WESS Scandinavian Discussion Group
ALA Midwinter Meeting, San Diego
Holiday Inn by the Bay,11:30-12:30
Sunday, 11 January 2003
Gordon Anderson (University of Minnesota) chaired the meeting. He
welcomed the twenty WESS members and guests and congratulated everyone for
having braved the San
Diego weather to
attend this meeting.
Guest Vendor Representatives
Alferovs of Coutts Nijhoff International and Willem-Jan Hooijmans of Nedbook
International shared news of their firms.
Coutts has inaugurated iApprove, a
Web-based selection and approval plan management tool. Nedbook has expanded its slip and approval
plan coverage to Scandinavian imprints.
Dr. Ulf Brynjestad, the Swedish consul in San Diego, welcomed ALA attendees to Southern California and briefly related the history of Swedes and
Swedish-Americans in the area. As an
officer of the Vasa Order of America Dr. Brynjestad also solicited feedback
regarding the terms of and publicity for a graduate fellowship for Scandinavian
studies that the Order is establishing.
The Vasa Order (www.vasaorder.com) intends to
announce this award sometime this winter or early spring.
Scandinavian Studies and Collections at the University of Minnesota (Gordon)
University of Minnesota academic programs for Scandinavian studies, including Danish, Finnish,
Norwegian, and Swedish, are located within the Department of German,
Scandinavian, and Dutch. The European
Studies Consortium (www.esc.umn.edu) is a federally funded National Resource Center for Western European Area Studies (receiving Title-VI
grants from the US Dept. of Education).
The six member Centers cover Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
(CARLA); Austrian Studies; German & European Studies; Holocaust &
Genocide Studies; Modern Greek Studies, the Humanities Institute, and last, not
least, Scandinavian Studies. Other
related programs include the Denmark International Study Program (DISP)
affiliated with the University of Copenhagen, and the Less Commonly Taught Languages Project (part
Both the University
and the Library administrations view its Scandinavian-studies collections of
over 200,000 volumes as unique resources that must be maintained and developed
as a national resource. Wilson Library contains
the extensive, century-old collections in the humanities and social sciences
and is home to the James Ford Bell Library of books, documents, and maps that
document the expansion of Europe between 1400 and 1800. The Elmer L. Andersen Library houses at least
three collections of Scandinavian interest. The Tell G. Dahllöf Collection of
Swedish Americana covers the history of Swedish emigration to America, Swedish culture in America, and travel descriptions by Swedish visitors to North America. The Immigration History Research Center is dedicated to fostering research on, and
understanding of, the history of American immigration. And the Alrik Gustafson
collection features extensive primary sources and scholarship on August
Subject specialists in
the University Libraries have created a number of printed and on-line research
guides to many aspects of Scandinavian studies.
On the Libraries’ LUMINA web
site (www.lib.umn.edu), go to the Research Guides section. The Research
Quick-start guides are electronically interactive pathfinders with links to
appropriate databases for research in areas like Danish and Finnish language
& literature, Scandinavian Studies, and related subjects like genealogy
(http://subject.lib.umn.edu/genealogy.html) and immigration. The Subject
Resources section features html versions of printed guides to these areas,
for example, a guide to the Libraries’ extensive collection of Norwegian bydgebøker
(http://wilson.lib.umn.edu/reference/bygdebkr.html) – local histories of
Norwegian counties (fylke) that especially emphasise
family histories and genealogies.
The libraries of the
Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin have a joint agreement for collecting materials in
Scandinavian studies. Briefly
stated, this written memorandum of understanding calls on the University of Minnesota Libraries to focus more on Swedish and
Finnish materials and the University of Wisconsin Libraries to focus more on Danish and
Norwegian materials. It is understood,
however, that each library will collect all those materials considered
necessary for local needs and that questions of duplication between the two
libraries would thus be of lesser concern.
There are a number of
college and university libraries in Minnesota and surrounding states that have strong Scandinavian-studies
collections (see, for example, the list at
http://wilson.lib.umn.edu/reference/nor-centers.html). These include Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter) and St. Olaf College (Northfield)
in Minnesota, Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), and the University of North Dakota Libraries (Grand Forks). Among the Scandinavian societies are: the
American Swedish Institute (Minneapolis), the Norwegian-American Historical
Association (Northfield), the Vesterheim Genealogical
Center (Madison, Wisc.) and the Danish Immigrant
Museum (Elk Horn, Iowa).
names and institutions are but a few examples of the rich archival resources
for Scandinavica in the American Midwest. But one should not overlook the fact that
these institutions and organizations are also active cultivators of
Scandinavian heritage and contemporary identity in the United States, not just in the Midwest. For more information about
the University of Minnesota’s Scandinavian collections and resources, please contact Gordon Anderson
in Wilson Library (612 625 8161 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next SASS Meeting
The Society for the
Advancement of Scandinavian Study (SASS) 2004 conference will be held 15-17
April in Redondo
Beach, California. Gordon encouraged those planning to attend to inform
him—perhaps the traditional librarians’ lunch can be organized. For preliminary information on the SASS
Conference see http://sass04.humnet.ucla.edu.
Collection Development in Scandinavian
There was brief
discussion regarding the potential for a multi-institutional
collection-development plan for Scandinavian Studies. Participants indicated that for many of their
institutions’ local needs are the overriding factor in
acquisitions, but that increased awareness of what others are doing would be
highly beneficial. James Spohrer (University of California, Berkeley) is working on an RFP for Scandinavian approval
plans. Many expressed interest in
continuing to be apprised of this undertaking.
John Dillon (Wisconsin) believes it is increasingly important to have
“gathering plans” for the obviously important material, enabling selectors to
devote more time to ferreting out more obscure or specialized resources. Vendors might wish to emulate the Otto Harrassowitz
model for German belles-lettres by
offering core and comprehensive lists of authors. Sem Sutter (Chicago) indicated that his collecting centers on Norwegian belles-lettres for which he has supplied
the vendor with an author list that he would be willing to share with
others. Ann Snoeyenbos (New York University) expressed particular concern about the ability to
discover and acquire appropriate Scandinavian publications on such social
science topics as immigration studies and the European Monetary Union. Gordon said that he would be willing to
facilitate the sharing of statements of practice/intent/hope/desire and there
was general agreement that this would be valuable.
Gordon agreed to serve
another term as chair of the discussion group.
Members agreed that the group should continue to meet at Midwinter
conference, maintaining its time slot at Annual while being flexible about
whether to actually convene then, doing so if an agenda warranted it but not
“meeting for the sake of meeting”.
Recorded by Sem C. Sutter (Chicago)
[--Chair’s note: many thanks to our recorder for taking
careful notes of this meeting, small portions of which I revised slightly]