Session Review: AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers: The Librarian as Author

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This session featured talks by the winners of the 2013 AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers competition. Before the winners gave their talks, Joel Fishman of the Duquesne University Center for Legal Information and the Allegheny County Law Library and a prolific author, gave a brief talk on the value of scholarship for law librarians. He said research and writing was enjoyable and a good way to learn more about law and librarianship. He advised writing about anything one finds interesting, but emphasized that state legal history has not received sufficient attention yet.

Joe Gerken, winner of the Open division, spoke about his paper on the development of the first American case reporters, digests, and citators. He noted that these tools were developed in a very short period of time and have remained relatively stable to the present. Some of first American court reporters were surprisingly colorful characters. Gerken noted that his paper is built on the work of many scholars who came before him.

Catherine Lemmer, winner of the New Member division, spoke about her paper on used a flipped classroom strategy to teach legal research to LLM students. She said her students had trouble transferring and generalizing their legal research skills to unfamiliar problems. She found a more effective approach was delivering instruction through recorded talks and reading, and then asking students to work together on research problems during class. This approach stimulated more critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. She noted that research indicates a combination of online and in-person instruction has the best outcomes, and this flipped classroom approach provides that combination.

Mari Cheney, winner of the Short Form division, talked about her paper on a legal research boot camp administered at her school. The legal research boot camp was a concentrated and compact program of basic legal research instruction for 1L in their first semester. She described how the boot camp was administered and lessons she and her colleagues have learned to improve their legal research instruction.

Kristen Hallows, winner of the Student division, gave a talk based on her paper on in-house classification schemes in law libraries. Her paper was inspired by her practicum at the Ohio Attorney General Office' library. The library implemented an in-house classification scheme that grouped legal and non-legal materials together by subjects they shared. For example, materials on health law were shelved with medical texts. She described how law libraries classified their materials before Library of Congress issued Class K and how LC classification spread to most law libraries. Hallows suggested that for some collections, like the Ohio AG's library, an in-house classification may increase use of print materials and be more intuitive for researchers.

Winning papers can be found here, and more information on the Call for Papers competition can be found on AALLNet.

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