1998 Business Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, July 15, 1998

Anaheim, CA

The 1998 Business Meeting of the AALL Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Section was called to order at 1:30 p.m. by SIS Chair, Kory Staheli (William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV), at the Anaheim Convention Center. The minutes from the 1997 Business Meeting in Baltimore were approved by voice vote as published in the Fall 1997 issue of RIPS Law Librarian.

Statement of SIS Finances

RIPS Secretary/Treasurer; Gail Partin (Dickinson School of Law, Penn State), reported that the ending balance on last year’s Treasurer’s Report should be corrected to read $3,330.78 instead of $3,370.98 as of 6/30/97.

The final Treasurer’s Report for July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1998 follows:

Balance on hand 7-1-97                                                             3,330.78

Income, 1997-98

           Dues                     2,694.00

           Royalties                  193.00

Total Income                  2,887.00

Expenses, 1997-98

            Food & Beverage     312.19

            Miscellaneous             83.99

            Newsletter             1,727.71

            Postage                      13.15

            Printing                       79.87

            Souvenirs                 580.69

Total Expenses              (2,797.60)

Balance on hand 6/30/98                                                                 $3,420.18

Due to delays in the posting of some transactions some newsletter and miscellaneous expenses incurred before June 30, 1998 were not posted to the RIPS account by the end of June. Those transactions will appear as part of next year’s Treasures’s Report.

Respectfully submitted,
Gail Partin
RIPS-SIS Treasurer, 1997-98

Annual Report to the Membership

Out going SIS Chair, Kory Staheli, commended RIPS members for their support os SIS activities over the past year and for the tremendous energy they have put into projects such as the annual meeting programming and the RIPS roundtables, the newly created Web page, the Core Legal Research Competencies project, and the variety of public relations efforts designed to promote our SIS. The new SIS officers for 1998-99 were introduced: Chair, Celeste Feather (Georgetown University Law Center); Vice Chair/Chair Elect, Kristin Gerdy (Brigham Young University); Secretary/Treasurer/Newsletter Editor, Gail Partin (Dickinson School of Law, Penn State).


Web page Committee

Roberta (Bobbie) Studwell (Thomas M. Cooley Law School) encouraged everyone to look at the newly constructed RIPS Web page at http://www.aallnet.org/sis/ripssis/. The content added so far includes a “Programs” section listing AALL annual meeting programs sponsored by RIPS for the current year and for several past years. The sections also includes an area for new program ideas. The Committee welcomes suggestions or submissions of information that can be added to the site.

Public Relations and Recruitment Committee

Gail Partin reported that the 1998 National Legal Research Teach-In enjoyed another successful campaign. There were over 633 Teach-In kits (down only slightly from last year) distributed by West Group to law librarians around the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the U.K. The LEXIS-NEXIS sponsored “notepad campaign” reached record participation with over 20,050 notepads distributed. Our thanks go out to both organizations for generously underwriting this worthwhile project.

Over the past year RIPS has had some type of article or column in almost every issue of the AALL Spectrum. Our SIS brochure was also revised and over 300 copies have already been distributed. In addition, a RIPS in Anaheim sheet was given to CONELL attendees. Kristin Gerdy (Brigham Young University) unveiled the new RIPS SIS colors and our unexpected mascot. The SIS colors, blue and gold, originated from an embroidered RIPS sticker that was created and distributed during the annual meeting. A misspelling on the RIPS exhibit hall table snowballed into the idea for an SIS mascot, a penguin named Puron!

Research Instruction Committee

Darcy Kirk (University of Connecticut) reported that the Committee is working on the final edits and introductory statements of the Core Legal Research Competencies document passed on from the Research Instruction Caucus last year. Their goal is to present it to the AALL Executive Board as a document that can be used as a standard of competence for new lawyers. A listserv of interested persons and Committee members has been set up to facilitate discussion. The Committee welcomes any others who are interested in this project. The document can be downloaded from AALLNet or copies can be obtained from Dennis Sears (Brigham Young University).

Patron Services Committee

Marc Silverman (University of Pittsburgh) indicated that the Committee was searching for a project and solicited ideas through law-lib. Two ideas were suggested: 1) Compile a directory of academic document delivery services. (The Document Delivery Caucus is already doing this.) 2) Set up an ILL service to run on the RIPS Web page. The Committee decided that this was technologically complex and would require a long term daily commitment which is unrealistic. The Committee did come up with an idea, however, regarding the many ILL requests that are posted over law-lib. They suggest that we put on our RIPS Web page a list of OPAC links and publicize them so others can go there before posting to law-lib.

This year RIPS sponsored four roundtable discussion groups as part of the annual meeting program schedule: Reference, Interlibrary Loan, Circulation, and Research Instruction. Marc reported that the average attendance was 10-12 people who came together to share ideas and discuss problems. All the participants felt the sessions were worthwhile, filling a need for informal conversation on issues affecting their daily work. They look forward to meeting again next year.

Nominations Committee

Gary Hill (Brigham Young University) thanked Committee members for producing an excellent slate of candidates. He also thanked the candidates for their service and encouraged those who were not elected to run again next year.

Program Committee

Kristin Gerdy reported that Kelly Browne (University of Tennessee) submitted 15 program proposals for the Anaheim meeting and 7 were accepted. Scott Child’s (Cornell University) program, Broadening the Horizon: Evaluating the Use of For-Profit, Web-Based Legal Information databases, won an award for “Best Proposal.” RIPS is getting a reputation for excellent programming, thanks to the enormous dedication of our members.

Melissa Serfass (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) is the new 1998-99 Program Committee Chair with four new committee members, Jessie Cranford (University of Arkansas at Little Rock), Felise Thorpe (University of Utah College of Law), Coral Henning (Sacramento County Law Library) and Chris Bloodworth (Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation Library). They already have 15 proposals in the drafting stage and encourage other new proposal ideas.

Update on Briefs in Law librarianship Series

Series editor Bobbie Studwell announced that Volume 2, Survey on Legal Research Instruction by Gary Hill has just been published. Gary presented a short description of his survey. Final copy for Volume 3, on disaster planning by Chris Anglim (South Texas College of Law, Texas A&M University), is expected to be completed in August. Volume 4 will be a survey by Ann Puckett (University of Georgia) concerning computer services and staffing needs. The survey will go out to librarians via e-mail and will not be limited to members of RIPS. Only one survey per institution is requested.

1998-99 Newsletter

Gail Partin made a special plea for a newsletter publisher; someone who will take responsibility for the printing and distribution of each issue. We also hope to incorporate ways to reduce publication expenses. Newsletter deadlines for volume 21 will be the 15th of the month, in September, December, March, and May. Volunteers were encouraged to sign up on sheets being circulated or to submit articles to Gail via e-mail at gap6@psu.edu.

Program Proposals for 1999 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Celeste Feather named Kristin Gerdy and Melissa Serfass to be co-chairs of the 1999 Program Committee. They are currently drafting proposals on legal research & writing, training users, staff motivation, quality of work life, information policies, teaching continuing legal education and the reference interview. They will be re-submitting Darcy Kirk’s program on the Americans with Disabilities Act that was postponed in Anaheim. August 17, 1998 is the deadline for program proposals. The 1999 meeting will be restructured to include four days of programming and every effort will be given to avoid conflicts.

NEW BUSINESS – Incoming Chair Celeste Feather

It is time for RIPS-SIS to create a strategic planning document which will articulate our goals and mission statement. The process works best with an outside facilitator. Celeste hopes to coordinate a planning session with RIPS members immediately before the Washington, D.C. meeting.

AALLNet has offered to set up a RIPS listserv. We need to designate a list owner before this can happen. The list owner should be able to make a 3-4 hour per week commitment for at least six months.

Other volunteer opportunities are available. We need assistance with Web site maintenance, a chair of the Public Relations Committee, committee members, a newsletter publisher, and a Nominations Committee chair who can start recruiting candidates this Fall. All of the SIS’s have agreed to complete their elections by Spring.

The RIPS Business Meeting will be scheduled earlier in the annual meeting next year. The SIS’s agreed to coordinate their schedules so that there will be fewer conflicts. We will also continue the roundtable groups and even offer additional groups if members request them.

The future of the RIPS newsletter need to be carefully evaluated. As expenses mount we will need to consider other options such as electronic delivery or a Web format. It may be helpful to devise a survey regarding the newsletter and other SIS services that can be used in the strategic planning process.

Open Discussion Forum

A suggestion was made that we consider using some of our SIS funds to offer travel grants for the annual meetings.

The Business Meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.

1998 Research Instruction & Patron Services Business Meeting Attendees

Scott Childs, Cornell Law Library

Celeste Feather, Georgetown University

Kathryn Fitzhugh, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Kristin Gerdy, Brigham Young University

Janet Ann Hedin, Detroit College of Law

Gary Hill, Brigham Young University

D.R.Jones, Case Western Reserve University

Darcy Kirk, University of Connecticut

Peggy McDermott, St. Louis University

Monica Ortale, South Texas College of Law

Gigi Panagotacos, Florida Coastal School of Law

Gail Partin, Dickenson School of Law

Lee Ryan, University of San Francisco

Joan Shear, Boston College Law Library

Marc Silverman, University of Pittsburgh

Kory Staheli, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Bobbie Studwell, Thomas M. Cooley Law School

Sue Welsh, McGeorge School of Law

Roundtable Report

AALL Annual Meeting, Anaheim, CA, July 1998


by Mon Yin Lung, University of Kansas

The Circulation Roundtable discussion was held at noon on July 14, Tuesday. We, as a small group, had a very lively discussion and covered various aspects of Circulation and Public Services. The roundtable took on a life of it own once we started. I did not need to bring up any pre-planned topics at all.

During that one short hour we talked about carrel assignment and management, student assistants management, faculty check-out policy, and more. The whole group just wished that we could have more time to exchange information. Mere comparing notes was exciting. We all look forward to a similar opportunity next year. However, attendants suggested that 1) if possible, try not to schedule the three RIPS discussion (ILL, Reference, and Circulation) at the same time; 2) Several people noted that if we have the same time slot in the future, we could specify that this is a brown bag discussion so they don’t have to forgo lunch and others don’t have to choose between attending and eating.


by Marc Silverman, University of Pittsburgh

The reference roundtable attracted about a dozen participants, primarily from academic institutions. The discussion started off with a brief overview of the electronic reference service provided by the University of Pittsburgh through the Jurist website. There were many questions and comments about this experiment with one or two members describing similar projects. The meeting moved on to tackle specific problems that participants were having at their home institutions. Although the meeting only lasted an hour many of the attendees commented that the spontaneity of the wide-ranging discussion was a nice change from the traditional packaged programs.

Research Instruction

by Darcy Kirk, University of Connecticut

On July 12, 1998 I led a Research Instruction Roundtable. Thirteen eager public services librarians came together to discuss common concerns related to research instruction. We talked about teaching LEXIS and WESTLAW on the Web, TWEN vs. Web Course in a Box, and various training programs that different schools are offering. Discussion was lively.

In addition to research instruction issues, I introduced the need to form a group to finalize the document first prepared by the Research Instruction Caucus, entitled Core Legal Research Competencies. About half of the group assembled volunteered to be part of that effort.* It was agreed that the discussion was useful enough to repeat the meeting next summer in Washington.

* Anyone reading this who would like to join the group, please let me know.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery

by Monica Ortale, South Texas College of Law

“But, it’s for the source book!” “I have to have it from the original!”

Sound familiar? How do you deal with requests for materials from the Law review? This was the main topic of discussion at the roundtable and it was interesting to hear the solutions applied by the various libraries.

  • We fine them $2. If they approach us about ordering an item and we check the online system and we own it, they’re fined. Three strikes and no ILL requests will be processed for them.
  • Offer a mandatory training class to all incoming law review folks.
  • Law review must provide the full text of the article, not just the footnotes. Seeing the material quoted in the text often gives a different lead in locating the piece than what is in the footnote.
  • Several of the faculty members send a copy of all their esoteric cites along with the final article. Bring it to the attention of the faculty member that you had a great deal of difficulty in obtaining this item, calling to the depths of the archives, or whatever. Sending a copy to the publishing law review saves everyone a lot of work.
  • Find out where the author lives. If they are in academia, then maybe their library has it, or their librarian had to go to the archives and can now give you a lead.

We all realize that it’s not so much the requests for the texts etc., available on OCLC or RLIN, but the truly hard to find, the unpublished reports from committees, of which the author was a member. These ideas are just a sample.

What do you do to cope with these requests? How do you train your law review students? I’d like to know and I’m sure many others are interested. If you contact me using any of the methods above I will consolidate for the membership.

New RIPS-SIS Listserv

The new Research Instruction and Patron Services SIS listserv started operations on Tuesday, August 11. A welcoming message was distributed to all of the current RIPS members with valid e-mail addresses in the AALL membership database, and these individuals were automatically subscribed to the new listserv. If you received this newsletter issue as a RIPS member and were not automatically subscribed to the listserv, then AALL does not have a valid e-mail address for you. You may want to send updated information to membership@aall.org.

If you are not subscribed to the listserv but would like to be, send an e-mail message to listproc@aall.wuacc.edu.Leave the subject line blank. In the text of the message, type “subscribe rips-sis YourFirstName YourLastName” without the quote marks. The server should respond to your request quickly. To send messages to the list subscribers, use the address


Further information and options to set up your listserv subscription can be found on the AALLNET site at http://www.aallnet.org/discuss/listproc.asp. AALL has done a nice job and performed a valuable service by creating a user-friendly page to help with these routine matters.

This new means of correspondence will help to build a new type of community among SIS members. Watch for postings about SIS projects begin, requests for volunteers to help with SIS activities, and information about AALL events that have significant impact on our SIS. The list also should enable discussion throughout the year that will be helpful to all members as we face our daily challenges.

Coral Henning from Sacramento County Law Library has graciously agreed to serve as listowner for RIPS so that the list could get started this fall. Many thanks go to her for her willingness to volunteer for something without knowing exactly what she was getting into!

Mascot Unveiled

How many AALL Special Interest Sections have official colors and a mascot? The answer is at least one–RIPS!

The RIPS colors, blue and gold, were unveiled on embroidered stickers distributed to members and RIPS supporters at the Anaheim Annual Meeting. The mascot also made his debut in Anaheim, but unlike the colors, which were determined in advance, the RIPS mascot made his presence known in a more unexpected way.

Keeping with AALL protocol, RIPS Chair Kory Staheli set up the RIPS booth in the exhibit hall at Anaheim. What Kory failed to notice was that Headquarters had made a slight typographical error on the sign. Instead of being hailed as the Research Instruction and Patron Services SIS, our sign proclaimed us the Research Instruction and Puron Services SIS. The error was discovered during the Opening Reception, but by that time it had been seen by numerous AALL attendees–it was just too much to pass up! Incoming Chair, Celeste Feather, decided that Puron must be RIPS’s new mascot. The question remained, “What in the world is a Puron???”

Fate brought the answer the following day. The complimentary copy of USA Today had emblazoned on its back page in full color: “Indoor Weather Breakthrough! PURON: the environmentally sound refrigerant.” Now we were getting somewhere–Puron was a cold weather creature–but what???

While shopping in the Mall of Orange, incoming vice chair, Kristin Gerdy, was finally introduced to Puron–a penguin with just enough fire in his eyes to fit perfectly with RIPS.

The RIPS members attending the Business Meeting in Anaheim were able to get acquainted with Puron, who now proudly boasts a blue and gold RIPS sticker across his chest. Puron now resides in the Howard W. Hunter Law Library in Provo, Utah, but is anxiously awaiting the Washington, D.C. meeting and a chance to travel the country with RIPS members.