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An Apology* For Avoiding Accompanying Material in the Promotion of Library Collections

By Samuel T. Barber
California State University, Fullerton

*”Mid 16th century (denoting a formal defense against an accusation): from French
apologie, or via late Latin from Greek apologia ‘a speech in one’s own defense'” – Oxford English Dictionary

Introduction – the task

This article describes an ongoing project designed to present archival library collections at Cal State Fullerton. These collections include contemporary 1970’s video recordings of speeches, addresses, marches, events, etc. made by visiting public figures to the university campus. Though eclectic, the collection is dominated by radical and activist voices emerging from underrepresented groups which reflect the politics and struggles of contemporary Orange County, Southern California, and – indeed – the wider United States. Notable speakers include Angela Davis, César Chávez, Sal Castro, Dennis Banks, Humberto Noé “Bert” Corona and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales. The original video recordings were digitized some years ago. However, their subsequent presentation was limited to streaming via an institutional page on the Internet Archive which few students, faculty, or even staff were actually aware of. Furthermore, no metadata records existed to support discovery from the library catalog. As a result, despite their importance, there was extremely limited institutional and student knowledge of either the existence of the recordings or of the original events themselves. A clear and fundamental task was therefore presented to us as it would to any library professional: to expose these hidden collections, representing as they do an important element of our institutional history and the history of the communities in which we work and reside.

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