AALL Spectrum Blog


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.
5/10/2013 3:59:27 PM

Book Review: Global Environmental Governance: Law and Regulation for the 21st Century

Louis J. KotzÉ, Global Environmental Governance: Law and Regulation for the 21st Century (2013). Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-78100-252-0; Hardcover $175.00, 344 pages.

In today’s society, examples abound regarding how interconnected the world has become.  However, our oldest and most universal unifying point is undeniably the natural environment. Within this context, Global Environmental Governance, authored by Louis J. Kotzé, an environmental lawyer and faculty of law at North-West University in South Africa, focuses on the interconnectivity of our environment and attempts to holistically define, frame and describe governance—a traditional social scientific concept—from an environmental legal perspective. Dense and descriptive, this text focuses primarily on exploring the theoretical underpinnings and conceptual framework of environmental governance—an all-inclusive term referring to the coexistent, overlapping and interactive layers of transnational environmental regulation by different actors.  As a theoretical work, while the contributions Kotzé makes to the governance discussion are considerable, for purposes of library acquisition, this text should be considered an optional purchase for most libraries and a recommended acquirement for those libraries with an environmental concentration.

Part of the New Horizons in Environmental Law Series, the strength of this work lies in in Kotzé’s thoughtful consideration of various aspects of this extra-legal topic.  The contents of the book include: an Introduction which provides basic history, concepts, and terminology; Chapter 2 includes a discussion of globalization; a literature review follows in Chapter 3; Chapter 4 examines how global governance manifests; while Chapter 5 analyzes the relationship between law and governance.  The second half of this book starts with Chapter 6 and discusses the unique phenomenon of global environmental governance; Chapter 7 provides a literature review for global environmental governance as a distinct category; Chapter 8 examines the relationship of environmental law and regulation with governance; and finally, in Chapter 9, the author concludes by providing a restructured view of global environmental governance. 

The largest criticism of the work is its circuitous organization as the chapter headings are redundant, unclear and not terribly helpful for navigating the text.  Moreover, the two sections of the book are not explicitly made clear from the Table of Contents, but only from a close reading of the Introduction. (p. 21-24).  Furthermore, the author’s writing style is thoughtful and has a tendency to ramble which may deter the casual reader.   However, the text is made more accessible with the inclusion of footnotes, an extensive bibliography, and an index.

Taryn L. Rucinski is an Environmental Law Librarian and Adjunct Professor at Pace Law School.

Posted By Taryn Rucinski at 5/10/2013 3:59:27 PM  0 Comments
5/10/2013 1:34:47 PM

Become Acquainted with AALL by Attending CONELL at the Annual Meeting

What is AALL? How can I get the most out of the Annual Meeting and Association? How do I choose a program? If I don’t like a program, do I have to stay? What is a special interest section (SIS)? What do I wear? Who will I talk to?

The Conference of Newer Law Librarians (CONELL) is here to answer these questions and much more. CONELL is held every year in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting. It serves to welcome newer members of the profession to AALL and introduce them to their leaders and to each other.

This year, CONELL will take place Saturday, July 13, in Seattle. You can expect a full day of activities and new friendships that are likely to last your career. Here’s more of what you can expect:

Friday night Dutch treat dinners. If you arrive in Seattle on Friday, take advantage of the optional Dutch treat dinners arranged by the CONELL Committee. Sign up for one of the Dutch treat dinners and make a few friends before the official program even begins.

Saturday morning. The official program kicks off with registration and continental breakfast. You’ll hear a number of speakers who will orient you with AALL and let you in on the secrets of getting the most from your convention experience. AALL Executive Board members lead small group sessions about the Association and allow time for CONELL attendees to ask questions.

CONELL Marketplace. AALL’s 5,000 members have widely varying interests that are served by the Association’s SISs, committees, caucuses, and other entities. CONELL’s Marketplace gathers these groups in one place to showcase their services and missions.

Speed Networking. Meet your fellow CONELL participants. Sitting face to face, you will meet at least five new people. You may not have enough time to learn anybody’s secrets or life story, but you’ll place a few faces with names and learn some basic facts about other conference goers.

One of the greatest benefits of CONELL is that the 100 attendees form a “cohort.” The cohort of 2013 may very well become your lifelong friends. It is not unusual to run into a group of Annual Meeting attendees whose common denominator is having attended CONELL together.

So what can you expect from CONELL? Learning, good food, fun times, and new friendships. For more information and to register, visit www.aallnet.org/conference.

Posted By Trezlen Drake at 5/10/2013 1:34:47 PM  0 Comments
5/8/2013 11:49:09 AM

Book Review: The Librarian's Copyright Companion, 2nd Edition

James S. Heller, Paul Hellyer, & Benjamin Keele,  The Librarian’s Copyright Companion, 2nd Edition (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2012), 324 pp., incl. appendices and index.  Paperback, $49.00, ISBN: 978-0-8377-3872-7.

This book, an update of 2004’s first edition, was authored by three academic law librarians, all of whom hold both law and library degrees.  Each of the eight chapters from the first edition has been updated, and a ninth chapter on the library as publisher has been added.  There are also sixteen appendices that range from suggested online copyright resources to model policies to selected provisions from Title 17 of the USC.  If your library staff has any interest in creating or updating policies related to copyright, the convenience of the appendices alone is probably enough to justify purchasing this title, since it contains many of the resources that a well-informed librarian would want to consider in creating institutional copyright norms.

Law firm librarians may find this title especially appealing.  The authors explicitly address issues from the perspectives of not only government or academic libraries, which are favored by the principles of fair use, but also private libraries, where the boundaries of copyright can be more restrictive.  This book provides commentary on specific hypothetical situations that librarians in many kinds of libraries might face – a refreshing approach, as library-centric copyright scholarship tends to focus on academic and public libraries.

Although The Librarian’s Copyright Companion is organized in a way that makes it easy to look up specific topics in copyright, it reads more as a treatise than as a reference resource; ideas introduced in one section are referred to in later ones, making it difficult to take a section out of context for quick answers to specific questions.  However, as an introduction to copyright for librarians or as a refresher for those who aren’t up to date on recent developments, it works very nicely.  Some particularly helpful organizational choices are the inclusion of  “The Bottom Line,” a concluding note at the end of some sections that summarizes more complex legal issues; Question and Answer sections on topics of frequent interest; and Comments on examples, offering suggestions and opinions when black letter law is not available.

 The tone is conversational, with occasional quippy comments and creative examples that generally make the book more engaging (although this reviewer will admit to being a little distracted by the apparent classification of Rhett Butler as a “northern gunrunner”[1]).  The text (minus appendices) is a quick but comprehensive overview at 185 pages—a very readable length as it allows enough depth to explore certain topics in sufficient detail while not bogging the reader down with tangential issues.  Overall, this title provides helpful information for both copyright novices and those more seasoned in the subject, and while applicable to libraries in general, it is especially relevant to law libraries of all kinds.  Recommended.

Andrea Alexander is a reference librarian and assistant professor at Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law's Taggart Law Library.

[1] Pg. 5.  Actually, Rhett Butler was from Charleston and brought many supplies besides guns across the blockades.  Therefore, classifying him as “northern” is incorrect, and “gunrunner” is unnecessarily narrow.  This reviewer is vaguely embarrassed to have read Gone With the Wind so many times as a child that she knew these specific details off the top of her head. 

Posted By Andrea Alexander at 5/8/2013 11:49:09 AM  0 Comments