‘SALALM Blog’ Archives
Macondo, that mythical place created by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and to which all of Latin America can claim as its own, was the invitado de honor at this year’s FilBo or the 28th International Bogota Book Fair.
One of the Fair’s peculiarities is that several publishers have a stand in more than one pabellón, at times confusing but often useful as items on display suit the intended audience (infantil, universidades, etc).
Overrun by teenagers and housing comic books and alternative graphic designers, Pabellón 1 seemed the place to be. Not sure if it was intentional but the religious publisher Ediciones Paulinas had a stand there as well, something worthy of magical Garcia Marquez capricho! Gabo himself would probably have responded to an upset visitor who noted: “that book is obscene,” referring to a hand-made/fanzine-like booklet with some erotic photos: algunos libros no pecan, pero incomodan.
Pabellón 3 housed not only university presses, independent publishers and some government agencies whose publications are not available for commercial distribution (Instituto Humboldt, Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica) and the word library/librarian was key in getting a copy. For a country hoping to bring an end to decades of violence, the Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas provided examples of tangible work in that healing process.
A year after his death, Garcia Marquez was present all over Filbo, beyond the special Macondo pabellón that hosted an exhibit of first editions of his works, panel discussions and a reading of the first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude. One of the panels included SALALM’s own José Montelongo discussing Gabo’s literary archives at the University of Texas.
The group of U.S. librarians hosted by FilBo could not be in better magical company as we made our way through the various pabellones.
While it may have sounded like a touch of magical realism, unfortunaley press reports noted that a first edition of Gabo’s best known works had been stolen from the special exhibit.
Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University Libraries.
For most North American academic libraries Cuban books have taken a detour to Uruguay before arriving at our shelves. With changing relations between the United States and Cuba, there is already renewed scholarly interest in the Caribbean island. Hence a visit to the Montevideo bookshop where much of that research material is being sorted. Two days was barely sufficient to review missing titles from our collection. In the process, finding equally interesting research materials from other parts of Latin America.
The ferry across the Rio de la Plata was to take only two-hours, in the state of the art Papa Francisco Buquebus, prompting my Montevideo friends to call it a viaje santo. It was much longer and I missed a visit to the San Telmo open air market in Buenos Aires, where every visitor to the Argentine capital appears to end up on a late Sunday morning. Several years ago I found a vintage photo of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
The hotel is a few blocks away from that book corridor on Avenida Corrientes, between the Obelisk and Callao street, proof of what some press reports have noted : Buenos Aires has the highest person to bookstore ratio in the world.
What better way to spend a late autumnal afternoon than book-browsing. Last year, one of the first ones I saw was a book written by a friend. I could not bring myself to tell him it was on sale!
Even some of the side streets house book shops. The one-block Paseo Rivarola probably goes unnoticed by most visitors to Buenos Aires. In one of those symmetrical 1920 buildings is the Librería de Mujeres. I ring the doorbell and an older lady unlocks the door, immediately asking: Qué busca? I tell her I want to see everything. Still not quite convinced that a middle-aged man would find something of interest, she points to a few sections and off I go in my incessant note-taking of interesting book titles, until I realize I could take photos of several book covers at once and not have to worry about deciphering my less and less understandable handwriting.
The 41st Buenos Aires International Book Fair opens today and there is a sense of anticipation among the group of U.S. librarians attending this year. Prior to departing we received an avalanche of requests from publishers asking for a meeting. I opted to invite them to attend a session where we would explain the dynamics of book distribution and acquisition by public and academic libraries. They listened attentively to our presentation.
Large media groups command the most visible of the various pabellones, typical of any such event. But independent publishing seems to be alive and thriving in the Southern Cone (Todo libro [no] es politico; Sólidos Platónicos and Siete logos). It appears to be the same in Spain.
At a time when print publications struggle to stay afloat, it’s almost anachronistic to have a new cultural magazine aimed at the inmesa minoría, as the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset would note. The recently launched Review: Revista de Libros, a Spanish translation of the New York Review of Books with original content in Spanish. The publisher says the premier issue has a print run of 15,000 copies and is selling well, even outside of Buenos Aires. During my long overnight trip back to the Northern hemisphere, while crossing the Equator, I will read a Spanish-version of Alma Guillermo Prieto’s piece on the disappeared Mexican student-teachers.
Waiting for the last connection of my flight to California I find one of the newspaper articles I saved from Argentine dailies: poetry appears to have as many readers as militants. Viva la poesía. Viva la Lectura. Vivan los Libros!
Adán Griego-Curator for Latin American Collections, Stanford University.
*Trip partially funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI and the Buenos Aires Book Fair.
To say that it was a manjar libresco would be an understatement: the 48th California Antiquarian Book Book Fair and the 2015 Artist Book Fair and Symposium, all within a few days, sometimes with overlapping schedules, was all a rare treat that only happens every other year in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Antiquarian Fair promised “collections and rare treasures of over 200 booksellers from 33 different countries…,” and indeed there were. On the high end, original manuscripts by Octavio Paz, or limited edition books with text by Pablo Neruda shared the exhibit hall with Latin American vintage travel brochures for as little as $35! One of the un-prized items was an oversize black and white photograph of Mexican revolutionaries witha semi-legible text: “V. Carranza.” The seller knew very little about the photograph until I gave some background. “If you have to ask how much it costs, you probably could not afford it,” I had been warned more than once by a veteran curator/librarian. The photo had no price tag and my friend was right!
Among the images of film celebrities there was a movie poster of Viva Zapata, which I used in class one year to point out Hollywood’s peculiar way of casting for the 1952 film, with a script written by John Steinbeck. I noted that Marlon Brando (Zapata) probably looked more like one of the students in class, while the real Zapata was most certainly darker than I. The student later thanked me in an evaluation for comparing him to such a handsome movie star!
The 5th Codex Artist Book Fair opened in the middle of a much needed rainstorm, no deterrent to the more than 1,100 enthusiastic attendees who showed up to admire the work of book artists from all over the world, with Latin America very well represented: from Lia-Libro de Artista, showcasing the work of 22 artists to Eckhard Froeschlin’s atelier in Matagalpa, Nicaragua or that of photographers like Jose Diniz (Brazil) and Patricia Lagarde (Mexico).
Books and art have often been a medium that brings attention to injustices and Codex 2015 was no exception. Mexican photographer Lorena Velázquez reminded us all of the recent disappearance of Ayotzinapa’s student teachers. The cartonero book makers were also present with a similar message clamoring for justice.
Human rights violations has also been the leit motif of CraftPressChile, with Indignity and Resistance as a third work in a series that keeps alive the memory of the desaparecidos and torturados during military rule in Chile.
The fairs were accompanied by a series of related events: an artist auction to raise funds for the families of the missing student teachers in Mexico or an exhibit on the art of Taller de Gráfica Popular artist Elizabeth Catlett catered to various audiences.
The Codex Artist Book Symposium featured author and essayist Alberto Manguel as main speaker. His early evening talk at the Book Club of California (A City Built on Books: Pedro de Mendoza and the Founding of Buenos Aires), was the right excuse to leave work early and the charla did not disappoint.
Adan Griego, Curator for Latin American Collections-Stanford University.
*Lorena Velázquez and Ayotzinapa photo by Yulia Akh
More than 20,000 book professionals descended into Guadalajara for a peregrinación del mundo del libro, as Madrid’s daily El País called the Feria del Libro (FIL). It is indeed a pilgrimage to the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world, and there we were, over 100 librarians in the middle of it all!
For the second time in FIL’s 28 years Argentina was the featured country, bringing celebrations of Julio Cortazar’s centennial and homages to Juan Gelman and the ever-present Jorge Luis Borges. At a round table discussion on the author of Ficciones his widow commented on the most peculiar meeting of Mick Jagger (from the Rolling Stones) and Borges.
On opening day I overheard a group of students looking for Alfaguara, which in previous years had one of the largest FIL stands. I told them it was now part of Planeta. When I realized it was the wrong multinational publisher I chased after them to give the correct answer. Never say that accurate reference was lacking on a weekend! Off they went, to the Penguin Random House booth.
Another novedad at the exhibit hall was a more visible stand for Ediciones Era, one of Mexico’s leading independent publishers. True to its progressive voice, photos of the recently disappeared 43 student teachers and the words of David Huerta’s moving poem Ayotzinapa , were a constant reminder of a tragedy that has sparked civil society demonstrations all over Mexico. See English-language version.
In fact, that most tragic incident called the attention of the featured country’s delegation of artists, writers and publishers, which issued a statement of solidarity for the missing students. There was also a demonstration that left from the Fair to join another group at one of the main public spaces in Guadalajara. I was returning from an artist book exhibit downtown and was caught in the ensuring traffic jam. “Están en todo su derecho”, I remarked, when the taxi driver appeared impatient. “If our children were missing, we would be equally upset,” I added. The taxista agreed.
The many events held at FIL : (presentaciones de libro, foros, encuentros, congresos) included an homenaje to this year’s Librarian (Elsa Margarita Ramírez Leyva) and Bibliophile (Juan Nicanor Pascoe Pierce). Pascoe’s Taller Martín Pescador is familiar to many Special Collections in North America.
There was also a session with a literary translator, a vendor and a librarian (ME) to learn about publishing in the United States. For the section on libraries as a market for Spanish-language books I discussed distribution channels and differences in bibliographic materials acquired by academic and public libraries.
Special coverage from El País
*FIL logo (Feria Internacional del Libro)
*Jesus Alonso Regalado (Edicione Era stand)
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries.
Ecuador sits uneasily on a tectonic fault line. A catastrophic quake leveled the provincial city of Ambato in 1949. But temblors close to Quito like those of August 13th and 14th are rare occurrences. The last instrumentally-recorded event there was in 1990, and to go beyond that one would have to consult documents from the 19th century. With so little experience to rely on, Quiteños seemed at a loss to explain these seismic events.
For a better understanding, I went right to an unimpeachable source, cab drivers. Riding to dinner on the 13th, I learned that quakes are correlated with the weather. “It’s the humidity,” one driver assured me. The next day more sinister attributions came my way. “In your country they predict earthquakes, don’t they?” My negative response produced only disbelief and suspicion. In an attempt to disengage, I thought of other topics, like the Ebola outbreak. “You know how to predict that, too, don’t you?” I asked the driver to drop me at the next corner. Walking half a mile to my destination seemed a small price to pay.
Newspapers on the morning of the 14th pictured enormous dust clouds, the most prominent feature visible from the city center. From closer up came accounts of landslides, highway closures and the tragic death of a six-year-old, crushed by a fifty kilogram sack of rice that fell from a shelf in the family bodega. That afternoon the government dialed up a fierce charm offensive. President Correa and several functionaries made television appearances to laud disaster response and to point out how their preparedness had saved lives. They made no mention of the six-year-old.
Then at 11PM another quake– or perhaps an aftershock, accounts varied– shook the city. I was fast asleep but awoke long enough to look for my shoes in case the hotel ordered an evacuation. Two consecutive days of temblors clearly
worried people. “I’m not afraid” one bystander confided, ”but I’m wondering.”
I have lived and traveled in the Andes regularly since 1968, and this was my first experience with a seismic event. Quake and temblor, the expressions most often used to describe the phenomenon, now seem to me misapplied. Rather than trembling or quaking, the buildings I was in gently swayed, back and forth. Nothing fell from the shelves, no one ran into the streets, no sirens wailed. But movement was palpable, 5.1 on the Richter scale.
On the 15th terra firma returned. I left town that night with a group of tourists fresh from the Galapagos Islands. They hadn’t heard a thing.
There I was, humming the melody to Amor, amor by Andy Russell at a panel on Latin@ representation in mass media. Indeed, an innovative technique to engage the audience at an 8am presentation when some in attendance were still functioning in an earlier time zone 2 hours away.
This was one of the more than 100 panels encompassing 277 presentations as part of the inaugural International Latina/o Studies Conference. It had been in the planning since the 2012 Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Congress in San Francisco when a group of scholars met informally and envisioned a LASA-like conference focusing solely on US Latin@ issues.
The result was an overwhelming show of support with more than 500 participants addressing multiple aspects of US Latin@ culture. Many of those attending were younger scholars quite active in social media, as the Twitter Archive of #lschi2014 shows.
Current issues like immigration were certainly at the forefront, along with literature, popular culture and even libraries. With barely 3 information professionals and a library intern, our presence was felt throughout the 3 days of presentations beyond a roundtable discussion devoted to archives and libraries.
*At a panel on Latino masculinities and sexuality one of the presenters lamented the absence of an author’s literary archive whose life had to be re-constructed from oral histories of those who knew him. This was an excellent opening to suggest that those histories be deposited in a library and make them available to future researchers.
*The presentation showcasing a decade of La Bloga was another opportunity to insinuate the importance of archiving a born-digital resource when some of the panelists themselves were not sure how to access early postings of the site that has already reached the one-millionth visitor mark.
*At one of the final presentations on alternative venues of cultural activism, it became apparent that one of Stanford’s collections would be most useful to document the history of a recently deceased Chilean activist. By coincidence,an independent filmmaker in the audience also inquired about another part of that archive.
*Above all, the group realized the importance of libraries and would ensure that a permanent space on its future executive board include a librarian.
Planning is already underway for a future conference in two years. The location has yet to be decided but it’s never too soon to seek ways in which libraries and archives can have a presence among those many interesting panels.
A last minute visit to the Art Institute only a few blocks away surprised with an unexpected exhibit on Mexican graphic art. What May Come: The Taller de Gráfica Popular and the Mexican Political Print showcased the Institute’s extensive holdings from one of the best known groups of politically engaged artists in Latin America.
Curator for Latin American, Mexican American & Iberian Collections
Stanford University Libraries.
Nora Domínguez, Centro de Información y Documentación: Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Sociales y Desarrollo (INCEDES), e Instituto Guatemalteco Americano, (IGA)
Haber participado en SALALM fue un hecho de enorme satisfacción. Sabía de esta Comunidad Bibliotecaria desde mis años de estudiante de Licenciatura y muchos años después cuando llegué a estudiar la Maestría de Bibliotecología a El Colegio de México, muchos de los profesores y profesionales de la Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas habían participado.
Además, el Congreso de este Año estuvo dedicado a un tema de mucha actualidad y por ello suscitó un gran interés, la reconfiguración de la familia tradicional, el embate que ha tenido la crisis económica sobre las familias latinoamericanas provocando el aumento del flujo migratorio y las nuevas identidades que se están configurando.
Me sentí como en casa. Los colegas de SALALM fueron muy expresivos, recibí de todos muchas muestras de afecto por el hecho de haber sido la acreedora este año de la Beca Enlace, lo que para mí fue un alto honor y se convierte en un compromiso.
En mi carrera profesional éste fue un evento excepcional, porque me permitió intercambiar con colegas de diferentes universidades estadounidense y algunos colegas latinoamericanos y pude aprender de todos y conocer del quehacer de los archivos y bibliotecas a favor de la gestión de las colecciones latinoamericanas, mismas que atesoran con esmero.
El encuentro con los libreros también fue muy importante al constatar el trabajo conjunto de ellos con los bibliotecarios y el conocimiento que tienen de la producción literaria latinoamericana y el importante rol que juegan en la selección y adquisición de nuevas obras.
Deseo dedicar una mención especial a Roberto Delgadillo por su apoyo desde el momento que me notificaron había sido ganadora de la Beca Enlace y a Sócrates Silva por su acompañamiento, ya que estuvo atento a cada duda y a cada necesidad que surgía. Muchas gracias.
After 25 years of spending Thanksgiving weekend at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), it still surprises and overwhelms a veteran bibliographer. This, the most important book event in the Spanish-speaking world, will host over 100 U.S. librarians and countless other profesionales del libro for 10 days.
Intense airport-like security did not deter the many book enthusiasts who crowded the domestic and international aisles on opening day. Commenting on the traffic jams caused by the visit of Israel’s foreign minister, a local taxista noted that he preferred it all than to blame Mexico if anything were to happen to anyone in the VIP delegation representing this year’s FIL featured country. Ya con los narcos es suficiente, alluding to the constant drug-related violence that gives Mexico negative publicity abroad.
This year FIL housed an active space for e-books with on-going presentations showcasing the latest electronic products. Will Mexican publishers sign-on this year? Indeed, Mexico lags behind Spain, Argentina, Colombia and Chile in e-book production. A vendor visiting FIL for the first time was amazed at the variety of publishers not yet available digitally, “I have lots of work awaiting me,” he confessed. We in the academic sector also await a more robust and stable digital content that our eager users expect. Even when the not so eager cling to paper, “los ebooks han llegado para quedarse,” said a fellow Mexican colleague. As they claim a growing presence in our bibliographic holdings, the challenge remains: how to archive them and make them available for future users.
The independent press seemed better represented than in previous years. In addition to the collective stand of Mexico’s “indies,” La Furia del Libro (which we had noted in late 2012) was included in the Chilean stand. Likewise, Colombia’s independent publishers were both at the collective national stand and had their own booth (also noted in an earlier posting this year).
Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru had larger spaces than in previous years while Spain’s traditionally strong collective stand covered only a fraction of the country’s publishing output, a tangible sign of that country’s ongoing financial crisis. A colleague lamented the fact that Central America’s 2012 highly visible stand was no longer present, only Guatemala appeared to have a small booth.
Aisle “A” with multiple children’s literature offerings could attract the young and not so young. And Mexico’s rich culinary tradition was highlighted in books on chiles rellenos from UNAM’s academic press, to a taco encyclopedia or a glossy book from Artes de Mexico, with a dust jacket suggesting anything but cocina mexicana!
Sometimes surprising finds were unexpected. While waiting for a colleague at the Argentine stand the iconic Mother of the Plaza de Mayo on a book cover caught my attention. Indeed, it was an award-winning children’s book: Abuelas con identidad.
With an overwhelming series of events (conferences, book signings, concerts, etc) often the conversations were just starting to reach a high point when some arrived with a reminder that only a few minutes were left. Such was the case with a discussion of Cartas transpacíficas, an epistolary dialogue among two great public figures, the Lozoya brothers, one a diplomat educated in the US and the other a medical doctor who studied in the Soviet Union. “Tell them we’ll stay for their session and buy their book,” joked one of the panelists when told that the next group (in)patiently waited outside.
The exhibit Hebraica Texts at the Palafoxiana Libray, gathered unique treasures in honor of Israel as FIL’s featured country. The accompanying catalogue provided a window into the rich and unique holdings of Puebla’s noted rare book library.
Even outside the exhibit halls there were other book-related events. A group of bookarts supporters took a FIL break one afternoon to enjoy an exhibit of artist books. Favor de tocar showcased over 100 handcrafted books, product of a series of workshops hosted by Lia: Libro de Artista, a local collective of artists, printers and students of the art of the book.
FIL was to continue for several more days but an expected last minute excursion to the Instituto Cultural Cabañas closed my yearly visit to Guadalajara. Israeli photographer Gael de Cohen’s Amen presented 30 powerful images of Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the lives of ordinary Jerusalem citizens, all with an accompanying text that included the word Peace.
Only a few doors down the hall Pintando la Educación showed 40 paintings from a variety of Mexican artists used to illustrate school textbooks. I still remember the emblematic cover of the patria from my elementary school days in Northern Mexico.
You can see images from a photo album by Mexican librarian Jesus Lau. Spain’s daily El Pais also provided special FIL-2013 coverage.
Adan Griego, Stanford University Libraries
After a two year absence both LIBER and SALALM librarians returned to Madrid for the annual book festival that alternates between Spain’s two largest cities. This year Chile was the featured country.
For me it all started several hours after arriving on a Sunday morning, ever so eager to discover the new librerías showcased in the daily El País. I had the advantage of a local tour guide to supplement the list: New York author Lawrence Schimel (who has lived in Madrid for more than a decade). We began with a stop at a small book store hosted by the NGO Grupo 2013. The afternoon ended with a visit to La Central de Callao, where we ran into Victoire Chevalier from e-libro and Lluís Pastor, president of the Unión de Editoriales Universitarias Españolas! Never say that print and digital don’t go hand in hand. The contrast between both locales could not be more different: Libros Libres, overflowing with loosely organized used books and a more upscale clientele at one of the newest bookshops in Madrid with 4 floors where you could spend a day with a relaxing cup of café con leche.
The second day in Madrid started at Librería Berkana in the Chueca neighborhood, where signs of an ongoing financial crisis are very visible: empty store fronts and people begging for money. A year ago, Mili Hernández, activist, publisher and bookshop owner proudly announced at a panel discussion that e-books would soon be part of her publishing output. She has listened to suggestions from librarians and plans to make them available via digital platforms familiar to library users.
The day’s book hunting continued to the Antonio Machado bookshop by the Círculo de Bellas Artes museum. The current photo exhibit on Francesc Català-Roca will have to wait until the next day. A 2pm lunch was still far away in the agenda, allowing for a stop across the street at the Catalan Cultural Center. Only two weeks earlier the Center’s bookstore had been attacked by far right extremists during the celebrations of Catalan independence day, highlighting the political tensions between Madrid’s central government and Barcelona’s plight for a home-rule referendum.
The annual Fall Antiquarian Book Fair was only a block away, providing a logical end to a morning full of novedades and some not so new book titles, but certainly new Stanford’s library. Perhaps this year we will reach the record 1,800 new approval titles from Spain! In yet another sign of a struggling economy, this time there were fewer stands that would have covered up to three blocks of the pedestrian mall of Paseo de Recoletos, the tree-lined boulevard in the central part of the city. But it’s lunch time and I’ve been waiting for long time, if only there were a place with comida casera!
My first full day ended with an early tapas dinner at Plaza de Santa Ana where I met a library colleague who alerted me to an interesting digital project: Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano. The last time I visited this popular square there was an outdoor asamblea popular held by the original occupiers: the 2011 indignados, precusors to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
LIBER opens in one day and there are still plenty of book shops to visit. This time is on to Malasaña where Arrebato Libros houses an extensive selection of poetry chapbooks and fanzines, certainly something an Almodovar movie character would enjoy and may just walk-in at anytime! Alfonso Vijil (Libros Latinos) will take several items and Stanford’s library will see its cartonero holdings augmented with a long list of titles from one of Spain’s alternative publishers of hand-made cardboard books. The excursion would not be complete without a stop-over at La Estampa art gallery. Its Biblioteca Americana has published 10 profusely illustrated limited edition fine books devoted to a Latin American country, with several more to come before the series is complete.
It’s time for lunch but with lots of energy the two SALAMIstas will continue to the Antiquarian book fair, which remains open during the sacred hora de la comida that still closes many commercial establishments. Congress is considering a move to another time zone, which would bring structural changes to the country’s traditionally late eating hours compared to the rest of Europe.
For dinner it would be a second visit for the best home-made gazpacho at Marsot. To top it all, they welcome everyone with hola chicos!. For those that have crossed the 50-something barrier, that’s a gem of a greeting, n’est-ce pas?
Finally, on to LIBER. Mili Hernandez has offered a ride and since all of us are not quite familiar with the new locale, the prospect of getting lost, but in good company is most appealing. Besides, the ride comes with an unforgettable lesson in local politics from one of the country’s best known activists who does not shy away from criticizing cultural policies from the current conservative government.
La Novela Mundial is a series of popular fiction that was published by Rivadeneyra (S.A.) in Madrid, Spain between 1926 and 1928, during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. Among many collections of short literature and other publications, La Novela Mundial represents one of the larger collections of the period before the Spanish Civil War. Similar to “dime store” books, these were known as “novelas de kiosko,” because they were sold in newsstands, most for between 30 and 50 cents. The series includes novellas and plays with beautiful color illustrations on the cover and black and white illustrations throughout. The aim of this series was to make international literature available to a wide audience, but most authors were Spanish. They included Leopoldo García-Alas y Ureña (Clarín) and members of la generación del 98 like Ramón María del Valle-Inclán and Manuel Bueno.
The University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) has a small collection of paperbacks from this series. I worked with Alison Hicks to select the Novela Mundial series from amongst some other collections that had been uncataloged for years. The short novels and plays were purchased as part of a large collection in the ‘90s but hadn’t been processed yet. Alison had discovered them in a box sitting next to a photocopier! During my practicum at CU-Boulder, I assisted in the digitization of 12 of these short novels. There were many stages of the process, and I was directly involved in most of them.
I began by conducting research to find out if any of the volumes in our collection were already available online from another source like Google Books, HathiTrust, the Biblioteca Nacional de España (BNE), or The Internet Archive. Next, I looked into copyright. I was not sure at first if I should be looking at U.S. laws, Spanish laws, or European Union laws. We eventually found that only four of the twelve novels we were going to digitize were out of copyright and could be made publically available. I prepared a proposal for the digitization of these books and Alison and I met with the librarian who is the head of Digital Initiatives at CU. The head approved our proposal, she had the manager of the Digital Initiatives Lab and the Metadata Specialist begin their work simultaneously, and she began preparations of the online interface for viewing the collection.
Alison found a scholarly bookabout this collection in the Norlin Stacks, La novela mundial: introducción y estudio de la colección por Alberto Sánchez Álvarez-Insúa con catalogación por Ma. del Carmen Santamaría Barceló. While I scanned some of the books in the Digital Initiatives Lab in Norlin Library, I was able to review the scholarly book as well as do some online research about the authors and the social and historical contexts of this series. Over the next two months, I learned how to scan, process, and perform optical character recognition (OCR) on the images of the pages of the books. For these tasks I used CU’s Epson Expression 10000 XL flatbed scanner with its factory software as well as Adobe® Photoshop® and ABBYY® FineReader.
During the scanning I discovered a flyer that had been stuck in between pages of a book. The flier was 7 years younger than the book, so it appeared as if someone had stuck it between the pages as a bookmark. It had a date on it, Thursday, July 13, and names of saints whose day it was. It also had some information about the sun and moon rising, highest, and setting points in time. On the back of this flyer were two quotes from well-known Spanish writers. It was a strange piece of ephemera, but Alison and I were able to determine its age and a little bit of information about the saints that were listed.
During the OCR process while proofreading in Spanish, I had a lot of questions about best practices for editing the text of a book. I wasn’t sure if it was more important to make sure the text matched the original printing or fixing grammatical errors. I sent my questions to the lab manager, Alison, and the Digital Initiatives head who had approved our proposal. Ultimately, we determined that the OCR text that overlays the image should reflect the original text. I was then able to provide the lab manager with some guidelines to the lab manager about how students, even monolingual ones, could continue the OCR work.
After finishing my time in the lab, I met with the Cataloger and Metadata Specialist to discuss improving the metadata for this collection. We discussed how he would use the MARC records in the catalog to crosswalk them into a format that he could use and eventually upload to CU’s Digital Content Management System. Although my time at CU was coming to a close, I still was able to provide English summaries of the collection and each novel to include in the Digital Library’s record. You can find the collection and records here. Similar works and additional titles of this series are available from HathiTrust’s Archive.
In addition to working on this digitization Project, I also assisted with a collection development project for the Latino Studies materials at Norlin Library, provided research desk service, assisted in Spanish classroom instruction for undergraduates, and had an all around outstanding experience. My thanks to Alison Hicks and all of the wonderful librarians at CU-Boulder for their support.
 Sánchez Álvarez-Insúa, Alberto and Santarmaría Barceló, Ma. del Carmen. La Novela Mundial: Introducción y Estudio de la Colección. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1997. Print.