WESS General Membership Meeting

Laura Dale Bischof, Secretary

WESS Newsletter
Spring 2006
Vol. 29, no. 2

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WESS General Membership Meeting
ALA 2006 Midwinter Meeting, San Antonio

Monday, January 23, 2006



Frances Ott Allen (University of Cincinnati); Gordon Anderson (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities); Kristine Anderson (Purdue); John Barnett (Gettysburg College); Helene Baumann (Duke University); Ceres Birkhead (University of Utah); Laura Dale Bischof (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities); Bryan Baldus (Quality Books, Inc.); Paula Mae Carns (University of Illinois, Champagne Urbana; Dominique Coulombe (Brown University); Charles Croissant (St. Louis University); Sam Dunlap (University of California, San Diego); Dick Hacken (Brigham Young University); Hank Harken (Arizona State University); Pamela Harris (Swarthmore); Sarah How (Cornell); Thomas Izbicki (John Hopkins); Charlene Kellsey (University of Colorado, Boulder); Dennis Lambert (Villanova University); Jeffry Larson (Yale); Thea Lindquist (University of Colorado, Boulder); Craig Likness (University of Miami); David Lincove (Ohio State University); Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University); Jon Marner (Texas A & M); Heather Moulaison (College of New Jersey); Heleni Pedersoli (University of Maryland); Joy Pile (Middlebury College); Katalin Radics (UCLA); Richard Ring (University of Kansas); Tim Shipe (University of Iowa); Bryan Skib (University of Michigan); Ann Snoeyenbos (Project Muse/JHU Press); Reinhart Sonnenburg (Dartmouth College); Emily Stambaugh (University of California, Riverside); Paul Vermouth (Harvard); Brian Vetruba (Washington University); Sarah G. Wenzel (Columbia);

WESS Member-at-Large Sarah Wenzel opened the meeting at 8:00 a.m. One item was added to the agenda, a report from the Coutts-Nijhoff Award jury.

I. General Reports

a. Andrejs Alferovs, vice-president for Sales and Marketing at Coutts, reported that the Coutts-Nijhoff  award jury had met, but was not yet ready to announce its winner. It is a great award, and this year had the largest applicant pool ever. Mr. Alferovs also gave an update about the Coutts online system, Oasis, and introduced Bob Schatz, the director of Sales for the U.S.A. Selectors can use the online system for online ordering and can search for publications by country of origin. In the end, Mr. Alferovs encouraged everyone to think about applying for the Coutts Nijhoff award in the years to come.

b. Report from Chair

Helene Baumann, chair of WESS, reported that the Nominating Committee had met and that nominations will be announced soon. She encouraged everyone to vote in the upcoming election. Bryan Skib of the University of Michigan will be the next chair. Helene also encouraged everyone to come to the annual meeting in New Orleans. The program at Annual will focus on immigration, ethnicity, and historical research in New Orleans. -- When planning your discussion group meetings, collaboration between groups is good as it helps with scheduling. -- The Paris conference proceedings are in print and available at the ALA store. -- Finally, Helene invited everyone to attend the Executive Committee meeting and reminded the group that items can still be added to the agenda.  

II. Discussion Group Reports

a. Cataloging

Charles Croissant reported that the Cataloging Discussion Group met on Sunday 4-6 p.m. There were 19 attendees. Dr. Don Panzera, chief acquisitions officer for Western Europe and Latin America at the Library of Congress, spoke to the group about the joint Library of Congress and Casalini Libri project to provide cataloging records for Italian monographs. A representative from Casalini Libri has agreed to discuss the project at Annual in New Orleans. The second topic was the survey of cataloging practices being developed by Charlene Kellsey, Rebecca Malek-Wiley, and Charles Croissant on behalf of the German-North American Resources Project (GNARP). Some of the questions they hope to answer are: 1) how do major research libraries conduct foreign language cataloging and 2) are basic level vendor records eventually receiving more complete cataloging in the national utilities?

b. College and Medium-Sized Libraries

Pamela Harris reported that this discussion group met on Saturday, January 21 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Hank Harken made a presentation about using podcasts in the library environment and ways to use ipods to download results onto a personal computer. Librarians in smaller institutions have a different set of challenges from their colleagues working with large collections and often have to juggle a greater diversity of tasks.

c. Germanists

Tim Shipe, Chair-elect, reported that about 30 people attended this session Sunday from 10:30a.m.-12:30 p.m. The speaker couldn't come so the group had a discussion about a variety of topics, including migration studies, vendor online systems (Otto Editions, GOBI etc), and what WESS does for new bibliographers. There were lots of suggestions about the latter topic, and this will be brought to Executive Committee.

d. Romance Languages

Chair Dominique Coulombe reported that there were 60 attendees at the meeting on Saturday 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dr. Robert McNamee, Manager of Electronic Development,Voltaire Foundation at University of Oxford, gave a presentation about the Electronic Enlightenment, a digital scholarly project being developed by the Voltaire foundation. Dr. McNamee invited the attendees to try out the product and is looking for feedback. There has been a trail of information about this project on the WESS-ROM listserv. It is a well-designed searchable digital archive of correspondence from the 18th century.  The second topic of discussion, vendor records as cataloging records, was led by Dr. Don Panzera, Library of Congress. There were four vendors represented in the meeting: Aux Amateurs de Livres, Casalini, Puvill and Touzot.  There was discussion that there needs to be an economic model that would be feasible for vendors and libraries, and that libraries need to develop a consensus on what the bibliographic records should contain.

e. Scandinavian

Kristine Anderson reported for convener Gordon Anderson that the group met from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on Sunday; about 10 people came to this early meeting. Gordon Anderson talked to the group about searching online genealogical databases for Sweden and about his own experiences researching his ancestors in Scandinavia. The group then discussed planning a trip to a Scandinavian book fair combined with excursions to Scandinavian national libraries. Gordon encouraged everyone to attend the annual SASS (Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study) meetings, where in the past a small librarian contingent has met.

f. Social Sciences and History

Louis Reith reported that 15 people attended this meeting on Saturday 4:00-6:00 p.m. Topics for discussion were vendor relations and the Electronic Enlightenment project. Gordon Anderson will be the new discussion leader.

III. Committee Reports

a. CIFNAL (Collaborative Initiative of French and North-American Libraries) 

Sarah Wenzel, chair of this ad hoc committee, reported that the committee worked to wrap up the CIFNAL charge and by-laws before CIFNAL's transfer to the Center for Research Libraries. They plan to finish the charge at Annual 2006. See the CIFNAL website at: http://www.crl.edu/grn/cifnal/index.asp.

b. Fundraising

Emily Stambaugh, chair of this new committee, reported that the members reviewed past WESS expenditures to ascertain what the immediate WESS needs are and what can be projected for next year. They discussed a list of vendors from whom to solicit donations and divvied up list among the members. The committee wants solid cost estimates from each WESS group. A web site for the fundraising committee can be found on the WESS Web (http://lib.ucr.edu/staff/estambaugh/WESS/fundraising/index.html).

c. Membership

David Lincove reported that membership increased in 2005 from 584 to 609. The main topic of discussion was the planned Mississippi river cruise in New Orleans. Decisions were made about the details concerning the boat, contract, and food. David encouraged everyone to come on the cruise and participate; five new WESS members can receive free cruise tickets. The date of the cruise is June 25, 2006 (Sunday). The second topic of discussion was the ACRL web site. ACRL needs to know what is open access and what is privileged information for members.  David attended the ACRL membership advisory committee meeting, but no conclusions were drawn about this matter there. In WESS there seems to be consensus that there should be as little restriction as possible. Only personal information should be secure.

d. Program Planning 2006

Sam Dunlap, committee co-chair, reported that our program for 2006 Immigrations, Ethnicities and Historical Research has been listed in the Preliminary Program Tracks under "Authors, Literature, and Cultural Programs,‰ Subtrack: "Cultural Diversity."  Rebecca Malek-Wiley updated the committee on the New Orleans speakers, some of whom have been difficult to contact since Hurricane Katrina. The final speakers are all confirmed: a speaker from Historic New Orleans Collection, a faculty member from Tulane, and an archivist from Tulane. The program web site will be rolled out along with publicity. The committee hopes to arrange two free tours of the Historic New Orleans collection.

e. Program 2007

Bryan Skib, in-coming WESS chair, reported for the committee. Annual 2007 might seem a long way away, but the ACRL pre-planning is already in high gear. Annual 2007 will be in Washington, D.C. and potential program topics include: resources for European Studies in D.C.; the changing religious landscape in Europe; European Union (EU) expansion and information policy; and resources for the study of the EU. There are a number of EU librarians in D.C. This committee still needs a chair, and Bryan invited more volunteers to help with the program.

f. Publications

Since Sarah How was not present, Reinhart Sonnenburg reported for the committee. Out-going newsletter editor Sarah Wenzel introduced the new newsletter editor Paul Vermouth. She explained that there are print and online versions of the newsletter. The online version is twice the size of the print and is the version of record.

Another topic of discussion was the brochure, which needs to be updated and revised with more recent highlights from WESS events such as the Paris conference. The publications committee will do this update by March 2006 without funding from ACRL, due to the new and more complicated ACRL process. David Lincove pointed out that ACRL would like all of the section brochures to follow the same format and that there is no competition within ACRL to receive the services of a graphic designer. Reinhart reported that the old version of the brochure was on WESSWeb for a while due to human error.

g. WESS Web Editors

Reinhart Sonnenburg reported that the editors discussed implementing wiki technology as a way to run the subject pages on WESS Web. Dick Hacken shared his experiences transforming EuroDocs into a wiki in order to allow collaboration. The wiki technology has a lot of potential for adding new content and fixing errors etc. The wiki language is not difficult to learn and eliminates the middle man from web editing. The GNARP Digital Library Working Group digital projects directory could be good wiki site, and Reinhart Sonnenburg will pilot wiki for digital projects. If wiki is used for WESS Web, access will need to be limited; however, since all changes can be seen, it is very controllable.

Dick Hacken encouraged WESS members to volunteer their expertise and work on subject pages on WESS Web.

h. Research & Planning

Charlene Kellsey reported that 15 people attended this meeting. There were two paper presentations. Thea Lindquist reported about research assessing the value of study tours for collection development librarians. Helene Baumann gave a presentation on her research, funded by the Coutts Nijhoff award, at the Bildarchiv der deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft. Charlene will issue a call for papers in spring for the Annual meeting.  

Charlene also presented a draft web page aimed at European librarians looking for internships in U.S. libraries. The draft will be presented to Executive Committee.

i. Recruitment

Charlene Kellsey and Brian Vertruba reported on the virtual meeting that this committee held before Mid-Winter. The committee is undertaking several projects. One is to gather statistics on entry level librarians jobs that require or desire language and subject specialties. A larger question is whether there is a personnel crisis for institutions seeking foreign language catalogers and subject specialists and whether libraries are hiring in these areas. We don't get the full picture from job advertisements, as so often extra subject duties are added on after the hiring takes place. There seems to be a movement toward foreign vendors providing more full-level cataloging, and library schools are telling their students that cataloging jobs are out. Anecdotal evidence indicates that there is a crisis. Louis Reith pointed out that vendors can't do anything about the cataloging backlogs at most academic libraries. In general there seems to be downsizing of cataloging projects.

A small group will compile a list of other professional organizations that might be persuaded to link to the Recruitment Committee's library careers promotional web site.

IV. European Book Fairs

Sarah Wenzel led a free-wheeling discussion about WESS involvement in European Book Fairs. ACRL will no longer support a WESS presence at the Frankfurt International Book Fair, but Jeff Garrett (GNARP) is working to overcome this problem for 2006. The general question is whether WESS wishes to continue its commitment to Frankfurt or other book fairs, once a year. There are many different models. Do we want to do something new?


Helene Baumann: Helene had a conversation with Barbara Casalini at Mid-Winter. Barbara told her that they want to support book fairs and described a book fair that takes place in Rome every December. It is a fair with many small publishers, art publishers, and hard-to-find publishers. Salon du livre is another wonderful book fair. Going to book fairs other than Frankfurt is useful. No WESS booth is necessary, just a small group of attendees.

It was suggested that WESS members post information about other fairs on WESS-L.

Jeffry Larson: there is a book fair in Spain, and the book trade association supports travel of librarians to the fair. WESS should follow up. There are other sources of funding, not just ACRL.

Joy Pyle: for librarians who collect more than one language, the Frankfurt Book fair is of great value. For example, there are Chinese vendors and publishers at Frankfurt. The scientific conference held at the University of Frankfurt Library before the Fair was on Digitization in 2005.

Heleni Pedersoli: WESS has found a niche at Frankfurt. Even though WESS has lost funding for its booth, it could tag along with European vendors (Harrassowitz). Question: would we want an ACRL booth or a WESS booth?

Sarah Wenzel: Salon du livre was fabulous, an overwhelming source of information. It would be a good idea to create a web page or blog about the different book fairs. We could track who is going to which fair, where the good hotels are, etc. Traveling as a group keeps costs down.

Bryan Skib: Bryan agrees with Sarah. It is very hard to get institutional funding for book fairs, and we need to justify and explain why such a trip is more than a vacation. WESS needs to pull together information about book fairs and how important they are for professional development. A list of talking points for librarians about book fairs and their benefits for our activities as subject specialists would be desirable.

Dick Hacken: WESS Web would be a great place to create a page with links to official sites.

Jeffry Larson:  Jeffry is going to Salon du livre. He can raise the issues about funding there.  

Gordon Anderson:  the Gothenburg book fair is great; the Scandinavian Discussion group has an interest in book fairs and hopes to organize a trip to Gothenburg and national libraries in Scandinavia.

Sarah Wenzel:  a stipend per year for book fairs would be good. Is there money from fundraising that could be applied to a stipend?

Emily Stambaugh: the donation form has a specific option for the Frankfurt book fair. This specific option could be changed to "book fair attendance" or "European book fairs." WESS needs to provide clear instructions for donors.

Sarah Wenzel: do we even know what we do provide in funds for book fairs?

Heleni Pedersoli: book fairs are a great professional development tool. WESS should support them in some way.

Jeffry Larson: travel support should be for new members.

Helene Baumann: ACRL wants more members in this country, and book fairs do not help their mission. An ACRL board member called Helene to tell her the WESS presence at the Frankfurt Book would not be supported. The booth costs a lot and isn't core to ACRL's values.

Tom Izbicki: WESS activities don't fit into the ACRL master plan; growing the organization is major part of their agenda. ACRL has a domestic agenda.

Sarah Wenzel: there are two issues: 1) whether or how to continue the Frankfurt presence and 2) support travel to other European book fairs. We don't want to lose the momentum that we have at Frankfurt.

Reinhart Sonnenburg: Jeff Garrett will work with Harrassowitz for Frankfurt 2006.

Emily Stambaugh: WESS needs to prioritize its activities, balance where the income comes from and how much effort goes into fundraising. We must rebalance our activities and fundraising efforts.

Richard Ring: we should continue to support a presence at Frankfurt and provide subsidies. WESSWeb can provide a list of links to book fairs, provide moral support at the least, and publish reports from book fairs. We should concentrate financial support on Frankfurt; small presses are present at Frankfurt, and since it is an international fair, Frankfurt can benefit us all.

Sarah Wenzel: Frankfurt Book Fair is oriented to Germanists, and WESS has neglected other foreign book fairs. WESS should be more even-handed toward other fairs and not so very German-oriented. We need cross-cultural communication, e.g. organized trips to Portugal and Spain.

Kati Radics: we can ask vendors on the donation form which book fair they wish to support. We can let vendors promote their own countries.

Helene Baumann: we could focus fundraising for book fairs in individual countries; we can get more out of a smaller, more focused book fairs.

Another idea is that applicants for the book fair stipend can later specify which fair they wish to attend. Focus on one country a year.

Charles Croissant:  a broad focus on book fairs is good, not just Frankfurt. GNARP wants to attend Frankfurt, and we don't want to compete with them for funding sources.

Helene Baumann: Goethe Institute brings librarians to Germany. Perhaps they will continue to sponsor a study tour to Germany every few years?

Emily Stambaugh: where would this money come from? What are our top priorities? We have book fairs, the cruise, newsletters, audiovisual expenses at ALA conferences, special programs, and the brochure. Where are our priorities?

Tom Izbicki: the newsletter has been a top priority.

Kati Radics: program is top priority. It is important to have good speakers. The newsletter is second.

Charlene Kellsey:  stipends to book fair should be above the cruise. The cruise is fun, but book fairs are professional development.

Ann Snoeyenbos: the cruise is a recruitment tool.

Reinhart Sonnenburg: the cruise increases visibility. We had SEES as a cosponsor.

David Lincove:  when making these decisions we should consider the impact on the organization. Book fairs impact us all through our acquisitions. Cruise impacts a lot of people as well.

V. 3d WESS International Conference


Helene opened this discussion. If we want to have an international conference in 2010, we need to plan! It requires fundraising, local arrangements, and a theme.

Ann Snoeyenbos: we could have the conference in Oxford. Robert McNamee, the Electronic Enlightenment editor, has expressed interest in having an international WESS conference in Oxford. If we have it over spring break, we could get inexpensive lodging in the dormitories.  Sam Dunlap pointed out that Robert McNamee is becoming a vendor to us. Prof. McNamee suggests 2008.

Advantages to having the WESS international conference in Oxford: cheaper air fares; a central point in Europe; cosmopolitan area; could attract British and European colleagues. There are energetic library groups in Great Britain.

Sarah Wenzel and Helene Baumann: this is a lot of work. Do we really want to have another conference in 2008?

Sarah How: how long does it take to push the planning process through ACRL?

Helene Baumann: the more time the better.

Mainz, Tuebingen, and Switzerland have already been discussed as potential locations for a European conference. Middlebury has a campus in Mainz.

Tom Izbicki: WESS will need to work with the ACRL budget committees. It is best to ask for as little money as possible.

Jeffry Larson: we need people working in the location of the conference (an active local arrangement committee).

VI. Announcements

1. Bryan Skib

Committee appointments are being made. Please send Bryan your thoughts about new chairs and the next conveners of discussion groups.

2. Paul Vermouth

The newsletter submission deadline is February 27, 2006. Time-dated material should be announced on the list. Announcements for May and June are fine. Paul invites ideas for feature articles. Please send personal and institutional news to Dick Hacken. The "New Publications of Note" column needs suggestions for books. Sebastian Hierl would also appreciate suggestions for "Europe in Bits & Bytes."

5. Sarah How

Please update your entries in the WESS directory.

6. Gordon Anderson

RREA is a little behind schedule; volume 10 is close to being finished. RREA needs 1 or 2 volunteers to be editors, especially for the original review section. Gordon explained the process. Original reviews are very important and a good publishing opportunity for our members.

Submitted By Laura Dale Bischof, WESS Secretary

Editor: Paul Vermouth

Association of College & Research Libraries
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