A Technical Services Link to Public Services Staff (AcidRAINS)

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submitted by Marlene Bubrick, Acquisitions/Electronic Information Librarian

Loyola Law School, William M. Rains Library

When my title was changed from Acquisitions/Serials Librarian to Acquisitions/Electronic Information Librarian, I was asked to keep the law school faculty and the public services library staff aware of the various electronic resources and web sites that I was adding to our online catalog. An electronically distributed newsletter was preferred, so that links could be provided directly to the sources being described. A title was chosen and an introduction written by the Library Director. In Fall of 1998, the inaugural issue of AcidRAINS (Named by the Director after the William M. Rains Library) was on its way.

We are now in volume three, and I enjoy putting this newsletter together more and more with each issue. I am becoming quite adept at converting the overwhelming amount of information I receive about electronic subscriptions, new web sites and online documents into a coherent, informative newsletter. I have established a procedure for creating order from chaos.

  • I first weed through the many current awareness services I subscribe to, looking for sources that pertain to law or other known faculty interests. I am also made aware of sources through my colleagues, who ask for certain reports or web sites to be made available through LUCY, the William M. Rains Library online catalog.
  • Then I visit each site, or view each document, or read the table of contents of each report, to determine the value of the information to our collection.
  • After choosing the sources to be included in the current issue, I organize the material into an attractive and meaningful presentation.
  • I first create the masthead with its now recognizable (at least to those at Loyola Law School) design.
  • I then prepare the headings for each group of sources, each introduced with a cartoon or icon.
  • I begin with web-based resources that are available only to Loyola users, i.e. those on subscription such as Wilson's Index to Legal Periodicals and Business Periodicals Index or Hein Online.
  • The other resources are divided into categories, such as California-related materials or legal search engines or simply "A Mixed Bag of Web Sites". Each includes a direct link and a short description.
  • I make sure the reference desk staff has a current list of user names and passwords for those sources that require them.
  • URL verification, or checking the currency of links, is a regular part of my duties.

The last step in this process, after proofreading and link checking, is ensuring that each catalog entry is complete (but that's another article). More and more of our reference tools are now electronically available, and the public services staff needs to know about them. AcidRAINS is one way of sharing this information. Archival issues are currently available to the library staff, and future projects include making them available to the public on our library's web site and providing an index to resources covered.

Below is an illustration of the beginning of my most recent issue.

If you would like to see a copy of AcidRAINS, please send me an e-mail at Marlene.Bubrick@lls.edu, and I will e-mail an issue to you.