Folk Lit of the Sephardic Jews

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has added a multimedia archive of Judeo-Spanish ballads and other oral literature to its digital humanities collection.  The Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews database is the largest online collection of Sephardic and Hispanic folk literature in the world, and is now available to anyone with access to the Internet.

The unique collection of oral folk literature was developed over four decades through the collective efforts of University of California colleagues Samuel Armistead and Joseph Silverman, and the ethnomusicologist Israel J. Katz.  From 1998 to 2003, Professor Armistead, the custodian of the collection and one of the world’s foremost scholars of medieval Spanish literature, worked with Bruce Rosenstock, associate professor in the Department of Religion at Illinois, to digitize, transcribe, and create a website for nearly 2,500 fully-edited transcription files with associated audio files through a multi-year, half-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation Digital Library Initiative.

“In all, our Sephardic collection now embodies just under 1,500 ballad texts, representing some 190 different narrative types, sung or recited by Sephardic Jews from Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Morocco,” said Professor Armistead.  “The collection also includes abundant examples of other traditional genres: lyric poetry, folktales, proverbs, and riddles.”

“This collection of digitized and transcribed tapes made during 40 years of ethnographic fieldwork is one of the most extraordinary treasures not only of Judeo-Spanish culture, but of Hispanic culture in general. The fact that an oral tradition of folk ballads could persist for, in some cases, nearly a millennium is simply amazing,” said Professor Rosenstock.  “I am extremely proud to have been a part of making this cultural treasure accessible to scholars and the wider public for coming generations, and I am immensely grateful to the University of Illinois Library for giving it a permanent home.”

The software development and hosting of the digital library is provided by the University Library, and this resource is sustained as part of the Library’s Scholarly Commons services.  The Scholarly Commons serves the emerging needs of faculty, researchers, and graduate students at Illinois pursuing in-depth research and scholarly initiative.

“The original effort to produce the Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews Database was immense, and its value to scholars is unquestionable,” said Sarah Shreeves, coordinator, Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS). “The Library has been very happy to work with Professor Rosenstock to ensure a permanent and stable home. This is the type of collaboration with faculty that the Scholarly Commons wants to foster as much as possible.”

Visit to access the Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews database.  In addition, the Scholarly Commons website is located at .

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).

Dougan to Participate in Frye Inst

Music and Performing Arts Librarian Kirstin Dougan has been selected to participate in the Frye Leadership Institute taking place June 3-8, 2012, in Washington, DC.

From the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) website:

Since 2000, the Frye Leadership Institute has been preparing and developing the next generation of leaders in libraries, information services, and higher education. Frye engages those who are already leaders in their profession and further develops their skills, particularly in the area of advocacy. The Institute addresses challenges in higher education through a variety of topics, empowering librarians and information technologists to instigate conversations and take action on issues of importance not just to their individual institutions, but to the entire higher education community. Now more than ever higher education requires leaders, particularly in the information sector, who can inspire, advocate, and implement fundamental collaborative change.

The Frye Leadership Institute’s curriculum is based on three guiding principles:

  • Participants learn how to be part of a collaborative community that takes leadership on critical issues to develop a platform for collective action.
  • Participants develop the skills to build public will, set an agenda for change, and advocate for the policies that need to be adopted to bring about change.
  • Participants learn by doing through collaborative engagement.

The Frye Institute seeks to engage participants as a community with an intensive opportunity for study and collaborative work. Through a seminar approach, Institute participants will focus on specific issues as they seek to develop new kinds of thinking to foster collective action. They will deconstruct the issues, craft arguments to re-conceptualize what is happening in higher education, and form a community that is capable of catalyzing action through collaborative projects.

The Frye Leadership Institute was initiated through a generous grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and is named in honor of Billy E. Frye, now retired, who has served as the chancellor and provost of Emory University, as a member of CLIR’s board, and as a distinguished leader in higher education.

For a complete list of 2012 participants, please visit .

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).

Walter Named Editor of C&RL

News release courtesy of the American Library Association :

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announces the appointment of Scott Walter to the post of editor for College & Research Libraries (C&RL). Walter will serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2013.

“Scott brings excellent credentials to the position of editing College and Research Libraries,” said 2011-12 ACRL President Joyce L. Ogburn of the University of Utah. “Under his guidance the journal will continue to be a leading publication in our field and will likely experiment with new models of engaging its readers. Now that we are an open access journal, there are many possibilities for experimentation, and I am looking forward to seeing what develops.”

Walter will serve as editor designate from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, when he will assume full editorial responsibility. In the position of editor, Walter will also serve as chair of the C&RL Editorial Board. He succeeds Joseph J. Branin, director of libraries at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, as C&RL editor. Branin will work closely with Walter over the next year to ensure a smooth transition.

“I have made use of the research reported in C&RL in my work as a librarian and an LIS educator for over a decade, and I have been proud to contribute to the journal as an author, reviewer and member of the Editorial Board,” Walter said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that College & Research Libraries remains at the heart of the ACRL research enterprise, maintains its reputation as the premier journal in academic librarianship and continues to promote scholarly practice in our field.”

“Scott Walter’s extensive experience in the academic research and scholarly communication processes make him the ideal person to lead C&RL further into the 21st century,” noted Christopher Millson-Martula, chair of the ACRL Publications Coordinating Committee.

Walter currently serves as associate university librarian for services, associate dean of libraries and professor of library administration and library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and as an adjunct faculty member of the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science. On April 30, 2012, he will assume the position of university librarian at DePaul University in Chicago.

Published since 1939, C&RL is the official scholarly research journal of ACRL. The publication enacted an open access policy in April 2011. C&RL is available online at .

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).

Edible Book Festival April 2

The 7th Annual Edible Book Festival will be held on April 2, 2012, at the University YMCA (1001 South Wright Street, Champaign). The campus and local community is invited to experience this unique intersection of the book arts and cuisine. Public viewing begins at 11:30 a.m., a welcome and the local celebrity judges’ commentary takes place at 12:15 p.m., and consumption of entries starts at 12:45 p.m.

Edible art entries have a connection to books as shapes or content. Prizes will be awarded for the best culinary creations—which will be displayed, judged, and consumed. The Corn Ultimatum, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Scone, The Velveeta Rabbit, A Midsummer Night’s Dreamsicle, and Anne of Green Bagels were among the entries last year.

“The zany notion of edible books inspires so much creativity. Cakes, vegetables, candy, bread—almost any ingredients can be used to depict a favorite story or mimic the shape of a book,” said Sue Searing, UI librarian and coordinator of the Edible Book Festival. “You don’t have to be an expert cook or a scholar of literature. What counts is imagination!”

This year’s festival is hosted by the University YMCA and sponsored by the University Library .

Judges will include Dan Keding, storyteller; Lisa Bralts, director of Urbana’s Market at the Square; and Glen Davies, artist.

The 7th Annual Edible Books Festival at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pays homage to the International Edible Books Festival. The International Edible Books Festival, an annual event held around April 1, celebrates the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book Physiologie du goût—a witty meditation on food. This ephemeral global banquet allows anyone to preserve and discover unique bookish nourishments.

Please visit for more information about the 7th Annual Edible Book Festival.

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).

Book Collecting Contest Now Open

To foster the love of books, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign holds an annual book collecting contest. The competition includes separate judging and prizes for undergraduate (Fletcher Award) and graduate (Baldwin Prize) students.

The prize for undergraduate collectors is named for Harris Francis Fletcher (1892-1971), professor of English (1926-62), whose John Milton collection is a jewel of the University. The graduate prize honors T.W. Baldwin, who put together a remarkable collection of imprints from the age of Shakespeare, with strengths in Elizabethan drama, pedagogy, religion, and social history.

First prize for each category is $500. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to the Friends of the Library’s Friendscript newsletter. Winners may be eligible for the national College Book Collecting Contest sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

To enter, each contestant must submit a document describing the collection, a list of five titles they would like to add, as well as a bibliography of the collection, with high points noted.

Entries may be dropped-off, campus-mailed or mailed to The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (346 Library, 1408 West Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801 (UI Mail code 522)), or e-mailed to the Public Programs Manager, Dennis Sears ( ). Deadline for entries is April 6, 2012.

The collection must be owned by the student. It should be based on some unifying principle, such as subject, a single author or group of authors, or place or genre of publication, type of book, bindings, etc. It may be on any subject and may include manuscripts, issues of periodicals, and graphics. Evaluation is based on motivation, discrimination and judgment, coherence of the collection, originality, accomplishment, and condition of the works entered.

Prizes are awarded at the regular May meeting of The No. 44 Society , the book collectors’ club of Urbana-Champaign, based in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Complete rules and information are available at .

Do you have a story you’d like added to the Library News & Events? If so, please contact Heather Murphy ( ).