The New SIS Task Force on Library Support for Law Journals

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"What's the proper (i.e. Bluebook) way to cite [insert your least favorite legal source]?" "I need a paper copy of the New York Times from 18 years ago to verify a quote." "Can you interlibrary this unpublished book for me that my author cited?"

How many times have you heard these questions at the reference desk? Providing services to a school's law review students, whether for their own articles or for their cite-checking activities, can be one of the more frustrating aspects of an academic librarian's work. The moment you get one group of students trained in the appropriate research skills, they make room for a new group of neophytes. Last year's new program (your own personal stroke of genius) that solved all your service problems has now been rejected by the new editors who think they have a better system. And now you hear that the school has decided to start yet another journal.

A new ALL-SIS task force has been appointed to examine the services provided by libraries and librarians to the student-edited journals in their respective law schools. The project arises from often-expressed concerns by librarians about problems in providing services to the journals. The committee's goal is to investigate what types of services are being provided as well as what difficulties arise in providing these services. From this information, we hope to be able to develop and propose suggested levels of services that libraries may wish to adopt, facilitate the sharing of information about services, and, if possible, identify potential means to help solve some of our common problems.

Of course, we need to hear from as many of you as possible in order to insure that we have correctly identified all the issues as well as the creative services some of you may have already devised. Please help us by completing a survey. Responses may be sent by e-mail to or by regular mail to Paul George, Harvard Law School Library, Areeda 526, Cambridge, MA 02144.

Members of the Library Support for Law Journals Task Force include Paul George, Harvard Law School; James Duggan, Southern Illinois University Law School; Will Haines, Emory University School of Law; Kathleen McLeod, Fordham Law School; Miriam Murphy, Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis; Lisa Peters, Case Western Reserve University Law School; Merle Slyhoff, University of Pennsylvania Law School; and Duane Strojny, Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Please let us hear from you. (And don't be surprised if one of us calls you to help you complete the survey!) We will report our findings in a later issue of the ALL-SIS newsletter as well as at the SIS meeting at the AALL annual conference. Thank-you.