ACRL

Association of College & Research Libraries

C&RL exchanges articles with German counterpart

Seeking to give American librarians a sense of the intellectual vitality of librarianship beyond our borders, College & Research Libraries has undertaken an article exchange project with its German counterpart, ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR BIBLIOTHEKSWESEN UND BIBLIOGRAPHIE (ZfBB). Twice now the officers of the Germanist Discussion Group of ACRL’s Western European Specialist Section (WF‚SS), together with a representative from the C&RL Board, have selected an article from ZfBB for publication by C&RL.

The first, “Secret Dissertations in the German Democratic Republic,” by Wilhelm Bleek and Lothar Mertens (C&RL‚ September 1995) combined 1992 and 1994 ZfBB pieces on the recent discovery that the government of the GDR had deemed thousands of dissertations too sensitive to list in indices, and, with the compliance of universities and libraries, had removed them physically and expunged them bibliographically. The article was translated by WESS member John Cullars (University of Illinois-Chicago) on a volunteer basis.

This year Nancy Boerner (Indiana University), also a member of WESS, translated Ingo Kolasa’s article on the looting of German books by Soviet forces at the end of World War II. This study of the thorny issues that are now the focus of extremely difficult negotiations between German and Russian librarians and government officials will appear in the September 1996 C&RL.

The ZfBB, in turn, published in its January/February 1996 issue a translation of Barbara M. Wildemuth and Ann L. O’Neill’s “The ‘Known’ in Known-Item Searches: Empirical Support for User-Centered Design” (C&RL‚ May 1995). An editorial note expresses the hope that the article exchange will “promote mutual dialogue and share reflections and experiences.” It may not be a coincidence that C&RL chose articles on libraries as they relate to Germany’s difficult history, whereas the Germans selected an article that was technical in its focus, each drawn to and drawing on the perceived strength of the other’s professional and intellectual traditions.

It would clearly be desirable for this project to be adapted to publications from other countries. And since Europeans are more likely to read English than the other European languages, it is fair to claim that with this exchange C&RL is making the work of European librarians more available not only to their American colleagues but to one another. The bureaucratic hurdles in such an enterprise may seem formidable, but if the desire to make the project work is there, they are definitely surmountable. Finding volunteer translators with the necessary skill and generosity is another matter, and on this score one can only say that C&RL has been, so far, very fortunate indeed.—Stephen H. Lehmann, University of Pennsylvania, lehmann@pobox. upenn.edu.

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