Posts

Showing posts from August, 2016

ABA Adversely Reviewing Schools in Light of Criticism

InsideHigherEd provided a comprehensive overview of recent actions by the American Bar Association (ABA) in what is seemingly a response to the long-standing criticism of legal education.

As noted, earlier this month, the ABA’s accrediting arm recommended against approving the University of North Texas-Dallas College of Law, citing low admissions test scores scores of entering students. Days later, it found Ave Maria Law School in Florida out of compliance with its standards, again citing admissions practices. The ABA is also considering tightening bar-passage standards to make them tougher for schools to meet. 

The long-standing criticism stems from the law school bubble that was created during the recession. Law schools, like many other areas of higher education, saw increased enrollment during the recession. But the job market for law graduates has tightened in recent years. That’s meant more lawyers looking for work and fewer applications from prospective law students. To fill out…

Best Practices for Creating a Digital Law Library

If you are considering creating a digital law library, Lexis put together a wonderful white paper on topic that guides you through the process. 
While there is product placement throughout, this white paper is helpful for anyone considering a digital law library. The white paper offers general best practices, along with information on the LexisNexis Digital Library product. 
According to the white paper, one of the first things to consider is the approach that your law library will take to digital migration: Incremental: Some organizations have an ongoing preference for printed volumes and offer eBooks for just a select portion of titles.Accelerated: Others place more emphasis on mobility or are concerned about the administrative overhead that comes with physical books; they may choose to replace a large percentage of hard-copy volumes with eBooks. According to the 2015 ABA technology survey, one third of lawyers report using legal eBooks for work. Holistic: Either way, many libraries …

Writing While Law Librarianing

Being on the tenure track is hard for everyone. It's really hard for law librarians because we have so many roles to fill. We often have our administrative library roles, as well as the teaching, research, and service required of faculty. Writing tends to be the thing that gets cast aside as other, more pressing concerns carry the day.

For the last few years, I've designed my weeks to write on this blog and a couple of others because I enjoy learning and thinking about the profession. Being required to write full-length law review articles or book chapters has been a good change of pace because it allows me to dig deeper into a topic, but it is much harder to carve out the time and attention necessary to write a full-length piece.

Last weekend, I finally submitted a book chapter for publication in a forthcoming book called Millennial Leadership in Libraries. My chapter covers creating a leadership philosophy. I had been working on it since April, and it was a challenging, yet …

The State of Open Access in Academia

Earlier this year, Forbes ran a great article on the state of open access in academia. More than any other technology, the web has revolutionized access to the world’s information. While nearly every other form of informational output has been reinvented in some fashion in the internet era, academic literature has remained steadfastly locked in the centuries-old subscription format, paywalled away from all but those who can afford to purchase access

Even at public universities, where the salaries of faculty and staff and the operating costs of the institution are often heavily subsidized by taxpayer money, either directly by their states or indirectly through grants from NSF, NIH and other federal agencies, the majority of the research output of the institution is not publicly accessible.

Instead, much of the world’s scholarly knowledge is owned and controlled by commercial enterprises that operate the journals that academic researchers publish in.

The extreme cost and paywalled access t…

Use Google Scholar's Advanced Search for Narrow Case Law Searching

There are various tricks to using Google Scholar for free case law searching that will help you narrow your search results to relevant cases.

To narrow your search results, make sure to use the Advanced search menu.

To use the Advanced search menu for case law searching, click into the case law radio button on the Scholar home page. Then, click the down-arrow on the right side of the search box to invoke the Advanced search menu

While the first four Boolean connector and phrase search boxes located on Scholar’s Advanced search menu are the same as Google.com’s Advanced Search menu, there are three “field” search boxes and one drop-down list unique to Scholar’s Advanced Search menu.

Unfortunately, many searchers don’t use these features because Scholar never bothered labeling them with appropriate case law terminology—they simply left the articles’ database labels on them. For example, the field search box labeled as:

Return articles authored by should really be labeled Return cases auth…

The Role of a 21st Century Librarian

The Atlantic recently posted an article on the evolving role of the 21st Century librarian.

There’s a stereotypical image of a librarian in popular culture: someone older, in thick-rimmed glasses and overly modest clothing, guarding the silence in a room full of books with all-powerful shushes.

But as the internet has largely replaced brick-and-mortar libraries as the go-to resource for information gathering, librarians’ purview is no longer confined to just books. Libraries have had to evolve from providing the internet as a service, to being responsible for interacting with it, to indexing and archiving a rapidly increasing amount of information. Though the occupation is only expected to grow by 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, many librarians have forgone bookkeeping and cataloging for specializing in multimedia and taking on research- and technology-oriented projects such as digitizing archives.

The author of the article interviewed Theresa Quill, a research librarian at Indiana Univers…

Reading Books is Tied to a Longer Life

The NYTimes Well Blog reports that reading books is tied to a longer life.

Researchers used data on 3,635 people over 50 participating in a larger health study who had answered questions about reading.

The scientists divided the sample into three groups: those who read no books, those who read books up to three and a half hours a week, and those who read books more than three and a half hours.

The study, in Social Science & Medicine, found that book readers tended to be female, college-educated and in higher income groups. So researchers controlled for those factors as well as age, race, self-reported health, depression, employment and marital status.

Compared with those who did not read books, those who read for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die over 12 years of follow-up, and those who read more than that were 23 percent less likely to die. Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.

They found a si…

Copyright Office To Revise Section 108 & The Library Exception?

Librarians were surprised to hear at the ALA Annual conference that the U.S. Copyright Office planned to hold closed meetings to discuss revision of Section 108, the “library exception.” The process was announced in the Federal Register on June 2. Interested parties were asked to schedule a meeting with the Copyright Office, located in Washington, DC. (Soon after the announcement the Copyright Office said that phone conversations could also be scheduled). There will be no public record of who attends the meetings or what is discussed.

Although, the Copyright Office has been upfront about the changes. They believe that Section 108 needs to be updated to better reflect the digital environment. Indeed, they have said that Section 108 needs to be re-written altogether. They have already drafted Section 108 legislation that librarians haven’t seen.

According to The Internet Archive Blog, the Library Copyright Alliance (which represents the American Library Association and the Association of…