., was copyrighted. Copyright is automatic, but many underground artists give free downloads in order to get their music disseminated.
John Wright (Brigham Young University) wondered if hip hop artists feel that their music is as temporary as graffiti is, and whether having copyright means they are entering the established commercial world, which could cause conflict for the artist.
Panel 14, June 18, 2012, 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
Moderator: Angela M. Carreño (New York University)
Presenters: Barbara Chase (The University of the West Indies, Barbados); Valerie Clarke (The University of the West Indies, Barbados) presented by Elizabeth Watson, Campus Librarian; Ann Marie White and Jessica Lewis (The University of the West Indies, Barbados); Rapporteur: Jeffrey Staiger (University of Oregon)
Angela Carreño welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers.
First to give her presentation, “Representations of Love and Erotica in Caribbean Writings,” was Barbara Chase, Head of Book Acquisitions at the University of West Indies, Barbados, who focused on the example of Barbadian novelists. Chase proposed that it was a sign of these writers’ growing confidence that they had begun to lay claim to genre fiction, which she characterized as popular fiction written for mainstream consumption, with a less complex style, and fewer metaphors and similes, than its literary counterpart. Focusing particularly on the genres of romance and erotica, she enumerated a number of representative works: The Healing Tree by Margaret Knight; Song of Night and Fire in the Canes by Glenville Lovell; A Death in Panama by Robert Williams; Joy Cometh in the Morning by Herbert Reifer; Someone to Watch Over Me by Nailah Folami Imoja; and One Gentle Night by Ben Jordan. While these novels resemble the works of genre fiction from other nations – the speaker cited the precedent of Barbara Cartland – she stressed that these authors included elements that lent the novels in question a Caribbean flavor, such as the use of the plantation as setting, the theme of race, and the issue of beach and tourism culture. One of the distinctive features of genre feature, she stressed at the end of her talk, was that, unlike literary fiction, it always ended with a resolution of the plot.
The second presentation, “Echoes of the Caribbean: Documentation of Tradition and Identity in the Audio Visual Collection” was presented by Elizabeth Watson, Campus Librarian at the University of the West Indies, Barbados on behalf of Valerie Clarke. She related that the Learning Resource Center in her library harbored, in addition to a digital postcard collection documenting Caribbean life and culture, about 1,500 artifacts, realia, segments of oral history, and other items covering such regional topics as sports, women, and calypso music. Observing that audiovisual materials capture nuances of the historical record unavailable in text, and that they facilitate different kinds of learning about the region’s culture, the presenter particularly focused on the themes of women at work and political expression as represented in the collection. Addressing women’s roles in Caribbean culture, the speaker noted that 60% of Barbadian women are involved in the fishing industry. She played an audio clip consisting of women’s cries advertising their various fish as they competed for business in the market place. The speaker went on to observe that music was at the core of the enslaved society, and that the drum in particular was used to send messages in the period before emancipation. She played recent audio clips to illustrate how singers used calypso songs to make political points indirectly, noting that in Barbados, songs have been banned because they expressed political views contrary to powerful interests, but that some candidates have also used Calypso for campaigning purposes. In conclusion, the speaker noted that the audiovisual collections add diversity and depth to static print collections.
The final presentation, “Art, Space and the Caribbean Academic Library,” was given jointly by Jessica Lewis and Ann Marie White from the University of the West Indies, Barbados. They discussed the use of fine art in the library on the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. The present building, expanded in 1996 and again in 2012, currently holds approximately 70 pieces of fine art, pieces selected both to create a welcoming ambiance in the library and to foster culture awareness. The selections of art pieces were made according to a variety of factors, including theme, proposed placement, medium, size, artistic execution, and relevance to the Caribbean experience. They showed slides representing various examples of the pieces in the collection; some of these reflected the African heritage of the Caribbean people, others, such as a triptych painting by Cathrine Chee-A-Tow of brightly garbed men, illustrated, in the speaker’s words, “the bright atmosphere of the Caribbean.” They noted that fine art can also be used to highlight special collections. The response of library patrons to the integration of fine art into the space of the building has been quite positive. Summing up, the speakers maintained that the investment in fine art in the library was valuable for a number of reasons: it casts the library as a custodian of local culture; it supports the university’s creative arts program; it assists the development of the wider arts community and “last but not least, fine art, unlike other assets, appreciates in value.”
Panel 13, June 18, 2012, 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
Moderator: Adán Griego, Stanford University
Presenters: Felipe Varela, E-Libro; Lluis Claret, DIGITALIA; Kathryn Paoletti, Casalini Libri; Mariana Meyer, Elsevier Latin America& The Caribbean
Rapporteur: José O. Díaz, The Ohio State University
Moderator Adán Griego (Stanford University) opened the presentation by explaining the ground rules: fifteen-minute presentations with a two-minute warning from the moderator. He also asked panelists to refrain from turning their presentations into commercials. He requested that the audience save their questions until the end. Griego introduced the topic by summarizing recent developments in the availability of e-books and e-book readers in the United States and Spain. He indicated that incoming first-year “digital native” undergraduates will have spent 20,000 hours watching TV, more than 10,000 hours playing video games, and less than 5,000 hours reading printed materials. He offered some examples of how digital is now in vogue. In Seattle, Washington, for example, public libraries have recruited younger users to assist more mature patrons with technology and the New York Times recently featured a story on e-books in public libraries. Griego also pointed out that in the United States, library users now have access to more than 30,000 e-books in Spanish. This year in Spain, a quarter of all Spanish ISBNs have been assigned to e-books. Additionally, in the last two years, nearly a million e-readers have been sold. In short, the e-book is here to stay.
Griego asked the presenters to address the new reality of e-books and how they have challenged the traditional library mission of acquiring, accessing, organizing, preserving, and loaning materials. He also asked them to comment on issues related to pricing and access, ownership versus subscription, text mining, pick-and-choose versus packages, purchasing power, archiving policies, e-readers compatibility, and interlibrary loans.
The first presenter was Felipe Varela (E-Libro). His presentation was entitled, “The E-Books We Need in Our Libraries.” E-Libro includes more than 160 publishers and makes available over 48,000 titles. Currently, E-libro is adding 700+ titles a month. Twenty-two percent of its content is non-academic and is available in GOBI, YBP’s acquisition and collection management interface. E-Libro is hosted on the Ebrary platform and includes over 9,000 Spanish-language titles including e-books, journals, articles, and doctoral theses. It charges $5,000 per university or $4,000 each on a consortium basis. E-libro is the only e-book vendor that enables librarians, free of charge, to upload, integrate, and share their own digital content with DASH, which allows you to create highly interactive databases of special collections, government documents, reports, internal documentation, and literally any document in PDF or that can be turned into PDF.
The second presenter, Lluis Claret (DIGITALIA), presented “Digital Projects: from Distribution to Publishing.” DIGITALIA offers e-books and e-journals of an academic level for libraries and research institutions. The company’s goals are to furnish top quality content in Spanish to libraries, professors and students, and to become a leader in the provision of academic titles in Spanish. DIGITALIA includes more than 8,000 titles distributed in collections, such as: Art and Architecture, Literature, Cinema, Science, Engineering and Computer Programming, History, Philosophy, Religion, Business and Economy, Law, Linguistics and Philology, Political Science and Social Sciences. DIGITALIA furnishes access to publications published by Spanish and Latin American publishing companies. It also offers a backlist, newest releases, and adds an average of 300 titles a month to its database. DIGITALIA offers three purchasing models: annual subscription, the purchase of individual collections, and a “pick and choose” option. DIGITALIA provides subscribers the right to print out documents, unlimited number of users, access using IP addresses, compatibility with remote users via the Proxy system, compatibility with tablets furnished with internet connections, such as the iPad, Samsung, iPhone, etc., a stable URL, permanent link, and MARC records. Additionally, in DIGITALIA each item contains its own table of contents with a fold-out menu that represents the summary of the entire document in order to facilitate surfing within each work. DIGITALIA will join Portico’s preservation services in 2012. Finally, users of DIGITALIA can choose whether to visualize the documents in an HTML or PDF format.
The third presenter, Kathryn Paoletti (Casalini Libri), presented “Torrossa: the Casalini Libri Full Text Platform for E-books and E-journal Content from Romance Language Countries.” Paoletti explained that Casalini Libri’s full text platform offers access to over 200,000 articles and chapters, 10,000 e-books and 480 e-journals from over 150 Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese publishers. She described Torrossa as a small yet very good platform. Casalini Libri offers two dedicated venues for the sale of electronic content to academic institutions and trade markets via the Torrossa platform. The Torrossa platform features full text content in PDF format, updated weekly, and now comprises thousands of e-books and hundreds of e-journals, available at the article and chapter level. Private individuals can browse Torrossa via the Torrossa store and purchase chapters and articles. Casalini Libri offers research institutions access to collections of content via the Torrossa site on a subscription basis. The content brings together a number of prestigious publishers in the fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Currently, documents can be downloaded onto mobile devices that support Adobe software. A Torrossa app to purchase and download content to Apple devices will be released shortly. Other services provided by Torrossa are RSS feeds; a user workspace; copy, print, and download capabilities; and compatibility with Refworks, End notes and bibliographic tools. Like other providers of e-books, Casalini Libri is facing increasing costs from publisher, difficulties in obtaining rights to the materials, and issues with interlibrary loans.
The fourth presenter, Mariana Meyer (Elsevier), closed the session with her presentation, “Embracing the E-book to Accelerate Science.” Meyer’s presentation centered on the question: Are researchers going to use e-book and how? According to Meyer, most researchers commence their research process searching monographs followed by journal articles. What Elsevier is trying to do is to place both journals and books in the same platform, thus facilitating the researcher move from one format to the other. Meyers described the Elsevier platform as fully integrated and containing high quality publishers. Elsevier offers 24X7 access, unlimited users, downloads, e-mail, and unlimited printing. Elsevier, Meyers explained, offers a different e-book experience that includes videos and searchable and pictures that may be updated. Additionally, Elsevier’s platform allows for direct links to journals, reference works, articles cited, application tabs, and phone apps for smart phones and androids. The platform now contains 15,000 e-books including reference works and handbooks but only 74 books in Spanish and 40 in Portuguese.
Questions & Comments:
Tony Harvell (University of California, San Diego) indicated that he gets a lot of pressure from his institution to provide interlibrary loan (ILL). In the print world, he explained, librarians would not photocopy an entire book. The digital rights management makes it very difficult to do the equivalent of ILL. He asked the presenters “Are platforms and providers thinking of other ways to provide that service without downloading and sending out one PDF at a time?”
Valera (E-Libro): “In my experience, the problem resides with the publishers. They remain unwilling to make their information available and losing revenue. The change is coming but moving too slow.”
Claret (DIGITALIA): “A couple of years ago we started to include in the license agreement a provision for interlibrary loans (only portions of the book though). DIGITALIA is experimenting with limited loan periods that would allow other universities to use the books perhaps for a fee.”
Paoletti (Casalini Libri): “Italian publishers have no problem with loaning books or chapters via ILL agreements. Spanish publishers, on the other hand, remain unwilling to allow for ILL.” She described the situation as evolving. Publishers in general are waiting to see what models are coming out that will protect and/or enhance their revenue streams.
Meyer (Elsevier) indicated that for Elsevier, this has not been a huge issue because the demand for ILL is not there. This is due to the fact that research patterns in the physical science are very different from the humanities and social sciences.
Laura Shedenhelm (University of Georgia) added that as a doctoral student, she is trying to decide how to use an electronic novel. How can she make notes and annotations on a borrowed e-book? As a researcher she intends to go back and revisit the book.
Claret (DIGITALIA) indicated that it all hinges on user demand. There has to be a market to move publishers to make changes. In some cases we are seeing demand in areas such as preservation (e.g., PORTICO).
Griego (Stanford) asked Harvell (UCSD) to explain PORTICO.
PORTICO, Harvell explained, is a digital preservation archive. Libraries and publishers pay to have access and preserve content via PORTICO. Libraries have access to that content for which they have paid a subscription. A competing alternative to PORTICO is Stanford’s LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe).
Rashidah Khan-Vire (University of Trinidad & Tobago) asked about the availability of secondary school textbooks in electronic format.
Valera (E-Libro) indicated that E-libro does provide a collection of secondary education materials. They have some costumers in Venezuela and Colombia.
Harvell (University of California, San Diego) added that Ebrary has few e-books for secondary education.
Meyer (Elsevier) indicated that her company is in the process of making more textbooks available via the Science Direct platform. Elsevier, she concluded, offers 80 university level textbooks via “pick and choose.”
Panel 12, Tuesday May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
Moderator: Silvia Mejia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Presenters: Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut; T-Kay Sangwand, The University of Texas at Austin; and Joel Blanco-Rivera, University of Pittsburgh
Rapporteur: Suzanne Schadl, University of New Mexico
The first presentation, Sharing Archives: The P.R. Civil Court Cases Collection Digital Project, by Marisol Ramos of the University of Connecticut (UConn) offered digitization of the Puerto Rican Civil Court Cases Collection as a solution for colonialist ownership of cultural heritage collections in tenuous political environments. Ramos noted that this collection, purchased by UConn in 2002 (before her appointment), actually belonged in the National Archive in Puerto Rico. Upon its establishment in 1955, it became the repository for all government records from the Spanish period to the present. Even so, and through legal means, these documents were in the custody of UConn when she began working there. Because of strict Connecticut state laws prohibiting the deaccession of materials bought by the state, this 19th century collection could not be returned to Puerto Rico. To make matters worse, the fragility of the documents within this collection prohibited making photocopies to share access with the country of provenance.
In 2007, Ramos became concerned with how best to address the moral and ethical obligation to provide Puerto Ricans access to this collection. She saw it as part of the Puerto Rican national and cultural heritage. As a Puerto Rican who had worked in and collaborated with staff at the National Archive in Puerto Rico, Ramos felt even more obligated to identify a solution to the problem of U.S. universities ending up with collections far from their countries of origin. After offering a snapshot of several cases in which donations, purchases, deaths, and/or other events led to document drains, Ramos addressed the difficult historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. In so doing, she situated their relationship within studies of colonialism. Ramos noted that as a political appointee embroiled in this difficult connection, it would be ill-advised for the director of the National Archive in Puerto Rico to formally demand that documents be returned to Puerto Rico. The rotating nature of such political positions would make this endeavor even more complicated.
Ramos proposed intervention from archivists and librarians in the United States holding cultural heritage collections. She then outlined the UConn project, and announced that the Latin American Microforms Project (LAMP) had agreed to help fund the initiative. Ramos noted that once digitized, by May 2012 all of the documents in the Puerto Rican Civil Court Cases Collection would be shared through the Internet Archive. Ramos noted that while this solution did not return documents to their country of origin, it did offer access. It also successfully bypassed University funding politics and spoke to the difficulties of cross national/institutional ownership of cultural heritage collections in a tenuous funding situation and in a complicated political environment.
In the second presentation, Tejiendo la Memoria: Strengthening Collective Memory of El Salvador’s Civil War through Transnational Digitization Partnerships, T-Kay Sangwand (The University of Texas at Austin) proposed a Distributed Archival Model as an alternative to problematic traditional methods of archival possession. She argued that the partnership based model of transnational digitization could empower record and access creators by enabling them to retain, expand, and share access while also learning useful techniques in digital preservation.
Sangwand began by presenting the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) at UT (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/hrdi). This program serves as the umbrella under which her primary focus, the Tejiendo la Memoria project, evolved. Sangwand noted that HRDI emerged out of the collective effort in which activists, scholars, and organizations together with the University of Texas Libraries (UTL) began to identify threatened electronic and analog resources for preservation. They sought to save the most fragile records of international human rights struggles and promote their security through archival availability, human rights research and continued advocacy. A generous grant from the Bridgeway Foundation in 2008 led to the establishment of the HRDI, which Sangwand noted currently engages in transnational collaborative projects to preserve and make accessible the historical record of genocide and human rights violations throughout the world.
Sangwand presented UT Austin’s work with the Radio Venceremos Archive at the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (Museum of Word and Image) in El Salvador as an example of implementing a Distributive Archival Model. Radio Venceremos traveled with the FMLN during the El Salvadoran Civil War and denounced human rights abuses. Sangwand noted that this medium also became an important means for popular education. After the war ended, Radio Venceremos had 1,270 fragile tapes containing personal testimonies. Needless to say, the Museum Word and Image was reluctant to give UT Austin temporary custody of these important records, and understandably so, especially considering the political history between the United States and El Salvador. UT Austin chose, thus, to use collection development funds in order to send equipment and trainers to the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen with the express purpose of acquiring this digital collection.
UT Austin employees provided training in digital preservation techniques and metadata standards and Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen archivists began to digitize and describe the collection. Custody never changed hands and each party had the opportunity to contribute their expertise to the project. UT Austin and the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen agreed to share the digital copies archived in a server at UT Austin. The original Radio Venceremos tapes remained in El Salvador. The funding formula used in this experimental acquisition involved calculating the staff costs of two employees processing this collection over two years’ time. UT Austin agreed to pay 2/3 of the cost while the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen covered 1/3. Sangwand concluded by sharing a clip of a sole survivor’s testimonial in these audio files.
In the third presentation, Declassification and Accountability for Part Abuses: Transitional Justice in Latin America and the Impact of Declassified U.S. Government Documents, Joel Blanco-Rivera (University of Pittsburgh) argued that transitional justice in Latin America requires and is dependent upon access to government documents from the United States. He suggested and offered several examples in which these documents have played important roles in memory-related initiatives throughout Latin America.
Blanco-Rivera began his presentation by placing Latin American requirements for access to U.S. government documents in an international context. He offered a review of cases and literature including reference to the following international efforts to save threatened records: German state security service records in the early 1990s; Paraguayan information on detentions during the Stroessner regime; records from the Guatemalan national police stored in a police building in Mexico City; and very recently, records from the Egyptian state security police. In this last case, Blanco-Rivera stated that protestors successfully used social media to document their demands for saving records as well as for documenting them. He noted that in all of these cases, saving these documents from destruction led to public outcries and increased availability, as in the case of the Archive of Terror. Knowledge of these documents also prompted heightened demands for declassified U.S. government documents, as in the case of Operation Condor.
Building on literature regarding the importance of archivist activism in Human Rights, Blanco-Rivera noted that it was imperative for archivists and human rights activists to take responsibility for preserving several different kinds of archives including transitional archives of former regimes; archives of human rights organizations; archives documenting life during the period; and archives of declassified governments. He reiterated that archival sources enable societies to address legacies of human rights abuses, to institute truth programs, and to implement government reforms and other transitions. Blanco-Rivera highlighted the importance of truth commissions as the main mechanisms for addressing abuses in Latin America. He also argued that such efforts succeeded only after also obtaining declassified U.S. documents. Blanco-Rivera demonstrated that combining Truth Commission reports with the declassification of U.S. documents increased interest in the contradictions between U.S. declassified documents and local documents. He added that this triangulation often opened the door for even greater demands for the release of additional records.
Questions & Comments:
Pamela Graham (Columbia University) asked Sangwand how prevalent the UT Austin model is. She wanted to know if there were other institutions doing similar things and she asked Sangwand if the cost sharing formula UT Austin has used addressed ongoing preservation and maintenance costs. Sangwand stated that she was not aware of any other academic organizations doing something similar but that non-governmental organization were involved in like practices. As for the storage and maintenance costs, she noted that the UT Austin director was supportive of the project as an acquisition and not worried about storage right now. The point was to build an infrastructure for this process to continue in the future. There was an inaudible interjection from the audience on other collections or documents in Mexico.
Ana María Garra asked Blanco-Rivera about his familiarity with a case brought in the U.S. in 1973, which was developed from U.S. documents. He noted that he was familiar with that case and added a few additional examples.
Adrian Johnson (UT Austin) asked Blanco-Rivera if civil judgments help people pursue criminal cases, sort of as a means to ameliorate the reality that a civil conviction rarely results in payment. He wondered if it would be possible to use such a case to revoke citizenship. Blanco-Rivera responded that receiving money was never the end goal. Recognition was most important.
Suzanne Schadl (UNM) asked Ramos and Sangwand if they had to maneuver restrictive bureaucratic funding (such as not recognizing museums as vendors or refusing large reimbursements) to purchase documents in order to get them back to where they belong or to use collections development funds for digital acquisition. Both noted that they had very little difficulty, just increased paper work and communications.
Johnson (UT Austin) asked Ramos if she had any contact with the Puerto Rican Archives since they put this collection into the Internet Archive. He wondered if they were using it. Ramos noted that they were still in the beginning processes of the project and that it would not be live until May 2012.
Adán Benavides (UT Austin) asked Sangwand how feasible it would be to continue these kinds of agreements and how selective they could be in this process. He wanted to know about the long-term sustainability of these projects after the case. Sangwand noted that the library was dedicated to preservation and maintenance costs for these collections, not unlike they would be for other acquisitions. Graham (Columbia University) added that Mellon grants were offering funding for figuring out how to do archiving metadata.
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.”
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