Executive Committee Meeting

WESS Newsletter

Vol. 20, No. 2 (Spring, 1997)

February 18 1997,
Washington, DC

Present: Executive Committee: Diana Chlebek, Nancy Boerner, Roger Brisson, Heleni Pedersoli
Others: Beau David Case, Sam Dunlap, Heidi Hutchinson, Thomas Izbicki, Stephen Lehmann, Louis Reith, Eva Sartori, Ann Snoeyenbos, Reinhart Sonnenburg, Barbara Walden
Guests:Carol Pfeiffer and Elisa Topper (liaisons from ACRL)

WESS Chair Diana Chlebek called the meeting to order at 11:35 and welcomed all present.

Announcements: Heleni Pedersoli has become the new Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect through a special winter election held because of Kurt DeBelder’s departure. Heleni and Marcia were both thanked for running for the office.

Standing Committee reports

Publications: Heleni Pedersoli, chair, reported that Kurt’s many contributions to the WESSWeb will be missed, and assignments are being revised. New York University’s Jennifer Vinopal will now maintain the WESSWeb’s French Studies page. Reinhart Sonnenburg described the steady growth of the German Studies page and the heavy activity of the newspapers page. Heleni asked that anyone wishing to take over editing the WESS Directory should contact her; candidates for the post need Web editing expertise. With the next issue of the WESS Newsletter the electronic version on the Web will precede the print version. Since Marje Schuetze-Coburn’s term as WESS Newsletter editor ends in 1998, a successor needs to be found. The layout and design for the new WESS brochure has been decided; it has been funded by a $550 grant from ACRL, and will be ready for the WESS Preconference this summer.

Research and Planning: Roger Brisson, chair, reported that the meeting focused on Otto Harrassowitz’s presentation of his proposed pilot database which would be a catalog of German books not ordered by North American libraries. Based on Harrassowitz book records, this database could be used as a selection and tracking tool for cooperative collection development and for research in German language materials. After extensive discussion the committee decided to support and encourage Harrassowitz’s development of the project and to send out a survey on the WESSList to assist in design of the database.

Discussion Group reports

Classical, Medieval and Renaissance: Thomas Izbicki, chair, summarized the demonstration and discussion of the Web-based bibliography on the European Renaissance, “ITER,” which is sponsored by several Renaissance study centers and contains citations to over 60,000 articles from over 180 journals.

College and Medium-Sized Libraries: Thomas Izbicki, who chaired the meeting in Karl Fattig’s absence, reported on the group’s discussion of the creation and development of Web sites for medium-sized libraries.

Germanists: Heidi Hutchinson, chair, reported that guest speaker Martin Eichtinger of the Austrian Embassy in Washington discussed issues in contemporary Austrian literature and the role of the Austrian Press and Information Service in disseminating information about Austrian literature and letters. There was also a discussion and description of various German translation projects that WESS Germanists have worked with.

Romance: Adan Griego reported for chair Anne-Marie Mitchell that Jean-Denis Touzot of the French book-selling firm, Jean Touzot libraire-√©diteur, described his company’s history and its new developments in automation initiatives. Everette Larson from the Library of Congress described the Library’s hispanic collections and demonstrated the Web site pages and the electronic navigation tools he’s developed as a guide to the collections.

Scandinavian: Nancy Boerner reported for chair Mariann Tiblin that Marie-Louise Bernal, Recommending Officer for Sweden at the Library of Congress, presented her insights and experience in the finding and selection of Scandinavian materials.

Conference planning committees

1998 Conference Planning Committee: Stephen Lehmann, chair, reported that the program would be devoted to the large national digitization projects in Europe, thus reflecting the ALA and ACRL themes of the 1998 conference-the emerging electronic library and the growing international nature of librarianship. Speakers are being contacted.

1997 Preconference Planning Committee: Eva Sartori, chair, described final preparations for the Preconference entitled “European Links: Sources of Information in Western European Studies for Academic Libraries,” to be held June 26-27. Brochures, designed by Jeff Garrett, have been sent to WESS members. The committee was commended for its good work in organizing an impressive program.

Martinus Nijhoff Award: Reinhart Sonnenburg reported for committee chair Michael Olson, that six applications for the award were submitted and a winner was chosen by unanimous decision; the announcement will be made at this summer’s ALA annual meeting.

ACRL Activities Section Council: Diana Chlebek reported that she and Heleni Pedersoli described developments in WESS activities such as the Preconference, the Reference Reviews Europe Project and the growth of WESSWeb, and how these activities support outreach to section membership.

Old Business: The Executive Committee gave its approval to Beau David Case to go forward with the new WESS discussion group which is to focus on topics and language areas not normally covered in other WESS meetings, and which is to be named the “WESS Special Topics Discussion Group.” Beau agreed to be the first chair of the group which holds its first meeting this summer in San Francisco.

New Business: ACRL Board of Directors has approved a new ACRL Initiative Fund of $15,000 to support innovative ideas of ACRL Units in support of goals of the ACRL Strategic Plan. Application forms with guidelines for funds were distributed to section committee and discussion group chairs. Sam Dunlap proposed that WESS appoint a liaison with the International Documents Task Force of Godort, which often works with issues of interest and importance to WESS. The Executive Committee approved Sam’s offer to work in this role which he will also discuss with the GODORT membership.

Louis Reith reported on the ACRL Focus Group on Section Membership that he attended during the conference. Issues of section membership recruitment and retention were discussed at this meeting. As chair of ALA’s New Member Round Table, Ann Snoeyenbos presented suggestions to recruit and improve the mentoring of members new to WESS. Her ideas included mentoring of new WESS members, guidance for Nijhoff award applicants, retention and follow-up of conference attendees, the use of committee preference forms, use of membership surveys, and the creation of a membership committee in WESS to coordinate these activities. The Executive Committee will consider these proposals and perhaps the possibility of using a larger WESS forum to discuss membership issues.

Meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Roger Brisson
WESS Secretary