Mobile Reference

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By , December 21, 2010 12:43 pm

by Erin Hoffrance

Ever been on the bus and wanted to know the answer to a question? Well, I have, and now, instead of having to wait until I get home, try and remember what my question was and do some internet sleuthing, I can just contact the Washington State Library (SL). For iPhone and Android users, the WSL is now offering reference by mobile app through ASK-WA. Washington State residents have access to librarians 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. This app was developed by the Secretary of State which also developed an app for Washington Corporations search.

Hat tip to Jennifer Hill for bringing this to my attention!

As seen on TechFlash.

Herding Knowlegde

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By , December 16, 2010 11:58 am

by Kristine Lloyd

I admit that I may live in a bubble, but wasn’t there a time, not so long ago, when we thought (or wished) that KM was on the verge of extinction. Librarians and IS professionals talk about it and articles are written about it, but are firms really dedicating themselves to devise and implement KM systems?

Knowledge Management, or at least the way it is often discussed, feels like ectoplasm, something that is supposed to magically rise up out of the innards of a law firm. The process makes sense, especially when you consider the cat herding that goes on in most firms. On the other hand, does efficiency make sense when firms are founded on the hourly billing method? Continue reading 'Herding Knowlegde'»

President's Message: Easier Being Green?

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By , December 14, 2010 6:36 pm

by Mort Brinchmann

I used to think of myself as a recycling freak. Braving the monster paper cutter during my King County days to remove bindings so the pages might be recycled. Collecting the glass our buildings weren’t ready to recycle and lugging it to our home bins. Retaining books that should have been weeded to spare the landfills.

Times have changed. I feel a bit left behind when I see sustainability being our firm’s largest committee; the ubiquitous compostable utensils and can anyone spare a car for my two o’clock in Bellevue emails from all of our partners who never drive anymore; the refusal to support box lunch vendors with their wasteful packaging; the raised eyebrow instead of approval when you recycle that bottled water – what possessed you to buy bottled water in the first place? Continue reading 'President's Message: Easier Being Green?'»

Research Tool: The Telephone

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By , December 8, 2010 6:23 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

While the Internet has certainly made research faster and more efficient, it can leave us disconnected and sometimes misguided. We understand that everything isn’t online, but how can we be certain without first running multiple Google searches, scouring through paid databases and digging through bookmarks. Many times our efforts are rewarded, yet there are cases when time is wasted.

I’ll admit that telephone conversations aren’t my thing, rather favoring text messages and e-mail. However, as a research tool, it sits at the top of my list. I’ve worked with too many patrons who have searched online for hours, even days, hoping that the right search string will give them something that has, in all likelihood, never been scanned. In many cases, these are government documents. A quick call to the appropriate department or agency can save not only hours, but grief. Continue reading 'Research Tool: The Telephone'»

What Do You Do?

By , December 6, 2010 1:24 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

When asked about our profession, do we always have the best answer, and are we able to clearly convey our day-to-day work activities? In certain cases, where explanations enter the realm of the overly abstract, I find that a good food analogy often removes confusion.

Have you ever had that perfect pizza slice or experienced the most wonderful cup of coffee, only to return in an effort to relive the magic and disappointingly, find a greasy piece of cardboard or water-downed mud, respectively. Too many factors can contribute to these mishaps: poor ingredients, a different chef or barista, their time and attention, your subjective perspective, and/or your expectations. Continue reading 'What Do You Do?'»

Are All Citators Created Equal?

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By , December 3, 2010 5:24 pm

by Kerry Fitz-Gerald

Students often ask whether there’s any reason to use both Shepards and KeyCite or if it is ok use only one (and of course, they want to know which one). For years, I’ve played it safe with the bland answer that if it really matters, they should consider using both, but that usually one or the other would suffice. Recently, I read a terrific article by Susan Nevelow Mart, “The Relevance of Results Generated by Human Indexing and Computer Algorithms: A Study of West’s Headnotes and Key Numbers and LexisNexis’s Headnotes and Topics” 102 Law Library Journal 221 (2010), that provides a much more nuanced answer to the question.

To start, Nevelow Mart provides a detailed explanation of the way the two systems create headnotes and place them within hierarchical legal topic classification schemes. The main difference is that within the West system, human editors write the headnotes and choose where to place them within the Digest system, while on Lexis, headnotes are classified into topics based upon a sophisticated series of computer algorithms. Human editors monitor the process, but Nevelow Mart concludes that the “role of human editors in classifying individual headnotes for each new case seems to be limited in LexisNexis.” (Id, at 225). Continue reading 'Are All Citators Created Equal?'»

Save The Date: March 15, 2011

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By , December 1, 2010 6:27 pm

Spring is coming early this year! The LLOPS Spring Professional Development Workshop will be held March 15, 2011, at Seattle University School of Law. More information about the program and registration will be available at the start of the new year. Looking forward to seeing you all.

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