Law Library

The PDF is pervasive in legal information. It’s over-used by people who prioritize format over usability on the web, but it’s a necessity for law libraries. The tools for working with PDFs have changed just as law library collections have. Where we once bought a license and owned software, PDF tools are increasingly provided by subscription. When I was quoted $2,000 for our team’s annual Adobe license, I knew it was time to look at…
I had coffee with some early career information professionals a short while back and asked them about what they liked and didn’t like about their current organization. One thing that came up was that they both appreciated having autonomy to get their work done. The flipside to employee autonomy is certainty that management will be supportive. It seems to me that you can’t have the one without the other. Those professionals work on my teams,…
If you’re into algorithms, you should absolutely subscribe to the MIT Technology Review newsletter called The Algorithm. Earlier this week, the folks at The Algorithm asked “what is AI, exactly?” The answer is reproduced below. The question may seem basic, but the answer is kind of complicated.In the broadest sense, AI refers to machines that can learn, reason, and act for themselves. They can make their own decisions when faced with new situations, in…
For whatever reason, my post on law libraries blocking access to people from other disciplines struck a chord. As a commenter pointed out, law libraries make decisions that they think will best suit their audience. I’m going to take a second look at that idea, but from the perspective of decision-making. As a law library director, are my only choices A or the opposite of A, or do I have the ability to make…
I laughed out loud. One of our kids is at a university with a law school. A Skype message popped with a photo of a sign at the school. ALL LIBRARIES ARE FOR EVERYONE was the poster heading. In smaller print, it clarified that you could study anywhere on campus … except the law library. Why do we persist in keeping people out of law library space? This post was inspired by academic law school…
It’s that time of year again. We are on a January to December fiscal year, so I’ve tended to try to license in parallel. That way, if there is a funding change, it happens at a contract renewal point. In order to have a license ready by January 1, it usually means starting in September to get it through the lawyers before the winter holidays. But the reality of law library electronic licenses is that…
Out of sight, out of mind. It’s a familiar phrase and there’s something to it. It may not be measurable, but law libraries know that researchers gravitate towards common content. We shift content – links on web pages, physical books to new locations – to try to put information in the way of the researcher with habits. In light of a flat non-legal e-book market, I’m wondering whether there will ever be a good way…
When we train legal researchers, we are addressing an information literacy need. Because of the way legal research training tends to be provided, we end up repeating this literacy approach. But if, as I’ve blogged about before, the issue isn’t literacy but experience, then we’re not really getting those we train to where they need to be. I’m still stuck, though, on how to extend that legal research arc. I am not underestimating the…
One of my roles is to manage the Great Library. Another is to manage our corporate records and archives team. As you might imagine, there is some substantial overlap in skill sets between the two teams. But there are substantial differences in service delivery that mean that they have very different needs. We talked about one of those the other day: how to acquire a preservation system that will enable us to fulfill the 70-year…
There is a tension in law library service between the physical core location and extending service outwards. As we create services that extend our reach, we also need to make sure the experience is a good one. When a local library resource broke down, it made me wonder about the impact on both service and perception that this sort of outage has on libraries.   A physical law library – whether focused on physical formats…