Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haitian Libraries

News about the recent earthquake in Haiti includes updates on the cultural heritage of the country, including libraries and archives. Below is a message from the director of dLOC, the Digital Library of the Caribbean, which describes the current state of Haiti's libraries.

dLOC is an open access digital library which preserves online the cultural heritage - newspapers, images, archives, research materials, etc. - of the various Caribbean nations, including Haiti. It is a collaborative effort by Florida International University and the University of Florida, in partnership with the University of the West Indies and other research and cultural institutions in the region.

"Dear colleagues and friends,

There has been significant confusion as to the state of the four main patrimonial libraries in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Based on information that I have received from the Digital Library of the Caribbean partner libraries in Haiti, all four of the
following library buildings are standing.

* Archives nationales d'Haïti
* Bibliothèque haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit / San Martial
* Bibliothèque haïtienne des Frères de l'Instruction Chrétienne / Saint
Louis de Gonzague
* Bibliothèque nationale d'Haïti

*Importantly, the library at Saint Louis de Gonzague (FIC) was NOT destroyed. The reporter that stated the library had fallen was incorrect.*

According to the director of the National Library, Mme. Francoise Thybulle, the structures must be inspected before the local staff can assess the situation and prepare detailed plans that will certainly ask for international assistance. While the buildings are standing, this does not diminish what will be the very real need for assistance once the local leadership is able to assess the situation. All of the library directors have asked that interested parties work together to help
preserve the collections bring these libraries/archives back into service.

Many institutions and individuals have expressed an interest in supporting the Haitian libraries/archives as they begin to rebuild. The outpouring of support and interest for the preservation of Haitian patrimony is unprecedented. Many of you are already in contact with
colleagues regarding ways to help. I am trying to serve as a clearinghouse for the Haitian libraries of the different people, institutions or groups that would like to offer support to the
libraries. Once I have feedback from the partner libraries in Haiti, I will share a working document of the projects I am aware of and an online survey for interested individuals to complete via www.dloc.com . Feel free to contact me personally at dloc@fiu.edu or preferably via the dLOC Facebook Group if you are already planning a project locally.

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (www.dloc.com) has been working with partners in Haiti since it began in 2004. The National Archives in Haiti was a founding member of dLOC, and in the last few years we have developed strong relationships with both the National Library and the Fathers of the Holy Spirit (San Martial) Library. As more information becomes available from the local leadership, I will share it as widely as possible. I have been hesitant to send a large response until now because of the many conflicting reports. This information is confirmed,
and comes from the directors of each library/archive.

As the many researchers that have worked in these four libraries know, their directors are completely dedicated to the preservation of their national patrimonial collections. All four have been fighting to preserve these collections for decades, and I am confident with support from the international community these collections will be preserved and accessible for many years to come.


Brooke Wooldridge
Digital Library of the Caribbean"


Thursday, January 21, 2010

SearchWorks, works!

Some of you may have noticed that Socrates now has a friend, SearchWorks. SearchWorks is Stanford's alternate online library catalog that has a more user friendly "Google-like" search box interface. In addition to the keyword search, on the left margin it has a set of very useful ways to limit your research - by language, format, publication date, location, call number, etc. There is also an advanced search.

Recently-added improvements allow you to browse by call number across library locations. Now you can go back to the time when SAL3 didn't exist and see all of the books with nearby call numbers, both in Green and in remote locations.

Other features are described in the News column on the SearchWorks search page and on the SearchWorks blog.

I encourage you to try this out - it is constantly under development, and new features are added regularly. If you run into a problem or have a comment, feedback is greatly appreciated, just use the link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Swiss books

Each year, the Swiss cultural promotion board, Pro-Helvetia, sends along a box of books by francophone Swiss authors. This often includes a few books that we've already acquired for the library.

These duplicates often sit in my office for months, so this year I'd like to offer these books to anyone who is interested. Just drop my an email , and I can send them through ID mail to you. Stanford affiliates only.

The titles available are:

Layaz, Michel. Cher Boniface. Genève: Zoé, 2009.
Delarue, Claude. Le bel obèse. [Paris]: Fayard, 2008.
Chessex, Jacques. Un juif pour l'exemple: roman. Paris: B. Grasset, 2009.
Kramer, Pascale. L'implacable brutalité du réveil: roman. Paris: Mercure de France, 2008.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recently acquired rare and antiquarian books

Here are a few antiquarian books recently added to the collection:

LENGLET DU FRESNOY, Nicolas, abbé. L’Histoire justifiee contre les romans. Amsterdam, Aux dépens de la Compagnie, 1735.

From the dealer's catalog:

Lenglet du Fresnoy (1674–1755), French diplomat and historian, was the author of books on many subjects, including hermetic philosophy. His writings brought him into conflict with the authorities and he spent numerous spells in the Bastille.

and from The new Oxford companion to literature in French:

‘His De l’usage des Romans (1734) defends novels as providing insights into life and love not offered by standard history.'

GARAT, Dominique Joseph. Memoires sur la vie de M. Suard, sur ses ecrits, et sur le XVIIIe siecle, par Dominique-Joseph Garat. Paris, A. Belin, 1820. 2 vols.

From the dealer's catalog:

First edition of one of the best illustrations of eighteenth century French intellectual life. Garat’s frequentation of Suard’s salon produces a gallery of illustrious portraits, from Montesquieu to Condorcet, Diderot, Alembert, Grimm, Buffon, Raynal, Beccaria and Lavoisier.

and from the Oxford Companion to French Literature

Garat (c.1750-1832) was ‘a deputy to the Etats Generaux in 1789, prominently associated with the Revolutionary newspaper Le Journal de Paris, Minister of Justice under the Convention Nationale in 1792, and a Senator of the First Empire. His Mémoires

historiques sur la vie de M. Suard throws a light on the 18th century ideologues’

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Online dictionaries

Traditional publishers are trying to compete with online services, and there are many dictionaries and encyclopedias out there trying to figure how to survive in the age of Wikipedia. Some established dictionary publishers have decided to put their tools on the web for all to use.

has 5 of its French dictionaries of various flavors, as well as translation dictionaries and its encyclopedia all available for you to use. The interface is easy and clear, and there are hyperlinks from article to article and between works. The encyclopedia does have user-contributed content, which is identified as such. http://www.larousse.com/

Treccani, the publisher of the Enciclopedia italiana and the unfinished Dizionario biografico degli italiani, has decided to put them up on the web. The biographical dictionary had been plodding along very very slowly, and one hope is that users will contribute to entries so that it finally arrives to the letter "Z". The site also has access to a wide variety of Italian dictionaries, and a nice widget that you can download to your toolbar that allows you to search either in a dictionary or its online encyclopedia. Moreover, from the encyclopedia entries, you can double click on each word to get to its definition. The site is pretty cluttered, but the search boxes (vocabolario and enciclopedie) should be obvious. http://www.treccani.it/Portale/homePage.html

There are many similar initiatives. Others of special notice are Garzanti linguistica (free with registration), and le Grand Robert online, for which Stanford has a subscription.
brought to you by...
Sarah Sussman, curator of French and Italian Collections