Women's Studies Section

Spring 2001
Volume 16, Number 1

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

Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the spring 2001 WSS Newsletter.
Online resources listed may no longer be active.]

Table of Contents

WSS Annual Program
& Second Annual WSS Awards

"Women Moving Mountains" at ALA Annual Program

Please join us for our Annual Program in San Francisco, Monday, June 18 at 9:00 a.m. Our Program this year is Women Moving Mountains: Women and Organizations. Kathryn Deiss discusses issues for women in leadership and organizational development from the perspective of years of training librarians for the Association of Research Libraries and the Chicago Library System. She will raise issues and facilitate a discussion surrounding the impact of gender on leadership, opportunity, and room for creativity in organizations and on the influence/confluence of the rise of the Women's Movement and Women's Studies. Her focus will be on understanding the impact of gender in the workplace. Kathryn Deiss is currently the Director for Education and Training at the Chicago Library System. ;

At the beginning of the Annual Program, help us celebrate the 2nd Annual ACRL WSS Awards!

This year's Career Achievement in Women's Studies Librarianship Award (sponsored by Greenwood Publishing), goes to Sarah Pritchard, University Librarian at the University of California-Santa Barbara. This award honors significant, long-standing contributions to the field of Women's Studies librarianship over the course of a career. 

Marilyn Dunn, College Librarian at Hartwick College, will receive the award for Significant Achievement in Women's Studies Librarianship, (sponsored by Routledge) which honors a single achievement that contributes significantly to the field of Women's Studies librarianship. Read more about our winners.

Notes from the Chair

As you know from my last "note", I planned to use some of our time at ALA Midwinter to brainstorm and determine how we might make use of the ACRL President's offer of $1,500 to support the Section's work in advancing the ACRL Strategic Plan. The all-committee meeting and membership meeting at ALA Midwinter created a fine list of possibilities, and the Executive Committee decided to try to accomplish the following this year (i.e. before August 30, 2001):

Create instruments for outreach to library schools, other scholarly organizations ( e.g., NWSA), new LIS graduates, and new members of ALA or ACRL, Women's Studies librarians, and current WSS members who have not been active in recent years. These instruments will include:

  • A color, updated brochure--which will include a permanent e-mail address for the Executive Committee, keeping this edition of the brochure from becoming obsolete quickly.
  • A bookmark--On one side the text will read Women's Studies@your library, while the verso will contain the URL for WSS and other URLs such as WSSLINKS and Core lists.
  • Directory of Women's Studies librarians.
This set of initiatives supports the ACRL Strategic Plan in the following ways:
  • ACRL increases it efforts to promote academic librarianship
  • participation within ACRL continues to include librarians from diverse populations.
Executive Committee also decided to start a list for the future, in the event that these kinds of funds become available again. Ideas for future expenditures include:
  • Exploring virtual committee membership. The funds might be used to pay for software for virtual committee members or significant conference calls.
  • Paying honoraria for faculty or graduate student presenters at Annual 2002 and beyond.
  • Commissioning a usability study for the WSS web site and a web designer to solve any usability problems and to update WSS logo and web design.
  • Analyzing member list (kind of librarianship, etc).
  • Conducting member surveys or focus groups.
---Theresa Tobin, Chair

2nd Annual WSS Award Winners

Congratulations to our Second Annual WSS Award Winners!!

Sarah Pritchard, winner of the WSS Career Achievement Award, has made unparalleled contributions to the development and vitality of the field of Women's Studies librarianship. Her achievements encompass all four criteria for this award: organizational service in ACRL/WSS; library service, research and publication, and planning and implementation of exemplary academic research programs in Women's Studies. Sarah's early work at the Library of Congress signaled the beginning of an information infrastructure for Women's Studies. That infrastructure was further developed through her creation in 1990 of the RLG Conspectus for Women's Studies, which put Women's Studies on the bibliographical map. Her impact has extended over nearly two decades through numerous publications and presentations addressing an astonishing range of topics including the research needs of Women's Studies scholars, Women's Studies and library collection development, database evaluation, the challenges of preserving women's history, and feminism and information technology.

Marilyn Dunn, winner of the WSS Significant Achievement Award, has made an important contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship in Women's Studies through her dedicated work as a managing editor of Matrix, a web database of primary and secondary materials that describes medieval women's religious communities (http://matrix.bc.edu). Through Marilyn's leadership and coordination, Matrix represents a singular collaboration among scholars, librarians and technology specialists to advance and disseminate knowledge in this neglected field and to make it easily and freely accessible via the Web. Marilyn's achievements signify the possibilities for and growing recognition of the intellectual and creative contributions of librarians to the vitality and advancement of Women's Studies.

---Joan Ariel
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.


Women's Studies Pathfinders: a Webography

Many wonderful pathfinders to Women's Studies research are available on the WWW. The following web site pathfinders have been excerpted from a longer list created by Mary Nofsinger and available at: http://aztec.lib.utk.edu/~shrode/maryn_wss.html (URL subject to change.)

American Woman Suffrage (Duke)
Includes bibliographies, organizations, secondary resources, primary resources, manuscript collections, and public documents.

American Women's History (Middle Tenn. State U.)
Facilitates scholarly access to print and Internet materials, including primary resources by format and digital collections. Provides a subject index and state-by-state links to large primary resource collections.

Feminist Research Methods (U. Oregon)
Guides researchers in locating information and special collections, including Internet resources, general reference tools, biographical sources, bibliographies, indexes & abstracts, microforms, and journals.

Gay and Lesbian Studies (UC, San Diego Library)
Provides links to relevant Internet resources, as well as bibliographies on basic reference resources, retrospective materials, selected non-fiction resources, literature, and LC subject headings.

Guide to Uncovering Women's History in Archival Collections (UT, San Antonio)
Assists users in locating archives, libraries, and other repositories that have primary resource materials related to women. Internet links are arranged by state, with descriptions of each site.

Library Guide for Gay and Lesbian Studies (Yale)
Offers extensive print bibliographies and Internet resources, including book reviews, directories, e-journals, indexes, organizations, publishing guides, listservs, literature, and manuscript collections. Also includes resources on minority gays & lesbians, civil rights, quotations, and statistics.

Women in Music (Duke)
Assists researchers in locating music resources in reference books, in frequently cited texts, in anthologies, and on the Internet. Includes a section of sources listed by musical genre.

Women's Liberation Movement (Duke)
Focuses on Duke Libraries' resources dealing with the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s, including bibliographies, anthologies, organizations, and archival collections.

Women's Studies (U. of Wisconsin-Mil)
Introduces students to a variety of resources, including reference books and Internet sites dealing with statistics, bibliographies, biographical sources, literary works, and women's history.

Women's Studies: Guide to Library Research and Selected Sources (East Tennessee State U.)
Offers a selective list of resources, including research guides, bibliographies, biographical sources, theses & dissertations, government documents, indexes & abstracts, statistical sources, and audiovisual resources.

Women's Studies - A Guide to Resources (MIT)
Focuses on a selective list of research guides, biographical resources, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, sourcebooks, bibliographies, indexes, statistics, atlases, and a few Internet sites.

Women's Studies Library Resources (UT, El Paso)
Provides an annotated list of sources dealing with biography, electronic databases, general topics, health, history, abstracts & indexes, Latinas, and statistics.

Women's Studies Research Guide (NY Public)
Introduces users to vast holdings of materials, including books, bibliographies, biography, history, literature, legal resources, health resources, periodicals, microforms, catalogs, and Internet resources.

Women's Studies Research Guide (Monash U., Australia)
Outlines a research strategy for locating reference resources in Australia, Great Britain, and the U.S. Lists Internet guides to women's research, including bibliographies by area of the world and by topic, as well as listservs.

Women's Studies Resources (IU, Purdue U.)
Lists biographies, chronologies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, indexes & abstracts, journals, and statistical resources. Includes Internet links to library collections, listservs, organizations, and women's history sites.

Women's Studies Resources in Microform at the Library of Congress: Research Guides No. 4
Outlines and describes the extensive microform collections in Women's Studies (film, fiche, microprint). Includes major collections, reproductions of manuscripts, technical papers, and historical documents not widely distributed. 

Mary Nofsinger, mnofsing@wsu.edu

Join in the Work of the Women's Studies Section: An invitation from Connie Phelps, Chair-Elect of WSS

Getting involved with the Women's Studies Section is very easy, as my own experience illustrates. I began by going to a WSS social at an ALA conference several years ago. There was a "door prize" at the social, and as luck would have it, I won the set of reference books. I also met some really nice people, so I decided to go to a meeting of one of the Section committees. Since then, I have been an active member of the Section, serving on committees and attending general membership meetings, socials, and other events. Still, I was a bit surprised when I was asked to run for office and even more surprised when I won the election.

One of my concerns when I first thought of getting involved in the Section was that since I wasn't a full-time Women's Studies librarian I might not be able to contribute. But I soon learned that most of the librarians in the Section were in the same situation as I, interested in Women's Studies, but also having other library job responsibilities. Talking with other people in my same situation has helped me immeasurably. So, come, get involved*. You'll benefit from the sharing of information and meet some really great people.

*If you are interested in becoming involved in the Women's Studies Section, please send e-mail to Connie Phelps at cphelps@uno.edu.

Connie Phelps, cphelps@uno.edu

Committee Reports

Instruction Committee

The committee reviewed members' evaluations of online databases regarding their use for Women's Studies.  These reviews will be compiled and set up on a web site designed for librarians who provide  library instruction to Women's Studies classes; they will be primarily of use to new librarians but may also be of  interest to more experienced teachers.  We have focused on keyword and appropriate subject searching and will list specific journals indexed. These indexes include: Academic Index, Psychological Abstracts, Gender Watch, America History & Life/Historical Abstracts, PubMed, and Canadian Periodical Index.

Over the next few months, we will revise our evaluations and compile them in time for Annual.

--Shelley Arlen, Chair
University of Florida Libraries

 Communications Committee

Members discussed a variety of matters relating to improving communication with members of the Women's Studies Section.  A revised brochure for the Section will be coming out for the Annual meeting,  with our new logo (from the WSS homepage) and additional information.  We will be recommending to the Executive committee that the brochure be printed in color with glossy paper.

The group made various other suggestions:   Distribute better publicity for WSS through the  newsletter and on the listserv, communicate with other women's groups in ALA, send messages to the NMRT listserv such as "Looking for a home in ALA?" or to LIBREF-L, etc., go to programs and meetings specifically for new ALA members to
publicize the WSS section via speaking and brochure distribution, put publicity in the ACRL booth at all conferences, and sponsor a mentoring workshop at the ALA Placement Center.

It was decided that the Communications committee should continue to try and book the place for the  WSS social hour at a location close to the General Membership meeting to encourage members to attend.

--Sue McFadden
Assistant Librarian for Public Services
 Indiana University East

Research Committee

Jennifer Gilley will be working with Megan Adams, Web Editor,  to create a mock-up of the Committee's web site.  Plans are to bring it to Annual 2001 and to submit it, along with the appropriate form to the Publications Committee for review after the Research Committee approves it.

The Committee will start a Calls for Papers service.  For now, Dolores Fidishun will send them to WSS-L with eventual plans for Jennifer Gilley to add them to a section on the Committee's web page.

The Committee is working on a research clearinghouse. Kris Gerhard and Dolores Fidishun have come up with a draft survey which will be shared via e-mail with the entire committee.  The survey asks about what types of research people are doing, if they are willing to mentor other researchers, if they would like to collaborate with other researchers, and what new areas of research they see.  The survey will be finalized at Annual and submitted to the Publications Committee for its review.  It was decided that since there are a number of questions about the scope of research to be included, we will start by sending the questionnaire to WSS-L and the WSS Newsletter when it is approved and see what kinds of results we get.  We can then decide whether to send it to WMST-L and Feminist.

Lynn Westbrook and Jennifer Gilley have started to discuss a proposal for an IMLS grant.  They will investigate ideas and partnerships with women's museums and come to Annual with an abstract of a possible project and a list of possible collaborators.

A question was raised about whether the anthology of issues in Women's Studies Librarianship should be attempted again.  The Committee will discuss this issue further at Annual.

--Dolores Fidishun, Chair
Penn State Great Valley

***Committee Chair Reminder:  If you are an outgoing Committee Chair following the Annual conference, don't forget to schedule some time with the incoming Chair  to go over responsibilities and procedures. It will greatly facilitate a smooth transition!***

  Collection Development Challenges in Women's Studies: ALA Midwinter Discussion

At the ALA Midwinter meeting in Washington, DC, the Women's Studies Section Discussion Group revolved around problems and methods of dealing with collection development issues in an interdisciplinary field such as Women's Studies.

Connie Phelps, incoming vice-chair, welcomed everyone and began the dialogue by talking about approval plans.  The assembled group shared experiences regarding various approval plans.  One participant in the discussion raised the question of out-of-print books and  it was pointed out that Blackwell's Approval Plan covers this area.

The type and value of review literature in Women's Studies was the next topic of discussion.  Are reviews helpful for Women's Studies librarians and, if so, what reviews are being used?   Most frequently mentioned sources of reviews were: Feminist Collections, Women's Review of Books, Library Journal, Feminist Bookstore News, Choice, Women in Libraries, Contemporary Women's Issues and Women's Resources International.  Concerns were raised about locating small press materials, but the Women's Studies Section Collection Development Committee and the Women's Studies Librarian's Office at the University of Wisconsin both provide links to and about using small presses for filling the gaps in Women's Studies collections.  Encumbrance issues, however, often create problems in relying solely on review literature for collection development in Women's Studies.  By waiting for reviews, librarians could possibly be missing purchasing opportunities.

Electronic resources were also discussed from a collection development perspective.  The WMST-L listserv maintained by Joan Korenman at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, was endorsed by those present as particularly useful.  This active forum includes a multitude of topics relating to collection development and is available in digest form.  A representative from Chadwyk-Healy attended the meeting to discuss the new on-line version of the Gerritsen Women's History collection.  Concerns were raised about the expense of the product and related maintenance. Reviews of this and other databases are difficult to locate, but Amy Wallace has compiled a list of recent ones, available at: http://aztec.lib.utk.edu/~shrode/wgssEreview.html

Wrapping up the discussion, Mary Nofsinger mentioned that universities and colleges subscribing to the print edition of Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts are eligible to receive free online access as well.  Detailed information can be obtained at the Taylor & Francis website (http://www.tandf.co.uk/swa/).

This was an excellent opportunity for colleagues to ask questions of one another in an informal way without the pressures of a product vendor.

---Kelly Hovendick,kbhovend@library.syr.edu

Core List Compilers Meet at the Midwinter Conference

At the Midwinter conference in Washington, D.C., several of the Core List compilers met to  discuss improvements to the Core Lists and to formalize some of the guiding principles behind the design of the resource.   The group defined core books as  "those which support course work in Women's Studies in academic institutions from community colleges to research universities."  The group also decided to make the scope note for each list more detailed and descriptive of the list's coverage and to split the lists into two parts, with the top part including all  new titles and the bottom including all previously selected titles.  As always the out-of-print books will be dropped from the list.

At the top level of the web site, the group decided to provide more background on the lists, for example, what WSS is, who the compilers are (i.e. volunteers), why the scope notes should be read (i.e. not all lists done the same way) and what is meant by CORE.  Page hit statistics, a feedback link and a "want to volunteer?" link  are also being considered as additions to the web site.

---Megan Adams, madams1@swarthmore.edu


WSS Meeting Schedule for the 2001 San Francisco Annual Conference
Locations will be posted on WSS-L or check your conference program

Friday, June 15 2:00-5:30 Awards Committee
Saturday, June 16 11:30-12:30 Introduction to Women's Issues at ALA
Sunday, June 17 9:30-11:00
All Committee Meeting
Executive Committee Meeting
General Membership Meeting
Social Hour
Monday, June 18 9:00-12:00 Annual Program

The Women'July 18, 2013ly 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:  Regan Brumagen (Hartwick College, brumagene@hartwick.edu)
Assistant Editor:  Kelly Hovendick (Syracuse University kbhovend@library.syr.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, 2000     ISSN 0895-691X

  • WSS Officers 2000/2001: 

  • Theresa Tobin, Chair 
    Connie Phelps, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect 
    Marcia Evans, Secretary 
    Mary Nofsinger, Member-at-large 
    Dolores Fidishun, Member-at-large
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URL: http://libr.org/wgss/newsletter/2001spring.html
Last updated: July 18, 2013
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