Personal and Institutional News

Column Editor: Richard D. Hacken

WESS Newsletter

Spring 2003, Vol. 26, no. 2

Association of College & Research Libraries
American Library Association

Since the upcoming 2003 annual ALA/CLA conference will be held in Turandot, an operatic enclave of Canada most often spelled and pronounced as “Toronto,” it is common courtoisie to begin this column north of Helena (home of a famous craft shop, where tourists go to “Helena Handbasket”) but south of Yellowknife (“Couteaulâche” in French).

Erika Banski, fluent in German, Hungarian and Serbo-Croatian, debuted in the info profession as a technical services librarian at the Matica Srpska Library, the Provincial Library of Vojvodina, in Novi Sad, in the Former Yugoslavia from 1987 to 1992. When “Balkan War III” started, the historic/hysteric happenings became too intense to be witnessed first hand. Thus, she and her family left the country, immigrating to Canada. Now at the University of Alberta libraries, she serves in a 50/50 split position (Split is also a city in Croatia) as German/Slavic Librarian and Principal Cataloguer, with an office in the Humanities and Social Sciences and another one in the Bibliographic Services department. For German and Slavic, she’s a specialist; as a principal cataloguer, she’s a generalist and “problem solver!” After completing her MA in German in 1994, she realized (in one of those “Aha!” moments) that she was indeed born to be a librarian. The MLIS followed in 1996, and the rest is Alberta Provincial history. Soon after, she designed a database and, based on these data, compiled a bibliography of the Georg Kaiser collection at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library. Retiring German and Slavic Studies librarians in 1997 and 1999 allowed a consolidation of duties centered on her persona. Before that joint job offer was finalized, though, the Monographs and Authorities Team Leader left the University of Alberta Library, and her new position was split yet again between collection development/reference and technical processing. Despite the schizophrenic surroundings of her position, Erika actually behaves quite normally in polite society. The year 2002 was very successful for her: she earned her tenure and participated in the WESS German Study Tour, definitely the highlight of her professional development! One of her liaison duties involves working with the Canadian Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies (CCAuCES), established in 1998.

The University of Alberta Library’s outstanding collection of Austrian and Habsburg materials—including the “Priesterseminar” library of the Archbishop of Salzburg, and the Library of the Viennese Juridisch-Politischer Leseverein—played a crucial role in the decision to affiliate CCAuCES with the University of Alberta. (Please don’t pronounce the acronym as “Caucasus,” since it is geographically misleading.) In cooperation with the Library, the Centre works on establishing a resource centre for the use of North American scholars involved in Austrian and Central European studies. Speaking for those of us from South of the Border, Erika, we are happy to have you in WESS!

After many years of wandering in the non-academic wilderness (15 years as a NYC bartender, to be precise), Karen Green got her BA from NYU in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. That led to a full fellowship to Columbia in order to do a Ph.D. in Medieval History (putting bartending on the top shelf for good). Karen got her M.A. and M.Phil. at Columbia, that gem near the ocean, and defended her dissertation prospectus, but topical woes and financial issues mandated a job, which she took in Butler Library at Columbia. Within six months, she figured out that librarianship made ever so much more sense, and she set off to get her M.L.I.S. at Rutgers while still running the Butler Reserves department. (Fortunately, none of the butlers in the reserves were called up to active duty.) The job Karen went to library school in order to get, some fine day, not only opened up, happily, but was awarded to her last July, and now she is the Ruler of the Queen's Navee -- no, wait, now she is the Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History and Religion. Though stronger in medieval than ancient history, she does have classical chops due to an inclination towards late antiquity during her graduate-school days, as well as an abiding fondness for dead white men. She put up the Orbis Latinus Online (, a resource for Latin geographic names, was a research assistant to Simon Schama on the first 5 episodes of the BBC's "A History of Britain," is participating in Columbia's University Seminar Department's upcoming 18th-century Seminar Conference on the Reception of Classical and Hellenistic Texts in the Eighteenth Century, and has a cat. She’s also a member, with her good buddy and recent (last fall) WESS introductee Jerry Heverly, of the WESS Subcommittee on Subject Specialist Recruitment (SSSR, or in Cyrillic characters, CCCP). And she, in her own words, is “happy as a clam at high tide to be allowed to stay in New York City, the greatest city in the world.”

At the University of Minnesota, the PBS Trio (Pankake, Bischof, Spetland) – plus, who knows, there may be others – were, up until March 10, awaiting with delirious happiness the arrival of Gordon Anderson. Their delirium, or rather collegial happiness, has presumably not subsided in the face of stark reality, but rather has loosed the Gordonian Knot of finding a successor to Mariann Tiblin. Not only will he do the bibliographer thing for Scandinavia but also for Western European Social Sciences. Truly excited about living in the Twin Cities (which are municipally fraternal twins, definitely not identical) he is. The delight of the above-named Mini Sotans may derive largely from the fact that somebody else can help to shoulder the load now, but it could be more than that: maybe our current and fearless WESS leader will indeed supply a certain “jag vet inte vad” to the Minnesota mix.

Sebastian Hierl recently accepted subject responsibility for Spanish and Portuguese from a retiring colleague at the University of Chicago. It was a very Iberian thing to do. As the WESS Newsletter column editor for “Europe in Bits & Bytes,” Sebastian has also done his bit to put the bite on an area of former neglect: Italian women writers. The IWW database is a new and promising project that will benefit much from the help and input of fellow WESS Italian/European bibliographers. Proceed to the URL at and be impressed not only at the scope and conception, but at what has already been accomplished. Ultraconservative elements within my own institution refused to allow a link to this magnificent resource for biographies and critical editions until I assured them that “IWW” stands for “Italian Women Writers” and not for “International Workers of the World.”

In December Sue Roberts, who has not yet broken out of Yale, presented a paper entitled "Benedetto's Sister: Letters from a Convent" at a conference on Documenting the Renaissance: New Research from the Spinelli Archive. If “Benedetto” means “well spoken,” then we can assume that describes the presentation of her paper. Regarding her comments on “Letters from a Convent,” really, the only possible complaint was Sue’s reluctance to point out that “convent” is a chemical term one “ion” short of a “convention.” This conference was sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. (Etymological note: “Bein” is German for “bone” and “Ecke” means “corner,” and so it is that the Beinecke Library collects manuscripts from various “corners” of the “bone” yard.) Sue notes that it was a real joy to do research again and that archival research makes her really happy, even if the lot of Margherita Spinelli was quite sad. She will continue with this project, since there is much to do and much to learn. Sue was not trained as a 16th century Italian scholar, making travel to Florence not only joyful but necessary.

Speaking of Yale, Rowena Griem is the new Yalian / Yalesque Germanic Languages Cataloger following five years at the Goethe-Institut in Atlanta. Rowena learned German the easy way: her parents emigrated from Schleswig-Holstein. She occasionally went with her family on sabbatical, spouting English with a (temporary) proper-British accent during a year at Infant School in Harwell Village, learning some Italian during a year in Rome, and trying to make herself understood with Slesvigian-Holsteinian German in Munich and Vienna. She earned an MA after completing a thesis on "Judgment, Punishment and Salvation in the works of Franz Kafka and Hieronymus Bosch." (Or as a Times-Picayune headline: “Metamorphosed Bug Goes Directly to Hell.”) After a stint in New Orleans, Rowena decided to go to library school at Simmons. She now lives in the building that Groucho Marx made famous, where he was banned for stalking the halls in his pajamas (in a state of intoxication, according to some accounts) whilst allegedly hunting for elephants.

For the sake of clarification, let’s revisit Beau Case’s job title at Michigan: the “Field Librarian for Classical Studies.” You learned in our spring 2002 column that the word “field” is conceptually related to “Field & Stream.” And, like a farmer, he has always been a man “out standing in his field.” But recent research indicates that the position is in no way connected to Marshall Field; Beau is not a department store librarian. From the beginning, true enough, Indiana Beau has been digging in the dusty fields of archaeology as Librarian at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. But now his field has expanded some more: since October he has also returned to Germanic realms as Germanic Studies Librarian (taking in Dutch, German, and Scandinavian humanities and social sciences collection development and assisting other librarians in the identification and selection of Germanic language materials). He replaced the retired Holde Borcherts, thus becoming Der neue Holde.

Speaking of “job creep” (“gradual accretion of duties,” not “repulsive person at work”), Rob Kusmer has added theology cataloging to his already ample duties. And so his current job title becomes: Cataloger, German/Humanities/Theology; Liaison, German language & literature. Since Rob is at Notre Dame and is punctiliously precise in his theology cataloging, we have yet another sure sign that God is in the details.

Emily Stambaugh is a new Collection Development Librarian at Wake Forest University's Z. Smith Reynolds Library. One of two CD Librarians, she manages collections for all subjects relevant to a small liberal arts university. In addition, she is the bibliographer for International Studies and Romance Languages (Spanish, French, Italian) and provides bibliographic instruction for Latin American and Iberian studies.
Emily completed her Bachelor's Degree in History with a minor in Spanish Literatures at UC Berkeley and her Master's in Library Science at UNC, Chapel Hill. The latter was in May of 2002, so this makes her relatively new to the library game. In a former professional life, she worked in publishing in Spain and in business consulting in two Spanish-speaking countries: Spain and California. She’s lived in Barcelona for a total of four and a half years, three professional years and one year as an exchange student at the University of Barcelona. She may be one of the few WESS types who speak Catalan as well as Spanish. Originally from California, she also lived in Mexico City as an exchange student for a year. In her free time, she loves to travel and discover new cities. Currently she is rekindling an interest in drawing and painting; Joan Miro is her inspiration. On the techy side, she created a web-database for UNC Chapel Hill's Latin American microforms using Cold Fusion (such energy!) and mysql -- see (
She is now teaching herself both php and mysql and how to pronounce them (my guess would be “fffffP” and “my skull”). In a fit of grandesse (which is like largesse, only bigger), she has agreed to apply her skills to the WESS Iberian Web. Emily enjoys the excitement and spontaneity of simultaneous translation, an activity that began in earnest when four Chilean librarians came to visit the UNC campus libraries. Caveat for Germanic purists: the last two letters in the family name “Stambaugh” have been silent for the past few centuries.

Kai Stoeckenius has been recently lured back to UC Berkeley (on a second effort) from Boise State to catalog the UCB German acquisitions, not to mention Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Frisian (pant!) and Icelandic (ouch!)... in all of which languages he is, of course, fluent (not). He hopes at least to master a smattering of them after a bit. The opportunity to do that, his long-standing affinity for Berkeley and the East Bay, and a hankering to get closer to the left coast again persuaded him to leave Boise State. The next question is: did he really leave Boise? His permanent residence for the time being, and with increasing likelihood indefinitely, remains in Idaho. The price of real estate in Northern California and other personal considerations have kept his family in Boise and his frequent-flyer miles with Southwest Airlines plentiful. It gives new meaning to the term "bedroom community" and provides way too many opportunities for his new colleagues to make numerous tuberous jokes about a “weekend couch potato.”

Mary Jane Parrine has been intending to send a greeting to WESS members from Stanford to let us know that she hasn’t run off to the Bahamas (though she would be delighted to help out as a freelance Caribbean Bibliographer once the position is created). A couple of years ago, after long deliberation, she decided that she couldn’t resist the benefits offered to 20-year veterans who had reached age 55. Now she’s enjoying her choice of a different over-commitment, still working at Stanford as editor of a publication on the Gimon Collection that the libraries acquired in 1998. She hasn’t considered it retirement, just “re-potting,” so she avoids most fanfare about the transition. And she intends to maintain WESS membership, so we might even see her in the audience at some of the great programs we’ve been organizing. Now a quote in her own words: “I miss seeing you all. After having been there during the formative years of WESS, I can see over the long durée what a positive difference this organization has made to the professional life of its members. The garden here will be well cultivated by my successor Sarah Sussman, the new Curator for French and Italian studies collections. As a recent Ph.D. in French history at Stanford, she already knows the collections and faculty, and has begun to explore new areas that complement the work that I and my predecessor Paul Kann were able to do since the position was created in 1965. You’ll enjoy welcoming her as a new colleague.”

From the University of Illinois, Tom Kilton reports that three members of the Digital Emblematica project team (Nuala Bennett, Marshall Billings, and Tom his-very-self) presented papers on the work of this project at the Sixth International Emblem Conference of the Society for Emblem Studies at La Coruña, Spain, on September 13, 2002. The proceedings of the conference are scheduled to be published at the end of 2003 and should be emblematic of fine presentations. More details on the emblem digits online can be found in this issue’s Bits & Bytes Column. (La Coruña, situated on the northwest coast in a beautiful Galician maritime setting ideal in days of Philip II for sending out armadas to attack island nations to the north but more recently almost totally devoted to the fishing arts and sciences, has been devastated by the drifting, gill-gapping goo of a broken, side-splitting oil tanker.)

Frances Allen announces from the University of Cincinnati that Professor Jerry Glenn, newly retired from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures there, has donated his substantial collection of materials on Paul Celan, one of the major German poets of the 20th century, to the Archives & Rare Books Department of University Libraries. The collection, to be called the Jerry Glenn Collection of Paul Celan Materials, includes virtually all journal and newspaper articles written about Celan up to the mid-1990s, including many that are relatively inaccessible. Present in the collection are numerous dissertations not easily obtained, articles from standard academic and literary journals, and book chapters. A substantial number of translations of Celan’s work into English and a number of translations into other languages are also present. Ask Frances about ILL possibilities. The only remaining question: how confusing is it (check your 650 field) to call a person who was born in Romania, first wrote and published in Austria, studied, lived, lectured, and drowned himself in France… a German poet?

Julie Still took very short leave of Rutgers (but not her senses) last August to attend the President’s Economic Forum at Baylor University. Since Waco (in the Nation of Texas) is not far from President Bush’s homestead in Crawford – and just an easy jet commute from Enron headquarters – he (GWB) and various business executives were also able to attend the forum named after himself. The president’s photo op with Julie was one of the great thrills of his life, and you can see that picture in American Libraries (October 2002), p. 78. At the oxymoronically-named session on “Corporate Responsibility,” Julie, posing as a “garden-variety reference librarian,” pointed out [and here we quote from American Libraries] that “the CEO of one bankrupt company demanded in severance pay an amount 10 times what Still and her husband (also a librarian) would earn in their lifetimes.” According to insider information from the White House, President Bush was appalled… appalled… and suggested that the wronged CEO be given at least 25 times the dual-librarian lifetime pay.

Richard Hacken

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