Fan Magazines vs. Fanzines: Another Voice

Hi! Inspired by Jenna’s call to action, I took a stab at writing a letter to LOC on the fan magazines vs. fanzines issue myself. I’ve posted the letter, like Jenna’s addressed to Barbara Tillett, below. Not being a cataloger or someone who deals with cataloging issues on a regular basis, I realize my letter lacks the cataloging expertise, temininology or sourcing that Jenna’s does or I’m sure yours will. But hopefully every voice helps the cause…

Jeremy B.

Dear Ms. Tillett,

Good morning. My name is Jeremy Brett, and I am an archivist with Special Collections, University of Iowa. One of my projects over the last two years has been to acquire and process materials for our growing archival collections of zines. Special Collections is making a concerted effort to collect zines in all formats in order to preserve these materials and make them accessible to wider popular and research audiences. Zines are windows that provide glimpses into fascinating and often-under documented social worlds, worlds that we believe deserve to have their voices rescued from obscurity.

At the present time, we are not cataloging zines in any sort of traditional library format. However, as an information professional who deals with zines in an institutional setting I am interested in the ongoing development of uniform cataloging standards for zines. I recognize that this is more an art than a science, because of the peculiarly idiosyncratic nature of the zine medium. However, I also understand that such standards are useful both to catalogers and to interested readers and researchers. Subject headings that accurately reflect zines and related publications are key tools in the provision of access to those materials.

Thus, I am concerned with the Library of Congress recent decision to eliminate Fanzines as a 150 field and replace it with the term Fan magazines.

I believe that this decision represents a misunderstanding of the nature of both types of materials. Fanzines are decidedly not fan magazines, but separate and independent materials with their own particular history. Fanzines are non-professional publications that relate to a particular cultural genre, subject, product or phenomenon. They are most associated with science fiction fandom, within which fanzines have formed an active and integral source of fan communication since the early 1930s. In science fiction and related fandoms today, fanzines continue to be a popular mode of personal opinion and expression.

However, fanzines are not limited to science fiction fans. As an example, many members of the vast and varied world of music fans have also embraced the medium. Music fans continue to use fanzines as methods of publicizing their own musical works and those of others, particularly
those considered underground and who stand outside the traditional corporate music scene. For these artists and fans, fanzines are a vital method of making their voices heard.

For members of these and many other fandoms, the term fanzine has a storied intellectual and emotional association. It is a popular term that accurately describes a particular family of publications and that is universally recognized among, across and beyond fandoms. To replace this term with a less adequate one, I believe, does a disservice to fans and to researchers who, because of the long use of the term fanzine, are much more likely to search for materials primarily under this term than under the term fan magazines.

A fan magazine is a professionally produced publication devoted to some aspect of popular culture. While fan magazines may deal with some or all of the same subjects, topics or genres as a fanzine, the former are distinguished from the latter by their for-profit status and their more typical concern with mainstream rather than fringe aspects of their subjects. A fan magazine is a perfectly legitimate form of publication, but it is not a fanzine.

In my opinion, the Library of Congress should retain Fanzine as a 150 term rather than relegate it to the 450 field as a UF term under Fan Magazines. To continue using fan magazine as a term for fanzines (as opposed to recognizing fan magazines as a genre generally associated with fanzines) is misleading to researchers and readers alike. The two types of publications are dissimilar in their production, their authorship, their professional status, and, very often, their intellectual and creative focus. Both types deserve recognition by the Library of Congress cataloging authorities as discrete media and each type deserves its own 150 field.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Brett
Special Collections Project Librarian
Special Collections and University Archives
University of Iowa
University Libraries
100 Main Library
Iowa City, IA 52242

Fan Magazines vs. Fanzines: letter to LC from Jenna Freedman

This letter was sent to Barbara Tillett, Thompson Yee, and policy@loc.gov on October 10, 2009

To Whom It May Concern at the Library of Congress:

I want to ask you to reconsider your decision to absorb FANZINES into the new FAN MAGAZINES subject heading. I believe the two publication types are so different that even connecting them with a Related Term would be erroneous. Perhaps the defining characteristic of FANZINES is that they are self-publications that stem from subculture movements, primarily punk rock in their current incarnation, and science fiction in the 1930s. FAN MAGAZINES are commercial and mainstream, catering to celebrity culture.

Sources:

  • Wikipedia (Wikipedia is cited in the FAN MAGAZINES authority record, so I feel it is not inapropriate to use it here, as well.)
    “The term fanzine is sometimes confused with ‘fan magazine‘, but the latter term most often refers to commercially-produced publications.”
  • Merriam Webster
    “a magazine written by and for fans <a sci-fi fanzine><a punk rocker with her own fanzine>”
    No result for “fan magazine” search
  • Googlefight
    Fanzines results in a Google search: 319000 vs. “fan magazines” results: 3940
  • Anthony Slide’s website
    I am unable to review the work that inspired the change, but judging from the author’s website (presuming I have identified the correct author, which I am fairly confident that I have), his writing is entirely related to film fandom, not at all to science fiction or punk, which are the primary subjects of FANZINES.
  • Bowling Green State University Fanzines page
    “Fanzines (or zines) are magazines published by individuals or groups of individuals who have a particular subject interest or who just want to express their own ideas to the public. These are generally self-published magazines, usually issued with less than 2,000 copies, and typically have irregular publication times (i.e. not monthly or quarterly, etc.). Although most zines are pubished independently, some zines may be published similarly to standard library periodicals, including publication information, reviews, editorials, and regular numbering sequences. However, the typical zine is usually stapled together, sometimes folded and in small print, may have strings holding it together, or any other means of collating.”
  • University of California at Riverside Fanzines page
    Zero references to film or movie fan magazines.
  • Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine, The Book of Zines excerpt
    “Zines (pronounced ‘zeens,’ from fanzines) are cut-and-paste, ‘sorry this is late,’ self-published magazines reproduced at Kinko’s or on the sly at work and distributed through mail order and word of mouth. They touch on sex, music, politics, television, movies, work, food, whatever. They’re Tinkertoys for malcontents. They’re obsessed with obsession. They’re extraordinary and ordinary. They’re about strangeness but since it’s usually happening somewhere else you’re kind of relieved. You can get to know people pretty well through their zines, which are always more personal and idiosyncratic than glossy magazines because glossies and the celebrities they worship are so busy being well known.”
    [You’ll note that this definition does reference movies, but the essence of the definition is the self-published, obsessive nature of the works.]

    Also, from the author’s Master’s Thesis:
    As Fredric Wertham points out in his book “The World of Fanzines.” The word fanzine was originally an in-group slang expression used loosely and interchangeably with ‘fan-mag,’ that is fan magazine.”
    This signification of “fan magazine” differentiated the publications produced by fans from the “professional newsstand magazines” such as Amazing Stories and Weird Tales, which were referred to as “prozines”professional magazines. Fanzines were widely devoted to discussion of science-fiction and fantasy literature, and featured articles, cartoons, and fiction related to the subject, all produced by the fans themselves. In her introduction to “Some Zines,” Cari Goldberg-Janice writes that the fanzines united far-flung fans to write about “the subject they loved to talk about the mostscience fiction.”

I hope you’ll agree with me that the self-published/underground nature of FANZINES vs. the corporate/celebrity focus of FAN MAGAZINES is an essential difference. I know that the scholars that use the Zine Collection at Barnard College and other zine libraries will be poorly served by this change.

FANZINES would be better placed as a narrower term for ZINES, with other narrower terms for ZINES such as:
ART ZINES
COMPILATION ZINES (UF COMP ZINES)
DIY ZINES (UF COOK ZINES)
LITERARY ZINES (UF LIT ZINES)
MAMAZINES
MINICOMICS (UF MINI-COMICS)
PERZINES (UF PERSONAL ZINES)
POLITICAL ZINES
I give examples of each of these on the Barnard Library Zine Collection website.

It would be helpful if the terms were also usable as genre headings.

I invite you when making any future changes to FANZINES and ZINES headings to consult the Zine Librarians discussion list. Contributors give matters related to zine librarianship great thoughtfulness and expertise. We are very happy that the Library of Congress has established headings useful to our work. It is an exciting time as this specialty grows and we develop standard practices for cataloging it.

Thank you!

Jenna


Jenna Freedman, MLIS
Coordinator of Reference Services and Zine Librarian
Barnard College Library
212.854.4615
AIM, Google Talk & Yahoo: BarnardLibJenna

Zine Librarians’ Primary Web Resources

There’s been a request for a little extra info about the primary communication pages for zine librarians. I’ve added the ones I know about and since I registered for two of them today, I’ll annotate the processes required by each briefly.

> *We Make Zines (ning site) – wemakezines.ning.com

This one is probably the most complicated to get settled into. One trick is just to think of it like a zine-specific, simplified version of facebook or myspace.

On the home page, you’ll see multiple “signup” buttons on the right side of the screen. Click any. Fill in your registration data and create your user name and password. The process is pretty straighforward. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be redirected to a welcome page on the authenticated side of the site. If you look in the upper right corner again, you’ll see a few new options available to members:

Inbox: needs no explanation

Alerts: Alerts are messages sent to you by applications you or your friends have added.

Friends: functions just the way any social networking site does (facebook, myspace.)

Settings: Through this option you can do things like set up your profile, add pictures, and change your privacy settings.

Setting up a profile is quickly accomplished, if not exactly intuitive. Once you click “settings” you’ll be directed to a page with fields asking for your profile information, gender, age, location, etc. Fill in as much or as little as you like (and, as mentioned before, if you want nothing to be visible, edit your profile in the privacy settings page.)

The final step is adding information about your professional activities (your zine doings) in your profile. Goto the page wemakezines.ning.com/profile/*yourprofilename*. From this page you can add your information either in the text box provided, or blog style. Please, as a zine librarian or ZL sympathizer, give us all a clear idea of where you work, what your collection’s mission is, your areas of interest in the big scheme of zine librarianship worldwide (web development? cataloging? programming? preservation? etc.) Aside from aesthetic improvements to your profile, you’re done!

> *zinelibrarians yahoo group

This is primarily used for email correspondence. To subscribe, send an email to zinelibrarians-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

> *zine unconference wiki site

This site was the planning hub for ZL(u)C 2009 at the Hugo House and Zapp in Seattle. Now it is the temporary home for the outcomes of the conference workshops and discussions and hub for workgroups to organize their thoughts and strategies. It functions as a typical wiki and anyone can edit any page (though please try not to delete anything if possible)

> *zinelibraries.info site

You are here. It has been suggested that this site become the primary reference point for all zine librarian related needs including policy and procedure manuals, programming help, cataloging discussions, and other meta-knowledge type, ongoing discussions. No need to register with the site in order to read or comment on posts. If you would like to be able to contribute to the knowledge pool, though, you will have to register and be approved by one of the site moderators.

> *Zinewiki.com

There was a lot of talk about zinewiki at ZL(u)C 2009. The discussion seemed to be heading in the direction of making zinewiki.com some sort of reference encyclopedia for zines and possibly the authority file. Jerianne, one of the site moderators, expressed a little concern about not wanting it to get too cluttered with tangential entries and information. For now, it’s a text catalog 2,500 strong and constantly being updated. No need to register at all.

not a zine

I was disappointed that we didn’t get around to discussing this at the collection develpment session at the Zine Librarians (un)Conference: what are the factors that help you determine that a publication is not a zine?

Of course there are zines that meet one or more of the following criteria, but this list is a place to start. Please add yours in the comments.

  • has an ISBN or ISSN
  • has a masthead
  • not self-distributed
  • has a third person bio
  • not self-published (!)
  • motivated by desire for fame or fortune
  • makes a distinct profit
  • price ends in .95
  • has a spine
  • has any paid staff
  • reads like the author is auditioning for a book deal

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Zine Librarians (un)Conference in Seattle, March 14-15

Zine librarians, collectors and creators are invited to the Richard Hugo House and the Zine Archive and Publishing Project for two days of discussion and presentation centered around the collecting and organizing of zines; be they in libraries, archives, infoshops, basements, or living rooms.

Blending a traditional conference with the Unconference model, this gathering will be participatory and open. Workshops will be scheduled, and discussions of cataloging, organizing and promoting zine collections are expected, among other topics. All members of the zine community, including non-librarians, are invited to join in and take part.

An outline of events and further information is available on the event’s wiki: http://seattle-zine-unconference.wikispaces.com/ Please visit the wiki to register your attendance, help plan the events, and volunteer.

SAVE THE DATE:

March 14 and 15, 2009
10 am – 5 pm
Location: Zine Archive Publishing Project (ZAPP) at The Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
206-322-7030

The event is FREE, but there may be a small, voluntary donation for food and/or materials.

TO REGISTER:

To register to attend the (un)conference and join the discussion, visit the wiki: http://seattle-zine-unconference.wikispaces.com/Register

REGISTER DEADLINE: March 6th, Friday.

READ YOUR ZINE!

7pm March 14th at Cafe Allegro (1408 NE 42nd Street,between University Way and 15th Ave). Join zine creators, readers and librarians in this celebration of self-publishing. If you’d like to read, please sign up here!

CALL FOR WORKSHOPS:

If you are interested in leading a one-hour workshop during the conference, please submit the following information by creating a page for it on this wiki and listing it on the proposals page by Friday, February 28th, 2009:

1. The title of your workshop
2. Your name and a very brief biography of all workshop leaders (1-3 sentences each)
3. A brief (100 word) summary of topics you would address
4. Any tools, equipment or technology that would be required
5. Add your proposal to this list:
1. Proposals
2. And then create a page for it (You’ll need to be logged into the wiki to do so) and link to it. (As in the example of Zine Anatomy)

Guidelines for workshops: We are interested in hosting workshops that will be informational, how-to’s and describe a task, skill or scheme that another zine library would find useful. This could be hands-on, or a presentation of what your library has done well. Note: This is a call only for workshops that require extensive pre-planning, are practical in nature, or require specific materials. We will also have facilitated discussions at the conference, but those will be selected at the conference itself. List of potential discussion topics. Please add yours!

For more information about the Zine Librarians (Un)Conference, contact: Alycia Sellie, alyciasellie@gmail.com

ZineLibCon

Laura posted a query to the zinelibrarians list about if folks would be interested in having a zine librarians gathering, perhaps as part of the Madison Zine Fest in October.

I’m curious who all would be willing and able to attend such an event in Madison, and also what other cities and times would be possible for a Zine Librarians Conference or Unconference. And also who would be willing and able to help organize such a thing.

Please respond in the comments or write to me (Jenna) directly zines @ barnard dot exx (not really xes).

To be clear, what we’re soliciting comments on are:

  • Would you like to attend a zine librarians con/uncon?
  • If location is an issue, which locations are good for you?
  • Do you have a preference for specific dates or the general time of year?
  • Would you help organize the event?

Though feel free to say whatever you want!

Minutes from ALA Midwinter meetup and question

Hi There zine librarian

Jenna, Alycia and I met on Saturday January 12th at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

We discussed:

ABC NO RIO

Independent Publishing Resource Center

Zine fests are they dead?

Best place to buy zines in Philadelphia: book store Wooden Shoe .

Biggest thing we discussedis there aneed for a zine librarian summit? And where should we have them?One in the Midwest? And one on the westcoast, perhaps at the PDX Zine Symposium? (This year’s PDX Zine Symposium is August 2nd and 3rd-per IPRC). Readers and participants any thoughts or ideason this topic?

Respectfully submitted,

Laural Winter, Multnomah County Library

Zines for Teens

This question comes up routinely on the ZineLibrarians list, and yet I’ve never seen a nice list.

If others will provide the titles (and annotations would be nice, too!) , I’ll be responsible for posting them here. Suggest something in the comments or email them to me.

I don’t work with pre-college teens and so don’t have a good sense of what is appropriate/will fly, but I’m suggesting a few zines anyway, just to get the list started.

  • 12 items or less : a grocery shopping zine edited by A.J. Michel
  • Adorn, by Bree Friend. The last issue I’ve seen is from 2006, and Bree is 22 and separated or divorced. Teens like to read about folks slightly older than themselves, right? Bree’s zines are very visual, and I gotta say cute. heartlikefoil@ hotmail
  • After School Special by Nia King
  • Art Freak by Carol Parks
  • Bad Grades by Carla Marie Yacenda
  • Beards? Beards!: and other matters pertaining to facial hair by Ingrid
  • Best Zine Ever edited by Greg Means. Zine reviews, many written by librarians.
  • Call & response by Gianni Simone
  • Caboose, #4 Ridiculous Issue by Liz Mason
  • Caesar by Jeff Sharp
  • Clutch by Clutch McBastard. Daily minicomic by a librarian. I don’t recall the language getting much worse than the author’s nom de plume.
  • Controller by Robin Enrico
  • Danger! Hole, by high school student Lucy in the Sky. Bravely feminist, riot grrrl oriented zine, with different themes each issue. grrrlriots8me @ hotmail
  • Diary of a mosquito abatement man by John Porcellino.
  • Do you work here? by Nathalie Wilson.
  • Dont go where I cant follow by Anders Nilsen with Cheryl Weaver.(Actually a book we have as a zine)
  • Doris 15: antidepression guide by Cindy Crabb.
  • Dropping out (for students), by Cavegirl is available for download from Crimethinc, and it’s just what it sounds like. It discusses dropping out of high school and how to get by. It’s about one person who couldn’t tolerate school, but it’s not especially disrespectful.
  • The Dvorak zine : changing the world one keyboard at a time by Alec Longstreth
  • The East Village Inky by Ayun Halliday. Handwritten and illustrated mamazine by a Brooklyn mom with two young kids and a Tony award winning spouse.
  • Empower : a young mama’s guide to taking control, by Allison Crews. This is the kind of stuff that is actually useful to a pregnant or parenting teen, because the people that wrote the articles have been there. allison @ girlmom .com (not sure if the link is still good. The copyright statement encourages copying and distribution, so write me if you want a copy.
  • Extranjero, # 5 : tales of life and travel by a big, dumb Yank & his Spanish wife by Kris and Lola.
  • The Fall by Stephanie Wu
  • Figure 8, by Krissy Durden. One of the best zines out there on fat acceptance and debunking bullshit about health risks and other issues. ponyboypress @ yahoo
  • First semester : chronicles of the classroom by Jeff Sharp
  • Flummery by Jeff Sharp
  • The Future Generation by China Martens. Anti-authoritarian parenting zine.
  • Girls are not chicks coloring book, and anything else by Jacinta Bunnell. These are great feminist, genderfucking zines and coloring books (that don’t use naughty words like genderfucking).
  • Glossolalia, by Sarah Contrary. Sarah is a mad bike enthusiast from PDX who does all these macho solo bike trips around the US and Europe, which is very inspirational. She’s also an excellent writer and artist, in her 20s. She writes about feminism and sex discrimination in a way that I hope teens will take to. enormajean @ hotmail
  • Gschwandtner, Design by A. Lucille Shanik.
  • Guardians of the Kingdom by Tom Gauld
  • Hello, my name is : a zine about how people got their names by Cristina Montejo.
  • Here it is by Erin Tobey
  • Hey 4-Eyes edited by Robyn Chapman
  • Hunter & painter by Tom Gauld
  • In a Lonely place by Jeff Sharp
  • In which I think about drowning by Josie Whitmore
  • Infandum, #2 by Molly Lawless
  • Invincible Summer by Nicole Georges. Minicomics by queer, vegan, zine workshop leader, band member, animal lover, etc.
  • King-cat Comics by John Porcellino
  • Knit Knit edited by Luren Jenison, Concept by Sabrina
  • Kyle Bravos punk rock guide to saving money, fighting capitalism, & having fun while youre at it by Kyle Bravo
  • La Primavera by Alexis Frederick-Frost. Actually a graphic novel, rather than a zine?
  • Ladyfriend : for ladies and all their friends, by Christa. Each issue has a different theme. Check the website and decide for yourself how teen friendly you think they’ll be.
  • A late freeze by Danica Novgorodoff (an awesome comic but has a drawing of a bear giving birth – just FYI in case your community says NO! to bear genitalia)
  • Laundry basket, April 2002 : tales of washday woe : come clean with us and let us dye for you.
  • Long tail kitty : outer space by Lark Pien.
  • Lower East Side librarian winter solstice shout out by Jenna Freedman. Personal zine by NYC librarian. Book and zine reviews, journal entries essays about jobs, activism, and in recent issues, married life.
  • Leeking Ink by Davida Gypsy Breier. Personal zine by now 30something zine mainstay.
  • List, by Ramsey Beyer. Her zines are comprised of her own lists, as well as those contributed by others or that she just finds in the street. Ramsey is a straightedge vegan punk art student, who doesn’t have a potty mouth. The illustrations are great and the list style makes it super accessible. ramseybeyer @ gmail
  • Make something an anthology of Portland zinesters edited by Greig Means.
  • Maria of Montmartre by Alexis Frederick-Frost.
  • The monkey & the crab by Sara Edward-Corbett and Shawn Cheng
  • The most romantic wedding in human history by Christoph Meyer
  • My brain hurts by Liz Baillie
  • On being jealous of invertabrates, volumes 1 and 3 by Jess S. One cel minicomics. Adorable.
  • On subbing : the first four years by Dave. About being a substitute teacher’s assistant working with special needs kids. PDX punk rock vegan straightedge.
  • Ouija interviews by Sarah Becan. (very dark but not worse than a lot of YA fiction)
  • Out of water / by Matthew Bernier
  • Peko peko, #1, winter 2001 : a zine about food
  • Personal charm : a collection of comics by zine queen Missy Kulik ; edited by Jordan Weeks
  • Phase 7 by Alec Longstreth
  • Platform : notes from the underground by Elizabeth Genco
  • Potluck, April 2004 : a cooking compilation A.J. Michel
  • Positive consumption Jenny Ferretti
  • Regina Rich middle school detective, issue #1 : the missing money!
  • Scars Alex Longstreth
  • Scout, #6 : food and cooking issue
  • Scratch, queer youth peer education. Issues 4 and 5 available for download via QZAP.
  • Scrappy, #1 : a crafty zine for scrappy people / Niku
  • Secret mystery love shoes, #3 Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman
  • Shut eye by Sarah Becan, based on a story by David Becan
  • Sidewalk bump 1 and 2 ed by Dan Moynihan
  • Simple Routines by JP Coovert
  • Skate tough you little girls by Celia C. Perez is a fanzine about women’s skateboarding. Should be accessible to all teen readers. perezeeb @ yahoo
  • Slave to the needles
  • Squarecat comics, vol. 1 / by Jennifer Omand.
  • Stolen sharpie revolution : a diy zine resource ed Alex Wrekk. Pretty much the go to guide for zine making and zine community and resources info.
  • A strange day Damon Hurd & Tatiana Gill.
  • Sugar Needle by Corina Fastwolf and Icona Phlox. An adorable hand colored in short fanzine about candy. Distro’d by Microcosm.
  • Support. This is a zine about supporting people who have been sexually abusedIntro. Edited by Cindy of Doris zine fame.
  • Sweet treats, #1, September, 2004 : a collection of vegan desserts
  • Time enough at last : a reading log, by A.J. Michel. Book recommendations from prolific zine publisher and MLS holder.
  • The true heart Hilary Florido.
  • True swamp : underwoods and overtime [written and drawn by Jon Lewis].
  • Turtle, keep it steady by Joseph Lambert
  • The waiting sun : a happy town tale words and pictures by Justin Madson
  • Walk to work by Jason Turner
  • What did you buy today?? : daily drawings of purchases, May 2006 Kate Bingaman
  • Wive’s Tales, by Britton. Women’s health, reproduction, STDs, all that good stuff (including some things that might get you in trouble but really really should be available to young women). This zine has been widely reproduced, so shouldn’t be too hard to find.
  • Xerography Debt ed by Davida Gypsy Breier. Zine review zine.
  • Zine World edited by Jerianne. Zine review zine with extra zine scene content.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but will resume going through the Barnard catalog when I can keep my eyes open. posted by Jenna 2/14/2008

Integrated Milo and Miriam’s suggestions 2/15/2008.

Zine Librarians Meet-up at ALA Midwinter 2008

Saturday, January 12 at 11am

Meet at the registration area in the Philadelphia Convention Center

Look for me and my bluish hair (this is what I look like {when someone else has done my hair and make-up} http://flickr.com/photos/jennafreedman/377515017).

Jenna