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FCIL Newsletter, October 1998
v. 13, no. 1


1998 FCIL SIS Business Meeting
July 15, 1998, Anaheim
Submitted by Jonathan Franklin

Bill McCloy of the University of Washington Law Library, SIS Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. There were 27 members in attendance. Bill welcomed everyone, especially the Attendees from Abroad, who were given a warm reception. The minutes of the 1997 FCIL SIS Business Meeting were unanimously approved.

Jonathan Franklin of the University of Michigan Law Library, FCIL SIS Secretary/Treasurer, gave the Treasurer's Report, noting that the SIS was under last year's spending level and had not yet received the annual income from SIS memberships. As of the Annual Meeting, the SIS balance was $1748.31. The Treasurer's Report was approved unanimously.

Mila Rush of the University of Minnesota Law Library raised the issue of archiving the FCIL SIS listserv for future access. She also encouraged members to update their e-mail addresses for improved access. Several members endorsed the idea of archiving the listserv, but some were concerned that internal casual communications could be inappropriately forwarded. It was suggested that this issue could be discussed on the listserv itself and decided by its members.

Maria Smolka-Day of the University of Pennsylvania Law Library, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the SIS, reported on behalf of the Nominating Committee. She announced that Katherine Topulos had been elected incoming Vice-Chair/Chair Elect and noted that the Secretary/Treasurer serves a two year term and is only elected in odd years.

Stefanie Weigman of Boston University Law Library reported on behalf of the Teaching Foreign and International Legal Research Working Group. There is interest in starting a Web site with FCIL syllabi including PowerPoint presentations, possibly building on the archive started by Christine Corcos. Jean Davis and Victoria Szymczak of Brooklyn Law School Library are teaching an 8-week "Introduction to International and Foreign Law Research" course this summer. Mirela Roznovschi, Jeanne Rehberg, and Radu Popa of New York University Law School Library will be teaching a Palmer School institute on foreign law in the summer of 1999. Stefanie is teaching a full semester course on FCIL at Boston University.

Ken Rudolf of Yale Law School Library on behalf of the Electronic Issues Working Group described the forthcoming Archiving Summit to be held in New Orleans at the time of the January AALS meeting. He suggested that the FCIL SIS should try to have members invited who can address the issue of archiving electronic foreign and international documents. Marie-Louise Bernal of the Law Library of Congress reported that the Archiving Summit is being coordinated by Judy Meadows, outgoing AALL President, and Rubens Medina, Law Librarian of Congress. She also mentioned that the list of attendees was not yet finalized. Maria Smolka-Day noted that she had talked to Claire Germain about the archiving of foreign and international electronic documents and that Claire will be keeping Maria informed of issues and progress on that front.

At this point, Bill introduced Roger Parent, AALL Executive Director, who had asked to speak to the SIS. Roger announced that the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) would be meeting in Boston in 2001 (August 15-26). The theme of the meeting will be "Libraries: Making a Difference in theInformation Age." IFLA's 2001 meeting is being cosponsored by the six national-level American library organizations. Larry Wenger of the University of Virginia Law Library is a delegate to the IFLA Organizing Committee.

Roger continued by requesting FCIL SIS member involvement in the 2001 meeting, asking for volunteers with organizational interests or language skills for coordination with various IFLA committees, and for escorting and mentoring foreign IFLA members. He noted that IALL would also be in Boston that year, either before or after IFLA, so attendees could go to both conferences. He hoped that we would start publicizing the 2001 IFLA conference in our newsletters and professional publications starting now so that there is sufficient advance notice when it comes.

Maria suggested that we try to get IFLA members to attend AALL in Minneapolis as well as IALL & IFLA, but noted that there may be too much time between them (one month). Roger noted that one reason to work hard on the IFLA conference would be to raise the visibility of AALL and of the FCIL SIS, hopefully increasing the number of members and the prominence of law librarians in general. After concluding his remarks, Roger remained for the rest of the Business Meeting.

Stefanie Weigman reported on behalf of the Latin American Law Working Group that she was the International Documents Task Force (IDTF) liaison to the OAS for GODORT. She also noted that Pedro Padilla might be proposing a program on Cuba through the SIS and that Dan Wade was working to determine if the New England Foreign Law Librarians Coalition could get access to the legal texts in GLIN (the Global Legal Information Network of the Law Library of Congress).

Maria Smolka-Day reported on behalf of the Asian Law Working Group that they discussed Chinese legal databases, particularly CEILaw, which is free up to 1996 and $200 for 1996 on. There are databases available in China that are not marketed here, and we should encourage foreign database producers to market their systems in the US. Wei Luo of Washington University in St. Louis has instructions for a few Chinese legal databases on his Web site as does Mirela Roznovschi on hers. The Asian Law Working Group also discussed access to GLIN.

Roger Parent noted that the AALL President and the Executive Director generally pay an annual visit to the Law Librarian of Congress and that he would address the issue of GLIN access at their meeting this year. He solicited further talking points for this forthcoming meeting.

Amber Lee Smith proposed that GLIN offer an NGO membership where you could get access to GLIN's legal texts in exchange for indexing or specialized language knowledge. Bill McCloy noted that the University of Washington Law Library has already been talking with the Law Library of Congress about such a partnership related to Chinese legal documents.

Tracy Thompson of Yale Law School Library reported on behalf of the CIS and Eastern European Law Working Group. Mary Strouse will be proposing a program for 1999 on the dissemination of legal information by Eastern European governments. Furthermore, given the location, there was hope that CEELI (the Central and East European Law Initiative of the A.B.A.) might be willing to participate in the 1999 annual meeting. There was discussion about compiling English language translations or summaries of Eastern European constitutional court decisions, especially those of the Polish court, as well as compiling sources for English translations more generally (including legislation). The group also discussed creating an annotated list of contacts (particularly in foreign libraries) who have special expertise and would be willing to help in a foreign legal area. It was further noted that if these materials are to be put on the Web, Anne Burnett at the University of Georgia Law Library is the person to contact.

Dennis Sears of Brigham Young University Law Library and Marci Hoffman of University of Minnesota Law Library presented the Education Committee Report. There were five FCIL SIS programs sponsored in 1998, out of ten proposed. In the coming year, Marci and Gail Partin will be stepping down and Katherine Topulos will co-chair the committee with Dennis. The deadline for program proposals to be received at AALL Headquarters is August 17th, so any FCIL proposal must get to the Education Committee by August 7th.

The Education Committee discussed the issue of advanced vs. mass appeal programs. In the context of this discussion, they addressed the possibility of an advanced level program which would involve meeting with the subject specialists at the Law Library of Congress on the Friday before the 1999 Annual Meeting. Marci also noted that the SIS will be proposing a workshop on Treaties, co-coordinated by Marci and Stefanie. Other proposed programs for 1999 include Cultural Property (Tracy Thompson), Offshore Jurisdiction/Gambling (Jonathan Franklin/Patricia Kasting), Cuba (Pedro Padilla), and TRIPS Dispute Resolution for 2000 (Jonathan Franklin).

Dennis addressed the fact that the 1999 meeting has an FCIL track, so we have up to 10 slots to fill with FCIL programs. He encouraged any proposals and noted that other SISs are drafting proposals at the meeting, rather than afterwards. He further noted that Working Groups could propose programs on particular geographic areas. Maria noted the importance of following the Program Planner's Handbook. The use of buzzwords and active verbs seems to improve the odds of acceptance by the AMPSC (Annual Meeting Program Selection Committee) regardless of the intrinsic quality of the program.

There was no report from the African Law Working Group.

There was no report from the Publications Subcommittee.

Everyone expressed their thanks to Anne Burnett for her excellent work on the FCIL SIS Newsletter, and Stefanie volunteered that she would be interested in contributing to it.

David McFadden reported on the Clearinghouse for Internships and International Personnel Exchanges. The Clearinghouse's questionnaire has now been translated into Chinese and will be sent out with a cover letter this year. They are pursuing having it translated into French and Portuguese. The possibility of distributing the questionnaire on INT-LAW and EURO-LEX was also discussed.

At this point in the meeting, Bill turned the gavel over to Maria Smolka-Day, the incoming Chair of the SIS, for the New Business portion of the agenda. As the first item of new business, she asked Bill to report on the Special Meeting held on Sunday to discuss the concerns of our membership regarding programming and scheduling at the annual conference.

Bill reported that he had rewritten the draft statement read at that meeting and incorporated the oral and written comments from Sunday's lively discussion. He then read the revised statement prepared for AALL President Jim Heller, the AALL Executive Board, and the chairs of the other SISs (NOTE: this statement has since been mounted on the SIS's Web site and is reprinted elsewhere in this newsletter). The statement was met with widespread praise and appreciation for both its substance and tone. John Perkins of Oklahoma City University Law Library noted FCIL's importance to libraries without major foreign collections and agreed with the statement's characterization of the FCIL SIS's widespread benefit to all AALL members.

Roger Parent noted that it was the right tone and that it reinforced the need for long-range plans for each SIS. He further encouraged us to consider having narrower programs put on by working groups during their scheduled meeting times as well as more in-depth seminars. Maria noted that the problem with working outside the program structure officially sanctioned by the AMPSC is the lack of funding and publicity for these programs.

Bill and Amber both spoke to the need for publicity for any such programs in the Annual Meeting program guide.

At this point, Maria introduced her plan for a Strategic Planning Process to occur over the coming year. Five people volunteered on the spot, and Maria indicated that she would ask for further volunteers on the FCIL SIS listserv. If the group of volunteers is large, they might break into working groups initially to draft specific portions of the plan and then discuss the drafts as a group.

Malo (Marie-Louise) Bernal brought materials from IALL including the program guide for the Rome meeting and also a copy of the International Journal of Legal Information. She is editing IJLI and requested submissions from SIS members.

Rebecca Rungsang asked anyone interested in Thai law or in her volunteer work assisting Thai women with late stage AIDS to see her after the meeting.

Maria as the new Chair thanked everyone and particularly Bill for working so hard over the past year.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m. and was immediately followed by the annual Reception for Attendees from Abroad.


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