Women's Studies Section
Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the spring 2001 WSS Newsletter.
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:
---Theresa Tobin, Chair
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.
History (Middle Tenn. State U.)
Gay and Lesbian
Studies (UC, San Diego Library)
Guide to Uncovering
Women's History in Archival Collections (UT,
for Gay and Lesbian Studies (Yale)
Women in Music
(U. of Wisconsin-Mil)
Guide to Library Research and Selected Sources (East
Tennessee State U.)
- A Guide to Resources (MIT)
Library Resources (UT, El Paso)
Research Guide (NY Public)
Research Guide (Monash U., Australia)
Resources (IU, Purdue U.)
Resources in Microform at the Library of Congress: Research Guides No.
Mary Nofsinger, email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connie Phelps, email@example.com
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.
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
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.
Assistant Librarian for Public Services
Indiana University East
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.
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/wssEreview.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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Women'June 14, 2011ly 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.
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