Category Archives: Research

Your Librarians On the Go, To Keep You In the Know

The librarians on the BLS Library staff are members of several professional organizations that meet annually for professional development, information sharing, networking, etc.  The most important aspect of these meetings is to learn about new developments and resources from legal technology and and legal research vendors, and to bring that information back to our constituents: Brooklyn Law School students and faculty. This has been a particularly active year, and below is a summary of the organizations we belong to on behalf of Brooklyn Law School, and the meetings we attended or will attend in 2017.

Association of American Law Schools has a membership of 179 law schools.  Their mission is “to uphold excellence in legal education and improve the profession.”  Its annual meeting presents programs, offers mentoring for new faculty, and is a resource for discussions on legal issues.

Library Director and Professor Janet Sinder attended the AALS meeting in San Francisco in January 2017.  The theme was “Why Law Matters,” featuring over 250 sessions with hundreds of speakers covering a wide range of legal topics.

American Association of Law Libraries has over 5,000 members who work in law school libraries, law firms, corporations, and government libraries at all levels.  The goal of AALL is “to share knowledge of legal resources, promote the profession, and provide leadership in the legal arena.”  This year’s annual meeting was held in Austin, TX in July and the theme was “Forego the Status Quo.”  Topics ranged from “Attorney Research Skills: Continuing the Conversation Between Law Firm and Academic Law Librarians” to “How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform the Delivery of Legal Services.”  Reference Librarians Kathy Darvil, Loreen Peritz, and Eric Yap attended, along with Cataloging Librarian Judy Baptiste-Joseph, and Library Director Janet Sinder.

Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction is a consortium of U.S. law schools that provides legal educational resources to help law students succeed.  CALI has produced over 1,000 interactive tutorials covering 40 subject areas that are available to students in all member schools.  Their annual conference was held in Phoenix, AZ in June with Reference Librarian Harold O’Grady attending.  The topics offered ranged from artificial intelligence to video technology.

 

KOHA is the open-sources software the Library uses for acquisitions, serials control, and cataloging.  This year’s conference of the KOHA Users Group was held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in August and attended by Acquisitions Librarian Jeff Gabel.  One of the many programs offered was “KOHA Toolkit: Enhancing the User Experience.

 

North American Serials Interest Group is an organization that works “to facilitate and improve the acquisition and accessibility of information resources in all formats.”  This year’s conference, with the theme “Racing to the Crossroads,” was held in Indianapolis, Indiana in June and attended by Cataloging Librarian Judy Baptiste-Joseph. One of their many programs addressed the issue of “Accessibility of Library Collections.”

 

 

Federal Depository Library Program is a government program created to make U.S. government information available to the public through a network of designated libraries.  These libraries are called Federal Depository Libraries, and the BLS Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1974,  The FDLP program is administered by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, and there are over 1100 depository libraries; 127 of them are law schools.  Linda Holmes, Associate Law Librarian, will attend the annual depository library conference in Arlington, VA in October. The keynote presentation at this conference will be given by Jane Sanchez, the Law Librarian of Congress.

 

International Association of Law Libraries “provides an international forum for networking and information sharing among legal professionals worldwide.”  IALL publishes the International Journal of Legal Information and offers an annual conference.  Jean Davis, Associate Librarian for International Law, will attend this year’s conference in Atlanta, GA in October.

 

As you can see from this brief survey of 2017 law-related library conferences, a very important element in these programs is the education and training of law students, and our goal by attending these conferences, is to assist them in learning both the breath and depth of legal resources.

Stressed about your seminar paper? Attend the Seminar Paper Workshop this Thursday

This Thursday Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil are holding their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper in Room 502.  The workshop is from 4-5:30 PM. Topics covered include sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and strategies for effectively organizing and writing your paper.  If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s main page, you can access the recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

2017 AALL Annual Conference: A few thoughts from a first-time attendee

Last week, I attended the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) annual conference, which was held July 15-18 in Austin, Texas. The biggest takeaway for me, as a first time conference attendee, was how legal technology continues to shape the legal profession, and how the role of law librarians must continually evolve to meet technological challenges. 

Susan Nevelow Mart, Univ of Colorado Law School Library, “Understanding the Human Element in Search Algorithms”

Legal technology was the focus of many of the programs at the conference:

Understanding the Human Element in Search Algorithms

Teaching and Implementing Emerging Technologies in Legal Practice 

Case Law as Data: Making It, Sharing It, Using It

The Law Library as Technology Laboratory  and

Deep Dive: How Artificial Intelligence will Transform the Delivery of Legal Services

were just some of the programs addressing the subject.  In the exhibit hall, established and new tech vendors lured attendees to their booths with cute stuffed toy bats and other swag so they could sell you on their products.

Caselaw as Data, Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab

Legal tech was also a constant subject offsite: vendors might gently push their services over a friendly game of shuffleboard at an evening social event; meanwhile in the Fastcase house, legal tech blogger Bob Ambrogi would be chatting in one room while Itai Gurari demonstrated Judicata’s new features in another.  In a recent blog post about the conference, Ambrogi described how legal information professionals increasingly wear the hat of “legal technologist,” stating that the AALL conference should be considered one of the top legal tech conferences.  

What does this mean for academic law librarians?  For me, attending AALL reinforced issues discussed by my BLS colleague Harold O’Grady in his entry in this blog about the new class, Tech Tools for Law Practice, that he taught this summer. If we are to ensure that our students graduate from law school with technology competency, legal tech classes should be integrated into the curriculum. We can learn from the digital initiatives and legal technology curricula at other law schools, and from our own initial experiences in teaching technology courses designed for law students. BLS Library has some legal tech resources in our collection, such as the ABA Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, and can continue to build on them. 

While there is much to consider going forward, meeting and learning from the many talented and inspiring legal information professionals at the conference was a great experience.  One highlight: learning about the random limerick generator at Harvard’s Caselaw Access Project, where each line of the limerick is derived from a case — just one small illustration of the potential use of caselaw data.

Janet honored at reception for winning Law Library Journal Article of the Year Award

Finally, I should mention that at the AALL conference, BLS Library Director Janet Sinder received the Law Library Journal Article of the Year Award for her article, The Effects of Demand-Driven Acquisitions on Law Library Collection Development, 108 Law Library Journal 155 (2016). Kudos to Janet!

Researching Legislative History?

Whether you are tracing a statute’s history for your summer internship or for a paper you are writing, you will want to use a new tool the library recently acquired, Proquest’s Legislative Insight.  Often researching legislative histories can be cumbersome and time consuming.   Legislative Insight promises to streamline the process by digitizing and by publishing online the majority of full text publications associated with a legislative history.  These documents include all versions of enacted and related bills, Congressional Record excerpts, and committee hearings, reports, and documents.  Legislative Insight also includes other related material such as committee prints, CRS reports and Presidential signing statements. Furthermore, Legislative Insight offers a research citation page that not only links to the full text of the associated primary source publications, but allows the user to do a Search Within from that very page that searches the full text of all the associated publications with one-click.

To access Legislative Insight from off-campus, you first need to implement the proxy instructions.

Russia, Russia, Russia – Everywhere, All the Time: A Brief Introduction to Legal Resources of the Russian Federation

Since last fall we have been inundated with a constant bombardment of stories in cable news, on the Internet, and in newspapers about the possibility of the Russians colluding in our presidential election, hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails, and influencing members of the Trump administration, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

I recently came across a cartoon in The Daily Signal by Michael Ramirez to illustrate the point.

The cartoon was entitled “The Russian Investigation,” and pictured Attorney General Jeff Sessions seated at a Congressional hearing, being asked the following questions:

Do you know where Russia is on a map?

Do you like Russian dressing?

Have you ever been to the Russian Tea Room?

Ever played Russian roulette?

Ever drink Russian vodka?

Have you seen “From Russia with Love?”

Have you ever been to an event where a Russian was attending?

You get the idea!

Since all things Russian are now in our consciousness, I decided to extend the Russian theme to legal research.  What follows is a brief introductory guide to Russian legal resources.

Electronic Sources:

Books:

For additional resources, access WorldCat, the world’s most comprehensive database, giving users access to millions of books and other resources available from thousands of libraries throughout the world.  Brooklyn Law School students and faculty may make interlibrary loan requests for items not owned by BLS.

Deconstruction of the Administrative State?

The new administration in Washington vows to reduce federal regulations and Steve Bannon, the chief White House strategist, argues for a “deconstruction of the administrative state” and the possible dismantling of the New Deal. The argument for this retrenchment of regulatory law is that regulations are unnecessary and costly, detrimental to business and a hindrance to the growth of jobs in the economy. Recently C-SPAN aired the 1982 PBS documentary The Regulators: Our Invisible Government which focused on regulation of air pollution in the national parks. Although dated, the film has current relevance as a teaching tool for law students and others interested in regulatory law as it details the process of turning general language in a 1977 amendment to the Clean Air Act into specific regulations. The 50 minute video tells the behind-the-scenes negotiations and debates between Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulators and environmental and industry interests. See video (also available at this link) below.

The Brooklyn Law School Library has in its collection two books with very differing views of the administrative state. The latest, Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State by Adrian Vermeule (available in print at Call No. KF5425.V47 2016 and electronically via ProQuest Ebook Central), is a theoretically informed and lawyerly interpretation of the law of the modern administrative state. The author demonstrates how legal doctrine really works by using cases familiar to most administrative lawyers. Law’s Abnegation can be read with and compared to Is Administrative Law Unlawful? by Philip Hamburger (Call No. K3400.H253 2014). The two books represent extreme views on the status of administrative law in America. Hamburger answers the title question of his book with a strong affirmative. Vermeule, who reviewed Hamburger’s book in his terse one-word title, No, 93 Texas Law Review 1547 (2015), follows up and expands on his views in his book.

Seminar Paper Workshop

Last week Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered Image result for image writing a paperincluded sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.

Happy Presidents’ Day!

The Library will be open on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 20, 2017, a law school holiday, from 9:00am to 10:00pm.

Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday, was originally established to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States whose birthday was February 22nd.  The day has come to also honor Abraham Lincoln whose birthday was February 12th.

It has become a day to honor all U.S. presidents as well.  Listed below are some of the books in the Library’s collection on our first and sixteenth presidents.

George Washington:

Flexner, James, Washington, the Indispensable Man.

Freeman, Douglas Southall, George Washington, a Biography.

McDonald, Forrest, The Presidency of George Washington.

Nordham, George W., George Washington and the Law.

Abraham Lincoln:

Dirck, Brian, Lincoln the Lawyer.

Hubbard, Charles, Lincoln, the Law, and Presidential Leadership.

Matthews, Elizabeth, Lincoln as a Lawyer: an Annotated Bibliography.

McGinty, Brian, Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge and the Making of America.

Thomas, Benjamin, Abraham Lincoln:  a Biography.

U.S. Presidents as Lawyers:

Gross, Norman, America’s Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office.

UPDATE: LexisNexis Digital Library Training Webinar & Live Session

lexisnexis-digital-libraryThe BLS Library is offering a webinar and a live training session to introduce students & faculty to the LexisNexis Digital Library.  As described in Reference Librarian Rosemary Campagna’s blog of October 15, 2016, the Library recently acquired a subscription to the LexisNexis Digital Library which gives students access to treatises, practice guides, and study aids in eBook format.

In order to formally introduce students and faculty to this important new resource, the Library is offering both a webinar and a live training session for the LexisNexis Digital Library.  Both sessions will cover the following topics:

  • How to access (both on-campus and off-campus)
  • Our library’s collection
  • Tools and functionality
  • Locating a title/volumes
  • Borrowing volumes
  • Bookmarks/highlights/annotations
  • Archives
  • Linking on-line research with “print” research
  • Recent and forthcoming enhancements

These sixty minute sessions will be offered on the following dates/times:

UPDATE:  THE PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED WEBINAR FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3rd WILL BE REPLACED BY A LIVE TRAINING SESSION ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016, 11AM-12NOON IN LIBRARY ROOM 113M.  SPACE IS LIMITED.  EMAIL to: linda.holmes@brooklaw.edu, if you would like to attend.

WEBINAR:  Monday, November 7, 2016, 4:00PM-5:00PM.

The instructor for both training sessions is Damian A. Burns, LexisNexis Digital & Print Sales Engineer, Damian.A.Burns@LexisNexis.com

Please follow this link at the time of the November 7th webinar to participate:

www.LexisNexisNow.com/Damian

 

 

Seminar Paper Workshop: Resources and Recording

Last week Prof. Fajans and Librarian Kathy Darvil ran their semi-annual workshop on how to research and write a seminar paper.  Topics covered Image result for image writing a paperincluded sources for selecting your topic, sources for researching your topic, and how to effectively organize and write your paper.  If you were unable to attend the workshop, you can access an online research guide which contains a recording of the workshop, links to and descriptions of all the research sources discussed, and the writing and research presentations.  The online guide is available at guides.brooklaw.edu/seminarpaper.  From the guide’s landing page, you will be able to access a recording of the presentation, Professor Fajans’ slideshow on how to write your seminar paper, and Kathy Darvil’s online presentation on how to research your seminar paper.  If you should need further help selecting or researching your topic, please stop by the reference desk for assistance.