Currently viewing the tag: "Sarah Buck Kachaluba"

Date:  Wednesday June 17, 2015, 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Moderator: Rafael E. Tarragó, University of Minnesota
Rapporteur: Christine Hernández, Tulane University

Sarah Buck-Kachaluba, University of California, San Diego and Lynn Shirey, Harvard University
The Genesis and Evolution of the Digital Primary Resources Subcommittee

Luis A. González, Indiana University
Archivo Mesoamericano: An International Collaborative Video Digitization Project

Antonio Sotomayor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Digitizing the Conde de Montemar Letters (1761-1799): A Beginner’s Impressions on Multi-Departmental Collaborations and Digital Humanities

The moderator, Dr. Rafael E. Tarragó, begins the session by introducing the panel of presenters and reminding the audience of the rules for the session.

The panel began with the presentation by Antonio Sotomayor about the digitization of the Conde de Montemar letters held by the University of Illinois.  Antonio gives a brief background to the project now entering its third year.  The Conde de Montemar collection is a large holding comprised of family correspondence dating to between 1761 and 1799 of a noble family of the Peruvian viceroyalty.

The theme of Antonio’s presentation is that of the importance of inter-departmental collaboration in a library digitization project.  He begins with the groundwork phase of the project where discussions with several groups of experts were vital to the development of the proposed content and technical execution of the project.  These experts included faculty members with expertise in the subject areas that would directly benefit from digital access to the Conde de Montemar letters.  Discussions with digital librarians and technical support staff helped to make clear the multitude of models for digital humanities projects and the kinds of questions that need to be asked and answered in order to choose and develop a database model appropriate to the primary sources to be digitized.  In the end, Antonio notes that two of the most important questions to be addressed are which disciplines will derive the most benefit from this project and what will investigators need for their research.

Along with these discussions, Antonio notes that he had to do a fair amount of research on the materials themselves and on the literature concerning digital humanities projects, in general.  He also discussed the process of evaluating various models taken from other digital humanities projects for use with the Conde de Montmar letters.  The goal for the University of Illinois project was always to create a resource that would be something more than just published digital images of letters.

Additionally, collaborations with appropriate departments on campus and off-campus were essential to the project.  Care had to be taken not to tread on inter-departmental politics or feelings of territoriality.  Antonio notes also that with some aspects of the project there was a steep learning curve and storage space and maintenance for the database needed to be procured and negotiated.

Antonio then goes on to describe the general workflow for the project.  The letters are digitized, then metadata records are created, and finally a transcription will be made of each letter.  Sotomayor notes that each step entails a series of decisions to be made and funding to be secured.  Staff support at each step is critical as well.  The digital platform chosen for the project is eXtensible Text Framework (XTF).

Antonio concludes the presentation with a brief overview of the current work on the project.  This stage includes interacting closely with the IT department and securing funding to create transcriptions of the letters.  Project staff will work with faculty members to assess the digital products created and to help the project team to further develop the digital materials into a teaching tool.

The next presentation was given by Luis A. González concerning the Archivo Mesoamericano project.  Luis begins with thanks to the panel organizers for the invitation to present.  He introduces the Archivo Mesoamericano as a resource.  It is an archive of video materials that is freely accessible online and fully searchable using Spanish keywords.  The project is international in two senses:  the first, being that two of the partner institutions are located outside of the United States; and two, that the records in the Archivo Mesoamericano are in both Spanish and English and are searchable using Spanish search terms.  The institutions involved in the creation of the Archivo Mesoamericano include the University of Indiana and two other partners which are the Institute for the Historia de Nicaragua and Central America (IHNCA) and the Museum of the Word and the Image (MUPI).

Luis continues with a discussion of the history of the project.  It began in 2005 when two separate databases CAMVA and CLAMA were merged to form the Archivo Mesoamericano.  The consortium of partners included the University of Indiana (CLACS and DLP), CIESAS, IHNCA, and MUPI.  Jeffrey Gould was an early founder of the Archivo Mesoamericano as he created the original consortium from a network of protest projects in California.  The project was funded with a TICFIA grant.

The goals of the Archivo Mesoamericano project are the following:  1) preservation of a wide range of video content and video sources; 2) dissemination and access to video resources made freely available for educational purposes.  The archive’s materials are indexed, annotated, and are discoverable via WorldCat; and 3) to be technologically innovative.  An annotation tool was developed at the University of Indiana for use on the video materials in the archive.  Although the tool is proprietary, training workshops were provided for all partner institutions.  The content of the archive would be of interest to those who study indigenous languages, conditions and conflicts in rural communities, and rural guerrilla conflicts.

Luis then gave a demonstration of how to navigate to the Archivo Mesoamericano webpage, how to enter the database via the browser interface, how to search for video materials, and what kinds of video material a user can expect to find.

Luis concludes with a brief summary of the highlights of the Archivo Mesoamerica which are the following:  the Archivo is a searchable digital archive, it is an open access archive, it provides a unique teaching and research resource, titles are currently being catalogued, the Archivo will provide long-term preservation of its content as the University of Indiana will sustain the database, and there is institutional cooperation involved in the development and long-term sustainability of the current database

The final presentation was that of Drs. Sarah Buck Kachaluba and Lynn Shirey concerning the foundations for establishing the Digital Primary Sources Subcommittee within SALALM.  Lynn Shirey begins with a brief background discussion.  She explains that numerous researchers based at small institutions were having difficulty finding and gaining access to primary resources necessary to their studies.  Their needs prompted the start of a project to create a finding aid for primary sources.  An early version was drawn up by combining multiple lists, creating a bibliography, and adding webpage links.  A sub-committee of two people who would also serve as an editorial board was established and they made an early effort to secure funding and which was subsequently provided initially from SALALM.

The moderator, Dr. Rafael Tarragó and current sub-committee chairman, interjected at this point to add that the sub-committee now numbers at more than 25 people and it held its first official meeting at the current annual conference of SALALM.  He gave a brief summary of the results of the first sub-committee meeting and a demonstration of the webpage and current listing of primary resources.

Sarah, Lynn, and Rafael conclude the presentation with a series of needs for how the sub-committee and the current primary source list could be moved forward.  These efforts include:  help with cataloging and organizing the list; securing more funding; and providing more depth to the current listing of primary sources beyond the immediate needs expressed initially be a select number of researchers.  A final comment was interjected by panelist Luis A. González that the current listing of primary sources comes only from members of SALALM and asks whether there would be an opportunity to open it up to materials held by institutions outside of SALALM.

The Question and Answer period began with a comment from Dr. Sarah Aponte of the Dominican Studies Institute directed to panelist Antonio Sotomayor.  She describes a “Spanish paleography tool” that is used at the Institute and she has found it very helpful for teaching people how to read paleography.  She suggests that it may be helpful to Antonio with his Conde de Montemar Letters digitization project.  Panelist Luis A. González of the University of Indiana and moderator Rafael Tarragó of the University of Minnesota affirm the tool’s usefulness.

Diana Restrepo Torres of the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango poses a question to Luis A. González of the University of Indiana:  When you say “searchable” [in reference to the Archivo Mesoamericano], what do mean?  Is it searchable only by the title or for content within the films as well?

Luis A. González responds that both title and content are searchable and shows several examples searching on keywords, dates, and places.  He explains that the all of the scenes in each film are annotated and catalogued using proprietary software developed at the University of Indiana.  The software was originally used to analyze and index folk music videos and has since been re-tooled for use with the ethnographic videos in the Archivo Mesoamericano.  One of the reasons for developing this software was to provide multi-lingual access to the materials.

Maria Torres of the Universidad de Puerto Rico poses a question to Luis A. González of the University of Indiana about the language used to create the descriptive texts and subject headings in the videos contained in the Archivo Mesoamericano.

Luis A. González responds that the vocabulary used for the Archivo Mesoamericano metadata was adapted from that used by UNESCO for describing cultural subjects.

Luis A. González of the University of Indiana poses a question to Antonio Sotomayor of the University of Illinois:  Antonio, based on your descriptions of letters in bundles and their orientation, what are you thinking of doing [with respect to representing the original physical orientation of the texts on pages of letters].

Antonio responds with a demonstration of the vertical orientation of the texts in one letter, but the spatial orientation of the letter’s texts does not necessarily correspond with the train of thought conveyed in the reading of the letter.  A graduate student familiar with the texts of colonial folios was brought in to help decode the structures of the letters.  He points out that this is one example of why the Conde de Montemar Letters project must be a collaborative one.

Lynn Shirey of the Library of Congress adds that the project could endeavor to show how the writing in the letters can be re-orientated.

Antonio responds that this could be tricky to do.  It shows how essential it is to know well the nature (both physical and content wise) of the materials being digitized in order to best structure the resulting database.  He notes that it takes more time to plan a database structure than to actually build it.

Rafael E. Tarragó of the University of Minnesota comments that paper was expensive and very important during the Colonial period, so people would economize when it came to filling the space on pages of paper.

Antonio Sotomayor of the University of Illinois comments that the goal of the project is to capture the whole essence of each letter in reference to watermarks on the papers because this may be of interest to researchers.

Christine Hernández of Tulane University adds that there are visualization tools that can be used in a database of images to convey orientation and position of database items in a series.

Antonio Sotomayor of the University of Illinois replies that the project begins with adding informative essays about the viceroy’s family to explain provenience and structure of the letters and to explain the cultural context of the entirety of the collection.

Rafael E. Tarragó of the University of Minnesota ends the session at 11:45 am.

Moderator:      Alison Hicks, University of Colorado, Boulder
Rapporteur:    Melissa Gasparotto, Rutgers University

Paula Covington, Vanderbilt University
Latin American Digital Projects: Student, Faculty and Library Collaborations at Vanderbilt University

Anne Barnhart, University of West Georgia
Because Learning Is Not Just for Students: Information Literacy for Faculty

Sarah Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University
Follow Up to “From Dub Assessment to Smart Assessment”: Adaptions for FSU Libraries

Suzanne M. Schadl, University of New Mexico
Tagging ASARO: A UNM Experiment in Crowd-Sourcing and Collection Development

Daisy V. Domínguez, The City College of New York Libraries (CUNY)
Teach With Music

Molly E. Molloy, New Mexico State University
The Femicide Fallacy

Barbara Alvarez, University of Michigan
Don Quixote in English: A Chronology: A Digital Humanities Project for the Classroom

Paula presented on a Dean’s fellows program at Vanderbilt Libraries to pair advanced undergraduates and graduate students with a librarian mentor, usually to work on digitization projects (this can include metadata, digitizing, etc.). Many students end up using these digital collections when working on their dissertations, too.

She gave several examples of current fellows and their projects.

●       Helguera Collection of Colombiana
This Colombia-in-the-19th-century project includes descriptive thematic essays. The essays are done as a separate independent study. The collection includes broadsides, pamphlets and programas.
●       Oral histories from the Manuel Zapata Olivella Papers
Zapata Olivella was an Afro-Colombian novelist and anthropologist. The collection includes transcriptions of interviews with ancianos that students in colegios across Colombia interviewed. The hope is to add tapes at some point.
●       Ecclesiastical & Secular Sources for Slave Societies
This project digitally preserves Cuban, Colombian and Brazilian church and clerical documents relating to Africans and Afro-decedents. Among its uses is genealogy.

Anne Barnhart, University of West Georgia
Because Learning Is Not Just for Students: Information Literacy for Faculty

Anne presented on teaching information literacy workshops for faculty at University of West Georgia. She noted that faculty may have tunnel vision, and can be hard to reach with librarians’ information literacy message. They’re pulled in several directions already, but are also envious that librarians have the opportunity to go to conferences where they learn to teach and about new research in pedagogy. Anne established a workshop series called “GoodLibrations: Because learning is not just for students,” in response to this need. She provided food and alcohol as an incentive to attend.

Some of the topics included: leveraging Google apps, information ethics, using Adobe Creative Suite, practices for teaching critical thinking, Endnote, a celebration of faculty research that was especially popular, and a promotion & tenure dossier workshop. The topics were chosen by questionnaire.

Anne also helped plan and organized the Innovations in pedagogy conference, to address lack of pedagogy instruction for faculty. To help learn about how to teach faculty, she attended POD.

Sarah Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University
Follow Up to “From Dumb Assessment to Smart Assessment”: Adaptions for FSU Libraries

Sarah attended the “From Dumb Assessment to Smart Assessment” session at SALALM and got a lot out of it. She incorporated a version of that workshop into the FSU Libraries public services retreat. She developed 3 power points (active learning, writing student learning outcomes and one on assessment) that were heavily cribbed from Alison Hicks, Anne Barnhart, Meghan Lacey & AJ Johnson. She also developed templates for writing student outcomes for different disciplines. A few liaisons who did a lot of instruction found it very useful.

There were, however, limitations: some folks in mid management were pulled away in the middle and they would have benefitted. Moreover, nly public services librarians were there so some liaisons missed out.

Sarah detailed the ways she’s incorporated these strategies into her own instruction:

●       She’s started handing out worksheets for students to work in pairs to brainstorm resources they could use to find primary and secondary sources, and posting these worksheets on a wall so others could provide feedback. This didn’t work very well, so now she’s developed pre and post-session assessment handouts.

  • The pre- asks students why their research topics are and to identify things they want to learn during the session.
  • The post- asks for 1-3 things students learned and 1 thing they want to learn in the next sessions

She has gotten positive feedback from this
●       Sarah has also developed and taught a 3-hour session, where she used the worksheet again. This gave her productive feedback to use as they searched. She asked students to send her one resource they found during the session but few followed through.

The assessment workshop skills she learned have also helped her in other ways: she recently was able to help a colleague who needed to write student learning outcomes for a conference panel proposal.

Suzanne M. Schadl, University of New Mexico
Tagging ASARO: A UNM Experiment in Crowd-Sourcing and Collection Development

Suzanne talked about her work on the exhibit, Tagging ASARO: UNM experiment in crowd-sourcing and collection development (done with Mike Graham de la Rosa among others) at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Various people were involved in the design of the exhibit, including Americorps interns who brought their own stenciling art skills to the installation because of how inspired they were by ASARO’s work.

ASARO: Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca  is participatory and about “getting up” and getting the word out. They use varied formats and venues. The goal of the exhibit was to transform and reframe work of this collective for the in the spirit of their own work but in a different context. The exhibit alters the context and creates dialogue – making connections between Oaxaca and Albuquerque. Suzanne has been working with Archive-it to archive digital files uploaded to ASARO website

The crowdsourcing element of the exhibit involved asking visitors to “tag” items using notecards. This was designed to foster community engagement with library. This crowdsourcing wasn’t so much about outsourcing descriptions and metadata but rather a “getting up” community response in the archives. (There was an issue with word “tag” and it’s multiple meanings. So it was important to encourage people to tag but not bring spray paint!)

There are going to be 5 community forums around the exhibit. The first one was a poetry slam with Nolan Eskeets. The tags and performances from this event are now part of this collection as well.

In two months they’ve had many cards posted, but nothing from the online component has been tagged. There is one place where comments not being posted. -The cave. This is in a different media format, so perhaps visitors are less able to interact with it than something in a frame on a wall.

Daisy V. Domínguez, The City College of New York Libraries (CUNY)
Teach With Music

Daisy observed that film is a preferred AV teaching tool in the classroom. She sent out a survey for Latin American Studies faculty on use of AV in LAS teaching. One professor suggested making a database, which she did using Omeka and it’s called Teach with Music. Currently it is hosted on her personal website:

The database includes titles of songs along with subjects, tags, a description, and how it can be used in education, all of which is contributed from LAS faculty. She demonstrated the usefulness of the database by playing some clips. One song about Oscar Romero has been used to talk about the church in a positive way via church activism. Another song, Zumbi by Jorge Ben, was suggested by a professor because it can be used to talk about plantation work by maroons, and the complexity of slave experience.

There are plans to connect this database to other databases like HAPI to help give thematic context to the themes explored in the songs.

Molly E. Molloy, New Mexico State University
The Femicide Fallacy

Molly presented about the news coverage about Juarez that has been dominated by femicide. She described the sensationalized coverage of sexualized murders of women in Juarez, arguing that this is not representative of the facts, and distracts from the problems facing the city. The picture is much more complicated that presented in the media because women are killed for a variety of reasons that may not have to do with their gender. She documented the various movies, books and pop culture references to the murders of women in Juarez, noting that much of the “information” available is speculation and not founded by reputable sources. The main book responsible for this perception is Cosecha de Mujeres, which brought the issue to public recognition, but the book is very poorly sourced.

Actual numbers reveal that a small percentage of homicides are women (9% of victims on average over 24 years). By comparison, in US that percentage is 22%. The Philadelphia Inquirer did an interactive database with charts of murders by gender, comparing Juarez and Philadelphia (because Philadelphia is similar in population). Juarez numbers are much higher for most years. However at the peak of hyper violence beginning in 2008, the rate really spikes incredibly. Women’s rates go up in tandem with men’s, however, not nearly as much. But both are higher than rates of murder in Philly. The murder rate spiked in 2008-2011, but is now on steep decline. In news articles searching, 9.2% of articles about Juarez are about femicide but in academic literature number that is 44%. The scholarly attention is out of proportion with reality.

There is a sense in the media that men killed in Juarez deserve it because they must be involved in narco-business, which is why there is so much less coverage of the hyperviolence that predominantly affects men.

Molly described many of the more commonly heard fallacies:

●       Thousands of factory girls have been raped mutilated, etc.

  1. 3/4 of deaths are domestic violence and only 12 out of 427 cases show mutilations

●       Since hyper violence began, women killed in same way that men are
●       Most of the women’s murders are unsolved because they are not cared about,

  • In truth there is a lack of prosecution across the board

She closed by reiterating that all of the lives lost in Juarez matter, not just women. All people are victims. Focusing on the deaths of women distracts and prevents people from dealing with the widespread slaughter of men and women.

Barbara Alvarez, University of Michigan
Don Quixote in English: A Chronology: A Digital Humanities Project for the Classroom

Barbara talked about the development of an online interactive chronology of translations of Don Quixote into English. At the University of Michigan, there are themed semesters. One semester the theme was language and translation, and the libraries and departments put on events to highlight that theme.

Barbara wanted to highlight the collections and also digital humanities with her project, so she developed a digital chronology project of the various editions of Don Quixote in English. It covers 1612 to the present day. For each entry they created bibliographic information with book cover images (if that title was available in their own collection), and linked to all editions of that particular translation available in the catalog. After the first version of the project, students worked to redesign it and augment it for usefulness. More features were added and the layout and design were made friendlier. A comparison feature was added in, which allows users to compare the original to various translations or to compare one translation to another. A bibliography was included as well, with information on various translations.

Gains from the project included:

●       Students were so engaged with and excited about the project.
●       Gaining new insights into the history of Don Quixote translations
●       Learning about research methods in Digital Humanities
●       See Digital Humanities in action through the Hispanic Baroque and The Cervantes Project
●       Learning about web design and accessibility
●       Having a librarian embedded in the course


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

Moderator: Lynn Shirey, Harvard University

Rapporteur: Sarah Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Saturday, June 16, 2012 2:00-3:00 PM, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Chair: Sarah Buck Kachaluba (Florida State U)

In Attendance: Holly Ackerman (Duke U), Peter Altekrüger (Interamerican Institute, Berlin), Sarah Buck Kachaluba (Florida State U), Melissa Guy (Arizona State U), Phil MacLeod (Emory U), Peter Johnson (Emeritus, Princeton U), Barbara Robinson (USC), Michael Scott (Georgetown U), Laura Shedenhelm (U Georgia), Rafael E. Tarragó (U Minnesota), Gayle Williams (FIU), Mary Jo Zeter (Michigan State U)

Sarah Buck Kachaluba facilitated a review and some revision of the documentation used by this committee to report collection statistics.  She proposed offering the Excel spreadsheet only, accompanied by a word form to be used as a worksheet and guide which will clarify the headings for each category of data and provide a place for those reporting to write down figures before transposing them into the Excel document.  This was followed by a review of the different categories of collection data listed on the Excel spreadsheet.  Those present decided to eliminate some categories and revise others to make the meaning clearer.

Sarah asked Holly Ackerman if she would review Sarah’s revisions to the Excel spreadsheet and the Word document that will accompany it.  Holly agreed.

At this point, the group turned briefly to a discussion of a second agenda item introduced at last year’s (2011) meeting: the creation of a book-length work on Latin American collection development.  In 2011, a list of committee members interested in participating was created.  In response to Sarah Buck Kachaluba’s call, Melissa Guy and Gayle Williams volunteered to take the lead on this project.


Panel 19, July 27, 2010, 9:00 am-10:30 am

Moderator: David S. Nolen, Mississippi State University
Presenter: Christopher Moore (Film Maker)
Rapporteur: Sarah A. Buck Kachaluba, Florida State University


This session was a screening of the film Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas. The filmmaker was present and available for additional conversation and questions after the screening, but the screening took up all the time allotted. This film was a sequel to an earlier film, done in 2006, when Moore and two fellow undergraduate students at Trinity College went to Venezuela to interview people with different perspectives on Hugo Chávez. At this time, the country was quite polarized. Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas, filmed in 2010, brought the three back to the same five regions, to reconnect with the same people.


Moving Pictures o Los Autos de Caracas, a title which refers to modes of transportation (and the importance of oil in Venezuela’s history, contemporary society and political-economy) as well as the process of self-identity construction, provides a fascinating look at Venezuela’s recent political and social history. The film’s inclusion of very different viewpoints (provided through interviews and accompanying film footage), culminated in a remarkably balanced perspective.


Those interviewed included individuals at Chávez’s campaign headquarters as well as people representing opposition parties; residents of an Amazonian village, an urban barrio constructed on a hill, and a town on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, that has sunk because of all the holes poked in the lake to extract oil. Each case provided unique insight into the inner-workings of Venezuela’s political-economy and society. For example, the government’s efforts to build a retaining wall and then build houses in a different location to remedy the dislocation of those living in the Maracaibo community were limited because out of 400 homes, only 8 people from the original community were living there. Other homes had been invaded by people with connections to the contractors who built them. Others questioned Chávez’s so-called “Socialist” orientation, arguing that if anything, people are becoming increasingly selfish and privatization is on the rise. For example, one member of another community explained that people used to share all of their food but this was no longer the case. Such personal testimonies were supplemented by interviews with Venezuelan and North American academics who explained, among other things, that Chávez’s administration made top-down decisions intended to serve the interests of the poor, but allowing for all to have a voice in the process was not a priority. In short, this was a compelling and fascinating look at contemporary Venezuela.

Meeting, May 28, 2011 4:00 – 5:00pm

In Attendance: Fernando Acosta Rodríguez (Princeton), Adán Benavides (UT Austin), Sarah Buck Kachaluba (FSU), Hortensia Calvo (Tulane U), Donna Canevari de Paredes (U Saskatchewan), Teresa Chapa (UNC-Chapel Hill), Paula Covington (Vanderbilt U), Melissa Guy (Arizona State U), Gerarda Holder (NALIS), Peter Johnson (Emeritus, Princeton U), Jana Krentz (U Kansas), Eudorah Loh (UCLA), Mei Mendez (U Miami), Ricarda Musser (Ibero-American Institute, Berlin), Eudoxio Paredes-Ruiz (U Saskatchewan), Laura Shedenhelm (U Georgia), James Simon (CRL) Rafael Tarragó (U Minnesota), Gayle Williams (FIU), John Wright (BYU).

Sarah Buck Kachaluba opened the meeting with a summary of what she hoped to accomplish.  She explained that as a relatively new SALALMista and member of the Committee, she thought it would be useful to have a panel and discussion exploring the collection survey process that this committee coordinates.   This would be aimed at relatively new professionals (sort of a how-to) but could also engender a discussion about broader theoretical and methodological issues.  She asked two more seasoned Latin Americanist librarians (Laura Shedenhelm and Teresa Chapa) who have extensive experience doing the assessment/survey as well as really interesting feedback about this process to talk about their:

  • collection assessment methodology (how they’ve done it, problems they’ve run into, how it’s changed with the conversion from the card catalog to the OPAC/ILS)
  • what the uses of such assessment statistics/data are (for Title VI applications, for example)
  • how the utility of such data is changing with the rise of digital technologies and new formats of materials

Sarah reviewed the different categories of the survey and summarized her own attempt to do a comprehensive survey during Fiscal Year 2008.

She explained that she views the “collection survey” as two projects:

1. calculating the total amount of new acquisitions for Latin America over the previous fiscal year (how much has been purchased – both monetarily and in terms of volumes/information units)

2. estimating the institution’s total Latin American Collection size.

The first project is not significantly difficult as she is the Latin American Studies bibliographer and can add up her allocations and/or firm orders to determine how much has been purchased.
The second project is much harder for her.  When she attempted a collection assessment during Fiscal Year 2008, she ran title counts for different call number ranges for Florida State, University of Florida, and Florida International (for example F 1201-3799 – Latin America/Spanish America and PQ 7081-8560 – Spanish Literature in Spanish America – Books).  She then compared FSU’s numbers in each range with those of FIU and UF and determined what percentage of FIU and UF’s numbers FSU held.  She averaged these percentages and then took that percentage of FIU and UF’s entire collection (since estimates for FIU and UF’s entire collection exist).

Some of the limitations of this methodology are:

  • The fact that a title count does not equal a volume count


  • The fact that there are many different classification/call number systems: LC, Dewey, and government document, plus separate collections that may not be included in a general library search.


  • The fact that call number ranges reflect classification systems which are more comprehensive for certain areas than others


  • The fact that FIU’s total estimate seems a bit low, considering that FIU reports that their LA collection is 67,000, yet their specific call number runs average 41% of UF’s (450,000), which would be 184,500.

This count was supplemented by additional shelf reading and catalog searching by subject to capture statistics for film/media, maps, and microform and by assistance from the Serials Acquisitions librarian to count Latin American subscriptions.

Sarah also laid out the different formats indicated by the survey and suggested that these might be updated at some point.  These include:

  • Print serial and monograph volumes
  • Databases
  • Computer tapes/diskettes
  • CD Roms
  • Electronic news sources
  • Gifts/exchanges


  • Microforms
  • Manuscripts and archives (measured in linear feet)
  • Cartographic materials
  • Graphic materials
  • Audio materials
  • Film and video materials

Teresa Chapa followed.  She explained that her collection assistant is the one who calculates the annual survey for her, but that she has been unclear on how to answer letter “F,” of the items “A-G” on question number “2” on the long form:
“Please break down Latin American expenditures in the following categories, if possible:
a. Monographs (firm orders) __________Amount in 2009/2010 not supplied on blanket orders and approval plans in c, d, e, and f below
b. Serials (Periodical Subscriptions and Standing Orders) __________Amount in 2009/2010
c. Blanket orders and approval plans from Latin America __________Amount in 2009/2010
d. Blanket orders and approval plans from the U.S. __________Amount in 2009/2010
e. Blanket orders and approval plans from other than the U.S. or Latin America __________Amount in 2009/2010
f. Materials paid from funds not specifically targeted for Latin American materials __________Amount in 2009/2010
g. Travel expenses for field acquisitions __________Amount in 2009/2010”

The question, Teresa explained, is how to come up with a figure for letter “F,” especially if one is using a mixture of Latin American and Iberian funds?

Teresa asked whether it would be helpful to alternatively report allocations and firm orders by describing the funds as we do in our institutions?  For example, should we report the total amount of acquisitions purchased with title VI funds?

Teresa also explained that she doesn’t count packages or bundles, because to separate out the Latin American portion would be very difficult.  She asked how others handled this issue.

She also asked about serials not specific to Latin America (for example, subject specific periodicals dealing with all regions).  The consensus was that these are not counted.

Dora Loh responded that the survey attempted to gather the best count possible, with the goal of leveraging what we can to our administrators to get funds.

Teresa Chapa indicated that she understood this and agreed but thought it would be good to try to develop the same standards to the best extent possible.

Melissa Guy shared that Arizona State has totally revamped its acquisitions process and no longer has fund codes.  She asked what are the call number ranges that Teresa and I had referred to for Latin America.

At this point, Teresa Chapa and Sarah Buck Kachaluba pointed to Laura Shedenhelm, whose MLS thesis was creating a conspectus of call number ranges for Latin America.

Paula Covington shared that she has wrestled with the survey four times over the years.  She explained that the figures she has gotten vary considerably and are crazy.  Doing a physical estimate is impossible.  Yet the national resource center wants exact numbers every year.

Adán Benavides explained that every library at the University of Texas likely collects Latin American materials but the count provided by UT-Austin reflects only the Benson LAC.  While the survey figures may be inexact and inconsistent across institutions, a consistent response from a single library may indicate its long-term trends.  Regardless, he analyzed the five largest collections to answer the SALALM survey for about a decade.  Interesting results in comparison to UT-Austin allowed a basis to justify its continued funding at a high level.

Several LASERistas pointed to Miguel Valladares’s method of running reports in WorldCat without using WorldCat Collection Analysis.  This method uses location codes in the subject and publisher fields as an alternative.  James Simon is also familiar with this methodology.

Teresa Chapa observed that the survey works for us as a tool for comparison, even though it is wonky.  The problem is that it is very time-consuming.

Gayle Williams explained that she, Scott Van Jacob, and Dan Hazen had minimally revamped the survey a few years ago, and that was why diskettes, for example, were still up there as a format.

In her presentation, Laura Shedenhelm explained that Georgia has not done the form since she arrived because she does not have time.  When she came to Georgia, the Latin American position went from Full-time to Half-time.  In Portuguese and Spanish language, the focus is on literature and social science, and since most of the material comes in through the English/American approval plan, there is no way to count it.  Furthermore, acquisitions in art, for example, are not necessarily known, so end up not always being counted; going to every bibliographer is not feasible.

What Laura Shedenhelm did when she put together applications for Title VI funds was to estimate the size of the Fs and the PQs.  In the past, In the past, she would have gone to the card catalog and estimated that one inch of cards equaled an appropriate number of volumes. What she has recently done is constructed a list of all Latin American countries and regions and ran those through the catalog in subject heading searches.  The head of Collection Development then spent twenty-five hours de-duping and picking out strings of subject headings and turned these into volume counts.  But for some reason the numbers given to the Latin American center were halved when they went into the Title VI application.  The process was massively time-consuming, even with automation.  She was also told not to include special collections or audio-visual materials.  They only wanted print.

Dora Loh suggested using OCLC to get some information.

Peter Johnson asked what the quality of the information being collected is.

Paula Vanderbilt added that in the LASER WorldCat study one can look at the overlap/uniqueness as one indication of quality.  Presumably something unique to a library would be of high quality (or value).

Sarah Buck Kachaluba wanted clarification on the question about the “quality” of information – did information refer to the “quality” of the collection survey data being collected?  If so, how does the quality of the data relate to the purpose of gathering the data?  Presumably the quality should be adequate to meet the purpose.  Or did Peter mean the “quality” of the information materials (books, etc) being acquired, which were counted in the collection survey data?
Peter Johnson stated that he thought the source of the materials was an important indicator of quality.   He wanted to know what percentage of the materials came through a blanket order, what percentage came from field research (buying trips), what percentage came from specialized dealers, and what percentage came from faculty requests.

Adán Benavides explained that new categories of information had recently been added to begin developing a qualitative element in the survey.

Gayle Williams added that these qualitative issues are what we are trying to address in LARPP regional distribution assignments.

Rafael Tarragó explained that a search by call numbers in the LC system can provide a rough estimate of what areas given collections are strongest in.

Laura Shedenhelm says it depends also on who (ie which cataloger) put in the call numbers.  For example, if the cataloger left an extra space in the call number tag, a book won’t be counted.
Adán Benavides brought up the importance of using such statistics to get an idea of how we have been collecting over time – over ten years, for example.  He suggested that we might want to think about putting together a book-length work – for example, looking at 20 libraries – how have they done collection development and collected for Latin America?

James Simon followed up by saying that Asian Studies librarians just did this in the book Collecting Asia.

Fernando Acosta Rodríguez said he liked that idea – we could look at what we are doing now in terms of archival collections.

Sarah Buck Kachaluba asked to what degree the book would look at the history of collecting and strategies for collection development and to what degree it would review the collection statistics we’ve gathered.

Melissa Guy said she thought the narrative of collecting would be more interesting.

James Simon said that the East Asian librarians were very committed to their statistics.  Vicky Dahli from Kansas compiles the numbers and statistics.

Jana Krentz said that Vicky presented at a Mollas meeting.

Dora Loh observed that East Asian collections are distinctive in certain ways and can be separated more easily than Latin American collections.

Jana Krentz said that one can also limit collection analysis to East Asian languages.

Adán Benavides suggested that we could limit Latin American collection development analysis to the past year.

Dora Loh said that our collection surveys also indicate a low reflection of collection size in OCLC, suggesting that there is a huge catalog backlog.

We concluded the meeting by deciding that we needed to revise and simplify the survey somewhat and pursue a book project.  Sarah Buck Kachaluba noted the names of people interested in contributing to these two projects:

Committee For Survey:
Adán Benavides
Gayle Williams
Teresa Chapa
Sarah Buck Kachaluba

Committee for Book:
Melissa Guy
Laura Shedenhelm
Fernando Acosta Rodríguez
Adán Benavides
Mei Mendez
Ricarda Musser
Hortensia Calvo
Jana Krentz
Paula Covington


Sarah Buck Kachaluba
Florida State University