Thursday, February 25, 2016

Revised Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States

The newly revised Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States (2016) has been approved by the ALA RUSA Board of Directors and is now in effect.

All librarians and library staff in the United States who handle interlibrary loan requests or supervise resource sharing operations should read and familiarize themselves with the new ILL Code and its associated documents:

•         Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States
•         Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States Explanatory Supplement
•         ALA Interlibrary Loan Request Form (Fillable PDF)

One of the most notable changes in the new ILL Code is that Due Date has been redefined as the “date by which the material is due to be checked in at the requesting library for return to the supplying library.”  See sections 4.12 and 5.7 of both the ILL Code and Supplement for more information.  Please consider any local implications of this change; for example, supplying libraries should implement a grace period before sending overdue notices to account for items in transit back from the requesting library.

If you are not familiar with the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, the preamble of sorts states this: 

The Reference and User Services Association, acting for the American Library Association in its adoption of this code, recognizes that the sharing of material between libraries is a core library service and believes it to be in the public interest to encourage such an exchange.  

In the interest of providing quality service, libraries have an obligation to obtain material to meet the informational needs of users when local resources do not meet those needs. Interlibrary loan (ILL), a mechanism for obtaining material, is essential to the vitality of all libraries.  

The effectiveness of the national interlibrary loan system depends upon participation of libraries of all types and sizes.  

This code establishes principles that facilitate the requesting of material by a library and the provision of loans or copies in response to those requests. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How The Card Catalog Foresaw The Internet

Popular Mechanics posted an article discussing the humble beginnings of classifying information using index cards and how that system foresaw the creation of the Internet.

For thousands of years, if you wanted to find the best and most comprehensive information about anything, you headed to a library. You just had to check two things first: whether the library had the information you're looking for, and, if so, where to find it. These days we can get [a lot of] this information from our computers in seconds, but as recently as the 1990s, online catalogs were new and mostly unavailable, and that meant combing through the card catalog to track down a book.

Librarians originally handwrote the bibliographies on each card. But in 1971, the Ohio College Library Center began printing the text onto the index cards for them. The OCLC distributed about 1.9 billion cards before shutting the service down in 2015—with today's online catalogs, there was little need to make more cards. The last order was placed by Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y. as a backup to its own online catalog.

Many libraries still use the OCLC system for copy cataloging for our online catalogs. So how did the index card portend the Internet?

Long before the verb "to google," [Paul] Otlet and his friend Henri La Fontaine set out to develop their own search engine in Brussels in 1895. They wanted to create the go-to place for everyone to find information on absolutely anything. It would work just like Google does today—you submit a query and get links to relevant sources of information. In the 1895 version, you'd send queries by mail or telegraph and get index cards with bibliographies in return. The search engine service, called the Mundaneum, was a business. When you submitted a query, the bibliographies and descriptions were copied from the Mundaneum's cards onto new cards. The new cards were then sent to you, as long as you paid a fee per card.

Otlet's idea of a digitized version of information wasn't just a prediction. It was a dream. He and La Fontaine aimed to connect everyone around the world through knowledge. Had he lived until 1989—he would have 121 years old by then—he would've witnessed the invention of the World Wide Web.

And just because card catalogs are no longer necessary, it doesn't mean that libraries or librarians have lost their relevance, too. Libraries are, in fact, alive and well as they continue to transition to a digital environment and sift through the unfathomable amount of information that is created in today's world to provide reputable information to their users.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LOC's Constitution Annotated & CRS Job Opportunity

The Library of Congress has a great resource in the The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as CONAN).

The resource contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law. This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications of a specific issue or topic. The Featured Topics and Cases page highlights recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that demonstrate pivotal interpretations of the Constitution's provisions.

It's a beautiful thing to see the text of the Constitution with the cases that interpret the various provisions.

If you like this resource and may even want to be responsible for it, then look no further than this job posting from the Congressional Research Service.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) American Law Division (ALD) is seeking a Paralegal Specialist to be responsible for updating and publishing the online version of the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (commonly known as CONAN) and its required bound volume and supplements. Strong writing, legal research, and on-line publication skills are essential.

SALARY RANGE:$92,145.00 to $119,794.00 / Per Year

The CRS also has quite a few additional openings. Check here for more information.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Copyright For Distance Education

Last week, I had the pleasure of hearing Linda K. Enghagen, a national expert on copyright compliance, discuss copyright issues in distance education.

As more law schools enter the distance-education game, these principles are extremely important. Enghagen specifically discussed copyright and fair use in the educational realm but also made sure to mention university policies that come into play.

Her presentation on course design was intriguing and highlighted many important concepts for copyright and distance education, including fair use considerations and the TEACH Act.

She discussed the threshold inquiry for a fair use analysis and discussed each of the four fair-use factors to weigh when deciding if permission must be granted to use a copyrighted work.

A few of many key principles include:
  • For many things that we do, the qualifying purpose is met through teaching or research
  • Fair use factor 1 generally requires restricted access - make sure to password protect content on a learning management system
  • Factor 2 favors works that are not sold in the educational market - if they are, you should consider having students pay for content
  • Factor 3 means that you can't use the "heart of the work," so make sure that the portion that you use is reasonably necessary for a pedagogical goal and is generally qualitatively insignificant
  • Factor 4 favors using a copy of the work that is lawfully obtained
As mentioned, these are just a few of the many considerations to take into account when deciding on the fair use factors. There is so much more to know about this topic to ensure that you are compliant, which is especially important in distance education when all of your content is recorded and archived.

If you want to know more about the issue, you might consider a MOOC called Copyright for Multimedia

Thursday, February 18, 2016

New RIPS Post - Teaching Connections In Legal Research

My new RIPS Law Librarian Blog post discusses a new paper with recommendations for improving legal research instruction. It also ties in a Chronicle of Higher Education article about tightening connections.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GPO Launches GovInfo To Replace FDsys In 2017

According to a recent press release, The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) launched www.govinfo.gov and ushered in a new, dynamic way for the public to discover and access Government information on the three branches of the Federal Government.

govinfo is user-friendly and provides a responsive navigation system that is accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers. GPO receives information from Federal agencies and organizations in all three branches of the Government.

There are more than 1.5 million titles available on govinfo, with more added daily. Collections on govinfo include:
  • The Congressional Record
  • Federal Register
  • Congressional Calendars, Hearings, Reports
  • Bills
  • The U.S. Code
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • U.S. Courts Opinions
  • The Federal Budget
Some key features on govinfo:
  • Mobile-friendly optimized for screen size
  • An ABC list of collections
  • Quick Links to popular publications
  • Related Documents
  • Search by Calendar
  • Shareable social media content
Its content feeds The Library of Congress’ www.congress.gov and the Federal Register site. Currently in beta, govinfo will replace GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) in 2017.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Remote Law Library Specialist Wanted

There is a current job opening at the University of Georgia seeking a Remote Law Library Specialist.

The Alexander Campbell King Law Library at the University of Georgia School of Law seeks a confident, dynamic and service-focused individual to serve as a Remote Law Library Research Specialist.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The Remote Law Library Research Specialist will:

  • Provide a variety of research services for law faculty and administration
  • Assist in maintaining and updating Digital Commons, the institutional repository of the University of Georgia School of Law
  • Create and update libguides and video tutorials to assist patrons in using Law Library resources
  • Support the law librarians in their responsibilities, including collection development and creating materials for research courses
  • Perform other duties as assigned

SALARY: $10.00/hr – Guaranty of at least 20 hours per week.  This is a non-benefit position.

Required:  A J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and a current enrollee (or recent graduate) of a M.L.S. or equivalent program at an ALA-accredited institution.

Desired:  Experience in providing legal research services to law faculty or attorneys.

This is an interesting position and one that I have never seen before. Many potential law librarians will love the ability to work remotely on these important law library functions.

But what's with the $10.00/hr salary? When a JD is required and the candidate must be at least enrolled in a master's program AND the position desires experience, that's a lot of expensive graduate education and skills acquirement for $10.00/hr.

The ability to research, maintain an institutional repository, create libguides and tutorials, and perform collection can all largely be done away from the office. So the notion of allowing law librarians to work remotely is a good one. I just fear that the salary creates a bad precedent for law librarian positions and ultimately devalues our work and education.

Monday, February 15, 2016

ABA Adopts Proposal Toward Nonlawyer Legal Services

The Findlaw Blog is reporting that [a]fter contentious debate, the delegates to the ABA's midyear meeting adopted a modest proposal to give states a framework for considering regulation of "nontraditional legal service providers."

The debate over the proposal, Resolution 105, was heated. Some delegates worried that it would take away business from attorneys who are already struggling. Others, that it would lead to the creation a lower tier of less-qualified legal providers, particularly for the poor.

Opponents included the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas bars, according to The American Lawyer, along with the ABA's litigation and solo and small firm sections. Backing the resolution were the South Carolina, Washington State, and San Francisco bars, along with the ABA's business law section.

As noted, Resolution 105 is a fairly cautious step toward nonlawyer legal services.

The resolution does not explicitly endorse nonlawyer legal services, nor does it call for the repeal of laws against practicing a law without a license. 

But it is radical in that it acknowledges that some states may consider allowing nonlawyers to perform certain legal tasks and creates guiding principles to help them get there.

Friday, February 12, 2016

An Ode To America's Libraries

James and Deb Fallows traveled throughout the United States on a 54,000-mile journey in a single-engine plane for their Atlantic article Can America Put Itself Back Together?"

The text below on America's libraries accompanies the cover story:

As we traveled around the U.S. reporting on the revival of towns and cities, we always made the local library an early stop. We’d hit the newspaper offices, the chamber of commerce, city hall, and Main Street for an introduction to the economics, politics, and stresses of a town. The visit to the public library revealed its heart and soul.

Technology

Many people rely on libraries for their computer and Internet use. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, more than a quarter of Americans who had visited a public library in the past year had used a computer, the Internet, or a WiFi connection there, with the usage numbers higher among minorities and low-income groups.

Education

In Charleston, West Virginia, despite recent funding losses that severely cut library staff, librarians still provide materials to teachers all across the 900-square-mile county. In Columbus, Mississippi, the library gives high-school students access to Civil War–era archives—slave sale records, court cases, and secrets of the community—making real the racial history of their state. In Redlands, California, the program attracting the most volunteers is one-on-one literacy tutorials for adults. And many adults use public libraries as their access point to postsecondary online courses.

Community

The library in West Hartford, Connecticut, offers conversational-English classes for immigrants. The library in Seattle provides citizenship classes. The library in Duluth, Minnesota, has a seed-lending program for local gardeners. The library in Washington, D.C., offers tango dancing on Saturday afternoons. In libraries, I have practiced yoga and tai chi, sipped lattes in coffee shops, and watched Millennials with laptops arrange their virtual start-up offices at long reading-room tables. Libraries serve as anchors in times of distress: The library in Ferguson, Missouri, kept its doors open even when schools were closed, and libraries in New Jersey became places of refuge after Hurricane Sandy.

If these seem like deviations from libraries’ historical role as lenders of books, consider that, around the start of the 20th century, the earliest Carnegie libraries included bowling alleys, music halls, billiard tables, swimming pools, and gymnasiums.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

AALL Name Change Voted Down

You've probably all heard that the AALL name change initiative failed.

According to the e-briefing delivered by AALL, a record number of members voted: 
The proposal to change the name of American Association of Law Libraries to the Association for Legal Information has failed by a vote of 1998 (80.11 percent) opposed, to 496 (19.89 percent) in favor. A record number of members voted on this proposal, with 59.51 percent casting a ballot.  

The Board thanked all those who voted and added this:
The recommendation to change the name of the Association has started a conversation about the future of AALL, and the profession as a whole, that we hope to continue. We want to spend time this year discussing the future of law librarians in more detail. More information about this will be announced in the near future.  

While I am all for a continued conversation about the importance of law librarians in the new legal information economy, this portion makes it sound as if AALL is still trying to find its new identity.

If our own leaders are confused about our role, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the rest of them. 

Why Johnny & Jane Cannot Research

The State of Legal Research Education; A Survey of First Year Legal Research Programs or ‘Why Johnny and Jane Cannot Research’ by Caroline Osborne is an important study in the legal research deficiencies of law school graduates.

From the abstract:
Dissatisfaction with the research skills of the new associate is an oft-repeated refrain. This article explores the state of research education in the law school curriculum. Questions explored include: whether or not legal research is a required first year class; the number of semester of research instruction; the expertise of the professor; number of credits awarded for legal research, scope of the curriculum and observed challenges. Also considered is the impact of a more vigorous writing focus on research skills education. Survey data collected from the two hundred ranked law schools is used to explore these questions and as the basis for reforming research education.

Obsorne highlights the two seminal events that lead to the decline in legal research skills:
  1. An increased emphasis on writing and
  2. The adoption of computer-assisted legal research. 
The article reviews the legal research education at the top two hundred law schools according to US News for 2015. 

 Ultimately, the article identifies four necessary elements in the for a basic legal research class:
  1. A required research class of a minimum of two credits taught in the spring semester of the first year (1 credit) and the fall semester of the two-L year (1 credit).
  2. A professor with both a JD and an MLS or MIS, preferably admitted to the bar and possessing some experience in the practice of law or an equivalent level of practical experience.
  3. A grading schema equivalent to that of the first year doctrinal courses.
  4. A curriculum that includes research strategy; the fundamental resources of secondary sources, case research, statutory research and the administrative state; problem-solving; and concepts of efficiency and effectiveness.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lexis To Remove Lexis.com From Academic Accounts

The following is a letter received from Lexis on February 9, 2016:

Dear [FIRST NAME],

As you may recall, we released Lexis Advance® to law school customers in 2012 and have continued to provide access to Lexis.com® as well. By giving access to both platforms, we wanted to provide ample time for faculty and students to make the transition to Lexis Advance. Now with 99% of research by students conducted on Lexis Advance, and more than 99% of Lexis.com content available on Lexis Advance, the time has come to retire Lexis.com for law school customers.

We will remove Lexis.com from the law school product menu on December 31, 2016, at which time 100% of Lexis.com content will be accessible via Lexis Advance. It is a top priority of ours to ensure a successful transition and why we’re waiting until the end of the year to remove Lexis.com. This will provide the limited number of faculty and students who use the product plenty of time to become more familiar with Lexis Advance.

Lexis Advance is now the preferred research system by first year law students nationwide. Students are likely to use Lexis Advance in their summer and post graduate jobs as well, with 99% of small and midsize law firm subscriptions sold on Lexis Advance. Ninety-four percent of The Am Law 100® firms have online research contracts with LexisNexis®, and Lexis Advance is used extensively by U.S.Courts and federal agencies. While Lexis.com will remain in commercial accounts beyond the December 2016 date, user migration to Lexis Advance is accelerating so your students will be well prepared for their positions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Teaching Connections In Legal Research

A law librarian's role in today's information age is to help students make connections and bridge the knowledge in action gap.

A Chronicle of Higher Education article discusses the connections that are made in everyday life to a given discipline.

Small connections between course material and everyday life pop up all the time. When we are deeply embedded in our intellectual pursuits, the world seems to orient itself around them. New connections form continually. Reading the news, watching our screens, talking with peers or our children — all of those things become moments of potential connections with our disciplinary passions.

That phenomenon, according to research in teaching and learning, is what separates an expert in your field (teacher) from novice learners in your field (students). 

As the authors of How Learning Works argue, "One important way experts’ and novices’ knowledge organizations differ is the number or density of connections among the concepts, facts, and skills they know." Experts have thick tapestries weaving together all of the many things they know. New experiences are threaded easily into that tapestry, continually expanding and reshaping it.

By contrast, new learners tend to have information, ideas, or skills lodged in their minds in discrete, isolated places. Connections that seem obvious to us may never occur to them. New information and experiences do not automatically slot into the places where we (as the experts) might expect them to go. And while we can help by giving students suggestions for how to organize their knowledge and make connections, true learning occurs when students make new connections on their own.

In the realm of legal research, this is where a law librarian can step in to make a strong, lasting impact. After all, over 30% of a new associate's time is spent doing legal research. Giving law students the ability to understand and make connections between a fact pattern and the sources that they need to cite to make arguments and where/how they might go about finding those sources is an extremely important part of their training as future lawyers.

If we want students to develop expertise in our fields, then, we have to help them thicken up the connections — from the first week of the semester to the fifth, from the last course they took in our discipline to this one, from the course material to their lives outside of class. The more connections they can create, the more they can begin to formulate their own ideas and gain a wider view of our fields.

The newly established ABA outcomes require formative assessments that will help us create and thicken connections through feedback from the first week of the semester to the fifth. And researching across the law school curriculum will help the students make connections from the last course they took to a new one. And learning to think like a lawyer and understanding the sources that inform arguments help the students to connect the material to their lives outside of class.

As mentioned, each of these connections help the students internalize the legal research process, and they can begin to formulate their own ideas and connections to gain a wider view and understanding of the important role of legal research to practice.

Monday, February 8, 2016

WestlawNext No Longer

If you've logged on to Westlaw recently, you've probably noticed that "WestlawNext" is no longer with us.

The database is officially back to Westlaw since sunsetting Westlaw "classic" and going solely to "WestlawNext." Now that there is no Westlaw classic, there is no need for a "Next," and we are officially back to just Westlaw. And we have come full circle.

Here is a screenshot of the updated interface:

westlaw

The search page is certainly getting more streamlined with each iteration. I just hope our students understand that the streamlined search bar does not mean they should treat it like Google. But I suppose that's where we come in.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Authors Guild Takes Google To SCOTUS

The Ginger Law Librarian has been following the Google Books case since 2013 - here, here, here, and here.

It's culminated the point where is has finally landed in front of the highest court in the land. The Washington Post reported that the Authors Guild has officially asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against Google for its Google Books service. The group filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court on December 31, 2015.

If you are not familiar with the suit, here's the gist:
Google's free service allows users to search for particular lines or quotes in books through the company's main search engine, and also displays parts of scanned pages of books. The Authors Guild and Google have fought for 10 years over whether that qualifies as "fair use." The Authors Guild first complained in 2005 that this violates copyright and undermines the value of authors' work by providing their books online and for free.  The group has argued that Google Books, essentially, gives people access to their work without having to pay for it.  It also objected to Google's partnerships with libraries to provide this online material.

Google and the Authors Guild had worked out a settlement, but it was rejected in 2011 by a district court judge who deemed it unfair to authors, dropping the case back into court.

Then in October 2015, New York's 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Google and ruled the firm had acted legally when it scanned works — including those still under copyright — for its Books service

In the writ, the Authors Guild rejects that ruling and argues that it conflicts with other copyright rulings made around the country on how the laws apply in the digital age, and has far-reaching consequences for the future of U.S. copyright law stating:
This case represents an unprecedented judicial expansion of the fair-use doctrine that threatens copyright protection in the digital age. The decision below authorizing mass copying, distribution, and display of unaltered content conflicts with this Court’s decisions and the Copyright Act itself. This case also presents important issues on which the circuits are split, highlighting the need for this Court to act. 

According to InsideHigherEd, it is unlikely that SCOTUS will take up the case. The Authors Guild faces an “uphill battle” to convince the court that any of those questions need to be reconsidered -- especially since Leval, an influential legal scholar who has helped shape the fair use debate, wrote the appeals court’s opinion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Office Dynamics In The Jungle

This week, I ran across two articles that are good fodder for The Office or Office Space (or most of our lives).

The first one dealt with imposter syndrome. The article states that [i]t’s estimated that 70% of people have imposter syndrome—the feeling that they don’t deserve to be where they are in life. 

The author linked to an imposter syndrome test for everyone to test their own inner imposters. A score of 80 or higher shows an intense feeling of imposter syndrome, 61 to 80 shows frequent experience, and 41 to 60 shows moderate experience. 

The silver lining is that [t]here is evidence to suggest that imposter syndrome correlates with success—and that those who don’t suffer imposter symptom are more likely to be the real frauds. People with imposter syndrome tend to be perfectionists, which means they’re likely to spend hours working overtime to make sure they excel in every single field. So if you do suffer from imposter syndrome, chances are you’re doing a pretty good job. Although imposter syndrome has some benefits, such as driving people to work harder, it can also lead to burnout and should not be considered a desirable condition.

Couple this with being a go-getter (likely encompasses many "imposters"), and you've got a fairly negative melting pot.

A paper by a team of researchers from Duke University, University of Georgia, and University of Colorado look[ed]... how extremely competent people are treated by their co-workers and peers. To begin, the researchers began by establishing that people do, in fact, assign more tasks to those they perceived as more competent. A separate experiment found that participants not only assigned more tasks to the go-getters—but underestimated how much work it would take to get the job done. 

The researchers then tried to understand how these expectations play out in real life. In a survey of more than 400 employees, they found that high performers were not only aware that they were giving more at work—they rightly assumed that their managers and co-workers didn’t understand how hard it was for them, and thus felt unhappy about being given more tasks.

The researchers concluded that [i]n the workplace, managers should be careful to give the highest quality work and best opportunities to the most capable employees, and give the lower quality but time consuming work to less capable employees,” says Koval. “If someone is doing more than his fair share, compensate him for it. If not, he may ultimately leave and seek recognition elsewhere. Similarly, in our personal relationships, we should recognize that just because our high-ability partners can do something for us, doesn’t mean that we should let them. And if they do help us, we should recognize it and thank them for it. Otherwise, they too may end up feeling burdened by us, and less satisfied—and that should be the last thing we want to do to a good employee or a good partner.

It may be true that a little self doubt will help propel you forward. But too much can be crippling. Additionally, being seen as competent can be a good thing so long as those around you are not taking advantage of it. These types of articles help me to understand the office dynamic in a way that I may have otherwise overlooked. It's a jungle out there!

Oh, and happy Groundhog Day! (Bill Murray style).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Utah To Allow Licensed Legal Practitioners

In June, it was reported that Washington became the first state to allow limited licensing for legal technicians.

Now, the Utah Supreme Court has adopted a recommendation from its Task Force to Examine Limited Legal Licensing to move forward with a program that would authorize "licensed paralegal practitioners" to perform limited services in specified practice areas.

The 58-page report urged the court to authorize LPPs to perform “a subset of discrete legal services” in three practice areas: family law, eviction and debt collection.

It looks like this is becoming a trend that might actually take hold.