Libris Geschiedenis Prijs for 2014 : recent prizewinners on Dutch history

In deciding which Dutch language titles to buy, the Library needs to be very selective, bearing in mind that the audience for such material amongst our readership is small. What we buy in Dutch is a small percentage of Holland’s total publishing output. On the other hand the Library has excellent collections of Dutch material, and providing continuity in our collection development is important. The Dutch language collection currently numbers about 22,000 items, and we add between 200 and 250 new titles each year. Our main focus is on history, fine arts, church history and medieval literature. Contemporary literature is acquired much more selectively.

The annual Libris Geschiedenis Prijs is a useful indicator of important recent titles in Dutch history, and the shortlist is scrutinised carefully. We buy many but not all of the titles featured, restricting our choice to books relating to the Dutch-speaking world. We did not acquire the 2010 winner, for example, a book in Dutch on the history of the Congo by David van Reybrouck, although this later appeared in English translation and was therefore received under legal deposit (649:2.c.201.29).

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Icelandic collections

Whilst Finnish language items have never been energetically collected in the University Library, it has substantial collections of material in the other Scandinavian languages – Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. Two librarians with special responsibility for Scandinavian studies built up our collections over half a century. F.T.K. Caröe had been the principal planner of the massive operation by which the University Library was moved from its old to its present premises in 1934. He retired in 1963, and in his obituary in the Staff Bulletin in January 1971, Deputy Librarian John Oates paid tribute to Caröe’s interest in the Scandinavian literatures, “his deep knowledge of which he used indefatigably in the interests of the University Library”. His successor Dr J.B. Dodsworth, who was appointed in October 1965, carried on that tradition, but since Dr Dodsworth’s retirement in 1998, collection development in this area has significantly diminished.

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New acquisitions (in French) from Africa south of the Sahara

Purchasing books from outside of France can sometimes present unique challenges. The publishing industry in France is large and relatively easily monitored; the same cannot always be said for the industry in other French-speaking countries, such as in Haiti and in French-speaking Africa south of the Sahara. We recently discussed issues relating to purchasing books from Haiti, and some of those issues are relevant for the latter area, and it is on recent purchases from this area that this post will focus.

A selection of recent purchases from this region includes :

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Some recent French-language purchases.

  • Tradition beti et la pratique de ses rites / Engelbert Fouda Etoundi.
    Yaounde : Éditions Sopecam, 2012
  • Rupture et transversalité de la littérature camerounaise / Marcelline Nnomo, Nol Alembong, Faustin Mvogo (eds).
    Yaounde : Éditions CLÉ, 2010
  • Prisonnier en Côte d’Ivoire : j’ai vécu l’enfer de la Maca : témoignage / Assalé Tiémoko.
    Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire : Le Réveil, 2009
  • Parole-vertige : essai sur les proverbes moundang (Cameroun-Tchad) / Clément Dili Palaï ; préface de Gabriel Kuitché Fonkou.
    Yaoundé : Éditions CLÉ, 2010
  • Origines de l’Église évangélique du Cameroun : missions européennes et christianisme autochtone / par Jaap van Slageren.
    Yaoundé : Éditions CLÉ, 2009
  • Guerre du Liberia : ce que j’ai entendu / Alphonse Voho Sahi ; [préface de Michel Galy].
    Abidjan : PUCI, Presses des universités de Côte d’Ivoire, 2009
  • Contre l’oubli et le mépris : hommage aux tirailleurs : anthologie de poésie.
    Dakar : Éditions Maguilen, 2009
  • Art contemporain bantu : deuxième biennale du CICIBA, Kinshasa, juillet 1987 / texte de Badi-Banga Né Mwine.
    Libreville, Gabon :Centre international des civilisations bantu, 1987
  • Anthologie de poésie sénégalaise.
    Dakar : Éditions Maguilen ; Milano : Edizioni dell’Arco, 2002

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All the roads that lead to Cabo Verde

Sandy panorama in Boa Vista (Image taken from Wikimedia Commons)

Sandy panorama in Boa Vista (Image taken from Wikimedia Commons)

New acquisitions in Portuguese language at the University Library are not limited to material published in Brazil or Portugal. The Library also aims to actively collect books published elsewhere in the Portuguese-speaking world. With a population of little more than 500.000 people, print runs from Cape Verde are bound to be short. Therefore, buying material from these remote islands is not an easy task, as is also the case with acquisitions from the Francophone areas (see our post on acquisitions from Haiti for example).

Despite the infinite advantages that the internet offers to librarians today, it is often not really straightforward to know who publishes what, let alone to be able to get a copy of it. So one can understand why in the past the Library purchased very few imprints from Cape Verde. The earliest book in our holdings is  Antologia temática de poesia africana: Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe, Guiné, Angola, Moçambique,  published in Praia in 1980 (classmark: 745:23.d.95.111-112). Continue reading

Anthropology in the Russian language

The latest CamCREES notes cover the panel session on 4 February at which four anthropologists discussed being published in different languages and countries – a fascinating insight into linguistic practicalities and also into something rather deeper: the different worlds that anthropology inhabits in different places.  The notes then consider acquisitions of translations and regional publications.

The CamCREES panel session ‘Anthropology in the Russian language’ started with Tatiana Safonova and Istvan Santha, Cambridge anthropologists from Russia and Hungary respectively, telling the story of the book they wrote about the Evenki people who live in the region of the great Siberian Lake Baikal. It was first drafted by Tania in English, but the opportunity to publish it first came up in Hungary, so Istvan translated it and it was published first there. A UK publisher then took an interest, but Tania’s English version was re-worked by a native speaker (the Haddon Library holds a copy; record here). Finally, a Russian publisher also took interest, and Tania produced a version in Russian. Among the examples Tania and Istvan gave of the differences in terms of approaches in anthropology in different countries, a simple one was the way in which the identity of the human subjects of their research was treated. While it is absolutely standard in the west to anonymise subjects by giving them false names, the Russian approach is that you MUST use real names in order to make your research real!

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