Mary K. Dzurinko, Editor
I loathe to admit it, but when Anna Belle asked if I would contribute an article to 25th anniversary issue of Technical Services Law Librarian, I had one of Betty Fordís self-styled ďsenior moments.Ē I suddenly realized that Iíve been reading TSLL since its inaugural issue. TSLL and I have aged together; time certainly has a sneaky way of bringing a person face to face with reality.
Except for my local daily newspaper, I havenít had a subscription to any publication for over 25 years and I also havenít read any other periodical as carefully from cover to cover (and now Internet page to page) as I have TSLL. This is my tribute to a newsletter that consistently publishes quality, in-depth articles by knowledgeable technical services and information professionals. TSLL was the first place I found clear and concise articles explaining the use of Internet in Technical Services areas and what metadata is, detailing the development of LC subject headings and classifications, and introducing cutting edge technical services processes. And, most importantly, the material is written by practicing colleagues whose expertise I know and value.
When I applied for the Editorship of TSLL in the early 1990ís, I was head of technical services and library database manager in a law firm and I didnít give myself much chance to be chosen as Editor. I knew that previous Editors were academic librarians with management experience in large Technical Services departments. I pursued the position because I was attracted by TSLLís distinguished history and solid scholarship. To my surprise I was selected as Editor and Lorraine Lorne was named Business Editor. For four years we shared the joys and trials of publishing TSLL; it was a unique experience that Iím proud to list on my resume.
In my view the success and value of TSLL are based on three strengths: contributors, content, and commitment.
TSLL has a dedicated group of contributors. Experts in their fields, they have a wide range of professional experience and write about issues that are relevant in todayís technical services arena. They constantly monitor and alert readers to new trends and developments and willingly share ďhow-to-doĒ tips, making material accessible to both new and veteran technical services professionals. Most importantly, TSLL contributors are highly committed volunteers. I always secretly gloated when talking with other newsletter editors who lamented the measures they had to take to get their contributors to submit copy. The gods truly smiled on me; I was always truly amazed because I received TSLL copy as regularly as clockwork.
The content of each TSLL issue ranges from the theoretical to the practical. An issue may contain features discussing the ways upcoming trends will impact technical services workflow or research and publishing opportunities; articles on acquisitions via Amazon.com or the preservation of leather bound books published in 1902; a report on the latest ALA ALCTS/CC:DA meeting; and columns on serial titles changes/cessations or instructions on the effective implementation of new OLCL enhancements.
However, the most attractive feature of TSLLís content, as mentioned above, is accessibility. Other technical services publications on the market, at least to me, do not have TSLLís comfortable writing and presentation styles. These styles do not detract from TSLLís scholarship and substance; they make the material ďuser friendlyĒ and more pertinent to everyday work situations. Additionally, the currency of TSLL material also enhances it value, not only for the law library community, but also for the library community at large.
Equally vital to the success of Technical Services Law Librarian is the commitment which the On-Line Bibliographic Services SIS and the Technical Services SIS memberships and officers have made to the production of a quality newsletter. TSLL on the Internet has introduced this valuable resource to new and vast audiences and given both the newsletter and AALL a higher professional and international profile, and rightfully so. At a recent workshop on integrated online library systems I used information from several issues of TSLL to prepare my presentation and encouraged attendees to use TSLL as a resource. Hopefully, TSLL on the Internet will reach more library and information center administrators to assist them with management decisions which affect Technical Services departments.
For the future, there are several areas for which TSLL might investigate regular coverage, especially in regard to law firm libraries and information centers. One area is knowledge management. To a greater or lesser degree, an institutionís knowledge management decisions touch the library or information center. TSLL is the perfect place for discussions about how Technical Services functions are affected by these decisions.
Another area is Intranets. Law firm libraries are very involved in developing the library services sections of firm Intranets. TSLL would be a useful vehicle for the exchange of Intranet information for Technical Services personnel.
My advice to all OBS and TS members:
Volunteer as a contributor or editor on the TSLL staff.. You canít find a more challenging or rewarding way to strengthen your professional skills.
Mary K. Dzurinko