AALL Spectrum Blog

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This blog provides a space for conversations about articles and ideas found in AALL Spectrum, the monthly magazine of the American Association of Law Libraries. The previous blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
6/19/2013 5:12:39 PM

New Issue of JurisDocs (GD-SIS) Newsletter Available

new issue of the Government Documents SIS newsletter JURISDOCS is now available.  It contains a summary of the section's planned activities at the AALL annual meeting, general news about federal government documents, and a review of the virtual GPO conference Partners in Preservation: Government Information for Future Generations.

Posted By Sara Sampson at 6/19/2013 5:12:39 PM  0 Comments
6/10/2013 4:28:56 PM

Book Review: The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher

Hock, Randolph, The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher, 4th Ed. (Medford, N.J.: CyberAge Books, 2013), 344 pp., incl. index. ISBN: 978-1-937290-02-3, $24.95 (softcover).

The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher, 4th Edition, discusses research strategies and internet tools to effectively and efficiently locate information on the internet and the “deep web”. In the introduction, the author makes a point of noting that most people learn about the internet by using it, but don’t have a comprehensive source pulling the information together in one handy reference like this one. Although much of the material is too basic for the research needs of most law librarians, I would recommend this book as a basic reference source especially for use with students and other patrons. In addition, I see value in using portions of the book in legal research instruction.

Overall, I was disappointed that the author focused on “basics” when the title of the book implies that the reader will already be a well-informed researcher. Chapter 1, covering background material and research strategies, was designed for someone with a very basic skill set. Chapter 2, covered directories and portals even though the author freely admits that many researchers no longer use directories, especially general directories. I was concerned that the book began by explaining very basic internet concepts and the substantive discussion opened with a resource that is generally out of favor. I would like to believe that he did so to explain the concept of moving from a general search strategy to a more specific strategy.

Fortunately, chapters 3 and 4, on search engines, explained concrete skills to improve results when using search engines. The 25 pages covering the details of specialized searching in Google is good reference material that could be used to help students improve their research skills. And, although the information covering other search engines was not as comprehensive as the Google discussion, the chart that compares the features of the four search engines discussed, is useful reference tool.

I found chapter 6, An Internet Reference Shelf, interesting because it provides a snapshot of what an expert in the field views as the most important online reference sources. I thought this was a very good collection of basic sources that would be useful for conducting research in a wide range of topics. Again, this would be a good collection for students or patrons, but I would expect librarians to be aware of most of these resources.

The rest of the chapters provide an overview of search strategies in a particular type of resource, such as images or news sources followed by a list of websites and a corresponding description of the website. These chapters were much more focused on lists of sources without going into any great detail. Again, these sources can be a good reference list. It was in these chapters that I discovered a few new and interesting sites.

The book concludes with a glossary of terms and a list of all of the URLs that are mentioned throughout the book as well as an index. The URLs are also available at the site www.extremesearcher.com The author has published a new edition approximately every three years, and updates the material on the website between print editions. Current updates cover changes to the Google results pages.

Laura Ax-Fultz is the Access Services/Reference Librarian at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in University Park, PA.

Posted By Laura Ax-Fultz at 6/10/2013 4:28:56 PM  0 Comments
5/30/2013 12:15:16 PM

The June Issue of Spectrum is Now Available on AALLNET

We hope you enjoy the latest issue of Spectrum and encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback using the "comments" box below!

Public Relations: Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional
This resource provides simple strategies to improve customer service and more
By Joy M. Shoemaker

See You in Seattle!
Counting down to AALL's 106th Annual Meeting

Local Advocacy Networks
Adopting UELMA in your state and how you can help
By Catherine M. Dunn

RLLL Mobile Turns One
Reflections on how we developed a library mobile site from the ground up
By Catherine A. Lemmer and Hannah Alcasid

Authenticating the "John Hancock" of Online Primary Legal Materials
The technical and policy concerns at play
By Anna Russell and Jane Larrington

Digging in to Patron Data
What I learned from the law school "facebook"
By Sarah E. Ryan

Recognizing the Outstanding
Carolyn P. Ahearn and Judy Meadows receive the 2013 Marian Gould Gallagher Award
By Elizabeth L. Moore

Going Green with Carpooling
Setting up a carpooling program at your institution
By Emily Marcum

Showcasing Art in the Law Library
A county law library in Pennsylvania launches its art program
By Barbara Pasqua

A Valuable Contribution to Legal Literature
AALL names its 2013 Joseph L. Andrews Bibliographical Award winner
By Pauline Aranas

Frank Sinatra Never Branded Himself a "Ninja"
Some thoughts on informality in digital interactions
By Megan Wiseman

Introducing the Hall of Fame Class of 2013
AALL honors Brecht, Spinelli, Todd, and Wright
By Frank G. Houdek

From the Editor
Lost Days
By Mark E. Estes

From the President
Rethinking our Future
By Jean M. Wenger

Washington Brief
See You in Seattle! A Guide to Public Policy Programs at the 2013 Annual Meeting
By Emily Feltren

The Reference Desk
I coordinate the training for new associates at a law firm, and I'm appalled when I see someone taking a call or having a side conversation when I'm talking with them or catch them texting during a training session. I'm afraid that one of them will do the same thing when they're in a shareholder's office or with a client. Doesn't anyone appreciate good manners anymore?
By Susan Catterall

Member to Member
What has been your favorite vacation?

Stu's Views

Views from You
Views of the remodeled Rare Book and Special Collections Room at Taggart Law Library, Ohio Northern University, Ada

Posted By Ashley St. John at 5/30/2013 12:15:16 PM  0 Comments
TOPICS: spectrum