Statements from previous grant winners

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Barbara Ost
Senior Librarian
NYS Dept. of Law Library
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

I was very fortunate to be awarded a grant to attend the July 19-20th "Intermediate Cataloging for Law Libraries" workshop held in Orlando, Florida. Although I was not able to attend the full AALL Conference, nevertheless I gained a lot of valuable information and had time for some fun as well during my short 2 day stay!

The first workshop presentation on ‘Authority Control’ featured in-depth
discussions/explanations of the importance of establishing & maintaining an ‘Authority Control’ file; comparisons of a ‘one time authority batch processing’ versus ongoing (possibly yearly) authority control; 3rd party ‘authority control’ vendors and OCLC Mars. The information plus the group problem solving exercises provided an excellent foundation that was especially helpful to our library as we have never created an ‘authority file’ for our holdings.

The ‘Cataloging Workflows’ session offered an abundance of very useful information. The portion of the presentation dealing with ways to combine & streamline various cataloging/acquisition functions was most helpful as our library is currently in the process of reviewing the functions of the acquisitions & cataloging staff in preparation of our first online system installation.

On Thursday evening (July 18th), I took my first ever Airboat ride. I took an evening cruise
down the St. John’s River that was exhilarating. The sun was just beginning to set as we toured the "Tosohatchee Preserve," providing spectacular views. And yes, I did see several alligators– our boat actually glided over a few as well! The river is teeming with blue herons, cranes and even cattle from the nearby farms. What an exciting adventure!

On Saturday afternoon, I also had an opportunity to take a ‘Scenic Boat Tour’ of 3 beautiful lakes joined by a series of canals in the Winter Park area. The enormous cypress trees adorned with Spanish moss that we encountered crossing the canals were just sensational as were the crape myrtle and hibiscus bushes.

I can honestly say that I had a wonderful, whirlwind time and I enjoyed my Florida experience enormously!

My First AALL Meeting
by SaraJean Petite

I attended my first AALL meeting in Orlando, Florida from July 19 to 24, 2002. This was largely made possible by a grant from AALL that paid for my registration. I would like to thank the AALL Grants Committee and share my experience.

On Friday and Saturday, I attended the workshop, Intermediate Cataloging for Law Librarians. The speakers discussed authority control, cataloging Internet resources, and cataloging workflow. On Saturday after the workshop, I was able to attend the last part of the Innovative Law Users Group meeting. Barbara Plante told the group about her library’s experience as a beta test site for Millennium Cataloging.

Sunday after visiting the exhibit hall (and learning about some of Lexis’s new features), I went to the OBS-SIS Research Roundtable where research and writing for publication was discussed. At the roundtable, I met Diana Jaque, who compiles book reviews for Law Library Journal. In the afternoon, I attended a program on training non-law librarians to use government information and a program on legal information services for young adults. In the evening, I went to the Opening Reception at Sea World and enjoyed a Shamu show with a stadium full of law librarians.

Monday, after grabbing breakfast at the exhibit hall, I attended the Plenary session, "Generations at Work," followed immediately by the Association Annual Awards Ceremony, the Association Luncheon, the program "Connecting with Your audience," and the program "New Connections in Copyright Law: The right of public display – a solution to the ‘RAM copy’ doctrine?" It was interesting to go from the practical program about how to be a good speaker to the program about a fine detail of copyright law. After a few hours’ rest, I went the West Customer Appreciation Event at the Hard Rock Café, where I learned that some of my colleagues have amazing endurance on the dance floor. The DJ ended up making the announcement that the party was over, and those of us on the dance floor would have to leave.

Tuesday at the ORALL/MichALL Luncheon, I finally got to meet members from other libraries and put faces with the names I’d been reading in the newsletters and listserv messages. In the afternoon, I attended the programs "Restructuring the Documents Department to Accommodate Electronic Digitization Projects" and "The Catalog vs. the Home Page? Best Practices in Connecting to Online Resources." One of the ideas presented at the "Catalog vs. the Home Page" program was using the catalog to generate dynamic lists for the home page. Upon returning to work, I started to create a list of faculty members at CWRU with hypertext links to each professor’s publications in the library catalog.

Ironically enough, the final program I attended was Mary Ellen Bates’ presentation on information overload, where I learned some things that now save me 45 minutes to an hour every morning. Following Ms. Bates’ program, I hurried to the room where the presentation on preservation was taking place to get a handout, then rushed to the hotel to meet the airport shuttle.

Once again, I would like to thank the AALL Grants Committee for this wonderful opportunity.

Maryellen O’Brien
Reference/Electronic Services Librarian
O’Quinn Law Library
University of Houston

It was to my great satisfaction that I received a grant from AALL to attend the 2002 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, this year. My enthusiasm to attend the conference stemmed from the fact that I was about to enter a new career in a field that is filled with constant changes and interesting developments. An additional challenge to me was the fact that my new position as Reference/Electronic Services Librarian at the University of Houston O’Quinn Law Library, which I was to start less than one month following the Annual Meeting, would require that I be proficient at researching topics in the area of intellectual property law. Although I had taken a course in Computers, Cyberspace & Policy in law school and had written an article on UCITA in 2001, I had no experience doing patent and trademark research. Therefore, it seemed that these skills would have to be learned on the job.

Of course, AALL did not let me down. There were many fascinating lectures on vendor relations, licensing, and copyright issues, which were of particular interest to me because my new job would require that I act as liaison with vendors, review vendor contracts, and resolve any disputes over alleged copyright violations. However, most interesting to me were the discussions between R. Anthony Reese, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Texas, and Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, in the lecture entitled "New Connections in Copyright Law: The Right of Public Display—A Solution to the ‘RAM copy’ Doctrine?" This talk featured a professional debate about how the courts and the U.S. Copyright Office treat digital media in light of the Copyright Act and the DMCA, the effects of those interpretations, and thoughts on how they might alternatively rule. For those of you who may have missed this talk, it would be well worth your while to obtain a copy through AALL.

Finally, the meeting that had the most significant impact on me occurred at 5:30pm Tuesday evening. Yes, it was the Business Meeting of the Intellectual Property Law Librarians. The participants at that meeting were incredibly kind to me, as well as generous with their advice and their knowledge. They recommended listservs that I should I join, directories I should consult, and people I should contact. It was the best half-hour I spent in all my time in Orlando!

Finally, I would like to thank the membership of AALL and the AALL Grants Committee for awarding me my grant. I had a great time—hope to see everyone next year!

Diana Jaque
University of Southern California Barnett Info.Tech. Center & Call Law Library

At my first few AALL meetings, I had that deer-in-the-headlights look as I wandered from program to program, not quite sure where to go or what to see next. This year marked my third annual meeting and I was determined to attend a wider variety of programs and events, getting the most out of the conference. The grant I was awarded by AALL made this possible. Thank you, AALL!

Here are my top highlights and hints from this year’s Annual Meeting in Orlando:

Participate in roundtables. Roundtables, such as the OBS/TS-SIS research and writing roundtable, are a great way to meet other librarians in a casual setting. If you keep running into the same librarians over and over, that could be a sign of your mutual interests! The OBS/TS-SIS research and writing roundtable is a discussion of writing opportunities for tech services folks -- a must for any librarian who loves to write, or wants to improve their writing skills. I find this to be the most valuable roundtable for my interests.

Engage yourself in programs, sit up front, ask questions. I admit it. My attention span is short and I am easily distracted in crowded places. Sitting up front keeps me engaged in the program and I get more out of it. Besides, the overheads are easier to read! The true meat of the annual meeting is in the large sessions and this year was no exception. My two favorite programs this year were "Technical and Public Services Connections: Making the Most of Your Online Catalog" and "How to Avoid ‘Search Reopened’: Hire the Right Technical Services Candidate the First Time Around." The latter program was light and entertaining while explaining the do’s and don’ts of hiring.

Volunteer. For the last two years, I have staffed my chapter’s table in the Activities Area. This is a great way to help your local chapter or SIS. As a newer law librarian, it has been important for me to meet other librarians, volunteering has made this task much easier.

Attend committee meetings. This year I wanted to gain greater insight into the annual meeting programs proposed by the various SIS’s. On a whim, I attended the open meeting of the OBS/TS-SIS Education Committee and came away with a better understanding of how to write an effective program proposal. This information will improve any future program proposals I draft. Most committee meetings are open, but double check in the annual meeting program.

Visit the exhibit hall. One of the best secrets is to visit the exhibit hall at a time other than an exhibit break. Without throngs of people, vendors have more time to showcase their products and discuss upcoming releases. Each year, I find myself spending more and more time chatting with vendors in the exhibit hall. This year, I found several new products and publications to bring back to our faculty.

Accept the fact that you cannot see everything or attend every program. Pick your battles and consider purchasing an audio tape of any programs you miss. And finally...take time to have fun and meet your colleagues!