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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM

Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium Recap


In mid-October I attended the
Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium at the University of Toronto. Papers were selected from proposals submitted in May of 2014. The conference was subject-specific and had an information science focus. I found it to be an excellent opportunity to connect with librarians practicing in non-legal areas, yet sharing a common interest. It was a great way to learn about new things and get a feel for other areas of the profession.
  

Image of Four Panelists Speaking at the Information Studies Colloquium
"Queering Order" Panel. Left to Right: Melodie Fox, Cait McKinney, D. Grant Campbell, & Melissa Adler.

The conference included presentations on a number of different subjects: web-based communities, internet filtration, archives, name authority records, Library of Congress subject headings, pornography, academic libraries, collections development, and art exhibits. All the works addressed gender or sexuality in some way. Two presentations focused on legal information as a key component, though many others also raised interesting legal questions. Melodie Fox, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee iSchool provided and excellent analysis of legal classifications of sex and gender compared with gender classification in different editions of the Dewey Decimal System. My presentation focused on difficulties in researching asexuality in legal research databases and the resulting social justice implications.

In addition, inherent in several of the non-legal presentations were issues such as intellectual property protection for transient materials, harassment in digital creation spaces, and archiving hate crime material.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to learn about the roles that different individuals play in addressing contemporary library issues. “There were 100 attendees. [One attendee reporting on the conference estimated] that library and information studies professors and PhD students made up 50%, library school grad students made up 25%, and the other 25%. . .were practitioners, who work almost exclusively in academic settings.” Tara Robertson’s Blog. Attendance was higher than expected, but still small enough for presenters and attendees to meet and engage in discussion with individuals from institutions all over the continent.

A compilation of articles edited and compiled by the organizers of the conference, the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, is available for those seeking more information on Gender and Sexuality in the library and information profession. In addition, many of the works presented at the conference will likely be published in the coming years.

© AJ Blechner, 2014. Reference/Outreach Librarian, University of Miami Law Library, Coral Gables, Florida. ablechner@law.miami.edu.

Posted By AJ Blechner at 11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM  0 Comments
10/30/2014 8:53:32 AM

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is a trending topic within the law library world. What exactly is knowledge management or KM? I would describe KM as the connection of your users to the right resources through use of a shared database where knowledge is used collaboratively among a particular community. According to Law Librarianship in the Digital Age, KM is: “The leveraging of the organization’s collective wisdom (know-how) by creating systems and processes to support and facilitate the identification, capture, dissemination and use of the organization’s knowledge to meet its business objectives” (Lastres & MacLeod 390).

Why does KM matter? KM is currently being used within law firms as a way of collecting and sharing knowledge. Sharing knowledge can help facilitate client relationships, collaboration among IT, marketing, attorneys, librarians and more. KM will also secure valuable information for the future as attorneys retire and pass down their forms, templates and experience to newer attorneys within their firm.

While KM can be highly useful, it does come with its own set of challenges. One of the hardest obstacles law firms need to overcome is attaining attorney buy-in. As we know, attorneys are busy and may not have the time needed to dedicate to knowledge management.

This presents a unique opportunity for librarians. Law librarians can use this as a chance to extend their services to include knowledge management. Currently, most firms engaging in KM are using SharePoint in order to develop collaboration sites for their various practice area teams. Librarians can become involved by creating research guides for attorneys to place on their site. This is another way of the library becoming a service and not a space, reaching their users in yet another platform. With this step into the KM door can come more opportunities for librarians, whether it be developing deeper relationships with attorneys who then might become comfortable asking for more help with research or other pieces of the KM puzzle.

Not only can KM be used within a law firm, but also within a law school or government law library. KM would be highly useful to implement at the reference desk in tracking statistics and previous questions and resources used in those interactions.  Therefore, while there may be a few obstacles to overcome in developing KM within your institution, the benefits and possibilities are endless.   

I am happy to share that I was hired as a Knowledge Management Analyst/Reference Librarian at a top law firm and have helped to develop a collaboration site for nearly every practice area team we have. It’s been a great experience and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for KM within our firm. 

Posted By Lindsey Carpino at 10/30/2014 8:53:32 AM  0 Comments
10/23/2014 2:26:48 PM

Librarian Is Just a Keyword

I’ve been reviewing my librarian responsibilities in preparation of my tenure and promotion file. Trying to explain what I do as the Access Services Librarian can be a challenge as I work in the Circulation, Reference and Information Technology (IT) departments. To visualize my activities for 2013-2014 Academic Year, I turned my annual report into a Wordle infograph or word cloud.

A few things jump out when looking at my job from this perspective. First, the “law” keyword or portion of being a law librarian is the biggest component of my position. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I’ve often thought myself a librarian, not a law librarian. The second large portion of my job is the “library” keyword, as my access services job title suggests. Or maybe, I should stop looking at all the departments I have responsibilities in and instead focus on the big picture – the Library. This is a good reminder that my job is to enhance the services provided by Schmid Law Library and that I’m one staff among a dozen that work towards this mission. Finally, an annual report should celebrate accomplishments. When I read the many keywords in this word cloud, I see the cool things I did this past year as a professional librarian and with colleagues in the field. This list includes the presentations and programs I gave; the scholarship that was published, projects completed, the conferences attended and the many people helped when using my library.

The big picture view is Schmid Law Library providing excellent service to our faculty members and students by supporting the teaching and research mission of the University of Nebraska College of Law. My contribution to that goal is helping connect people to the information they need. An annual report is more than a document recording service, outreach, teaching and scholarship. An annual report is a benchmark for what we do as librarians, demonstrating how our law libraries provide relevant support to the mission of the organization.







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Marcia L. Dority Baker is the Access Services Librarian at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Schmid Law Library in Lincoln, Nebraska. She can be reached via email; mdoritybaker@unl.edu 

Posted By Marcia Dority Baker at 10/23/2014 2:26:48 PM  0 Comments