[I have a blog etiquette question – is it best to mention people’s names or not? Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be mentioned in other people’s blogs? I’m going to go with not mentioning them for now, but can always put names in later.]
I started attending some American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) conferences when I realized that all Baltic collections in research libraries were in the Slavic departments, and that the bulk of conversation was happening here, not in the Slavic and East European Section of ALA. I believe I attended about three of these conferences while at the
Book chambers were government institutions in each Soviet republic that were responsible for receiving deposit copies of every published item, compiling statistics about them, and documenting each item to create a national bibliography. These were lists of all books, periodicals, sheet music, etc. as well as indexes to the articles in all the periodicals published in the republic. This was all published monthly and annually. I knew something about the situation in
I presented with people from the
There was a session on digital projects and issues. The most fascinating idea I heard was about putting Russian (or whatever language) texts online in digitized form and asking the general public to translate them. Then an editorial board of some sort would put a stamp of approval, but the amount of texts made available to the public would be much larger and could grow by this wiki method.
Hidden Library Treasures
We heard about three different “hidden treasures.” The speaker from the British Library explained how BL librarians are being given 10-12 week sabbaticals to research some aspect of the BL collection. She had looked at how the Polish immigrants of the early 1830’s were depicted in
A representative from the Frick Museum Research Library in
The last “hidden treasure” was in the Wolfsonian collection in
Grand Duke Alexis’ visit to
I was reluctant to attend this session, but it was the bibliographic session in the time slot, and I was exposed to the fascinating story of the visit to
I attended one totally non-library session on childhood in
Baltic Collections in the
The last session I was able to attend was on Baltic collections in the
One very interesting fact that came out during the questions and comments time afterwards was that Michigan State University has received and endowment from a Lithuanian for the annual purchase of Baltic materials. They would be interested in collecting retrospectively, so they might be willing to take Latvian book donations.
On the Conference itself and
I don’t have a real sense on how many attended the conference, since there was no opening plenary or keynote speakers, but there were over 500 sessions and about 1300 presenters listed in the conference program. I was surprised that there were no projectors in any of the presentation rooms that I attended. In one of our sessions all three presenters lamented the fact that they had brought along interesting visuals. I too had a PowerPoint, but then I might not have gotten through in 20 minutes. The other observation I had was that in some of the sessions a presenter had not shown up and someone told me that was usual for this conference. I think we had one of the few full panels.
I did not stay at the hotel, but heard that on the first night they had all been woken up in the middle of the night and herded outside for some perceived emergency. And they could not use the elevators. I was glad I was staying with friends.
I met one of the venerable Latvian historians, who has now retired. I was able to give him a lift to the house where he was staying – not far from the downtown hotel in the old part of
Taking a moment to enjoy the relief of a job well done, I will then take a deep breath and prepare to work on my article and maintain contacts with those colleagues where we could work on some joint project.