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Showing posts from October, 2016

Recommended Website: Girls at Library

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Once in a while, I run across a website that speaks to why I became a librarian. This time that website was Girls at Library.

About GAL: Girls At Library (GAL) is an online journal that features engaging literary interviews with and book recommendations from remarkable, diverse women who share a passion for reading. A unique online resource for literature lovers, GAL invites the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and emotions that underscore what makes reading such a universal pursuit. The books one reads both shape the mind and reflect the soul: literature empowers, transports, and inspires. To this end, GAL promotes reading as a constructive and enriching act for everyone. Each interview offers keen insights, personal portraits, and an artful, intimate look inside the libraries of women from all walks of life.
The "There's a Book for That" link helps you find a book for any situation. 
There's also a "Nightstand Series" link that asks what books you keep on …

Happy Open Access Week Oct. 24-30

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This year’s Open Access Week theme of “Open in Action” is all about taking concrete steps to open up research and scholarship and encouraging others to do the same. One way to open up research and scholarship is through open educational resources (OER). The Hewlitt Foundation definesOpen Educational Resources as "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or are released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." To truly be open, the OER resources should be free and have the 5 R's of reuse rights: RetainReuseReviseRemixRedistributeIf you are interested in making your educational resources open, Creative Commons is a wonderful way to release course content under an open intellectual property license that allows …

MIT Releases Report on Vision for Libraries

MIT decided that the time is now to look at the future of its research library. Transformative changes in culture, technology, publishing, research, and pedagogy require equally transformative changes in research libraries; both in response to a changing scholarly landscape and as a catalyst for new ways of producing, using, and preserving knowledge. As MIT takes the lead in helping to reinvent the future of education, so too must we take the lead on reinventing the future of research libraries.  

To that end, an Ad Hoc Task Force on the Future of Libraries was charged with developing a vision of how the MIT Libraries ought to evolve to best advance the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge, not only to support MIT’s mission but also to position the Institute as a leader in the reinvention of research libraries. The Task Force, composed of faculty, staff, and students from across the Institute, sought input from the broader MIT community through open forums, group dis…

CRS Reports Are Back & More Accessible Than Ever!

When I teach students about researching for scholarly articles, I mention Congressional Research Services Reports as a gold mine of information.

However, my go-to source, OpenCRS, is no longer active and is only available via archive.

But a new organization has stepped in to fill the vast hole left by OpenCRS: EveryCRSReport.com is now the go-to source for CRS Reports.

About EveryCRSReport:
CRS is Congress’ think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers for accurate and timely analysis of important policy issues. The reports are not classified and do not contain individualized advice to any specific member of Congress. (More: What is a CRS report?)

Until today, CRS reports were generally available only to the well-connected.

Now, in partnership with a Republican and Democratic member of Congress, we are making these reports available to everyone for free online.

EveryCRSReport.com includes …

Law Journal Abandons Bluebook

In what many may consider a smart move, The Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice has said goodbye to The Bluebook.

The BGLJ outlined three main reasons for its decision:

First, the Bluebook presents an enormous and unnecessary barrier to publication in law journals for scholars from other disciplines, young scholars, legal practitioners, and others without access to students and clerks to Bluebook their work. The 20th Edition of the Bluebook is 560 pages long, a Russian doll of rules within rules. It strictly regulates when to use small-caps, when to italicize commas, and how to abbreviate the proper names of over 1000 law journals. Conforming citations to the Bluebook is an immense undertaking, even for attorneys who have presumably been trained to use it. For the non-attorney, reading the hundreds of pages of legal rules and then applying them is daunting. To the extent that the Bluebook citation style privileges the publication of work created by authors of a particular, na…

A Coloring Book for Legal Research Instruction

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CALI published what we believe to be the first Coloring Book for Legal Education – “What Color is Your C.F.R.?” by Elizabeth Gotauco, Nicole Dyszlewski and Raquel M. Ortiz. It can be downloaded as PDF for free or you can purchase a paper copy here, (which makes it easier to color) here for $3.78 + shipping.
This is a coloring book for adult law students with the goal of experimenting with the new trend in adult coloring books that purport to help deal with anxiety and stress.
Law school can be stressful. What an obvious and uncomplicated statement! Coloring has been found to help calm the mind and even to increase focus.

Librarians Aiding in Compliance of Open Access Rules

In 2015, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article discussing new open access mandates, specifically noting how librarians are aiding in compliance.

As more federal agencies begin requiring grant recipients to make research results freely available to the public, college librarians have taken on a new role: helping researchers comply with open-access rules.

A February 2013 memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said federal agencies with more than $100 million in research-and-development expenditures would have to require that results be available within a year of publication.

New open-access rules at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, among other agencies mean that researchers will risk losing grant support from those sources if they don’t make their findings freely available to the public. Several private funders, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are also shifting to …

Going Beyond Checklists in Legal Writing

As I prepare to lead a Scribes Student Legal Writing Society discussion on "good legal writing," I am reminded of my post yesterday on using checklists to teach legal research and writing.

A wonderful article by Professor Mark Osbeck called What is "Good Legal Writing" and Why Does it Matter? underscores the importance of going beyond checklists.

As Osbeck mentions:
Legal writing that is clear, concise, and engaging is good writing. Yet there is something about the very best examples of legal writing that goes beyond these three fundamental qualities. 

Writers do not become proficient at their craft by memorizing a lot of picayune rules, or by applying checklists to their writing. They become proficient by reading the works of good writers and by practicing their own writing. 

He goes on to recommend a pedagogical structure that highlights the foundations of good legal writing: clarity, conciseness, and engagement. Then using things like checklists and rules to highl…

Using Checklists to Teach the Foundations of Legal Research & Writing

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In my legal research & writing course, my students are predictably concerned with writing a specific memo and brief to earn a good grade in my course. Of course they are.

But I am more concerned with teaching them the fundamentals of legal research & writing so that they can employ the processes no matter what legal issue they face. 
To that end, I use acronyms and checklists to make it easier to remember.


For example, when teaching legal research, I discuss a 4-step legal research process: Preliminary Analysis - reviewing client interview, noting jurisdiction, parties, legal issues, defenses, etc... to use effective keywords in secondary sources to find an overview of the law with citations. Search for Codified Law - looking for constitutions, statutes, court rules, and regulations on point. Search for Binding Precedent - finding case law from the jurisdiction that the court must follow. Search for Persuasive Precedent - finding case law from other jurisdictions that the court…