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).


Zine Cataloging Adventures – Pt. The Second

If you’re reading this you may want to check Zine Cataloging Adventures – Pt. The First for background

OK, so I got the Koha box turned hooked up and turned on. It’s sitting on our local network at home behind a firewall for the momen. On first run, after it booted all the way, I logged in using the Root (god-like admin) account. After retreiving the passwords for the Koha admin account, I noticed that it (the Linux OS side of things) was acting a little goofy. Everything seemed to be up and running, though, so I ignored it for the time being.

Step 1 : Logging in to Koha

One of the great things about Koha is that it’s all web-based. Since I’m not a real librarian I don’t have anything to compare it to. I do know that in addition to Linux, Koha will run on Windows and Macintosh systems. I don’t think it will make coffee or donuts, though.

To login, I pointed my web browser at Koha’s IP address. The general (whole world) address is on the typical port for Apache (the web server software), 80. The Koha administrative interface, which is what the admins, and ultimately volunteer librarians will use is port 8080. So from Firefox I went to http://koha.qzap.org:8080 (not the real web address… YET)

I was presented with a very simple box with a place to put in Cardnumber (user name) and Password. Once I logged in, I got to the main screen.

Setting Up Koha

At this point I began to follow Koha – A Newbie Guide from the kohadocs website. You can (and maybe should) follow along in a seperate window or browser tab to see what I’m talking about.

I followed the Newbie guide closely, going through the set-up procedures. I skipped a couple of steps because right now they just don’t apply to us.

Item Types

When I got to “Item Types” in the guide, here’s what I set up:

Code (Koha requires up to 4 character codes for the item types. As I’ve discovered, this coresponds to 942c in the MARC records, and is very important later on)

CAS Audio Casette
CD  – Audio Compact Disc
CMIX Comix – Zine Type, Self Published
DVD DVD Video Disc
FIC Book – Fiction
GNVL Book – Graphic Novel
MAG Magazine – *NOT* Self Published
NCSC Non-Circulating Special Collection
NFIC Book – Non-Fiction
PEPH Ephemera (mostly print) inc. flyers, posters, etc.
VHS VHS Video Casette No 0.00
VYNL Vinyl Audio Recording – Phonographic Recording
ZINE Zine – Self Published

(I copied this list from Koha… sorry that the formatting is bleah :( )

In the process I was able to specify things like rental charges or if something was non-circulating. I didn’t put in charges, but specified that NCSC (Non-Circulating Special Collection) and PEPH (print ephemera) were not for loan. Because of the nature of our collection, we have flyers, buttons, stickers, etc. that we preserve and archive. I thought that they should stay in the building. Our patrons will have access to them, but not take them home.

Borrower Catagories
The next section in the Newbie Guide is “Borrower Catagories.” Koha, for better or worse forces two catagories on you. I had to set up a “Children’s” catagory and an “Institutions” catagory. All told, I set up 5 catagories:

C – Childrens
I – Institutions
P – Patron (Just about everybody)
V – Volunteers (self explanitory)
CC – Core Collective (the core group of people making decisions about the library)

Everyone at set up got the same basic paramaters… Children are the exception, and I don’t anticipate a lot of “children” using the zine library, at least not at first.

Enrollment – 18 years
Enrollment Fee – Zero Bux
Age Required – 10 years old (except Institutions. they’ve got to be at least 18 ;) )

Issuing Rules

After Borrower Catagories is Issuing Rules. This was a huge pain in the ass. Basically, you have to set up check-out times, overdue fees, grace periods, etc. for each item type and borrower catagory. It’s a huge messy grid, and it took a little while for me to understand it.

At the end of the day, almost everyone gets to check out materials for 14 days. After that, there’s a 7 day grace period, and then the fines start at 25˘ a day. Patrons can also renew materials 3 times. The exceptions: Institutions get to check stuff out for 45 days, and the overdue fines are$1.00.

MARC Stuff

I’ll go into details about getting MARC records set up in Pt. The Third. Because I’m not a real librarian, this is a lot of gobbledygook to me that I’ve got a couple of real librarians helping me with. If you’re a cataloger, or have lots of expirience with this, please chime in in the comments.

See you in Zine Cataloging Adventures – The MARC of Dooooom!

Zine Cataloging Adventures – Pt. The First

A little background:

The Queer Zine Archive Project has been around for just over 4 years. We are primarily a web-based archive. We have a real interest in moving to a circulating collection, and also merging with other local (Wisconsin-based) zine librarians to cover more than just queer zines. In addition to being zinesters and collector/archivists, Chris, my partner and other co-founder of QZAP and I are both kind of technerds. While we work mostly with Macintosh systems, I’ve been dorking about with Linux for 10+years. I’m not a great linux user or an admin really, but I can get around OK. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to post about my expiriences using F/OSS* software to get a zine cataloging system built for an independent zine library. It’s a work in progress… mistakes will be made… things will be learned…

*F/OSS Software is Free/Open Source software. We try to use this so that others can take our tools and make something for themselves.

The Setup:
Hopefully this will read like a recipe for delicous vegan cupcakes. Made with real vegans.

Ingrediants – Hardware:
800 + zines (mostly queer, but a lot of feminist, cookzines, anarcho and environmental ones thrown in, as well)
15-20 books (some about zines, others about subculture, punk, DIY, etc.)
1 barcode gun
1 Pentium 3 1U server (768MB RAM, 60GB Hard Drive, onboard NIC) that an old housemate left behind. (i.e. cheap, scavenged hardware… the kind you pay $30 for on CraigsList)

Ingrediants – Software:
CentOS 4.5 (A variant of Red Hat Linux) http://www.centos.org/

Koha ILS (open source ILS software, mostly based on the Perl programming/scripting language) http://www.koha.org

The Process

Back in September Chris was in San Francisco at the SF Zinefest. While he was out of town, I though I’d surprise him by getting the Koha box built. Since I work with lots of computer people, I asked my friend Mat to put it together. I brought him the box and told him what software I wanted installed. Linux, Koha, and Webmin, for web based administration of the machine. A week later he returned it to me, and I took him and his girlfriend out for Tiki drinks. After that, the box spent the rest of the autumn in our dining room. In December it moved to the floor of our office. On 27 December, 2007, I cleaned my office. on 28 December, I fired the Koha box up.

The machine has 7 fans in it. It sounds like a Cesna is in my office getting ready for take off whenever i turn it on. But it’s working… :)

In Pt. The Second I will talk about the system set up and how we’ve got it configured.

Zine Reviews: another list?

No one probably really cares about seeing the answers to this one, but I said there were seven questions, so if I only published six, you’d all be wondering what the last one was.

Q. Would it be too annoying if I set up another discussion list for this discussion?


  • Maybe you can create a second Yahoo group where these things can be discussed–someone isn’t sure about a topic, get other opinions.
  • I think it would be good to keep the discussions we have available. I’ll want to come back to some of the details later.
  • Another discussion list for this would be fine.
  • No, I think another list would be fine.
  • I would be fine with another discussion list.
  • I’d prefer not to have another discussion list, but I’m not going to drop out if you make one :)


In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #7 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

Zine Reviews: other thoughts

Sorry for the vague title, but that’s how I phrased it in my original email. This question followed the one about bad reviews if that helps.

What are your other thoughts on this?

  • Mostly I’d use zine reviews to find out the general topic of the zine, if it’s YA or Adult (and any specific things that make it such), and if it’s not something I can Google, how to get it.
  • Here’s a few thoughts & questions about the review column: What is the goal of this column? Is it to introduce zines as a material worth purchasing to all librarians? Or to help libraries with active zine collections further develop and refine their collections? Could make a difference in whether we do multiple reviewers with no specific topic or if we do a themed column each time. …
  • Are we going to categorize zines and have a lexicon of what the terms mean? I wrote “personal zine” but I know some people use “perzine” and I don’t know that LJ reader will know what any of that means.
  • Also, I think in addition to reviews it would be very helpful to eventually include some background and history on zines, how libraries can work with distros, successful zine programs etc.
  • Also, if the zinester has a website or has produced other zines under a different name or title, that information could be linked with the review somehow.
  • Do we want to include information that isn’t on the zine itself, like people’s last names (if available) or the page count?
  • About word count – I review for Library Journal already and I have to say I often have an extreme struggle trying to write a meaningful review in only 175 words. If there is a need to make zine reviews shorter, I really think it would be better to set a word count of 100-150 words. My concern is that it is quite difficult to succinctly describe contents and provide an evaluation in less than about 100 words.


In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #6 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

Zine Reviews: Bad Reviews

Q: Should we run bad reviews, or only good ones?


  • I say we skip bad reviews. I never bother writing down even the titles of zines I read that I don’t think I’d write up for BZE–just seems like a waste of space when there’s good stuff out there that can be highlighted.
  • I would think that we’d want to review zines that librarians are likely to purchase. If there’s a popular zine that isn’t very good, we’d want to address it. I’m assuming that in the beginning, the column will be more of an introduction to standardly available zines – for some reason that’s my logic. We’d want to start providing fodder for libraries.
  • In general, I’m in favor of posting the occasional bad review, but I wonder if we shouldn’t because we’re trying to encourage building zine collections, or at least not yet.
  • I think running bad reviews is okay if the reviews are critical and not just, “This zine was a boring pile of crap.” (God knows there are a lot of lousy zines out there, so this may be difficult to do.)
  • As for bad reviews vs good reviews: Are we going to accept submitted materials for review? Or are we only going to review what we bring to the table? If it’s the latter, that seems more likely that by default we will only present good reviews. Personally, as you might know from Zine World, I think bad reviews deserve to be published, too. So I would leave it open to include “not recommended” reviews. Again, it comes back to the question of what is the goal for this column.
  • Only good ones unless a magazine tries to pass itself off as a zine to try to encourage libraries to order it (a la the crappy “graphic novels” I see coming through the library system)
  • Since there are so many good zines, and in the spirit of the DIY supportive community, it would be nice to see more good reviews than bad. I think a time for a bad review would be when companies are trying to sneak their advertizing into zinester’s hands by producing an ad in the form of a zine…
  • We should run reviews based on content, which means sometimes bad reviews, sometimes good reviews with reservations, sometimes actual good reviews.
  • Maybe not at this point, if part of our goal is to attract librarians to an entire format of reading material.


In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #5 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

Zine Reviews: Other Elements

Q: What are the other elements that should be present in each review?


  • Are we going to be able to include one or more cover images, like they do with books? If so, how are we going to manage that?
  • Is the zine of regional or local interest only? Does it speak from or to a particular identifiable community? Does it provide information not available in materials in other formats? How is it regarded in the zine community? Does the reviewer judge that the zine is especially useful for particular, established patron needs/interests?
  • Do we want to come up with general types of zines (such as perzine, music zine, art zine, etc.) to make it easier for librarians to distinguish between overarching types of zines that are out there? Size might also be something we want to include, considering a 1/4pg. zine might be harder to display than a full page or half page zine.


In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #4 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)

Meeting at ALA Midwinter


  • 1pm
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  • 5pm Jenna
  • 6pm Jenna



  • 10am Jenna
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  • 10am Jenna
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  • 3pm Jenna
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  • 10am Jenna
  • 11am Jenna
  • 12pm Jenna
  • 1pm Jenna
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Feel free to add in additional slots or annotate (e.g. “available at 3:30). Or just post to the comments.

Library Journal to feature zine reviews!

In case anyone’s been wondering what all this talk of zine reviews is all about, here it is:

Beginning with the March 1, 2008 issue, Library Journal will feature a zine review four times a year. Jenna Freedman, the Zine Librarian at Barnard College will edit the column, which will be handled at LJ by magazine reviews editor Anna Katterjohn.

Freedman’s plan for the column is to alternate columns with multiple reviewers–in the style of Library Journal‘s regular book reviews with guest contributed themed columns more similar to this one on graphic novels. Over twenty zine librarians and other library workers, zine publishers, zine fest organizers, the editor of a successful zine review zine, a professional writer, and general zineophiles from all over the country, representing academic, public, and school librarians serving all populations are on the roster of reviewers.

Many of us zine librarian types are ecstatic to see zines’ presence in libraries aided and legitimized by their appearance as a regular feature in an important library publication–one with nearly 20,000 paid subscribers (per Ulrich’s).

Stay tuned to the Library Journal blog for a more formal announcement, in February 2008, or so.

Zine Reviews: ordering info

Q: How should we list ordering info for each zine? Just give the publisher’s info? Distros? All, or just the main one? Do we include zines even if they have no online purchasing option?


  • I think attempts should be made to contact the zine writers and find out their preference. Someone may prefer to not be contacted directly and have folks order through a specific distro. I think that’s what GReg usually does with BZE–he asks what contact info should be included. I would include zines with no online purchasing option, but would include the individual’s email and recommend buyers contact the person first just so there’s some communication there.
  • Can we assume that if there’s web presence for a zine, searching for the name would bring up whatever distros have it? I think providing access to non-online-purchased zines is important. My thought is that there’s good stuff out there, and the inconvenience of snail mail payments isn’t a big deal, esp. if we’re working with a non-invoiced, petty cash kind of system.Maybe as we review we’ll find that we’re not reviewing non-online-available zines, and it’s a nonissue?
  • As far as publisher info, we should give the publisher’s contact info and the largest distro that distributes it (assuming you can find that out).
  • If we do a themed column, with one editor instead of multiple reviewers, it would be nice if the theme were posted to the reviewer list to give suggestions of titles. With zines, it’s all about word of mouth, and it’s easy to be ignorant of specific zine titles. I mean, if no one has ever sent you a copy of Fertile Ground and you’ve never seen it publicized and it’s not for sale by any distros, how would you know about it? But I know about it and I could suggest it and include contact info for you, if you wanted to consider it. Know what I mean?
  • Listing ordering info… that is a bit tricky. Trickier because libraries all handle how they order and pay for zines differently and sometimes they have to be creative. I do think it is important to list the publisher’s contact information (whether mail, email, or online). As a zine publisher, I would much rather a library order my zines directly from me than from a distro, if we can work out the payment, because I get a bigger cut of the money *and* then I know my zine is kept at XZY library. And certainly a library can contact the publisher and say “I’m not allowed to buy directly from publishers, only distros. Can you tell me which distros sell your zine?” … On the other hand, I know that a lot of libraries do all or most of their buying from distros, because it is easier to deal with the payments. But that’s a bit sticky, too, because multiple distros may carry the same zine, and we shouldn’t show favoritism to particular distros. I don’t think we should necessarily funnel all the zine business to Microcosm. And because This Distro may go out of stock of Any Title but That Distro, which we didn’t list, still has copies. It would be nice if we could include a list of recommended distros with the first column, or maybe a URL in the closing paragraph for a webpage that has recommended distros. Or something. I’m not really sure what the best way to handle that is! … And if we list both the publisher info and the distro, how are we going to do that succinctly? Because by the time you include a zine’s mailing address and website and one distro name and website, for each zine you review, that’s eating up a lot of space.
  • However it is possible to get the zine, whether it is ordered directly from the publisher or if it is available through a distro
  • I think we should list as much ordering info as possible.. distros go out of business, people move, websites go unattended…And if there is no online purchasing info, I don’t think that should be to the writer’s disadvantage. Some people still aren’t in the digital age.
  • I don’t think we’ll have a problem with zines having too many distros to list! I’d say list the publishers info first, then distro info if available, and be as complete as possible. Yes, we should include zines even if they have no online purchasing option – in fact this might give rise to an article or two about the practical side of purchasing zines for libraries!

In thinking about what zine reviews in a major library publication would look like, I posed several questions to a group of potential zine reviewers. This is #3 of 7.
(people who contributed, let me know if you want me to remove your comment–or to cite it with your name)