The Winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

On October 10, 2014, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize will be shared by Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay. According to a press release from the Nobel Committee, this year’s winners were chosen on the basis of their advocacy for children and access to education. The Committee states:

It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation. [I]

Kailash Satyarthi by Leandro Uchoas is licensed under CC-BY-2.0.

Kailash Satyarthi by Leandro Uchoas is licensed under CC-BY-4.0 (image via Wikimedia Commons).

Satyarthi and Yousafzay share a commitment to children’s rights. Kailash Satyarthi, who was born in Vidisha, India in 1954, has been organizing protests and demonstrations in support of children’s rights for many years. In 1980, he founded the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), an organization dedicated to aiding child laborers and preventing the trafficking and exploitation of young people. [II] In 1998, he organized the Global March Against Child Labor, during which demonstrators marched across 103 countries demanding children’s rights. Today, Satyarthi chairs the Global March Against Child Labor, an organization that brings together NGOs working on these issues and continues to hold events and advocate for children in the United Nations. [III] If you are interested in learning more, Glocal Notes suggests Globalisation, development, and child rights (Delhi: Shipra, 2006), edited by Satyarthi and Bupinder Zutshi.

Malala Yousafzai by Southbank Centre is licensed under CC-BY-2.0. (Photo via

Malala Yousafzai by Southbank Centre is licensed under CC-BY-2.0. (Photo via

Malala Yousafzay, born in Mingora, Pakistan in 1997, is being honored by the Nobel Committee at just 17 years old. She has been speaking out about girls’ rights to education since she was 12 years old. In 2009, she began to write an anonymous blog for the BBC documenting her experiences living in Pakistan’s Swat Valley as the Taliban came to power in the region and began to limit girl’s access to schools. In 2012, Yousafzay, then 14 and on her way to school, was shot by the Taliban, who hoped to silence her. [IV] Although, the shooting left her in critical condition, Yousafzay recovered and continues to advocate for children’s rights. In July 2013, she gave a powerful speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly. During the speech, she encourages us all to follow her lead by telling us:

One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.

If you would like to learn more about Yousafzay, her autobiography, I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban, is available in the library. Both Yousafzay and Satyarthi’s work in support of children’s rights is very inspiring and Glocal Notes congratulates them on their well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize!


[I] Noble Media AB. (2014). The Nobel Peace Prize 2014 – Press Release. Retrieved from

[II] Harma, R. (2009). Global march against child labor. In Hugh D. Hindman (Ed.), The world of child labor: An historical and regional survey. Retrieved from Credo Reference.

[III] Global March International Secretariat. (2014). Global March Against Child Labor. Retrieved from

[IV] Walsh, D. (2012).  “Taliban Gun Down Girl Who Spoke Up for Rights.” New York Times. Retrieved from

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Glocal Notes Travels Around DH

This past Tuesday marked the final day of Around DH in 80 Days, a collaborative project that showcased a different digital humanities project from around the world every day for eighty days. Inspired by Jules Vernes’ classic novel, the project illustrates the diverse range of work that can be considered part of the “digital humanities.” Today, Glocal Notes is traveling Around DH and highlighting some of the projects from our service areas. Just in case you were wondering, there are plenty of copies of Vernes’ text in the library.

Image of the complete map of Around DH projects.

The complete Around DH map. / This image from is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US.

Around DH was started by Alex Gil, Digital Scholarship Coordinator at the Columbia University Libraries, and built with the help of many contributors. The first project was posted on June 22, 2014 and the last was published last week on September 9, 2014.

The project was motivated by the desire to highlight the disciplinary and regional diversity of digital humanities projects. Indeed, as you can see from the map above, multiple projects from every continent were included. If you are wondering what, exactly, digital humanities is all about, a look at some of the projects highlighted here should give you a better idea.

The concept behind Around DH is simple: every day for eighty days, a new digital humanities project appeared on the map. Crowdsourced suggestions for projects to include were submitted by contributors from around the world. The editorial team selected and wrote up the projects which were featured on the website. Each project is accompanied by a description of its scope and coverage. Most of these descriptions are rather brief, providing just enough information to give you a sense of the project before directing you to the project itself. Finally, the website was designed according to minimal computing principles, so as to be accessible in places with limited bandwidth.

Below are just a few examples of Around DH projects from our service areas here at the International & Area Studies Library. Visit to learn more about the project and see what other resources it has to offer. You can also follow along, or share additional projects, using the hashtag #arounddh on Twitter.

Day 10: Aluka

Aluka is a collaborative project to build a digital library of scholarly sources “from and about Africa” tailored to an undergraduate student audience.

East Asia
Day 1: Frog in a Well | 井底之蛙

This project, the first one to be featured, is a blog dedicated to publishing open-source scholarship about China, Japan, and Korea. Its name comes from an East Asian proverb that highlights the importance of openness and collaboration.

Eastern Europe
Day 76: Digitális Irodalmi Akadémia

This project is a “digital academy” of living Hungarian authors. Beyond providing digital access to the texts themselves, the project includes a rich collection of supplementary materials contributed by the authors.

European Union
Day 24: Quijote interactivo

Quijote interactivo is a beautiful digital edition of Cervantes’ Don Quijote. It is a high quality reproduction of the first edition of the work that allows the reader to turn the pages and search the full-text. Supplementary materials about the novel are included as well.

Latin America & the Caribbean
Day 16: Memorias de la Patagonia Austral

This project aims to provide access the a rich collection of primary source materials about the Patagonia region. It includes a wide variety of materials, ranging from newspaper articles to oral histories.

Middle East & North Africa
Day 52: AlexCinema

This project aims to preserve the history of Egyptian cinema, specifically in Alexandria. The film-making tradition in the city is over 100 years old and AlexCinema is an extensive bibliography documenting that tradition and its modern-day revival.

South Asia
 Day 33: Indian Memory Project

The Indian Memory project is an online archive dedicated to the history of the Indian subcontinent. It includes a variety of resources, including images and oral histories.

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Using Transliteration Tables

Doing research related to area studies oftentimes means using specialized research tools that you may not have encountered previously. Becoming familiar with these tools can make all the difference in your research and the Glocal Notes blog is here to help! This week’s post is about transliteration tables, which are an essential tool for scholars whose work involves non-Roman alphabets. 

Introduction to Transliteration Tables

Perhaps the best place to start when discussing transliteration tables is by defining a couple of key terms: transliteration and Romanization. Transliteration is the process of converting one script into another. Transliterating a term does not mean translating it, rather it means representing in a different alphabet. Oftentimes, transliteration is done on the basis of phonetic similarity. Romanization is a specific kind of transliteration, in which words from other languages are written in the Roman (also called Latin) alphabet.

Transliteration example.

The Russian words for “library” and “alphabet” transliterated from Cyrillic into the Roman alphabet.

Transliteration tables are one of the most important research tools for scholars working in international and area studies to master. Scholars working in this domain conduct a substantial portion of their work using resources in foreign languages and scripts. While preferable, using the original script is not always an option. For example, records in library catalogs do not consistently include bibliographic information in the original script and not all systems are configured to allow input in non-Roman characters.

There are many conceivable ways to represent letters from one alphabet in another and it would be very confusing if everyone transliterated words according to their own interpretation. Romanization tables have been developed over time in order to simplify this process as much as possible. A typical Romanization table lists each letter from the vernacular alphabet alongside the letter (or combination of letters) of the Roman alphabet chosen to represent it and any notes about special cases are included at the end of the table. Once you know where to find them, the tables are actually very easy to use and will be extremely helpful in searching library catalogs, databases, and reference materials containing vernacular language materials.

Partial Romanization table for Hindi.

Part of the ALA-LC Romanization table for Hindi.

In the United States, the most commonly used Romanization schemes are those developed by the Library of Congress in partnership with the American Library Association. Up-to-date tables for 70 languages are available on the Library of Congress website and I recommend printing out a copy of the tables for any language you use regularly to have on hand as a quick reference. Additionally, many of the research guides put together by the subject specialists in the International & Area Library include information about transliteration standards.

Beyond the Basics

Once you understand the basics of using transliteration tables, here are a few caveats to keep in mind that will aid you in your research. Should you run into any trouble, the subject specialists at the Library are here to help.

One important thing to keep in mind is that transliteration standards are different in different countries. If you are looking for materials held in the United States, the ALA-LC tables have you covered. However, if you encounter materials produced in other countries (including foreign library catalogs) the transliteration scheme used could be considerably different. If you are searching for items held in the country of interest, you should use the original script, as information in those databases is not always transliterated.

Additionally, transliteration tables (even in the United States) have changed over time and materials are not always updated to reflect changes. For example, books in the library catalog are listed according to the standards in place when they were originally acquired by the library.

Finally, keep in mind that formal transliteration standards are not all-encompassing and oftentimes learning informal Romanization systems in addition to formal standards can benefit you in your research. The growing popularity of social media platforms (many of which do not support non-Roman characters) has led to the increased prevalence informal Romanization systems that look very different from the formal systems, but which have their own internal logic. Scholars interested in new media in an international context, among others, would benefit from becoming familiar with these alternative systems, several examples of which are listed below.

Learning how to properly use transliteration tables is an easy way to improve your research skills in order to locate foreign language materials in the library catalog and beyond. If you found this tutorial helpful and would like to see something similar about another specialized research tool, let us know by leaving a comment below or stopping by our Facebook page. We would love to tell you all about it!

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Staff Interview Series: Mara Thacker

In this installment of the Glocal Notes faculty and staff interview series, get to know Mara Thacker, the South Asian Studies librarian at the International and Area Studies Library. Mara is responsible for growing our South Asian studies collection, meeting with patrons with research related to the region, and supervising the library’s graduate assistants. She joined the library in 2012 and has already started on several major projects, including this year’s Indian Film Festival and the South Asian Comic collection, in addition to her day-to-day activities.

Photograph of Mara next to a map of South Asia

Mara Thacker, the South Asian Studies librarian at the International and Area Studies Library.

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What languages do you speak? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in exotic Richmond, VA and didn’t stray too far from there for undergrad. I went to the College of William and Mary where I studied Indian popular film (technically my degree is in Literary and Cultural Studies) and got a minor in Religious Studies. Being virtually unemployable with that particular degree, I went straight to graduate school at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Thanks to the FLAS scholarship, I was able to continue to study South Asia and also begin intensive Hindi language training. By the time I received my MSLS in 2010 I had spent almost 9 months in India (spread out over several semesters) and attained a working-level proficiency in Hindi.

What attracted you to librarianship and your area of specialty?

I have loved libraries ever since I was a child and thought it might be fun to work in one. I interviewed a few librarians to find out what their jobs were like and that confirmed it for me so I applied to UNC and left the rest to fate. When I started library school I didn’t even know subject specialists existed but then someone told me about the South Asian Studies Librarian at Duke, Avinash Maheshwary, and I got really excited about the idea of being able to continue to study South Asia and also work in a library. Avinash became my mentor and taught me a lot over my time at UNC and now here I am, happy to be the South Asia subject specialist at UIUC.

What are you most excited about working on here at the International and Area Studies Library?

My favorite projects so far have been the Indian Film Festival, which will wrap up on December 10th and then the South Asian comic collection which is ongoing. I really love any projects that involve the public service side of librarianship, so anything involving instruction and outreach is going to be enjoyable for me.

Briefly, describe your typical work day at the library.

I think every day is a little bit different for me—which is just the way I like it! Some common features however are keeping up with email correspondence, attending meetings, working on my research projects, and perusing book lists from vendors to see what I might like to buy for the library.

What are your research and collection development interests within your subject specialty?

I’m still working on developing a cohesive statement on my research agenda, but I can safely say that it will fit under the umbrella of area studies librarianship with a probable slant towards collection development. I’m currently working on a group project looking at the impact of Less Commonly Taught Languages collections and a solo project on the collecting practices of South Asia subject specialists. In terms of collection development interests, I am very excited about building the South Asia comic collection and also enjoy buying films for the library. Otherwise, I try to tailor my purchases to the research and teaching interests of our faculty and students.

Tell us about a cool resource at IAS that you want everyone to know about.

Did I mention the South Asia comic collection? It’s not technically housed in IAS and we’re still working on getting a lot of it on the shelves, but it is really cool. You can get more information from our LibGuide.

(Note: You can also learn more about the South Asian comic collection by checking out this post from the Glocal Notes archive.)

What are some of your proudest career accomplishments?

I’m still pretty early in my career so honestly it still feels like an accomplishment just to have landed my “dream job” as a South Asia subject specialist. That said, I am proud of how the Indian Film Festival turned out, think I did a good job on my first buying trip to India this past February, and was pleased to receive notice that I am going to be nominated for election to the executive board of the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, which is the professional organization for South Asia subject specialists.

Do you have any career advice for someone interested in the kind of work that you do?

Yes—get on the CONSALD listserv, learn a South Asian language (Hindi/Urdu especially), and get as much practical work experience either as a GA, hourly or practicum student as humanly possible.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies and interests?

I love dancing—especially West African dance and belly dance! I perform with a local belly dance troupe, the Gypsy Hips, and also perform with the Mara Giri Ensemble which is the local West African performance group. I’m looking into starting my own belly dance/West African fusion group which will be called the Faré Xobe Project. Other than that I like to spend time with my dog, Max and eat (not necessarily cook) Indian food.

What is your favorite thing to do in the C-U area?

West African dance classes at the Channing-Murray Foundation!

What is your favorite place you’ve visited?

India! I have a hard time narrowing it down to a specific city in India, but I can say that I have a slight preference for Southern India. I spent a semester in Pondicherry (now Puducherry) and that is a pretty fantastic place, but I also had a really great time in Chennai, Mumbai, Anjuna Beach, Cochin and doing the pilgrimage at Tirupathi.

Do you have a favorite author or authors?

Too many to count! But to name a few: Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakarui, Khushwant Singh, Gita Mehta, Chris Bohjalian, Barbara Kingsolver, and Maggie Stiefvater (this is my YA guilty pleasure). For specific books I also loved “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, “Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho, and “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

This year Mara is having office hours on Fridays from 9 am – 11 am in her office in Room 331of the Main Library (directly across from the International and Area Studies Library). You can also email her at with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

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Staff Interview Series: Antonio Sotomayor

In the third installment of our faculty and staff interview series, Antonio Sotomayor, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarian at the International and Area Studies Library, tells us a little bit about his background and his role at the library.  Antonio joined the library after earning his PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 2012. He is responsible for developing the strong Latin American & Caribbean Studies collection at library and working with faculty and students researching the region. His own research interests include the culture and politics of sport, especially as they pertain to the development of national identity in Latin America.

Photograph of Antonio Sotomayor

Antonio Sotomayor, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Librarian at the International and Area Studies Library.

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What languages do you speak? Where did you go to school? I grew up in Puerto Rico, between San Juan and Mayagüez/Cabo Rojo. My native language is Spanish, but I’ve studied English since first grade. I did all of my schooling at Colegio Espíritu Santo, a private Catholic school in the neighborhood of Hato Rey, San Juan. I then went to college at the Universidad de Puerto Rico – Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez (or as we like to call it “Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas”). At Colegio, I majored in Psychology and planned to become a Counseling Psychologist. That is what brought me to the US and, in 2001, I entered the Counseling program at Indiana University in Bloomington. I finished my MS in Counseling in 2004, specializing in Career Counseling. But at IU I began to question the process of identity formation of Puerto Ricans and I applied to the MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies here at Illinois. I finished my MA in 2006 and continued my studies at the University of Chicago, where I finished my PhD in history in 2012.

What attracted you to librarianship and your area of specialty? I was attracted to librarianship by my years of graduate work and archival research. Libraries are the heart of the educational experience and the basis of scholarship. I think Latin America and the Caribbean is an exciting area to study because of its diversity and rich history.

What brings you to the International and Area Studies Library? What are you most excited about working on here? I am excited to be working alongside other world area experts. Coming from outside the profession of librarianship, I have much to learn and I have a great and very helpful group of colleagues.

Briefly, describe your typical work day at the library.  I check my e-mail, answer questions, or coordinate meetings. I often meet with students to talk about sources for their research, other faculty members on multiple topics, or library colleagues regarding collection management. Sometimes I have to work on writing grants or other material about our LACST collection. If I have time, I read scholarly articles pertaining to my field and my research. On my research day, I revise manuscripts already in preparation, write new material, or analyze data for future works.

What are your research and collection development interests within your subject specialty? I collect LACST material in the social sciences and humanities, mainly history, anthropology, economics, sociology, political sciences, art history, etc. I have a particular research and collection development interest in the culture and politics of sport. I am currently working on a few articles that document the ways in which mass sport and recreation programs in mid-twentieth century Puerto Rico helped to consolidate a populist movement. I’m also working on a longer project that shows the ways in which Puerto Rican Olympism helped to consolidate both national identity and colonialism.

Tell us about a cool resource at the library that you want everyone to know about. We have close to 300 letters from the Conde de Montemar written between 1761 and 1799, mainly between Lima and Madrid.

What are some of your proudest career accomplishments? I am too early in my career to say, but I’m very glad to have this job.

Do you have any career advice for someone interested in the kind of work that you do? Get really good at multitasking and organizing your time.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies and interests? I like to watch sports and play basketball. I’m also an amateur genealogist and enjoy the science and art of heraldry.

What is your favorite thing to do in the C-U area? I have many places I like to go with my family: we love Jarling’s Custard Cup, the park on Winsdor, and going to the YMCA.

What is your favorite place you’ve visited?  I love many parts of my dear Puerto Rico: the beaches, Old San Juan, small towns in the interior and west, hiking, the museums and cultural centers.

In Fall 2013, Antonio put together the exhibit Unity in Diversity: Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of Illinois Library. Take a look at the exhibit website if you would like to learn more about the history of our rich collection of area resources. To meet with Antonio, contact him to schedule an appointment or come by the International and Area Studies Library offices in Room 329 of the Main Library.

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