Annual Report of the European Division,
Fiscal Year 1983
Clara Lovett, Chief
October 17, 1983
CONTENTS: I. THE EUROPEAN DIVISION AND THE LC COLLECTIONS: A. Acquisitions B. Custodial Responsibilities
C. Evaluation II. THE EUROPEAN DIVISION AND ITS SERVICES: A. Reference B. Publications C. Translations
III. EXTERNAL RELATIONS IV. ADMINISTRATION AND PERSONNEL APPENDIX A: STATISTICS
APPENDIX B: PUBLICATIONS APPENDIX C: LECTURES AND SYMPOSIA APPENDIX D: MAJOR SPECIAL STUDIES
APPENDIX E: STATEMENT ON ACQUISITIONS PROBLEMS AND PRIORITIES
The Division can take pride in its achievements in FY '83 in all major areas of responsibility. Its new identity within the Library and in the scholarly communities outside is emerging slowly and not without difficulty. Nonetheless, the range of Division activities in the past twelve months and the geographical and topical diversity of its projects augur well for the future.
Major sections of this annual report– particularly those on acquisitions and publications– emphasize the positive developments in FY '83. However, this report is not a simple recitation of accomplishments and statistics, but rather an attempt on our part to explain how we see the European Division and in what direction we think we are moving. We welcome feedback and constructive criticism from all those who read it.
At times, seemingly routine requests by administrative offices for input from the Division turn out to be golden opportunities for reflection on what we are doing. So it was last April, when the Collection Development Office requested a statement from us concerning our "acquisitions problems and priorities." We are including in this report our response to that request (Appendix E) because it explains, we think, what the Division did about its "problems and priorities" in FY '83 and what it would like to do in the future.
During FY '83, recommendations of the current materials from national bibliographies and publishers' lists continued at a satisfactory level (see Statistical Report). The arrival of specialist Armbruster in January 1983 enabled Chief Lovett to give up the responsibility of recommending Italian materials and to take responsibility, instead, for a decent minimum of recommending in the Scandinavian field. Senior reference librarian Graham was designated as alternate recommending officer for the USSR, thus providing much needed relief for Senior specialist Allen. In June, the appointment of searcher Posey marked a significant step in the direction of providing even minimum support to recommending officers – a task that previously had fallen entirely on the shoulders of Senior Searcher Nadraga.
There were heartening successes in the area of retrospective acquisitions, thanks particularly to Allen's research in Russian–American relations, to Hoskins' and Kovtun's bibliographic works (see Appendix B), which revealed gaps in the LC Polish and Czechoslovak collections, to Armbruster's aggressive pursuit of French scholarly materials, and to Chief Lovett's special interest in the Italian collection. In the absence of systematic planning, however, retrospective recommendations were very uneven, with some of the most important LC collections receiving virtually no attention.
The Library's Balkan collections were among those that did receive systematic and highly competent attention, thanks primarily to Assistant Chief Kraus. His acquisitions trip to Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania was one of the highlights of FY '83 and by all accounts a very productive one. Retrospective materials which he located last June are already arriving at LC. Moreover, his visit to several research libraries enhanced greatly the possibility of smoother and more fruitful exchanges with those countries. Kraus prepared for his trip with his customary thoroughness and authoritative knowledge of publishers and research institutes. His work was made easier by the assistance of specialists Bako and Popovitch, but especially by a model "want list" of Bulgarian materials which bibliographer Iovine prepared for his use.
Specialist Hoskins spent several days in Paris visiting libraries, dealers, and bookstores, where she made arrangements for procuring Polish and other East European materials for the Library by exchange or purchase.
Toward the latter part of FY '83, Chief Lovett also prepared for some acquisitions work to be done in Italy in connection with her attendance at a scholarly conference. Specialist Armbruster and Searcher Posey provided very valuable help in preparing an Italian "want list."
Visitors to the Division (see Section III) expressed their appreciation for help received from the staff through numerous interesting gifts that were forwarded to the Exchange and Gift Division. Among these were autographed volumes by Greek Nobel prize winner Odysseus Elytes and by Romanian scholar Vergil Candea.
The following European authors read for the Library's Archive of World Literature on Tape: Ivan Ivanji, Arnošt Lustig, Éva Tóth, Benito Wogatzki, Vassily Aksyonov, Gordana Bošnjakovska, Constantin Prut, Ivan Lalić, and Grozdana Olujić.
A major team project (reference librarians and area specialists) during FY '83 was the review of the reference collection in the European Reading Room. The effort was prompted both by the need to update the existing Slavic/East European materials and to make room for incoming West European ones. The space problem remains acute, however, and tends to frustrate the efforts of the West European specialists to build a respectable collection. In this regard, we feel as if we are trying to square a circle.
One of the Division's chronic problems, service of Northwest Attic materials to readers, also remained unsolved. But at least progress was made in bringing more material under bibliographic control. Student intern David Kennedy at the beginning of FY '83 and contractor Grant Harris near the end labored diligently and successfully on pre-revolutionary Russian periodicals and government publications. Finding aids for these materials will soon be available to scholars. The microfilming of 1917 issues of Pravda and Izvestiia was completed, and the original bound volumes were handed over to the Newspaper, Serial, and Government Publications Division.
The Assistant Chief devoted a considerable amount of time to organizational and staff problems on Deck 18. This became necessary when major flaws were discovered in the preparation of Polish materials for binding and filming and when inexcusable delays in service to the European Reading Room began to inconvenience our readers. Work assignments were reviewed and changed in order to distribute the burden more or less equitably among the staff. The recruitment of part-time Processing and Reference Assistant Stephenson in January 1983 strengthened and complemented the work of the full-time staff. Especially noteworthy was the success of Senior Processing and Reference Assistant Becker in rectifying past errors and mishandling of materials by others. As his duties on Deck 18 permitted, Stephenson also worked with uncataloged materials in the Northwest Attic.
The Division was substantially more active in this area that it had been in FY '82. In addition to the major review of the European Reading Room reference collection mentioned in Section B and the retrospective acquisitions work by Kraus, Lovett, and others mentioned in Section A, Division staff began a review of some 85,000 arrearage items in European languages. By the end of FY '83, only specialists Allen, Armbruster, and Kovtun had spent significant amounts of time in this endeavor. But others will have to follow as the materials become physically more accessible. Initial reports suggest that progress will be extremely slow and that as many as eight items out of ten need to be referred to other Divisions for a second review. Even with this cloud on the horizon, however, the Division can take comfort in the progress made in FY '83 at least with regard to its knowledge of the Balkan and Italian collections.
The work of the full-time staff was complemented at the end of the fiscal year by contractors Rosemarie Deist and Evro Layton, who worked on the German and Greek collections, respectively. Deist developed a methodology for computer searching that will be extremely useful in future surveys of country collections.
Outside the division, Chief Lovett and specialists Armbruster and Krewson assisted the Rare Book and Special Collections staff in the evaluation of Italian, French and German-language radical and anarchist pamphlets. Assistance was also provided by Division staff to colleagues in the Music, Manuscript, and Geography and Map Divisions.
In FY '82 the Division reported a dramatic increase in inquiries about Modern Italy– evidence that the addition of qualified specialists generates demand for their services. The same pattern occurred in FY '83 with the recruitment of a French area specialist.
The senior staff handled 42,122 inquiries concerning every European country except Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal and involving the use of materials in some fifteen languages. As always, the unfolding of events in Europe was of paramount importance in determining the nature, difficulty, and frequency of the inquiries. Changes in Soviet leadership, the deployment of Pershing and cruise missiles in NATO countries, elections in Italy, the Hitler diaries and other current issues kept reference librarians and specialists especially busy, while historical or literary inquiries continued to come in at a steady pace.
The Division's reference work was made easier by the arrival of a long-awaited CRT for the LA [Adams Building] offices and the large volume of typing made more manageable by the arrival of a couple of new IBM typewriters. The one problem for which no solution is in sight remains the physical separation of the European Reading Room from the Division office, which results in confused readers, significant waste of staff time, and duplication of reference works.
In FY '83, our contribution to the Library's official publication program was the best ever for the Division, and a very solid one by any standard.
In contrast to FY '81, when only the 1979 volume of the American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies was completed, and FY '82, when four bibliographies were completed, seven projects were completed in FY '83 (see Appendix B). Of these, six were prepared entirely by Division staff. Ten bibliographic projects are now in progress, not including the 1981 and 1982 volumes of ABSEES, to which Division staff contribute about half the work.
The variety of topics and formats is perhaps more important than the number of completed projects or entries. Each type of publication we produce is carefully designed not only to call attention to the resources of the Library of Congress and to the quality of its professional staff, but also to serve the needs of a particular audience. Thus, our list includes large and complex reference works of enduring value to scholars and librarians, but also shorter publications calling the layman's attention to a particular event (the Tricentennial of German Settlement in the U.S., the Siege of Vienna of 1683, and so forth) or to historically significant Europeans. Among our most popular publications, for instance, are the biobibliographies of Europeans who made an impact on the United States. Hundreds of our pamphlets have been requested by schools, ethnic associations, foreign embassies, and other agencies not usually reached by the Library's publications programs.
Our publications are not limited to bibliographic work. A small but very meaningful achievement of FY '83 was the appearance of a Division brochure, which has already gone through two printings in six months. We also contributed more than a dozen items to the LCIB and assisted the Information Office with press releases and with foreign-language editions of official LC brochures.
Cognizant of their responsibility to maintain solid ties with scholarly communities, the Chief, the Assistant Chief, specialists Armbruster, Hoskins, Kovtun, and Popovitch, and bibliographer Iovine published articles or reviews in scholarly journals in their fields of specialization.
Although several routine translations were prepared for other divisions and for the Photoduplication Service, most of the staff activity in this area consisted of service to the Congress, usually through CRS. A total of 22 Congressional translations were prepared from Slavic languages, Romanian, and Greek. Special recognition was earned by the Assistant Chief for prompt and expert handling of a Greek text for Congressman Gore. The welcome letter of thanks received from Gore's office through the Legislative Liaison Office, however, represented an exception to the rule.
Requests from CRS (or through its reference section) ranged from material for a speech by Vice President Bush on the Soviet bloc countries to the interpretation of a medieval French text, European war monuments, the economy of Luxembourg, a guide to Italian surnames in the United States, and many others. We think that we provided good and certainly prompt service in every instance. But the only feedback we have is the absence of complaints.
A few special studies (see Appendix D) were done at the request of executive agencies of the government or of academic patrons.
The Division's performance in this area was matched only by its bibliographic productivity. FY '83 was truly a landmark year, particularly with regard to staff interaction with the scholarly and library community. Chief Lovett played a leadership role in organizing a major conference of researchers and librarians in West European Studies, while Assistant Chief Kraus continued his active involvement with the Bibliography and Documentation Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. Specialist Bako was elected Vice President of the American Hungarian Federation. Staff members Armbruster, Bako, Hoskins, Iovine, and Kovtun presented papers at scholarly meetings outside LC; specialist Krewson prepared a paper for presentation at an LC symposium on the German Tricentennial (see Appendix C).
Chief Lovett's book, the Democratic Movement in Italy, 1830–1876 (Harvard University Press, 1982), was awarded the Marraro prize by the Society for Italian Historical Studies. Specialist Krewson, a graduate student at George Washington University during this past year, earned the Bucha Family Prize in German Studies.
The Division received requests for cooperation in bibliographic or other scholarly projects from the leadership of the Modern Greek Studies Association, the Conference Group on Italian Politics, the American Institute of Polish Culture, the Council for European Studies, the Wilson Center, the U.S. Educational Foundation in Finland, and others.
For the purpose of reaching a wider public interested in European topics and of affirming identity as a European Division, we responded favorably also to requests for cooperation from foreign embassies. The most immediate results of such interaction were three symposia held in FY '83. The first one, in cooperation with the Italian Embassy, commemorated the revolutionary leader Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–1882) and brought to the Library Professors Denis Mack Smith, Oxford University, and Gianfranco Pasquino, University of Bologna, both leading scholars in Italian Studies. The second, in cooperation with the Presidential Commission on the German Tricentennial, brought to the Library several distinguished scholars of German affairs as well as representatives of the Austrian and West German embassies. The third one, a joint venture with the Asian Division and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, honored the Dutch writer Multatuli and featured both a film and a panel of distinguished scholars from Europe, Indonesia, and the United States.
The German and the Dutch symposia were nicely complemented by displays of appropriate materials in the European Reading Room – projects undertaken by specialist Krewson.
Plans were also made for a symposium on Modern Greek Literature, in cooperation with the Embassy of Greece, and for one on U.S. – Finnish cultural relations, in cooperation with the Embassy of Finland and the U.S. Educational Foundation in Finland. These events will be held early in FY '84.
Throughout the year the Division continued to host European visitors from the scholarly and diplomatic communities. Among them were Lisbeth Schlüter, wife of Denmark's Prime Minister, László Muller, Director of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ivan Ivanji, President of the Yugoslav Writers' Association, Mme. Berger de Nomazy, Director of the French Foreign Ministry's Archives, Marguerite La Follette, Director of Alliance française, Virgil Cândea, former Director of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, Pierluigi Lunati, editor of the Italian financial daily Il Sole. 24 Ore, and many others.
FY '83 brought a lot of activity in this area, most of it positive. For the first time in its history, the Division submitted recommendations for the Library's Incentive Award Program. Senior specialist Allen, Senior reference librarian Graham, and Division Secretary Ricks received awards for their very special contributions to the Division's work. Assistant Division Secretary Saunders and Senior searcher Nadraga earned 30 and 20–year service pins, respectively.
A most welcome development during FY '83 was the recruitment of specialist Armbruster and processing and reference assistant part-time Stephenson, both of whom joined the Division in January 1983, and of searcher Posey, who came in June. There was one resignation: bibliographer Dobczansky accepted a position in the Processing Department. Due to financial and organization uncertainties in the future of the ABSEES project, he was not replaced until the very end of FY '83, when bibliographer John Mitchell joined the Division staff.
During FY '83 the Division employed (seriatim) student aides Carla Cromer, Charlene Baker, and Meryl Ellen Vlatas, whose help was desperately needed in the European Reading Room and in the Division Office.
Harvard University student David Kennedy and German library science student Marlies Menke were Interns with the Division during FY '83. David Fairchild and Richard Murno, both Georgetown University students, began internships in September 1983 to continue into FY '84.
Despite the arrival of a CRT for the Division office, some staff members use it only erratically and infrequently. Of the newcomers to the computerized files, specialists Armbruster and Krewson and searcher Posey have made significant progress toward their mastery.
The Division still lacks a coherent plan for staff training and development, which will be one of the top priorities in FY '84. But there were some encouraging developments. Senior reference librarians Graham and Popovitch and specialists Kovtun and Krewson participated in training sessions on the use of the automated data bases. Chief Lovett attended a two-week OPM training course in July 1983, and she nominated the Assistant Chief for forthcoming sessions. Specialist Krewson earned an M.A. degree in German literature at George Washington University and bibliographer Iovine completed a course in Hungarian.
The Division won a small victory in its quest for more appropriate and viable space within the Library. The physical separation of the European Reading Room and Division offices seems destined to remain a fact of life for the foreseeable future and so does the separation of the Chief's office from the Division Office. But at least some relief is in sight. The move of Dr. Witherell's office to the first floor of LA is allowing us to reunite the scattered members of the ABSEES team on one floor and to offer them less cramped quarters. This development is also allowing us to make cosmetic improvements in our disgraceful Division Office and to plan for the arrival of an additional secretary promised us for FY '84.
We hope to have made it clear in this annual report that the European Division is ending FY '83 on an upbeat note. Almost without exception, staff members have shown enthusiasm for the new challenges and developments and for the emerging new image of the Division as truly European in scope. The accomplishments cited in this report resulted from the hard work and professionalism of nearly all members of the staff, whose contributions were too numerous to mention in a document of this kind.
It remains to be seen whether the impressive momentum of FY '83 can be sustained by the staff in the long run. For it is rather evident that the Division's resources (staff, space, equipment), acquired in a different era and for a different mission, are now strained to the limit. Relief in the overburdened Division Office is at least in sight. No relief has been promised to the two supervisors, who must keep track of scores of individual and team projects, maintain liaison with constituencies outside the Library, perform routine administrative functions, and still find time and energy to respond adequately to the professionalism and personal needs of a very heterogeneous staff.
It must also be admitted that in FY '83 not all segments of the Division shared fully in the success story told in this report. In particular, much too little was done by the Division and the Library to address the needs of the European Reading Room and to come to grips with the long-range implications of its changing mission and constituency. The day-to-day needs of readers and staff (and the occasional crises) were met, but we fell far short of developing concrete plans to change and revitalize the Reading Room. In the coming year we shall do our best to rise to that challenge.
|I. REFERENCE ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Reference Services:
||1. In Person:
||Number of readers (by a count or registration)
|Number of readers given reference assistance (Number of times reader is assisted)
|2. By Telephone:
||a. Congressional calls (received direct or through CRS)
|b. Government agency calls (from Federal, State or local government agencies, government libraries)
|c. Library of Congress calls (from LC staff members)
|d. Other calls (include calls from individuals, other libraries, institutions, or organizations)
|3. By Correspondence:
||a. Congressional letters and memos prepared (received direct or through CRS)
|b. Government agency letters (Federal, State, local government agencies, government libraries)
|c. Form letters, prepared material, etc. (standard pattern letters, etc.)
|d. Other letters and memos prepared (to individuals, other libraries, institutions, etc.)
||a. Number of items searched for interlibrary loan
|b. Number of items searched for photoduplication
|c. Special and other searches
|5. Total Direct Reference Services
(add figures marked with asterisk):
|B. Circulation and Service:
||1. Volumes and Other Units in LC:
|2. Volumes and Other Units on Loan (Items circulated outside the Library):
|3. Call Slips or Requests for Materials Not Found (NOS):
|C. Bibliographic and Other Publishing Operations:
||1. Number of Bibliographies Completed:
|2. Number of Bibliographic Entries Completed:
||a. Annotated entries (subsantive descriptions, analytical comments)
|b. Unannotated entries (without substantive descriptions, etc.)
|3. Pages Edited and Proofread:
|4. Number of Other Reference Aids Completed: (lists, chronologies, calendars)
|a. Number of pages prepared:
|| — |
|b. Number of cards and entries prepared (for special card files):
|| — |
|c. Number of items indexed:
|5. Letters Soliciting Bibliographic Information:
|D. Number of Special Studies or Projects Completed (including translations for Congressional Offices):
|| Special Studies or Projects Completed
|1. Number of Pages
|E. Total Number of Hours Devoted to Reference Activities:
|II. ACQUISITIONS ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Lists and Offers Scanned (Bibliographies, price lists, catalogs, letters)
|B. Number of Items Searched (in catalogs or collections)
|C. Mumber of Items Recommended (via internal memos, lists, etc.)
|D. Letters of Solicitation Prepared
|| — |
|E. Number of Items Reviewed
|F. Visits to Prospective Donors
|G. Items Accessioned
|H. Items Disposed of |
|1. From Collections (to Shelflisting, E&G or by other means)
|2. Other Items (to E&G or by other means)
|I. Items Evaluated
|J. Total Hours Devoted to Acquisitions
|III. PROCESSING ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Items Sorted or Arranged
|1. Items Prepared for Processing (priority items)
|B. Items Cataloged or Recataloged|
|1. Number of Catalog Cards Revised
|2. Cards Arranged and Filed
|C. Finding Aids Prepared (other than catalog cards)
|D. Authorities Established
|E. Items Checked In and Recorded (Serial Records)
|F. Items or Containers Labeled, Titled, Captioned, or Lettered mechanically, by hand)
|G. Total Hours Devoted to Processing Activities
|IV. DATA PROCESSING ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Work Sheets Typed
|B. Records Edited
|C. Records Input
|D. Pages of Computer Printout Proofed
|E. Total Hours Devoted to Data Processing
|V. MAINTENANCE OF COLLECTIONS
|| FY 1982
|A. Items or Containers Shelved
|B. Number of Shelves Read
||+500 13 |
|C. Total Hours Devoted to Maintenance of Collections
|VI. PRESERVATION ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Volumes or Items Selected for:
||+42.0 14 |
|3. Preservation and/or Restoration (includes all types of treatment)
|B. Volumes or Items Prepared and Sent for:
|3. Preservation and/or Restoration (include all types of treatment)
|C. Volumes or Items Completed and Returned From:
|| – |
|3. Preservation and/or Restoration, etc.
|| – |
|D. Total Hours Devoted to Processing Activities
|VII. ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Administrative Papers and Memos Prepared
|B. Total Hours Devoted to Administration, Employee Supervision, Training, labor Management Relations, Statistics, etc.
|VIII. RELATED ACTIVITIES
|| FY 1982
|A. Total Hours Devoted to Conducted Tours, Cultural and Educational Activities (lectures, music, poetry events, visitors)
|B. Total Hours Devoted to Exhibit Activities (planning, mounting, manning, dismantling)
|C. Total Hours Devoted to External Relations (attendance at conferences, professional meetings, etc.)
|C. Total Hours Devoted to Other Activities (include official work, not reported in other categories)
Footnotes for FY 1983 Statistical Report
|1|| I.A.3.c.||Smaller need for form-letter correspondence.|
|2||I.A.4.a.|| Smaller number of requests reflects increased activity of Loan Division in searching our custodial materials.|
|3||I.A.4.b.||Variable not under our control.|
|4||I.A.4.c.||Sharp increase due in considerable measure to addition of a French/Italian Specialist and a West European searcher to the staff.|
|5||I.A.4.d.||Same as above.|
|6||I.B.2.||Variable not under our control.|
|7||I.C.2.b.||Increase reflects increased activity of American Bibliography staff and larger number of Division publications.|
|8||I.C.2.c.||Same as above.|
|9||I.D.||Variable not under our control.|
|10||II.B.||Increase due in large measure to addition of a West European searcher|
|11||III.A.1.||Smaller number of high priority items, in part a function of the timeliness of receipts.|
|12||III.F.||Increase due to boxing and labeling of unbound materials in the Division's custody.|
|13||V.B.||Increase represents complete shelfreading of the European Reading Room collections.|
|14||VI.A.1.||A systematic review of the Polish and Yugoslav collections in particular led to increased selection of items for binding.|
|15||VI.A.2.||The systematic review mentioned above revealed many issues that completed incomplete bound volumes.|
|16||VI.A.3.||A result of the aforementioned systematic review. |
|17||VI.B.1.||East European newspapers must cumulate 3-5 years before they can be filmed (comprise a reel). Many titles reached that stage this year.|
|18||VI.B.2.||See item 15 above.|
|19||VI.B.3.||See item 16 above.|
|20||VI.B.4.||The decrease is attributable to the shorthanded situation on current-serials deck, where a position went unfilled for the first three months of FY '83.|
|21||VIII.C.||Increased activity of the Chief and several area specialists in this area. |
Finland and the Finns. A Selective Bibliography of Reference Works (Elemer Bako)
Czech and Slovak Literature in English (George J. Kovtun)
Germanic People in the United States (Margrit B. Krewson)
Biobibliography of Carl Schurz (Clara M. Lovett)
Biobibliography of Jan Ignacy Paderewski (Janina W. Hoskins)
Bibliography on the Siege of Vienna of 1683 (Janina W. Hoskins)
American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies for 1980 (staff)
Russians Look at America (Robert V. Allen)
Bibliography of Contemporary Italy (Clara M. Lovett)
The Czech Declaration of Independence (George J. Kovtun)
Revised edition of East German Bibliography (Margrit B. Krewson)
Revised edition of Guide to 18th Century Russian Imprints at LC (David H. Kraus and staff)
Guide to 19th Century Uncataloged Russian Government Publications at LC (David H. Kraus and staff)
Guide to Uncataloged Russian Pamphlets at LC (David H. Kraus and staff)
Western Scholars Look East (Micaela Iovine and Clara M. Lovett)
Symposium Papers on Contemporary U.S. – German Relations (Clara M. Lovett, editor)
Guide to French Reference Works at LC (Carol Armbruster)
The American Bibliography of Slavic and East European Studies for 1981 and 1982 (staff)
December 6, 1982 Symposium on Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1807-1882, in cooperation with the Italian Embassy
April 6, 1983 Lecture by Frank Lancetti on Italian Artists in the U.S. Capitol, in cooperation with the Manuscript Society of Greater Washington
June 3, 1983 Symposium on German Immigration to the United States, in cooperation with the Tricentennial Commission and the Embassies of Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany
September 28, 1983 Symposium on Eduard Douwes Dekker (Multatuli), 1820-1887, in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Asian Division of the Library
African-German Relations in the Former German Colonies of Africa (Margrit B. Krewson)
Albert Cizauskas' "Thaddeus Kosciusko" (Janina W. Hoskins)
Czech and Hungarian Nobility (Elemer Bako)
The Czechoslovak Democratic Tradition and Czechoslovak-United States Historical Affiliations
(George J. Kovtun)
French Films of the 1920s (Carol Armbruster)
Human Rights in the U.S.S.R. (Ruzica Popovitch)
Jewish Cultural Heritage in Czechoslovakia (George J. Kovtun)
Library of Congress and Other Russian Collections (Robert V. Allen)
Library of Congress Holdings of Soviet Journals on Economics (Ruzica Popovitch)
The Memoirs of Sofia Petrowicz (Janina W. Hoskins)
Pisa in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (Carol Armbruster)
Recent Works on Italian Economic History (Clara M. Lovett)
Soviet Armed Forces (Albert E. Graham)
U.S. Holdings of the Works of Aleksandr Chakovskii, Russian Novelist (Robert V. Allen)
U.S. Publishers of Works from or about Romania (David H. Kraus)
West German-East German Economic Relations (Margrit B. Krewson)
Works on Travel to Iceland, 1740-1940 (Clara M. Lovett)
Writings on George Lukacs, Hungarian Philosopher (Elemer Bako)
In response to a request for a statement from this Division concerning the Library's foreign acquisitions policies, we can offer the following general observations:
On the controversial issue of what LC should be collecting, the European Division cannot be expected to formulate guidelines that would make sense for all countries within its jurisdiction. The reason is, of course, that the structures of research and publishing vary enormously from one country to the next, depending on political and economic conditions and on cultural patterns shaped by history, geography, etc. Generalizations are possible, however, if one divides the European continent into broad regions and examines each region's "profile." Thus:
- A broad area of western and northern Europe has structures of research and publishing and vehicles for the dissemination of knowledge not unlike those of the United States. From Scandinavia, Switzerland, France, Benelux and West Germany LC must acquire selectively or else face a worsening of an already bad situation. What happens now is that both blanket order arrangements and exchanges function well enough to produce a large yearly flow of materials that end up with low cataloging priorities. For the social sciences, in particular, we are already facing a situation in which European research materials are dated by the time we make them available to researchers. We have argued– and we will continue to argue– for a change in cataloging priorities and for more timely processing of European materials. Yet we also recognize the need to be more selective in our acquisitions from this highly developed and highly prolific part of Europe;
- A second major area within our jurisdiction includes Italy, Austria, and the Balkan Countries.
The flow of research materials from this second area is nearly as large (if one controls for size of population and territory) as the flow from northwestern Europe. But in this area the publishing trade is rather disorganized and in precarious economic health. Hence the need for constant monitoring, for instance, of periodicals and monographic series that appear and disappear. Only in Italy (but for how long?) can we rely on the expertise of the blanket order dealer to monitor the ever-changing scenario of commercial publishing. And even in that country we find it difficult to keep track, for instance, of what is published by university institutes, labor unions, and so forth. The situation is very much worse in Greece and Yugoslavia and potentially worst of all in Romania, where changes by the Ceausescu government are liberalizing and decentralizing the publishing industry, with the result that interesting stuff is now turning up "in the provinces." In this second area we have both the typical problems of developed countries (proliferation, for instance, of new editions of classics and of derivative scientific materials) and the typical problems of underdeveloped countries (disorganized publishing trade and unstable economic and political conditions). Much needs to be done in this second area, particularly in order to strengthen the very inadequate exchange arrangements. There is a consensus in this Division that we have been somewhat negligent in assisting the Exchange and Gift Division; but then again, the old notion that acquisitions from Europe could take care of themselves has made it difficult for us to acquire the expertise and establish the personal and institutional contracts necessary to turn the situation around;
- A third major area includes the economically and culturally more developed countries of communist Europe (USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary). This is the least problematic area for us, because the publishing trade is highly organized and centralized and because long-standing arrangements between LC and central cultural agencies in those countries are working rather well. However, the Polish situation is teaching us some lessons about taking even this area too much for granted;
- Finally, this Division is responsible also for less economically and culturally developed Communist countries, such as Bulgaria and Albania and for the Balkan and East European diaspora. Materials from these particular countries or communities might not meet the LC tests for "research value," but we feel that LC should collect them anyway because little else is available. Thus, with regard to this fourth area of concern we end up taking a position similar to that of our colleagues in the African and Southern Asian sections.
On the question of how LC should develop its collections, we in the European Division feel that the present system is basically satisfactory but that recommending officers should have a larger voice in the assignment of cataloging priorities. We are at a distinct disadvantage in this regard vis-a-vis our colleagues in the custodial Divisions and even vis-a-vis the Hispanic Division. And there is still a strong feeling among staff that content, not language, should be the main criterion for assigning priorities.
Quite apart from the role of recommending officers vis-a-vis CDO staff, in this Division there is considerable discontent with current cataloging priorities. Recently that discontent was heightened by the discovery of material of obvious research value on the dusty shelves of LJ, Deck 42. At the very least, we would like to see changes in cataloging priorities for materials in the quantitative sciences and social sciences that now are dated by the time they first appear in MUMS and of dubious value (except to historians) by the time they reach the stacks. Pretty much the same holds true for new serial titles and for new works of linguistics and literary criticism. Unlike new novels or volumes of poetry, for which MLC is satisfactory, these works should receive full cataloging and should be available to researchers much sooner than they are now.
With regard to future seminars, we offer the following suggestions, more or less in order of priority:
- E & G arrangements. We would like to discuss specific areas (particularly areas #3 and #4 described above) and develop strategies to strengthen the current rather anemic exchanges.
- Serial receipts. This seems to be a problem we have in common with all other area studies divisions and, no doubt, with such units as Prints and Photographs and Music as well.
- The professional development of good recommending officers. What can CDO and line managers do together that might improve the quality of LC's recommending officers?
- The key to successful acquisitions trips. We need much help in this area (but perhaps that is an idiosyncratic problem of this Division).
- What goes on in overseas offices.
- How to choose a B/O dealer and live happily with him (someday perhaps it maybe "her") ever after . . .
We hope that our suggestions will prove useful and we look forward to participating in the proposed seminar series.