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Currently viewing the tag: "Wendy Pederson"
Moderator: Bronwen K. Maxson, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Rapporteur: Viviane Ferreira de Faria, University of New Mexico
Daniel Schoorl on behalf of Orchid Mazurkiewicz, Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI)
Lost in Translation/Traducción/Tradução: Building a Trilingual HAPI
Wendy Pedersen, University of New Mexico
Discovery through Acquisitions: Colonizing WorldCat with WMS
Timothy Thompson, Princeton University
Descrever é preciso: Adding Item-level Metadata to the Leila Míccolis
Brazilian Alternative Press Collection at the University of Miami Libraries
Daniel Schoorl presented on behalf of Orchid Mazurkiewicz. The moderator presented Daniel Schoorl’s biography and Orchid Mazurkiewicz’s biography. They have been working together since 2009.
Daniel introduced the presentation by presenting a short description of HAPI. Last fall HAPI’s new version was launched in English, Spanish and Portuguese and the new indexing is inspired by the American Model.
Daniel provided the description of the 1st version of HAPI online, launched in 1997. He also provided a description of the 2nd version, launched in 2007. As he compared the two versions, Daniel established that the 2007 version of HAPI online, with interface changes in Spanish and Portuguese, had the same to offer in terms of subject headings plus the terms in Spanish and Portuguese as the version of 1997, redirecting to the English subheadings. They added a new heading and also modified all headings.
Then, Daniel moved on to presenting the new version, which is also trilingual. This version allows for the trilingual search with autocomplete prompts. It also has a smaller amount in French, German and Italian.
The presenter stated that the way people used HAPI drastically changed, thus the trilingual version change was driven by a desire to provide greater content accessibility to Spanish and Portuguese users. According to the presenter, the new HAPI provides Spanish and Portuguese translations of the main subject headings. Apart from being trilingual, the major shift in this new version involves translations of complete subject thesaurus, making it now possible for trilingual subject searching. Thus, in whichever language version, it will seek all the three languages versions of the subject heading. You can search any of the subjects in one language – autocomplete prompts – and you will see the subheading in any of those languages.
As their work showed, the real shift resides in doing away with English as a dominant language and creating this trilingual subject file, with translations of all subject headings and subdivisions. Considering the international standards for developing multilingual thesauri and, when we discuss these standards, there are basically three types of issues to be addressed: administrative, linguistic and technological. The creation of a multilingual thesaurus involved providing equal treatment of all languages. It should be a fully developed thesaurus, structured with all semantic relationships as prevalence, affinity and hierarchy. The idea to create this was to build a thesaurus in each language without reference to the terms or structure of an existent thesaurus. In this sense, the source language becomes the dominant language with a result of the target languages adequately reflecting it (the dominant one) in the target cultures. As a monolingual thesaurus is always culturally biased, the straight translation might be considered a form of cultural imperialism. It’s a management decision, and often the choice made is to use the already existing thesaurus for obviously economic reasons. There is an English thesaurus with a number of translations for main terms, but when it comes to terminology, when languages have equal status, every preferred term in one of those languages should be matched by a good one. Thus, there are decisions to make to avoid literal translations from the source language into meaningless expressions into the target language.
The presenter reinforced the importance to take the following issues into consideration: prevalence issues (for instance, when the target language does not contain a term that corresponds in meaning to the source language) and technological issues (because a developer might say that, when it comes to technology, almost anything is doable and it is just a question of what you can afford). In the light of such considerations, their project aimed at the creation of a text structure that could provide the maximum flexibility that they could afford.
In 2013, a new editorial platform for HAPI was created: HAPI Central. The system completely transformed the way that data and the editorial process were managed. Daniel showed the record for political campaigns with Portuguese and Spanish translations. Since the indexing was done into only one language, there was the need to identify terms in every language and apply them separately, but at the same time it allowed for multilingual searching and across all three languages as the terms are all connected. So for example, someone doesn’t have to be in a Spanish version of the database to successfully perform a search using Spanish subheadings.
According to the presenter, the weakness of the structure is that it offers little flexibility in dealing with issues when there is no one to one equivalence between terms. The data structure is relational, so each index article points to the subject heading record associated with it and the trilingual display is very simple. Daniel showed an example containing the same article in three layers of HAPI Central.
Daniel described the process for creating subheading translations. He also exemplified the complexity of the process by highlighting the existence of numerous headings for specific indigenous groups. The process to create these subheadings involved consulting the Brazilian National Library (Portuguese Language); Mexican National libraries (Spanish Language) and the Library of Congress (English Language) as well as the and lsch-es.org website. Their team had to make decisions among the different options and they come up with headings of their own, they looked for literature they found at HAPI and terminology found on the web. They had a list reviewed by a translation company that uses native speakers. HAPI staff then reviewed the list. Overall the process took 5 to 6 months to translate around 3000 headings, including subdivisions.
Daniel also touched on a couple of issues that posed difficulties during the process. For instance, the presenter mentioned that the standard does not require structure, but the HAPI system does. The presenter used the term land reform (agrarian reform) as an example of duplicating and creating a circular reference through non preferred direct translations. He also used the small business term ‘pequenas e médias empresas’ to demonstrate the comprehensive approach of HAPI to the translations. Another example is the case of ‘biomass energy’ (biofuel and biogas) whose translation (‘biocombustíveis’) in the HAPI update is supported by crossing information with the Brazilian National Library. In another example, they decided to use the Spanish term ‘comunidad andina’ as the preferred heading instead of using the original term ‘Indian community’ in the old system. It was advantageous to change the original heading to the English version, now there are three different versions of the term and they found all references associated with the term.
The presenter closed with a brief overview of what is ahead for HAPI. With a browse subjects option, one can search for different keywords and see the preferred or used headings as well as redirect for non-preferred terms (eg: from Healthcare to Health).
Wendy Pedersen, University of New Mexico
Discovery through Acquisitions: Colonizing WorldCat with WMS
Wendy Pedersen was introduced by the moderator and presented her biography.
The presenter introduced the topic of the presentation by defining WMS – WorldShare Management Systems: a web/cloud-based system that no longer requires a local server, filing updates nor overlay docs imports. WMS was acquired for a consortium of 17 libraries to replace III Millennium, which was client-based and maintained on servers at UNM.
According to the presenter, the change to WMS has required the UNM librarians to internalize certain changes to the vocabulary of acquisitions and cataloging. Wendy used a comparative approach to provide the correspondence of vocab between the old system and WMS. For instance, Integrated Library Services platform (ILS) is now Library Services Platform (LSP). Another change regards the transition from having a catalogue record to utilizing metadata instead. Also, in the new system, receiving is cataloging and cataloging is receiving.
As Wendy pointed out, when it is necessary to make an order, one performs a search in the backend interface, discovering items and searching WorldCat. The system comes up with various options and, with some luck, the item will immediately be available in WorldCat. And, once the item is found, one can just add it to the order. Moreover, the acquisition ordering staff are trained to pick the best record, and it is very much like copy cataloging. According to Wendy, there are several things that the new system allows the acquisition ordering staff to do, for instance: they can add it to a purchase order, apply a template when necessary, add fun, change the process entirely from zero to monograph, put in the shelving location if it is known, etc. However, WMS will not provide information regarding the date in which the book/item was actually received. Because the term ‘receiving’ means something else in WMS, Wendy and her team had to think of other ways to express it, especially when the physical pieces came into the building. As the situation surfaced at times, they called it ‘checking in’.
Wendy stated that, in the catalog, the receiving function actually pulls up the record and gives you a code number. Thus, when you put in the barcode and hit enter, you are in the catalog and you are done. From then on, Wendy walked us through the process of changing the location of an item in WMS if need be. She also explained how to verify whether the record being displayed is correct or not. The presenter also showed that the system allows for messages to be added as short or longer local Public notes. Hence, the presenter was able to demonstrate a few tools of WMS, and possible “hiccups”, showing how easy it is to navigate the system.
In the next segment of the presentation, Wendy pointed out that difficulties might arise when Latin American books do not have a record on WorldCat. As her statistics showed, 25% of the works received on approval plans from Latin America are not found in WorldCat at the time of receipt. The lack of such records hinders the generation and payment of approval invoices; and the creation of a purchase order. Thus, in order to be added to a purchase order, each title needs to exist in WorldCat. There is no such thing as a temporary or masked record since WMS is Live! So, the presenter provided an example of how to go about making an item/book discoverable in case its record is not available.
The presenter highlighted some results based on UNM’s catalogers’ experience since WMS was implemented – about a year ago. Among these results, the presenter stated that her team has created over eleven hundred records for Latin America monographs that were not otherwise ‘discoverable’ yet. She also mentioned that, with WMS, the UNM Latin American Technical Services team can make better original contributions to WorldCat in the ordering process, from the creation of more substantial K level records to the subsequent upgrade to full level by their own catalogers after the backlog has aged 2-3 months. Wendy also mentioned that, in the past year, over 1,100 Latin American works have been made discoverable to the broader community via UNM’s use of WMS for acquisitions.
The presenter also proposed some takeaways from the application of WMS. On one hand, this system might be good for business since it creates efficient workflows for acquisition of mainstream materials; it streamlines cataloging and item creation processes; it updates catalogs automatically to latest bibliographic enhancements; and it forces discoverability for less common library materials. On the other hand, the use of WMS might not be so good for the catalogers’ profession since its interface is all point-and-click with dropdowns; there is more work for acquisition of less mainstream materials; non-catalogers can alter records or delete holdings; and it populates WorldCat with a certain number of junk records, leaving the professional cataloging to “someone else”.
Wendy closed her presentation on the UNM’s migration to WMS by suggesting further reading of the following articles:
1) Sever Bordeianu and Laura Kohl, “The Voyage Home: New Mexico Libraries Migrate to WMS, OCLC’s Cloud-Based ILS”, to be published in Technical Services Quarterly (v. 32, no. 3).
2) Claire-Lise Benaud and Sever Bordeianu, “OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services: A Brave New World for Catalogers”, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2014.1003668 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01639374.2014.1003668
Timothy Thompson, Princeton University
Descrever é preciso: Adding Item-level Metadata to the Leila Míccolis
Brazilian Alternative Press Collection at the University of Miami Libraries
Timothy’s biography was introduced by the moderator.
Timothy started by disclaiming that the presentation was initially designed to be a “Roda Viva” presentation.
Firstly, the presenter showed an outline of his project about the metadata. The outline was divided into 5 parts: Background; Timeline; Approach; Metadata enhancement and Data Transformation and Analysis.
Thus, Timothy started with the project background by introducing Leila Miccolis, a Brazilian poet and activist whose career in the 70s and 80s was quite productive. The poet was involved in the Zine scene in underground networks during the dictatorship. The collection spreads mostly from the 60s to the early 90s, but there are some recent materials too. It also comprises a Brazilian Alternative Press Collection Publication sample, where works such as ‘Lampião da Esquina’ and ‘Opinião’ can be found.
The presenter read the statement of the mission of the Collection and its description.
Then, the timeline for the project was briefly presented. In 2006, the acquisition, processing and inventory of individual publications phases took place under the guidance of the University of Miami Library. Timothy presented a sample of a pdf, which gave a bit of information about the collection, but did not really make the publication accessible to users. In 2010, the University of Miami and other institutions around the Caribbean were involved in a project called the Collaborative Archive from the African Diaspora. In 2013, the LM collection metadata enhancement was funded by a grant using the Collaborative Archive from the African Diaspora funds and the metadata enhancement focused on the representation of Afro Brazilian identity within LM’s collection.
When explaining the approach to the project, the presenter highlighted the reigning paradigm in archival conventions: more process, less product. This paradigm applies to archivists, who seek to make their collections quickly available for people to have some kind of access to researches that already exist, do not spend a lot of time providing a higher level description of each folder, each piece, etc. The focus is to put the collection out there so people have immediate access to it; and, when they have time, they go back to the files and add to the metadata. Based on insights provided by this paradigm, Timothy described his own experience in working with metadata with minimal resources in a sustainable way. The presenter affirmed that this project may serve as a foundation for a model of metadata handling with limited funding. Thus, the introduction of the concept of Archival Context and Thematic Focus – metadata librarians to complement archival research – was concluded.
In the following segment of the presentation, Timothy provided the Metadata Enhancement Template he utilized in his project. The template had a streamlined metadata format, 54 elements for things like title, creator, contributor, description, publisher, dates – the bare bones, core elements that are necessary for discoverability. They used the pdf inventory as a basis, and split that up into individual records in this template. The template was given to a student to fill in by hand. This work was done 10 hours per week and the student recruited to perform this task was Brazilian and took classes with Professor Butterman for her major in Gender.
The presenter also described the Metadata Enhancement contents. The collection is very large, containing about 120 boxes, focused on thematic approach to African Brazilian identity. They looked for individual poems or articles or special issues that had some relation to or some representation of African Brazilian identity. This was not necessarily systematic, it was skimming the public issues and looking for things, but whenever the student found something relevant, she provided in-depth descriptions for the issues or titles. She would include all the contributors to that issue as well as the contents which were related to their thematic focus (geographic information, etc.) with core metadata that was not available in the inventory. She would also add the role of the contributor to the entry Timothy then showed an example of contributors for a publication.
Timothy presented a breakdown of the Data Transformation and Analysis by showing ‘finding aids’ container list to provide a sample of the entries, with controlled vocabulary provided by the student. The presenter demonstrated how the Archive manager software works and explained that the student created her own controlled vocabulary, what was helpful because the nature of these publications. This is of extreme importance, since there may not have been adequate headings in the Library of Congress subject list, for example. Timothy also pointed out the importance of social network analysis and the relationships in the data. For the presenter, the social networks are fascinating and contribute to the advancement of several forms of resistance, mentioning the Network Graphs in Gephi. The presenter referred to an article that is of interest for everyone who would like to have more technical information about this network graphs: Modeling Afro-Latin American Artistic Representations in Topic Maps: Cuba’s Prominence in Latin American Discourse Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.1 (2013).
The presenter closed his presentation by drawing some conclusions regarding the project outcomes, limitations and a quick demo for the Network Analysis Gephi. As for the outcomes of the project, Timothy highlighted the opportunity to provide enhanced access to individual publications; the rich learning experience the project is (blog post); the opportunity to collaborate with faculty (Professor Butterman); the cultivation of donor relationship (Facebook page shared the project achievements with with Leila Miccolis); the has been a lot of follow up work since her original acquisition; and the opportunity to explore and analyze new dataset. The presenter also pointed out some of the limitations of the project such as the use XForms rather than oXygen; the point that EAD profile (Archon) cannot accommodate enhanced item-level data and the fact that controlled vocabularies have not been reconciled.
As for the quick demonstration of Network Analysis Gephi, Timothy concluded that the software has a powerful analytical tool that connects the information and links it by affinity as is established by its settings. During that demonstration, Ruby Gutierrez from HAPI asked if the software shows where the notes contributors are located. Timothy clarified and showed how the graph works for the African Brazilian Identity and Leila Miccolis project. São Paulo, for instance, is highlighted as having its own network; some authors are identified as LM collaborators. It is a data laboratory that allows you to look at the numbers. There are some different view possibilities, layouts and options to save as PDF, etc. The presenter stated that, by utilizing this tool, one can get a higher level enhancement of metadata that has many different potential outcomes and uses.
● Jessie Christensen from BYU asked Wendy to elaborate on the relationship between acquisition and cataloging. Wendy affirmed she couldn’t give any solid conclusions since the boundaries between cataloging and acquisitions are fuzzier than ever. They have a lot of shelf-ready stuff that comes in already and that has enhanced the disconnect there. The people in acquisitions that are ordering have had to be trained to recognize what is acceptable record and what is not an acceptable record, and they don’t know how well that is really going. She affirmed that they get stuff in cataloging that needs attention. And, through some exemplification, Wendy said that everyone is trying to find out their roles.
● Bark Burton from Notre Dame asked Wendy about the K Level record creation. Wendy said that she starts from scratch, puts it in the back log, lets it age for about 2 months and then goes back to it to perform the enhancement. Probably a quarter of the books she created in the K Level record book, she had to come back and enhance them, either completely or to finish off what somebody else started on top of what she had done.
● Erma (…) from MLA asked Daniel about the timing of the project he presented. Daniel described the timeline and Ruby added to it. Daniel elaborated on the language (Portuguese, Spanish) records being searchable at some point.
● Ruby Gutierrez from HAPI asked Daniel if the English version will pull up the records for the Portuguese language. Daniel answered that they will.
● Timothy asked Daniel about working with translation companies and ongoing translations. Daniel said that, in the past, translation companies were involved in the HAPI online project; but, now, they prefer to recruit in-house by actively adding native Portuguese and native Spanish speakers to the staff.
● Timothy asked Daniel about making the thesaurus and dataset open to download in order to provide collaboration. Daniel said that, in the future, it is a desirable move. Ruby elaborated on the answer, using the example of the old website being open, but not sustainable. She said it is possible to do dumps and that Orchid would be willing to develop it. The databases is MYSEQUEL.
● Timothy asked Wendy who the vendors she works with are and if they are approvals and if the vendors provide cataloguing information for her records. Wendy listed the vendors and what sort of info they provide to aid her creation of records.
● Timothy asked Wendy if it becomes the master record. Wendy responded that it does and that people should be upgrading the record she creates.
● Diana Restrepo from a library in Colombia talked about the experience in cataloging in Colombia and how they are tackling buying and cataloging books from all over Latin America. Ruby asked where they are getting their terms from. Diana talked about the process (multi-meetings, policy decision, develop own terms).
● Daniel asked Wendy: What kind of training is provided by LCLC? Wendy says that they are very supportive and provided great training. The mechanics of the system was different from a 30-year usage of database and both acquisition people and circulation people received quite a lot of training.
● Brenda Salem from the University of Pittsburgh asked Daniel: What did you do about the additional descriptors in HAPI, as they need a lot of indexing in English. He said that they maintained their policy of keeping them in English. Even though the Portuguese and Spanish headings are for the record view, the English descriptor key words are still appearing. They just maintained that consistency.
May 21, 2013, 2:00pm-3:30pm
Moderator: Meiyolet Méndez (University of Miami)
Rapporteur: Wendy Pedersen (University of New Mexico)
- Undergraduate Scholars: A Partnership to Promote Undergraduate Research using Primary Sources — Maria R. Estorino, University of Miami
- Bringing the Archive into the Classroom and the Student into the Archive – Dr. Michelle Maldonado, University of Miami
- Integrating Archival and New Media Work in the Undergraduate Classroom – Dr. Lillian Manzor, University of Miami
- Too much or too little? Special Collections and the Embedded Librarian Model – Meiyolet Méndez, University of Miami
María Estorino…presented “Undergraduate Scholars: A Partnership to Promote Undergraduate Research Using Primary Sources.” As Deputy Chair and Chief Operations Manager of UM Library’s Cuban Heritage Collection, she described CHC’s Undergraduate Scholars program administered by the Center for Latin American Studies, funded by a generous grant from the Goizueta Foundation. The focus of Undergraduate Research is defined as “research that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to a discipline.” The expectation goes beyond doing research in the archives and all the way into knowledge creation – common for students in the sciences, but undergrads in the humanities rarely have the opportunity to do original research.
Awards are given in the form of stipends to faculty for either course revision or development of a new course. Funding is awarded for the course and then a stipend for the following semester is awarded for three student researchers selected from that class. Those student researchers then devise independent projects with their faculty mentors. Results have been wildly successful, as exemplified by Dr. Maldonado’s talk below. (María was appointed the Esperanza Bravo de Varona Chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection in June 2013. Congratulations!)
Dr. Michelle Maldonado, Associate Professor of Religious Studies…spoke on “Bringing the Archive into the Classroom and the Student into the Archive.” Receiving an Undergraduate Scholars award, Dr. Maldonado revised her Caribbean Religions course to focus on African Diaspora religions with particular emphasis on Cuba. She noted that, as a theologian, her own experience with primary sources was not extensive so this was professional opportunity for her as well. She brought her class into the CHC on 5 occasions, where they first received instruction on use of the Library website and then specifically on the CHC site. (Not only does she admit to having learned a few tricks herself, but Maldonado was surprised at most students’ demonstrated lack of research skills.)
Subsequently, they got three lectures from librarians addressing various aspects of the Collection, paralleling points in the course curriculum. Students were required to produce an essay after each session on what they learned in the Archives. This process integrated library visits into the course, as more than an “add-on” BI session. Working with the physicality of original documents gave the students a more immediate sense of the reality in their subjects. A number of students came back for not one or two, but several individual research sessions. Dr. Maldonado selected 3 students to mentor from this class in the following semester and 2 of them won awards in the Humanities category of UM’s Undergraduate Research, Creativity, & Innovation Forum.
Dr. Lillian Manzor, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literature
told us about “Integrating Archival and New Media Work in the Undergraduate Classroom”. Manzor has led scholars, librarians, archivists and digital resource specialists the past 5 years to collect and develop multimedia resources to create the Cuban Theater Digital Archive, a digital partnership project between the UM Libraries and College of Arts and Sciences. CTDA provides resources for teaching and learning in the performing arts, also training for students in archival processing & research, metadata creation, filming, digital editing, and electronic publishing. The work archives materials that exemplify Dr. Manzor’s conception of the “embodied practices that shape theatrical production” and integrates service learning into the curriculum.
Meiyolet Méndez…related her experience in “Too much or too little? Special Collections and the Embedded Librarian Model.” The question of one-shot instruction vs. embedded librarianship was tackled in an experiment working with two professors on two very different courses. Flexibility, broad collaboration and hybridity proved to be crucial elements for success; most sessions had to be tailored to the specific course.
In addition to Dr. Maldonado’s class mentioned above, Mei brought a history class into the CHC for 9 full class periods over the course of one semester. The undergraduates were offered meaningful guidance in how to find and appropriately use primary and secondary resources. A “show & tell” was prepared for each week’s lesson, often involving other library personnel brought in for their particular expertise. The libguide for this course was scrupulously updated after each session – and remains up. Students selected for Undergraduate Scholar stipends had 2 or 3 personal research consults over the course of the semester.
Alison Hicks (University of Colorado) asked Dr. Maldonado about selection of student scholars for stipend. In her case, 6 of the 35 fall semester students applied for the spring fellowship. Three were selected by the professor and two librarians. Two of them were able to use their registered independent study research as a senior thesis. Dr. Maldonado noted that whether or not the students later used the CHC archives, the overall quality of their research was much improved.
Kelsey Corlett-Rivera (University of Maryland) asked Dr Maldonado if all the students were seniors. They were a mixture of sophomores, juniors and seniors. The fellows selected were actually juniors.
Alison Hicks (University of Colorado) asked Dr. Manzor, María & Mei and the librarians about scaling – how they were able to give individual attention to that many students. “It’s hard, very time consuming,” was the definitive reply. Embedded librarianship being an iterative process, discussion and refinement follows every semester’s experience. The composition of the class is also a factor, in that a class of nine disinterested students are harder to teach than a class where six or eight out of twenty-two bring a different energy to the whole group. Testimony is Part of Assessment: the librarians obtain the final paper and conduct an exit interview with each student who has gone through this project, who is also required to submit a short summary of their experience. A profile of each Undergraduate Research Scholar is posted on the CHC website.
Monday, June 18, 2012, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Moderator: Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico)
Rapporteur: John B. Wright (Brigham Young University)
Panelists: Sean Knowlton (Columbia University), The Role of Comic Books and Graphic Novels in the Civic Formation of Cuban Youth” | Meiyolet Méndez (University of Miami), “Cuban Cartoons for Children: Pop Culture and Education on Screen”| Beverly Karno (Howard Karno Books), Sarah G. Wenzel (University of Chicago) and Wendy Pederson (University of New Mexico), “Purchasing, Selling and Processing Comic Strips and Graphic Novels” | Claire-Lise Bénaud and Suzanne Schadl (University of New Mexico), “Exhibiting Comics: From the Reading Room to Special Collections”
Sean Knowlton discussed the historical context of Cuban comic books and gave an analysis of current comics called historietas. Cuban comic books have characters that promote a national identity and provided an arena to promote and/or lampoon political realities. They did not use super heroes. Knowlton discussed several Cuban comics: the physical quality of Elipidio Valdés, published by Editorial Pablo de la Torriente, is getting less and less, especially the paper quality. Yarí follows a young taino cubano living at time of Spanish conquest. He fights against a cruel man. The message is that Yarí is our brother. Yami follows the adventurs of a strong, independent woman of ideals who has strong values and works for the good of the community. Historical comics are also popular. These highlight heroes of Cuban history—José Martí, Fidel Castro—and promote solidarity with like-minded Latin American regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia—Martí and Bolívar (reminiscent of the relationship between Fidel and Hugo Chávez), Tupac Katari (links Quechua uprising with the efforts of Evo Morales). These historical comics have a sense of legitimacy because they include bibliographies. Graphic novels are somewhat limited in Cuba because of lack of supplies.
Meiyolet Méndez discussed how Cuban cartoons provide a forum for political discourse. They promote the values of the Cuban Revolution and serve as a vehicle to impart these values to Cuban children. In September of 1960, illiteracy was viewed as a chief concern of the new, revolutionary Cuban government. The Cuban National Literacy Campaign took place in 1960-61. Hundreds of thousands of literacy teachers worked out in the country side. The program was propagandistic. It covered the history and values of the Revolution, in addition to helping people learn to read. One benefit realized by the program was better understanding of the use of mass media. Meiyolet described the creation of several government agencies that had responsibility for the media, both TV and Radio, from 1959-1976. It was the policy that all programming on TV had to promote the ideals of the Revolution. Early cartoons were geared toward adults and highlighted nature. Some examples are El maná and Las manos. Later, cartoons were more geared toward children and essentially took the comics from the page and put them on the screen. Some examples are: Aventuras de Elipidio Valdés, Zunzún, El Capitán Plín, and Cecilia y Coti. Before 1976, the content of cartoons was very force-fed. After, the cartoons demonstrate a more subtle manipulation. The media obscures the messages.
Beverly Karno described realities associated with graphic novels and comic books: 1) Independent distributors. The artist/writer usually self-published the comic books. It is very difficult to find and acquire these materials and it involves making a connection with the artist/writer. These are usually not a commercial venture. Getting 1-2 issues is pretty common. A title with 6-7 issues would be very successful. It is hard as a book dealer because libraries start sending claim notices, but the book dealer doesn’t know where to find issue #3 or when it will be produced. 2) Non-traditional formats. Some graphic novels and comic books start as print editions, but then change to a different format (DVD is common) and need special software to read it. 3) Major challenges. Pricing of graphic novels and comic books is great, very affordable, but it is very labor intensive to acquire these for customers. The follow up is enormous!
Sarah G. Wenzel discussed acquisitions and collection development issues related to comic books. The librarian must define the scope of the collection: 1) single story or single author; 2) literary or artistic value; 3) Are you going backwards as well as forward? 4) What has been published? 5) What do you ask the vendor to do?
Wendy Pederson discussed cataloging and classification issues. She demonstrated the difficulty of finding a piece by a particular comic book artist on the Internet, OCLC, etc. If you log into the publisher website, you can find the title of the comic book fairly easy. She also discussed difficulties in knowing how to catalog a comic book. Does the illustrator get identified as the creator or would the creator be the writer of the text? If a comic is an adaptation of a book, does it get classified with the creator of the original story or with the author of the adaptation? AACR2 would place the adaptation with the author of the adaptation, but does the patron know this? For subject analysis, what do we do? It is common to use genre headings. Karno, Wenzel and Pederson also distributed an annotated bibliography and instruction guide for purchasing, selling, and processing comic strips and graphic novels.
Suzanne Schadl and Claire-Lise Bénaud discussed the innovative use of rotating exhibits to build a bridge between users interested in the books displayed in the exhibit themselves and materials housed in the University of New Mexico libraries Special Collections. In the fall of 2012, the rotating exhibit will be Mexican comics and caricatures. In the presentation, Schadl discussed the unique aspects of virtual, physical and boutique spaces in the Library and how they relate specifically to the Library’s Reading Room. Bénaud discussed the upcoming comic books and caricatures exhibit, giving us a look at some of the interesting aspects of this exhibit, including José Gadalupe Posada’s Don Chepito and the work of the Taller de Gráfica Popular which used its art to advance social causes.
Questions and Comments:
Pamela Graham (Columbia University): Is the way graphic novels get printed or published going to change? Will it be online or print? Wendy responded that if the goal is to produce printed object, then the art work and the physicality are important. Beverly Karno responded that the use of Twitter is important. So is Flickr. A large portion of graphic artists work is being put on Flickr.
Lisa Gardinier (University of Iowa): Web comics have exploded in the U.S. over the last 10 years. Sarah Wenzel indicated that much of the web comics cannot be downloaded by the Library. Consequently, that format is not very helpful for developing a collection that can be preserved by the Library.
Cecilia Sercan (Cornell University): Do you include the URL in the bibliographic record for online comics? Sarah Wenzel responded that online ephemera is being lost because we can’t do much to preserve it. We do have some URLs available. Suzanne Schadl indicated that unless the URL is stable, the patron would not be able to use it whether it is in the bibliographic record or not.
Paula Covington (Vanderbilt University): Paula commented that some literature cannot be digitized and put online because the publishing companies own the copyright of all or part of the work. She gave the example of Jane Austen’s books. The copyright for the illustrations included in these books is owned by Dell and consequently cannot be included in the digitized version. Also mentioned was comiXology.com which has Spanish language comics, but they are largely translations of American comics.
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.
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