Collection Development Policy


Principal Selector: Jana Krentz
Principal Location: Watson Library

I. Definition

A. Subject

Latin American Area Studies at KU provides an interdisciplinary program with a broad academic background. The program draws much from social sciences and the humanities, with a focus on the Latin American region and a mastery of Spanish and Portuguese or Haitian Creole. The Center of Latin American Studies awards a master's degree and offers three seminars, one of which is taught by the Library's Latin American bibliographer. Undergraduate majors usually carry a double major, one in a particular discipline and the other in Latin American Area Studies, and a stand-alone undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies was passed in 1994. An honors program is also available for majors in their senior year.

B. User Population

The primary users of the collection are the fifty Latin American Area Studies affiliated teaching faculty from twenty separate departments, and graduate students in Latin American Area Studies who consult the collections regularly for their research. Latin American Studies has joint degree options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with several of the professional schools, including Law, Architecture and Urban Design, Social Welfare, Education, Journalism, and Business.

Undergraduate and graduate students in supporting disciplines also utilize the collections in their studies. An average of 3000 students enroll each Fall semester in Latin American Area Studies courses. Latin American Area Studies offers five "principal courses" with 100% Latin American content, and seven "non-Western culture courses" which also have 100% Latin American content. Twenty-one of 114 history courses listed in the undergraduate catalog focus on Latin American history.

At the graduate level, KU offers twenty-five Latin American history courses. (Charles Stansifer, professor of history, has produced more Central American Ph.D.s than anyone else in the United States except for William J. Griffith, Professor Emeritus at KU.) The number of students majoring in Latin American Area Studies has doubled in the last three years. An average of 20-25 students enroll in each of the undergraduate and master's degree programs. Over 75% of the undergraduates in Latin American Area Studies go on to graduate work. In the last five years there have been eight to ten master's degree candidates per year who are required to complete Latin American Area-related research for their theses or master's exams. The research completed in pursuit of these degrees has covered a variety of topics, and has drawn on a wide range of the Library's collections. Twenty percent of the graduate students in Latin American Area Studies are themselves from Latin America.

There are usually another 300 non Latin American Studies majors from twenty-five Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries enrolled at the University of Kansas each year who are recognized as a significant Library user group. Some of these students come to KU as participants in long-standing direct exchange programs with Mexico, Spain, Paraguay and Costa Rica. Other regular users of the collections are faculty from other Regents institutions of Kansas, and Latin Americanists from this country and abroad. The Center of Latin American Studies often has grants for the support of foreign visiting instructors who use the collection as well.

C. Collection characteristics

KU's collection of Central Americana is among the top three in the nation, and the collection is also able to support study at the master's degree level in other areas of Latin American Area Studies research. Holdings may not be adequate for doctoral research interests except in Central Americana. The Library subscribes to 90% of the 300+ periodical titles indexed by the Hispanic American Periodicals Index. Titles not available locally may be available through Interlibrary Services or the Center for Research Libraries, to which the KU Library belongs. The collection has been enriched from time to time by the purchase of whole collections of material housed in the Spencer Special Collections such as the Otero MuZoz collection (Colombia), the Alvarado and Griffith collections (Guatemala and Central America), the Lines collection (Costa Rica), the Boehrer collection (Brazil), and the Amzalak collection (Portugal) which provide surprising depth in some areas.

The focus of recent collection development efforts has been the acquisition of currently published scholarly monographs and journals in the languages of the countries of origin and in English. The Latin American collection includes works in Spanish, Portuguese and English in all subject disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The Latin American focus of many graduate and undergraduate courses requires the use of library resources in the vernacular languages of Latin America and in English. While emphasis was once placed on the procurement of current publications in "all languages", the receipt of materials in languages other than English, Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole has been inconsistent due primarily to the diminished purchasing power of a largely static budget.

While the Library acquisitions funding for Latin American Studies has remained steady in recent years, this actually translates to a decline in real terms as scholarly publishing output and cost per volume increase. Due to local teaching emphasis and language concentrations (the program requires reading/writing proficiency in Spanish and either Portuguese or Haitian Creole), holdings in French, German and Dutch are less extensive.

Other unevenness in the collection reflects thirty years of an evolving collection development plan geared toward covering the teaching and research emphases of the Latin American Studies program. Despite the breadth of the field of Latin American Area Studies, restricted funding limits our ability to expand the collection focus beyond traditional areas of strength or some few new areas of faculty teaching and research.

II. Collection Guidelines

A. Parameters

The Latin American Studies collection of both scholarly monographs and serials is primarily composed of Spanish-, English-, and Portuguese-language materials. As previously stated, budget restrictions are the primary reason for a declining level of collecting in other languages.

Chronological and geographical limitations of the collection are consistent with teaching emphases and research patterns at KU, though technically no chronological limitations are placed on the subject matter of the collection. In the past we exhaustively collected material published in Costa Rica or about Costa Rica, and comprehensively collected material published in or about Central America. Because of budget constraints we can no longer continue to collect at this level. However, Costa Rica and Central America continue to be the focal point of our collection and we attempt to acquire at a degree somewhere between the research and comprehensive levels. With a reduction in materials published in and about Costa Rica and Central America, it is now feasible to say that we collect all other geographic areas at the research level, subject to the following exceptions: the Library will not acquire school texts, anthologies of previously published works prepared as textbooks, children's literature, translations from more accessible languages to less accessible languages, popular works, and general subject matter materials not directly treating the culture, society or specific situation in the target areas.

Some collection development responsibilities on Hispanics in the United States falls to the Ibero-American bibliographer. We collect these materials regardless of language except in the case of literature. The obligation to collection literature written by Hispanics in the United States is divided between the Ibero- American Bibliographer and the Bibliographer for English. We collected literature written in Spanish while the Bibliographer for English collects works exclusively written in English. However, we do purchase all materials published by the Arte Público Press much of which consists of literature published in English. Materials on Hispanics in the United States and Hispanic literature are administered from a separate HISPA fund.

B. Types of media

The Library acquires the major indexes, bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks and guides to Latin American Area Studies. Directories and statistical compilations are also acquired for the performance of reference work, though some tools which treat subjects not taught at KU are excluded.

The Documents department of the KU Libraries also collects United States government documents and United Nations documents concerning Latin America. We also actively collect Central American (especially Costa Rican) federal governmental reports. Other government publications from other Latin American nations, as well as from their provinces and cities are acquired as needed. We also collect publications of international and regional agencies that treat the geographic area.

The Library relies on the availability of research materials through other sources such as the Center for Research Libraries and specialized regional holdings of other Latin Americanist library collections to complement local holdings. We acquire first and rare editions only if the work is important and no reprint is available. We generally acquire pamphlets, posters and ephemeral materials only from Central America. We generally do not acquire non-book materials, although the collection does include some sound recordings, films and videotapes from or about Central America. Books and journals in paper format are standard library resources for Latin American Studies.

We collect some journals and newspapers in microform as that format becomes available. We have acquired several major Central American microform sets including three from the National Security Archive (The Making of U.S. Policy: El Salvador, 1977-1984; The Making of U.S. Policy: Nicaragua, 1978-1990; The Making of U.S. Policy: The Iran-Contra Affair, 1983-1988), and several from University Publications of America (Confidential U.S. Diplomatic Post Records: Central America and the Caribbean; El Salvador, 1930-1945; Crisis in Panama and the Dominican Republic).

We maintain airmail subscriptions to a limited number of Central American newspapers for regional coverage of current events, particularly in order to offer a representative geographic spread. We retain these newspapers until microform is available either at the KU campus or through the Center for Research Libraries. The library relies on CRL for the first copy of other lesser used other-than-Central-American titles, especially retrospective periodicals, newspapers, and other publications in microform beyond our financial reach. We collect theses and dissertations available from University Microfilms on a very selective basis due to their permanent availability.

Collection policy does not exclude audio-visual materials, though we have only acquired certain items in this format which are considered historically valuable. Electronic indexes and CD rom subscriptions are becoming available in the field of Latin American Studies, and the Library currently subscribes to the Hispanic American Periodicals Index online. Latin American publications will, for the most part, continue to appear in traditional publication formats and will not soon be all-electronic.

C. Collecting Priorities

We acquire the following types of publications comprehensively:

A high priority of the Library is to collect current (i.e. those publications in the current year or the previous three years) books and journals in Spanish, Portuguese and English, as well as bibliographies, guides, and directories which enable researchers to access the holdings in the Library's fully cataloged collections and cataloging backlog (materials inaccessible by subject until fully cataloged), and holdings of other major Latin American collections. Priority is given to collecting materials directly related to teaching and research interests of local Latin American Studies faculty. Although materials on Central America and Costa Rica have been cut back slightly, collecting priorities in Latin American Area Studies have generally remained stable within restraints dictated by budget realities.

Traditional levels of collecting are threatened by the failure of recent budget increases to match rising prices and greater bibliographic output in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Latin American publications are not easily acquired retrospectively, and the Library may only fill gaps in the collection with difficulty if they are identified much after dates of initial publication. We will purchase retrospective and out-of-print materials as funds are available primarily to strengthen Central American and periodical holdings and build collections in areas of faculty interest.

Lost and worn out materials are replaced if possible, and added copies of high-use items may also be purchased. Foreign dissertations and theses available in published form, photocopied, mimeographed form or microform will not be treated differently from any other monographic work from the same country.

III. Outlook

A. University Programs

The most recent university-wide Program Review (1992) judged the Latin American Area Studies program at KU to be very good in quality, and essential to the university. A major goal of the Library's Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America is to support the teaching and research interests of faculty associated with the Center of Latin American Area Studies while maintaining the strength of the Central American collection in particular despite the fact that most recent new faculty are not Central Americanists. Several vacancies in key disciplines of Latin American Studies are occurring now as faculty hired in the 1960s retire. Library collection policies will reflect changes in the program brought about by faculty turnover and evolution of teaching emphases in Latin American Area Studies.

The number of students enrolled in Latin American Area Studies has doubled in the last three years. An average of 20-25 students enroll in each of the undergraduate and master's degree programs. Workforce projections indicate an ever-increasing need for professionals and educators specializing in the Latin American region because of increased interdependence among nations in the western hemisphere. With subscription and immediate user-response in 1992/1993 to the Hispanic American Periodicals Index online (available in the Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America, free to KU Library users), Latin Americanist journal use has increased dramatically. The Library's commitment to local availability of the periodicals indexed in HAPI will be redoubled as demand is confirmed. Serial subscriptions may be maintained in this area at the expense of some monographic acquisitions in the future.

The Center of Latin American Studies has expressed an interest in expanding academic program interaction with business and science. This has direct implications for Library support, but these have not yet been articulated or funded. The Center of Latin American Studies has been awarded a 3-year National Resource Center Grant in 1995 through 1997 to fund extension of the curriculum and instructional resources, as well as travel for fieldwork and professional development. Library support from a successful NRC grant has included cataloger staffing, acquisitions field trips, preservation microfilming, and expanded periodical coverage of Latin America.

B. Future Area Studies Trends

Funding of strategic importance to Area Studies Programs, Title VI and NEH funding, are once again threatened. Paralleling these changes, other foundations and donor agencies have increasingly moved their support to institution building in the countries themselves. However, recent policy shifts by the Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Social Science Research Council point to a future that holds promise. They recognize that students must continue to acquire mastery of the languages, history and cultures of a particular country or region as a necessary starting point for scholarly careers, and the significance of the building of resources bases in the United States. An indication of this is that the Ford Foundation has recently opened up opportunities for African Studies and Russian Studies in the U.S. Even with tight funding it is expected that the best of the Area Studies centers will continue to find support from other sources in the future.

C. Trends in Publishing

Publishing trends and our ability to acquire publications from each of 35 countries of Latin America vary widely with supply of materials (including essential paper and ink), government support, and favorable postal rates for export of scholarly materials.

IV. Selection Process

A. Method of Receipt

1. Coverage by Approval Plans and Firm Orders

Most English-language monographs published in North America and England by university presses and commercial publishers are received on approval. Over twenty-five Latin Americanist publishers and vendors, specializing by country or region within Latin America and the Caribbean regularly supply lists and catalogs from which current monographs are selectively and individually firm-ordered by the bibliographer. Some of the vendors most regularly used by the Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America are the following:

Before the mid-1980s there were no regular Central American suppliers of research materials to U.S. academic libraries, and the role of Seminar on Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) was pivotal in informing, encouraging, and training the Central American vendors who now exist. For last decade, has maintained three approval plans for the receipt of current research-level publications from Central America and Costa Rica. Limited approval plans for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela provide for basic research-level acquisitions from those countries. Firm orders fill the rest of local needs. Approximately fifty percent of the 1000+ active Latin Americanist serial titles in the collection are acquired by standing order subscriptions through the Library's Serials Department. Half are acquired through approvals, firm orders, and exchange in the Department Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

2. Acquisition by Exchange and Gift

We receive several hundred serial titles and official publications, as well as current and retrospective monographic titles on a regular basis from Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American universities, learned societies, government offices, banks, and private institutions through an exchange program of the Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Other established Latin American publications are exchanged for University Kansas periodical publications through the Exchange section of the Library's Acquisitions Department. Gifts from faculty collections have also contributed titles new to the collections, replacements, and added copies of heavily used standard works.

B. Selection Tools

Vendor lists and catalogs from a wide range of book dealers from the Americas and Europe are heavily relied upon for the selection of monographs and serials. The OCLC database is used to confirm or supply lacking bibliographic information prior to placing firm orders. Book reviews major journals field, including but not limited to the Latin American Research Review, the Journal of Latin American Studies, Luso-Brazilian Review, and the Hispanic American Historical Review are regularly consulted by the bibliographer to monitor Library receipts through approval plans as well as currency of lists received from vendors for firm order selection. Other Latin Americanist periodicals are also scanned for book reviews. The SALALM Newsletter is reviewed bibliography and book dealer news, and listings of new Latin American serials. For most materials in French, German Italian, the bibliographer relies on selection forms sent by vendors, book reviews, and faculty recommendations.

C. User Input

User input for collection development is actively solicited by the bibliographer. Purchase recommendations are regularly received from individual Latin American Area Studies faculty. Recommendations for the acquisition of current monographic titles which already arrived on approval are used to speed full cataloging and availability of these works. User requests for current monographs not yet received on approval facilitate "claiming" from vendors. Retrospective monographic requests become "search-and-quotes" for the vendor most likely to supply each title. Many graduate students in Latin American Area Studies know the bibliographer through the seminar required of majors, LAA 700, Introduction to Latin American Library Resources. This contact facilitates bibliographer-student liaison activity. Over fifty percent of the titles suggested for purchase by users of the KU Libraries' online catalog are already in the Library collections, but are not found by the requester because of improper searching of the online catalog, failure to search the manual card catalog, or because a book is in-process and not yet displayed on the online catalog. When copies of local interlibrary loan requests are made available to the bibliographer, they can be particularly useful in collection development, especially of periodical literature.

V. System Coordination and Resource Sharing

A. Relationships with Other KU Library Collections

The Latin American Area Studies program is closely related to all supporting disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It draws on its liaisons with these departments for the extension curriculum and for common support in enhancing all aspects of the instructional resources needed to fulfill its mission. The Libraries' Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America was created in 1977 as an acquisitions processing and reference unit which likewise is closely related to other bibliographic and technical functions of the KU Library system. The Latin American collection is not housed separately, and materials are shelved wherever appropriate by format and Dewey and Library of Congress classification.

Latin American materials are included in most library collections on campus. Most significant outside of Watson Library is the Griffith Collection in Spencer Research Library's Department of Special Collections, which consists primarily of colonial Guatemalan and early Central American Federation resources, including primary materials and rare documents. The Department of Special Collectins collects Spanish and Portuguese imprints of the 15th through 17th centuries in all subjects, with particular strengths in natural history, travel, history, economics, and church history; the department also has a large Cervantes collection, a very large collection of Luso-Brazilian political manuscripts of the first half of the 19th century (with some accompanying printed matter), and printed accounts of travels in South and Central America up to the 19th century. The Wilcox Collection, in Spencer Research Library's Kansas Collection, also includes some newsletters and ephemeral issued by Latin American and Latin Americanist organizations.

The campus Museum of Anthropology has a growing collection of early Latin American artifacts and items of material culture. The Latin American bibliographer cooperates with bibliographers for maps, art, music, special collections, and other subject areas in joint funding of some acquisitions. Latin American scientific, medical, international business, and agricultural materials not acquired locally are available within the immediate region at Kansas State University, Wichita State University, the KU Medical Center, and Linda Hall Library. They are accessible to KU Library patrons through Interlibrary Services.

B. Relationships with non-KU Library System Collections

The University of Kansas Latin American collection is the strongest Latin American research collection in the Great Plains. It is used by other Regents institution faculty and students and Central Americanists nationwide. Use of the KU Libraries' Latin American collection by off-campus patrons is common through Interlibrary Services. To supplement our own resources, local KU Library users also rely on other major Latin American collections through Interlibrary Services. The University of Kansas Libraries also belong to the Center for Research Libraries and through CRL to the Latin American Microfilming Project which allow access to the lesser used, lesser held items deposited at CRL, such as runs of newspapers, and grant KU input in microfilming priorities of LAMP.

VI. List of Main LC Classes Represented