AALL Spectrum Blog

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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. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
7/28/2014 2:30:32 PM

AALL Session Review: H-5: Law Librarianship in the Digital Age


Jennifer Alexander: McKenna Long & Aldridge
Scott D. Bailey, Squire Sanders
Valeri Craigle, University of Utah
William R. Mills, New York Law School
Ralph A. Monaco, New York Law Institute
Carol Ottolenghi, Ohio Attorney General
C. Andrew Plumb-Larrick, Case Western Reserve University
Thomas Striepe, University of Georgia

This unique session managed to keep my attention for the entire hour even though it was in the last time slot of the conference. The eight speakers listed above all wrote chapters in the recently published monograph Law Librarianship in the Digital Age edited by the program’s moderator, Ellysa Kroski of the New York Law Institute and published by Scarecrow Press.  What made this session different from many others I’ve attended is that each speaker on the panel presented using PechaKucha 20X20 style. This is a Japanese presentation style in which each talk consists of 20 images (or slides) each shown for just 20 seconds before automatically moving to  the next slide.  Each talk was about 7 minutes in length – and featured interesting photos or slides, and was thus concise and memorable.  Many presenters added humorous photos/slides which were a welcome addition and an aid in remembering content.

This program was a glimpse into the content of the book,  Law Librarianship in the Digital Age which is a guidebook for law librarians who want to become digitally literate as well as gain an understanding  of recent advancements and trends in information technology.  I learned so much during this program that I can’t possibly share all of it, but here are my main takeaways.

From Bill Mills on Tablets and Mobile Device Management:

  • Librarians need to be seen as trending and trend setters
  • Librarians as managers of digital resources and devices is one way to be trend setters.

From T.J. Striepe on Embedded Librarianship

  • Embedded librarianship is on a sliding scale that goes from visiting patrons where they are to actually living there with them.
  • Form a relationship with your patrons
  • Librarians at the University of Georgia roam the faculty hallways with iPads to demonstrate legal research apps, but also to talk about non library topics so that they can build relationships.

From Carol Ottolenghi on Digital Age Marketing

  • It’s not enough to do good. We need to be caught being good.
  • We need to sell the librarian skill set to our users, our potential users and to the people who control the budget.
  • Tell them in ways that they can hear you.

From Scott Bailey on the Future of Law Librarianship

  • Librarians are the product. Don’t let the tools (or the vendor) get in front of you.
  • Monetize your services and show how you add value.
  • Go to your patrons and communicate in the language of your business – be relevant!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

I just ordered the book and am looking forward to reading and learning even more. Thanks to Ellyssa for moderating this program and to all of the speakers. For more information on the book see the AALL Spectrum Blog review here.

Posted By Elizabeth Holmes at 7/28/2014 2:30:32 PM  4 Comments
7/25/2014 4:12:36 PM

AALL Session Review: Vendor Shootout at the Alamo: Current Awareness Tools (A3)

I am always interested in current awareness and was very much looking forward to this session.  It did not disappoint, as the presenters discussed their searches for, and decisions on, current awareness services.  First to speak was Nina Platt of the LAC Group, who spoke in general terms about current awareness—the “filter failure” of some services, and the current goals of using a service: a smarter, more informed staff with better knowledge of current and prospective clients, auto-profiling, and one aggregator/e-mail.  She spoke of the history of current awareness, from the olden days of multiple print newsletters, to the future (“current awareness nirvana”).

Laura Whitbeck from Nixon Peabody spoke next.  Her main goals for a current awareness service were overall efficiency and decluttering of inboxes.  Ultimately, she chose InfoNgen because of its de-duplication technology, as well as an appealing look and feel and search capability, and the ability to filter by type of story.  She has received positive feedback from both attorneys and the library team, especially on flexibility of the model and responsiveness of the service team.

Mark Gediman from Best Best & Krieger said that his primary goal was efficiency of use, as there are two librarians and one library assistant to serve 200 attorneys in nine offices.  He made the point of distinguishing needs from wants when trying to find a current awareness service.  Needs were listed as: as much automation as possible, a minimum of curation, and cost effectiveness.  Wants were: mobile-friendliness and the ability to create a new newsletter quickly.  Convergence is now their current awareness service, and Gediman praised their great support, and ability to support projects, marketing, and competitive intelligence, all with a minimum of time.

Jeffrey Bois from Foley & Lardner chose Manzama after a three-month trial period.  The need here was for a mobile-friendly service, with personalized alerts without newsletters.  He also wanted the service to be “cool” and easy to use, with curation done by the system itself.  He also emphasized the importance of branding this work (“by Research and Information Services”) and rolling out the service to everyone, not just the people who asked for it.

The audience was a mix of people who already were using a current awareness tool, people looking for one to use, and a few who were looking for a new tool to replace the old one.  So, just as important as the choice of each presenter was the process by which they chose that service.  The presenters had in common that they approached the search with a list (long or short) of their needs and wants, kept a close eye on the responsiveness of the support team, and solicited feedback both from attorneys and from library staff.  This set of embedded tips was a great takeaway from this session, allowing the audience to focus on the “how” of choosing a service.  Overall, a very interesting and informative session.


Posted By Stephanie Ziegler at 7/25/2014 4:12:36 PM  0 Comments
7/25/2014 3:23:59 PM

AALL 2014: Something Out of the Ordinary at the Mid-America Chapter Luncheon

I've long been curious about 3D printing, and thanks to the speaker at the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries (MAALL) chapter luncheon at AALL 2014, I learned a lot.

The speaker, Mark Barnett, coordinates Geekbus, a mobile science-eduation lab for K-12 students in San Antonio. He said that 3D printing has been around since 1984, but is now getting more exposure because the patent has expired. His printer cost around $2,000, and some think that within 10 years printers will cost $500-800 and will become common household items.

Mark described how his students use CAD software (the same as used by architects and engineers) to design items to print in plastic. Other printers can print with metals, but those are much more expensive. Unfortunately, the printer couldn't be demonstrated during the lunch because it got out of calibration in transit, but just to see the machine itself up close was interesting.

Below is a side view of the printer. On the right is the green plastic, which is fed into a heated chamber and melted. Some printers have color ink cartridges, but this one doesn't.

Below is a front view. On the tray is a spiky bracelet that was designed by a student. The mechanism dispensing the melted plastic goes back and forth, creating distinctive layers in the printed items. (The stuffed animals are MAALL mascots Marbury and Madison.)

Posted By Colleen Williams at 7/25/2014 3:23:59 PM  0 Comments