AALL Spectrum Blog

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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.
6/26/2015 3:17:02 PM

Part III: Rutgers Law Library Switches to Koha: the Open Source ILS

In my last blog post, I wrote about our decision to switch from Millennium to Koha and that we were live!  We are still very happy with our new ILS and with ByWater Solutions, who helped with the migration and who we are continuing to use for support.  We experienced our first Koha upgrade with Bywater Solutions at the end of April.  We are now on Koha 3.18.5!  It was a completely painless process.  First, I got an email about a month ahead of the upgrade from the Operations Manager at Bywater telling me what our upgrade date was.  I also got instructions to clean up some records that she noticed had some issues while doing diagnostics.  I am literally talking about 5 records that had duplicate usernames that needed to be fixed.  That’s it.  Then the upgrade took place on the designated date after hours at 10:00 pm.  If we wanted to do it at another date and time we just needed to call.  That was it.  The whole system was upgrade in a few hours and no one had any disruption.  It was a pleasure!

We do still have a remaining issue which is trying to get VuFind, an open source Discovery Layer fully functional to enhance searching capabilities for our patrons.  Here is the Beta version: https://catalog.law.rutgers.edu/vufind/  However, Koha is working just fine and we are relying on Koha for both our backend processes and for our OPAC.  Here is the OPAC: https://catalog.law.rutgers.edu/

The one downside to Koha is that we are not completely happy with the search engine (Zebra) results.  We are waiting both for the VuFind installation to work and for Elastic Search to replace Zebra (the search engine) in Koha so that we have better search results.  According to Bywater’s posted goals for Koha in 2015 is the implementation of “Elastic Search to improve Koha’s search algorithms and give libraries more options for searching based on their needs. Elastic will allow us to begin to deliver a discovery platform for integrating our libraries many resources into a one-spot indexer and harvester.”  This is very exciting news and we are looking forward to improved results for our patrons from both Elastic Search and VuFind.  Bywater’s goals for 2015 are here: http://bywatersolutions.com/2015/01/13/bywater-goals-2015-highlights/

Caroline Young


Caroline Young, Associate Director for Public Services, Rutgers Law Library, Rutgers Law School



Posted By Caroline Young at 6/26/2015 3:17:02 PM  0 Comments
TOPICS: open source, ILS, Koha
6/26/2015 7:32:56 AM

Future Library: Unfortunately, You Won’t Live Long Enough to See It

You may have heard of Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library project, but if you haven’t, you have the rest of your life--and then some--to get up to date.  Future Library is a one-hundred year commitment to a literary anthology, scheduled to be published in 2114.  If you’re reading this now, you won’t be around--barring some medical miracles—to buy a copy when it finally hits the shelves. The entire project certainly appears kooky enough, but it’s a huge vote of confidence in the future of writers, books, the environment, and indeed the continuing existence mankind.

For all the doubters, be assured the Future Library project is already under way. Last year, on a piece of land in Nordmarka, near the City of Oslo, Norway, Paterson planted 1000 trees.  The hope is that one hundred years from now, in 2114, the trees will be harvested in order to make paper for the putative anthology.  If that sounds like a bad deal for the trees, it doesn’t hurt book-lovers to be reminded from time to time how paper is made. Anyway, in the intervening century, Paterson is hoping people will take a more-than-usual interest in the inch-by-inch, yearby-year growth and development of this particular set of trees. They may even imagine, as she does, the interplay of wood and art: “words growing through the trees, an unseen energy, activated and materialized, the tree rings becoming chapters in a book.”1

She’s also hoping that there will be some buzz over the next hundred years about the texts which will make up the much-anticipated (by those who’ll live long enough to see it) anthology.  Paterson and the Future Library Trust--made up of publishers, editors and other literary types—will be inviting one writer a year to contribute a piece of writing for the future anthology. The writer will create and submit an unpublished, unread work sealed in a box. The Deichmanske Public Library in Bjørvika, Oslo, will store these works in a special room designed by Paterson herself. Naturally, the design will feature wood from the surrounding forest to line the walls.  A list of authors’ names and the titles of their works will be viewable in the room.  The works themselves will be off-limits until they are published. 


Canadians have reason to be proud that Margaret Atwood was the first writer to be chosen to produce a work for the anthology.  Though some of her novels are dystopian and paint a bleak view of the future of mankind (the antithesis, it seems, of the Future Library project itself), she was given the honour of beginning the project.  She handed over her piece of writing during a May 2015 ceremony in which her comment may have echoed the thoughts of many:  This project, at least,” she said, “believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years!”2

But for many librarians and book lovers alike, the Future Library project is a bitter sweet, pie-in-the-sky idea.  The investment of time and goodwill which has gone into it is heartwarming.  On the other hand, not to be around to see how it all turns out is a bit of a bummer.  Nonetheless, it’s a dreamy, optimistic gift to the future, and to whomever might still be out there in 2114—even if they’re only aliens from some distant planet who’ve come across one of those space capsules containing messages from earth and decided to drop by and see what it’s really like.


1New Public Artwork In Oslo, Norway: Future Library”  Media Release, online: http://www.futurelibrary.no/Future_Library_PR_Margaret_Atwood.pdf

2 Ibid.


Nancy McCormack

Associate Professor and Librarian

Queen's University,

Kingston, Ontario

Posted By Nancy McCormack at 6/26/2015 7:32:56 AM  0 Comments
6/19/2015 3:48:03 PM

Talkin’ Bout Sustainability

In the next month or so at the AALL Annual Conference in Philadelphia, the Board will be asked to weigh in on a new exciting resolution.   Drafted by the Social Responsibilities Special Interest Section’s Environmental Taskforce, and sponsored by the SR-SIS, the Environmental Libraries Caucus, and the Animal Law Caucus, the new Resolution on Sustainability in Law Libraries Initiative attempts to engage the AALL membership regarding our role as stewards within the larger legal community.  Below please find the language of the resolution as well as other resources and links on sustainability in libraries.   

DRAFT Resolution on Sustainability in Law Libraries Initiative

WHEREAS, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is committed to the communities they serve, and

WHEREAS, AALL has the Social Responsibilities Special Interest Section, which addresses issues of social responsibility, environmental awareness, and sustainability that are of concern to all AALL members, and

WHEREAS, other professional organizations such as the American Bar Association, the American Library Association have enacted resolutions, task forces, and programs promoting environmentally responsible publishing, energy efficiency, and sustainability, and

WHEREAS, law library leaders have a mandate to ensure future access to economical library services; and

WHEREAS, law libraries that demonstrate good stewardship of the resources entrusted to them can build their base of support in their communities which leads to sustainable funding; and

WHEREAS, the scientific community has clearly communicated that current trends in climate change are of great concern to all; and

WHEREAS, the people who work in our libraries and access services in our facilities deserve a healthy environment in which to do so; and

WHEREAS, libraries who demonstrate leadership in making sustainable decisions that help to positively address climate change, respect natural resources and create healthy indoor and outdoor environments will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, increase the support for the library in their community; and reveal new sources of funding;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Association of Law Libraries on behalf of its members, recognizes the important role law libraries can play in larger community conversations about resiliency, climate change, and a sustainable future; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Association of Law Libraries strongly encourages activities by its membership – and itself – to be proactive in its application of sustainable thinking in the areas of their facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming and partnerships.

Related Resolutions:


Further Reading:

Taryn L. Rucinski Branch Librarian,

Southern District of New York Libraries

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


Posted By Taryn Rucinski at 6/19/2015 3:48:03 PM  0 Comments