Sixty-three participants gathered in San Francisco on June 26 and 27, 1997 for the first ACRL/WESS Pre-Conference entitled European Links: Sources of Information in Western European Studies for Academic Libraries.
Before a reception on Thursday afternoon, June 26, at the Goethe-Institut, Richard Hacken of Brigham Young University gave a thematic overview of the Pre-Conference, with an address entitled, "The Current State of European Studies in North America and of Scholarly publishing in Western Europe." He discussed the aims and methods of current scholarship in European Studies in correlation with the output and practices of commercial, academic, and society publishers. He presented a statistical study in handout form on "Major Scholarly Presses of Western Europe as Held in One Medium-Sized North American Library." Both the address and the handout are available online at the URL: http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wess/talksf.html.
Heidi Hutchinson, of the University of California at Riverside, offered a workshop on "Technical Services and You," during which she gave an overview of the functions of acquisitions, cataloging and processing, with an emphasis on how they interact with collection development librarians. Tracing the path of a book from the initial request through technical services, to the shelf, she also introduced some of the new services vendors are offering academic libraries, such as Web-based ordering, PromptCat cataloging, and shelf-ready books.
Dan Hazen, of Harvard University, gave an eclectic overview of acquisitions from Portugal and Spain. He began with a broad-brush outline of the historical, cultural, and geopolitical reasons that make materials from these areas important and proceeded to describe the 'standard' bibliographic sources which he tends to dismiss for acquisitions purposes. No straightforward solutions exist for these areas. Librarians must rely instead on bookdealers, so the bulk of the session was devoted to descriptions and analyses of the most important vendors, some in attendance at the session, from both countries. The handouts combined dealers' responses to questionnaires with candid evaluations by some of their librarian-clients.
The workshop on Scandinavian countries was led by Mariann Tiblin, experienced Scandinavian Area Studies bibliographer at the University of Minnesota Libraries. She covered both the theoretical and the practical aspects of collection development work, emphasizing the importance of institutional context, policy framework, and the Conspectus as a tool for communicating collection levels. Selection methods include formulating approval plans and blanket orders, and reviewing selection sources for acquiring monographs, serials, and electronic resources. She distributed an extensive list of Internet addresses useful to the Scandinavian Studies selector, and made particular reference to the fact that all the Scandinavian countries maintain excellent information centers in the United States.
The workshop on Italian Studies was led by Mary Jane Parrine of Stanford University. She focused on three areas: the culture of books and publishing, selection and evaluation, and access. To help selectors acquire and interpret their collections, Italy's exceptional use of the Internet makes a variety of information sources available in all the areas discussed in the workshop. The culture of publishing included a discussion of the social setting of the book trade, promotional activities, types of publishers, and online resources offering information on book culture. Selection and evaluation, necessarily linked for both acquisitions and long-term planning, include a survey of large-scale vendors, statistical sources, book reviews and catalogues, as well as suggestions on collection assessments and basic information on government documents. The discussion of access covered the range of available Italian Web pages, with key examples shown, meta sites of interest to all fields, search engines, libraries in Italy, and news groups. The workshop ended with an overall appraisal of the usefulness of these various Web sites. Extensive handouts and biblio-graphies were provided.
Jeffry Larson of Yale University spoke on identifying and selecting French materials. There is little over-arching theory or strategy, rather an art involving the accumulation of bits and pieces of lore. Departments of foreign language and literature doubtless use foreign language materials more than do other disciplines. For belles lettres, selection is based on name recognition of the author and the publisher. After referring to the approval plans offered by vendors, Larson described the major selection tools: the trade list, the national bibliography, and the dealers' slips, among which a choice should be made to fit the collection's breadth and depth. Larson noted the relative dearth of bibliographic control and selection tools for electronic products in France. He also described briefly the general review media. Instead of a list of quality publishers (which would vary according to field), Larson enthusiastically recommended reliance on an evaluative directory of French publishers, AUDACE: Annuaire à l'usage des auteurs cherchant un éditeur (Vitry: CALCRE).
The workshop on selecting German-language materials was led by Jeffrey Garrett of Northwestern University. Its aim was to help selectors orient themselves, quickly and with confidence, in a bibliographic environment where electronic resources are rapidly displacing print ones as the principal tools of selection. The workshop was divided into three sections: 1) German publishing and book trade: history and current situation; 2) Sources of information: bibliography, availability, new publications; and 3) Selection strategies and tools. Both print and competing electronic versions (CD-ROM and Web) of the German national bibliography and German Books in Print were demonstrated, as were library services offered by Otto Harrassowitz and its competitors, book wholesalers, and antiquarians. Workshop attendees also "toured" electronically the Frankfurt Book Fair, the biggest and most important book event of the world. The handout and a highly illustrated, somewhat navigable online version of the workshop are available at: http://www.library.nwu.edu/collmgmt/humanities/wessconf/.
This outstanding Pre-Conference would not have been possible without the generous support of the following sponsors:
Aux Amateurs de Livres
Libreria Gia' Nardecchia
Norman Ross Publishing