WGSS home

Women's Studies Section

Fall 1999
Volume 14, Number 2

Issued by the Women's Studies Section, Association of College & Research Libraries, American Library Association

Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the Fall 1999 WSS Newsletter.
Online resources listed may no longer be active.]

Table of Contents 

Two New Awards in Women's Studies Librarianship Established

The Women's Studies Section Awards Committee is very pleased to announce the establishment of two important awards in women's studies librarianship, to be given annually:

  • ACRL WSS Award for Career Achievement in Women's Studies Librarianship
    • Sponsor: Greenwood Publishing Group; Award amount: $1,000
  • ACRL WSS Award for Significant Achievement in Women's Studies Librarianship
    • Sponsor: Routledge Press; Award amount: $1,000
The awards will be presented for the first time at the WSS program at 2000 Annual Conference.

The deadline for nominations for the 2000 awards is December 1, 1999. For further information, including awards criteria and submission procedure, please visit the WSS website http://www.lib.siu.edu/dcallaha/wgsshp.html or contact jessica.grim@oberlin.edu.

We hope you'll plan to join us at 2000 Annual for the awards presentation. Look for more details in the spring issue of the newsletter.

Jessica Grim, Chair, Awards Committee

Notes from the Chair

The nineties have been a reflective and introspective time for feminism and for women's studies. In the literature of the past decade we have seen a great deal of both personal and collective remembering and rethinking. Since the growth of the Women's Studies Section has paralleled the growth of women's studies, it's not surprising that we are also engaged in a period of taking stock and looking to both the past and future as we think about the Women's Studies Section's Agenda for 2000 and beyond.

One of our more interesting forays into self-scrutiny was our 1998 Midwinter Discussion meeting which posed the question "What is Women's Studies Librarianship?"  This was followed by a more narrowly focused Discussion Meeting in 1999 where we asked a number of questions specifically addressing the role of the Section, including "How Can the Women's Studies Section Better Serve Women's Studies Librarianship?" And, as part of our continuing concern with defining who we are, the Discussion Meeting at Midwinter 2000 will focus on the roles and interrelationships of the women's groups in ALA.

One concrete series of steps we've been taking as a result of thesediscussions is a reconfiguration of our committee structure. An Electronic Resources and Access Committee has replaced the Technical Services Committee and Instruction and Education Committee will be replacing the Social Issues and Education Committee. We have also formalized the creation of the new Women's Studies Awards Committee. A new ad hoc committee, possibly permanent, is currently being formed to address the women's studies research agenda for librarianship.

Also, as a result of input at the 1999 Discussion Meeting we are developing a program for the 2000 Annual Conference that will offer brief presentations and an opportunity for structured small group discussions on a number of topics felt to be of special concern to Section members. We are still refining the program. If you have any ideas for discussion topics or for facilitators please contact one of the members of the 2000 Program Committee. I hope you will all come to both our Midwinter Discussion and Annual Program as we continue to map out a path for the future of the Section.

-Marlene Manoff
Chair, ACRL Women's Studies Section
Associate Head/Collection Manager
Humanities Library
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Women's Collaborative Efforts Prove Successful at UMKC

At a medium-sized university, a little collaboration can go a long way. Take the case of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Women are working together to make things happen that were inconceivable just a few years ago.

The UMKC Women's Collaborative is a joint effort, comprised of three local women's organizations whose mission is to "bring together the visions and strengths of its constituent organizations -- the Women's Center, Women's Council and Women's and Gender Studies program--to support and promote the University's commitment to women's education, scholarship, and personal and professional growth." The Women's Center was founded in the early 1970s to encourage and support the development of women at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. It continues to do so today in a very inviting environment, complete with its own library and meeting area. The Women's Council was formed in 1967 to educate the community about UMKC happenings. The Council also established the Graduate Assistance Fund in 1971 to assist graduate students in research and additional educational activities. The 1980s welcomed into existence the academic leg of the trio, the Women's and Gender Studies Program which has developed into a core faculty of fifteen professors. Currently, the program offers a minor in Women's and Gender Studies.

More recently, however, these three groups worked together to organize and sponsor their first symposium at UMKC, Notions of Women and Gender. This symposium highlighted the multitude of diverse research in which UMKC-affiliated women are taking part. Dr. Moira Ferguson, the newly endowed Martha Jane Philips Starr Missouri Distinguished Professor in Women's and Gender Studies, presented the keynote address on "Women's Studies at the Crossroads" which paved the way for an eclectic mix of presentations. The presentations were part of seven panels: Gendering Illness; Women and Applied Social Sciences; Institutions and Identities; Anatomies of Pregnancy and Birth; Arts and Activism; Representations of Women, Girls, and Gender; and Women and Cultural Production. These panels represented an intersection of women's and gender studies research with interdisciplinary approaches.

More than an academic forum, this symposium showed a movement at the University of Missouri-Kansas City which is more inviting to women's and gender issues. The symposium, along with the newly endowed professor, and a Graduate Certificate Program (hopefully in effect by the end of the academic year) all contribute to a tremendous amount of support by UMKC and the community for women's activities and studies in Kansas City. Thus showing that a little collaboration can go a long way.

Kelly Barrick Hovendick
Social Sciences Reference Librarian
University of Missouri-Kansas City
* * * * *
Related Resources
    "Generation(s) of Change Conference." Viki Soady and Helen Wishart. Off Our Backs 29 (5): 13.
      A report of another multidisciplinary women's studies conference held at a mid-sized university-this one at Georgia's Valdosta State University in March 1999.
    "Making a Space for Women: Student Conferences as an Example of Feminist Staff-Student Interaction in the University." Women's Studies International Forum 20 (2): 301-320.
      The authors assert that conferences targeted at students can "provide feminist spaces...at which staff and students interact in non-hierarchical ways."
Do you have news from your library or university to share with the rest of the section? A conference, collections of note, outreach efforts? The WSS Newsletter welcomes submissions. Contact one of the editors for more information. 



WSS Annual Program:
Inquiring and Learning Between the Lines: Interdisciplinary Research and the Academic Library

Barbara Ryan, Widener University, began by discussing the early efforts in academia of interdisciplinary work, primarily in the sciences. In the 1960s interdisciplinary studies such as black, women's, and gay and lesbian studies entered higher education. These encountered resistance because they did not have the same industrial and governmental backing as the sciences. Women's Studies in particular received resistance because it was seen as the academic arm of the women's movement. This marginality is not unique. Most interdisciplinary areas that are responses to social forces suffer such marginalization. Other problems in interdisciplinary studies include cross listing of courses, faculty having "home" departments where they must expend the bulk of their energy, and tenure and promotion committees' disregard of publications in non-home department core journals. Next Dr. Ryan differentiated between interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity. Multidisciplinarity comes when individuals from different disciplines teach courses in their disciplines on women. The goal is to move this multidisciplinary operational mode to true inter-disciplinarity, with integration, synthesis, and critical thinking as cornerstones of courses. One way to achieve this is to have professors co-teach with people from outside of their discipline or outside of academia.

Susan Searing, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talked about interdisciplinary reference work, suggesting we read When Women Ask the Questions by Marilyn Jacoby Boxer. She observed trends in women's studies reference literature. The web has drastically changed reference work. Different disciplines have varying types of feminist reference works. Interdisciplinary research often focuses on social or scientific problems that do not fit a single discipline. Specialized women-centered reference tools proliferate. Fads have affected publishing in women's studies reference. Newer editions of reference tools incorporate scholarship on women, making older women's studies tools obsolete. Even given this integration, women's studies reference publishing grows. As it grows and fragments, sources that provide overview and  synthesis are needed. Previously in women's studies publishing, the challenge was to find and document information. Now the challenge is selecting the best information. Categories have never been neat in interdisciplinary reference publishing. Searing turned to doing women's studies reference work, basing her comments on Lynn Westbrook's Interdisciplinary Information Seeking in Women's Studies. Westbrook researched how scholars seek and use information. Most resort to the "law of least effort," asking people like themselves for help. They need to identify relevant materials and prefer browsing, but are vague in their needs. Since they suffer from information overload, they need librarians' support. Librarians' perspectives are different; in the reference interview, they need to be aware of their own and their patrons' ways of knowing and of values and politics on both sides of the desk. They need to participate in collaboration and collegial networking, both among librarians and within the whole scholarly community.

Nancy Kushigian, University of California - Davis, addressed challenges and opportunities in electronic collection development. Challenges include the following: Individual input is limited regarding style, content, metadata, and the ability to get a proper balance of journals in databases. Because of the centrality of primary sources, digital archiving and access is vital; libraries must own the right to access materials. Electronic texts lose context in the digital environment; metadata provides context. Centralized purchasing favors disciplines; collectors must market resources to their constituents. We must collect and archive email and web sites. Opportunities include the following: Full-text searching of databases decreases discipline-specific languages. New tools on the market provide access to more materials. With growing online collections, users can access primary sources easier. New interdisciplinary explorations can be made available easily through the web. Small, alternative projects can flourish; the role of collecting and managing is morphing into publishing. We can now combine small local collections into large searchable sites. Where does this leave librarians? We must polish our collaborative and negotiating skills. We must become digital activists; we do not need to wait for the commercial companies to take the lead. We can and must take the lead ourselves.

Megan Adams
Reference Librarian & Bibliographer
University of Northern Iowa

Women's Sports Webography

"WWW Women's Sports Page." Amy Lewis.
Excellent metasite arranged by broad category and by sport.
[site no longer available (June 21, 2009)]

"Women's Sports Foundation."
WSF is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the participation of girls and women in sports. Their homepage contains information about the foundation, grants and scholarship sources, awards, and topical and statistical reports.

"Sports." Danuta Bois.
Links to biographies and web sites for nearly 200 women athletes; especially useful for currently-active athletes who may not be in printed reference sources.

"Gender Equity in Sports." University of Iowa Gender Equity in Sport Project.
Extensive site about Title IX: the law and its history, related complaints, lawsuits, actions, reports, organizations, and statistics.

"Women and Girls in Sports!" Feminist Majority Foundation.
Includes the FMF report "Empowering Women in Sports" as well as Olympics 2000 profiles, reports on athletes with disabilities, and links to other sites. A related page celebrates 96 years of women Olympians:

"Melpomene Institute Homepage."
Melpomene studies the relationship between women's health and physical activity. The homepage focuses on fitness, self-esteem, and body image more than individual sports.

"Sports for Women.com."
Commercial site with current news and commentaries on the world of women's sports.

To tour through a range of web sites, get on the "WWWomen Sports WebRing." Begin your tour at

Reference Books

Outstanding Women Athletes: Who They Are and How They Influenced Sports in America. 2nd ed. Janet Woolum. Phoenix: Oryx, 1998.
Biographies with photographs and short bibliographies for major athletes and a few outstanding teams; directory of organizations for most sports and extensive historical lists of award winners and champions.

The Women's Sports Encyclopedia. Robert Markel, Susan Waggoner, and Marcella Smith, eds. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.
Each section is devoted to one sport, with an outline history of women's participation, brief biographies of athletes, lists of governing organizations and champions, and sidebars ranging from amusing anecdotes to serious topics like steroids.

Encyclopedia of Women and Sports. Victoria Sherrow. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1996.
Alphabetical listing of entries (some with references) on sports, athletes, schools, and teams. Although entries are brief and primarily U.S., this has the broadest range of coverage of these three sources.

Publishing Notes

Women's Studies Anthologies Added to Electronic Indexes

Women's Resources International, produced by NISC, and Women's Studies on Disc, produced by GK Hall, now contain records for chapters in women's studies anthologies. Each of these databases has unique information at this time. In the mid-'90s, a two-volume set, Index to Women's Studies Anthologies, Research Across the Disciplines, 1980-1989, was published by Sara Brownmiller and Ruth Dickstein. GK Hall has added the records from this two volume set to its recently upgraded Women's Studies on Disc.

Sara Brownmiller (snb@darkwing.uoregon.edu) is currently working on indexing women's studies anthologies published in the 1990s for Women's Resources International. Records for 1990 are already in the database, with records from 1991 to be added shortly. NISC plans to add the older indexing covering the 1980s to Women's Resources International.

* * * * *
Women's Presses Library Project

The WPLP, devoted to "Keeping Women's Words in Circulation," recently announced a redirection of its activities. Since 1994, this coalition of independent, women-owned presses has worked to keep these presses visible and viable. The WPLP will continue to be a presence at ALA conferences, but it is discontinuing several of its ongoing projects to work on a comprehensive bibliography of women's titles available on its web site. According to the Project, "this site will...

  • Develop and maintain the most comprehensive international listing of in-print feminist, lesbian, and women-centered books
  • Highlight and promote the titles of women's, feminist, and lesbian publishers
  • Provide a searchable database by subject
  • Provide an indispensable bibliographic tool for librarians and academics"
The site will be developed over the next few years. Currently it contains information about the publications of members of the WPLP. Visit the site: http://www.litwomen.org/wplp.html
* * * * *
Core Lists in Women's Studies: A WSS Project

The 2000 Core Lists will be coming to a web page near you soon! The Core Lists of books in women's studies are intended to assist librarians in building women's studies collections. Each list consists of 20 to 75 books currently in print, with the most important five to ten titles starred. Each January, the lists are updated to drop out-of-print books and add newly published titles.

Are you interested in creating a list? We need someone to update the religion list. We also are seeking volunteers to develop lists on any of the following topics: agriculture, domestic violence, feminist ethics, information technology/computer science, and the military. You will be asked to update your list each year. Please contact either of the editors for more information if you are interested.

Current editors of the lists are Bernice Redfern, Clark Library, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0028, (408) 924-2819, bredfern@email.sjsu.edu, and Megan Adams, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50613-3675, (319) 273-2838, adamsm@uni.edu.

Committee Reports

Social Issues and Education Committee

    The Committee discussed its work on the Web site "Places in New Orleans" of interest to women, and will probably devote its efforts to other kinds of projects in the future, such as the current project, "Web Sites Related to Women's Political Activism," designed to be a good beginning for someone who is interested in becoming politically active but not quite sure how to start. We have compiled a list of sites and will annotated these items and add more for the next meeting, after which we hope to have a product to link to the WSS Web site.

    Members are pondering the committee's upcoming name change (Instruction Committee) and its instructional focus, and will discuss the issue at the Midwinter meeting. We wrote a new mission statement:

      The Mission of the Instruction Committee of the Women's Studies Section, Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is to enhance the ability of academic and research librarians to serve effectively students, faculty and other users researching Women's Studies and related disciplines.
    Shelley Arlen, Chair
    University of Florida Libraries
Collection Development Committee
    The Collection Development Committee has been working on a web site to provide guidance to women's studies selectors called "WSS: Resources for Women's Studies Collection Development, Assessment, and Instruction." At ALA Annual 1999 committee members reviewed each section of the site and made suggestions for improvement. We hope to bring the site before the WSS Executive Committee at ALA Midwinter 2000 to seek their approval to begin advertising it and to link to it from the section web page and from WSSLinks.
    Flora G. Shrode, Chair
    Science and Technology Coordinator
    Hodges Library
    University of Tennessee
Electronic Resources and Access Committee
    Following the annual meeting in New Orleans, the WSS Technical Services Committee is no more, having become the Electronic Resources and Access Committee. Members spent their June meeting time discussing a new charge, which will be considered by the Executive Committee in January, and brain-storming about possible projects. The committee's proposed charge reads: "To monitor development of electronic resources related to women's studies, including identification and evaluation of products and web sites and examination of coverage of women and women's issues by commercial producers; to monitor issues related to access to electronic resources and their content; to recommend and implement projects to meet needs in this area; to inform the section of developments in this area."

    During the all-committee discussion that preceded our meeting, there was interest in developing a section-approved list of core women's studies serials. Because the Technical Services Committee had created a list of significant journals for use in an evaluation project, our committee will make that list available on the section web site and solicit comments before Midwinter. We will also do annotations of the recommended titles. Look for notices of this project on the section's discussion list.

    Sandy River
    Current Periodicals/Microforms Librarian
    Texas Tech University
    Subscribe to the WSS Listserv
    • Send a message to
    • Leave the subject line blank
    • In the body of the message, type
subscribe WSS-L [your name] 
    WSS Meeting Schedule for the San Antonio Midwinter Conference 
    Locations will be posted on WSS-L or check your conference schedule. 
    Sunday, January 16 9:30-11:00 All-Committee Meeting 
    Sunday, January 16 4:30-5:30 General Membership Meeting 
    Sunday, January 16 5:45 -  Social Hour
    Monday, January 17 9:30-11:00 Discussion Meeting: Women's Groups in ALA
    Monday, January 17 2:00-4:00 Executive Committee Meeting 

The Women's Studies Section Newsletter is published semi-annually by the Association of College and Research Libraries Women's Studies Section, a division of the American Library Association, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611.  (800-545-2433, ext. 2519.  The  Women's Studies Section Newsletter is available to all section members at no additional cost.
Editor:  Kristin A. Nielsen (University of Georgia, knielsen@arches.uga.edu)
Assistant Editor:  Regan Brumagen (Hartwick College, brumagene@hartwick.edu)

The WSS Newsletter welcomes contributions from readers.  Send articles, items of interest, and news to the editors,  preferably in electronic format. ©American Library Association, 1999     ISSN 0895-691X

    WSS Officers 1999/00: 

    Marlene Manoff, Chair 
    Theresa Tobin, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect 
    Sandra A. River, Secretary 
    G. Margaret Porter, Member-at-large 
    Dolores Fidishun, Member-at-large 

Back to the WGSS Home Page.
Send comments about the WGSS website to: Carrie Dunham-LaGree.
URL: http://libr.org/wgss/newsletter/1999fall.html
Last updated: July 18, 2013
Copyright Statement