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.
7/25/2014 4:12:36 PM

AALL Session Review: Vendor Shootout at the Alamo: Current Awareness Tools (A3)

I am always interested in current awareness and was very much looking forward to this session.  It did not disappoint, as the presenters discussed their searches for, and decisions on, current awareness services.  First to speak was Nina Platt of the LAC Group, who spoke in general terms about current awareness—the “filter failure” of some services, and the current goals of using a service: a smarter, more informed staff with better knowledge of current and prospective clients, auto-profiling, and one aggregator/e-mail.  She spoke of the history of current awareness, from the olden days of multiple print newsletters, to the future (“current awareness nirvana”).

Laura Whitbeck from Nixon Peabody spoke next.  Her main goals for a current awareness service were overall efficiency and decluttering of inboxes.  Ultimately, she chose InfoNgen because of its de-duplication technology, as well as an appealing look and feel and search capability, and the ability to filter by type of story.  She has received positive feedback from both attorneys and the library team, especially on flexibility of the model and responsiveness of the service team.

Mark Gediman from Best Best & Krieger said that his primary goal was efficiency of use, as there are two librarians and one library assistant to serve 200 attorneys in nine offices.  He made the point of distinguishing needs from wants when trying to find a current awareness service.  Needs were listed as: as much automation as possible, a minimum of curation, and cost effectiveness.  Wants were: mobile-friendliness and the ability to create a new newsletter quickly.  Convergence is now their current awareness service, and Gediman praised their great support, and ability to support projects, marketing, and competitive intelligence, all with a minimum of time.

Jeffrey Bois from Foley & Lardner chose Manzama after a three-month trial period.  The need here was for a mobile-friendly service, with personalized alerts without newsletters.  He also wanted the service to be “cool” and easy to use, with curation done by the system itself.  He also emphasized the importance of branding this work (“by Research and Information Services”) and rolling out the service to everyone, not just the people who asked for it.

The audience was a mix of people who already were using a current awareness tool, people looking for one to use, and a few who were looking for a new tool to replace the old one.  So, just as important as the choice of each presenter was the process by which they chose that service.  The presenters had in common that they approached the search with a list (long or short) of their needs and wants, kept a close eye on the responsiveness of the support team, and solicited feedback both from attorneys and from library staff.  This set of embedded tips was a great takeaway from this session, allowing the audience to focus on the “how” of choosing a service.  Overall, a very interesting and informative session.


Posted By Stephanie Ziegler at 7/25/2014 4:12:36 PM  0 Comments
7/25/2014 3:23:59 PM

AALL 2014: Something Out of the Ordinary at the Mid-America Chapter Luncheon

I've long been curious about 3D printing, and thanks to the speaker at the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries (MAALL) chapter luncheon at AALL 2014, I learned a lot.

The speaker, Mark Barnett, coordinates Geekbus, a mobile science-eduation lab for K-12 students in San Antonio. He said that 3D printing has been around since 1984, but is now getting more exposure because the patent has expired. His printer cost around $2,000, and some think that within 10 years printers will cost $500-800 and will become common household items.

Mark described how his students use CAD software (the same as used by architects and engineers) to design items to print in plastic. Other printers can print with metals, but those are much more expensive. Unfortunately, the printer couldn't be demonstrated during the lunch because it got out of calibration in transit, but just to see the machine itself up close was interesting.

Below is a side view of the printer. On the right is the green plastic, which is fed into a heated chamber and melted. Some printers have color ink cartridges, but this one doesn't.

Below is a front view. On the tray is a spiky bracelet that was designed by a student. The mechanism dispensing the melted plastic goes back and forth, creating distinctive layers in the printed items. (The stuffed animals are MAALL mascots Marbury and Madison.)

Posted By Colleen Williams at 7/25/2014 3:23:59 PM  0 Comments
7/25/2014 2:41:11 PM

AALL Session Review: Building Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverence While Teaching Legal Research (C3)

Presenters: Kristina L. Niedringhaus (Georgia State University College of Law) and Carolyn Broering-Jacobs (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law)

This session was unique (to me) in that it focused not on tips for teaching legal research, but instead on the importance of instilling a certain mindset for learning.

The presenters gave a brief presentation before the audience broke into groups to brainstorm (conveniently, we were seated at round tables).

The highlights of the presentation:

  • studies have shown that the quality of perseverance is more important than talent as a  predictor of success
  • instructors need to create an environment in their classrooms where students feel safe to risk failure, thus instilling a "growth mindset"
  • students need to become self-directed learners; as attorneys, they will be life-long learners 
  • be sensitive to students; attempt to avoid a perception of disparate treatment
A handout with ideas for instilling grit is available at http://lawlibrary.gsu.edu/grit/.

Posted By Colleen Williams at 7/25/2014 2:41:11 PM  1 Comments