1999 WESS Program

WESTERN EUROPEAN LIBRARIANSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES:
LOOKING FORWARD AFTER TWENTY YEARS.
A presentation at the Association of College and Research Libraries/Western European Specialists Section (WESS), American Library Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 28, 1999
Barbara L. Walden, European History Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 728 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Looking forward after 20 years. We chose this date because it marks the formation of our organization, the Western European Specialists Section, as we know it today. How shall we talk about this today, as we find ourselves in a world transformed from that of 20 years ago? Europe itself has been transformed politically, economically and socially and in that transformation some of the basic assumptions upon which academic programs, scholarly careers, and library collections were built have been swept away. Much of the government funding and interest which brought significant growth to library collections in Western European Studies since the Second World War came about in a context of Cold War politics which already seems very quaint and far away from the world which has come to pass since those seminal and symbolic moments in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down.

On a more everyday level, the world of the library has been transformed too, even in the most basic daily routines of what we as librarians spend our time doing. Think how long it has been since you filed a card in a catalog drawer. I dare say some of you have have never even done this at all, yet 20 years ago it was basic to life in the library even though back then the winds of change were beginning to rattle through those catalog drawers.

Even more fundamental, I think, is the transformation we have experienced in some very basic concepts of what the mission of the research library should be. The goal of comprehensiveness in our individual collections, once the touchstone of the large research library even if this ideal was never quite realized in practice, is now less in sight that ever. In fact, few libraries nowadays even pay lip service to this once sacred ideal .

And of course, as we all know, we are in the midst of a profound and, for those of us on the front lines sometimes quite overwhelming transformation of the means by which information and ideas are transmitted. As we speak, many libraries are struggling, for better or for worse, to transform or reorganize themselves for a future whose outline we cannot fully grasp, but which we know will involve us in the revolution that the digital age is bringing to the world of information, study, and reading.

Another factor that for us is of great importance is the transformation over the past 20 years in the notion of what it is that we are talking about when we call ourselves Western European specialists. Over the past 20 years European studies have reached beyond the traditional emphases on language, literature and the humanities. In 1979 the group known as WELS, the Western European Languages Specialists Discussion Group, was in the process of deciding to transform itself into WESS -the Western European Specialists Section. At the same time, the social -sciences oriented Council for European Studies was coming into being, and in the world of academic research and teaching, comparative and theoretically –based approaches were beginning to emerge as a new focus of academic research, teaching and study. In addition, once traditionally humanities-based disciplines such as history were beginning to expand beyond the boundaries of focuses on nations and diplomacy, finding new theoretical approaches and topics in the world of the social sciences and in new philosophical approaches such as semiotics and critical theory.

Academic librarianship, of course, follows and mirrors these changes, though perhaps a bit slowly. Certainly in my own career in the practice of Western European librarianship I have undergone a transformation from position titles which designated me solely as a language/literature specialist of specific country-based literatures, to a very broad approach acknowledging the social sciences to, most recently, a return to a European history whose methods, outlook and approach have become far broader and more eclectic than when I first began. And in the name of Western European librarianship I work on a daily basis not only with what we now call ‘traditional’ formats, books, serials, microforms and the like but also with digital materials created not only by others but also by myself. From my perspective the possibility in the digital world, for me to act not only as the middleman or mediator that I was in the world of print, but also as the creator of digital resources, is very interesting, new, and possibly transformative.

But my topic today is looking forward after 20 years, and my intention is to talk about the continuities in this world of change, and possibly to suggest some ways in which the future which we can foresee - a future which is immediate since I cannot see beyond that – is in fact an outgrowth of where we have been. So let us look at a few highlights from the past 20 years, both in European Studies and in the library world and try to find the threads that can help us to look forward. In the interest of preserving the historical narrative, I’ll tell the story I want to bring to you in chronological order, but what I really want to do is to find in this chronology some highlights which will provide a framework in which to to present some ideas and suggestions to help us think about our future.

In fact, we can begin our historical narrative even before this convenient but in some ways arbitrary 20-year limit. In 1975 Erwin Welsch, who was for a very long time the dean of Western European librarianship in this country, contributed a chapter to a very interesting report called Western European Studies in the United States. This report emanated from the then-new organization called the Council for European Studies. He noted that librarians needed to be aware of a renewal of interest in contemporary Western Europe and to be included in this renewal. His recommendations included the need for an organization of librarians concerned with Western European materials generally, and he emphasized the need for librarians to interact with their scholarly counterparts and to adapt to changes in research methods and study – especially, he noted, the advent of machine – readable social sciences data. And here are already my first couple of threads, the advent of the machine in the world of information, and the librarians’ role in pulling together scholarship and its resources.

To move ahead to 1979, the year of WESS’ beginning, this was also the year in which the President's Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies noted serious deficiencies in the foreign language capabilities of Americans. The Commission's report called for increasing emphasis on foreign societies and international issues in education, including higher education, and called for the establishment of university-based international studies centers and support for funding of area studies library collections and library technology in support of area studies. This program, which we now refer to in verbal shorthand as Title VI , began as part of the National Defense Education Act, and thus was born as part of the Cold War attempt to defend against the Communist monolith. Because of its strategic importance Western Europe, a part of the world previously more often thought of in a sort of vague and generalized way as the wellspring of culture, became a part of area studies, and government funding was channeled into support of instructional programs and library acquisitions at selected institutions.

And here on a personal note I must add my own astonishment, as I looked back last year at almost 20 years of library acquisitions made under a Title VI Western European National Resources Center Grant at the University of Minnesota. I marveled at the depth and range of materials that had been brought in by this funding and, subsequently, through the development of online shared catalogs and expedited interlibrary lending through a variety of library consortia, made available to the rest of the country.

The notion of boundaries and their permeability is a part of our past also, and it is a theme which, I will suggest, remains very relevant to our work. This is a topic which I will come back to several times, but I will begin by noting that it was in 1984 that Peter Gourevitch noted the erosion of boundaries in European studies, both geographic and analytic. Gourevitch was speaking at the first Symposium on Western European Studies and North American Research Libraries which was sponsored by WESS and the Western European Area Studies Center at the University of Minnesota – here we see another of the early manifestations of this area-studies approach to Western Europe under Title VI .

The 1984 symposium, and its successor, had collection development as its focus, and both librarians and scholars attended and spoke. Yet only one speaker chose as his topic the subject of cooperative collection development—in this case the then-new RLG conspectus, which was viewed as a collection analysis tool. Speaking as one of this symposium's organizers, I doubt that any of us then would have foreseen the development and proliferation of attempts at cooperation of various kinds which have occurred subsequently. Surely this has to be one of the major developments of the past 20 years, though its roots go back even further than that. This is a development which has involved us ever since, and which continues to concern us today. This is another development I’ll come back to in a while. And, in still another thread I will follow up later, one of the conference’s editors suggested that perhaps this conference might serve to mark a milestone in the pioneering stage of our field.

It was about this time (actually in 1985) that a selected group of RLG insitutions were invited to participate in a study, known as the "Conoco" project, which attempted to test the realities of cooperative collection development by asking German Literature librarians and Geology librarians to evaluate their selection behavior with a sample of German materials in their subjects. Among several elements examined, perhaps for the first time the usually unexamined element of timely access to materials not owned onsite was tested as a factor influencing development of individual collections. We were asked: would we or would we not have ordered this item for our libraries if we could have gotten it from elsewhere within 1,3 ,7,10 or 21 working days of the patron's request? I remember chortling to myself at the silliness of the notion that something might be available in less than 10 days, and the notion that something might be available in 1 or 3 days seemed totally implausible.

These things seem far less implausible today in the era of digital access and electronic communication. In fact, just last month, I received an article via the German interlibrary loan service which we have been testing as part of Wisconsin's participation in the Association of Research Libraries’ German Resources Project. I put in my interlibrary loan request for this article by e-mail at noon on one day, and my article was waiting for me at my computer when I arrived at work at 9 AM the next day, having been scanned and transmitted from Germany.

Less than one day turn-around time to obtain an article from Germany. What does this mean for collection development in this country? When we can receive German materials with this kind of alacrity, what is it that we need to have onsite in our own libraries? Even back in 1985, the Conoco study indicated that sharing of collections was something that we thought was workable much of the time, and we were willing to do it.

The question of how people would come to know of the existence of something not at their own institutions was left unexamined back then: we had faith that they would easily grasp the use of our newly computerized RLIN and OCLC databases and would find their way to the interlibrary loan office. We had not developed today's notions that such things are not selfevident and had not yet envisioned that connections could be made directly between online databases and online interlibrary lending.

The Conoco Project also included followup on areas found not to be collected. French literature, both in general and in specific, was addressed in RLG studies also and attempts were made to formulate guidelines for analysis of the depth of our collections.. The immediate aftermath of these projects included attempts by RLG bibliographers to address areas found not to be widely held.

All of these findings and activities were widely discussed in WESS discussion groups, which by that time included forums for both Romance interests and Germanist interests. These discussions helped to spread information and ideas well beyond the confines of the Research Libraries Group. In fact, I suggest that it was the dissemination of these ideas via WESS and elsewhere, rather than the actual outcome of these activities, which was the real contribution to librarianship which was made by these efforts.

The debate still goes on sometimes as to whether these Research Libraries Group collection-sharing attempts were actually "successful". It may be that those who contend that these attempts were unsuccessful fail to take into account the role played by WESS and other non- RLG groups in disseminating these ideas more broadly in the library world and bringing them into our common vocabulary and understanding. Here I think is one of the major roles which our organization must continue to play, that of forum and platform for the new ideas we bring from all directions.

In 1988 the second Western European Specialists Conference, held this time in Florence, Italy, broke new ground by bringing together American specialists in European studies with their European counterparts to examine the collection, organization and preservation of materials which support research. Yes, we are talking about 1988 here; this thread too is one which runs into the present and the future, as we look for cooperative endeavors with European counterparts. The 1988 conference was sponsored by Mario Casalini, of Casalini Libri , in an extraordinary act of generosity, and here too is a thread. I think we should not forget the support which WESS has always enjoyed from vendors and book dealers, this support has been given with no strings attached and in addition to conferences and conference publications has facilitated our commuication with one another through publications such as the WESS Newsletter, helped bring interesting new research into being through the annual Nijhoff grants, and today injects interesting new ideas into our conference and meeting deliberations through the Touzot grant for program support .

Looking back from today's perspective, the proceedings from 1988 mark some other beginnings – one speaker, from a European publisher of scientific periodicals– talked about making the transition from print to electronic publishing. She laid out, from a publisher's perspective, some views which have since that time served to strain some of the traditional relationships between librarians and publishers, views which have led to efforts at reorganization of the world of periodical publishing by scholarly societies. Two speakers dealt with other topics we continue to wrestle with as they described issues of collecting little-used but still necessary materials such as subnational documents, and the problems of collecting ephemeral materials such as those emanating from émigré and refugee organizations, and from marginalized groups.. That librarians could articulate these issues in 1988 suggests that we had integrated the social-sciences model of area studies into our world.

And, finally, the overall title of the conference denotes well the changing emphasis of our deliberations – this time it was entitled: Euro –librarianship: shared resources, shared responsibilities. We were looking not only beyond the walls of our own institutions, but across the national and geographic boundaries, attempting to make contacts with European counterparts.

The 1984 and the 1988 special conferences, as well as the annual programs at ALA during this period, all made a conscious attempt to bring together scholars and practitioners in European Studies with librarians working with these subjects. Scholars’ perceptions of new directions in their fields coexisted with librarians’ attempts to deal with new developments in the world of libraries. This too suggests a thread: as subject specialists, it may be that we are the boundary-spanners in the practice of librarianship, a field in which, even now, people tend to be separated by functions, such as catalogers, administrators, and the like.

As subject specialists we have for a long time now been seriously engaged in bridging gaps and bringing together the world of scholarship and the world of the library. As we move further into the electronic era, it may be our abilities to move among a variety of functions and interests in the name of subject content that will make us the even more the carriers of the world of information and knowledge.

Certainly, again reverting to a more personal perspective, as I have become increasingly defined as a European specialist in the newer and more encompassing sense of the term, rather than as a reference librarian or a bibliographer, I have seen the dimensions of my role expand across the traditional boundaries of library functions as well as into the world of electronic information, including direct creation of electronic resources. It is possible for us to be bringers of content to library functions, both traditional and digital. The digital revolution offers us new opportunities to do this if we act to do so. And, equally important, we bridge the gap between the world of information and the scholarly practitioner. I have repeated and reemphasized these points because I think they may guide us in some way to the road we need to go if libraries are not to become museums, and if our profession is to remain relevant in the electronic era.

In the seminal German year of 1989, two threads emerged at our ALA annual program, which was fortuitously devoted to German-speaking Europe. Two speakers examined phenomena which have continued to occupy our attention. One speaker addressed areas in which we are not collecting in this country, including a variety of resources which have come to be valued in today's scholarly world, such as political publications of special interest and pressure groups, and those containing radical or controversial views-an approach similar to the earlier concerns about marginalized groups. He also noted the lack in this country of what, for want of a better term, I would call "non-canonical" literature; popular fiction, dialect literature and the like—the findings which first emerged in the Conoco study.

And, he suggested an interesting factor contributing to all this non-collecting, one which I have not seen often mentioned, -- our own biases and lack of foresight which, when mirrored across a number of settings can lead to entire categories of resources not available in this country. This is a provocative notion: how often do we examine our biases and received assumptions? I hope and imagine that there will emerge some additional interesting discussion, research, and action on our biases and gaps.

The other speaker in 1989 described the incompatibility of cataloging practices which make it difficult for us to exchange cataloging information on the international level even in an era when our online cataloging databases have come of age. As we move into the electronic era and as cataloging transforms itself into metadata even those of us who have not in the past thought of ourselves as catalogers must become concerned with these issues and I suggest that they might fruitfully occupy more of our attention. Recently catalogers of Western European materials have come together under the WESS umbrella, a development which is healthy and representative, I hope, of a trend towards the further erosion of functional and subject boundaries as well as an expansion of WESS beyond its traditional focus on collection development.

I have spent a good deal of time bringing us through the first 10 years of my allotted 20 year span. This is deliberate on my part, because I think that many of the developments we regard as groundbreaking today have their origins in and are related to this earlier period. Most of the threads I wanted to pull from the tapestry are now laid out for you. These include especially the notion of subject specialist librarians as boundary spanners and the increasing permeability of boundaries, both in our work and in the subjects we deal with. I have suggested as well that we need to remember to examine our biases and assumptions.

Now let me summarize rather more quickly the more recent period, the one that more of us remember, circle back to look again at the themes that have emerged., talk a little bit more about the field of Western European studies – the study of Europe in the United States, rather – and try to formulate some questions for us as we look forward.

In 1992, WESS was approached by the Association of Research Libraries with a request for assistance in a major grant-funded project to study the acquisition and availability of foreign materials in North American research libraries. ARL planned to work with a variety of scholarly and library groups in this endeavor, and had identified WESS as the library group most relevant to bring on board for Western Europe. Looking back, I suggest that, if the 1984 conference marked the summit of our pioneering stage, this may be the moment when this group, as it is currently constituted, attained its full maturity. This is the project which has become the ARL Global Resources Project, in which we are still vitally involved.

And here I want to take a few minutes to talk about another thread which lends itself to mention here. It is a subject which people who concern themselves with looking at the whole field of European Studies as it is practiced in this country mention frequently – the role of government and grant funding in our work. Title VI, the Mellon Foundation and other granting agencies have shaped and sponsored a good bit of our agenda. How does this sponsorship impact on what we choose to do or what we pass by?

In my role as an individual who has received grants and administered grant projects, I have sometimes reflected on how the requirements of these granting agencies influence the direction of what I am working on, and I notice that I often adapt my activities to those which are grant-fundable. I am not suggesting here that these directions are not positive, I have already mentioned some of the good that granting agencies have done for our field. But, I am suggesting that we should be aware that we do one thing sometimes by not doing another and we should make our choices consciously, knowing that by choosing the funded direction we do not choose something else.

Perhaps what I am talking about here is that "vision thing" – do we have a vision of where we as an organization want to go? Where is it articulated? How is it critiqued and changed? Can we assess what we have done, see also the way we did not travel, and chart a course for the next little while? Or is our role not to be the pathbreaker but rather to adapt to the developments in European studies and in the library world and to synthesize them, as Erwin Welsch suggested in 1975? Can we answer these questions? Some of our members have urged us to think of these things in the context of library collections, can we also think of this in the context of the other things we do, especially now as the digital world encourages the integration of once-separate functions?

To return to my chronological narrative, and return to the 1992 ARL project which has become the Global Resources Project, a subcommittee of the WESS Research and Planning Committee was appointed to work with ARL on the Foreign Acquisitions Project, as it was called then. The committee's preliminary report focused on the current state of Western European collections. In rereading the summary of that preliminary report which I prepared as the committee's chair I see that some of our findings have been pursued, but not others. ARL asked us to recommend a country to receive special attention and we recommended that Germany should be that country. As those of us who are Germanists know, this recommendation is one which has sent us into very interesting directions.

In a related matter the preliminary ARL Foreign Acquisitions study reiterated the observation, first raised in 1988, of the relative lack of political science material in this country, even as nationalism and special-interest groups increasingly dominated the European stage. Are these kinds of lacunae something we can consider again as our transatlantic interlibrary lending network is established? Can we build these bridges not only with Germany but elsewhere?

What I am suggesting here is that, in the digital era, functions such as collection development in all formats , cataloging or metadata, digital access and dissemination of information, and interlibrary loan are increasingly intertwined and linked with one another. What are we doing to think about and affect these linkages? This is an issue which the participation of WESS in the ARL project has led us to, but it goes beyond the institutions which participate in the ARL project, and thus lends itself to the boundary-spanning and inclusionary work which is, I am suggesting, already a part of our tradition and which may be increasingly important for us in the future.

To again return to our first preliminary report to the Association of Research Libraries, this time to look at the findings which were not pursued, what strikes me is the finding that in this country we all depend on only one or a very few institutions for materials outside of Germany, France, Italy and Spain. For instance, in the case of Belgium, with a fractious and persistent minority question, even institutions which had commitments to Belgium as specified in the RLG conspectus did not emerge as owning significant materials.

Is this important? It may be less important in an era which can contemplate transatlantic interlibrary loan linked to online catalogs as we are exploring in the case of Germany, and in which the World Wide Web has emerged as a carrier of contemporary political information. But we can say it is less important only if what we learn in the German Project can be applied elsewhere, and only if we can come to terms with the ephemeral and ever-changing nature of the World Wide Web. Who is thinking about this? Are we represented there? What do we do in the meantime?

Well, we have now come the circle, back to Welsch’s 1975 concerns that we need to be cognizant of the role of what we now call digital information. As I have already observed, though, he advocated that we adapt ourselves. I am suggesting that we need to go beyond adapting to think about how we are going to shape this world, which, after all, is now more than 20 years on. We have already made some beginnings in shaping the digital world. WESSWEB, our wonderfully collaborative web site, is acknowledged as a major resource for European studies not only in this country but overseas as well. Many of us maintain our own Europeanist web sites as well. We were early on linked by several listservs, outgrowths of our discussion groups, which have transformed the nature of communication and information for us just as they have transformed scholarly communication generally. We are involved with not one but two electronic journals, our own newsletter and, again thanks to the leadership of Mario Casalini and his family, with Reference Reviews Europe, an important resource for everyone involved in building European collections anywhere. The Germanists among us who are involved in the ARL project are developing digital and other partnerships with German institutions. Is it time now for us to ask ourselves, what next?

Here are some ideas to help us think about what next. I’ve already made the point that our past is related to the growth and change in the field of Western European Studies. In addition to discussion groups for country or language interests, such as our long-standing Germanist and our newer Romance and Scandinavian groups, we now encompass discussion groups for Social Sciences and History, Classical Medieval and Renaissance Studies, for the concerns of smaller and medium sized libraries, and even, my favorite, the Special Topics Group which to me embodies our attempts to deal with the eclectic and changing nature of area studies. Clearly we have been following the trends. We acknowledge these changes this year as we change our name once again, from the Western European Specialists Section to the Western European Studies Section.

But I wonder if we have really acknowledged the impact our work has had on these trends. I have suggested to you that the discussions and information which our organization has traditionally fostered has carried previous work in collection analysis and development beyond the limits imposed on us by our individual institutions’ memberships in this or that consortium, and has led to the spanning of boundaries which might otherwise have mitigated against the dissemination of ideas. Yet we have given relatively little thought to this aspect of our function. As is the case for most of us in the workplace, perhaps we are too caught up in the avalanche of change that is carrying us along to wonder how we might impact that change.

But there are ways in which we might do this. One might be for us to consider what the integration of previously separate functions such as cataloging and interlibrary loan with collection development and subject access means to how we conduct ourselves as an organization. Another is one we are beginning to work on with our ad hoc committee on membership, and with last year's preconference on resources for people newly starting out in European studies. I am referring here to the renewal of our profession, both in its practice and in its membership, in the electronic universe. In addition, through our research grant-the Nijhoff grant-, and through the Touzot grant for our program, we could bring the important ideas for which we so often have served as a forum, into the larger library community. We have, I think perhaps unaware, served over the years as a catalyst, forum. and advocate for changes. Perhaps it is time for us to acknowledge this function as a part of the business of our organization.

And for my last point, lest we become complacent, let me tell you of a new report on the state of Western European Studies. I mentioned to you the 1975 report called Western European Studies in the United States, sponsored by the Council for European Studies. A 1998 report called The Study of Europe in the United States, sponsored by the German Marshall Fund and the Delegation of the European

Commission to the United States, makes suggestions and recommendations for the next era in our field. I commend it to you.

First of all, this 1998 report acknowledges what I have earlier suggested to you, that the existence of grant funds and the desires of granting institutions are important in shaping the agenda for the work we do. They acknowledge this openly; I urge that we too acknowledge this consciously, and not let it serve as an unconscious bias to our work.

The report also emphasizes the importance of the European Union, not only as a funding source but also as a subject of study in the United States. I suggest to you that here is one nexus for contemporary European Studies, just as the Cold War formed a nexus for an earlier generation of European studies. Here again, I think it is well for us to acknowledge this pressure rather than allowing it to serve as an unexamined accompaniment to our work. Most of us, and especially those of us who deal with the humanities and history, should have concerns about a concept of European studies which does not take into account the humanistic and historical aspects of the world of learning, or which considers them at best only a backdrop to a European study focussed on contemporary economics, business and politics.

Even more interesting, I think, the report acknowledges what those of us who have worked with Western Europe as an area study have already encountered—the changing nature of area studies and the debate going on in the academy about the very validity of this concept today, as theoretical approaches accompanied by comparative case-studies have come to be valued in the academy ahead of depth of study and knowledge about one area. I do not know where this debate will lead, but I have observed that, as faculty retire, the academic politics of their replacement sometimes relates to this issue. And those of us who work with library collections know the impact that the existence or non-existence of strong graduate programs can have on library resources. So here is a potential impact on our field and on our libraries.

And, finally, the report describes the globalization of international studies in the Post Cold War Era. It suggests that the concept of Western European studies itself may be outmoded. As Europe moves toward a new era and as the former Communist bloc is transformed into something else, the notions of Western and Eastern Europe as separate entities are breaking down. It suggests that the proper name for the study of our field is "European Studies", not "Western European Studies". This is a notion which we might perhaps reflect on. What would it mean for us to embrace a broader concept of European Studies in our work?

This is a lot to think about. Most of it relates to the increased integration of the world and of our work in the electronic era. In the subjects we deal with we are seeing the collapse of old boundaries and the creation of new ones, along with the development of sources of stress that were not imagined during the Cold War era. Our work is becoming transformed as the boundaries collapse in the library world.. We are in the midst of both new possibilities and the transformation of old possibilities.

Yet, from a historical perspective, most of these changes also represent a continuation as well. I’ve tried to show you some of the ideas from our past which I think especially relate to today’s and tomorrow’s reality. Will it change overnight? I doubt it, at least it hasn't yet. I still spend a great deal of my time on what is now called "traditional" collection development, and many of the skills I use in interacting with the digital part of my world are skills that I developed long before I had a computer on my desk at work and at home.

It is a wonderfully fascinating transition we are engaged in now, one in which what's past is, truly, prologue. We've come a long way in 20 years and we have much to be proud of. Our organization has been involved and instrumental in some of the most important and interesting developments in the world of information in the past 20 years. Our role as the bridge between libraries, librarians, and scholars, in the United States and Western Europe has been critical in forwarding developments both in Western European Studies and in librarianship. Our function as the boundary spanners between institutions and ideas has been vital. And we find ourselves today in the midst of some very exciting and interesting times.

To end by again returning to a personal note, I have found it very curious that I was asked to speak to you today as a person who has been involved in this work for a long time. To me, it seems like a very short time, because it has been so enormously interesting and ever-changing. As we go forward into the electronic era, whose ultimate changes in the nature of our work we cannot clearly foresee, and as Europe itself changes, there is much for us to do. I for one relish the challenges that these changes bring, and I hope that you do too.


 
  BIBLIOGRAPHY Angiletta, Anthony, Martha Brogan, Charles Fineman, Clara Lovett, eds., The State of Western European Studies, Implications for Collection Development.Collection Management, vol.6, no.1/2, 1984. Also separately published. Selected papers from the Symposium on Western European Studies and North American Research Libraries, 1983, Minneapolis, Minnesota. See especially: Gourevitch, Peter, "Research Trends in Western Europe, the collapse of boundaries," pp. 13-26; Larson, Jeffry, "The RLG French Literature Collection Assessment Project," pp. 97-114.

Blank, Stephen, Western European Studies in the United States. Council for European Studies, 1975. See especially Chapter V: Welsch, Erwin, "Library Resources on Western Europe in the United States: a Critique," pp. 124-130.

Hacken, Richard, The RLG Conoco Study and Its Aftermath,: is Resource Sharing in Limbo? Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol. 18,no.1,p.17-23

Lehmann, Stephen, and Eva Sartori, eds. Women's Studies in Western Europe: A Resource Guide. WESS Occasional Publication No. 2, 1986

Makins, Christopher J. The Study of Europe in the United States. The German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, 1998.

Pisani, Assunta, ed. Euro-Librarianship: Shared Resources, Shared Responsibilities. Collection Management, Vol. 15, 1-2,3-4, 1992 Also separately published. Proceedings of the Second Western European Specialists International Conference, Florence Italy, April, 1988

A Report to the President from the President's Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies, European Studies Newsletter (Council for European Studies), vol. IX, no.4, March,1980, pp.12-15

Sartori, Eva, Ceres Birkhead, John Cullars, John Dillon, Thomas Kilton, eds., Western European Studies: Current Research Trends and Library Resources. Association of College and Research Libraries, 1990. WESS Occasional Publications No.3. Papers from WESS programs 1987-1988. See especially: Hueting, Gail P.,"US-German Cooperation in Cataloging: Achievements, Obstacles, Prospects," pp. 81-92; Pitschmann, Louis A.,"Lacunae and their causes: a look at German Resources not Collected by American Libraries," pp. 67-75.

Spohrer, James, "The WESS/ARL Foreign Acquisitions Studies: ARL German Political Science Project," Western European Specialists Section Newsletter, Vol. 17, No.1, Fall, 1993, pp. 3-4

Walden, Barbara, "The WESS/ARL Foreign Acquisitions Studies: Prelimary and Political Science Acquisitions Studies," Western European Specialists Section Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 1, Fall, 1993, pp. 1-3
 
 


A WESS CHRONOLOGY:
 
 
 
1959 ALA-ACRL Subject Specialists Section formed
1973 WELS(Western European Language Specialists) Discussion Group
1974 WELS Newsletter began
1978 Petition to Form Section 
1979 WELS becomes WESS (Western European Specialists Section).WELS Newsletter becomes WESS Newsletter
1980 First WESS ALA Conference Program; "The Government Documents of Western Europe" 

Membership in WESS totals 400. Research and Publications Committee formed. Planning Committee formed. Agenda includes projects on Western European holdings in North America, collection surveys.

1981 Conference Program;"The Library of Congress and the future of Western European Collections" Language and Literature discussion group formed. Social Sciences discussion group formed
1982 Conference Program: "Resources of German-speaking Europe: Publishing Patterns and Bibliographic Strategies for the ‘80’s"
1983 Conference Program:"France and Francophone Canada-Publishing Trends, Selection Tools, and Library Collections Today" 
1984 Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Discussion Group formed
1985 Conference Program: "Western European Women’s Studies" Proceedings published as: Women’s Studies in Western Europe: a Resource Guide
1986 Conference Program: "Research Trends and Library Resources for Western Europe: Assumptions and Realities"
1986 First Nijhoff Grant awarded
1987 Conference Program: "New Directions in Old World Research: Western European Studies from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance: Implications for Libraries 
1987 Germanists Discussion Group formed
1988 Florence Conference: "Euro-librarianship, shared resources, shared responsibilities". Proceedings published.
1988 Conference Program: "Strangers in New Worlds: Migration Studies in Europe and America"
1989 Conference Program: "Austria, Switzerland, and the Two Germanies: Collection Building and Bibliographic Control"
1989 "Significant European Scholarly Titles"; a project of the College and Medium-Sized Libraries Discussion Group. 
1990 Publication of: Western European Studies: Current Research Trends and Library Resources . Selections from WESS Conference Programs from 1987-1988. "Significant European Scholarly Titles" appears for the first time as an annual section in Choice 
1990 Conference Program: "Translation: the Craft, Politics and Access"Membership in WESS totals more than 700.
1990 Romance Languages Discussion Group formed
1991 Scandinavian Discussion Group formed
1991 Conference Program: "European Unification 1992: Impact on Information and Libraries"
1992 Conference Program: "Cinema Paradiso: Movies, Libraries, and European Culture"
1993 Conference Program: "Europe East and West: New Resources for North American Libraries"
1994 Conference Program: "Emerging European Writing: Visions and Voices of the New Europe"
1995 Conference Program:"European Connections: Electronic Resources for Western Europe"
1995 WESSWeb begun
1996 Conference Program: "The Changing Face of European Studies"
1997 Special Topics Discussion Group formed
1997 Pre-Conference: "European Links: Sources of Information in Western European Studies for Academic Libraries"
1998 Social Sciences and History Discussion Group formed
1999 Touzot Award established
1999 Western European Specialists Section becomes Western European Studies Section