March 20, 2014 Meeting of Area Studies

Time and Location of Meeting

March 20, 2014

Agenda Details


Agenda not yet available.

Minutes Details


IAS Staff Meeting

20 March 2014

Present:  Jan Adamczyk, Kit Condill, Laila Hussein, Joe Lenkart, Larry Miller, Yuriko Oono, Xiaoping Qi, Lynne Rudasill, Antonio Sotomayor, Dmitry Tartakovsky, Mara Thacker, Steve Witt

Guests:  Valerie Hotchkiss


  1. IAS, RBML, and issues relating to rare and fragile materials

RBML resources available to IAS  – Valerie offers to provide IAS with a “cradle” for holding fragile IAS-Oak Street books when patrons use them in IAS.  She also provided copies of various paper forms used by RBML when patrons want to photograph pages from books, etc.  In addition to housing items owned or acquired by IAS and determined to be rare by IAS specialists, IAS is also welcome to suggest rare international items for RBML to acquire using its own funds.  RBML catalogers are also available to assist CAM personnel with the finer points of cataloging rare materials, or, depending on the languages involved, are available to catalog them themselves.

Digitization — Valerie was asked if there is a policy/procedure in place for digitizing fragile materials.  RBML does have its own queue of items it would like to have digitized, but has been dissatisfied with the high damage rates (up to 12%) associated with some of the available methods.  The preferred platform for digitized materials appears to be Hathi Trust, but this is viewed as somewhat problematic given that the content is then available only to Hathi Trust members.  This makes it difficult for our international clientele to access digitized materials, as well as discouraging collaborative digitization projects with institutions (i.e., international institutions) that are not members of Hathi.  In the meantime, Valerie suggests that patrons be allowed to use materials even if they are extremely brittle, but that in those cases we might want to ultrasonically encapsulate the pages in protective sheaths, or at least put individual pages in Mylar sleeves.

Patron confidentiality — Lynne and Joe raised concerns about the confidentiality of rare-book-related or IAS-Oak-Street-related patron records, especially since some materials (North Korean, Ibadi, etc.) can be politically sensitive for international students and scholars to use in their research.  Work-arounds may be possible, but it was concluded that patrons need to be notified that as an anti-theft precaution, long-term records are kept relating to the check-out of rare items.  Records relating to non-rare items (i.e., from Main Circulation) can be considered to be confidential.

Criteria for RBML, RBML-Oak Street and IAS-Oak Street designations – Larry stated that some of the concerns associated with the initial announcement that all pre-1851 materials in Main Stacks would be considered to be rare have been addressed, including the exclusion of long serial runs which may continue for decades after 1850.  Valerie stressed the role of subject specialists in designating materials as rare, and said that the pre-1851 announcement was meant to serve as a guideline for Stacks staff who run across potentially-rare materials in the course of their work, and is not accompanied by any kind of comprehensive plan to review the contents of the Stacks.  Steve suggested that IAS subject specialists might create documentation regarding what should be considered rare for their respective subject areas.  The better quality of paper used for pre-1851 publications vs. later periods was discussed.  RBML-Oak Street designation is for “medium-rare” items.

  1. International Student Barometer Report (ISBR)

Steve and Mara attended the presentation on this, the second annual survey of international students at UIUC.  According to the report, international students to continue to hold a very positive view of the Library.  Steve is interested in how IAS can help address some of the weaker areas in the survey, such as the social welcome to campus for international students and  issues with the career center/career advice.  Different groups of students (from China, Germany, Turkey, Iran, etc.) respond differently to the survey, so IAS subject specialists may need to target specific groups to help with those groups’ specific needs and concerns.  Mara pointed out that the more we know about the resources available to international students on campus, the more we will be able to direct them appropriately, since they may not even be aware that particular offices or services exist.  Joe suggested that perhaps IAS could help international students prepare for TOEFL and other standardized tests.  Steve also wants to counter misinformation that international students may have about the Library (i.e., regarding overdue book fines).  The complete ISBR report will be available at some point, but may or may not be made public.


  1. Lynn Wiley recently announced that the last day to place firm orders in FY14 is now April 25th, so fund managers should plan their year-end expenditures accordingly.
  2. IAS Diversity Training will take place on April 3rd and April 8th in the ACES Library. Jan will hold down the fort in IAS.
  3. There will not be an Area Studies Division meeting this month.


  1. IAS Reference and User Services Committee – Mara

Slavic Reference Service statistics are being incorporated into the Fall 2013 IAS statistical report.  Sveta will then present the report to IAS, possibly followed by a wider audience in the Library.  IAS website redesign process is in phase two, continuing to lay the groundwork for a new and improved site based on feedback from patrons.

  1. International Reference Librarian Search Committee – Steve

Phone interviews have been conducted and on-campus visits will take place in April.

  1. CDC – Larry

Approximately $200,000 worth of requests from IAS have been submitted to Tom Teper for consideration for purchase using leftover end-of-year money from central funds.

  1. Diversity Committee – Laila

A training for Library staff is scheduled for early April; the climate survey is coming up; the Diversity Committee will be electing a new chair.

  1. Library Reference and User Services Committee – Lynne

A new “Ask-A-Librarian” widget for mobile devices is about to be implemented; the report from the Reference Roadmap Retreat is coming soon, along with a survey about its impacts so far.

  1. International Student enrollment statistics — Joe

The UIUC Division of Management Information ( has statistics on international student enrollment dating back to 1967.  This is an easy way to see how many students are on campus from various countries and what programs/majors they are enrolled in.


  1. Steve recently gave a presentation to an online global education capstone seminar with students attending remotely from all over the world. A follow-up session where IAS subject specialists advise these students on how to conduct in-country research and how to use vernacular-language resources was suggested.