Report from ALA Midwinter 2002 in New Orleans

ACRL Women's Studies Section
Research Committee
Kris Gerhard, Chair
January 20, 2002

Members present: Ellen Broidy, Kristin Gerhard, Jennifer Gilley, Laura Micham, Mila Su.

Members absent: Susan Searing

Visitors: Jeanne Armstrong, Katia Roberto

Charge: The Research Committee will identify needed research, encourage collaboration in research, facilitate the acquisition of skills related to research and publishing, and promote an awareness of existing and ongoing research related or applicable to Women's Studies librarianship and resources.

1. Program for Annual 2003, in Toronto. The topic is research; Dolores Fidishun is the chair of the Program Committee, and because there is substantial overlap between the Program 2003 and the Research Committees, the groups met together for the beginning of the meeting time. Anyone who has any ideas to contribute should email them to Dolores. The proposal is due May 1, 2002, to ACRL. If a Canadian connection can be made, with the Canadian Library Association or others, we should make it.

Portal is soliciting articles on gender; Gloriana St. Clair, one of the Portal editors, will speak on the program for the library publishing perspective. Laura Micham is the moderator. RFR is one women's studies source that is published in Canada, but we don't know from where in Canada. Jeanne Armstrong will put out feelers to get more information about the editorial board and their interest in having someone form the journal speak. Ellen Broidy will talk with Sandra Harding, also just putting out feelers. The ACRL programs have $15,000 total to spend, so we may be able to pay for one speaker's expenses.

We discussed the length of the program, and opted for the longer 3.5 hour time period. This will give us time for the awarding of the WSS awards. Other names that were mentionned in brainstorming were Roma Harris and Sue Searing or Phyllis Holman-Wiesbard. Using the longer time period will also allow for poster sessions, information tables, etc. Kris Gerhard will let ACRL Publications Committee know about the subject of our program. Dolores will approach LRRT about cosponsoring; Katia Roberto will approach SIRT--Alternatives in Publication.

2. We discussed the fact that all current members will complete their terms at the end of annual 2003. We recommended that the committee be a little larger, and that two new members be appointed to begin after Annual 2002, with terms to expire after Annual 2004. Reappointments are possible for all the current members as well, but this will allow for more continuity over time.

3. Ellen Broidy gave a history of previous attempts to put together a women's studies anthology and the difficulties encountered. There was general positive reaction from the committee, and several individuals expressed an interest in developing this as a non-WSS project. We reviewed our committee's charge, which is (paraphrased) to support and encourage research related or applicable to Women's Studies librarianship and resources. Individuals within the committee also expressed a willingness to read drafts or do whatever we can to support the individuals who take on this project.

4. Website for the committee: Jennifer Gilley just received a set of suggested edits; she will make these changes, and let the rest of the committee know where to look to do one more review. Once that (quick) review has been completed, jennifer will contact Megan Adams about getting the Research Committee pages up onto the ACRL server.

5. Research Interest Profile: We took one more look at the profile form. We will add a statement at both the top and bottom that says, "By completing this Profile, you are agreeing to this information appearing in a public format for the use of those interested in women's studies research." Mila Su suggested that we add lists of categories for users to select from rather than having so much free text. I will brainstorm categories and send it out to the group. If anyone has ideas before they get my list, they should email them to me. Kris and Jennifer will work on sorting out both the content of the questionnaire, and the technical issues in getting it set up to automate getting users' results from the input form to a database that will be (eventually) publicly accessible.

6. We don't know who is posting calls for papers on WSS. Jennifer hasn't been receiving them recently, either. Kris will ask Dolores. We need to know what system was or is in place in order to decide what to do next.

7. Setting an agenda for AWomen's Studies librarianship research: one of our charges is to identify needed research. We went around the group to get our first thoughts on how to approach this. The ideas were:
--Jennifer Gilley: generate ideas from the questionnaire
--Mila Su: there have been so many changes in the field; lots of important stuff was published in the late 80s and early 90s, how about identifying some of this and proposing updates? We could both update, and close an awareness gap by bringing previous research to present consciousness
--Ellen Broidy suggested the areas of intersectionality/interdisciplinarity in women's studies section, partnering with Women's Studies faculty in research and teaching; research about how you teach Women's Sudies; suggest as a Midwinter discussion topic? She also asked--what IS research in Women's Studies librarianship? How would we define this? This is the elephant-in-the-living-room question.
--Laura Micham: continuity of research methodology between secondary and primary sources; how to educate researchers about this; documentation of marginalized/underrepresented groups; related this to the development of social history; how DO we document marginalized groups?
--Mila Su: What is our responsibility as Women's Studies librarians? She proposes that we are above all else guardians and interpreters of resources for our users.

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