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Showing posts from November, 2016

Legal Research Clinic Bridges Gap to Help Community

Cornell Law School has started a Legal Research Clinic where 2Ls & 3Ls help local residents, nonprofit organizations, and entrepreneurs with specific questions that do not require full legal representation. The students also assist public-interest lawyers who need legal research assistance, which is a wonderful way to provide greater access to justice.

The director of the Legal Research Clinic, Amy Emerson, noted that she was often trying to construct artificial issues for students to research. At the same time, people from the community were coming to the library with legal questions, but librarians are not supposed to give legal advice.

As Emerson noted, the Legal Research Clinic was a way to bridge the gap. The Clinic meets the community's needs while giving the students very practical experience.

The broad range of topics is what makes this legal clinic unique, said Emerson. Most clinics focus on a defined area of law, forcing them to turn away requests outside of their spe…

ABA Journal Names The Ginger (Law) Librarian to Blawg 100

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Editors of the ABA Journal announced today they have named The Ginger (Law) Librarian to the Blawg 100  -- one of the 100 best blogs for a legal audience.

“For 10 years, the Blawg 100 has helped shine a light on the stunning breadth of legal topics and voices to found in the legal blogosphere,” Acting Editor-Publisher Molly McDonough said. “Journal editors have selected yet another stellar list of blogs. We hope you’ll find legal information sources in this list that are completely new to you and bookmark them for regular reading.”

Other law librarian honorees include, Dewey B Strategic, Jean P. O'Grady; In Custodia Legis, Law Library Congress; and beSpacific, Sabrina Pacifici.

Thanks to the ABA and Molly McDonough for this wonderful honor.

About the ABA Journal:
The ABA Journal is the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association, and it is read by half of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers every month. It covers the trends, people and finances of the legal profession from Wall …

Information Literacy Now: Most Students Can't Spot Fake News

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a new study out of Stanford that shows that preteens and teens are clueless about evaluating the accuracy and trustworthiness of "news."

Some 82% of middle schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website, according to a Stanford University study of 7,804 students from middle school through college. 

The study, set for release Tuesday, is the biggest so far on how teens evaluate information they find online. Many students judged the credibility of newsy tweets based on how much detail they contained or whether a large photo was attached, rather than on the source.

More than two out of three middle-schoolers couldn’t see any valid reason to mistrust a post written by a bank executive arguing that young adults need more financial-planning help. And nearly four in 10 high-school students believed, based on the headline, that a photo of deformed daisies on a photo-sharing site provide…

Librarians at Forefront on War Against Fake News

The Verge recently interviewed a librarian about the abundance of fake news. It's a real problem, and concern has escalated since the presidential election.

The central focus of the concern is Facebook, which has grown beyond a social platform and is now a key information distributor from which 44 percent of Americans get their news. Google and Facebook both recently announced that they would block fake news sources from using their ad networks. All of this is compounded by the reality that a lot of people don’t know fake news when they see it, sensationalized reports are more likely to go viral on social media than sane ones, and distrust of traditional (and genuinely more reliable) media sources is rising.

As Verge points out, librarians are well positioned to tackle the fake news problem. Librarians... we’ve always talked about information literacy. Information literacy is just trying to get people to be savvy consumers of information, and getting them to be able to really inter…

Library as Heart of Institution not "Vanity Projects"

In an Instagram video, former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren proclaimed that she is “scandalized” by the cost of education and how college students are saddled with “gigantic student loans.” Law schools are certainly at the forefront of this criticism as nearly 85% of law students graduate with over $100,000 in student debt.

Van Susteren went on to post similar comments on Twitter, exclaiming, “Colleges should stop building vanity projects like huge libraries and billing students -- full libraries are on our smartphones!”

As noted on InsideHigherEd, those comments ... are destructively misleading to the general public as well as higher education administrators and legislative decision makers about the significant contributions academic libraries make to teaching and learning.

Academic librarians play a vital part in the education ecosystem, putting information into context for students by distinguishing information from knowledge and offering direct assistance to constituents in a per…

RIPS Law Librarian Blog - The Skills Needed for Summer Associate Research

Lexis released a new report outlining the time that summer associates spend on legal research. The report also highlights where additional research instruction is needed.

Check out the full announcement over at the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.

Librarianship as Profession

I was completely inspired by reading a post on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog by my friend and colleague, Paul Gatz.

The post, in essence, is a reminder that librarianship is its own profession. We need this reminder because we are often relegated to a "supplementary or secondary character" within our institutions. And, to be sure, law librarians do provide the service that is often thought of as supplementary or secondary. As noted: We pride ourselves on the high level and quality of service that we provide to our patrons – performing research, developing collections, and even crafting mission statements based on the needs of our primary institutions, whether law school, firm, or court

But we are more than that. Service is no doubt a necessary function of any library, but that recognition need not commit us to the idea that the library is a secondary or supplementary institution or that service occupies the whole of our professional identity as librarians. 

Indeed, at first gla…

FREE GPO Webinars In November

Check out these free, educational webinars from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), taking place this November.

Beyond Google – Another Look at Finding Government Information, November 9, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern): https://www.fdlp.gov/about-the-fdlp/fdlp-events-calendar/event/220-beyond-google-another-look-at-finding-government-informationOSHA’s Web Pages: A Wealth of Occupational Safety Information, November 10, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern): https://www.fdlp.gov/about-the-fdlp/fdlp-events-calendar/event/223-osha-s-web-pages-a-wealth-of-occupational-safety-informationMeasuring America Series: Accessing International Data, November 16, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern): https://www.fdlp.gov/about-the-fdlp/fdlp-events-calendar/event/221-measuring-america-series-accessing-international-dataU.S. Naval War College Information Resources: Maritime, Naval History, Geopolitical, and Educational Treasures, November 17, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern): https://www.fdlp.gov/about-…

PBS Column Asks, "Do We Need Librarians Now That We Have the Internet?"

A recent PBS column asked the question that librarians get all.the time: "Do We Need Librarians Now That We Have the Internet?"

The column author astutely compares librarians to doctors to observe that, in fact, we do still need librarians.

Observe librarians, and you’ll learn quite a bit about 21st century physicians. Digital technologies are hurling both professions into disintermediated worlds where they are no longer sole providers of vital services. Both must change their skills year by year and prove their value day by day. Both must choose whether the change is liberating or suffocating.

When the question is posed next to the same question for doctors, it starts to be apparent that librarians still have a place.

“Why do we need libraries now that we have the internet?”

“Why do we need doctors now that there are computers?”

Take, for example, Rich Schieken, who retired after a 40-year career as a pediatric cardiologist and medical school professor. He recently stated th…