Archive for July, 2008

Wordless books at ALA

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

While attending the American Library Association’s annual convention in Anaheim in late June, I caught a very interesting session, sponsored by the Literatures in English Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, on the topic of “wordless books.” Check out David Beronä’s Wordless Books blog for a full description of the session and his recent book titled, Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels.  There are other libraries in the UC system that are collecting wordless books and graphic novels, so I have not been collecting heavily in this area (Thank you, Interlibrary Loan!).  UCLA’s College Library does have a growing Graphic Novels/Nonfiction Collection.  That said, if you are an advanced scholar doing research in this area, let me know so that I know whether we need more research copies of these books on our campus.

NEW RESOURCE: Literature Criticism Online

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

I am pleased to announce that UCLA now has Literature Criticism Online (if this link doesn’t work, it is probably because you need a UCLA IP address to access it). This database provides electronic access to most of the print content available in reference sources such as Contemporary Literary Criticism, Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism, Literature Criticism from 1400-1800, Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, Drama Criticism, Children’s Literature Review, and Shakespearean Criticism–all of which we currently own in our print reference collections at UCLA.  These print runs take up approximately 150 linear feet of space in our reference collections but do not see much use. We will be moving these print volumes out of the reference reading rooms and into SRLF.

Why are we going for the online version if we have already paid for the print?  A few reasons: 1. These very expensive print sets don’t see much use anymore, even though there is a wealth of very useful information in them. This may be our fault as librarians for not promoting the print materials vigorously enough, but it seems that many scholars are–increasingly, and for a variety of reasons–erring on the side of convenience (full-text, online) rather than comprehensiveness (hunting down every single useful resource they can find). 2. Space is always an issue in our libraries and these sets take up a great deal of space. If they are not seeing much use, it is preferable to relocate them and use that space for reference materials that are not available in electronic form. 3. There are significant cost-savings involved in the long term by going to one digital resource rather than having duplicate sets of the print in multiple libraries on campus.

If you would like me to conduct a training session for this resource, individually or for a group, please let me know.

Oh, Canada

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Happy Canada Day!  This seems an appropriate moment to highlight Canadian literature collections at UCLA and elsewhere in the University of California system.  At the moment, there are no Canadian literature programs, per se, in the UC system. However, although Canadian literature is not a huge focus of study at UCLA, I conducted a straw poll recently that indicated that there are people throughout the English and Comparative Literature departments, as well as French/Francophone Studies and perhaps elsewhere, who are making use of Canadian literature resources on a fairly regular basis. 

In light of this situation, University of California literature librarians banded together a few years ago to create a Canadian Shared Print project for anglophone Canadian literature. This project began several years ago as a pilot but will continue for the foreseeable future.  Basically, what happens is that the UC campuses pool their money for anglophone Canadian literature and purchase single, shared copies of a wide variety of Canadian fiction, poetry, and drama titles.  These books are stored at the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF) and can be located by searching Melvyl or OCLC WorldCat (or the new “Next Generation Melvyl” catalog). UC borrowers can then quickly and easily request these books.  In the meantime, my counterparts at the other UC campuses and I monitor the list of books we are getting through this shared print program and then decide whether we want to spend money on a duplicate copy for our local campus (e.g., if it is a major author like Margaret Atwood, or if I know that a professor is teaching a course featuring a particular author or title).

This program is great because it does not restrict us from collecting works of Canadian literature that we think our campuses need, but it helps us avoid spending money on unnecessary duplicate copies where 1 copy in the UC system would satisfy scholarly needs. If you have questions about how this shared print project works or comments about it, please let me know. We just finished a rigorous assessment of the project and welcome feedback from users of these materials. If you’re a librarian considering this type of shared print project, I’d be happy to answer your questions or point you toward our resident shared print expert in the California Digital Library.

 If francophone Canadian literature is your thing, rest assured that I am busy collecting in this area as well, trying to acquire works by established authors as well as up and coming authors.  If you have suggestions of francophone Canadian authors, poets, or titles to watch for, please let me know!

NEW RESOURCE: C19

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

We have access to a great resource for 19th-century research–C19: The Nineteenth Century Index.  This is very good news as it enables us to more effectively access some materials we already had in print reference volumes but also some information for which we had no subscriptions.

C19: The Nineteenth Century Index (University of California systemwide access)

“The most comprehensive and dynamic source for discovering nineteenth-century books, periodicals, official documents, newspapers and archives. The C19 Index draws on the strength of established indexes such as the Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue, The Wellesley Index, Poole’s Index and Periodicals Index Online to create integrated bibliographic coverage of over 1.5 million books and official publications, 71,000 archival collections and 16.3 million articles published in over 2,500 journals, magazines and newspapers. C19 Index now provides integrated access to 12 bibliographic indexes, including almost a million records from the ongoing digitization of British Periodicals Collections I and II.” 

If you would like me to show you around this new resource, do contact me for an appointment or stop by the Reference Desk in Young Research Library or the College Library (Powell).