Currently viewing the tag: "Sarah Yoder Leroy"

Monday, May 20, 2013, 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Moderator:      Irene Münster, University of Maryland, Shady Grove

Rapporteur:     Sarah Yoder Leroy, University of Pittsburgh


  • Contemporary Indigenous Scholarly and Cultural Dialog: A View from Latin American Serial Publications — Ruby Gutierrez, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Latin American University and Anthropological Libraries and Issues Related to Documenting the History, Cultures and Languages of Latin American Indians: Some Common Problems and Recommendations for Possible Solutions — Wendy Griffin, Formerly Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán
  • Community, Relationship and Exchange – We (Librarians) Have It All! — Rachael Shea, COPACE, Clark University

After Irene Münster welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers, Ruby Gutierrez described 29 indigenous journals from Mexico, Central America, and South America.  The journals fall into four broad categories: academic journals, those from indigenous organizations or institutions, journals from indigenous groups, and cultural journals.  She began with an overview of the characteristics of these journals.  They are all in Spanish (or Portuguese if from Brazil) rather than indigenous languages.  Some are in print and some electronic, and the electronic ones are often in non-standard formats.  With the electronic journals, past issues might not be accessible.  Frequency varies, and a journal’s online presence is frequently not up to date, so when a journal no longer appears on a web site, it isn’t clear whether it still exists or not.  Ruby spent most of her time discussing examples of academic indigenous journals.  These started appearing when indigenous groups created their own intercultural universities, or in some countries, departments within existing universities.  They cover four main subject areas:  education, culture (including linguistics and language), sustainable tourism, and sustainable development.  She also spoke briefly of journals from indigenous organizations and groups (which cover a wide variety of subjects), showing examples from various countries.  She finished with a few examples of cultural journals. A primary concern regarding indigenous journals is preservation, especially of e-journals. These journals are not the sort that will become part of Redalyc or Scielo.  They are available now, but unless someone is willing to preserve them, they may disappear in a few years.

Wendy Griffin followed and speaking from her experience in Honduras, she discussed problems which persist for those researching Latin American indians.  She pointed out that research on indians has always been problematic, since tribes have almost always changed their names and the spelling of their names over the years, a problem when one is searching for information about a particular group.  These groups have often been written about in a language other than the language of the country where they live.  This is a particular problem with older books, many of which have not been translated from the original language, or made available in the area or even the country being studied.  A lot of the archaeology from these groups is in foreign museums where the collections remain un-digitized.  Wendy suggested that web pages documenting indigenous groups be held jointly by universities in the country and abroad, and that there be coordination of terms used referring to particular indigenous groups.  While finding documents is a major problem, another is the dissemination and preservation of research that is being done.  Her particular research interest is Honduras, and she finds that materials produced in Honduras are not getting to the U.S. and in some cases are not even being published.  No one is collecting manuscripts and unpublished books.  There is more available on the internet than in print (material which can be lost when a site is no longer maintained).  Non-print materials such as videos (many available on YouTube), oral history, television shows, and CDs exist, but aren’t being preserved in Honduran universities, so a wealth of information is in danger of being lost.

Rachel Shea began by speaking of being alive and well today thanks to a Huichol shaman.  She has studied Plant Spirit Medicine, and spent 12 years pilgrimaging in the Huichol tradition to a sacred site in Mexico.  During that time she had to unlearn how she viewed the world, and to learn in a new way.  What she hopes to bring to us is a way of engaging indigenous thought and action in the post-modern world in terms of libraries.  She firmly believes that significant information from indigenous cultures will be saved by the gods, elders, and shamans, when and how they see fit.  The question then becomes the purpose for our engagement with indigenous thought, if libraries are not needed for the preservation of this information.  Rachel believes that librarians operate more similarly to an indigenous culture than any other well established group in Western culture.  The basic tenets of indigenous cultures are community, exchange, and relationship.  Librarians are accomplished at all three, and we librarians understand and work within the framework of these values.  We all use the same cataloging system, but all have different collections and ways to display our collections that represent our library community.  We form community with our users, and pay attention to what they are searching for.  We engage in an exchange with them (for example, in a reference interview) to determine and understand what they need, and to find out where in the spectrum of what we know this need fits, continuing until we find the answer.  We are all about relationships–we form relationships with our users, with each other, and with the technologies we use.  In cataloging, subject headings and call numbers form a relationship when describing an item.  We have what it takes to form a viable community.  When things get difficult and fall apart, librarians have the tools we need to save our people.  She recommended that we read Information ecologies, by Bonnie Nardi and Vicki O’Day.

There were no questions



Monday, May 20, 8:30-10:00

Moderator:  Sarah Yoder Leroy – Latin American/Hispanic Languages Catalog Librarian, University of Pittsburgh

Rapporteur:  Melissa Guy


Wikipedia and libraries collaborating to increase world knowledge of Latin America

  • Leigh Thelmadatter – Wikipedia Education Program. Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México
  • Adding Value and Increasing Access with a Static Budget: the PDA Acquisitions Model and Institutional Repository of the Inter-American Development Bank Alyson Williams – Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC  & Ivette Fis de Melo – Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC
  • Gifts-In-Kind: A Model for Increasing Benefits, and a Boon for Area Studies Michelle Elneil – Gifts-In-Kind Program Manager – MSLIS Graduate Student, University of Florida

We apologize for any inconvenience, but technical difficulties with our taping equipment during this presentation inhibit a thorough report. Please contact individual presenters for additional information.  Thank you.



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

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


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

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

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

Questions & Comments:

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

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

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

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

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

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