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Photographic Project Featured on NYT and SALALM57

Pablo Delano and Dario Euraque will speak about their work documenting Honduras’ cultures at SALALM 57.

 

Lynn M. Shirey
Harvard University

Winter 2011/2012 Newsmakers

Miguel Valladares, formerly of Dartmouth College, has accepted the position as Librarian for Romance Languages at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, beginning on February 20. Felicidades, Miguel!

Meagan Lacy (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis University) has published “The Virtues of a Committed Dilettante: Embracing Nonexpert Expertise” in College and Research Libraries News, February 2012, 73 (2).

David Block (University of Texas at Austin) recently made television news for donating long lost books to the National Library of Peru.

Why travel?

On the same trip that took him to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham purchased an enormous cache of manuscripts, printed books and periodicals that are among Yale University’s prized possessions.  A century after Bingham’s acquisition, I’m visiting Lima on behalf of the Benson Latin American Collection. But I get ahead of myself.

The passage of time and the consistent investment of library funds in the region has diminished the expeditionary character of working in Peru– llamas are no longer employed, DHL is. But the excitement of discovery remains very much a part of working here.

Because it is too fugitive to identify, too cheap to profitably distribute, or in formats that booksellers disdain, much of what scholars desire to view cannot be acquired through established channels.  For instance, this trip enabled the purchase of Peruvian feature films, many of which are located nowhere in North American research libraries, and a side trip to Bolivia brought back (alive) a collection of early 20th century photographs from Amazonia. Hiram would be proud!

Travel also nourishes relationships in a country where face-to-face contact remains a coin of the realm. Over the past year I have met twice with the director of Peru’s National Library to establish an agreement that deposits the personal papers of the feminist poet and political activist, Magda Portal, in the National Library and sends scanned images of the materials to Austin for mounting in our digital library. Expect additional details soon.

Your man in Lima,

David

1st Conference on National Digital Libraries – Santiago de Chile 8th – 9th September



Aquiles Alencar Brayner (BL) and Lucia Shelton (OCLC) at the National Library of Chile

The digital library, as many people have suggested, is everywhere. New technologies allow us to gather a massive number of information in digital format and carry it with us in a myriad of technological devices such as laptops, pen drives, mobile phones and e-readers. Never in history have we had this easy access to information. The problem we all face is how to deal with this new digital situation: which sources to use for the retrieval of pertinent information? What to select and how to archive materials in electronic format for future generations? How to deal with issues of preservation in the digital world? As one might guess, the First Conference on National Digital Libraries held in Santiago (Chile) last week had more questions than answers. We all agreed that ours is an age of ‘infoxication’ and that national and academic libraries have to act quickly in order to find the antidote for the treatment of this new syndrome. Many of the presentations in the conference raised common issues faced by National libraries when dealing with electronic publications, including the lack of depository laws for digital-born material and the development of new tools and standards for managing electronic information. Participants had also the opportunity to learn about international digital initiatives such as the World Digital Library set up by the Library of Congress and other similar projects being developed in Latin America and Spain such as the Biblioteca Digital Pedro de Angelis, a digitisation project led by the national libraries of Argentina and Brazil; and the Biblioteca Digital Iberoamericana, a collaborative project between various Ibero-American national libraries. The message that came across in the conference was straight forward: by creating strategies for effective selection (especially by avoiding duplication of collections and coordinating digitisation programmes), sharing access to digital information and setting up best practices for preservation, libraries will be in a better position to take decisions and lead the discussion on digital information, providing efficient and innovative service for our users.

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