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South Florida Association of Law Libraries


Newsletter

February 2000

A Quarterly publication of the South Florida Association of Law Librarians.
By-Laws in Acrobat Format  Download the February 2000 SFALL Newsletter in Adobe Acrobat format.
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President's MessageQuill

Denise Gibson
St. Thomas University

 

As televised on New Year’s Eve, the Eiffel Tower electrified the skyline of Paris with 2 million dollars worth of pyrotechnics, a 1,000 pound Waterford crystal ball descended at Times Square, and 39 tons of fireworks exploded from London river barges.

  While SFALL doesn’t have anywhere near this level of resources to bring in the New Year, it IS entering the millennium with renewed strength and energy. Much of this is due to the creative talents displayed by our members this term. As the old adage goes "many hands make for light work." With sustained cooperation and participation by our members, SFALL can continue to grow as a vital organization for South Florida’s law library community.

  In the latter half of 1999, our Association has seen the following initiatives take place:

  • A new dynamic and interactive Chapter website with internet links to legal resources and digital photographs of SFALL’s activities. (Visit the website at: www.aallnet.org/chapter/sfall/
  • A new Chapter Listserv: www.onelist.com/communiity/sfall
  • The creation of a SFALL logo using an innovative and colorful sunburst design.
  • An extensive update of the Membership Directory, including linked e-mail addresses.
  • A redesigned Membership Application and Renewal Form available for download from the Chapter’s website.
  • A quarterly newsletter with informative and substantive articles important to the law library profession, replete with hypertext links published on the Chapter’s website and in print.
  • SFALL’s updated Bylaws now accessible on the web.
  • A SFALL e-mail list soon to be developed.
  • An excellent and timely program on Internet subscriptions and their impact on collection development held this past fall.
  • A healthier Chapter treasury (even without tossing any member into debtor’s prison!)

 As you can see from the above, 1999 was the year in which the Association began a drive to help tighten the "nuts and bolts" of its internal operations. Since this is an ongoing process, there will bound to be some growing pains, so we ask for your continued patience.

AND NOW IN THE YEAR 2000....

  SFALL is instituting a hands on training course to be held on an annual basis for the express purpose of upgrading our members technological skills. This year, we are arranging for a professional instructor to provide an all day workshop in website design and development. SFALL is very committed to targeting those members who currently lack the opportunity to either learn or participate in web publishing at their respective institutions. Hopefully, this organization can also become a vehicle in which our members can exercise a formal role in applying their new found technical skills in the emerging technologies.

  As part of our drive for community outreach, SFALL Vice-President Terry Seale is spearheading a series of legal research seminars for paralegals. Conducted by several of our members, including Monica Wilson and Clare Membiela, these seminars will not only improve the educational level of our paralegal community, but they will also generate additional revenue for SFALL.

  With the final arrival of the year 2000, this is a perfect time to look back at where SFALL has been and where it is going. In the works is a project to develop a written and oral history of SFALL to be archived on its website.

  Enclosed with the newsletter mailed to all members is a laminated card with AALL’s website address and a chart guide for tipping (especially handy for a furtive glance when treating at executive business lunches - bon appetit!)

On Behalf of SFALL, a Hearty Welcome to the 21st Century!

Denise

What To Do When The Lights Go Out?

Billie Jo Kaufman
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center

"Where were you when the lights went out?" was a phrase
coined as a result of the New York blackout in 1965.

  At Nova Southeastern University, the #1 Wired Law School, technology, integration and implementation has been central to NSU’s vision and mission. LSV (Lawyering Skills & Values) programs and other required and elective course offerings have a technology component. This could be reviewing a student’s draft, e-mailing, newsgroup components, "legal replay"or the use of power point software for lectures.

  All students and faculty have laptops. Even if there is no direct teaching which requires power and data, students’ note taking has moved from legal pad/pen to their notebook computers. NSU Law has required laptop computers since 1997. The program is exciting. But recently a stark realization hit at 4:55 pm on a Tuesday night. No power! No lights! No back-up generator! The system was down!!

  So, what do you do when the lights go out? Remember to:

  1. Have a back-up plan - just as you would if a guest lecturer failed to show.
  2. Be prepared - have hard copies of power point slides.
  3. See if power is available elsewhere in the building or on campus.
  4. Have portable projection equipment that will allow you to move to another "powered" location easily.
  5. Have a flashlight or battery operated power source for safety.
  6. Install "air" or house phones so the instructor can call to report problems without leaving the classroom.
  7. Be patient - often the problems are not long term - 5 minutes may solve the problem.
  8. Make arrangements to post your lecture, lecture notes or power point on your faculty web-site.
  9. When you prepare your syllabus - build in a little "down-time".
  10. Maintain your sense of humor.

  From time to time even without technology, there is a down-time in classes. Either the students were ill-prepared or the instructor just had a root-canal. The world will not end: be prepared and have a plan.

End Notes

1. Most Wired Law Schools, Nat. Jurist, Nov./Dec. 1998, at p. 18.
2. Legal Replay is a service offered to NSU Law faculty and students. With this service, faculty lectures are taped and digitized. The digitized lectures are then posted to our Internet site so that students can access them.

Westlaw Product News & Information

Provided by Rebecca Kauten & Molly Ready
Westgroup

1. "Westlaw researchers can now jump from footnotes references in the text of law reviews to the full text of the footnote and back again. West Group announced today a new footnote linking enhancement to Westlaw, giving subscribers unprecedented access to cases and analysis contained in the 650 law reviews and bar journals on Westlaw at one time."

2. On November 2, 1999, Westgroup released Siegel’s New York Practice, 3d with "thorough and insightful coverage of the latest developments in New York civil procedure and jurisprudence."

Amicus Attorney: Case Management Software

Diane Altimari
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center

Amicus Image  One of the goals at Nova Southeastern University Law Center is to ensure that every student is educated in practice oriented skills. To help achieve this goal, NSU purchased and is ready to support Amicus Attorney. Amicus is a practice management software for lawyers. Amicus helps attorneys maintain client files, an office Rolodex, to-do lists, an appointment calendar and time sheets electronically.

  Amicus manages all of the information, people, schedules and communications for your client files. It increases productivity and reduces practice management concerns because it is designed to integrate your calendar, contacts, time entries, telephone and timer. Three Management functions, Case, Contact and Telephone, help attorneys organize their law offices and prioritize their responsibilities.

  The Case Management function :

  • organizes all events on each case, including critical dates;
  • saves and reuses transaction precedents;
  • manages documents, including listing and opening documents from each file;
  • cross references to your calendar, contacts, and time sheets automatically; and
  • uses advanced Document Automation with HotDocs, Word, or WordPerfect templates.

  The most popular feature of Case Management is the way that it handles time entries for billing and time management. Time spent on client files, telephone calls, or meetings is automatically recorded and can be viewed at any time.

  Amicus also arranges information about the people you deal with in your practice via the Contact Management function. The Contact Management function:

  • traces events, calls, files, notes, groups and attorneys;
  • stores three business cards for every individual;
  • sends Internet e-mail directly from a contact’s business card;
  • checks for conflicts of interest; and
  • stores World Wide Web bookmarks for each contact card.

  With Amicus, you can track every telephone call that you make or receive. Incoming and outgoing calls are timed. The Telephone Management function:

  • logs the details of all calls;
  • stores notes about each call;
  • auto-dials via a modem; and
  • prepares time entries for calls.

  Amicus streamlines your practice by integrating the key elements of your practice. Time entries are automatically created. Time sheets are automatically sent to your accounting system. It provides a common address book for your entire practice, whether you’re making a phone call, sending letters, or sending e-mails. It also accumulates the steps for any type of transaction by saving them as a precedent which you can then reuse on similar files.

Chapter Doings

SFALL extends a hearty welcome to the following new members:

  • Frank Novak, NSU
  • Robin Shard, Miami

Where Can I Find It?

Lisa Smith-Butler
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center

Introduction

Many of the traditional print sources such as dictionaries, directories, maps, and encyclopedias are now available electronically via the Internet. Sites with information about biographical data, consumer information, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, travel information, statistics, libraries and museums will be examined. At present, these sites are available at no charge.

Biographical Information

Biographical Dictionary @ http://www.s9.com/biography/

includes more than 27,000 "notable men and women who have shaped our world from ancient times to the present day." Searching is via name, birth year, death year, position, profession, literary and/or artistic works, and keyword.

Consumer Information

Consumer Information Center @ http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/ is still distributing publications to consumers on a variety of topics. You can check out consumer information on a variety of topics (cars, food, money, small businesses, travel) in electronic format. You can search by subject or keyword.

Kelly Blue Book of Car Prices @ http:// www.kbb.com/index.html provides consumers with new car prices as well as trade and retail value of used cars. Searching begins with the vehicle year and moves down to make and model.

Dictionaries

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary @ http://www.m-w.com/ provides keyword searching. In addition to definitions, you can find pronunciations, function, usage and etymology of words at this site.

WWWAcronym & Abbreviation Server @ http://www.ucc.ie/info/net/acronyms/ provides a list of acronyms and abbreviations. Searching is via keyword.

Directories

City/Zip Code Directory @ http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/ is produced by the U.S. Postal Service and provides both U.S. city and zip code directory "look up."

Directory of Scholarly and Professional E-Conferences @ http://www.n2h2.com/KOVACS/ "screens, evaluates and organizes discussion lists, newsgroups...mailing lists...on topics of interest to scholars and professionals for use in their scholarly, pedagological and professional activities." Searching is via keyword; you can also browse the directory by either subject or alphabetical listings.

Encyclopedias

Encyclopaedia Britannica recently launched its "free" site, Britannica.Com @ http://www.britannica.com/. The site was overwhelmed shortly after it opened and is temporarily closed for construction. It should be back up and running soon. It is an excellent beginning point for brief articles on a wide range of subjects and includes cross references and appropriate links.

Encyclopedia.com @ http://www.encyclopedia.com/ provides more than 14,000 articles from the Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Third Edition. Searching is via keyword; you can also browse an alphabetical listing of subjects. Entries are short but are also cross referenced and linked to appropriate Internet sites.

Information Please Almanac @ http://www.infoplease.com/ provides links to a variety of subjects, including world statistics, geography, current events, sports, movies, music, computers, art, U.S. statistics, social security, personal finance, holidays, and weather.

Searching is via keyword. For trivia buffs, this is a fun site.

Statistics

The County and City Data Book @ http://www.census.gov/statab/www/ccdb.html provides information about U.S. cities, examining median incomes, population size, unemployment, public transportation, and other items. Cities are compared to each other and ranked.

Travel

Fodor’s Travel Online @ http://www.fodors.com/ provides the same type of information that it always has. You can search by location as well as search the hotel and restaurant indexes.

Current exchange rates can be found at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York site @ http://www.ny.frb.org/ while the Universal Currency Converter @ http://www.xe.net/ucc allows you to "perform interactive foreign exchange rate conversion on the Internet."

Libraries & Museums

The Library of Congress can be accessed at http://www.loc.gov You can obtain information about the Library’s collection, its research services, and exhibitions at this site.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is @ http://www.metmuseum.org/Index.html; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston can be found @ http://www.mfa.org/.

The British Library can be accessed at http://www.bl.uk/ while Oxford’s Bodleian Library is at http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/. The British Museum is located @ http://www.british-museum.ac.uk/.

France’s Bibliotheque Nationale de France can be found at http://www.bnf.fr while the du Musee du Louvre is @ http://www.louvre.fr/. Russia’s Hermitage is @ http://www.hermitage.ru/.

Conclusion

There are some marvelous sites on the Internet. Despite this, remember that Internet search engines retrieve only 16% (See Steve Lawrence and C. Lee Giles, Inquirus: The NECI Meta Search, http://www-sor.inria.fr/) of all content on the Internet. Despite this caveat, there are many search engines available that are helpful and easy to use. I like Dogpile @ http://www.dogpile.com. Like Lycos and others, this search engine provides you with stock quotes, maps, weather and white page information; however, the site does not overwhelm you.

Board Meeting Minutes

South Florida Association of Law Libraries
Executive Board Meeting
January 10, 2000

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by President Denise Gibson. In attendance were Denise Gibson (President), Terry Seale (Vice-President/President-Elect), Diane Altimari (Treasurer) , Janet Reinke (Secretary).

Denise Gibson asked the Board to consider criteria in awarding achievement awards for SFALL members. The Board considered two awards: the Service to SFALL Award and the Certificate of Achievement. The Board may need to vote on candidates this year. In the future, we will probably have a committee to determine the recipients of the awards: SFALL members will send letters to the committee to make nominations. Possible requirements for the Service to SFALL Award might be that the candidate (1) has given special service to the Chapter, (2) has a sustained record of service to the Chapter and (3) must have been a Chapter member for at least three years. The Certificate of Achievement would be awarded for a specific contribution to the Chapter. The Board voted unanimously to have the awards.

The Board members discussed SFALL dues. It was noted that September 30th is the date that dues must be paid as outlined in the Chapter's By-laws. The Board members discussed informing members well in advance that membership dues need to be paid. If an individual does not pay by the due date, then he/she will not be included in the membership directory.

The Web Page Committee was unanimously voted to become a standing committee, to be incorporated into the bylaws. When people order books through amazon.com on our web site, SFALL receives a commission on the sale.

Diane Altimari reported that the treasury is in good shape, with about $4, 068. in our account.

Terry Seale discussed the legal research seminars which SFALL will be offering this term. They will meet six times at the University of Miami Law School, possibly on Saturdays. A number of SFALL members have volunteered to teach the classes. The seminar will include instruction in LEXIS, WESTLAW and the Internet. Books will probably be distributed to the students, and the course will include homework and exams. Legal secretaries, legal assistants and library assistants will take the course.

Denise discussed the plans for instituting technology skills workshops to assist in the professional development of SFALL members. The first workshop will be on web page development and design. Janet Reinke will also be assisting in planning for future technology classes.

Denise made the motion to adjourn at 2:00 pm. Janet seconded the motion.

Respectfully submitted,
Janet Reinke, Secretary
January 11, 2000

Information for the Newsletter

  If you are interested in writing an article or have information for the SFALL Newsletter, contact Lisa Smith-Butler at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center. She can be reached at (954) 262-6215 or smith-butlerl@nsu.law.nova.edu

 


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