WESS Executive Committee Minutes

WESS Newsletter

Vol. 23, No. 1 (Fall 1999)

June 29, 1999

Present, Executive Committee: Stephen Lehmann, John Cullars, Heleni Pedersoli, Marianna McKim, Gordon Anderson, Leena Siegelbaum, Jeff Garrett, Nancy Boerner Others: Karl Fattig, Emily Horning, Tom Izbicki, Beth Remak-Honnef, Reinhart Sonnenburg, Ann Snoeyenbos, Bruce Swann, Marje Schuetze-Coburn, Barbara Walden


The minutes from February 2, 1999, were approved as corrected.

Touzot Support for WESS

Stephen Lehmann presented a resolution of thanks to Jean Touzot, which had been previously approved by the Executive Committee via e-mail consultation after the Midwinter meeting:

Whereas, The publisher and distributor Jean Touzot Librarie/êditeur has long been a friend to American librarians and libraries, and especially to the Western European Specialists Section and its members,

Whereas, Jean Touzot Librarie/êditeur is now providing a grant of $1,000 in support of the annual WESS program,

Whereas, This grant enables the Section to offer superior programming at Annual Conference,

Whereas, WESS programs of high quality ultimately benefit American academic library collections and services relating to Western European studies; now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the WESS Executive Committee expresses its thanks to M. Jean-Denis Touzot on behalf of the Section for the goodwill he has shown us over the years we have worked together and particularly now for his most generous gift in the form of the Touzot WESS Program Grant.

WESS Executive Committee
February 1999

1999 Program

Stephen thanked Marianna McKim and the Program Planning Committee for an excellent session at this year’s annual meeting, noting the stimulating presentations by Barbara Walden and James O’Donnell and the engaged discussion moderated by Roger Brisson.

Bylaws Revision

Leena Siegelbaum reported that notation has been added to the draft of the revised WESS bylaws to indicate additions, revisions, and deletions. This version will be mounted on WESS-Web. The revisions have been approved by the ACRL Bylaws Committee. If approved by the ACRL Board, they will be submitted to the membership for a mail vote in spring 2000; a two-thirds majority of the votes cast is needed for acceptance.

WESS Manual

Incoming Chair John Cullars brought up the need to revise the WESS Manual in order to reconcile discrepancies between it, the Bylaws, and what the section actually does in practice. Marje Schuetze-Coburn, Leena Siegelbaum, and Karl Fattig volunteered to work with him on a revision. The final version will be subject to approval by the Executive Committee.

Committee membership

John Cullars raised the question of committee members who have not attended at least two consecutive committee meetings, noting that WESS tries to restrict itself to committees that are too important to have “phantom” members. The Executive Committee agreed that John should contact non-participating members to remind them that they will have to be replaced if they are unable to commit to attending committee meetings. Stephen Lehmann suggested including in the revised manual information regarding duties of committee members and procedures for replacement of non-participants.

ACRL Initiative Fund/Frankfurt Book Fair

Stephen Lehmann reported that this spring WESS received an unexpected invitation from the management of the book fair in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, to send official representatives to the fair who would present a program of interest to publishers and librarians and would also set up a booth at the International Booksellers and Librarians Center. WESS successfully applied for a $2500 grant from the ACRL Initiative Fund, which will cover travel expenses for two members well-versed in ACRL and WESS activities. Eight strong applications were received. The Executive Committee (minus those who were also applicants) selected Jeffrey Garrett and Barbara Walden to be the ACRL/WESS representatives to the book fair. They will meet with ACRL to ascertain their expectations, and they asked the WESS Executive Committee for theirs, as well. Stephen Lehmann suggested trying to identify organizations in Europe with whom ACRL and WESS have overlapping interests and establishing contacts with them. Trying to find newsletters similar to WESS’s could also be helpful. Stephen also suggested that Barbara and Jeff give a presentation on their experience at the next Midwinter or Annual ALA meeting; Reinhart Sonnenburg noted that the Midwinter general membership meeting might be a good venue, as it has a program slot to fill.

Jeff invited anyone from ACRL/WESS who may be attending the book fair to get in touch with him or Barbara if they would be interested in helping to staff the booth and/or make presentations. Reinhart Sonnenburg will mount information on WESS-Web inviting participation. Ann Snoyenbos will obtain information on listservs of national library associations, available from the ALA International Relations Office, for publicity purposes. Barbara noted that ACRL has given WESS this opportunity as a pilot project in the hope that it will find a way to make it a continuing activity, but it will be necessary to find the funding to support it after this year.

ACRL Board Report

John Cullars reported on his attendance, as WESS liaison, at two ACRL Board meetings. The Board unanimously accepted a recommendation from the ACRL Sections Council to begin a two-year pilot project making available funds from which sections can draw interest-free loans to place deposits on hotels, restaurants, or other venues in which they plan to hold events. Sections may request up to $1500 in a given year, and must repay the amount in full or pay a penalty.

Committee Reports


Chair Gordon Anderson reported that letters of welcome are being sent to new members. He asked whether WESS would like to have a presence at the next ACRL conference, to be held in Denver in 2001. Roberta Astroff has volunteered to work on a possible program. Stephen Lehmann suggested asking Roberta to chair an ad hoc committee that would represent the entire section and not be the responsibility of the Membership Committee alone. Gordon, Jeff Garrett, and Heleni Pedersoli volunteered to participate. John Cullars will try to obtain information about the planned dates and topic of the conference from ACRL.

Gordon noted that eight new members were recruited with free tickets for the 20th anniversary river cruise celebration, and that in all it had attracted about 90 participants. The committee was asked to plan a similar social gathering for Chicago, and again to make free tickets available to new members. If some vendors offer to participate in underwriting the costs, others should be given the opportunity to do so, as well. Sponsoring participants should be given free tickets. Stephen reported that using ACRL to arrange for the riverboat had been helpful and efficient. Ann Snoyenbos suggested that the Executive Committee consider establishing a standing social event.

Conference Planning

John Cullars reported for Chair Assunta Pisani that the program of the 2000 conference will be dedicated to the memory of Mario Casalini. Two speakers have been confirmed: Dante Della Terza, professor emeritus of Harvard University and I Tatti, will speak on Italian culture, and Paul Gehl of the Newberry Library in Chicago is expected to look at relations between North American library collections and the Italian book trade. Two additional speakers are being sought, to address Mario Casalini’s role in building Italian collections in the USA, and to discuss subjects of major interest to him, such as fine arts and music. The committee also plans a display of books from companies such as La Nuova Italia and Cadmo with which Mr. Casalini was involved.

Marje Schuetze-Coburn has been contacted by Elisabeth Angele of the Goethe Institut in Chicago, who asked whether WESS would be willing to co-sponsor with it a program at the Goethe Institut [?] on “European [or German?] Initiatives in Library Technology.” Marje noted it would probably be publicized widely. There was consensus that WESS would co-sponsor the event if it were not called upon to contribute more than its name. Marje will act as a contact and will keep John Cullars and Gordon Anderson (should any membership initiatives be involved) informed.


Tom Izbicki presented the Nominating Committee’s slate for the WESS election in the year 2000:

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Reinhart Sonnenburg and Barbara Walden
Member-at-Large: Helene Baumann and Fred Jenkins
Secretary: Larry Hinman, Emily Horning, and Dennis Lambert


Leena Siegelbaum reported that the membership directory on WESS-Web has been revised and improved by Bruce Swann, and that a European film page is being planned. Beth Remak-Honnef will be the new editor of the WESS Newsletter, and Jennifer Vinopal will take over the “Bits & Bytes” column. Barbara Walden suggested scanning back issues of the newsletter and mounting them on WESS-Web.

Research and Planning

Jeffrey Garrett reported that the vendor Otto Harrassowitz is unable at this time to make available a database of non-acquired items, intending instead to make its entire database searchable. It may later be able to provide a search option that would identify non-sold materials in a particular subject area, but cannot make a commitment to this undertaking as yet. The committee began a discussion with Barbara and Michele Casalini on comprehensive coverage of Italian publications, both bibliographically and physically, which will be continued at the midwinter meeting in San Antonio. It hopes next year to begin a similar discussion on French publications.

Ad Hoc Committee on Cataloging Issues

The group is not yet ready to ask for permanent status; it plans to do this next year, after it has delineated its identity more clearly. It has attracted five members new to WESS. Incoming WESS Chair John Cullars has agreed to one more year of ad hoc status and asked Karl Fattig to continue as chair. Jeff Garrett noted the importance of maintaining a WESS presence in technical services discussions. Karl Fattig reported that the committee plans to hold a forum next year to discuss the subject of vendor-contributed records from the perspectives of catalogers, reference librarians, and users. Committee members will draft and discuss a mission statement. They hope to develop a survey of the language skills of West European catalogers and the kinds of support they receive to improve these skills.

Discussion Group Reports

Classical, Medieval and Renaissance

Bruce Swann reported that Hans Deraeve of Brepols presented some of the company’s CD-ROM products, describing their publications of the last several years and demonstrating some recent titles, including the Cetedoc Index of Latin Forms and the Bibliotheque des Ducs de Bourgogne. Mr. Deraeve also discussed the factors which Brepols must take into account when planning for future CD-ROMs and/or web-based products. Anne Marie Mitchell was elected chair for the coming year.

College and Medium-Sized Libraries

Tom Izbicki reported on the group’s ongoing project of compiling lists of significant scholarly European language books for Choice, which included this year for the first time a list of translations of these titles. A compilation of user guides to databases of Western European interest will be made available on WESS-Web, with links to the guides. Another possible project is a book on Western European studies in non-ARL libraries; coordinators will be Fred Jenkins and Karl Fattig. Thanks to Sarah Wenzel, the discussion group now has a listserv: to subscribe send the message “subscribe wess-cmsldg-l yourname@yourinstitution to majordomo@bu.edu”. Fred Jenkins has agreed to continue as chair in 1999-2000; he will be succeeded by Kai Stoeckenius in 2000-2001.


Reinhart Sonnenburg noted that a representative from Chadwyck-Healy presented information on the firm’s Germanic Studies products, and Jeffrey Garrett and Roger Brisson reported on discussions with Direktmedia about obtaining affordable access to their web products. A thoughtful look at e-text user perspectives was provided by Kati Radics. Marje Schuetze-Coburn has been elected chair for 1999-2000.

Romance Languages

Emily Horning reported the group focussed its discussion on the new Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, with Dick Hacken describing his recent visit there and Sarah Wenzel demonstrating the BN’s new website. Heleni Pedersoli was elected incoming chair.


Charles Spetland shared information on recent developments at the National Library of Norway, the University of Oslo’s new library building, and the Royal Library in Copenhagen. He also provided information about the new electronic National Biography of Finland and a few other new Finnish sites of interest. Marianna McKim was chosen incoming chair.

Social Sciences

Hank Harken of Arizona State University West presented “An Introduction to Data Files for Research on Western Europe,” discussing mainly historical data. Outgoing chair Sam Dunlap will organize an introductory page on the Social Science section of WESS-Web with information on available data sets. Incoming chair Ann Snoyenbos reported that the group discussed where data files reside at their institutions, and that group members will make an effort to make these files available on the Social Science Web.

Special Topics

Beau Case reported that Carlo Krieger, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Luxembourg in Washington, DC, spoke to the group about the history, languages, and literature of Luxembourg. He also offered free copies of Luxembourg literary classics.

Nancy Boerner, Secretary