A study of small aquatic creatures and law library use
Kelly Browne & Joan Shear
RIPS Committee on Penguin Practice
Although scientific and health research has been conducted on Penguins, we have noted an absence of research focusing on the ability of Penguins themselves to actually do legal research. To address this lack, we invited a small group of Penguins to visit Boston College Law Library on June 17, 2003 so that we could more closely observe their research practices. This was determined to be an ideal day for the Penguins to visit the library, as Boston College Law School students were on summer break. The research that follows documents their visit to the library and provides some evaluative commentary on our assessment of Penguins and law library usage.
The Penguins Arrive at the Library
arrived at the library, as evidenced by the photographs below, in an aiplane.
It should also be noted that, not unlike law school
students, they are wobbling, probably due to having had a few cocktails on
We quickly observed that penguins, like law students, immediately
began their research by sitting down at the computer terminals and
looking for information on the Internet. The most popular search engine
was Google. Our observations of their individual screens indicated
that they were most likely looking for information about themselves.
This research characteristic was noted in an article that appeared
in the March 21, 2003 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education
that discussed the tendencies of students to use search engines before
first page we observed the penguins looking at was the official website
of the RIPS-SIS. We speculate that this page was located via a search
engine, as our attempts to replicate their search ("penguins") in
several search engines resulted in this page appearing at the top
of the hit list of websites.
Once again the similarity of penguins and law students is observed
in the excessive printing that is evident in the above photograph. Like
law students, the penguins have failed to used the Print Preview command
before printing pages from an obviously large
Advanced Research Skills
next behaviors that we observed in the penguins were quite surprising to us.
Following their initial searches on the Internet we observed the penguins
engaging in more advanced research behaviors, including consulting with a
Penguins and Library Behavior
penguins aware of appropriate behavior in a library setting? During the course
of the day we observed them engaging in inappropriate behaviors.
Food: The photograph above illustrates that penguins are
just as likely to eat snacks in the library as are law students. It should
also be noted that the penguins attempted to finish their candy as quickly
as possible when they became aware of the presence of library staff in the
photograph below illustrates the lack of understanding penguins have
for the purpose of a photocopy machine. In the photo the penguins appear
to be enjoying the warmth of the photo element on their bottom sides.
This experience led to an unfortunate incident in which the top of the
photocopier fell on the penguins, resulting in some injury.
The Feasibility of Penguins and Library Usage
some of the above occurrences, we began to ask the question: Should penguins
be permitted to engage in law library research? Given their
small size and rather fluffy skeletal structure, we asked the penguins to
engage in specific library behaviors. The results of these are available below.
|Retrieving books from shelves: Our observations indicated
that it was virtually impossible for penguins to remove items from the
upper shelves of the library stacks. One unfortunate incident is
illustrated in the above photographs.
|Paper cutters: Even with (or perhaps because of) the
assistance of a group of her peers, one of the penguins met an unfortunate
demise while attempting to use the paper
Completing the Research Activity
The conclusion of the penguins' library visit was rather routine
(when compared to the rest of their day). The penguins begin their exit
from the library in an orderly manner through the exit gate. On the
right one of the penguins, with the unusual name of Puron, displays
his Boston College ID.
page was inspired by (and copied with permission from) http://www.millikin.edu/staley/about/peeps/, which in
turn was created for an exhibit in the "Faculty Peep Show" on display
at the Perkinson Gallery, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Millikin University
from April 11-25, 2003.