by Jeremiah Paschke-Wood
APALA lost two of its primary founders in 2013 with the passing of Drs. Suzine Har Nicolescu and Sharad Karkhanis. In addition to helping create the organization, the two were well-respected librarians, administrators, authors and champions of free speech, social justice and the fight against racial discrimination.
Suzine Har Nicolescu was born March 21, 1931 in Seoul, Korea. A lover of language and the arts, she received a Bachelor’s in English Language/Literature and Fine Arts at Ewha Womans University in Seoul before moving to the United States. There she received her Master’s in Modern Languages/Literature and Comparative Linguistics from the University of Denver, where she also obtained her Master’s in Library Science. She would eventually add a Ph.D. in Library Information Systems from Simmons College.
After beginning her career in the library field as a foreign languages cataloger/bibliographer at the University of Denver, Nicolescu made stops at Illinois State University, Stony Brook University and The City College of New York before assuming the role of instructor/chief of instructional services at CUNY Medgar Evers College, where she would also serve as registrar, director of information systems, chief librarian and director of library services before retiring in 1999. At the time of her retirement, Dr. Nicolescu was one of only 30 Asian American directors in the United States. Nicolescu was also active in ALA, ACRL, LLAMA, American Library Trustees Association, International Relations Round Table and various other round tables and regional and state associations. She was president of APALA in 1985-1986.
Dr. Nicolescu was a proponent of dealing with discrimination with patience, objectivity and effort (Yamashita, 2000, pg. 99). She wrote articles and made presentations internationally on the topic of multicultural librarianship, including an article on the formation and goals of APALA for the journal Ethnic Forum and co-authored “Needs Assessment Study of Library Information Service for Asian American Community Members in the United States” with Henry Chang.
In his history of APALA and its founders, Dr. Kenneth Yamashita said,
“Her Asian ancestry espoused the advantages of hard work and perseverance, influencing her artistic ability, and sustained the ethical and moral values in her relationship with others.” (2000, pg. 99)
Dr. Suzine Har Nicolescu passed away Feb. 22, 2013 at the age of 81 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Sharad Karkhanis was born March 8, 1935 in Khopoli, India. Karkhanis earned a diploma in library science from the Bombay Library Association before even receiving his bachelor’s – which he would earn in economics from the University of Bombay (now University of Mumbai). After his first job at USIS Library (now American Library, Mumbai), Karkhanis moved to the United States in 1960 and enrolled at Rutgers University, where he received his MLS. He also earned a Master’s in International Relations/American Government from CUNY Brooklyn (now Brooklyn College) and a Ph.D. in American Government from New York University. Dr. Karkhanis served as Professor of Political Science and Libraries at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York from 1974-2005.
In 2008, Dr. Karkhanis was named Educator of the Year by the Democracy Project, who cited his “lifetime history of standing up against repression and censorship,” in giving him the award (Orenstein, 2008). An avid author, Karkhanis wrote a number of books and articles, including “Indian Politics and the Role of the Press” and “Jewish Heritage in America: A Bibliography.” In addition, he was the founder and editor of “The Patriot Returns,” a newsletter taking on CUNY administration and faculty. As editor, he fought a long legal battle against censorship regarding his criticism of university establishment and faculty.
Serving as the first APALA president, Karkhanis sought to develop APALA as a long-standing and functional organization through membership drives and published conference proceedings (Cardenas-Dow, 2013). He was also heavily involved with ALA’s Council Resolutions Committees, Bogle Pratt International Travel Fund, and was involved in various regional and university organizations.
Karkhanis was an advocate for young librarians, saying that they could become the agents of change the profession needs.
“He would encourage young Asian Americans to pursue a career in librarianship by promoting the opportunities for fresh ideas, assertive leadership, and intellectual growth that would change the status quo. He believes that new librarians can be the change agents the profession needs.” (Yamashita, 2000, p. 101)
Dr. Sharad Karkhanis spent his later years between Brooklyn and Boca Raton, Fla., where he died March 28, 2013, at age 78.
Cardenas-Dow, M. (2013). APALA Remembers Dr. Sharad D. Karkhanis. Unpublished article. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2013.
Orenstein, P. (2008, Jan. 1). Dr. Sharad Karkhanis Educator of the Year. Queens Village Eagle. Retrieved Dec. 6, 2013, from: http://democracy-project.com/2008/01/dr-sharad-karkhanis-educator-of-the-year/
Yamashita, K. (2000). Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association—A history of APALA and its founders. Library Trends, 49(1), 88-109. Last retrieved April 7, 2013, from: http://www.apalaweb.org/wpsandbox/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/apalahistory.pdf
Editing assistance provided by Alyssa Jocson.
by Jaena Rae Cabrera
I first learned about the Digital Public Library of America while studying for my MLIS at Syracuse University. When I heard about their call out for Community Reps, I figured it would be a good way for me to learn more about the DPLA, as well as an opportunity to meet others with similar interests in open access, digitization, etc. For DPLA, the community reps program helps them connect with local communities. Community reps assist with community outreach, not content recruitment, aggregation, or digitization.
From their FAQ page: DPLA “brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used.”
As a community rep, I also see an opportunity to explore DPLA’s definition of “America’s heritage” and how much (or how little) it includes the APA community, perhaps with the help of the APALA community.
This first post is meant as an introduction or overview of the DPLA.
The DPLA homepage highlights its function as a portal of discovery. Through the DPLA, students, teachers and the public have access to over 5.6 million items—photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States.
Users may browse and search the DPLA’s collections by timeline, map, visual bookshelf, format, and topic; save items to customized lists; and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staﬀ.
One important distinction to note is that the DPLA aggregates metadata records—the information that describes an item, such as its creator, date, place, provenance and so forth—not the content itself. Each record in the DPLA links to the original object on the actual content provider’s website.
Content providers are either service or content hubs.
The content hubs are large digital libraries, museums, archives, or repositories that maintain a one-to-one relationship with the DPLA. Content hubs provide more than 250,000 unique metadata records that resolve to digital objects (online texts, photographs, manuscript material, art work, etc.) to the DPLA, and commit to maintaining and editing those records as needed.
As of December 2013, the content hubs include the following institutions:
Conversely, service hubs are state or regional digital libraries that aggregate information about digital objects from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions within its given state or region. Each service hub oﬀers its state or regional partners a full menu of standardized digital services, including digitization, metadata assistance and training, data aggregation and storage services, as well as locally hosted community outreach programs, bringing users in contact with digital content of local relevance.
As of December 2013, DPLA’s service hubs include the following institutions:
Here’s an analogy to help visualize the service hub relationship: Imagine your local historical society or public library as a pond, containing unique cultural content. Ponds send their content through tributaries to lakes, the service hubs, which aggregate data from the various cultural heritage institutions across their state or region, the ponds. The service hubs then feed this content through rivers to the ocean, the DPLA.
Pond –> Lakes –> Ocean
Local public library –> Service hubs like Digital Commonwealth –> DPLA
A unique characteristic of DPLA is it also acts as a platform that enables users to creative new and transformative uses of digitized cultural material. With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, the DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and apps.
Through the DPLA’s powerful, open API, developers can build tools, programs, widgets, and plug-ins.
(An API is a set of routines, protocols, and digital tools for building software applications. A good API makes it easier for a developer to create an application that makes use of a particular set or sets of data by providing all the building blocks needed to integrate into his or her design. For example, Twitter releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.)
The DPLA App Library contains applications built by independent developers interested in seeing what open cultural heritage data can look like in different contexts.
OpenPics, for example, is an open source iOS application for viewing images from multiple remote sources, including the DPLA API.
Culture Collage is another simple tool that lets you search the DPLA’s image archives and view the results in a stream of images. Just keep scrolling to fetch more. You can click on an image to save it to a scrapbook without losing your position in the stream.
So far, being a DPLA community rep has been pretty low maintenance, but it is still in the early stages of the program. This post is really my first foray into community outreach for DPLA, although I am looking in to doing presentations or webinars for local library branches. I think it would also be fun to view and use the DPLA through a variety of lenses and information uses. It has so many different access points that the results could be pretty fascinating. On Twitter, I also plan to start posting interesting APA finds with the hashtag #DPLAfinds.
In future posts, I will explore DPLA’s access to APA collections via its different search options. If you have used DPLA for research before, please feel free to share your experiences with me at email@example.com, or tweet me @jaenarae with the hashtag #DPLAfinds. Please feel free to contact me with any more specific queries about DPLA, or if you might be interested in a webinar or presentation.
Editing assistance provided by Alyssa Jocson.
Nominations for APALA Elections Due March 4
We are still looking for nominees for the upcoming APALA elections! Please contact any member of the Nominations Committee to nominate yourself or a colleague for an APALA Executive Board position. The deadline is Tuesday, March 4 at 11:59pm PST, so do it now!
APALA Nominations Committee 2013-2014
Jade Alburo, Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sandy Wee (email@example.com)
Florante Ibañez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
APALA needs you!
APALA is looking for a few good people to run for office. Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague for:
Attendance at ALA Annual and Midwinter Conferences is expected. Nominees must be members in good standing. Officer terms will begin at the close of the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. For more information about the available offices, see the APALA bylaws: http://www.apalaweb.org/about/constitution-and-bylaws/.
The committee will accept nominations through Tuesday, March 4 at 11:59pm PST. Voting will be open March 19-April 15, 2014.
Please note that in order to vote in the election, you must be an APALA member in good standing on March 1, 2014.
Feel free to contact any member of the Nominations Committee with your nomination(s) or if you have any questions!
Miriam Tuliao is currently the Assistant Director of Selection at BookOps, the shared technical services organization for The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library. She received her Master’s in Library Science degree from Pratt Institute.
Miriam joined APALA in 2010 and is a member of the Publications/Newsletter and Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature committees.
Of her cultural heritage and background, she writes:
I am Filipino. I was born in the United States and lived in Manila for eight years as a child.
When asked about the satisfaction she derives from her professional position as a librarian, Miriam said she is invested in her work and in honoring mentors who help others in their library careers.
I am privileged to currently work on a team that helps develop collections for 150 neighborhood libraries across the four boroughs of New York City: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. The group is deeply committed to supporting the mission and enjoys the daily challenge of meeting library users’ diverse needs.
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors throughout my library career. A few years back, I set a personal goal of honoring and publicly thanking at least one mentor every year through a fundraiser swim for ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship. Training for the annual swim is both my “utang ng loob” and raison d’être.
Thank you for all you do for APALA, Miriam!
Article written by Jaena Rae Cabrera, with editing assistance by Jeremiah Paschke-Wood.
APALA is proud to sponsor the South Asian American Digital Archive‘s (SAADA) “Portrait of Dalip Singh Saund” in honor of APALA founder and first president Dr. Sharad Karkhanis, who passed away last March. (Dalip Singh Saund was the first Asian American/Indian American elected to Congress, in addition to being its first member of a non-Abrahamic faith.)
For more information on sponsoring an item from SAADA, please see http://www.saadigitalarchive.org/sponsor.
Oh look! The School Library Journal recently did a write-up on the history and goals of Talk Story, the joint cultural identity and family literacy program of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA).