AALL Spectrum Blog

  • Bookmark and Share

The AALL Spectrum® blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.

The AALL Spectrum blog is no longer published. Previous posts are archived on this page.
11/11/2014 5:54:37 PM

Thinking Outside the Box

As many of us know, our libraries --- whether academic, government, public, or law firm --- often become the default repository for our parent institutions.  We end up with boxes full of advertising brochures, awards, photos, maybe even a t-shirt or two commemorating some event.  The boxes gather dust in a closet or office somewhere, and their contents potentially never see the light of day. 


Well, I want to encourage you to make the opposite occur! 


Memorabilia and realia can be a great way to foster a sense of community in an institution.  You can use them to draw attention to a specific event like an anniversary or a retirement, or to engender an appreciation of a shared history.  A display in a conference room or lobby can help attorneys and staff (and the public) appreciate an institution's history and highlight the library's role in preserving it.  You can also use displays for outreach purposes to draw attention to the library’s contribution to the whole. 


For example, each summer Columbia Law School‘s Alumni/Development office organizes a huge weekend-long reunion.  Alumni are feted, fed, given nostalgia-inducing tours of campus, and generally encouraged to have a good time.  However, the one thing they didn’t do was visit the law library.  This was unfortunate,  because we wanted to be considered a valuable element of the Columbia Law School experience.  Accordingly, (with my director's consent) I reached out to the Alumni /Development office four years ago and offered to put together a display of appropriate yearbooks and student memorabilia if they in turn would bring the summer alumni reunion tours to the library.  They were hesitant, but the bribe of a temporary display that the alumni could touch was too tempting to pass up.  Since then, the visit to the library has become a very popular element of the alumni tours, leading to an increase of alumni interest in the library and its holdings.  Incidentally, it has also created a lot of goodwill between us and the Alumni/Development office. 


For libraries with display cases, this is your opportunity to have a short or long-term exhibit of material celebrating your law school or firm.  For those without display cases, all you need are some large frames in which you can mount photographs or brochures along with explanatory labels.  Either way, bear in mind that your items might be unique and worthy of preservation.  Make sure not to use tape or damaging substances on original material.  If the display will be in full sunlight, you may also want to substitute photocopies for fragile or colorful originals. If you have preservation questions or concerns, you should contact the AALL TS-SIS Preservation Committee    


Your institution’s resources and space will of course shape the kind of display that you can create.  But no matter how large or small your display, someone will see it.  Feel free to be creative!  After all, if you don’t value those dusty box contents --- and show them off to others--- no one will! 


© Sabrina Sondhi, 2014.  Special Collections and Services Librarian, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University, New York, NY.  sabrina.sondhi@law.columbia.edu


Posted By Sabrina Sondhi at 11/11/2014 5:54:37 PM  0 Comments
11/6/2014 5:33:29 PM

HeinOnline World Treaty Library Evaluation

Ultimately, we decided to get the World Treaty Library because:

  • It allows you to search across a huge database of U.S. & non-U.S. treaties and related secondary sources
  • Since we already had Core Plus United Nations collection, the initial subscription fee was very reasonable (and the annual access charge is $0, that means free in perpetuity).

These are my findings based on my personal evaluation of the content and the feedback from other librarians.

Although there is some duplication of the content with libraries that Hein already has such as the UN Law Collection and U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library, spot checking the list of included titles, I found that the duplicative materials seemed to be a fairly small portion of all of the documents offered in the World Treaty Collection, making it well worth the cost to add this module if you already had the others. In other words the discount provided if you already have some of the content more than compensates for the duplicative content in my somewhat intuitive opinion. Moreover, since you can search only within the World Treaty Collection for treaties (even if they originally appeared in U.S. Treaties and Agreements or only in the UN Law Collection) you win in two ways:

  1. You (and your patrons) save time when searching both because you don’t have to figure out in advance which of the three Collections you should search and if you are searching by topic, you do not have to search multiple collections.
  2. You do not have to search all of HeinOnline and then weed out the many irrelevant results, you can be sure that all the results you get in the World Treaty Library will be treaty related.

Another reason that we chose to get this is that it is the most comprehensive collection of Treaty materials currently available (as far as I know). Most of the major treaty sources are represented in some way. Included are:

Although the Consolidated Treaty Series is not specifically listed on the document outlining the contents, according to their marketing flyer, HeinOnline’s Historical Treaty Index, “Contains all early treaties included in Clive Parry’s Consolidated Treaty Series. The index from the series was used to identify the full text and CTS original cite for each bilateral and multilateral treaty.” This means they have all of the content that the Consolidated Treaty Series has.       

As an added bonus, the World Treaty Library search page, also has links to outside sources such as FLARE Index to Treaties and various Treaty Research Guides from top schools like Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

One thing that may be a bit confusing is that there are two ways to search this Library. You can search the Treaty Index, and if you search this way, there are many treaty related search fields that you can use. If you search All Titles, remember this includes secondary as well as primary sources, then there are only 3 search fields, Text, Title and Creator/Author.

Overall, this makes treaty research so much easier, that I will need to update Vanderbilt’s Treaty Research Guide to reflect that HeinOnline has solved the problem of having to search one place for treaties to which the U.S. is a party and another for non-U.S. treaties.[1]

[1] As pointed out to me by a law library professional who would like to remain anonymous.

© C. Deane

Reference/Foreign and International Law Librarian/Lecturer in Law

Alyne Queener Massey Law Library

Vanderbilt University


Posted By Catherine Deane at 11/6/2014 5:33:29 PM  0 Comments
11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM

Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium Recap

In mid-October I attended the
Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium at the University of Toronto. Papers were selected from proposals submitted in May of 2014. The conference was subject-specific and had an information science focus. I found it to be an excellent opportunity to connect with librarians practicing in non-legal areas, yet sharing a common interest. It was a great way to learn about new things and get a feel for other areas of the profession.

Image of Four Panelists Speaking at the Information Studies Colloquium
"Queering Order" Panel. Left to Right: Melodie Fox, Cait McKinney, D. Grant Campbell, & Melissa Adler.

The conference included presentations on a number of different subjects: web-based communities, internet filtration, archives, name authority records, Library of Congress subject headings, pornography, academic libraries, collections development, and art exhibits. All the works addressed gender or sexuality in some way. Two presentations focused on legal information as a key component, though many others also raised interesting legal questions. Melodie Fox, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee iSchool provided and excellent analysis of legal classifications of sex and gender compared with gender classification in different editions of the Dewey Decimal System. My presentation focused on difficulties in researching asexuality in legal research databases and the resulting social justice implications.

In addition, inherent in several of the non-legal presentations were issues such as intellectual property protection for transient materials, harassment in digital creation spaces, and archiving hate crime material.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to learn about the roles that different individuals play in addressing contemporary library issues. “There were 100 attendees. [One attendee reporting on the conference estimated] that library and information studies professors and PhD students made up 50%, library school grad students made up 25%, and the other 25%. . .were practitioners, who work almost exclusively in academic settings.” Tara Robertson’s Blog. Attendance was higher than expected, but still small enough for presenters and attendees to meet and engage in discussion with individuals from institutions all over the continent.

A compilation of articles edited and compiled by the organizers of the conference, the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, is available for those seeking more information on Gender and Sexuality in the library and information profession. In addition, many of the works presented at the conference will likely be published in the coming years.

© AJ Blechner, 2014. Reference/Outreach Librarian, University of Miami Law Library, Coral Gables, Florida. ablechner@law.miami.edu.

Posted By AJ Blechner at 11/6/2014 4:49:14 PM  0 Comments