2002 Fall - Europe in Bits & Bytes

From Wess

Jump to: navigation, search

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Fall 2002 > Europe in Bits & Bytes

Europe in Bits & Bytes

Column Editor: Sebastian Hierl

WESS Newsletter
Fall 2002
Vol. 26, no. 1


Pan-European Resources

Linwood DeLong from the University of Winnipeg reviews the "Bibliography of the History of Western Sexuality, 1700-1945" available at http://www.univie.ac.at/Wirtschaftsgeschichte/sexbibl. She notes that "[t]his bibliography, which was created by Franz X. Eder as part of a research project on the history of sexuality, contains approximately "16,600 titles of the non-belletristic primary and secondary literature of the history of sexuality in Europe, the U.S., and Canada from 1700 to 1945", according to the information on the title page of the web site. The bibliography also contains material covering time periods from the antiquity to the present, as well as titles for non-Western societies. Given the presence of numerous articles that lie outside the time period and geographical locations suggested by this name, one wonders why the database caries the title that it does. A more appropriate title would seem to be "Bibliography of the History of Sexuality."

The database can be searched by author/editor, by keywords in the title, by year of publication, region, descriptors, and time period. The author searching is unusual in that if the "partial matching feature" is enabled, character strings in the middle of a name can be searched. Thus a search of "Eder" would also retrieve the name "Osterieder". The title search automatically "ands" individual words, but does not allow for more precise searches of exact titles. There is no truncation symbol in the title search, but this is unnecessary, because the search engine retrieves any record that contains the character string that has been entered. This results not only in automatic right truncation, but also in automatic left truncation: a search of "sprung, charakter, habitus" retrieves a title containing the words "Ursprung, Charakter, Habitus ." There are no Boolean operators in the title search. There is also no way to limit a search by language or by document type, even though each record begins with a designation of the document type.

The region search requires the use of pre-determined region designations that must be selected from a drop-down menu. Here too, some of the contradictions in the design of the database become apparent. It is not possible to search for Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, Moravia or any of the other historical names for that region. Instead, the only options offered are Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, terms that apply to that region only after 1993, when these two republics were formed. Given that this database claims to focus on the period 1700 to 1945, when many European countries and regions were known by many names and many of the current names or currently named countries did not even exist, the decision to restrict the user to 1990s designations for countries or regions is not apparent. There is no region designation for "eastern Europe, or "Europe, eastern." One must either use the names of individual countries or the term "Europe." Although there is a separate designation for USA, Canada must be searched under "USA, Canada." The region search is further complicated by the presence of region designations in records, that cannot be searched at all. There is no region designation "China", but a title keyword search for the word "China" retrieves 16 records, many of them with the region designation "chin". Since "chin" cannot be found in the drop-down menu and therefore cannot be searched, a user would have to experiment with a variety of possible Chinese personal names, city names, or keywords pertaining to sexuality in China, to determine how many records in the database deal with the history of sexuality in China. Because there is only one drop-down menu for regions, there is no way to search multiple regions.

The descriptor search functions similarly to the region search. There are two identical drop-down menus of approximately 100 terms, and a user can select a term from either one menu or both menus and combine them. Only "and" and "or" are available as Boolean operators. There is no "not." Curiously, neither "penis", "vagina" nor "intercourse" are descriptors, nor is the word "breast", but there is a wide variety of both specific and general terms, pertaining to many aspects of human sexuality. The descriptions are always in English, regardless of the language of publication of the article, and they are applied liberally to the individual records. Most records have at least four terms. The descriptors frequently consist of phrases or groups of terms (for example "marriage, adultery, divorce, family" or "transvestism, transsexuals, androgyny, transgender"), presumably to ensure that all aspects of a concept are covered and that the number of records retrieved is high. Some of the descriptors (for example "social or sociological aspects", "cultural aspects") are in fact qualifying phrases that should be applied to an additional descriptor. Sometimes, however, only the qualifying phrase is present as a descriptor. The book by Le maraichinage: Coutoume du pays de mont: Vendée by Marcel Baudouin has the above-mentioned phrases as its only descriptors. The book Sexual Life in Ancient China has "general overviews" as its only descriptor.

The time period designation is noteworthy, but also somewhat problematic. Because the database in reality covers the time period from classical antiquity to the present, some system must be devised for dates normally rendered with the designation "B.C." The creators of this database have chosen the number "1" to refer to all B.C. time periods; A.D. time periods are given in the conventional manner. It is somewhat unsettling to see that many records do not have time periods assigned to them and that in other cases, the date of publication of the article is used as the time period, when the title of the record suggests something quite different. Berthold Laufer¹s article "Ein homosexuelles Bild aus China" Anthropophyteia 6 (1909) has "1909" as its only time designation, and "Germany" as its only regional designation. Wolfgang Detel¹s book Macht, Moral, Wissen. Foucault und die klassische Antike has the time designation 1-1984, suggesting that it deals with history of sexuality from classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, 18th century etc. to1984. It does not. In many cases where a single date is used, this reviewer would have thought that at least a decade, if not a longer time period, would have been more appropriate.

The authors of this database are to be thanked for covering the literature from numerous languages and for including entries for individual chapters within collections of essays, although these collections may not always have been systematically indexed. In the case of one such collection, Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of Attitudes to Sexuality edited by Roy Porter and Mikulá_, four of the essays are not listed in this bibliography. The generally detailed level of indexing notwithstanding, this reviewer has some reservations about the completeness or comprehensiveness of the bibliography. A search of the subject term "sexuality" in Historical Abstracts, which was subsequently limited to items published after 1995, yielded approximately 300 entries. Of the first 30 that were searched, only one of them was found in this database. In fairness to Mr. Eder, he states in his introductory remarks that the bibliography is "extensive, but not complete." The criteria for selection do not appear to be stated, however.

There is much to be praised in this database, but this reviewer believes that it could be improved with some changes to the search functionality, especially with regard to the "region" and "descriptor" searching, a serious re-examination of the terms that are used in the "region" search fields, some changes to the practices used in assigning time designations, and a careful search of related indexes such as Historical Abstracts, to identify items that have been missed in this bibliography. If the authors of the database plan to continue to cover the history of sexuality far beyond the period from 1700 - 1945 and in countries outside of what is normally understood as "western", then a change in name for this database would seem to be in order, too."

Although with a German focus, I am also listing here Linwood¹s review of Sehepunkte: Rezensionjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften -- ISSN 1618-6168; (http://www.sehepunkte.historicum.net) -- as this online journal provides reviews not only for German, but also English and French resources. As Linwood writes, the journal "takes its name from a concept introduced by the theologian and historian Martin Chladenius, offers reviews in German, English and French of monographs and multi-volume works that pertain to all aspects and all period of history. This includes the history of medicine, law and art. Initially the focus will be on German scholarship, but the intention of the editorial committee is to eventually cover European and non-European scholarship also. The editorial office is currently located in the department of modern history at the University of Munich.

The journal is available free of charge (you can subscribe to it at the following address: http://www.sehepunkte.historicum.net/abo/abo.htm) and it appears twelve times per year. (The July-August issue is a double issue). Subscribers receive the issues by e-mail, but the complete text of all reviews can also be examined under "Archiv" at the "sehepunkte" homepage (see above).

In the first issue of this journal there are 36 reviews, three of them pertaining to English language publications and one of them reviewed in English, and they cover a wide variety of subject disciplines and time periods, from classical antiquity to the post World War II period. A typical review is approximately 1500 - 2000 words long and provides a detailed analysis and critique of the book, but is not a review essay of the type that often appear in the New York Review of Books. All reviews are carefully examined by members of the editorial team, to ensure a high standard of quality. The editorial office welcomes submissions from reviewers and publishers."

A major Pan-European event and publication is the on-line availability of the Regesta Imperii at http://www.regesta-imperii.org. Promoted by the DFG, the Regesta Imperii Online project is the result of a cooperation of the Regestenkommission Mainz and the Bavarian state library who have joined forces to supply free of charge all volumes available today of the Regesta Imperii in image and full text formats.

The Regesta Imperii, which since 1980 is under the direction of the "Deutschen Regestenkommission der Mainzer Akademie der Wissenschaften" in cooperation with the Austrian and the "Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie," provides information on all documentary and historiographical sources of the Roman-German kings and emperors from Carolingian rule onto Maximilian I. (751-1519), and that of the popes of the early and high Middle Ages. This includes access by date and a description of contents of all known documents of a ruler with complete bibliographic references and comments. Additionally the "Regesten" provide all known information to the stays and political activities of the respective kings and emperors.

The on-line database currently contains the complete Regesta Imperii in image format, which can be browsed at http://www.regesta-imperii.org and http://mdz.bib-bvb.de/digbib/urkunden/ri, which both lead to the search interface of the BSB. Unfortunately, the full text availability is, as of now, still restricted to the first volume of the Regesta Imperii: Karolinger: 751-918 (926/962).

Access to the "Regesten" is completed with a bibliography of resources cited in the volumes of the Regesta Imperii, including other secondary literature treating with the time period/topic of medieval history. The bibliography currently contains about 130,000 references to European publications. The advantage here, is that the bibliography is subject specific and largely focused on European materials which are not always easily accessible by existing indexing services. Links to additional on-line resources are also provided.

Via Jim Campbell (and Klaus Graf), we are notified of the availability of a new web site, "Geisteswissenschaftliche Datenbanken im Internet" at http://de.geocities.com/tokuehne. The page provides a useful, though certainly not exhaustive, list of indexes in the Humanities and (despite its name) the Social Sciences. While Project Muse, for example, is listed, JSTOR is not. The MLA or the Philosophers Index, as well as ABELL or Francis are also missing. The site also lacks a clear distinction between indexes and full text databases. Nevertheless, it does provide links to numerous databases in the Humanities and the Social Sciences and constitutes a good resource for identifying less known databases that WESS members might want to list on their own subject web pages.

In case anybody missed it, I am also repeating here Jeffry Larson¹s message to WESS Web administrators regarding the news gateway "ABYZ News Links: Your Gateway to Newspapers, News Media, and News Sources" available at http://www.abyznewslinks.com. What distinguishes ABYZ from other valuable existing foreign news sites is that it provides links to selected broadcast, internet, magazine, and newspaper news sources, as well as to press agencies and local news sources. ABYZ thus provides a fairly comprehensive listing of all freely available news sources on the web, per country and its regions. In some cases, ABYZ also links to background information, such as the World Factbook. Though the quantity of news sources varies, they invariably include the major newspapers and magazines in the countries surveyed. The home page is clearly organized, although the classification of some countries is sometimes somewhat surprising as, for example, the United Kingdom is listed under "Northern Europe." But this is a detail that does not detract from the overall usefulness of this new site, in particular since ABYZ also provides a search feature that allows one to quickly locate news sources. While a geographical access is simple and fast, the advanced search interface permits wild card ("*") and approximate searching ("?") and to limit searches by date.

In a shameless plug for our own WESS projects, I thought I would point out here the Guide to Western European Periodicals, available from our WESS home page. The guide is accessible at http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/~hierl/wess/igwep/IGWEP.html and, while being far from complete, provides a starting point to finding articles in Western European periodicals prior to 1914 (though some resources certainly go beyond 1914 in their coverage). While this cut-off date is a purely artificial one and could be expanded, it is designed to distinguish this guide from major indexing sources that cover the latter part of the 20th Century to today. The guide is organized by language and further sub-divided by century. Entries are listed in alphabetical order and classified as "indexes," "guides," and "web sites." Resources that span several centuries are repeated as many times as applicable to ensure fast access to all indexes or guides for a particular language and century. The division of resources into "indexes," "guides," and "web sites" is meant to delimit proper indexes to periodicals from print bibliographies listing and describing periodicals, from web sites providing further information and links on periodicals. For example, a web site providing an index or even table of contents would be listed under "indexes," but a web site providing the history of certain publications would be listed under Web sites. All comments regarding the guide and it¹s organization are highly welcome.

Though probably already known to all, Gabriel ­ the Gateway to Europe's National Libraries ­ is now available in a new and revised format. After 5 years of existence Gabriel has been redesigned and updated in a new and more user-friendly layout. Covering 41 European national libraries from the 39 countries represented in the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), Gabriel offers information on their services, online exhibitions, and printed and electronic collections, as well as instructions on how to gain access to their online catalogues and services. Accessible in English, French, and German, all web sites of the European national libraries can be searched simultaneously using a single keyword or phrase. [Scout Report]

Currently, Gabriel features an online exhibition "Treasures of Europe's National Libraries" at http://www.kb.nl/gabriel/treasures/entree.html which showcases materials held in libraries throughout Europe. Unfortunately, this exhibit provides little more than glimpses of some of the holdings, with very short histories and generally only one illustration.

Gabriel is accessible via the following web addresses:

http://www.kb.nl/gabriel/ (The Netherlands)

http://www.bl.uk/gabriel/ (United Kingdom)

http://www.ddb.de/gabriel/ (Germany)

http://www.lib.helsinki.fi/gabriel/ (Finland)

http://nuk.uni-lj.si/gabriel/ (Slovenia)

Via Sarah Wenzel, we are informed of the newly introduced Migration Information Source Web site at http://www.migrationinformation.org/index.cfm by the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. The site provides information on trends and changes in global migration on both the national and international front. One can browse statistical information for Western European countries through the dropdown menu of countries under "global data." While not all statistical reports are available for every country, the site provides fast summaries of some major statistical data, such as the stock of foreign-born population by country of birth; the stock of foreign born as a percentage of the total population; estimates of the net number of migrants, by five year intervals, 1950 to 2000; the annual number of asylum applications by nationality; or the acquisition of citizenship by country of former nationality. All of this information is listed by year (or five year intervals) to allow analysis and, in some case, by sex and age. The site also provides short profiles by country, explaining the main issues facing each nation. For non-specialists, the site includes a useful glossary of terms and phrases. While there are many sources for statistical data, the main advantage of this site is that is provides fast and free access to some of the key data regarding migration in Western Europe. This data is often more detailed and easier of access than data from national or supra-national institutes such as l¹INSEE for France or Eurostat. The OECD has comparable and sometimes more detailed information, but the reports are generally not free. The UN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also provide statistical reports on migration and are featured on the list of "Links" that is not very prominently displayed at the bottom of the Migration Information Source home page.

French Resources

Jeffry Larson reports that "[t]he Guide Niçaise des associations d'amis d'auteurs, which was annotated in the New Publications of Note column of our Sping 2001 issue, is updated (finally) on a web site maintained by Gallimard: http://www.amis-auteurs-nicaise.gallimard.fr. Included are ca. 200 active groups, 100 "en sommeil", and several score that did not reply to the questionnaire. A contact e-mail address is given, and additions are welcomed."

As many of know, the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon is both a repository for some of France's finest collections of rare books and a leader in the development of online and digital media. The library recently unveiled a new database, "la base Provenance des livres anciens," available under "bases de données" from the home page: http://www.bm-lyon.fr.

The "Provenance" database displays the marks that since the mid-15th century have been used by individuals or institutions to identify their printed books. These include armorial bindings and coats of arms, manuscript or printed ex-libris, readers' notes, annotations of every kind, etc. Regardless of the social standing of the owners­which could be doctors, students, religious officials, jurists, celebrated humanists, or completely unknown­records in the "Provenance" database can include several images, some biographical or historical information if available, a transcription and description on the marks of ownership, a date indicating when the marks were used (even if approximate), the shelfmark and title of the book which has been digitized and the reference works which have been consulted in order to identify the former owner. A link to a full description of the book in the catalog provides more information on its history, allowing for example to identify other books owned by a person or institution. This allows users to retrace the intellectual and geographic itineraries of the works and proves to be a particularly useful site for researchers in the history of the book, especially since users can view the actual artifacts and handwriting of the period consulted.

Though the database is still in development, the marks of large convents in and around Lyon, as well as of principal bibliophiles, whose collections constitute most of the old funds of the library itself, have been included. The fields can be browsed by clicking on the field name in the left part of the screen or searched by keyword. To search the marks of ownership by word, change the "Operateurs" for that field from "Egal" to "Contient".

Next to "Provenance," the bibliothèque de Lyon also provides access to the following databases:

*Enluminures -- 12,000 images from 457 documents of the 5th through 16th centuries, manuscripts and incunables and Renaissance books.

*Ecrivains Rhône-Alpes -- bio-bibliographies of 200 local writers of autobiography, fiction, poetry, mysteries, science-fiction, theater;

*Estampes -- the BMLyon prints collection ­ Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Jost Amman, Adrian Collaert, Thomas de Leu, Davent, etc. ;

* Affiches -- a thousand posters, from the late 19th century through the first half of the 20th -- art, exhibitions, advertising, announcements of publications and of shows, also official proclamations and propaganda from the two world wars.

[With excerpts from Jack Kessler¹s review in FYI France; kessler@well.sf.ca.us]

German Resources

Moving from the history of Western sexuality to Women¹s and Gender Studies, Linwood DeLong provides us with this review of "Querelles-Net: Rezenionszeitschrift für Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung" http://www.querelles-net.de:

"This web site takes its name from the "querelles des femmes", a vigorous literary debate between men and women concerning gender relations and gender superiority that took place in Europe from approximately 1400-1789, sparked by the writings of the French poet Christine de Pisan. The site seeks to provide reviews of current scholarship pertaining to women¹s studies and gender studies, as well as summaries of current research and references to other related web sites, electronic journals and Internet-based discussion forums. There is also a cumulative classified bibliography of approximately 300 titles that pertain to women¹s studies or gender studies. In addition, each issue contains a major "forum": an essay, an interview, or summary of a major exhibition, for example, usually supplemented by illustrations. The site is organized by the Zentraleinrichtung zur Förderung von Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung an der FU Berlin (an institute for women¹s studies and gender studies at the Free University in Berlin).

Currently, reviews can only be submitted in either English or German, but it is hoped that other languages can be accommodated in the future. Most of the pages of this web site are in German, but there is a brief English version that summarizes the objectives of the site: http://www.querelles-net.de/english/index.html

There are four issues per year, devoted to specific areas of women¹s studies or gender studies, and most of the literature selected for review pertains to these areas. The topics to date have included national socialism and anti-semitism; women¹s studies in eastern Europe; science and technology; East and West Germany; and music, film, theatre and art. The most recent issue (no. 7) is devoted to literary studies.

Approximately 80% of the reviews are written in German, although the books that are reviewed are published in numerous European languages and a substantial portion of the books are in English. The reviews are approximately 1500 words long, signed, with the institutional affiliation of the reviewer. Each review is preceded by a one-paragraph précis in German and English, but curiously the English versions of these précis are only viewable if one clicks on the two options (HTML or Word6/Win9X) under "Druckversion." In addition to the reviews that pertain to the topic of a given issue, there are supplementary book reviews on a wide range of topics related to this web site.

Users of the web site are encouraged to provide feedback, to volunteer for reviews, or to suggest publications for review. This is an impressive web site with sufficient English language content to be of interest to users who are not fluent in German."

Linwood continues with the review of Zeitenblicke: Online-Journal für die Geschichtswissenschaften ISSN 1619-0459 http://www.zeitenblicke.historicum.net/index.html.

She writes that "[t]he editors of this free online journal, which began publishing in July, 2002, plan to cover a wide spectrum of topics and periods of history as well as interdisciplinary approaches to history in their new publication. There will be three issues per year, which will contain a substantial portion of scholarly articles but will also include service information such as summaries of existing research, interviews, and information about current research projects in history.

The editors, Professors Gudrun Gersmann and Peter Helmberger from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and Prof. Matthias Schnettger from the Institut für Europäische Geschichte, hope to exploit the full potential of the Internet and to offer extensive illustrations and reproductions from source documents or primary sources. The journal is not intended as a competition to existing scholarly journals but as a complementary publication that upholds the high standards of traditional scholarly research.

Each issue will be devoted to a specific topic. The inaugural issue focuses on the history of witchcraft and includes two interviews with established scholars, two essays on the existing scholarly literature on this topic, three articles (one in English) that deal with specific primary texts, two reviews of exhibitions dealing with witchcraft, and several descriptions of current research projects. The articles contains a large number of illustrations (JPEG images) which can be expanded, sometimes to approximately four inches square and sometimes to full screen images.

Articles may be submitted in languages other than German, but those that are not in German must be accompanied by a German summary. Articles should not exceed 35,000 characters in length. An English language introduction to the first issue can be found at the following web site:http://www.zeitenblicke.historicum.net/2002/01/editorial/english.html. Subscriptions may be requested at the following web site: http://www.zeitenblicke.historicum.net/abo/abo.html."

John Rutledge discovered a new site describing German tales and legends, both traditional and contemporary at alt.sagen.at. I quote: "Ich finde Sagen voooooooool geil!!!!!!!!!

The site offers what is probably the largest collection of German tales and legends (Sagen) on the Internet. Wolfgang Morscher at the University of Innsbruck has made some 5500 prose texts available. The look of the page is clean and crisp; use of color is sparse. Fonts are well chosen and easy to read. Navigation is logical and easy. There are three major content areas: modern tales (really urban legends), traditional "fairy tales", and quasi-literary Märchen (Grimms and a few others).

First, the urban legends, or Sagen der Gegenwart. Many German and Austrian urban legends sound familiar to English speakers: a crocodile in the Donaukanal reminds one of alleged alligators in the New York sewers. Each urban legend comes with an indication of its source. This section is similar to the urban legends FAQ http://www.urbanlegends.com/afu.faq in that a source is provided for rumors and the editors state whether the "legend" should be regarded as true or not. Some 141 of these contemporary legends relate to Austria itself; 16 are from Germany. Occasionally there are posted versions from several different decades. The thematic index (Motivliste) of the urban legends contains 170 topics. Despite the humorous signs declaring "No kangaroos in Austria," reported kangaroo sittings in Austria evidently originate with the escape of an actual marsupial from the Salzburg zoo in 1998.

There is a large collection of traditional legends (Sagen). Austrian tales, some 1,758 of them, form the largest section numerically. Under Germany one finds 877 tales. There is a further division by region. Thus, under Hamburg one finds "Der Esel als Dudelsackpfeifer." Not all categories are complete: there are not yet any fairy tales for France. If a section is complete, however, the text can be read online.

The more literary Märchen section provides online access to 240 of the Grimm Brothers¹ fairy tales. Keyword searching of the Grimm Brothers Kinder- und Hausmärchen makes it possible to find every instance of "Gold" in the collection (67 hits). Some of them tales are illustrated (marked with an icon); a few are in dialect (also marked with an icon). The are sailors¹ and seafaring legends too. Eventually the Musäus fairy tales will be added, as this site is still under construction. This is an excellent site, enthusiastically lauded in the obligatory sign-my-guestbook. There are some interactive features as well, appropriate for a site that celebrates the Volk. If you know any salty Schimpfwörter, you can contribute them online."

Germanic resources proving very popular among Bits & Bytes reviewers this Fall, Dale Askey describes austrian literature online - http://www.literature.at - of which he notes the "ee cummings"-like short name: alo.

"alo is a library of digitized Austrian literature, rather than a source for biographical or critical information on Austrian writers. The creators--staff at universities in Graz, Linz, and Innsbruck, supported by various public entities--have created the framework for what could evolve into a large digital library. At present, the collection includes approximately 200 titles or collections, which are browse-able under broad subject headings or searchable by title, author, and date. Full-text searching, according to the site, will be available in the future. The collections will continue to grow, as the creators are actively soliciting any works related to Austrian literature for inclusion in alo. The collection includes literary works, manuscripts, and periodicals. Highlights include Grillparzer's works in 42 volumes and a 19th century Brentano edition.

The scanning quality of the works is generally very good, and the technical aspects of the presentation are excellent, with various zoom options and even the capability creating user-customized PDF files for printing or downloading. The creators opted to mark up the texts using XML and Dublin Core metadata, laying the foundation for a very sophisticated product. The interface in general is rather Spartan, which is not surprising since, in their own words, they designed it under the motto "less is more." After a few minutes spent reading the brief information pages, however, the site is very easy to understand and navigate. Unfortunately, the interface is in German only and the server was rather slow to respond. These faults notwithstanding, this is already a useful site and will only get better with the addition of full-text searching and more titles."

Though this is perhaps not the latest news, but particularly interesting in view of the WESS Guide to Western European Periodicals, six-teen German journals from the Enlightenment have been digitalized by the University Library in Bielefeld: http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/diglib/aufklaerung.

Promoted by the German research council in the context of its retrospective digitization program of library holdings ("Retrospektive Digitalisierung von Bibliotheksbeständen," which contains links to further projects at http://www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gdz/de/vdf-d), the site provides electronic versions of the main review organs and literature magazines of the German Aufklärung. The titles correspond to those in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, in addition to 43 further periodicals indexed in the Index deutschsprachiger Zeitschriften 1750-1815, and include such important titles as the Deutsche Monatsschrift, Deutsches Museum, Hamburgisches Magazin, Journal zur Kunstgeschichte und zur Allgemeinen Litteratur, London und Paris, Minerva and Bibliothek der schönen Wissenschaften und der freyen Künst. All periodicals were filmed by Georg Olms, which offers the microfilm for sale on its web site and then migrated to the web by the library of the university Bielefeld. For those European libraries, Georg Olms announces that it will also offer the information on CD. Also consult the Bielefeld university library¹s offering of other full text resources for further interesting projects at: http://www.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/diglib.

Having mentioned the Guide to Western European Periodicals as a new resource, I cannot let out Gail Hueting¹s wonderful new guide to Special Collections in German Studies in North American Libraries at http://www.lib.virginia.edu/wess/gdg.html.

As preparation for the WESS Germanists Discussion Group meeting last June in Atlanta, Gail compiled a list that lists 20 special and archival collections of rare German studies materials in North American libraries. Organized alphabetically by name of the collection, the list provides information on the holding institution and a short description of the collection, including URLs and contact information for further research. Not surprisingly, the list includes some of the major research libraries in the country, but also smaller institutions such as the Goethe Institut Chicago, which would not readily come to the mind of the neophyte. A highly useful resource that is nevertheless labeled as "incomplete" and depends on input from WESS members for updates.

Music selectors and aficionados will find the new Arnold Schönberg Center that just recently opened its electronic doors at http://www.schoenberg.at/default_e.htm highly interesting and useful. The site provides the most complete information available on the net for the Austrian composer. It includes a detailed biography; an extensive and regularly updated bibliography that describes his compositions with information on first performances, as well as fragments, drafts, and sketches; a discography; a photo album; essays and further links on the composer. In addition, the site provides access to the archive and library of the Schönberg Center, which contains too many resources to be listed here, but some of which ­ such as manuscripts, correspondence, aphorisms, and comments, etc. ­ are accessible as images files via the web. Copies of past programs and a vast collection of international newspaper clippings from the years 1900 to 1951 are also consultable on-line. With further information on current publications, symposia, research grants, and other events, the site constitutes an incomparable resource for anybody interested in Schönberg.

Italian Resources

Jeffry Larson notifies us of the publication of Aimeri, Luca, & Tomasi, Dario. Internet per il cinema: tecniche, generi, cinematografie, autori. Torino: UTET libreria, 2001. viii, 354 p.; 21 cm. (Internet. Storia del cinema) ISBN 8877507349: LITS 35,000. This title is mentioned here as it is "[a] classified guide to web sites dealing with the history and other aspects of international cinema, with more than half being devoted to authors and films. URLs are listed after each section, and not with the description of the site. Lists WESS member Martha Zárate¹s Italian cinema page at UIUC with further links at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/mdx/itacin.htm ("una ricca pagina di risorse"), but not unfortunately her WESSWeb version [1]. Includes an index of URLs."

A while ago, Dick Hacken informed us that a "premiere online site for concentrated Leonardo studies comes from Vinci, naturalmente. The webpage for La Biblioteca Leonardiana, found at the URL http://reanet.comune.empoli.fi.it/vinci/home.htm, offers a portal not only into its own Leonardo holdings but also into those published throughout the world in whatever discipline -- from military science and aeronautics to art and literature. That portal, the Bibliografia Internazionale Leonardiana carries the URL http://reanet.comune.empoli.fi.it/vinci/ricerche.htm and is searchable in a number of ways including keyword (" tutti I campi " under the "campi " search) , by alphabetical lists under various fields, or by a "libera" or esperti " search that doesn¹t have to be left to experts, since the help page and the search page are one."

Spanish Language Resources

Breaking the boundaries of purely European resources, because this important new site contains numerous works by European artists and exiles and because of its interest to all Romance Languages/Spanish language selectors, Vanessa Kam reviews the Colección Cisneros at http://www.coleccioncisneros.org.

She writes, "[t]his multimedia, interactive website showcases more than 160 works from the Latin American art collection of the Fundación Cisneros (Cisneros Foundation), a Caracas-based philanthropic organization focused on a variety of educational and cultural initiatives. The core strength of the collection lies in abstract art produced in Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina from the 1930s to the 1960s, yet the collection also includes objects of Colonial Latin American art, international decorative art, and nineteenth-century idyllic Latin American landscapes executed in the traveler-reporter tradition by German and French artists such as the Ferdinand Bellermann (1814­1889), Eduard Hildebrandt (1818­1869), and Camille Pissarro (1830­1903). By presenting their collection through this web site, publications and exhibitions, and by launching joint educational programs with institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Fundación hopes to heighten awareness of the intricacies and avant-garde nature of art from and about Latin America, for neophyte and more sophisticated art audiences alike, and to place it within a broader Western cultural history context.

Upon entering the site, the viewer has a choice of low (html) or high (Flash) bandwidth, and text in English, Spanish or Portuguese. This reviewer chose the high bandwidth, and after a sizzling introduction to the collection (sound is an integral aspect of the web site), a cascade of multicolored squares revealed six general themes: place, perceptions, traces, memory, structures, and utopia. Several of these themes might be familiar to seasoned viewers of Latin American and Latino(a) art; they have been used effectively by curators for exhibitions in the past such as Amalia Mesa-Bains¹s Ceremony of Spirit: Nature and Memory in Contemporary Latino Art (1993); Mari Carmen Ramírez and Edith Gibson¹s Re-aligning Vision: Alternative Currents in South American Drawing (1997) documenting the concept of trace, and Marilyn Zeitlin¹s Contemporary Art from Cuba: Irony and Survival on the Utopian Island (1999). Clicking on one of the themes will send you to page where the theme is briefly explained, and tiny color thumbnails of individual works appear to the left, inviting your exploration. After choosing a work, you will receive a larger version of the image, and a short description of the significance of the work and the artist. A movie consisting of black-and-white photo stills of the featured artists appears, along with an invitation to "launch" the theme through interactive exercises, some of which are more successful than others in explicating the theme. For example, for "structures," you can build a mobile of colored geometric objects vaguely resembling the work of featured Uruguayan artist Carmelo Arden Quin; for "perceptions" you pull a Venetian blind up and down and explore the optical effects of objects behind it much like the work of Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, a renowned optical art artist; "utopia" is the most labor intensive, requiring you to put together pieces of a puzzle which forms a maze, and after navigating the maze, you are required to find the correct key to a keyhole.

Viewers to the site may also study works by the twenty-nine artists featured in a section entitled "Artists and Works." Once on this path, the visitor can uncover a substantive biography of the artist, along with color images of their work (complete with a zoom tool for more detailed viewing), related works by other artists from Europe and Latin America, a brief description of the art "movement" in which they participated, and a modest bibliography of written works. Also featured here are drop-down captions with text that aims to place the artist¹s work in a broader, worldwide cultural context by making references to seminal exhibitions, and developments in art history and criticism taking place during the same period in time. The site also features an index by artist¹s name, and a study guide geared towards middle and secondary school students and educators.

What is particularly useful about this site is a collection of artists¹ writings and manifestos. The research value of these documents is tremendous for what they reveal about the ideas behind such critical developments as Brazil¹s anthropophagi movement in the 1920s and 1930s, articulated by writer Oswalde de Andrade in 1928, Joaquín Torres-García¹s School of the South text (1935) outlining what would turn out to be a highly influential, Uruguayan born, constructivist art movement, and the Madí Manifesto (1946) by Gyula Kosice articulating principles of the neo-concrete movement that, along with elements of Latin American kinetic art, had a strong impact in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. The site is worthwhile for the reproduction of these writings alone. Yet is should also be praised for its emphasis on geography and dynamic temporalities. Viewers are invited, more than once, to consult an interactive globe and to carry-out activities as simple as identifying local time and weather conditions in the country chosen or as complex as understanding the specific impact an artist had a selected number of very prominent cities in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. In another section, viewers can choose selected dates, dragging them to a moving timeline. Once they have arrived to the timeline, the cultural and socio-political significance of the date is explained.

The sight should also be appealing to visitors who are relatively new to Latin American art and/or abstraction because certain terms in the descriptive text are hyper linked, and lead you to a glossary where the term is defined. A similar feature can be found in the online version of the Grove Dictionary of Art, allowing the reader to easily navigate between a term and its definition.

Although the navigational structure of the site is imperfect (options to go "back" are not as present as one might wish), the color images are sometimes too small for one to get a good sense of the work, and the ways in which to operate the interactive elements of the site are not always self-explanatory, this site is one of the best available for introducing viewers to select movements and artists in twentieth-century Latin American art, and revealing the repercussions that their work had on artists in other countries. Its emphasis on interactivity and the accessibility of its language go far towards making learning fun, and will hopefully contribute to a wider appreciation of art from this region."

Please continue to submit notifications and/or reviews for inclusion in the upcoming issue of Europe in Bits & Bytes, as well as any comments to Sebastian Hierl.

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Fall 2002 > Europe in Bits & Bytes

Editor: Sarah G. Wenzel

Association of College & Research Libraries
©American Library Association

Personal tools