Doe Swaps Library Technology For Chilean Tomes

by Fernando Quintero

A stack of Chilean books towers above Enrique Riveros-Sch”fer, vice chair of the Center for Latin American Studies, who helped coordinate the shipment of books from the South American country in exchange for our expertise in bibliographic technology.

Thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation, more than 2,500 volumes from the National Library of Chile were acquired by Doe Library.

In return, library professionals and academics from two national libraries and three universities in Chile received training in evaluation, rotation, collection development and technology applications. They were also given electronic reference materials and cataloguing tools.

Training sessions were conducted by Carlos Delgado, librarian for Doe's Latin American collection, and John Ober, director of Information Systems Instruction and Support.

"It has been an exciting and beneficial experiment," said Riveros-Sch”fer. "This had never been done before. Our hope is that this program will be preserved and replicated with other countries."

Riveros-Sch”fer said book exchanges usually mean just that-- one book in exchange for another, rendering only a handful of books. As part of the books-for-technology exchange, the Berkeley library was invited to select books from more than 6,000 Chilean titles, including books on Chilean literature, art, music, the environment, health, education, politics, ministry and bank documents as well as reports on women's and human rights issues.

"Every department on campus will benefit from our new collection. Political scientists should have a field day just looking at these books. Our Spanish and Portuguese departments have already expressed a strong interest in them," Riveros-Sch”fer said.

Delgado said most of the books cannot be found in any UC campus library. About 30 percent of the books are not available anywhere in the United States.


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