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Showing posts from January, 2015

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

When it comes to archiving the Internet, the Internet Archive has consistently done the best job.

In fact, "Google wrote its mission statement in 1999, a year after launch, setting the course for the company’s next decade: 'Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.' For years, Google’s mission included the preservation of the past."

According to this mission, Google made some significant steps:
"In 2004, Google Books signaled the company’s intention to scan every known book, partnering with libraries and developing its own book scanner capable of digitizing 1,000 pages per hour. In 2006, Google News Archive launched, with historical news articles dating back 200 years. In 2008, they expanded it to include their own digitization efforts, scanning newspapers that were never online."

But Google has had a shift in priorities. "In the last five years, starting around 2010, the shifting priorities …

RIPS Blog: Providing Faculty Services & Tracking Requests

Please see my post on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog about providing faculty services and tracking requests.

Blog Or Law Review Articles More Valuable For Landing Jobs?

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For years, there has been criticism that no one reads law review articles. Lawyers, judges, and mainly law professors spend a lot of time writing these in-depth articles for a very, very small audience.

Blogs, or blawgs as they are known in the legal world, have taken over as the vehicle for instantaneously informing the public of a new case or analysis on a particular area of law. At this point, law reviews can't really compete with the instant dissemination of a blog because, generally, law reviews still use the old model of print publication. And print takes time.

There has even been talk that blogs are more valuable than law review articles to land jobs. Pat Ellis, spoke to his alma mater, Michigan State University School of Law, about his employment success that he attributes, in part, to his blog.

"Ellis told the audience that one blog post of his shared on social media brought far more attention and conversations with lawyers and law professors than a law review articl…

Teaching Research With Library Scavenger Hunts

It's best to teach research by doing rather than telling. If you are only lecturing about research, students will become disengaged and restless. What you tell them will, generally, be lost on them.

Of course some discussion is needed regarding the types of resources available and how to vet out reputable sources, etc.... But the students will absorb the information better if they are made to go out and actually use the resources and find answers.

One of the age-old ways of doing this is through a library scavenger hunt. One professor recently noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education that this type of hands-on library exercise worked particularly well for him.

"I cut and pasted twenty six student-generated questions onto a Word document, divided my fourteen students into two groups and gave each group thirteen questions for each group to complete. I assigned each group a group leader who was supposed to direct discussion and a notetaker who was supposed to collate all the g…

AALL Releases The Economic Value of Law Libraries

In October 2013 the American Association of Law Libraries issued a Request for Proposal seeking consultants to deliver a report on the economic value of law libraries.

The time has come for the release of the final report on the Economic Value of Law Libraries by the Economic Value of Law Libraries Special Committee.

Dewey B. Strategic has a breakdown of the highlights of the report:

Qualitative Information

1. Employ both formal and informal communications regularly.

2. Provide context with qualitative data.

3. Use testimonials to highlight the impact of delivered services.

4. Tailor the value message to stakeholder preferences.

Quantitative Information and Analysis

1. Go beyond the mere measurement of activities and utilize methods that measure and demonstrate success or impact on organizational services.

2. When reporting metrics related to specific library activities, report them in the context of the larger frame of importance to the organization.

3. Define the measurements within yo…

Library Perception & Sustainability

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The Internet Guide for the Legal Researcher Newsletter is a wonderful compilation of information about how to research specific areas of law, new sites to be aware of (both federal and state), and alerts about subject-specific materials in the news (intellectual property, First Amendment, social media, libraries, and court cases, for example).

A subscription to the Internet Guide for the Legal Researcher is available through NELLCO.

One of the news clips about libraries in the current issue deals with library perception and sustainability. In an article in 23(6) El Profesional de la Informacion 603 (Nov. 2014), LluĂ­s Anglada, the director of the Department of Libraries, Information and Documentation of the Consortium of University Services of Catalonia uses equations that suppose a quantifiable relationship between the value of libraries, their cost and use, the perception of libraries, and "dysfunctions."

From the abstract:
The evolution of libraries through three stages –m…

Librarians Should Know These 4 Technologies

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) posted a great article about 4 technology trends that every librarian needs to know.

1. Augmented reality: Augmented Reality, or AR, is technology that provides digital overlays to reality that add information. Google’s Glass eyewear is perhaps the most commonly known example of this technology, but AR applications exist for smart phones as well - like QR codes!

2. Discovery: One of the most essential tools libraries offers to researchers is the research database -- the many products created to amass all the publications a researcher might want to look at, with search interfaces for each. Discovery has evolved from being primarily independent “ponds” of data -- separate databases, each individually maintained and with its own unique interface -- to being collected in oceans of bibliographic records and full-text articles. We started the “ocean” phase with federated search (often called metasearch), in which multipl…

Librarians From Curators To Navigators & Collaborators

Libraries are in a state of transition. As mentioned in previous posts, with the constant innovation taking place, our role as librarian is also changing.

Barbara Fister put it best when she noted "T. Scott Plutchak wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association a couple of years ago that the great age of libraries has passed, but if we’re paying attention we may see a great age of librarians. We will shift from paying most of our attention to the care and feeding of collections and buildings (not to mention trying to coax people into those buildings to use the collections) and will instead will provide specialized services to scholar-collaborators as they create knowledge. Or we'll become irrelevant."

In so many words, this is what I mean when I say that librarians will shift from the curators of print collections to the curators and navigators of electronic collections.

And Fister goes on to discuss how librarians must collaborate if we want to continue advan…

Many Law Schools Lower Admissions Standards

InsideHigherEd has an enlightening article discussing the issues surrounding law schools lowering admissions standards.

As the article notes, "[e]nrollment at ABA-accredited law schools is the lowest it has been since 1973, even though there are 53 more law schools open now, according to Moody's Investors Service. As the number of students going to law school drops dramatically, law schools are increasingly competing for students with lower undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. Professors who study legal education worry that schools are enrolling more and more students who have not proved they can graduate law school. Equally concerning is that law schools are admitting and then graduating students who might not be able to pass the bar exam."

In fact, "five years ago, no American Bar Association-accredited law school had an entering class with a median LSAT score of less than 145. Now, seven law schools do, according to Jerome M. Organ, a professor at University of …

Attorney Is A Great Career For The Brain

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For all of the pain and suffering that goes into the practice of law, there is some great news from the folks at the Wall Street Journal. There is a new study out that reports that practicing law has great long-term benefits for the brain.

"A new study in the journal Neurology finds that intellectually complex jobs, such as social worker, graphic designer or architect, are associated with better thinking skills later in life. The research, from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, tested 1,066 individuals, all born in 1936 and mostly retired, on memory, processing speed and general cognitive ability. Researchers gave the participants, all around 70 years old at the time, a variety of tests. To assess memory, for example, individuals were asked to repeat information after a delay, according to Alan Gow, one of the study’s authors. To gauge general cognitive ability, they completed patterns. Individuals whose jobs involved analyzing or synthesizing data, such as architects and civil…

Call For Papers

AALL/LexisNexis has issued its annual Call for Papers.

Submissions in the Open, New Member and Short Divisions must be submitted by March 2, 2015. Articles in the Student Division must be received by May 15, 2015.

The winner in the Open, New Member, and Student Divisions will receive $650, and the Short Form Division winner will receive $300, all generously donated by LexisNexis, plus the opportunity to present their winning papers at a program during the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Winning papers in the Open, New Member, and Student Divisions are also considered for publication in Law Library Journal.  Papers in the Short Form division will be forwarded to the Editorial Director of AALL Spectrum for publication consideration.

Additionally, The Legal Information Review is a new journal that is currently accepting submissions for its first issue due later this year. Please see their website for more information.

These are great professional development opportunities. Star…

When Google Isn't Enough

Google is amazing. Most of us use it daily to find all types of information. But sometimes Google doesn't give us the answer we are looking for because our search query may be too specialized.

Lifehacker posted an awesome guide to online resources that give specialized answers.
Wolfram Alpha: Can tell you about median salaries in a given field, or perform key financial calculations. You can even estimate your blood alcohol content. The site is excellent at in-depth research and calculations that go beyond web search results.The Wayback Machine: It crawls websites and saves a snapshot of the sites it visits. You can view any site in its archive as it appeared in the past. It's not completely comprehensive (an almost impossible task), but you can view years worth of history for major sites. Topsy: It can filter Twitter data by time range, collects videos, photos, or links, and even analyzes sentiment. It can even determine which accounts have the most influence on a topic.  The gui…

Law Student Research Skills Upon Graduation

The Legal Writing Prof's Blog recently commented on a new law review article by Patrick Meyer of Detroit Mercy: Law Firm Legal Research Requirements and the Legal Academy Beyond Carnegie, 35 Whittier L. Rev. 419 (2014).

Meyer conducted a study to determine the research skills that law firms were looking for in new graduates.

It's interesting that one of the main flaws that law firms noted was the law students' eagerness to jump into the expensive databases for research when a much more cost effective book was available at the firm. As one respondent put it, “PLEASE teach them to be cost-aware . . . and not just dive into expensive research as if it were Google!”

Meyer ultimately proposes requiring an advanced legal research course and “taking steps to infuse research training throughout the curriculum, as the Carnegie Report recommends for lawyering skills.”

Meyer's solutions are absolutely on point. Law schools need to focus on teaching legal research across the law …

More Evidence That Law Libraries Are Still Relevant

A recent article in Law Times offers more evidence that law libraries are still relevant. The article notes that Ontario is reviewing the province's law libraries for the first time in 15 years with the goal of modernizing them.

"LibraryCo Inc., the non-profit organization that runs Ontario’s law libraries, want to bring law libraries up to speed with technological changes that have transformed both the practice of law and the way people consume legal information."

The review is one of necessity because “[t]he library system is an integral component of the law society’s mandate to ensure licensee competence. Its services and their delivery should, therefore, be focused on best practices, particularly as it relates to the development of legal research literacy and skills and lawyer and paralegal competence. The current system has not been designed to advance this systemic approach or to provide education and training to encourage lawyers and paralegals to accomplish these…

Librarians In A Pre & Post-Internet World

A lot has changed for information professionals (i.e., librarians) since the advent of the Internet, but as NPR recently reported, there is a lot that hasn't changed.

"Before Google there was — that paragon of accuracy and calm — the librarian." And New York Public Library (NYPL) has a record of many of the questions that were asked before there was Google. NYPL "recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — a time capsule from an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions and conundrums." The questions range from research to etiquette to Biblical and beyond.

And although the public has a great resource in Google, NYPL "Librarian Rosa Caballero-Li says that today, more than 100 questions still come into the NYPL's Reference and Research Services desk every 24 hours."

And in what may be a surprise to some, "she says there's a [a lot] of overlap between the quest…

Happy New Year! SCOTUS To Make Filings Public

Happy New Year! January is shaping up nicely as I start my new position, and I am finally back to posting.

With that, The Wall Street Journal reports that SCOTUS will start "posting all court filings online as soon as 2016, Chief Justice John Roberts said in his year-end report on the federal judiciary."
The chief justice said that “[o]nce the system is implemented, all filings at the court—petitions and responses to petitions, merits briefs, and all other types of motions and applications—will be available to the legal community and the public without cost on the court’s website.”
As WSJ notes, "[s]imilar filings for lower federal courts have been available online to the public for years through the fee-based website pacer.gov, while state courts vary in the access they provide the public to their records."
This is great for law librarians and law students everywhere. Because "[w]hile paper copies of Supreme Court filings have been available for reporters and oth…