ANSS Currents – Vol. 13, No. 1 May 1998

American Library Association
Association of College and Research Libraries


The Newsletter of the ACRL Anthropology & Sociology Section

Vol. 13, No. 1 ISSN 0888-5559 May 1998
(Errata Notice: Vol. 12, No. 1, Nov. 1997 should have been numbered Vol. 12, No. 2)

Sunday June 28, 1998, 9:30-11:30 AM AM


The program will feature representatives from several professional associations in the Washington, DC area to address the roles of ‘learned societies’, as collective organizations of scholars, in meeting the information needs of researchers, teachers, practitioners, policy makers, journalists, and students. As ANSS Currents went to press, we have confirmed participation by Bill Davis, Executive Director, American Anthropological Association; and Dr. Felice Levine, Executive Officer, American Sociological Association. We are awaiting confirmation by a third association executive director.

The 1998 program provides a follow-up to the 1987 ANSS program, “THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH AND LIBRARIES: TOWARD THE YEAR 2000,” at which a panel of scholars in sociology and anthropology speculated about the direction in which they believed their disciplinary research and information needs were headed.

Neither tickets nor pre-registration are required for attendance. A busare required for attendance. A business meeting follows the program.


Tuesday, June 30, 1998, 10:00-12:00 Noon

The Section will also sponsor its customary tour of a local research library. This year, proximity to the Smithsonian means a rich array of resources await us. Dr. Margaret Dittemore, head of the John Wesley Powell Library at the Smithsonian Institution, will introduce us to her library, itself closed for construction during our visit. However, we will be able to visit the National Anthropological Archives elsewhere in the building, as well as the underground library of the National Museum of African Art and its associated Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives.

The tour will be on Tuesday morning, June 30, and will accommodate 50 people, in two groups of 25. Reservations should be made by contacting Greg Finnegan at Tozzer Library, Harvard University, 21 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138-2089 or, no later than June 1.


Executive Committee

Joyce L. Ogburn, Chair

The two ANSS Executive Committee meetings at Midwinter were dedicated to reports from ACRL and ANSS meetings, exchanging information, sharing ideas, and confirming directions for ANSS. ACRL reports that it is financially sound. The Annual conference made money, and the next one planned will be in Detroit in 1999 with the theme of “Racing toward Tomorrow.” ACRL plans to review and revise its strategic plan. How the sections will participate is unclear, but ANSS will ask for formal participation by the sections. ACRL has the goals of increasing liaison activities with other professional organizations and heighten participation of sections in planning activities – two goals ANSS heartily supports.

All the ANSS committees made reports, which can be found here in ANSS Currents. The Nominating Committee’s report on the difficulty of finding candidates for offices generated much concern. Like other sections in ACRL, ANSS has a small pool of active members, many of whom are otive members, many of whom are overcommitted, underfunded to attend conferences, or sought for office by other ALA units. ANSS will continue to work with ACRL to address this problem.

As linguistics has arisen as an area of interest to ANSS members, the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group will devote its next meeting to this subject. If it is found that there is demand for a separate discussion group, this will be further explored.

Discussion turned to the status of anthropology and sociology literature in electronic formats. ANSS will explore what is available in electronic form and explore taking an active role in advising appropriate groups in determining the literature that could be converted and maintained in electronic format. Lynn Schmelz offered to look into the coverage of JSTOR as an example.

The report from the Tozzer Library included the news that retrospective conversion will be completed summer 1998.

Records will then be available in Hollis, Anthropological Literature, and RLIN. At the Smithsonian, the John Wesley Powell Library will be closed for renovall Library will be closed for renovation for one year, beginning March 1998. Only 7,500 books will be accessible during the renovation. Maggie Dittemore was encouraged to report at ALA Annual on the selection process and criteria. The National Anthropological Archives will remain open, although they are housed in poor conditions and lack staff. It is hoped that in the future there will be more collaboration between the Powell Library and the Archives. Lynn Schmelz reported that HRAF plans to publish more titles electronically, including an encyclopedia of prehistory and a collection in archaeology.

There is little news on other national efforts. CoPAR has not met and LARG is still compiling the book on resources in special collections in anthropology.

Executive Committee meetixecutive Committee meetings are open, and ANSS members are encouraged to attend and participate.

ANSS 1999 Conference Planning Committee

Cheryl C. Kugler, Chair

The Committee is planning a program focusing on the leadership of librarians in building locally focused collections and preserving social history. The theme of this program would emphasize the creativity, knowledge, productivity and diversity of method on the part of librarians in order to preserve local, social history for the use of students, faculty, and other constituencies.

During its initial meeting, the Committee considered several interesting suggestions, some of which focus on New Orleans. Examples considered by the Committee include library collections which document the Mardi Gras Indians, communities of recent immigrants, gay and lesbian communities, or local television news broadcasts as records of community events and everyday life.

As is the norm, the Committee will arrange for a tour of a local faciliarrange for a tour of a local facility which exemplifies the program theme.

Bibliography Committee

Cathy Moore-Jansen, Chair

The Bibliography Committee met twice at ALA Midwinter. During those meetings, the committee discussed three reviews: Royce Kurtz’s review of the ICPSR Web site which focuses on searching the Data Archive, Martin Shapiro’s review of IBSS Extra (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences), and Beth Cramer’s review of Population Index on the Web. The committee also continued work on the criteria for analyzing indexes and abstracts that has been revised by Jim Haug. The committee hopes to finalize these criteria at the next annual meetings. Finally, the committee discussed future projects. Draft reviews of America History and Life, Anthropological Index On-line, Coombsweb-ANU Social Sciences Server, and Sociofile will be prepared and presented at the next meetings.

Liaison Committee

Lori Foulke, Chair

The Liaison Committee was scheduled to meet Saturday at 8 am during ALA Midwinter. Due to severe weather conditions, most committee members were absent, and the meeting was subsequently canceled. Newly appointed committee members include: Suzanne H. Calpestri, Maxine Craig, and Christine Whittington. Fifty copies of ANSS Currents were mailed to newsletter and journal editors, libraries, and library schools in December. Of these, 12 went to addresses outside the U.S. Work on the Subject Specialists Directory continues. A draft version of the web form is now functional and will soon be tested.

Nominating Committee for 1998 ALA Election

James Williams, Chair

The committee completed its work during August and September 1997. Potential candidates for Vice-Chair/Chair Elect and Member-at-Large were identified and contacted. Formal letters of acceptance were received from nominees, as required by ACRL. The ANSS slate of candidates was sent to ACRL in late September. Having completed its work, the committee did not meet in New Orleans.

Publications Committee

Janet Steins, Chair

The Publications Committee met on Sunday in New Orleans and began, as usual, by critiquing the most recent issue of ANSS Currents. Ideas picked up from issues of other section newsletters were discussed.

Several committee members will be taking on new editorial duties. Gary McMillan is now co-editor of ANSS Web with Joyce Ogburn. He will be focusing on the site’s design, but he also introduced some new ideas for content which were discussed. Gary hopes that more ANSS members and even non-members can contribute to expanding coverage of ANSS Web. Mary Nofsinger will be assuming ANSS Currents co-editor duties immediately, joining Isabel Quintana. Ellen Gilbert is stepping down after serving as co-editor for two years. Pauline Manaka will be taking over the role of owner/moderator of ANSS-L over the coming months from Steve MacLeod, who created the listserv in 1994. Steve announced that there are 392 subscribers to ANSS-L.

Regarding the committee’s membership, it was agreed thaee’s membership, it was agreed that clarification was needed on whether editors of ANSS Currents, ANSS Web and ANSS-L should continue to be called ex-officio members. Since they are and should be voting members, and furthermore need to be appointed so that ACRL records are accurate, we will cease calling them ex-officio. ANSS procedure will require newly assigned editors not already on the committee to be appointed to it, and committee members continuing as editors to be reappointed if their terms end.

Review and Planning Committee

Fred J. Hay, Chair

The Review and Planning committee met on Sunday, January 11. Several topics were discussed. First among these was how the Sections could become more involved in the ACRL’s strategic planning process. In the last strategic planning episode, the Sections did not have the opportunity to actively participate but only to react to what the ACRL Board proposed.

The next topic of discussion was the miscommunication between Sections and the ACRL Office. These included mailings going to the wrong people, incorrect committee rosters, ple, incorrect committee rosters, conflicting deadline dates and other incidents and inconsistencies. Chris Smith and Joyce Ogburn agreed to compile a list of these problems and communicate with the ACRL Office concerning their resolution.

We also considered Jim Williams,’ Chair of the Nominating Committee, report to the Executive Committee. This report described the difficulties in finding people to run for Section office, especially the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect position. Unfortunately, we had little success in coming up with solutions to this perennial problem. Finally, we discussed the preliminary planning for the ANSS program for the 1999 Conference.


Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group

James Williams and James D. Haug, Co-Conveners

At the ALA Midwinter meeting, the weeding of collections was discussed. Several common circumstances were identified. Regardless of size, space constraints compel almost all academic libraries to discard some materials. While most institutions have collection development policies to direct acquisitions, written policies for weeding are not as common and, where extant, tend to be less prescriptive in nature. Multiple copies of older monographs and major journals are often owned by libraries, reflecting a time when materials budgets held greater buying power as well as an era when photocopying was not readily available.

Most institutions base withdrawal decisions partly on use. The need to retain certain works for their historical value is recognized. Librarians are also inclined to keep books written by, or which include contributions from, local faculty members. The preferences of teaching faculty are important, although pleasing the faculty to maintain good relations can result in keeping materials which are no longer useful. The hls which are no longer useful. The holdings of other libraries are often taken into account. Finding the work is available elsewhere within the state or within a geographic area not infrequently influences the decision to withdraw a work. Repositories are a desirable option, but the slant of such collections can change and works listed as being owned by a facility may in fact be missing.

The dispensation of discarded materials is a part of the weeding process and was also discussed. Restrictions often govern the disposal of materials from state-supported schools and state laws vary greatly. Some states prohibit the placement of withdrawn items into book sales, although they may be given to other state-supported institutions. Exchange arrangements are a desirable option for the useful disposal of unwanted books and journals. An information clearinghouse for anthropological works is needed.

The possible influence of JSTOR and comparable commercial services, which offer the full-text of journals, as a factor in weeding serials collections was raised. Such services must be purchased and subscriptions must remain active for this course to be feasible, although exploration in this area is worthwhile. Electronic journals are often not entirely equivalent to theoften not entirely equivalent to their printed versions, however. Book reviews, letters to the editor, and advertisements are not infrequently omitted as are complete articles on occasion. These circumstances must be taken into consideration.

Discussion group meetings are open to all. ANSS members are encouraged to attend and participate.

Sociology Librarians Discussion Group

Sally Willson Weimer and Brian Quinn, Co-Conveners

An unexpectedly large number of librarians attended the 1998 Midwinter meeting of the Sociology Librarians Discussion Group in New Orleans. Terry Owen, products manager for Sociological Abstracts, attended as a guest speaker. He discussed recent changes to the index, and solicited feedback from librarians regarding improvements they would like to see made in the product.

Among the changes to Sociological Abstracts that Terry noted were the elimination of the identifiers structure. That information has been put into the minor descriptors field. Terry pointed outdescriptors field. Terry pointed out that book reviews are now available on the CD-ROM version, so that the CD-ROM and on-line versions are now virtually identical. The speaker also mentioned that although Sociological Abstracts indexes conference papers, not all of them are available via document delivery. If there is no note field in the record for a conference paper, users must contact the author of the paper directly.

Terry acknowledged that there had been some indexing problems with the backfile, and that plans to index the backfile to 1974 using thesaurus terms are being considered. Although it is not possible to access the list of journals indexed in Sociological Abstracts on-line, a complete list of journals is available at the Sociological Abstracts web site at The journal list for Sociological Abstracts is combined with the list for Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts. Terry went on to mention that Sociological Abstracts can now be accessed from IC Search Bank and also from Cambridge Scientific Abstracts. Several versions of the index are also available through FirstSearch, but the per search version is only a subset of the original and indexes only 220 journals. The FirstSearch software is not as powerful as some CD-ROM versions such as Silverplatter’s because it does not permit searching by individual fiel permit searching by individual fields.

Sociological Abstracts also features interdisciplinary coverage of related subject areas. Terry described the criteria used to select interdisciplinary articles for inclusion. For example, if an article is authored by at least one sociologist, or if the word “sociology” appears in the title, it may be included. Many non-English articles are also indexed, and 35% of the articles are written in languages other than English.

Terry noted that the Sociological Abstracts web site features many resources of interest to librarians. There are links to bibliographies of current interest and to professional organizations. Overall, the site includes links to over 700 sites related to sociology and sociology-related fields. Anyone needing assistance in using any Sociological Abstracts product can send an email request to or call 1-800-752-3945.

The co-conveners ended the meeting by asking those attending for suggestions for possible discussion topics for the annual meeting in Washington, DC in June. Self-nominations are also sought for a co-convener to replace Sally Willson Weimer if she is elected to be the next chair of is elected to be the next chair of ANSS.

Discussion group meetings are open to all. ANSS members are encouraged to attend and participate.


ANSS Wins Folklore Award!

Documenting Cultural Diversity in the Resurgent American South, published last Spring by ACRL, is the 1997 Recipient of the Brenda McCallum Memorial Award of the American Folklore Society. This volume, edited by Margaret R. Dittemore and Fred J. Hay, is based on the papers presented at the 1991 and 1993 ANSS programs at ALA Annual.

The Brenda McCallum Memorial Award is given for “exceptional work dealing with folklife archives or the collection, organization, and management of folklife materials.” It is especially appropriate that this publication receive this award because the book is dedicated to Brenda’s memory and because Brenda helped organize the 1991 program.

It is also another significant demonstration of the importance of ANSS programs to our membership, social science librarians in general, and the subject disciplines ANSS serves. Documenting Cultural Diversity in the Resurgent American South is reviewed in the March, 1998 issue of College & Research Libraries.

1997 ACRL President’s Program, “Imagining the Learning Library,” Now Available on Videotape

Complete and abridged versions of the 1997 ACRL President’s Program in San Francisco are now available for borrowing by ACRL chapters wishing to use these as part of local programming, as well as by libraries and individuals. The program, “Imagining the Learning Library,” features presentations by Betsy Baker, of Northwestern University, and by several mern University, and by several members of the Disney “Imagineers”.

The full program runs 2.5 hours on two half-inch tapes; the abridged version runs 72 minutes on one half-inch tape. ACRL encourages state and regional chapters to bring this program to those of their members who may not have been able to travel to ALA last summer.

To borrow the tape for a 3 week period, send an ALA-approved interlibrary loan form to the ALA Headquarters Library, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2795. A nominal fee may be charged to cover postage. Advanced reservations for the tapes will be honored by calling 312-280-3277 or via e-mail at Questions regarding the program contents should be addressed to Elisa Topper in the ACRL Office, 312-280-2523 or

Presenters Needed for ACRL’s 9th National Conference, April 8-11, 1999

June 15 is the deadline for submitting proposals for papers and panel sessions for ACRL’s 9th National Conference, that will be held in Detroit, Michigan, April 8-11, 1999. The conference theme, “Racing Toward Tomorrow,” is explored in six subthemes: creating lifelong learners, shaping the changing environment; changing work roles; developing alternate resources; expanding the knowledge base; and creating alliances and partnerships.

Details about preparing a proposal and attending the conference are available on ACRL’s Web site at The “Call for Participation” was also published as an insert in the January issue of ACRL News.

Personnel & Positions

Ed Summers is now the electronic resources cataloger at Old Dominion University Libraries.


Our section’s home page now contains almost everything you ever wanted to know about ANSS, including how to get involved, information about officers, committees, programs, and conferences, ANSS publications, and historical highlights. There’s a volunteer form for those interested in contributing through committee assignments, as well acommittee assignments, as well as links back to the ACRL and ALA web sites.

As the annual conference approaches, be sure to check ANSSWeb for up-to-date information on committee meeting times at ALA.

Please send your comments and suggestions to Joyce Ogburn


ANSS-L is a discussion forum for information specialists in anthropology, sociology, and related fields. The listserv provides information about activities, news of the section, Internet resources, and topics of interest to its readership. Membership in ANSS-L is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe. Please send an e-mail message to: LISTSERV@UCI.EDU containing the following line:



ANSS Currents (ISSN 0888-5559) is published by the Anthropology and Sociology Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago IL 60611; (312)944-6780.

����American Library Association, 1998.

Co-Editors: Isabel del Carmen Quintana, Tozzer Library, Harvard University, 21 Divinity Ave., Cambridge MA 02138-2019. (617) 495-2292.

Mary M. Nofsinger, Holland Library, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-5610, (509) 335-8614; (509) 332-1274.

Production & Circulation Office: 50 E. Huron St., Chicago IL 60611.

ANSS Currents is published semi-annually in May and November and is distributed, at no additional charge, to members of the section. Back issues are available from ALA/ACRL, 50 East Huron St., Chicago IL 60611.

Chair, 1997-1998: Joyce L. Ogburn, Old Dominion University Library, 43rd St., Norfolk VA 23539-0256. (757) 683-4189.

Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, 1997-1998: J. Christina Smith, Mugar Library, Boston University, 771 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215-1401. (617) 353-3715.