Over my year serving as REFORMA President, I've enjoyed learning more about our organization and furthering our mission. It has been my privilege to be president of this organization, and I have greatly appreciated the trust you placed in me.
One of the things I wanted to emphasize in my presidency was the importance of research on library services to Latinos, and I wanted to show that we are all researchers, no matter whether we publish our research or not. One of REFORMA’s purposes is to “promote and conduct research and studies concerning educational materials and library programs available to serve the Spanish speaking” (Bylaws of REFORMA, page 1). This is our deber as the lead organization dedicated to library and information services for Latinos.
One of the projects I’ve always wanted to do is a bibliographic citation study of Reformistas and publications on Latino LIS services. To that end, I used some of my time as president to compile a citation database for publications on Latino LIS services.
In searching through the Library Literature & Information Fulltext database, the Library Information Science and Technology Abstracts database, and my own collections, I found no less than 436 publications on Latino LIS services. Realistically speaking, the number is probably higher, since I included only those publications I had access to. At least 80% of the authors of these works were Reformistas. This is proof that we are furthering REFORMA’s research purpose! Moreover, of the 23 top authors, those who have three or more publications, 22 are Reformistas and one is a library association.
Moreover, the rate of publication on Latino LIS services has been increasing from one article in 1969, when Arnulfo Trejo published a brief article in ALA Bulletin called “Library Needs for the Spanish-speaking.” Spikes in the publication rate indicate the publication of anthologies, such as John Ayala and Salvador Güereña’s Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship anthology released in 2011.
Another question that bears exploring is whom we cite, what sources we count on as authoritative, when we write about Latino LIS services. The 436 publications I surveyed included 6,703 citations to other sources -- sources we use to support our arguments and strengthen our cases.
I produced the diagram below using the NodeXL template for Excel. The colored dots refer to the authors of the 436 source publications. The authors in the center of the diagram are more closely related to each other through citation patterns -- they tend to refer back to each other. These articles are mostly produced by Reformistas. The studies out on the fringes of the diagram usually emphasized special areas of Latino services, such as tailoring health messages for Latinos.
To answer the question of whom we cite and who are the authorities we refer to, I created a word cloud of the names of the first authors of the 6703 citations. The authors who were cited most frequently would appear in larger text. The results indicated that the most frequently cited source of information was the U.S. Census Bureau, which makes sense since the Latino population has grown so quickly. Other notable sources were Isabel Schon, Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Salvador Güereña, Roberto Haro, and the Pew Hispanic Center.
There are many other questions that can be asked and answered with this database -- including “Where should I publish my article on Latino LIS service?” Nonetheless, this brief survey of results indicates that Reformistas are on the forefront of providing research to improve service to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking. Which is exactly where we should be.
With pride and respect,