BIBLIO-NOTES:NEWSLETTER OF THE ACRL ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE DISCUSSION GROUP
#22, Fall, 1993
Biblio-Notes (ISSN 1076-8947) is published twice a year by the Literatures in English Section ( formerly, English and American Literature Section) of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association. Paper subscriptions are free to members of the section.
Editor: Candace R. Benefiel, Texas A&M University
Copyright © 1993 by the American Library Association.
The general meeting for the Discussion Group at the ALA Annual Conference is Sunday, June 27, 2:00-5:30 p.m.
Place: Intercontinental New Orleans
Room: Vieux Carre A
1. Discussion on "Little Magazines and Libraries." Speakers will be Willard Fox, University of Southwestern Louisiana, and Yvonne Schofer, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
2. Discussion of possibility of becoming a Roundtable.
3. Van Hook-Report on Early Periodicals Indexing Project
4. Van Hook--Report on Moderated List Serve Project
5. Election results and/or information
6. Benefiel--Updating of mailing list
7. Reports from other groups
8. Other business
The speakers have been told that they can speak from 25-30 minutes. Allowing up to 40 minutes for discussion and questions should bring us to around 4:00, providing an hour and a half to finish the rest of the agenda.
OTHER MEETINGS OF INTEREST
The planning committees for the 1994 and 1995 meetings will meet on Monday, June 28, 1993, 11:30-12:30 in New Orleans Convention Center-65. All interested parties are invited to attend and participate.
1993 Midwinter Meeting
The ACRL English and Literature Discussion Group met on January 24, 1993. The meeting began at 9:30 am. with Chairperson William Gargan presiding. Twenty-five members attended.
The New Orleans program will concern little magazines. The Chair urged members wishing to become active in EALDG to assist with the program planning which takes place at Midwinter and Annual.
1. At various times in its history, EALDG has debated the option of becoming a section instead of a discussion group. To investigate the advantages and disadvantages of such a change, William Baker and John Van Hook attended the Midwinter meeting [of] the ACRL Activity Sections Council; each came away somewhat less enthusiastic about seeking sectionhood. As a cost-cutting measure, ACRL is considering the possibility of eliminating section newsletters. Sections such as RBMS, which earned money for ACRL this year, were extremely unhappy about the possibility of losing funding for their newsletters and for speakers. A representative of Women's Studies, which just became a section, worried that it may lose members because of higher dues. Baker suggested that the issue of changing is complex and that there is no guarantee of extra funding. Van Hook reminded the meeting that discussion groups are normally twenty-five members and that EALDG has over two hundred members. Sections often have programs on broad issues which draw attendees from other parts of ALA, thus gaining the potential of having a greater impact on the library profession. Discussion groups cannot get publicity or any funding for speakers. Members debated the possibility of becoming a round table; the advantages are maintaining the ability to move quickly, avoiding ACRL red tape, charging $10 instead of the $35 for section dues, and retaining complete control of the budget. Candace Benefiel reminded the group that Texas A & M currently supports Biblio-Notes, so newsletter support is not an issue. The membership agree to invite representatives from Women's Studies, RBMS, and a round table to the annual meeting to continue the discussion. Scott Stebelman, former Chair, cautioned members to come to closure on this issue.
2. Acting on a suggestion from a previous meeting, Van Hook led a discussion on the quality of recent author bibliographies. Benefiel is still willing to write letters to publishers if we can be specific about what qualities are necessary for creating a good author bibliography. The RASD CODES Bibliography Committee is revising Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography; it covers indexing, arrangement of entries, defining scope and purpose, and adopting an internally coherent approach. Van Hook mentioned the tendency of bibliography compilers to rely on a chronological or author arrangement rather than a sensible classified arrangement. He urged editors to maintain a consistent level of annotation, to be simple and brief OR descriptive and to list contents OR provide critical evaluation. Editors should mention the location of materials not readily available. Van Hook suggested that editors consider excluding every book review, especially for contemporary authors. Biographers may need every scrap of information, but most users do not. Apply the relevance test to avoid losing the important items in the midst of hundreds of citations.
Such printed bibliographies are useful for undergraduates and scholars since no other source is comprehensive. Daniel Uchitelle, Director of the MLA Center for Information Services, reminded members that the MLAIB covers only about 10% of scholarly monographs because it has no acquisition budget to obtain these works. He also mentioned the need for more librarians to volunteer as field bibliographers for the MLAIB.
Baker expressed his preference for relying on such utilities as OCLC for monographs and having the MLAIB cover other areas.
Stebelman reminded members to use other indexes such as America: History and Life and offered his opinion that a chronological arrangement is useful for scholars studying critical reception. He urged editors to cast a wide net and include many citations from popular culture from sources other than New York and London.
Members agreed that the editor must have a target audience in mind for the bibliography and include local reviews of that author's works when appropriate. The editor must specify exclusions and inclusions in the Preface and be very clear about the scope of the work. Editors should also foresee other potential users of the work and include interdisciplinary materials. Gargan predicted that author bibliographies will become more selective with longer critical evaluations. Van Hook mentioned that relying on electronic sources has its dangers because the information can become irretrievable if the hardware and software become obsolete.
When appropriate, editors should cover the international literature about their author(s). Personal contacts in some countries, especially Japan, are important for discovering the existence of critical articles. Often individual author newsletters are useful sources for this material.
Editors should include the initial date of appearance of the work, especially for poems, short stories, and other works where copyright is not immediately discernable. The indexing must be thorough and include foreign titles. Members expressed a preference for bibliographies that do not look as if they were typed on an old typewriter. A future EALDG project might be adapting the RASD CODES guidelines to author bibliographies.
Gargan volunteered to draft a letter to publishers of author bibliographies; he will circulate the draft on email for comment.
3. Stebelman led a discussion of the MLAIB on Wilson and on Silver Platter. He favors the Silver Platter version because he finds the Wilson version cumbersome and thinks that the Silver Platter version's thesaurus is very useful (see his review in Biblio-Notes, no. 21,Winter 1993 for further details). Stebelman wished that MLA had not dropped the descriptor codes in 1981 which allowed named period searching; Uchitelle explained that MLA dropped them because scholars could not agree on what years, for instance, constitute the Romantic Period. Members said that there is not enough documentation for either compact disk product; Uchitelle replied that the Silver Platter version has an extensive training manual which is drawn from the MLA field bibliographers' manual. Stebelman asked for revision of the documentation for descriptor subfields and the help screens for SilverPlatter. Pro-Wilson members pointed out that the screen is simple and that the neighbor command is very useful. Nancy Buchanan stated that users at Texas A & M felt that there was faulty retrieval in Wilson because the number of results of the same search in each of Wilson's three modes was sometimes different.
4. Benefiel wants to update the mailing list to include FAX and e-mail addresses. She also announced the traditional April 15th deadline for Biblio-Notes articles.
5. Elaine Franco reported on the progress of the ACRL MLA Bibliography Scope and Overlap Committee, which is charged with identifying subject areas where the MLAIB overlaps with other sources and also areas which the MLAIB coverage is inadequate. The first batch of reports from participants in this project were discussed by the MLA'S Advisory Committee to the Bibliography. Some recommendations, especially on the specific usage of terminology, have already been adopted. In the next year, the Scope and Overlap Committee will complete the work in progress and explore ways for the group to become a permanent part of ALA.
Gargan urged members to join MLA and to volunteer to become field bibliographers.
6. William Baker seeks reviewers for Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography. Please contact him at Northern Illinois University if interested.
7. Van Hook is starting a moderated list server for English and American bibliographers. He hopes that members will be willing to contribute brief book reviews, either precis from other sources or original, especially of new or unknown writers. He plans to add key word terms so that members can do broad searches for such terms as women's studies and see all the year's reviews on the topic.
8. Van Hook discussed the sorry state of indexing for early periodicals. The American Periodicals Series, which covers 1740-1900, claims that it covers all periodicals published during the time. Van Hook found the earliest issues of the Scientific American filmed with a nineteenth century preachers's magazine; their scholarly importance is not the same. These periodicals are being indexed in alphabetical order. Van Hook suggested that a group of interested librarians might choose a few titles of interest, index a few years of it, and then try for NEH or other funding. Betty Day, Burnette and Van Hook will speak further about the idea; Uchitelle suggested that the MLA might contribute expertise.
The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
ACRL English and American Literature Discussion Group
ALA Annual Conference
LITTLE MAGAZINES AND LIBRARIES
Sunday June 27
2:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Intercontinental New Orleans
Vieux Carre A
Willard Fox, University of Southwestern Louisiana:
The role of the Little Magazine in literature and culture
Yvonne Schofer, University of Wisconsin, Madison:
Conflicting Demands, Contradictory Tastes:
Collection Development and Little Magazines at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A brief business meeting will follow the discussion.
DISCUSSION GROUP, SECTION, OR ROUND TABLE?
At our Midwinter meeting in Denver, the English and American Literature Discussion Group discussed the desirability of changing our status from a discussion group to a section of ACRL or separating ourselves from the umbrella of the ACRL and becoming a round table of ALA. To establish a more thorough awareness of the factors that should be considered by the members of the group before making a decision, Madeline Copp and I agreed to research the issues involved and write this article for Biblio-Notes.
Cathleen Bourdon, ACRL Deputy Director at ALA, helpfully sent a document prepared by FISCAL (Fee-based Information Service Centers in Academic Libraries), another ACRL discussion group that recently studied whether to become an ACRL section or round table and decided on the latter. We are indebted to their comparative analysis for some of the facts and issues discussed below.
Remaining a Discussion Group
By remaining a discussion group our organization remains informal with a loose organizational structure and few formal obligations to ACRL or to its members. However, this status also gives us little formal support from ACRL for programming and newsletters. It also gives us little recognition within the library profession and the organizational structure of ACRL and ALA. It puts us in the same class as Australian and Canadian Studies librarians, librarians of library science collections, and personnel administrators along with fifteen other special interest groups. Yet our literature collections are major core collections in most academic libraries and serve a much larger clientele than do the collections and services of several other special interest groups that have section status within ACRL, i.e. Afro-American Studies, Slavic and East European, Western European Specialists, and Women's Studies. One question we need to ask is whether or not English and American Literature librarianship deserves, needs or wants a stronger voice and organization commensurate with the importance of our specialty.
Becoming a Section of ACRL
Becoming a section of ACRL would give our group and our subject more formal recognition and support from ACRL, i.e. funding for newsletters (although ALA is discussing the possibility of limiting expenditure for this purpose); opportunities to compete for ACRL programming funds; central office support with budget requests, mailings, etc.; and representation on ALA Council through the ACRL division councilor. It would also continue the focus of the organization on literature librarianship in academic libraries of [sic?] that is where most of our members currently work. But it would require (or give more opportunity for) more involvement of group members to staff the organization and serve on its committees.
To become formal voting members eligible to serve as section officers or members of committees would require that we be members of ACRL, which membership in the discussion group also requires, and would require only and [sic] additional $2 dues of the person had already joined the one type-of-library section and the two library activity sections allowed by the regular ACRL division dues. This would be less expensive than paying roundtable dues of $10-$15 for those wanting to affiliate with our specialty group and still remain members of ACRL.
Section status would enable us to formalize the purposes, procedures, and organization of the group by creating our own bylaws. According to the ALA Constitution and Bylaws Article VI. Divisions, Sec. 9 (b) a section is "governed by the constitution and/or bylaws of the division of which it is a part, [but] it may adopt bylaws of its own provided that they are not inconsistent" with those of the division or of ALA. A section is also authorized to organize committees to pursue its various interests and projects. This would enable many more members of our group to become involved in ALA and share their expertise with many other librarians interested in similar activities.
Basically, then, becoming a section of ACRL would enhance the stature and recognition of our library specialty to the level enjoyed by the librarians in other subject specialties that often impact smaller library collections and fewer users, it would formalize and broaden our structure and allow more active involvement of members in pursuing the special needs of our specialty, and it would give us more organizational and financial support from ACRL.
Becoming a Round Table
Round tables are created by and accountable to the ALA Council and once created are basically autonomous, setting their own dues, controlling their finances, policies, procedures and membership requirements. The ALA Constitution and Bylaws, Article VII, Sec. I (a) requires not less than "100 members of the Association who are interested in the same field of librarianship not within the scope of any division" to create a round table. Once created by the Council through a petition signed by far-flung interests, and overlapping functions of ALA and has appointed a task force to study its organization, this might be difficult. In addition, having the support of an umbrella group, such as a division, can be an advantage. Since each division elects a member to Council and round tables do not, being a section of a division gives the group both a voice and an advocate for organization concerns in ALA. Division also sponsor national conferences every two or three years in which an English and American Literature Section could sponsor programs in support of its interests and members.
Finally, we must also be aware that the success of a round table depends on several factors: effective ALA headquarters liaison (ACRL has strong headquarters support); the smarts, energy and knowledge of elected round table officers; and the support of committed round table members to do the work.
These, then are our options: remain as a discussion group, petition ACRL for section status, or petition ALA Council to become a round table. In preparation for a vote on this issue, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option and vote your considered opinion.
Blaine H. Hall
Brigham Young University
Madeline A. Copp
University of Washington
GUIDE TO SMALL PRESS PUBLISHING
Small Press: An Annotated Guide, by Loss Pequeno Glazier (Greenwood Press, 1992) is an annotated guide to sources for the study of the literary small press, focusing on small press publishing since 1960 when the "Mimeo Revolution" occurred allowing small presses within the United States to flourish in unprecedented numbers. The guide provides a selected enumeration of sources from 1960 to 1990 about the small press phenomenon, its constituent small presses and little magazines, and its cultural and commercial significance. The volume examines sources of current information, such as directories, indexes, guides, and trade journals; it reviews sources on the cultural and business activities of the small press; and it provides a beginning base of core secondary materials.
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Current Information; Directories; Indexes and Guides; Trade Journals; Core Sources; Culture: Documenting Contemporary Small Press; Commerce: Small Presses, Libraries, Bookstores, and the Publishing Industry; Supplementary Sources; Catalogs, Lists and Bibliographies; Appendix; Index.
Loss Pequeno Glazier is English and American Literature Specialist at Lockwood Memorial Library, SUNY-Buffalo. He is the author of numerous articles as wellas four earlier small press books. Loss served as chair of the ACRL English and American Literature Discussion Group in 1990-91.
Price: 49.95 ISBN 0-313-28310-9. 138 pages.
ACRL English and American Literature Discussion Group
1993/1994 Officers Ballot
Please vote for one person each for Vice Chair/Chair Elect and Secretary, and for three for the Steering Committee.
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Michaelyn Burnette
Secretary: John Van Hook
Return ballots by June 15 to: Dr. William Gargan, Brooklyn College Library, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY 10003-6981Special Request:
Incoming Chair Bill Baker would like to solicit topics for the two meetings to be held in 1994 under his direction. Candidates so far include electronic texts; internet; and approval plans. Please make your feelings known about these or other potential topics by annotating your ballot. Thank you for your input.
This is especially directed towards those libraries that have their automation software designed by Innovative Interfaces, Inc. Others, however, are welcome to respond. The circulation module of our OPAC from Innovative Interfaces has the ability to gather all sorts of statistics--books checked out by call number, type of patron (faculty, grad, undergrad, other), etc. I suspect the call numbers could be further analyzed as to primary works, secondary work, works in English, date, etc. I feel there must be some use I can make of this capability! We haven't had the ability to gather such detailed statistics before; are not accustomed to having this kind of data available and therefore don't think in these terms. The basic question is: what kind of statistics would be useful to show trends in collection use (and by implication where we should be putting our collection development efforts)? Would anyone care to join me in collecting them so that we have the same statistics from several institutions to compare? I think initially we should try something fairly simple over a short period of time as a test case. I want to emphasize that I haven't thought much beyond what is here, so I am wide open to suggestions. There is also a statistics gathering function on the acquisitions module so the acquisitions for a fund over a period of time could be analyzed. While this might be useful for individual institutions, I think it would be difficult to compare several institutions because of differences of handling funds and how quickly recent receipts are cataloged. But if anyone has used an automated system to analyze purchases I'd like to hear about what figures you went after and why. There are some articles about doing this but none that I have found with English literature as their subject.
Richard Heinzkill, University of Oregon, Knight Library, Eugene, OR 97405; phone has answering device (503) 346-3095; internet: firstname.lastname@example.org
A NOTABLE BREAKFAST
Early risers at ALA may wish to attend "Literary Tastes: A Notable Books Breakfast," sponsored by RASD Collection Development and Evaluation Section, Notable Books Council. Three authors whose works appear on the 1993 Notable Books List are scheduled to speak: Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life, v. 1 (Viking); Tess Gallagher, author of Moon Crossing Bridge (Graywolf); and Randall Kenan, author of Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (Harcourt-Brace). The breakfast will be held from 7:00-8:30 a.m. Sunday June 27. Tickets are $17.50 by advance registration through June 15. Write: Literary Tastes Breakfast, RASD, ALA, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Tickets will also be available at the ALA Meal Ticket Counter.
MARGINALITY IN THE CATALOG
I recently discovered the subject heading: Marginality, social in literature. I wondered how long that heading had been around so I did a WorldCat search (aka OCLC Online Union Catalog). There were 21 titles of which 14 were not in English. The 7 English language titles ranged from the first appearance in 1987 with two titles assigned that heading to one in 1992 and one so far in 1993. It looks as of [sic] catalogers haven't gotten bogged down reading current literary criticism, not only because of the the infrequent use of this heading, but many of the titles had the word "margin"; in the title which evidently provided the cataloger with the principal clue to use this heading. Providing subject headings for literary criticism is not an enviable task!
University of Oregon Library
Chair: William Gargan, Brooklyn College
Vice/Chair/Chair Elect: William Baker, Northern Illinois University
Secretary: Michaelyn Burnette, Berkeley
Nancy Buchanan, University of Houston
Tim Shipe, University of Iowa
John Van Hook, University of Florida
As I'm sure you noticed, Twain and Shakespeare once more grace our front page... restored due to popular demand. (Long may they remain on our masthead!)
Thanks to the many contributors to this issue of Biblio-Notes; this has been an especially interesting issue to prepare. Please send any comments (or items or articles!) to me; I am always glad to hear from you.
Please get those ballots back to William Gargan, so that he can announce the new officers at our upcoming meeting.
New Olreans ought to be a great meeting, and a time of decision for the group. See you there!
Biblio-Notes is published bi-annually by the ACRL English and American Literature Discussion Group. Article deadlines are October 31 and April 15 each year. Submit articles to the editor; on-disc submissions preferred. Editor: Candace R. Benefiel, Humanities Reference Librarian, Reference Division, Texas A&M University.
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