|OBS-SIS & TS-SIS
Open Research Roundtable
Sunday, July 12, 12:15-1:30
The OBS-SIS & TS-SIS Open Research Roundtable was coordinated by Ellen McGrath and Brian Striman. It was attended by eighteen law librarians interested in research and publishing.
Brian Striman announced that he is the new Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the OBS-SIS. To free time for his new responsibilities, Striman will no longer coordinate the Research Roundtable or work on the Research and Publications column. LeGrande Fletcher will replace him in these activities. In addition, Striman has resigned as chair of the OBS-SIS/TS-SIS Joint Research Grant Committee. Corinne Jacox will be the new chair of this committee.
Brian Striman gave an update on the Joint Research Grant Committee (JRGC). A handout describing the goals of the grant and the application form was distributed. The committee received three applications from LeGrande Fletcher, Chris Long, and Christina Tarr. The Long proposal was retracted before review. Both the Fletcher and the Tarr proposals will be recommended to both SIS chairs for final approval. Fletcher will receive $300 to complete an annotated bibliography of Nevada legal practice materials which he expects to publish in the Law Library Journal. Tarr will receive $231 to assist with the research of cataloging techniques at Amazon.com.
There were several questions about the grant application process. In summary, here are Strimanís responses. The grant is intended for projects that will directly or indirectly benefit technical services librarians. The applicant needs to provide an itemized budget in the proposal. The applicant can also request additional funds for unexpected expenses which must be approved by the JRGC. Deadlines for completing the grant are flexible; the applicant should include an approximate completion date in the proposal. A grant proposal can be submitted as a collaborative project with more than one applicant. Grant funds cannot be used to pay for the applicantís time; the funds are intended for out-of-pocket expenses. It is unlikely that a proposal will be approved for work that will be published for sale.
Ellen McGrath commented that there are other grants available to assist with research. She will forward news about grant opportunities to anyone interested; everyone who adds their e-mail address to the attendance sheet will be added to her distribution list. She reminded everyone that preparing a grant application is a very good way to allow the applicant to review his or her project in a structured way.
The Roundtable then discussed issues relating to starting a research project. Suggestions were made to forward ideas to editors of a potential publication source. If the editors are interested, they will assist with the writing process. This helps build up the momentum needed to follow through on a project. It is also useful to create deadlines (either self-imposed or through other peopleís expectations) to motivate the completion of a project. Co-authors working together should make clear the responsibilities of each before starting a project. References were made to Brian Strimanís "So, You Wanna Be A Hemingway" in the Technical Services Law Librarian, vol. 23, no. 2 (December 1997); Mohammad Mury & Mitchel Waltersí "Writing in Journals in Library and Information Science" in Serials Librarian, v.31(4), (1997), p. 23-40.; and Dennis Benamati & Evelina Lemlinís Publication Opportunities for Law Librarians: An Authorís Guide (1995).
Author copyright was also discussed. It was suggested that authors may want to reconsider publishers if they are unable to keep ownership of their work. Review the publisher contract and do not be afraid to make adjustments to it.
Carol Avery Nicholson talked about updating the Law Library Systems Directory, and recruited some volunteers at the Roundtable. She also described changes to AALLís Editorial Board, and mentioned an upcoming random survey of 1500 AALL members looking for feedback on AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal.
Two independent law librarians shared their current research projects. Ruth Balkin discussed her work compiling the local court rules for Monroe County, New York. Becky Davis described her research on the use of the Kardex system to organize private law library resources and prepare for future migration to electronic format.
Julie R. Stauffer
University of Chicago