Scandinavian Discussion Group Minutes – 1999 Midwinter

ALA Midwinter Conference, Philadelphia


Summary notes of the ACRL/WESS Scandinavian Studies Discussion Group meeting held at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, 11:30am-12:30pm, Saturday, January 30, 1999 in the Conference Center Ball Room of the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia.

I. Introductions

The fourteen people in attendance introduced themselves and made a brief statement about their institution and its Scandinavian studies collection and emphasis. Represented were: Indiana University, Ohio State University, Brigham Young University, Harvard University, Harvard Law School, Cornell University, University of Kansas, Yale University, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, University of Minnesota and Sweden’s Bibliotekstjänst AB.

II. Housekeeping

Chair, Charles Spetland (University of Minnesota) agreed to take summary notes. Mike Olson (Harvard University) agreed to give a brief report on the meeting at the WESS General Membership Business meeting on February 1, as Spetland would not be able to attend.

III. Institutional News

The University of Minnesota is in the early stages of establishing a new Center for Scandinavian Studies. Excerpted from the center’s mission statement:

“The University of Minnesota Center for Scandinavian Studies is a new interdisciplinary unit aimed at supporting and enhancing excellence in teaching, research, and creative performance within the area of Scandinavian studies. The Center will not only span the coordinate campuses of the University of Minnesota, but will serve as a national resource for students, researchers, and members of the broad community of people concerned with Scandinavian language, literature, and culture; society and history; economics and politics; law and public policy; medical sciences; education; and environmental issues.”

The Center will include a semi-autonomous Finnish studies program and emphasis.

The Center is located at 230 Folwell Hall, 9 Pleasant St. SE, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 55455. Telephone: (612) 625-3388. Director: Susan Larson

IV. Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study

A number of papers and presentations of direct interest to librarians will be given at the SASS meeting in Seattle this spring.
Presenters include:

Ole Husby, BIBSYS, University of Trondheim: “Online Library Systems and Digital Libraries in Norway;” Christina Fristrom, Director, UB1, University of Lund Libraries: “The Swedish Smorgasbord: Electronic Resources for Scandinavian Studies;” Tom Johnsen, Head, Social Science Library, University of Bergen Libraries: “Electronic Resources for Nordic Social Sciences;” Patrick J. Stevens, Curator, Fiske Icelandic Collection, Cornell University: “From Netting Sagas to SagaNet: Evolution of Mission in the Fiske Icelandic Collection;” Michael Olson, Librarian for Germanic Collections, Harvard University: “Is Cooperation Really Necessary : Collecting Scandinavica in American Libraries in the 21st Century.”

Jerry Anderson of the University of Washington ( would like to hear from anyone in this group who is
planning on attending SASS.

V. Scandinavian Studies Web

Marianna McKim (Yale University) gave an update on the WESS Scandinavian Studies Web page:

As always, contribution of content and other suggestions are welcome.


Spetland reported on the current status of NORD-LIB, the electronic discussion group. There are currently 32 individuals subscribed to the list from all over the US and Europe. There has not been much traffic of late, but the group agreed that more posting of book reviews would be useful. The reference question referral potential of the list is not being realized
either, and subscribers are encouraged to try this when the opportunity arises.

VII. Bibliotekstjänst AB

Zuzana Helinsky from the Swedish Library Service, Ltd. outlined the profiling and acquisitions services offered by her
company that may be of interest to libraries in this country.

VIII. Annual Meeting in New Orleans

The group reviewed possible topics for discussion at the summer meeting in New Orleans. It was decided that Spetland would pursue the possibility of identifying librarians from Norway and Denmark who may be attending the ALA conference, and inviting them to attend our group as guests and discuss the recent changes in the national libraries of those countries.

Charles G. Spetland
University of Minnesota