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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Latin American & Caribbean Studies

Prepared by Darlene Hull,DATE: Fall, 2003
DRAFT for review by the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program


The purpose of this Collection Development and Access Plan is threefold. First, it is a tool for the Library to become better informed of the information and data needs of academic programs on campus. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document delivery services are being utilized to meet the bibliographic needs of these programs. Third, it is hoped that this plan will provide the faculty and the library staff a base for dialog concerning future information needs and areas for cooperation. This plan follows the broad guidelines established in Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market: A Framework for the University of Connecticut Libraries, issued by the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee in March 1999, and the FY 2003 update, Library Collecting for a Digital Age: An FY 2003 Update to Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market.


  1. Characteristics of the Community
  2. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns
  3. Current Patterns of Information Service
  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

The Latin American Studies program is an interdisciplinary program, which draws its core and contributing faculty from departments throughout the university, ranging from agricultural economics to tropical zoology, with particular strength in the traditional liberal arts disciplines, development studies, and tropical biology. The oldest area studies program at the University of Connecticut, Latin American Studies was initiated in the late 1940s through the efforts of two noted Latin Americanists, Nathan Whetten (Rural Sociology) and Robert G. Mead, Jr. Spanish). Professor Hugh Hamill (History) founded the Center for Latin American Studies in 1974, and fostered the development of the B.A. and M.A. degree programs at UConn. Under his leadership, the Center initiated a pattern of resource sharing and collaboration with Latin American Studies programs at other institutions in southern New England that continues to this day. In 1984, the Center added Caribbean to its formal name, the better to reflect the actual scope of its academic programs and faculty expertise.

UConn is a founding member of the Latin American Studies Consortium of New England (LASCNE) in which Brown University, the University of Massachusetts and Yale University collaborate to promote the study of Latin America and the Caribbean. During the nineties, this Consortium was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with funding under Title VI of the Higher Education act as a National Resource Center. The four Consortium members arrange occasional faculty exchanges and share visiting speakers, while graduate students and faculty may use the library resources of all members and students may take courses at any member school.

Graduate Studies: Latin American Studies offers work through the Master’s degree. Students are required to take a number of core courses and the remainder in a selected area of specialization. The Master’s in Latin American Studies requires a final research project (LAMS 380), which involves a seminar of research and writing, consultation with a project committee, and culminating in a public presentation to faculty, staff, and peers. Students must choose a major concentration within their Master’s program. Concentration areas include Anthropology, History, Political Science or Latin American Language and Literature. Alternatively, students may choose one of the following interdisciplinary concentrations: Latin American Area Studies, Latin American Cultural Studies, Development Studies, Latin American Public Opinion Research, Latin American Business, or Public Affairs.

Three dual degrees are also offered in Latin American Studies at the Master’s level. The degree combines course work in the Master’s program for that major and Latin American Studies. These include: M.A., Latin American Studies/Master’s in Business Administration; M.A., Latin American Studies/Master’s in Public Administration; M.A., Latin American Studies/Master’s in International Studies and Survey Research.

A language proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese is required for all LAS Master’s students.

Ph.D. students specialize in Latin America on the doctoral level. These students are registered with and receive degrees from specific university departments (e.g., History). Their library use is very specific and intense.

Undergraduate Studies: A major and minor in Latin American Studies is offered at the undergraduate level. Each includes a number of core courses and a language requirement.

Program Profile: (following numbers for Fall 2003):

Faculty: 32
LAS Master’s students: 11
Ph.D. students concentrating on LAS: 50

Undergraduate majors: 7
Undergraduate minors: 3

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns 2002-2003

Latin American Studies: $57,000.00 base budget FY 2004 (includes portion of Spanish Literature (HUSLIT) budget expended on literature from Latin American & the Caribbean)

Typical breakdown: Monographs $50,000.00 (including videos); Journals $7000.00

The journals expenditure figure reflects only those journals charged to the Latin American & Caribbean Studies budget and which are exclusively about Latin America & the Caribbean or published in Latin America or the Caribbean. Yet this amount by itself is misleading. Because of the diversity and interdisciplinary nature of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the program benefits greatly from the allocations in related programs in the humanities and social sciences. In particular, the program benefits by the library's support of related programs such as History, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Spanish, Art, and Political Science.

Networked Services: Electronic indexing and abstracting services purchased by the Library’s Networked Services budget which significantly support research in Latin American Studies include: HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index), MLA (Modern Language Association Bibliography), Historical Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, PAIS International, ECONLIT, Anthropological Literature, WorldCat, Infotrac, and Wilson Web.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Special Characteristics of the Literature

    Latin American & Caribbean studies is a highly interdisciplinary program. Faculty, students and researchers rely on English, Spanish, and Portuguese language books and journal literature as well as primary source materials, data sources, government documents and a variety of other resources in any number of disciplinary areas. Because of the widespread lack of journal indexing sources for Spanish and Portuguese language journals from Latin American & the Caribbean, much research relies on bibliographic serendipity and time consuming yet time-tested searches of bibliographies in other English, Spanish and Portuguese language publications in order to identify cited materials from foreign sources.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      The Latin American Studies program supports work in many disciplines. These include Anthropology, History, Political Science or Latin American Language and Literature, Cultural Studies, Development Studies, Public Opinion Research, Latin American Business, and Public Affairs.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        Monographic purchases focus on English and Spanish (and to a lesser extent Portuguese) language materials acquired through book vendors in Latin America and from major U.S. domestic academic and university presses.

        The following sources are relied upon for selection:

      2. Yankee Book Peddler Approval/Slip Plan. YBP covers all university press and most trade publishing produced or actively distributed in the U.S. Publishers who refuse to discount to YBP, or produce less than 5 titles per year, are not covered. A full list of covered publishers is available on the Library’s web page:
      3. Latin American & Caribbean approval plans and dealer’s catalogs (which are reviewed regularly)
      4. Mexico – Books From Mexico (Approval Plan)
      5. Central America – Libros de Vientos Tropicals (Approval Plan)
      6. Peru – Iturriaga (Lima) (Approval Plan)
      7. Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela – Editorial Inca (Bolivia) (Approval Plan)
      8. Brazil – (2) -- Susan Bach & Livro Atlantis
      9. Chile – Herta Berenguer (Santiago) (Approval Plan)
      10. Argentina – Linardi/Risso (Montevideo) (Approval Plan)
      11. Uruguay/Paraguay – Linardi/Risso (Approval Plan)
      12. Puerto Rico / Dominican Republic – Libros de Barlovento (San Juan) (Approval Plan)
      13. Cuba – (2) – Luis Retta (Uruguay) (Approval Plan)
      14. English-speaking Caribbean and Haiti -- Alan Moss (Barbados)

        Additional ordering is generated from faculty recommendations and investigating the previous publications of specific authors.

        Shorter print runs of monographic materials in Latin America & the Caribbean necessitate making quick decisions on collecting materials. Additionally, given the decreased inventory carried by publishers, and our recognition that both instructors and the topics of instruction change, we have typically bought more books in more areas of Latin American & Caribbean Studies than the needs of instructional support have required, particularly to facilitate potential research areas for faculty and graduate students. At the same time, we have had to be selective.

      15. Journals

        Journals purchasing will also focus on both Spanish and English and fewer Portuguese language materials. New journal subscriptions for Latin American Studies are generally ordered pursuant to a faculty or student request. The Library requires special justification, or evidence of demand from our document delivery statistics, to consider titles from commercial publishers known for rapidly increasing the subscription costs of their titles. Depending on its cost and the current state of the Latin American & Caribbean Studies budget, addition of a new title may require the cancellation of one or more existing subscriptions. In those instances where we have both the option and an economic incentive, it is currently library policy to prefer electronic to print subscriptions.

      16. Primary Source Material and Special Collections

        The Archives & Special Collections Department of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center houses a number of special research collections in Hispanic history and culture. The history of these research collections in Archives & Special Collections began with the purchase of the Chile, Medina, and Spanish Periodicals and Newspapers collections in the early 1960s and the Puerto Rico Collection in 1982. The department continues to develop these collections through gifts and purchase. The most recent acquisition (Spring 1993) was the Latin American Newspapers Collection. The Archives & Special Collections Department's numerous holdings in these areas support a strong Latin American and Caribbean Studies program on campus. For more detailed information see: /research/speclib/ASC/latin/hispbroc.htm.

      17. Other Media

        Video is acquired in VHS and DVD formats, but generally only in response to a specific faculty requests for use with a particular class. Collections are not proactively developed in video because of the relatively short expected life and the high cost of migrating or reformatting such media.

        CD-ROMs exhibit similar problems of compatibility with upgraded workstation configurations.

  3. Access Development
    1. Relevant Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      In order to assist Latin American & Caribbean Studies researchers to locate the research materials they need, the Library will use a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, and document delivery and interlibrary loan. The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services as well as those specific to Latin American & Caribbean Studies (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Library seems sufficient to meet this objective. This statement is accurate for what is available in the global information marketplace given that indexing and abstracting sources for Spanish and Portuguese language materials is not widespread.

    2. Electronic Journals, Books and Data

      User enthusiasm and economic incentives have caused the library to embrace electronic only access to commercial as well as non-profit journal packages. With the subscription year that begins in January 2004, if a cost savings is available, the libraries are generally converting journal subscriptions that currently bring us both print and electronic copies to electronic-only provision.

      We are making this change on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Many of our electronic journals do not come directly by license from the publisher, but instead through aggregator products such as Lexis-Nexis Academic, Dow-Jones, InfoTrac and Wilson Web. The arrangements between aggregators and publishers are constantly in flux. Only when titles are available through multiple aggregators, in a complete and reasonably current version will the cancellation of print be considered.

      We have resisted going electronic-only up to now because of concerns about long-term, archival access. Commercial publishers cannot be relied upon to archive their content once the prospect of additional sales approaches nil. Although a solution is far from in place, we believe that technologies now under examination, with funding from the National Science Foundation among others, will yield solutions whereby the largest research libraries will undertake the distributed archiving of digital content in all our interest. We expect that even the largest commercial publishers will, ultimately, cooperate with such an arrangement. NOTE: The above discussion on the Libraries’ practices regarding electronic journals refers almost exclusively to English-language publications. Very few Spanish and Portuguese language journals are available electronically. Paper versions will continue to be the standard for most Spanish and Portuguese language publications to support teaching and research in Latin American & Caribbean Studies.

    3. Other Internet resources

      The Latin American & Caribbean Studies liaison maintains a web page for resources that provides a starting place for students and faculty seeking local and international web resources of various sorts and promotes locally licensed electronic resources. This page is part of the Libraries’ web site. The Latin American & Caribbean Studies liaison is open to suggestions for the improvement of this page and is willing to set up specific links to resources being used in connection with local courses. Review this page at: /research/bysubject/lams.htm

    4. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan

      DD/ILL is an integral part of all our collection development and access plans. DD/ILL data is actively considered in relation to both journal purchase decisions and collection budget planning.

    5. Significant Campus or External Resources

      The Libraries of the Latin American Studies Consortium of New England (LASCNE) (Brown, UConn, UMass, Yale) have a long-standing agreement for cooperative on-site use and borrowing privileges. Faculty and students engaged in the study of Latin American & Caribbean Studies can take advantage of these privileges. Details concerning the reciprocal agreement and application procedures, as well as selective holdings at the 4 schools, are available at: /research/bysubject/consort.htm.

      The Latin America North East Libraries Consortium (LANE) is formed by a group of academic and research libraries in the northeastern United States committed to building and maintaining Latin American & Caribbean studies collections. The consortium seeks to promote collaborative projects that enhance the depth and scope of the combined collections and to facilitate access to them. For more information see:

      The Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP) is an initiative of the Global Resources Program of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Its principal goal is to expand access to Latin American research resources by promoting a distributed model of library cooperation, enhanced electronic access, and effective document delivery through a periodicals table-of-contents database, a open archives portal and other digital holdings. For more information see:

      The UConn libraries is also a member of LAMP, the Latin American Microform Project of the Center for Research Libraries. The purpose of LAMP is to acquire, preserve, maintain, and loan to its subscribers microform collections of unique, scarce, rare and/or bulky and voluminous research materials pertaining to Latin America. For information on holdings see:

      Additionally, in early 2004, the library hopes to implement access to the shared catalog of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC). By searching this catalog, researchers will be able to identify monographs that we don’t own and directly request them from the owning institution. Boston University’s Africana collection is one example of the kinds of resources students and faculty will be able to draw upon through the BLC shared catalog.

IV. Emerging Choices

The Libraries will investigate and promote new and developing products for full-text of Spanish and Portuguese journal publications as well as any indexing and abstracting sources that become available. As these products emerge on the market, the Library will evaluate them and their relevance to the teaching and research needs of faculty and students at UConn.

The use of film (video or DVD format) in course curriculum is increasing in all disciplines. We might want to consider some priorities across the program and a level of expenditure that will not cut too deeply into book or journal budgets.

Monographs Budget
In the field of Latin American & Caribbean Studies, which relies heavily on monographs as well as journal literature in English and Spanish, we will continue to rely heavily on local collections. We will need to closely monitor expenditures on non-book materials, such as videos, as they encroach on the monograph’s budgets.

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