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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.
7/15/2014 10:09:46 AM

AALL Session Review: Click and Go: Ensuring Smooth Access to Online Resources

Suzanne Graham, University of Georgia
Julie Horst: Ninth Circuit Library
Keiko Okuhara, University of Hawaii

Link Rot is a relatively new and pretty disturbing problem that we as law librarians are facing.  Studies have shown that the Harvard Law Review has over 70% of it's non-proprietary citing links rotted away (not working) and the Supreme Court Legal Decisions have 50% of it's non-proprietary links going nowhere.  Suzanne Graham started the session with these stats and a great image of the 'million dollar website' that, where one dollar bought one pixel...and now about 22 percent are dead!  

One other important distinction that was made was between Link Rot and Reference Rot.  Link Rot means the page no longer exists, but Reference Rot is slightly more devious, with the page still existing but with different, non-cited content.  Librarians must be aware of these problems and how to solve them.

Julie Horst did a quick review of how HTML coding and error code works and gave links to more error links in the session's handout.  Keiko Okuhara then reviewed several add-ons that librarians can use for free to check links on their webpages and in their catalog.  In Keiko's case, she uses Xenu, which can be built to work directly with Voyager.  Keiko also also discussed add-ons for Firefox with a program called Linkchecker. All these programs and resources can be found on the session's handout.

Suzanne then covered more webpage link-checkers, including one that works with the Sierra ILS.  W3C, the web consortium has a good 'base-line' checker.  WordPress has a free add-on for link-checking, as does Drupal web design.  If you are using these programs with your website, these resources are invaluable. Of course, Libguides, everyone's favorite guide creator, has a built-in link checker that is very intuitive.  I have used the Libguide one before, and it is very helpful and friendly for users.

Finding the right website, the one that is cited, can be difficult. Some resources that can be used are the Wayback Machine and Memento.  Both programs catch websites at a moment in time, and can be extremely useful if a citation says 'accessed on a particular day'.  However, you do have to be lucky with those days!  It isn't a perfect solution, but a useful tool to have in your arsenal.

Julie then reviewed how the 9th Circuit Library approached the Link Rot problem.  Julie would receive updates about which websites are being cited, and capture the page and create a watermarked PDF of that page and then add it to the library's website.  A great way to keep track of cited sites.

Suzanne wrapped up the session by discussing some solutions to Link Rot, including Perma.CC, a collection of academic libraries (of which the University of Wisconsin is one), where permanent links are created to preserve cites.  One alternative to Perma.CC is Archive-it, where you can 'force' the Wayback Machine to capture your site before it is changed.  That isn't a perfect solution, but is an option to help preserve a page before it is lost or fundamentally changed. 
This was a great session that was very informative.  I highly suggest that if you work with Law Reviews or with citations or websites you check out the handout for the session (under C4: Click and Go), or at least contact Perma.CC to see if your institution can get involved.

Posted By Kristopher Turner at 7/15/2014 10:09:46 AM  0 Comments
7/14/2014 4:14:46 PM

AALL Session Review: Deep Dive - Inventing the New Classroom

Presenters: Debra Denslaw, Coordinator & Speaker, Valparaiso University Law School; Susan Boland, Speaker, University of Cincinnati College of Law; Jennifer Mart-Rice, Moderator & Speaker, Northern Kentucky University; Jesse Bowman, Speaker, Valparaiso University Law School

Summer is the perfect time to rethink strategies for teaching legal research, and the ideas generated in this session provide the perfect fuel for an overhaul. The presenters kept their remarks brief and practical, leaving ample time for attendees to interact and brainstorm with the guidance of well-constructed exercises and questions.

Susan Boland began the session with an overview of the flipped classroom model, an oft-discussed trend that is appealing, but somewhat intimidating undertaking. Susan’s comments focused on concrete examples of best practices for creating plans for a flipped class, and fair warning of the challenges this model may present. Jennifer Mart-Rice followed with a very thought-provoking presentation on question formulation as a part of effective teaching. She highlighted the ways in which multiple choice questions, if carefully constructed, can actually reinforce learning objectives and serve as study aids. Jesse Bowman concluded with suggestions for bringing social media into the classroom as a means of enhancing traditional instruction. Many of his ideas, such as utilizing Google Hangouts for guest speakers, creating Pinterest boards instead of traditional pathfinders, and asking students to create blogs or wiki entries instead of completing worksheets, were especially innovative.

Participants then had the opportunity to work through exercises and questions created by the panelists, including the creation of a lesson plan for a flipped class, an aspect of this new teaching style that is often difficult to conceptualize for those who are used to more traditional lecture-style classes. The suggestions for in-class activities provided in the activity packet were especially useful in generating creative discussion. The group then moved on to brainstorm ways of using social media differently in the classroom, and finished with some exercises on question context and structure, an activity that I found personally very useful and enlightening.

This session did an excellent job of blending ideas and concepts with concrete suggestions and examples to facilitate innovation in teaching. A bibliography of selected articles and resources on flipped classrooms and collaborative learning, as well as links to useful tech tools is available via the AALL2go Learning Center by searching with the session name.

Posted By Sara Gras at 7/14/2014 4:14:46 PM  0 Comments
7/14/2014 11:55:21 AM

AALL Session Review: Deans and Directors Roundtable: Reinventing Law School Libraries for the Digital Age

Reinventing law schools for the digital age is a perpetual hot topic, and the panel put together by Richard Bales of Northern Ohio University took on various potentially tense topics head-on during this hour long session.  The Library Directors were forthright about their varied visions for law libraries and the challenges that they see in implementing these changes which would keep libraries vital.

Mike Chiorazzi of the University of Arizona was the first to speak, discussing mostly the contentious issue of library space. One well-put point that he had was that libraries have shifted from "libraries as space" to "libraries as service", meaning that space is at a premium and valued by everyone, including faculty.  Some solutions for valuable real estate that he suggested was leasing space in a different part of town or working with law firms (alums) that may be able to supply a space for a classroom, which would serve the dual purpose of reaching out to alums and giving the libraries some much-desired space.

Next, Emily Janoski-Haehlen from Valparaiso Law took on the topic of shifting staff responsibilities.  Technical Services, due to retirements, has largely been re-purposed towards more IT-friendly roles and more service-oriented goals as opposed to collection and other more traditional technical services. She also discussed cross-training and how it has made some of her staff more valuable to the law school, with an English major that is on the library staff now proof-reading law school announcements and IT being trained for work on Briefs databases and building an institutional repository.

Eric Young, from Nova Southeastern University, focused largely on e-books, but did add that his goal to have all of his staff be dual-degreed with an MLS and JD, since they are "on the front lines of a war, and these degrees are the ammunition". He also briefly discussed how he lets space go as long as he doesn't have a need for it.  He had an empty floor due to weeding and his thoughts were someone should take it since it was sitting empty and unused. The weeding was a result of moving towards an entirely digital book collection. With fewer check-ins, cataloging and traditional technical services, his technical services staff has gone from 9 staff four years ago to 3 presently. He advocates for e-books as he sees them as saving staff time, allows for lending to alumni more easily and also allows for rapid "just-in-time" acquisitions if a book is proving popular.  When asked about user preference for print, Young discussed how he believes that the money saved outweighs the user preference.  Young explained that faculty that want print books may change their mind if the money that it costs to catalog that book may mean less of a summer stipend for the faculty.

Mary Anne Neary, an associate director at Boston College spoke about staff and space concerns, noting how fortunate BC was in having a newer building that is flexible for spacing needs.  BC has not had a TS department for 9 years and has been combining TS and technological needs in it's wake. Upper level research and LRW classes are being taken over by librarians, which law students are appreciative of.  The bottom line is that team-work and working with other departments in the law school has allowed the library to stay flexible in the face of large-scale changes.

Barbara Bintliff from Texas spoke at length at how to show the values of libraries to deans and financial officers.  Libraries have long relied on surveys and quantitative measures, but that doesn't give the whole picture, of course.  One interesting suggestion to showcase library value was to employ "Return on Investment" (ROI), which qualifies various services in terms of dollars spent.  For example, a consortium in Australia found that it was returning $5.43 for every dollar spent on it.  This figure is very powerful, especially when financial officers see something that appears to be a more concrete dollar figure when determining the fate of library budgets. AALL is working with HBR consulting to develop practice and best-use tools for members to use to conduct their own ROI studies that will help customize a a description of worth to our bosses.  It will be available in late 2014 or early 2015.

Finally, Dean Vincent Rougeau of Boston College helped frame all these concerns and issues by explaining how deans see it.  The biggest takeaway was that deans are being told to do it all differently, and so they in turn pass that on to the library. Every other year or so, financial officers see the large budget for law libraries and wonder if the library really needs that amount.  Being able to argue for the library means having competent and professional librarians to back him up.  A keyword of his discussion was 'nimbleness', something law schools and law libraries aren't traditionally known for. Thinking ahead and trying to determine where the questions will arise is crucial and creativity in service and costs will be watchwords of the future.

The session provided great insight into what challenges library directors across the country are facing.  While the problems are not surprising, it was refreshing to hear frank talk about what solutions may work and the addition of Dean Rougeau provided extra useful help for librarians that want to keep the law library relevant further into the 21st century and beyond.   

Posted By Kristopher Turner at 7/14/2014 11:55:21 AM  0 Comments