by Philippe Cloutier
With the iPad 2 and the battle for tablet dominance taking shape, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at more simple tools. NoteSlate is a new product, arriving in June 2011 and priced at $99, that bills itself as a low technology option in the face of massive multimedia consumption and overload. At its basic level, it is a writing tool with three buttons: save, show, and delete. The save options are to an SD card or to the cloud with a wi-fi model. The show button pages back to your last page, and the delete button deletes the current page. There is room for innovation, as it runs on open-source software, making possible potential enhancements such as ebook reading, calendars, gaming, or on-the-go blogging. The important thing to remember is that NoteSlate’s true goal is finding simplicity in the face of overwhelming technology. Continue reading 'Technology in Retrograde'»
by Erin Hoffrance
I had the opportunity to attend the 2011 LLOPS Professional Development Workshop held at the Seattle University School of Law Annex. And I have to say, what a great location! It was also the first time in two years that I was able to enjoy the program without the stress of being a member of the Professional Development Committee. The first session, Mining SEC Documents, was led by Elizabeth Osborne, who is very knowledgeable about the world of the SEC, filings, documents, etc. Her handout listed definitions of the most common SEC documents, and she discussed the types of information you can find within each type of document. This is truly great information for those reference requests I receive to research public companies. For instance, the 8-K has unusual events, so it might be beneficial to monitor those for any types of changes that occur between 10-K and 10-Q filings. The Workshop attendees had many questions for Elizabeth, and she answered them all quickly with her wealth of knowledge and handy tips. Continue reading 'Great Ideas for March: 2011 LLOPS Workshop'»
by Philippe Cloutier
I’m fairly surprised that this made the news. The issue has been at the forefront of libraries and law enforcement since libraries became public. Even the Patriot Act addresses the topic. Perhaps it’s due to a slow news day paired with the violent nature of the crime (versus the usual entanglements involving patron check-out records and other information). Some of the comments raise the what-if questions: what would have happened if it had been a murder or a library employee had been mugged? Would the library administration require a warrant or gladly hand the video over without judicial procedure? I’m not entirely clear on the ramifications of a public library handing over evidence without a warrant, but it sounds as though it would be a bad idea for the police and the case.
by Kerry Fitz-Gerald
This week I read with interest (and a little envy) that the Yale Law Library is instituting a program where students can “check out” a therapy dog from the circulation desk for a little quality time. According to the New York Times, starting March 28, students will be able to check out Monty for 30 minutes at a time. During the three day pilot program, Monty (a hypoallergenic dog) will be kept in a non-public space in the library, presumably to avoid offending the cat lovers in the school.
Looking for more information, I discovered that last September Above the Law reported that Yale would be circulating Monty and even provided a link to the catalog record. (I wonder whether the cataloger created a new material type?) Alas, just two days later, Above the Law posted that it was all a spoof and Monty had been withdrawn from circulation.
Fortunately, Above the Law is once again reporting this story, and this time includes a copy of the official memo announcing the return of Monty. I can’t wait to hear how it works out.
by Kerry Fitz-Gerald
I’ve had access to WestlawNext for several months now and have played with it a little bit. Undoubtedly it’s different from classic Westlaw, but I haven’t spent enough time with it to clearly identify the pluses and minuses of the new system. Fortunately, Ronald Wheeler, Director of the Dorraine Zief Law Library at the University of San Fransisco School of Law, has put it to the test and described his results. Continue reading 'WestlawNext: Revolution or Renovation?'»
by Karen Helde
The story has been getting attention on blogs since February, but this week it hit the New York Times. Library copies of HarperCollins ebooks will expire after 26 loans. Assuming a two-week checkout period on a popular title, that means the book is gone from a library’s collection after a year. It’s fascinating to read the reactions. Given the current pressure on library budgets, it’s not surprising that many librarians are angry, but some think there’s some merit in the idea. HarperCollins released a predictable “can’t you see we’re trying to partner with you?” response. Many readers, library supporters and anti-DRM activists are outraged, but others defend the business needs of publishers, proclaim their distaste for ebooks in general, or argue that print books wear out too (true, but not that fast, according to these librarians)
I’ve yet to see ebooks gain a significant presence in law libraries, but I’m sure they’re in our future. And changes like this don’t make that future look rosy. It’s frustrating to see technologies which initially seem to offer cost savings and advantages for our users mature into yet another source of budget headache and administrative hassle.
by Karen Helde
Here’s a fun post with photos of celebrity libraries. As a number of the commenters point out, it’s a stretch to call some of these “libraries” – “bookshelves filled by the interior decorator” is more accurate. I liked some of the little personal touches though. Are those dog show trophies in Joan Rivers’ library? Is my grandmother furnishing Woody Allen with his pillows? Are those law books on Greta Garbo’s shelves? (A commenter claims they are, but my eyes aren’t that sharp.) It’s also entertaining to consider which library you’d like to spend time in. I’m drawn to Karl Lagerfeld’s, but I suspect it has more to do with wanting to nap on one of those enormous couches than anything to do with the books.
by Kristine Lloyd
No doubt you’ve received the press release by now. Something’s cooking over at Lexis. We heard whisperings of it last year, but it seems that a roll-out of federated searching is in our near future. Those lucky librarians over at 3 Geeks got a sneak prview of the product, and here’s a summary of some of their comments.
Sit down for this one: there are no charges for this new product for current Lexis users. Crazy, huh? Seeing as how pricing, at least the vaguest notions I have about it, for WestlawNext are pretty steep, this could be an interesting and enticing development in the war between providers. Continue reading 'FREE?: Lexis Advance for Associates'»
Attendees: M. Brinchman, T. Ching, P. Cloutier, J. Davis, A. Eaton, L. Fossum, R. Hagle, B. Holt, B. Louzin, K. Ositis, C. Pietala, S. Schulkin, B. Swatt Engstrom
Location: Stokes Lawrence
- Professional Development Committee: Barbara Swatt reported for Kerry Fitzgerald regarding the progress being made on the Professional Development Workshop to be held March 15, 2011, at Seattle University. Topics will include food safety, mining SEC documents, lawyering in Indian country, and managing electronic information. Continue reading 'LLOPS Business Meeting Minutes 1/26/2011'»
by Kristine Lloyd
I know this will spawn arguments to the contary, but a little sparring is good for the soul. Since I started working as a reference librarian, I have always thought that I am only as good as my last reference request. Yes, perhaps this is extreme, but I have certainly wondered why good old “Of Counsel Bob” never seemed to wander back in the library, or “New Associate Susie” seems to avoid eye contact in the halls. Thankfully, I am not a total nitwit, but I have definitely had my successes and failures, as we all do. Of course, the antidote to a little falter at the reference altar can often be intercepted by some good old-fashioned customer service.
Even though we’re beaten over the head with customer service mantras like “the customer is always right,” we don’t always emphasize the specifics of providing customer service in our library world. I recently read an article on The Lawyerist, and even though the article is aimed at lawyers providing customer service to their clients, the advice is still apt for us. Here a few highlights from the article: Continue reading 'You’re Only As Good As Your Last Reference Request'»