Women's Studies Section
Note: this is an archived HTML copy of the Fall 1999 WSS Newsletter.
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:
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 email@example.com.
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.
Chair, ACRL Women's Studies Section
Associate Head/Collection Manager
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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
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.
Reference Librarian & Bibliographer
University of Northern Iowa
Women's Sports Webography
"WWW Women's Sports Page." Amy Lewis.
"Women's Sports Foundation."
"Sports." Danuta Bois.
"Gender Equity in Sports." University
of Iowa Gender Equity in Sport Project.
"Women and Girls in Sports!" Feminist
"Melpomene Institute Homepage."
"Sports for Women.com."
To tour through a range of web sites,
get on the "WWWomen Sports WebRing." Begin your tour at
Outstanding Women Athletes: Who
They Are and How They
Influenced Sports in America. 2nd ed. Janet Woolum. Phoenix: Oryx,
The Women's Sports Encyclopedia.
Robert Markel, Susan Waggoner,
and Marcella Smith, eds. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.
Encyclopedia of Women and Sports.
Victoria Sherrow. Santa
Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1996.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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
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...
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, email@example.com,
and Megan Adams, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls,
IA 50613-3675, (319) 273-2838, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Issues and Education Committee
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:
Shelley Arlen, Chair
University of Florida Libraries
Flora G. Shrode, Chair
Science and Technology Coordinator
University of Tennessee
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.
Current Periodicals/Microforms Librarian
Texas Tech University
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, email@example.com)
Assistant Editor: Regan Brumagen (Hartwick College, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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