New Year’s Resolution: Learn Quick Search!

If you’ve been at ISU for a while, you’ve probably noticed that the Library website no longer has a traditional library catalog.  Instead, there’s a new search tool called Quick Search at the top of the home page.  If you’re a faculty member, student, researcher or a member of the ISU community, the New Year is a good time to level up your Quick Search skills so you can get the most out of Quick Search, and also know when it’s best to use a different search tool.

Hey, it’s just a search box.  It can’t be that complicated!  

No, it’s not complicated if you’re searching for just anything – but for library research, that’s rarely the case.

Quick Search box

The first thing you need to know is that it’s really worth your time to use one or more of the 3 drop-down menus (shown above) that are located just below the search box.  The choices listed in these drop-down menus help you focus your search.  Why spend time plowing through thousands of results if they’re not what you need?

Quick Search & Drop-down menu #1

The second thing you need to know?  Quick Search lets you search far more than would a traditional library catalog.  We’ve opened up drop-down menu #1 here, so you can see all the types of materials you can find with this tool, including Articles, content located on the Library website, images, and a lot more.  That’s why it’s a good idea to always take a few seconds to focus your search.  Just type your search terms in the box, then choose the relevant selection(s) in one or more of the drop-down menus, then click the Search button.  You’ll have your focused results in a fraction of a second.

Third thing:  In general terms, Quick Search connects to various indexes and databases and allows you to search their contents seamlessly, without ever leaving Quick Search.  Nice!!  This can be a huge time saver.

But, if you’re doing research on race & ethnic studies topics, get ready for the shocking news!

Most subject-focused indexes that focus on race and ethnic studies research articles have NOT been “connected” with   Quick Search due to software incompatibilities.  Shocked: http://www.cs4fn.org/internet/therecipeforspam.phpThis means you’re probably not searching the best or most comprehensive collections of research articles in these subject areas. Yes, you may find some interesting articles and information, but you’ll definitely need to go directly to indexes like Black Studies Center, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Ethnic NewsWatch, Hispanic American Periodicals Index, Chicano Database, and others to make sure you’re choosing the best tools for a thorough, scholarly and comprehensive search.

It’s a good strategy to use Quick Search and subject-focused indexes to ensure you’re getting everything you may need.

Do start exploring the drop-down menus and some of the many fun features of Quick Search, such as creating your own account, tagging, and reviewing materials of interest.  It’s a great way to start the New Year!

Big Bill Broonzy Redux

As my colleague mentioned in her previous post about the wonders of the NAXOS music library, country blues legend Big Bill Broonzy (whose music can be heard in streaming form via the aforementioned resource) did indeed grace Ames with his larger-than-life presence for a time.

Broonzy was part of Studs Terkel’s “I Come For To Sing” traveling revue, which performed in the late 1940s in the Iowa State Armory. After the show, Broonzy met ISU English professors Leonard and Lillian Feinberg at a reception hosted by the couple. Shortly thereafter, Broonzy was told by his doctor that he needed to get out of the city (Chicago), or face a significantly lower life expectancy. He wrote to Professor (Leonard) Feinberg asking for work on an ISU farm. Feinberg was able to get him a job, instead, as a janitor in Friley Hall in 1950 (Jorgen Rasmussen, Ames Historical Society Newsletter, Summer, 2003). Rumor has it that ISU undergraduates taught Broonzy to read and write in exchange for some guitar tutelage. Only a year had passed, however, before Broonzy realized it would be much more lucrative to tour Europe, which he did with some frequency, and in the meantime, moved back to Chicago in 1951.*

In addition to the Broonzy material available in NAXOS, the library owns the following recordings and books of interest:

Recordings:

  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (Document Records, 1991-1995). This is a 12-CD set that spans the dates November 1927 –  1947.  Each one of these discs has its own call number and they’re all sequential: The call number for disc one is DISC 001 986, and at the other end of the range, the call number for disc twelve is DISC 001 997.
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. The Bill Broonzy Story (Verve, 1960, reissued in 1999). This is a 3-CD set that includes biographical notes by Bill Randle and program notes reprinted from the original 5-LP box set liner notes. Recorded in Chicago, July 12 and 13, 1957 (DISC 001 776).
  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Trouble in Mind (Smithsonian Folkways, 2000; originally released in 1957 on the Smithsonian label as “Big” Bill Broonzy Sings Country Blues.) Recorded in 1956-1957 in Chicago and New York City. Pete Seeger plays banjo on one track! (DISC 003 053)

Additionally, Broonzy is featured on a number of compilation recordings owned by the ISU Library, such as Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? American Song During the Great Depression (DISC 004 177), and Classic Protest Songs from Smithsonian Folkways (DISC 007 055).

The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy

Books:

  • Broonzy, Big Bill. Big Bill Blues: William Broonzy’s Story as Told to Yannick Bruynoghe. (The 1964 Oak Press edition is available in the Parks Library General Collection at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1964, and the 1992 Da Capo edition is held in the Parks Library Special Collections Department at the call number ML420 B78 A3 1992. Note that items held by Special Collections can only be viewed in the Special Collections area (403 Parks Library) during their open hours, Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm.)
  • Riesman, Bob. I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy. (U of Chicago Press, 2011.) Call number: ML420 B78 R54 2011. This is a very recent acquisition, and includes an “appreciation” written by Pete Townshend.
  • House, Roger. Blue Smoke: The Recorded Journey of Big Bill Broonzy. (Louisiana State UP, 2010.) Coming soon.

Please check out some of the above materials (pun intended) if you like what you hear on NAXOS, or just want to learn more about a national treasure with an almost-forgotten Iowa State University connection.

*Thanks to the staff of the Iowa State University Library Archives for their help in procuring some of the information included in this post.

Music to my ears: Streaming music from the Library

Did you know that the Library subscribes to Naxos Music Library? NML is a huge digital collection of streaming music files of classic recordings. Many years ago, I worked in a record store and became familiar with Naxos as a classical music label. While I love classical music, I was surprised this morning to do some digging in NML and find a number of other genres of interest.  Here are a few highlights:

Blues – Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Etta James, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and others wailing through classics such as “Smokestack Lightnin,” “Preaching the blues,” “Spoonful,” “Got my Mojo Working,” “Dust My Broom,” and more.

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  Side Note: Did you know Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy lived & worked in Ames, Iowa in the late 1940s? According to an article in the Ames Tribune, Big Bill found “…a job as a janitor at Friley Hall, and during that time, he lived in one of the Quonset huts at Pammel Court. Broonzy wrote “The Moppin’ Blues” in honor of his employment in Ames.”

(See: Black History Month: Big Bill Broonzy: ‘The Moppin’ Blues,'” by Laura Millsaps, Ames Tribune, Dec. 17, 2010)

On NML, you can hear Big Bill sing “I Feel So Good,” which features a rollicking piano, harmonica, and snappy drum work, with lots of friends screaming in the background.  Just the track for a Friday morning at work pick me up!

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Those of you who are fans like me of country blues, will of course want to give a listen to the sheer genius  of Robert Johnson.  Or if you’re not sure what “country blues” means, give a listen to this gifted and legendary musician – his strong vocals, inventive guitar work, surprising syncopation, songwriting, and lyrics are all unparalleled.  NML includes several of his classics, including “Preaching the Blues,” “Little Queen of Spades,” “Dust My Broom,” “Come On in My Kitchen,” “They’re Red Hot,” “Terraplane Blues,” and “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.”

Finding:  Naxos Music Library allows you to select the songs you want to hear, select sound quality, share information via Twitter and Facebook (though I’m not sure if our Naxos settings support that), and even provides links for you to buy or download the files you want.  NML has a Keyword Search box at the top of its page, but I’ll recommend you use the Menu Bar instead and browse Genres, Artists, and so on.  When I use the Keyword Search box for specific artists, my results are often off the mark.

  Sometimes the Keyword Search box seems to work well, though.  I searched American Indian there, and found a number of recordings including the wonderfully relaxing Spirit Wind: Native American Flute, by the Native Flute Ensemble.  Listening to it now as I write!

You can also search by browsing through the Menu Bar links.  One fruitful place to look through is the Genre link, where you’ll see that NML includes Classical Music; Contemporary Jazz & Jazz; Folk Legends; Blues; “Nostalgia” (looks like a lot of Johnny Cash listed there, along with Duke Ellington, “timeless Country songs,” brass bands, and lots of interesting miscellanea); World, and more.

The World genre alone has 184 fabulous pages of listings, including pages and pages of African music of all kinds – traditional, contemporary, choirs, and more –  including a 3-volume series called African Rhythms and Instruments, with each volume including specific regions).  Find something of interest, click the songs you want to listen to, and that’s it!  There’s so much here, ranging from traditional songs from Afghanistan to Japanese music for the koto, the shamisen, and shakuhachi to Lebanese bellydance to  Yiddish and Klezmer recordings, and basically music from ALL OVER the world – far too much for me to page through, particularly as my computer seems to have gone on strike at the moment.  The standard entries seem to list the country or tradition first, as in “KURDISTAN Dursa Acar: Traditional and Contemporary Music of Kurdistan.”  So, you should be able to search a country or tradition of interest by using the Keyword Search box, and zip to the items of interest that way.

 Naxos Music Library has something for everyone!

I’m a neophyte fan of Iranian / Persian classical music, and was so happy to find a recording called In a Persian Garden: The Santur – just the thing to listen to at work, when I’m busy writing and doing other computer-related work.

Tracks included on NML are “Dashti,” “Shur,” “Abu-Ata,” “Afshari,” and “Homayun.”  As with many of NML’s recordings there’s a link to a pdf booklet the provides helpful liner notes and information.  A santur is a hammered dulcimer – give a listen to hear the amazingly beautiful, silvery cascades of sound that the musician, Nasser Rastegar-Nejad, magically produces.  Niceto have these Booklet notes for noobs like me to learn more about this beautiful music!

Chinese music – Before I sign off, I also want to tell you a bit about the Chinese music section (listed as a Genre of its own) within Naxos Music Library.  It’s fantastic!   A wide range of music is represented, including the wonderfully relaxing Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto; Ding Shande’s somber & triumphant Long March Symphony; chamber music, and primarily slick orchestral arrangements of Chinese “oldies” and Chinese pop.  You can of course find lots of traditional Chinese music by looking through the Genres > World category.  There you’ll find wonderful records such as Ancient Art Music of China, Plucked Stringed Instrument Classics, and more.

So – how do you find or refer campus colleagues & students to Naxos Music Library?  It’s listed by name in the eLibrary’s Article Indexes and Databases list.   You’ll be amazed by the breadth of music included there for your listening pleasure.  Enjoy!!

Cookbooks at the Library – Or, Confessions of a Food Freak

Did you know that the Library has  a huge collection of cookbooks?  Thanks to the needs of the Hotel, Restaurant & Institution Management Program and a very dedicated former colleague of mine, you can find historic cookbooks, regional cookbooks, innumerable national cuisine cookbooks, as well as cookbooks that focus on specific techniques, ingredients, and much more.  Included in this glorious collection are plenty of excellent and informative cookbooks from US minority and ethnic groups.  It might sound strange but cookbooks are often good choices for learning about history, traditions, and cultural practices of people from across the world.  There’s a growing trend in fiction to combine history, stories, and recipes, perhaps initiated by Laura Esquivel’s famed Como agua para chocolate.  But there are so many foodies in the US that there’s a growing readership for non-fiction books about food that include a few recipes.  Genre bending aside, I could blog for a year non-stop and still not discuss every cookbook of interest, so here are just a few recent samples:

The Filipino-American Kitchen: Traditional Recipes, Contemporary Flavors, by Jennifer M. Aranas.
(TX724.5 P5 A73 2006)

Published in 2006, this lavishly illustrated cookbook includes careful ingredient lists, often listing translations and substitute ingredients, and easy-to-follow instructions.  As she details in her Foreword, author Jennifer Aranas was “born and raised in Chicago” but surrounded by Filipino culture and traditions.  She founded Chicago’s first Filipino-American restaurant, and calls Filipino cooking the “original fusion cuisine”:

  • “It is hard to resist the vibrant flavors of ginger and lemongrass, the glorious triumvirate we lovingly call sofrito (sautéed onion, garlic, and tomato), or the crispy crunch of egg rolls in various incarnations.  On the surface, Filipino food is entirely familiar.  Noodles, rice, stews, and stir-fries are neither new nor Filipino inventions. But the interplay of exotic flavors, balanced and harmonious, is uniquely Filipino and anything but ordinary.  … Modern Filipino cuisine is a collage of ethnicities starting with a native Malay base flavored with layers of Chinese, Spanish, and American accents.”

Puerto Ricans and other Latin Americans will certainly recognize sofrito, the basis of many a savory dish!  Recipes include Suman Nga Baboy (Steamed rice cakes with bacon & caramelized onions, wrapped in banana leaves); Pancit Guisado (Stewed Noodle Dish), Adobong Pato a la Monja (Duck adobo with pineapple and dates – looks like this preparation originally came from a convent – a la Monja means “in the style of nuns”); Pineapple and Cassava Tarts, Halo Halo (Filipino fruit sundae), and much more.  Check it out!!

Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens:  Indigenous Recipes & Guide to Diet and Fitness, by Devon Abbot Mihesuah.  (TX715 M6364 2005)

      Primarily a nutrition and fitness guide, with a good dollop of history, the cooking advice and recipes begin on page 113 of this 194-page book, and end on page 160.  Recipes included come from many different tribes, or feature well-known indigenous ingredients such as tomatoes, corn, beans, and squash.

Most recipes have been contributed by women and men from the Choctaw, Comanche, Osage, Dakota, Cree, Cherokee and Eastern Cherokee, Luiseño, and Seminole nations, along with a number of Mexican / Southwestern traditions, such as guacamole and salsa.

A number of the recipes include traditional preparation techniques, such as the recipe for Dakota Waskuya (Dakota dried sweet corn soup).  The ingredients are dried sweet corn and meat, with suggested meats being “venison, buffalo, elk, or beef.”  No quantities are listed, so you know this is a recipe for experienced cooks!

The preparation begins with instructions on how to dry boiled and shelled corn in the sun, a process that takes days and which the author frankly calls “labor-intensive.”  Much later when the corn is dried, it is cooked with the meat until tender.  For those interested in understanding traditional ways of preparing traditional foods, this book can provide some useful insights along with recipes.

Other interesting recipes include Ta-pashe (Osage pounded meat), Luiseño Weewish, Choctaw Banaha, and Wah-zha-zhe wa-dsiu-e cta-i-ge (Osage persimmon cakes), along with many recipes for game meat (venison, elk, buffalo), breads, and numerous vegetables.   I think I’m going to have to try Mamaw Helton’s creamed corn tonight!

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, by Jessica B. Harris
(TX 715 H29972 2011)

Here’s another very fascinating book that combines history and family stories with a few (maybe 20 tops?) recipes.  As a book review in the New York Times points out, Harris celebrates both home-style cooking and the “aspirational and omnivorous” traditions of   “Big House cooks who prepared lavish 

 banquets, caterers who created a culinary cooperative in Philadelphia in the 19th century, a legion of black hoteliers and culinary moguls and a growing black middle and upper class.”

Ms. Harris provides essays that detail the historic and cultural foundations of these two culinary traditions, beginning of course with chapters on African foods and ceremonies, the Middle Passage and the resulting profound influences of African food traditions on American food from the earliest days to the present.

Recipes (a number of which appeared in Harris’s earlier cookbooks, The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent; TX725.A1 H284 1998, and The Welcome Table: African American Heritage CookingTX715 .H31443 1995)  begin on page 247 thru page 265, and include the glorious triumvirate of okra plus tomatoes plus fiery hot chili peppers as Sauce Gombo to be splashed atop rice; Summer Southern Succotash (again, tomatoes plus okra plus corn and those super hot peppers).

Side note:  You can’t help but notice the fusion of Latin American indigenous ingredients – xitomatl (tomatoes); chilli (chili peppers); elotl (corn) meeting up with Africa-native okra.

Nguba & xocolatl

We know the historic reasons for that fusion are the slave trade and Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the New World – Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.  The slave trade brought foods from one part of the world to another, including the diffusion of these foods into European cuisines.  The mundane yet heavenly peanut butter cup, formerly advertised in the US as a marriage between peanut butter and chocolate, is a child of this same African-New World diffusion.  But I digress!

There’s also an interesting western cowboy stew called Son of a Gun Stew (note: an organ meat lover’s delight); the classic Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese, and several good recipes for greens.  This is obviously a good choice for learning about African American foodways, while Ms. Harris’s previous books mentioned above will be great choices for many, many more African and African American recipes.

Taking a quick break to go make dinner – thinking about Pastel de pollo, one of my own “go to” dishes… but before I head off, here’s how you can find cookbooks in our collections.

Take a look through our cookbook collections – you are sure to find something you’ll enjoy!  To find national or ethnic cookbooks, just go to Quick Search and type in cooking AND <group of choice>, as in…

  • cooking AND african
  • cooking AND french
  • cooking AND puerto rican
  • cooking AND korean

… and so on

Make sure you select BOOKS with Quick Search’s 1st drop-down menu.  You should be able easily to browse your results from there.  (Obviously, if you know the title of book you want, type that in Quick Search, as in…

  • mastering the art of french cooking
  • cocine a gusto
  • simple art of vietnamese cooking
  • african american kitchen
  • la cocina colombiana
  • kimchi chronicles

Call numbers will most likely begin with TX… and are housed on the Lower Level of Parks Library.  Enjoy!!

More on eBooks: Collecting & Finding

I wrote recently about the Library’s new Patron-Drive Acquisition (PDA) program for acquiring eBooks for our library collections.  Lest you think that’s the only way we acquire eBooks, read on!

My bibliographer colleagues and I have intentionally been buying relevant eBooks for years to add to our collections.  Some of these include such titles as…

  • Latinos in a changing society
  • Indians of Iowa
  • Drug war zone: Frontline dispatches from the streets of El Paso and Juárez
  • Chicano students and the courts: The Mexican American legal struggle for education
  • African American folktales
  • Dream not of other worlds: Teaching in a segregated elementary school
  • Companion to African American philosophy
  • Critical cultural studies of childhood
  • My Germany: A Jewish writer returns to the world his parents escaped
  • Beyond the Latino World War II hero
  • Ioway in Missouri
  • Islamic education in the Soviet Union and its successor states
  • Making of a Black scholar
  • Multicultural American history: Through children’s literature
  • New York Ricans from the hip hop zone
  • El monstruo: Dread and redemption in Mexico City
  • Frontier forts of Ioa: Indians, traders, and soldiers, 1682-1862
  • King’s dream: The legacy of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech
  • Stories from the American mosaic: Native American folktales
  • Companion to US Latino literatures
  • Cristal experiment: A Chicano struggle for community control
  • Forgetful nation: On immigration and cultural identity in the United States
  • Latino American folktales
  • Latino/a canon and the emergence of post-sixties literature
  • Law touched our hearts: A generation remembers Brown v. Boar of Education
  • Migrant imaginaries: Latino cultural politics in the US-Mexico borderlands
  • None of the above: Puerto Ricans in the global era
  • Writing Indian nations: Native intellectuals and the politics of historiography
  • Artists from Latin American cultures
  • Brown and Black communication
  • Dominican Americans
  • From out of the shadows: Mexican women in twentieth-century America
  • Gender and the changing face of higher education: A feminized future?
  • Hispanic American religious cultures
  • Importing poverty? Immigration and the changing face of rural america
  • In the shadow of race: Growing up as a multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial
  • Mesoamerican worlds: Maya worldviews at conquest
  • Muslims in America: A short history
  • Native Americans today: Resources and activities for educators, grades 4-8
  • New Americans: Puerto Ricans in the United States
  • Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans
  • Rethinking the slave narrative
  • Working the boundaries: Race, space, and “illegality” in Mexican Chicago
  • American Indian chronology: Chronologies of the American mosaic
  • Becoming Black: Creating identity in the African diaspora
  • Buxton: A Black utopia in the heartland
  • Cesar Chavez: A biography
  • Contemporary Caribbean cultures and societies in a global context
  • Continental crossroads: Remapping US-Mexico borderlands history
  • Conversations with Mexican American writers
  • Dead subjects: Toward a politics of loss in Latino studies
  • From slavery to poverty: The racial origins of welfare in New York, 1840-1918
  • Irish in US:  Irishness, performativity, and popular culture
  • Issues in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Looking for lost lore: Studies in folklore, ethnology and iconography
  • Mexican mafia
  • On the Viking trail: Travels in Scandinavian America
  • Race and classification: The case of Mexican America
  • African, Native, and Jewish American literature and the reshaping of modernism
  • American Muslim women: Negotiating race, class and gender…
  • Racial attitudes in the 1990s: Continuity and change
  • Soviet Jewish Americans
  • World folklore: Corn woman: Stories and legends of the Hispanic Southwest
  • World we used to live in: Remembering the powers of the Medicine men
  • Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist writings from Africa and the diaspora
  • Displacing whiteness: Essays in social and cultural criticism
  • Native American communities in Wisconsin, 1600-1960
  • Philosophers on race: Critical essays
  • West Indian Americans

Collectors we love: Arturo Schomburg (1874-1938)

Arturo Schomburg is one of my heroes.  He is widely known as “Arthur” Schomburg, the “Black Bibliophile” who amassed a large personal collection of African and African diaspora materials to counter the supposed claim that African-descent peoples had no history.  Whether this story is true or apocryphal, Schomburg dedicated his life to making a positive difference by collecting, preserving, and promoting African diaspora books, research materials, and cultural objects.

Arturo Schomburg

Arturo Schomburg

Schomburg was Puerto Rican, and like many Puerto Ricans, he was of mixed descent.  His African-descent mother was from St Croix, and his father was German-Puerto Rican.  As a young man, Schomburg came in 1891 to New York where he spent the rest of his life writing, collecting, working various jobs, and dedicating himself to many Black and Latin American causes.  Schomburg was part of the earliest wave of Puerto Ricans emigrating from the island to New York, and thus is an important figure in Puerto Rican diaspora studies.  He also was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance.  Near the end of his life, Schomburg became a Black Studies curator for the New York Public Library system in the 1930s, perhaps achieving his ultimate dream.  His huge collections were eventually acquired by the New York Public Library system, and formed the foundation of NYPL’s amazing Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world-renowned research center named in his honor.

ISU subscribes to the versatile Black Studies Center, an online database that includes authoritative essays commissioned by the Schomburg Center on selected African and African American research topics.  These highly readable essays function as encyclopedia entries, helping students get the big picture on important topics.  The Black Studies Center also includes the indispensable International Index to Black Periodicals, your best choice for finding journal and magazine articles on African and African American topics.  Simply choose Find Journals from within BSC to use the index.  BSC also includes full-text facsimile articles from the important newspapers Chicago Defender and the Daily Defender, and the Black Literature Index, which helps locate original poetry and short stories published in early African American publications.

Do let me know if you need any help or have questions when using the Black Studies Center for your classes or research!  If you’d like to know more about Arturo Schomburg, the Schomburg Center has some brief details and Wikipedia has a decent enough entry for starters.

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Reflections of a bibliographer

Research libraries and the world of information have changed rapidly in the past decade, and we can expect ever accelerating changes to continue.  One of the core facets of the job responsibilities of a bibliographer is to collect, for use of others, relevant – interesting – important – books and materials.

I arrived at ISU the summer of 1995, recruited to serve as the library’s first-ever bibliographer in the newly created subject areas of race and ethnic studies.  I discovered barely-there collections in African American studies; an American Indian studies collection focused primarily on anthropological non-native perspectives, and close to total absence of US Latino and Asian American materials.  I insisted on the creation of separate fund lines to support acquisitions in each of these areas, along with an area I called “general diversity” – which I used to support acquisitions of materials related to other US ethnic and cultural groups (e.g., Arab American; European-descent ethnic groups; Jewish American cultural studies) and materials related to broad multicultural issues.

Sometimes, first acquisitions stick with you.  I remember my first orders for ISU were the video Black Athena and the Centro Journal from the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños.  (My first order at my previous institution was also the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños journal.  I was a Latin American bibliographer at that institution – but curious how some gaps remain the same!)  Since that time, I’ve acquired thousands of books, media (videos; dvds; cds; online indexes & databases, ebooks), journals, encyclopedias, atlases, microfilm, newspapers, and much more to support ISU’s research and learning & teaching needs in race & ethnic studies areas.

My job responsibilities have changed quite a bit as my career trajectory moved into the areas of learning and teaching.  I am the library’s head of instruction now, but remain a bibliographer as well – still collecting in all the race & ethnic studies areas except Asian American studies, which is now handled by a colleague.  In these days, much of the personal art of collecting has become a highly automated process.  Books of pre-defined interest arrive automatically and no longer require individual yay-nay decisions from me.  (I defined the parameters of the types of books desired, so in theory that one macro-decision should suffice in this new age of automated collection building, right?)  The weekly ritual of personally handling and inspecting (browsing – reading – sniffing – admiring – getting to know) each new title is long gone.  Collection development is largely done online now, browsing online slips of book titles, prices, and abbreviated subject lines.  A click of my mouse initiates the chain of acquisition and signifies my digital affirmation.  Impersonal.  Non-tactile.  Far removed from the actual object.  I love the immediacy but do miss the days of the personal art of collecting.

The collections I build are for use.  This blog is meant to help acquaint you with new titles, trends, issues.