It's winter. Perhaps for you the nights are long and the temps are cold. Perfect opportunity to consider what ideas to research in order to write and publish something worthwhile for the profession.
For you in the warmer climes who don't feel the dramatic effect of the seasons, things haven't changed much; the grass is still green, and even though the temp is somewhat cooler, that, too, is pretty much the same. Boring. Perfect opportunity to consider what ideas to research in order to write and publish something worthwhile for the profession.
Idea time. Call Ellen McGrath or Brian Striman for copies of publishers' catalogs (the day of this writing, I received the latest ALA Editions Catalog, and there's a lot of good stuff in it. To get a copy of their full-line catalog, call 1-800-545-2433, x2425, or press 7). You could read over the past two years of TSLL Research and Publication columns to get ideas. You could call up a librarian friend who lives close by (type of library doesn't matter) and talk about possible shared authorship of a book or article. You say you don't want to get ideas that way? Okay, then be bold-- post an e-mail on AUTOCAT or LAW-TECH. Type your e-mail subject header as: Looking for co-author and ideas to publish, then whip up your e-message. There's a pool of talent on those lists. Somebody may be thinking about the same ideas, or have the same need (or desire) to write and publish as you.
At the MAALL (Mid-America Association of Law Libraries) Annual Meeting held at Southern Illinois University this past October, Frank Houdek and I talked briefly about publishing. A new AALL publication that technical services law librarians need to look at in terms of yet another opportunity for publication is the AALL Spectrum. It's a monthly magazine that intends to publish substantive, well-written articles on topics of "real interest" to law librarians. Contact Peter Beck at email@example.com; 312-939-4764; or Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org; 618-453-8788. Either would love to hear from you to toss around publishing ideas. Articles for a publication like AALL Spectrum need to encompass the interests of AALL membership, rather than just a specific group. For example, how about an article on how law librarians need to be plan for access to United States federal government information for their clientele, since the GPO has a mandate to move aggressively toward information transition from paper and microforms to electronic format? Now there's a topic that most every law librarian would find interesting and beneficial.
Speaking of Frank Houdek, he is editor of Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing. He would be happy to review a proposal for an article from a tech services librarian, as long as it was for a brief article on subjects relevant to the teaching of legal research and writing. "Oh, Brian," you say, "I don't know anything about legal research and writing..." If you're in a large enough law library (firm, county, state or academic ... doesn't matter) and the public services staff teach legal research and/or writing and you work along side of said colleagues who teach, then you "can" approach one of them with your interest in publishing. See what happens. I just bet you'd be able to help immensely with a legal bibliography on something not yet written, like your state legal resources. Hey! How about writing an article on teaching legal research on the use of your state's administrative rules and regs? You could publish in your state bar newsletter; many states have multiple bar newsletters.
Wow! Have you heard about the new Journal of Internet Cataloging: the International Quarterly of Digital Organization, Classification, and Access? Gerry McKiernan at Iowa State Univ. is News Column Contributing Editor and would love to hear from you. E-mail (email@example.com) him to ask if he has anything coming up for future issues and perhaps he can assign you something to work on, or give him an idea and see where it goes. The JIC is co-edited by Ruth Carter, Univ. of Pittsburgh and Roger Brisson, Penn State Univ. The journal's focus is on organization, access, and bibliographic control of Internet resources and is published by Haworth Press. (WebMaster's note: JIC has a web page at: http://jic.libraries.psu.edu.
Jack Montgomery, Tech Services Librarian at Univ. of Missouri-Columbia Law Library, spoke to me in late October to ask if I wanted to do any reviewing for publication. Jack is a good person to talk to about publishing ideas, especially in the law library acquisitions arena. He'll help you with ideas, plus he's an insider on the publication Against the Grain.
I got a flyer entitled "Choosing our Futures -- ACRL." It is advance registration for the 8th National Conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries to be held April 11-14, 1997. Looks like something a busy tech services law librarian would toss in the trash, right? But wait! Inside there's a huge section "Catch up on the Latest in Library Research" -- wow! -- look at a couple of these topics that are bulleted: "Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him: Client-Centered Technical Services" or "Journals Under Attack: Faculty and Researchers' Creative Solutions to Access Problems" or "Government Information in an Electronic Age." Ideas. Ideas. Ideas.
Check out the vol. 7, no. 4 (1996) issue of the ALCTS Newsletter, under "Acquisition Section Notes." There is a list of possible research topics compiled by the AS Acquisitions Organization and Management Committee. You say you don't have that publication in your library, so you can't read it? Call up your nearest academic library and talk with someone who's in the tech services department. I bet they'd be happy to hold it for you to read. This may be available on the Internet somewhere.
There's an interesting article in the Fall/Winter 1995 issue of Southeastern Librarian entitled "Librarians as Authors, Part III: Motivations & Choices." Getting a copy of this issue may be a bit more challenging than the one above, but OCLC shows 413 libraries which hold this title. If you don't have access to OCLC for a photocopy/ILL, write to Ann Morton, P.O. Box 987 Tucker, GA 30084. Otherwise, contact Ellen McGrath.
Many of our techy buds are busy publishing. I like to share with you some of the names and where they published whenever I have the opportunity; I know Ellen McGrath does too. So, a moment for our colleagues (drum roll, please): Katherine Tooley published a two-part article in Trends in Law Library Management (Oct. and Nov. 1995 issues); and in the volume 88 number 1 issue of Law Library Journal we have Pamela Bluh, Associate Director for Technical Services at the Univ. of Maryland, Curt Conklin, Senior Law Librarian at BYU, ; and Janis Johnston, Associate Director/Head of Technical Services at Notre Dame.
The ALCTS Cataloging and Classification
Section Research Discussion Group will meet
Saturday, February 15, 1997, 11:30 a.m. -
12:30 p.m.at ALA Midwinter. The group
would like to have two presentations on
recently completed or current research
projects; presentations will be approximately
20 minutes, with questions from the audience
to follow, and must pertain to cataloging or
classification. If your are interested:
Contact: Marcia Evans, Catalog Librarian, University of Alabama, University Libraries, Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 205-348-1489, Fax: 205-348-8833.
Next column we will talk about research grants. Ellen suggested that I write about research grant sources. She has a couple of things to share with you about that. By the time you read this, I will have re-submitted the OBS/TS SIS joint research grant proposal to the Chairs of OBS and TS for their review and feedback. Watch for more info on this in the next TSLL.
Feel free to contact Ellen McGrath or me regarding any information you want concerning research grants in technical services.