Panel 2: Collaborations Supporting Scholarship in Latin America: LAMP and LARRP (2015)
Moderator: David Dressing, University of Notre Dame
Rapporteur: Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut
David Dressing, University of Notre Dame: The purpose of panel was to discuss the history of both organizations inside the bigger structure of CRL and clarify the difference between LAMP and LARRP mission.
Judy Alspach—Building on A history of Collaboration: The evolution of LAMP and LARRP
Judy Alspach, CRL Area Studies Program Manager, offered a brief history of CRL and LAMP and LARRP to give a historical context to their creation and original missions.
CRL was founded in 1949 and located in High Park neighborhood in Chicago. It supports original research in the humanities, sciences and social sciences through physical and electronic collections. It also supports collective decision-making among its members. These include consortia purchases of electronic databases or microfilms collections, pre-archiving, etc. Originally, CRL started with ten founding institutions from the Midwest. Right now they have over 200 North American members in the US and Canada and their recently added new membership category, Global members include Germany, India, Hong Kong. Members get the following benefits:
- Extended Interlibrary Loan of CRL collection
- Digital Delivery of CRL materials
- Access to LLMC-Digital Cooperative collection programs and services
- Licensing of specialized databases
- Access to Charleston Advisor
Under CRL there are six projects that Judy referred to as the “AMPs”, which work to acquire library and archival materials from different world regions. The first one created was the Cooperative Africana Materials Project (CAMP) founded in 1963, LAMP was the fourth AMP created in 1975. There are 49 members and currently they pay $765 in dues.
LAMP: When originally constituted, LAMP focused first in acquiring microfilm materials from Mexico and Brazil based on an analysis of the needs of the 16 members at the time. Choosing these countries was a strategic decision by the members as they started this collaborative collection building in areas of great interests for the membership. At that time, LAMP purchased microfilm and did original microfilming. For a complete history visit, http://www.crl.edu/pt-br/area-studies/lamp/membership-information/project-history. Judy encouraged the LAMP members in the audience to continue this strategic thinking when considering projects and purchases so gaps can be filled based on the collective needs of institutional members.
Today, LAMP continues to acquire newspapers, archival collections, government documents, periodicals, ephemera and other rare material from/about Latin America but it is not limited to just buying microfilm or microfiche, or microfilming materials but it has expanded its mission to support digitization projects. There are over 10,000 reels available for lending to LAMP members.
LARRP (Latin Americanist Research Resources Project) was launched in 1994. When it started there were 20 members and now there are 46 paying $900 in annual membership dues. Seven LARRP partners in Latin America do not pay dues but they have historically contributed to LARRP projects. LARRP was launched with the help of several grants: a matching grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and two TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access) grants from the U.S. Dept. of Education in 1999-2002. The first grant for $405,000 purchased equipment and anything else necessary to support LARRP work and the second of $585,000 supported the acquisition of Latin American grey literature in the social sciences to be shared through an Open Archives Portal.
LARRP had always been about collaboration and open access to information from Latin America and the Caribbean as some of the early initiatives attested. For example, LAPTOP (The Latin American Periodicals Tables of Contents) was started in 1994 to give access to print journals from Latin American and the Caribbean not indexed elsewhere. LARRP members contributed content from 1994-2009. Currently this legacy database is hosted at Vanderbilt University and it is available for searches at http://laptoc.library.vanderbilt.edu/query/basic_search.jsp. The focus has not been collection building like LAMP but to create access to hard to find information.
Another example is LAOAP (The Latin American Open Archives Portal) a project created to provide scholars with a portal to find grey literature created in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently it is hosted through LANIC at the University of Texas-Austin, http://lanic.utexas.edu/project/laoap/. LAOAP includes working documents, preprints, research papers, statistical documents, and other difficult-to-access material published by research institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and peripheral agencies, and that are not controlled by commercial publishers. Major contributors to this project include Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales-Chile (FLACSO-Chile) and Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamérica (CIRMA).
Finally, LARRP has for many years supported a collaborative collection development project called the Distributed Resources Project where each member of LARRP commits 7% of their collection budget to purchase monographs and other materials in their declared area of focus (geographical area or around a topic, folklore, music, etc…). The total reallocated funding has been more than $170,000 per year.
Melissa Guy—LARRP Today: Strategic Directions and a Vision for the future
Melissa presented on the big transition and new directions that LARRP undertook back in 2012 when all grant-funded projects were done or winding down. In a LARRP executive meeting at Austin in 2012, Dan Hazen raised the question of what to do next? What else LARRP should be doing besides paying for the Advisory Board members to meet, now that these projects were over or almost over? They decided to strategically plan new directions. For that purpose and as a suggestion from Judy Alspach, LARRP Advisory Board draft their first By-laws to formalize the governing structure of the organization and allow more participation beyond the Advisory Board by creating Working Groups that would assist them in moving forward. The By-laws were approved in 2014, together with the election of chairs and new working groups.
Although the core mission of LARRP remained the same, a new document was developed. This Strategic Directions Document created to guide the creation of new activities into the future.
Three areas were identified as priorities:
1) Access to primary sources through digital initiatives. E.g. the Princeton Ephemera digitization project.
2) Collections analysis and the continuation of the Distributive Resources Program (DRP) (mentioned by Judy).
- The data that will be gathered will be use to better communicate with administrators the value of LARRP projects to participating members and to help plan better collection development activities that will benefit all members.
3) Promote visibility of Latin American and Caribbean content in various arenas including indexes, web-scale discovery solutions, and other similar tools.
Working groups were created to tackle these issues. Some of the activities assigned to these working groups already had been done through committee in the old structure but the creation of the new structure promises to allow for better focus and participation from the membership at large. The working groups include:
Communication and Outreach (chaired by Teresa Chapa): Main charge is to advertise and promote LARRP projects and serve as a liaison with the broader Latin Americanist community. A recent addition to the group’s duties includes encouraging and facilitating membership and participation in LARRP.
Collaborative Collections and Analysis (chaired by Paul Losch) – promotes the expansion of the Latin American Studies collection by analyzing its members’ acquisitions trends and encouraging deep collecting in specific areas of interest. It is responsible to continue the work of DRP.
Digital Initiatives Working Group (chaired by Mei Mendez): focus on increasing access to primary sources for research on Latin America through digitization and other initiatives. Post-custodial archives may become a priority for this group.
Resource Discovery Working Group (chaired by David Dressing) is a completely new group that facilitates the visibility of research resources for Latin America. This group will work with content aggregators, discovery tool providers, and other information creators for the benefit of the Latin Americanist research community.
There will be opportunities for LARRP members to become involved in all of these initiatives. A call will go out after the SALALM meeting.
In October 2014, the new elected working groups chairs, members at large, and the rest of the advisory committee (both current and “legacy members”) met in Chicago to start working on goals and objectives for each working group. One goal of great importance was the drafting of new criteria for LARRP proposals. Mei Mendez, chair of Digital Initiatives, led on this task. The resulting document served to clarify many issues regarding the type of projects that LARRP will support from now on, both from the membership and the advisory board. During this meeting, the new Strategic document guided the discussion on what the criteria should be for projects, based on 6 principles found in the document:
1) Work within existing systems, rather than building new infrastructure
2) Adhere to open access principles
3) Support scholarship in a variety of disciplines
4) Provide models for future collaboration
5) Involve institutional partners within Latin American whenever possible
6) Provide added value to the Latin Americanist research community as a whole
The 2015-2016 call for proposals was the first submitted under the new criteria. Several traditional digitization projects were received, but also a request for an endorsement of an Argentine open access approval plan project.
What is next?
- LARRP will continue to be an entity that vets and provides funding and support for open access projects. A new faculty rep was selected, Gustavo Fischman from Arizona State, who has a solid academic background in this area, particularly focused on Mexico and Brazil.
- Through our new working group setup, LARRP is in the position to take on some of the major issues and challenges facing Latin American and Area Studies librarianship
Melissa finished her presentation by thanking Dan Hazen for being the inspiration to the changes that LARRP experienced in the last several years. He asked the hard questions that enabled the group to justify the dues we gather from our members, to collaborate with partners in Latin America, and to lead the way in international librarianship. Melissa expressed her commitment to honor Hazen's legacy by pushing LARRP in this new directions.
Suzanne M. Schadl, University of New Mexico—LAMP (CRL): Collaborative Preservation of Brazilian Primary Source Materials
Suzanne opened her presentation with a note on the relevance of microfilm, which remains a reliable and accessible preservation method that does not depend on software and can still be accessed in the absence of electricity by placing it in front of a light source. More importantly, engaging in microfilming archival projects helps expand the amount of critical primary sources from Latin American and Caribbean. LAMP plays a big role helping international institutions to preserve their archival collections through microfilm projects, and making them accessible to institutional members in United States and Canada.
Instead of talking about the history of LAMP—which Judy from CRL had already covered, Suzanne chose to address specific examples of LAMP projects that connect with the theme of the conference, “Brazil in the World, the World in Brazil: Research Trends and Library Resources.” These example showcase cooperative engagement and partnerships across boundaries. They showcase how microfilming and digitization as well as LAMP and LARRP complement each other. Suzanne noted that she had a personal reason to pick these examples: As a graduate student, some of the materials from Brazil that LAMP helped preserved were vital to her own dissertation research.
In the context of the conference theme, LAMP is dealing with the same issues being discussed in the conference: the need to build sustainable practices through collaboration/cooperation and partnerships, and the need to provide library services that support learning and research in higher education (Discovery, Knowledge, and Design). For Suzanne, LAMP has excelled especially in the area of knowledge by preserving and making accessible rare and difficult to access materials. She emphasized that this history of collaboration and cooperation in LAMP (and LARRP) reflected library trends current today such as the 2015 ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee which emphasized “deeper collaboration” as a unifying theme under new trends, looking specifically at “data, device neutral digital services, evolving openness in higher education, student success initiatives, competency-based learning, altmetrics, and digital humanities”.
Suzanne discussed the history and background of the Brazilian Government Document project. This LAMP project funded in 1994 by a Mellon Foundation grant, aimed to explore the viability of digitizing microfilm. LAMP engaged the Biblioteca Nacional and the Arquivo Nacional to collaborate in the scanning and indexing a selection of 19th and 20th century Brazilian Government documents of great importance in the history of the country: Provincial Presidential Reports (1830-1930) Presidential Messages (1889-1993) Almanak Laemmert (1844-1889) Ministerial Reports (1821-1960) from microfilm [to learn more about this project visit, http://www-apps.crl.edu/brazil] LAMP representatives including Scott Van Jacob, David Block, Ann Hartness, Dan Hazen, Marlys Rudeen, and James Simon worked in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, Cornell University, University of Texas at Austin, Harvard College Library, Center for Research Libraries, and the Biblioteca Nacional, Arquivo Nacional to coordinate this project.
Suzanne asked, what has changed in LAMP? Have the means changed, the purposes? Is there still a reason for preserving materials through cooperative agreements? And if the mean have changed, what have we learned from actions of the past? To compare the past with the present, Suzanne shared highlights from a report by Scott Van Jacob about the Brazilian Government Document Project. Van Jacob reported that the BGDP project increased scholarly access to rare materials by expanding these corpus through digitalization. It also implemented new mechanisms for better bibliographic and structured access and indexing, explored levels of demand and patterns of use through assessment and statistics, and helped refine the process of creating digital image files from preservation microfilm.
What new directions is LAMP taking in its cooperative projects? Suzanne mentioned improving access to data, working to develop new device-neutral digital services; inspiring new evolving models that promote openness in higher education; encouraging initiatives for student success and competency-based learning; and offering alternatives and new models such as Altmetrics and digital humanities.
An example that Suzanne discussed briefly and that showcased similar ideas is the case of Ann Hartness’ Subject Guide to Statistics in the Presidential Reports of the Brazilian Provinces 1830-1889 printed in 1977 by the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin. This print source was later digitized to increase access of both the bibliographic information and the digitized materials, see the Hartness’ Guide to Statistical Information at http://brazil.crl.edu/bsd/bsd/hartness/index.html.
Suzanne asked: How do we expand partnership (old and new) in the future? LAMP is committed to exploring new and expand old partnerships to promote digital humanities, for examples, by continuing what LAMP already is good at: Set the standards for preservation and selection of content and we have readings related to that content. The new direction should include finding collaborators with experience in design to help us design better interfaces for content.
Finally, she briefly mentioned a project that served as an example of the way forward – a model for how collaboration might help achieve greater accessibility. The recently finished Brazil: Nunca Mais Project, is a microfilm collection that was digitized to increase access http://www.crl.edu/impact/brazilian-human-rights-evidence-preserved-nunca-mais-project and http://bnmdigital.mpf.mp.br/#!/ This project not only offers access to over 1,000,000 digitized records that document human rights violations by the Brazilian Military Court from 1964-1979 but also have an interface that allow searches across all the documents in the collection. Check out other LAMP projects at http://www.crl.edu/area-studies/lamp/collections/guides
Gail Williams, Florida International University: Shared historical background about LARRP. She reminded people that originally LARRP was founded under the auspices of ARL (Academic Research Libraries) but in 2005-2006 they decided to let LARRP moved to CRL.
Other historical tidbits: In the 1990s there was discussion to hire agents in Mexico and other key countries to collect extensively ephemera but that plans did not happen.
Finally, Gail asked the question, what is the difference between LAMP and LARRP? Should they co-exist? Or should they merge? She felt at this point that “we still do not have the answer to those questions”.
Judy Alspach, CRL: To answer Gail’s questions here are some considerations. She shared a slide that shows the differences and commonalities between the two groups. She mentioned that she sees a couple of different scales, but also a continuum between LAMP and LARRP that can serve as a guideline to think about these two groups.
- One of the main differences between LAMP and LARRP is that LAMP's main concern is to build and own collections, while LARRP is not interested in building collections of materials.
- Collaboration is important for both groups but for LARRP collaboration between members is expected, and many projects in LARRP encourage active participation of all its members one way or another. While for LAMP, although collaboration is considered important, all members are not required or expected to participate in the same projects in the same way as LARRP does. For example, LAMP members contribute with monies to collectively purchase, microfilm or digitize materials, while in LARRP, projects such as the Distribute Resource Project, or the past LAPTOC project, needed the participate of all (or most) of its members for its success.
- [Later added by Judy as part of AJ Johnson, UT-Austin, comments]. LAMP always had a commitment to invest in the “preservation for access” of rare and endanger primary materials as part of their core mission.
- Both groups articulate the value of involving international partners in an on-going contributing way
- Both groups believe in open access. Both groups promote projects that benefit the broader Latin American research community as a whole. Both groups support projects that contain elements with broad appeal to its members, and non-members as well
Melissa Guy, Arizona State University: Regarding demarcation between LAMP and LARRP. She commented that although there are similarities between both groups and even projects that both group may fund together, because the new Strategic Directions Document created recently, and the new working groups created based on these new directions for LARRP, it will mean that new projects will tackle bigger and broader issues, beyond digitization.
Gail Williams, Florida International University: Gail reminded people that LARRP since the beginning was able to tackle big granted projects by having members institutions volunteer to be PIs (Principal Investigator), for example UT-Austin and UCLA.
David Dressing, Notre Dame: Agreed with AJ Johnson that LAMP's core mission is preservation and that LARRP mission is finding way to give more access to information instead of getting content available. He also asked how technology changes will affect LARRP's mission to find new ways to make information and content more available.
Melissa Guy, Arizona State University: Melissa addressed this issue by saying that LARRP after the experience with LAPTOC decided to stop chasing technology. LARRP's job is not creating infrastructures that may become obsolete through time. LARRP will focus instead for on discoverability and working with vendors and providers to educate on how to make Latin American and Caribbean materials more discoverable using their tools. The Resources Discovery working group was created to tackle these issues. s.
Suzanne M. Schadl, University of New Mexico: Suzanne added that we should consider other models such as the archival post-custodial model. Also she sees LARRP as a broker between international partners and our university administrators to justify purchases of technology that will benefit partners and hopefully avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. Instead of trying to do projects individually, LARRP can do it as a group.
Judy Alspach, CRL: Judy mentioned that one of the biggest challenges moving forward is tackling copyright issues related to technology and access. CRL can control access through IP address so only members can access materials with copyright issues but that may defeat open access efforts. Also, technology capacity is an issue. She used as an example an audio files proposal discussed recently in the LARRP meeting which she declared at this point may be impossible to tackle by CRL/LAMP/LARRP because they have not the technology to handle audio files yet. She felt the project was more appropriate for LAMP since it has a preservation component. But she admitted that sometimes it is difficult to decide what can be done with a project because of copyrights and capability issues.
Chris Hernández, Tulane U.: She asked clarification regarding LAMP and LARRP guidelines since she felt that they were confusing when she was deciding which group to apply for the audio files projects referred by Judy. Chris thought that her project did not qualify for LAMP because in the website it said that LAMP was more interested in preserving “newsworthy” content and her project contains content that is entertainment related.
Marisol Ramos, University of Connecticut: She reminded panelists that CRL staff and LAMP and LARRP advisory committee members are available for consultation and clarification regarding projects suitability and which group is more appropriate for applications We welcome all questions, so don’t hesitate to ask. She expressed that regarding the Tulane project, the material in question had incredible scholarly value for researchers so it is appropriate for LAMP. Suzanne M. Schadl (UNM) mentioned that this confusion may have occurred because the website is listing past projects which included many newspaper microfilm projects.
Marisol Ramos (UConn), also made the suggestion that CRL should have an in-house expert regarding copyright issues or to contact experts in the copyright issues in libraries/archives on behalf of its members when such questions arise. For example, she reached out to Peter Hirtle, an archivist and Senior Policy Advisor to the Cornell University Library with a special mandate to address intellectual property issues, for advice regarding the Tulane proposal’s copyright issues. He was very gracious and he sent his response to Chris Hernández with very good advice. We should identify such experts and make sure that we at CRL/LAMP/LARRP are abreast of these issues and make that information available to all our members to help them when considering writing a proposal with an open access component.
John Wright, Brigham Young University: John asked if LARRP and LAMP could push for a series of seminar for faculty and students to promote LARRP and LAMP content/projects/collections. He felt that both LARRP and LAMP need to promote their work and collections. Melissa Guy (ASU), answered that she liked the idea of the seminars and that is something that the Communication and Outreach Working Group can explore more.
Lynn Shirey, Harvard University: Lynn asked for clarification if to apply for grant money from LAMP or LARRP, does the applicant need to be member of these groups or can non-members apply for funding? What about international applicants?
Judy Alspach, CRL: Judy said that they will like to encourage new memberships for either LAMP or LARRP since membership support the work of these groups but both groups will consider applications from non-members. Similarly, it is not require that international applicants be members but it helps a lot if they team up with a LAMP or LARRP member to help them with their application/project.
Molly Molloy, New Mexico State University: Molly had the last word before closing the panel. She explained that the advantage of membership is that the monies collected from the dues are used to fund all the great projects discussed today. The more members are in LAMP and/or LARRP the more projects can be funded.