ISAW Library News: ISAW hosts regional meeting of the FCLSC

By David Ratzan

The Forum for Classics, Librarians, and Scholarly Communication (FCLSC), also known as the Classics Librarians’ Forum, is a society of librarians and scholars interested in supporting current research in ancient studies and specific projects of mutual interest. Affiliated with the Society for Classical Studies (SCS, the former American Philological Association) since 2005, the Forum also supports initiatives of the SCS relating to libraries and scholarly communication.

Historically, the Forum has convened once a year at the Annual Meeting of the SCS, but in recent years the membership has become more active between meetings. In order to help facilitate these ongoing conversations, Colin McCaffrey, the Yale Classics Librarian and Chair of the Forum, and David M. Ratzan, the ISAW Head Librarian, co-organized a regional meeting of the Forum at ISAW on May 1.

Fourteen librarians from eight institutions attended (American Numismatic Society, Center for Hellenic StudiesNew York University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Yale), as well as Burke Gerstenschlager, a representative of the Oxford University Press and Gregory Crane, Humboldt Prof. of Digital Humanities at the Universität Leipzig, who joined in for part of the meeting via Skype.

Burke Gerstenschlager (OUP) describing new developments in the Oxford Classical Dictionary and the Oxford Handbooks Online

The discussions were largely organized around updates and reports of institutional initiatives, but collaborative collection development, digital tools, and information literacy in classical studies were topics that came up repeatedly. The group agreed that the last category potentially represents a new role for classics (and ancient studies) librarians, since the range of digital tools one might include under the rubric of instruction spanned the more traditional bibliographic databases to cutting edge digital tools and technologies ("What exactly is GIS and how might it help my research?").

All in all, the meeting was a great success, and the Forum is now exploring holding a follow-up regional meeting some time in the next six months, perhaps concentrating on the theme of instruction.