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.
1/13/2014 2:07:38 PM

Chapter Newsletter Highlights: SWALL, LLAW, and WPLLA

This post describes some articles in AALL chapter newsletters that are likely to be interesting to librarians outside those chapters.

The Fall 2013 issue of SWALL Bulletin, the newsletter of the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries, contains an article describing themed book displays at the St. Mary's University School of Law Library. A vast variety of themes are possible and help show students and faculty the breadth of the library's collection. Also interesting in an article applying the marketing advice from an ABA Journal piece on marketing one's law practice. Joseph Lawson of the Fort Bend County Law Library shows how the marketing ideas can be used in private, government, and academic law libraries.

The Fall 2013 issue of WPLLA Newsletter, the publication of the Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association, contains reports on efforts to digitize the back files of the WPLLA Newsletter, the Cool Tools Café at the last AALL Annual Meeting, and a presentation on LexisNexis's process of editing and posting case law.

The Summer 2013 issue of LLAW Briefs, the publication of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin, has very thorough committee reports and an account of Korean librarians visiting the U.S. Courts Library in Milwaukee.

Posted By Benjamin Keele at 1/13/2014 2:07:38 PM  0 Comments
1/3/2014 10:24:21 AM

Keeping Up With Canadian Law Library Review

Posted on behalf of Wendy Hearder-Moan, Associate Editor, Canadian Law Library Review / Revue canadienne des bibliothèques de droit:

A double issue of Canadian Law Library Review / Revue canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (volume 38: 3/4) has just been published. It features two installments of Janet Moss’s history of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD) from 1988 to 2012. These two segments cover “Keeping in touch and Services to Members” and “Professional Contributions and Advocacy.” The first installment of the history was published in 38:2 and the final episode is to appear in volume 39:1. Janet’s history is a sequel to the history of CALL’s first twenty-five years, written by Margaret Banks in 1988. 

In addition, the current issue includes two feature articles. One, entitled “Persevere: What law librarians need to do in educating students,” is written by Sandra Geddes, herself a student in the Master of Information program at the University of Toronto. Her paper deals with the challenges of teaching legal research to the google generation, particularly the challenge of motivating them to change their attitude to research. The other article, by Humayun Rashid, a long-time member of the Association, is entitled “The KF Modified enhancement project: Evolution in a digital era.” KF Modified is the classification system used in many Canadian law libraries. It was developed in 1968-1969  to fill the need caused by the lack, at that time, of a Library of Congress schedule for non-U.S. common law materials. The author describes the major expansions and enhancements to the schedule that have been undertaken since its inception. As a member of the team that planned and implemented the enhancements, he is well-placed to explain the rationale for the changes.  

Because this is a double issue, readers will find a double complement of book reviews (over twenty reviews!) and two columns from each of our regular correspondents. Finally, there is a summary by Rhonda O’Neill, of an interview with Dr. Margaret Banks that took place in 2005. Dr. Banks was one of the founding members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. She is well-known internationally as the author of Using a Law Library, now in its 6th edition, and of the above-mentioned history of CALL’s first twenty-five years.

Canadian Law Library Review has a new editor, Susan Barker, Digital Services and Reference Librarian at the Bora Laskin Law Library, University of Toronto. Other changes to the make-up of the Editorial Board and to the publishing arrangements are outlined in this issue. For more information about CALL or Canadian Law Library Review, see www.callacbd.ca or contact office@callacbd.ca

Posted By Ashley St. John at 1/3/2014 10:24:21 AM  0 Comments
12/19/2013 7:00:00 PM

A Law Librarian at the Internet Librarian Conference

I had the good fortune to attend the Internet Librarian Conference (Internet Librarian) this year. The conference began in 1997 and is currently held every year in Monterey, CA. And, it will be in Monterey next year, too (October 27-29, 2014). Internet Librarian is organized and produced by Information Today, Inc. It bills itself as the “internet conference and exhibition for librarians and information managers.” This well-attended conference had about 1000 attendees visiting from 45 states and 6 countries.

Theme and programming
This year’s theme was “Community Engagement:  Strategies, Services & Tools.” Internet Librarian has an interesting set up. There were 3 primary days of programming with a daily keynote address. Programs are divided into 5 daily tracks with each program from a track in the same conference room all day. For example, Day 1 had the following tracks:  1) Discovery, Navigation & Search, 2) Transforming Web Presence, 3) Engaging our Communities, 4) Library Issues & Challenges, and 5) Internet@Schools. And, each room has a host for the day. The host introduces the program and presenters and then facilitates questions at the end of the program. Attendees can attend all the sessions from a particular track or hop around from room to room.

Two keynote speakers addressed the state of libraries, but they seemed to contradict each other. The opening keynote speaker, Peter Morville, president of Semantic Studios, thinks libraries have a problem. He says the perception of the library as a knowledge gateway is declining. However, the perception of the library as a purchasing agent is increasing. He went on to say that the library is an idea at risk and that we need more than just information architects, we need “inspiration architects.”

On the other hand, Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center talked about how libraries are deeply important and that people love libraries and librarians. Pew research shows that even those who don’t use the library are fans. Rainie thinks we can leverage that to get involved in community issues and to become community leaders. He suggests that we should feel empowered to speak up because librarians’ voices are some of the most valued in our communities.

One of the more interesting programs was “The Next Big Thing.” As you can imagine, it involved a panel of librarians sharing what they thought was the next big thing in libraries. But, the more interesting aspect of the program was that the bulk of it was spent on audience members’ predictions. For instance, I learned that libraries are already using 3d printers to lure patrons into the library. Also, big data is big already, but one person said we’ll be using metrics even more than we are already to demonstrate how effective we are as librarians.

There were also a couple of evening programs for attendees. The Tuesday evening session was very interesting. Titled “Community Engagement Info Blitz,” 5 librarians shared innovate ways they engaged their communities. There, I learned about EveryLibrary, a political action committee dedicated to helping local library ballot measures pass. They’ve already earned local libraries millions.

Attending a non-law library conference
Often it can help to step out of the law librarianship world to see how other libraries are transforming services. Maybe a public library has created an innovative service that would be useful in a law firm. An undergraduate library could have developed a web page for video tutorials that a law school library could use to model its own web page. Also, some things are universal to libraries. For example, patrons use catalogs to locate resources in all types of libraries. A couple librarians at Creighton University shared their experiences setting up iPad kiosks stationed around the library for patron access to the catalog.

And, if you must have some law library programming, not all hope is lost. There was one law library related program. Amy Affelt at Compass Lexecon presented a program titled “Continuing the Engagement.” Her informative program discussed getting attorneys engaged through various activities such as unique book discussions where the librarian reads the book and tells others what it was about. She also maintains alert subscriber lists. She uses them to show new attorneys what their colleagues are using for current awareness to encourage them to sign up too.

While I think the overall conference is more useful for public and undergraduate academic libraries, I certainly picked up some things that I brought back to my own library. I found my Internet Librarian experience valuable and I think you will too. And, did I mention that the conference is in Monterey, CA?

Karen Skinner is a research services librarian at the USC Gould School of Law.

Posted By Karen Skinner at 12/19/2013 7:00:00 PM  0 Comments