#29 -- Spring 1997
Biblio-Notes (ISSN 1076-8947) is published twice a year by the 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: Scott Stebelman, Gelman Library, George Washington University, 2130 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20052; telephone 202-994-6049; SCOTTLIB@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU
Copyright © 1997 by the American Library Association.
News from the Chair
What is the future of bibliographers in academic libraries? With the Internet, shrinking budgets, approval plans, and an ever-increasing complexity and number of responsibilities, it seems that the role of collection building has been relegated to a low priority. I think of this every time I register for an ALA Conference, and try to fill out the category describing my position. There is no choice for bibliographer. There is one for acquisitions, reference, and administration (and others); a bibliographer combines elements of all of these, and more, but does not appear as its own category.
I suppose that there is not a long tradition of bibliographers in most U.S. academic libraries until the 1950s and later, faculty members of various departments made selection decisions for the library. At a retirement party recently, a long-time bibliographer at Indiana University read a memo she had found in her files from the late '50s, from several faculty members to the University Librarian. They requested that librarians with appropriate subject knowledge be hired to develop the collections, because the faculty members did not feel they had time, and they were tired of dealing with the "Order Department"(!)
Indiana created positions for full-time bibliographers in the early 1960s, being among the first in the country to do so. The librarians who were hired built wonderful collections, in what seems like a Golden Age. As they retire, we are losing contact with the real giants of our profession, and in many cases, their successors are asked to cover more disciplines and responsibilities.
At most libraries these days, full-time bibliographers are seen as a luxury. And perhaps they are. Area studies bibliographers believe themselves to be in a crisis, and have organized several conferences to discuss ways to train a new generation of bibliographers. I fear that the same may be happening to subject librarians as well, that as libraries succumb to budgetary pressures and begin to outsource collection development through approval plans, that the unique materials, those items that require 90% of my collection development time, will no longer be acquired.
Perry Willett, Chair
Task Force Formed for the Preservation of Primary Records
Following the Modern Language Association's Statement on the Significance of Primary Records in May 1995, there has been widespread discussion on listervs, at professional conferences (including the EALS meeting in New York last July), and elsewhere on the value of primary materials in our libraries.
The impetus for the original MLA statement was the perception that primary materials are coming under increasing threat from a wide variety of forces including physical deterioration, deaccessioning practices, as well as microfilming and digitization programs. One element of the MLA's concern was the perception that digitization was coming to be seen not simply as an enhancement to search capabilities or to access but as an acceptable replacement for the original artifact altogether. As the MLA committee expressed it, "new forms cannot fully substitute for the actual physical objects in which earlier texts were embodied at particular times in the past," and the committee added, "the MLA believes that it is crucial for the future of humanistic study to make more widely understood the continuing value of artifacts themselves."
While the MLA statement reaffirmed the modern language community's dependence on primary materials, it did not address issues of cost that inevitably inform librarians' decisions about individual items held in college and research libraries.
Since that time, a Task Force for the Preservation of Primary Records has been formed to take the original MLA committee's work a step further and look at issues surrounding the implementation of such a broadly based theoretical statement. The Task Force, which held its first meeting at the Library of Congress this past Fall, is composed of representatives from a number of scholarly societies, ARL, and the Society of American Archivists.
At the Fall meeting, the group discussed two main strategies for moving forward: first, a public relations campaign to educate the scholarly community and the public about the value of the artifact and, second, the identification of selection criteria for the preservation of artifacts within libraries. A second meeting was held in early March where it was agreed librarians themselves are actively addressing many of the concerns raised by the Task Force. For that reason, the group decided not to attempt to draft uniform criteria for the preservation of primary materials but, instead, to prepare a document that would further educate the academic community about the issues involved in the preservation and use of the artifact and that would suggest ways scholars can help in preservation efforts on their own campuses.
These discussions have been fruitful in a number of ways. The original MLA statement affirmed the importance of primary materials to the research community and served as a useful reminder of the significance of our preservation decisions. While the most recent discussions raise the issue of costs, these discussions also acknowledge the critical role librarians have in managing library collections . The document now being prepared promises to affirm not only the importance of the artifact but also to affirm the role librarians play in establishing preservation priorities in our own institutions. It promises as well to lead to further collaboration and consultation between librarians and our colleagues in the English Department.
EALS members with an interest in the issues surrounding primary materials may wish to join the ongoing discussions of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the MLA Statement. For more information contact:
Special Collections Department
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
New Periodicals for Literary Research: One Library's Selection Decisions
Several months ago a subscriber to EALSL requested recommendations for new periodicals that would support literary research. Rob Melton supplied, as a fillip to discussion, a list of titles that were ordered by his institution, the University of Kansas. The list includes only scholarly journals or intellectual quarterlies, not literary magazines; some of them are cited in Katz's Magazines for Libraries (8th edition).
The list was received so favorably that the Editor has decided to reprint it below. Note that the list is not meant to be comprehensive; other libraries might have different research and curricular priorities.
American Periodicals: A Journal of Historical, Critical, and Bibliographical Commentary, 1991-
Art & Understanding: The Journal of Litera ture & Art About AIDS, 1991- (Katz 4388)
Ben Jonson Journal, 1994-
Chaucer Yearbook, 1992-
Common Knowledge, 1992- (Katz 3696)
Compar(a)ison: An International Journal of Comparative Literature, 1993-
Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, 1991-
David Mamet Review, 1994-
Emily Dickinson Journal, 1992-
Futures Past: A Visual Guidebook to Science Fiction History, 1992-
GLQ: A Journal of Gay & Lesbian Studies, 1993- (Katz 4422)
Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, 1994- (Katz 4426)
Journal of Caribbean Literatures, 1995-
Journal of Material Culture, 1996-
Journal of Narrative & Life History, 1991-
Journal of Victorian Culture, 1996-
Language and Literature, 1992-
MultiCultural Review, 1992- (Katz 1290)
North Carolina Literary Review, 1992- (Katz 4693)
Para-Doxa: Studies in World Literary Genres, 1995-
PERversions: International Journal of Gay & Lesbian Studies, 1994- (Katz 4456)
Prism(s): Essays in Romanticism, 1993-
Robert Frost Review, 1991-
Southern Cultures, 1993-
Symploke: A Journal for the Intermingling of Literary, Cultural, and Theoretical Scholarship, 1993-
Women's Writing: The Elizabethan to Victorian Period, 1994-
Year's Work in Critical & Cultural Theory, 1991-
University of Kansas Libraries
Product Review: Literature Online (LION)
Literature Online, a new service from Chadwyck-Healey, offers considerable promise but has a few drawbacks. This database, also known as LION, consists primarily of the full texts of public-domain English and American literature written or published between 600 and the early twentieth century.
By June, 1997, this constantly growing resource is to offer 210,000 poems, 4,000 plays including eleven major editions of Shakespeare from the First Folio to the 1863-1866 Cambridge edition 290 works of fiction, and twenty-one versions of the English Bible. In addition to these resources gathered by LION, the database provides hypertext links to 15,000 more texts from such sources as the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative, the University of Toronto English Library, the Bartleby Library, and A Celebration of Women Writers. As a result, searches for works by major figures often result in duplication of titles. For example, a search for poems by Emily Dickinson yields 1,055 matches.
LION's Master Index allows the searcher to look for materials by author or title keyword or by browsing lists of authors and titles. The Master Index's searching capability takes some getting used to and is perhaps the weakest component of this product. Clicking on a name or title from the browse list, for example, results in that information filling the search box on another screen rather than simply going to the title or author selected. The basic search screen and the browse lists should be on the same screen.
Charles Dickens appears in the browse list twice for no apparent reason since selecting either will lead to the same results. A writer whose first and last names are both common ones creates all sorts of problems. A search for "henry james" results in one work by Henry James Byron and eighty-five by Henry James Pye. A search for "james, henry" results in 185 works by Henry James Leigh Hunt and five by the master himself. Since LION does offer boolean searching, "james, henry" NOT "hunt" yields the desired results. LION also features the proximity operators NEAR and FBY (followed by) as well as a supposedly more precise operator EXACT, but using EXACT with "henry james" or "james, henry" creates the same results as not using it. The generally useful help screens fail to assist here.
An hour or so of random and specific searching can lead to an understanding of the Master Index's quirks and ways of getting around them. Whether an undergraduate with limited searching skills will have the patience to do so is another matter. Needed additional features include extending keyword searching to the texts themselves and providing links to brief biographical matter. How many searchers are going to know who Henry James Pye is when they stumble across him? A minor annoyance is that the texts from Chadwyck-Healey appear flush left when they should be displayed in the center of the screen. Texts from other databases are usually more pleasing to the eye.
LION's reference component includes the Bibliography of American Literature (BAL), which, in addition to providing bibliographic records of 40,000 works by three-hundred American writers, offers black-and-white closeups of the textures of some cloth bindings. Such a feature obviously helps in determining if a volume has been rebound. Such resources as this and the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL), to be added in April, make LION perhaps more useful for graduate students and faculty than to any other audience.
LION (http://lion.chadwyck.com/) also offers links to discussion groups and lists, an electronic bookshop, and a printing service for bound copies of its titles. A subscriber can take the entire LION package or only parts of it. This factor and the number of concurrent users given access determine the cost. Trial subscriptions are available. While LION in its initial form has some deficiencies, searchers with patience will benefit, particularly from having full-text resources from a variety of sites gathered in one place.
Mina Rees Library
City University of New York Graduate School
Recent Studies of Interest to English and American Literature Librarians
Abrams, M. H. "The Transformation of English Studies: 1930- 1955." Daedalus 126 no. 1 (1997): 105-131.
Berlin, James A. Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cul- tures: Refiguring College English Studies. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1996.
Bonnycastle, Stephen. "Canon-Formation in Contemporary Literary Studies: An Enquiry into How Novels Written Since 1960 Become Canonized." In Empirical Approaches to Literature. Siegen, Germany: Institute for Empirical Lit. & Media Research, Siegen University, 1995: 227-32.
Cole, C. "Information as Process: The Difference between Corroborating Evidence and 'Information' in Humanistic Research Domains." Information Processing & Management 33 no. 1 (1997): 55-67.
Collins, Boyd R. "Literary Resources on the Net." Library Journal 121 no. 6 (Apr. 1, 1996): 28.
Computers and Teaching in the Humanities: Selected Papers from the CATH94 Conference Held at Glasgow University, September 9th-12th, 1994. Oxford: CTI Centre for Textual Studies, Oxford University Computing Services, 1996.
Covi, Lisa Martina. "Material Mastery: How University Researchers Use Digital Libraries for Scholarly Communication." DAI 57 (1996): 3727A.
Critical Dialogues: Current Issues in English Studies in Germany and Britain. Tubingen, Germany: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1995.
Dalbey, Marcia A. "What Good is the MA Degree?" ADE Bulletin 112 (Winter 1995): 17- 20.
Dodge, Chris. "Pushing the Boundaries: Zines and Libraries." Wilson Library Bulletin 69 no. 9 (1995): 26-30.
Duyfhuizen, Bernard. "Betwixt and Between: The Master's Program and A Field of Dreams." ADE Bulletin 112 (Winter 1995): 21-24.
Ellis, Steven. "Toward the Humanities Digital Library: Buildings the Local Organization." College & Research Libraries 57 (1996): 525- 34.
English as A Discipline, or, Is There A Plot in This Play? Ed. James C. Raymond. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1996.
Gallagher, Catherine. "The History of Literary Criticism." Daedalus 126 no. 1 (1997): 133- 153.
Genre and Ethnic Collections: Collected Essays. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1996.
Glazier, Loss Pequeno. "The Electronic Poetry Center: A Poetics of the Web." DAI 57A (1996): 2475.
"Graduate Admissions and Graduate Education." ADE Bulletin 111 (Fall 1995): 28-48.
Griffin, J. R. "Literature and CD-ROM: Strange Bedfellows or the Marriage of True Minds?" Computers in Libraries 16 no. 5 (May 1, 1996): 66-70.
Hayes, Susan Mary. "Towards Enhanced Catalog Access to Fiction: The Multi-Dimensional Subject Analysis of Imaginative Literature Represented in A Library Catalog." DAI 57 (1996): 1894A.
Hogan, Patrick Colm. "Literary Art and Liberal Education." JGE: The Journal of General Education 44 no. 2 (1995): 69-86.
Holloway, Loretta. "The 'Unemployed and Heartbroken': Graduate Students and Teacher Training." The Centennial Review 40 no. 2 (Spring 1996): 293-98.
Huber, Bettina J. "The MLA's 1993-94 Survey of Ph.D. Placement: The Latest English Findings and Trends through Time." ADE Bulletin 112 (Winter 1995): 40-51.
Jones, P. "Whither Humanities and Advanced Technologies? Scholars Need Not Be Programmmers to Enjoy the Fruits of Technology." Educom Review 32 no. 1 (1997): 26-29.
The Literary Biography: Problems and Solutions. Houndmills, England: Macmillan, 1996.
Marchand, J. W. "The Computer in the Humanities, Friend or Foe." Journal of Aesthetic Education 30 no. 2 (1996): 157-71.
Marcus, Leah. "Cyberspace Renaissance." English Literary Renaissance 25 no. 3 (1995): 388-401.
Miller, J. Hillis. "What is the Future of the Print Record?" Profession (1995): 33-35.
New Technologies for the Humanities. New Providence, NJ: Bowker, 1996.
Saldivar, Jose David. "Tracking English and American Literary and Cultural Criticism." Daedalus 126 no. 1 (1997): 155-174.
Schuster, Jack H. "Speculating About the Labor Market for Academic Humanists: 'Once More unto the Breach.'" Profession (1995): 56-61.
Seaman, D. "The Electronic Text Center & On-Line Archive of Electronic Texts." Elektronisches Publizieren und Bibliotheken Frankfurt am Main: Germany, 1996: 55-57.
Sens, Jean-Marc. "Familiar Estrangement: The Library Scholar, the Literary Scholar, and the Book." The Centennial Review 39 no. 1 (Winter 1995): 41-51.
Shaw, D. and C. H. Davis. "The Modern Language Association: Electronic and Paper Surveys of Computer-Based Tool Use." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 47 no. 12 (1996): 932-40.
Smith, N. and H. R. Tibbo. "Libraries and the Creation of Electronic Texts for the Humanities." College & Research Libraries 57 no. 6 (1996): 535-553.
Tanselle, G. Thomas. "Significance of Primary Records." Profession (1995): 27-50.
Templin, C. "Canons, Class, and the Crisis of the Humanities." College Literature 22 no. 2 (1995): 151-156.
Turnbull, Paul. "Conversational Scholarship in Cyberspace: The Evolution and Activities of H-Net, the Online Network for the Humanities." Australian Universities' Review 39 no. 1 (1996): 12-15.
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