Attendance: Paloma Celis-Carbajal, University of Wisconsin; Nelly González, University of Illinois; Marne Grinolds, Ohio University; Nerea A. LLamas, University of Michigan; Mary Jo Zeter, Michigan State University.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I. Meeting with Subject Specialist Bibliographers
The MOLLAS group began by meeting with Memorial Library subject specialist bibliographers. After introductions, there was an informal conversation about collection strategies and cataloging issues. Phyllis Holman Weisbard, Women’s Studies Librarian (firstname.lastname@example.org), briefly demoed her project: WAVE: Women’s AudioVisuals in English, a catalog of videos and films related to women. WAVE is one resource within the UW Digital Collections (http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu). Although the project title refers to English language material, Phyllis encouraged us to send her Latin American related titles in English or subtitled in English.
II. MOLLAS Discussion
Following up on the WAVE project, we discussed the merits of creating a database of Latin American films. Mary Jo thought that it would not be useful. Paloma and Nerea thought there was some need, given the lack of subject headings to identify these items. No consensus was reached. We also talked about Jesus Alonso Regalado’s idea (generated in SALALM) of adding a “Latin American Video” note to cataloging records to identify films in our OPACs.
Before the meeting, Rafael suggested via email that we talk with our respective ILL departments and set up a limited ILL program for videos within MOLLAS. That way we could focus on cooperative collection development.
Mary Jo demoed ENCORE, MSU’s new multifaceted catalog search option, which allows the user to easily identify and limit their search results to videos. It is in beta currently. Mary Jo feels the relevancy ranking does not work well.
Film is the biggest aspect of Ohio’s popular culture collection. Marne can only purchase Region 0 or 1 dvds, so she is limited in the number and scope of videos she can acquire. The Film Studies program also buys Latin American videos. Brazil is Ohio’s primary focus for film. The Spanish language bibliographer may also buy films. Ohio has not focused on Popular Culture in general. Ted Foster began purchasing cookbooks. Marne has continued this practice somewhat, but has been told to defer to the Human and Consumer Sciences Bibliographer.
Marne has begun a collection of memoirs to give students a feel for life in Latin America. They are mostly in English. She discussed the difficulty of acquiring materials from Latin America, because her acquisitions department does not want to work with Latin American bookdealers.
Marne has also ordered Brazilian children’s books. Those she ordered directly from the publishers.
Paloma has collected heavily in African diaspora and films, mostly documentaries. Wisconsin collects diaspora for their faculty, but also because of their LARRP assignment. Wisconsin’s Eloisa Cartonera collection is growing. Paloma acquired them from the workshop in Buenos Aires. Two Latin American faculty members use the collection. The Art Department also uses them as they are interested in the History of Printing. Wisconsin digitized the covers and title pages and created a database that will be public by the end of Fall 2007.
Wisconsin has a collection of approximately 1700 Literatura del Cordel books. Paloma is planning a possible project to digitize and catalog the collection.
Michigan has collected popular culture material broadly, with no specific focus. The film and video collection is growing. It is a mix of films and documentaries. These are purchased mostly by the Askwith Media Library, which is very receptive to Nerea’s recommendations as a complement to its own efforts to acquire Latin American video. For example, at Nerea’s suggestion, Askwith purchased the entire Latin American Video Archive collection before it closed, greatly enhancing the collection. The Screen Arts & Culture Department (i.e. film studies) also maintains its own library of film and video for use by the department’s faculty and students.
Illinois is developing a database on the Black diaspora in the Americas “Black experience in the Caribbean and Latin America” http://media.library.uiuc.edu/projects/afla/ (in progress) This database will include citations to resources in the humanities and social sciences. Records will include the IU call number when available and the OCLC number to facilitate interlibrary loan.
The Bibliographic Guide to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 2002-on is also an online database which will allow users to consult this extensive bibliography on the author.
The Illinois Library has changed its process for funding videos. In the past the funding for the acquisition of AV materials was done twice a year by competition. The new policy will allow us to order as needed without waiting for competition funds. This will be beneficial to Latin American Studies because in this manner Nelly expects to acquire more videos in the coming year.
Mary Jo talked about MSU’s important collection of comic art, which began in the 1970s. She demoed the various indexes that exist on the web site, http://www.lib.msu.edu/comics. The collection is also available via MSU’s catalog, MAGIC. Only the Library of Congress has a collection of similar size. From the web site: “The most important categories of material in the Comic Art Collection, based on current completeness and emphasis, are the U.S. comic books, the international comics collection, the newspaper strip books, and the historical and critical materials. Smaller sub-collections include animation-related material, Big Little Books, books illustrated by comic artists or written by comics professionals, propaganda comics, tie-ins to comic-related movies, the Eclipse Comics archive, and clipping and ephemera files.” The collection is the work of Randy Scott.
MSU has two new Brazilian faculty, one has been using a lot of film, so Mary Jo has acquired many new titles through García Cambeiro and Livraria Cultural. She is also buying Mexican Cine de Oro titles for a professor in the Spanish department as well as some secondary sources.
Other pop cultures purchases have been popular novels like La sombra del viento. These are Spanish bestselling, contemporary fiction that are global in nature.
III. Brownbag lunch with UW School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) Students
MOLLAS members joined SLIS students for an informal lunch to discuss Latin American Librarianship. We each talked briefly about our career paths and current positions, taking questions from students and one faculty member. We also emphasized our participation in SALALM and its importance to our work.
IV. Meeting with UW Spanish & Portuguese Department Faculty
Faculty Attendance: Severino Albuquerque; Ellen Sapega; Paola Hernandez; Guillermina de Ferrari
MOLLAS members met with faculty who worked with popular culture material and who were available to attend one of two sessions. They were asked to talk about their use of popular culture material and what difficulties they faced in discovering or accessing this material. Severino Albuquerque and Ellen Sapega expressed the difficulty of reconciling where the library and the museum meet in terms of physical items e.g. ex-votos. They also expressed a need for better discovery tools. Prof. Albuquerque cited Prof. Mark Curran’s (Arizona) Cordel Connection web site (http://www.public.asu.edu/~atmjc/) as a good tool for locating Literatura de Cordel. Prof. Sapega thought a database of Latin American film would be useful. Another idea was a newsletter of new library acquisitions. Other materials of interest are tour guides, cook books and materials related to trauma tourism.
Paola Hernández works on Argentinean drama. For her research, she is interested in critical newspaper and journal articles that gauge audiences’ reactions. She also needs posters, programs and most importantly, criticism of performances. Criticism is typically published in the cultural supplements of newspapers (e.g. Ñ, from Clarín). Unfortunately, these supplements are usually not included in the online versions of newspapers or in aggregator databases. We discussed at length how to find and acquire these. Prof. Hernández mentioned that Argentores in Buenos Aires (www.argentores.org.ar) has a clipping file of criticism arranged by date. There is no index. We discussed approaching Argentores about digitizing the file, but decided that copyright would prohibit it. Microfilm is an option, but without an index, it would still be difficult to locate the material.
Guillermina de Ferrari researches Afro Cuban art and culture. She is especially interested in representations of Cuban art, especially art exhibition catalogs. We discussed the difficulty in acquiring these materials and strategies for identifying and purchasing them. Prof. De Ferrari noted that the American Friends of the Ludwig Association of Cuba have acquired many catalogs and could perhaps be of help. She has worked with them in the past. Prof. De Ferrari also mentioned three important authors working in the field of Cuban art and culture: Ivan de la Nuez, Gerardo Mosquera and Rafael Rojas. She also knows of 3-4 galleries in New York that work with Cuban art, e.g. cubaartny.org.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I. Meeting at LACIS, the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Center
MOLLAS members began Tuesday morning by meeting with Alberto Vargas, Associate Director of LACIS. We thanked him for supporting our meeting and particularly for funding coffee breaks, a lunch and a dinner. Then we had the opportunity to explain MOLLAS’ function and share our meeting agenda.
At one point, the conversation turned to the Land Tenure collection, which is now incorporated into the Agricultural Sciences library. It is no longer being developed, but continues to be an important collection.
Other topics of conversation included LACIS’ activities for the year, including the Latin American Film Festival. This year the focus will be on Argentinean film. Cinemathique is the group on campus that facilitates film festivals like LACIS’ as well as having their own affiliated faculty and courses. With regard to invited speakers, Nelly suggested that MOLLAS’s Latin American and Caribbean centers pursue a way to ‘share’ speakers. Since MOLLAS institutions are relatively close geographically, the expense of traveling is reduced. Thus, if one center invites a speaker from Latin America, other MOLLAS centers could coordinate and host the same speaker at their institutions. Since the speaker would already be in the mid-west, the cost to each center would be reduced. The first writer we had in mind to bring is Guillermo Arriaga screenwriter of Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel. This will depend upon his availability since his fame continues to grow.
II. Visit to the Wisconsin Historical Society
MOLLAS members visited the Wisconsin Historical Society, where Helmut Knies gave us a tour and highlighted WHS’s collection strengths. WHS has an extensive collection of African-American newspapers, including some papers produced by Caribbean communities in the U.S. Helmut provided us each with a title list of African –American and American Indian newspapers. They also collect Hispanic/ Latino newspapers, but in smaller numbers. In general, WHS collects many periodicals that are generally considered ‘marginal’ such as homeless papers, church newsletters and newspapers published for U.S. military bases.
III. MOLLAS Discussion continued:
Mary Jo handed out the document “Issues in Film Collections.” We discussed access to films in the catalog as well as physical access.
1) Paloma brought up the issue of preservation. Wisconsin no longer makes preservation copies of their multimedia. Expensive or hard to find items are at risk of loss or destruction. We had further discussion about videos and copyright. Mary Jo felt fairly certain that preservation copies are allowed under the ‘fair-use’ clause. MSU is exercising that right and has a new policy to selectively make circulating copies of their tapes and DVDs.
We reviewed once again Rafael’s suggestion that we pursue interlibrary loan amongst the MOLLAS libraries.
Action: Mary Jo will suggest this to the rest of MOLLAS via email.
Vendors and pricing
Mary Jo suggested creating a web page on the MOLLAS web site that would contain links to film & telenovela resources. It could be in the form of a wiki so that we could all update it.
Action: Mary Jo will suggest that Kansas create a wiki for the film studies resources.
2) Following trends in scholarship in popular culture.
Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association
We discussed the organization, which has regional affiliate groups. Mary Jo highlighted some of the panels related to Latin America held at their conference and highlighted their serial Journal of Popular Culture. We also looked at their web site.
Mary Jo also mentioned Studies in Latin American Popular Culture as another good source for following trends in popular culture scholarship.
3) Supporting popular culture scholarship through library collections
a. The conversation turned to Telenovelas. Paloma proposed that we create a distributed resources project for telenovelas amongst MOLLAS libraries. Telenovelas are particularly difficult to acquire because purchasing them from their producers requires paying for showing rights.
Action: Mary Jo will propose it to the rest of the group on the list.
b. Create a list of Hispanic newspapers for the web site.
IV. Second Meeting with UW faculty
Faculty attendance: Glen Close; Ruben Medina; Katarzyna Beilin; Jim Escalante and Kathleen O’Connell.
Jim is interested in Cuban art, posters, hand made books, limited edition books; art exhibition catalogs and anything that is popular expression through art in Latin America.
Ruben Medina noted that performance videos are needed, but difficult to find. Ruben also expressed the difficulty of locating videos on campus because the collections are physically separate and there is no centralized list. He also mentioned that VHS copies should be replaced. Paloma noted that she would like to convert VHSs in the collection to DVD, but the copyright law is unclear. Ruben noted that DVDs are used often in classes, even in literature classes and that DVDs have extras and are more easily manipulated (e.g. turning on/off subtitles). If they are not available in the library they rely on personal copies or borrowing from each other.
The discussion turned to Visual Culture, which is a new cluster at UW. It is a hybrid of history, visual art and popular culture, the intersection of different disciplines and media (e.g. performance art). It is difficult to define and individual scholars think of it differently.
Katia wants to see Spanish films as soon as possible. She suggests keeping track of the film festivals and especially those films that win festival awards. She also uses avant –garde films which also can be difficult to purchase. She is working on a book on violence in film.
Ruben suggests buying ‘cortos’ because they are useful in instruction.
There was discussion about how to notify faculty of new films that are bought. Paloma suggested sending lists of materials ordered.
Kathleen O’Connell teaches book arts and is interested in printed material.
Ruben mentioned a group in Mexico called ‘Poema a peso’. They would write a poem, attach candy and then sell them on the street. He wondered if anyone collected these. He also described “Taco shop poets” in San Diego who later published their work.
Glenn asked about collecting music. Paloma responded that she does not buy music CDs, but can refer them to her colleague for purchase. She does buy documentaries that are related to music.
V. Meeting with Jim Danky
Our last meeting was with Jim Danky, formerly of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Jim was responsible for the extensive serial collections at the WHS. He emphasized to us that the role of the state was overly represented in our libraries. He stated that these materials are important, but we lose differing perspectives. Instead, Jim emphasized the need to collect ‘marginal’ titles that actually represent the majority, like church newsletters. He believes that this material should be preserved in more than one location, and definitely outside its country of origin.
Jim talked about his visit to Costa Rica and pondered black Costa Ricans’ marginalization. He also spoke about his trip to Buenos Aires, where he was anxious to see places associated with the dirty war. This focused his thoughts on how memory works. In Buenos Aires, he acquired a number of interesting publications, which he shared. Hechos en Buenos Aires, a homeless paper; Página 12, Barcelona; Hoy: semanario del comunismo revolucionario de Argentina; Nueva voz (Partido obrero revolucionario); Periódico Mensual (Asociación Madres de la Plaza de Mayo), all of which are the types of ‘marginal’ publications he believes should be collected. This type of collecting fills the holes in scholarship. Researchers are not always focusing on the themes/ sources that should be used to document society/culture.
Jim also shared a Afro-Mexican periodical called Fandango, published by PACMYC & CONACULTA.
Jim then discussed his Newspapers and Periodicals of the African Diaspora project. It includes citations to periodicals published by African diaspora communities throughout the world. See: http://mendota.english.wisc.edu/~danky/diaspora/
The discussion focused on how to collect these very marginal materials that are difficult to acquire. Mary Jo commented that her colleagues don’t understand the challenges of collecting Latin American materials. Jim suggested promoting her work by writing useful articles such as an overview of the Costa Rican press, reviews of particular periodicals or highlighting unique items in the collection, rather than articles for library journals. Another effective tools is a blog where you can highlight and publicize materials and collection activities.
VI. Wrap Up
MOLLAS’ next meeting will be held during SALALM LIII in New Orleans.