ARCHIVED: Roger H. Parent's Informal Notes - 10/31/1996

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October 31, 1996


Improved Access to AALL and AALLNET for Members and Executive Staff

Consistent with recent efforts at headquarters to maintain and improve AALLNET, in November we will install a T-1 line that will provide high-speed, direct-access to the AALL server purchased with Association funds and resident at Washburn University. The Executive Board approved purchase of the server at Washburn in the 1997 capital equipment budget.

The T-1 line will permit the Association's Webmaster to work with the AALLNET files much more readily than is currently possible. In fact, updating files at the present time is exceedingly difficult and time consuming using standard telephone connections. Some of the applications suggested below have been impossible to undertake with the present form of access.

The T-1 line offers new and expanded e-mail capabilities. Executive Staff e-mail accounts with commercial vendors like America Online and Netcom will be replaced and the Association will take full advantage of the AALL domain name. Each Executive Staff member will be assigned a new e-mail address, such as STAFF'S NAME@aall.org. The Association's Webmaster will also be able to establish new e-mail addresses to accommodate the Association's needs. For example, to register individuals for educational events, ANNUAL MEETING@aall.org. He will also be able to set up listservs easily and offer e-mail addresses to Board Members, Committee Chairs and others which can be checked via Telnet.

The T-1 line will also facilitate exploration of integrated access between the AALL membership database and AALLNET. Files will be updated with considerably more speed than is possible now. It the future it may be possible to join AALL, to purchase publications, to register for educational programs, to examine membership records and send in changes electronically.

AALL Directory and Handbook

The final copy of the Handbook is now scheduled to be delivered to CCH for printing and mailing on November 8th, four weeks later than our originally scheduled date. It is our hope that the printer will be able to accommodate our request and need for a quick turnaround. The printer and AALL staff will make every effort to mail it to members immediately before Thanksgiving, November 25th.

This year's unusual delays were caused by two primary factors. First, the Association is using a new firm to produce the copy for the Directory. Working with a new firm instead of Shackelford and Associates that had produced the Directory for many years has caused some inevitable production delays. Second, during the production Editor Peter Beck also noted an error in the conversion to the new membership software in the field for members' telephone numbers. For each member the personal and institution telephone numbers had been reversed. This had to be corrected by the Association's software vendor before the files could be edited and approved.

As usual Peter has taken extraordinary measures, including engaging an editor to review all members records for completeness and accuracy, in order to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the membership Directory. In early September he even faxed a membership data form to approximately 1000 members to verify changes that they had requested to their records. Many used that opportunity to add further changes.

Peter has proposed a new approach to producing the Directory in August 1997, significantly earlier than has been done in the past. He has suggested that we produce the Directory earlier by including the names of all members who have renewed by the June 1st deadline, and the names of all those who may not have renewed yet. In conformance with our Bylaws the Association gives members a two month extension of membership benefits through September 1st. Bylaws Article IV Section 11 states: "If a member fails to pay dues two months after the beginning of the dues year, then privileges of that member shall be suspended by the Treasurer". We have thus delayed Directory production until September 1st when we could delete members who had not renewed.

This delay through September means that most members who renewed on time by June 1st are unnecessarily deprived from receiving their updated Directory in a timely manner. Peter's proposal would meet the needs of members who have renewed on time while not disenfranchising those members who delayed renewing their membership until September 1st.

Comments on Peter's proposal are encouraged and welcome.

West Information Publishing Group Professional Education Series: "Law and Justice: The Information Professional in the 21st Century."

The Advisory Committee held its second meeting in Chicago on October 24 - 25, 1996. Those in attendance included: Bob Willard and Roy Mersky, Co-Chairs; Charlie Finger, Marcia Koslov, Louise Rosen-Garcia, Bill Lindberg (newly appointed) and Kay Todd. In addition to the Advisory Committee, other participants included AALL President -Elect, Judy Meadows, Executive Director, Roger Parent, and Director of Programs, Martha Brown who serves as staff liaison. Maureen Sullivan continued as facilitator.

The Advisory Committee confirmed two broad themes that will shape the specific programs offered during the Series:

  • Issues, trends and developments in the legal system and practice of law which are shaping the delivery of legal information.  
  • Changes in the legal system and information technology and the impact of those changes on end users, society, legal and library education.

Four tracks will be offered at the first program tentatively scheduled for the Fall 1997 in Washington DC. Each track will be overseen by members of the Advisory Committee:

  1. Workplace Changes & Management; Roy Mersky, Marcia Koslov, Charlie Finger
  2. Marketing; Bill Lindberg, Judy Meadow, Marcia Koslov, Bob Willard
  3. Information & Public Policy; Kay Todd, Bob Willard, Louise Rosen-Garcia
  4. Information Professional: Core Competencies and Skills. Roy Mersky, Kay Todd

The Advisory Committee will continue to work closely with Executive Staff to design and plan the overall program and the four tracks that will be offered in 1997. They have offered to contact potential speakers for both the plenary sessions and individual programs.

They have also agreed to initiate some fundraising to supplement the generous financial support pledged by West Information Publishing Group. The West pledge covers administrative and developmental costs, while fundraising will seek moneys to support the program event itself in 1997.

The Advisory Committee agreed to seek cosponsors and they set several objectives: involving others in the development of the program; encouraging broad participation by law librarians, publishers, attorneys, judges and many others; using mailing lists and other vehicles for promoting the event; and involving representatives from other organizations in the program. Potential cosponsors will be drawn from such groups as the American Bar Association, Information Industry Association, National Center for State Courts, National Association of Court Managers, American Association of Law Schools and others.