Access to government information is important in the daily lives of the people of the United States. During the shutdown of the federal government, paper and digital versions of government publications are either not available at all or the web sites are not being updated. Bernadine Abbott Hoduski has documented the specific impact shared by Librarians around the nation who report that they are unable to help patrons find the information they need to do research, write articles for journals and newspapers, prepare class assignments, find laws and regulations relevant to the conduct of their businesses, find information needed to file law suits, complete mortgage applications, access weather information, do historical and genealogical research, and contact government officials through agency web sites. Professors teaching future librarians, teachers, geographers, scientists, and other user communities, are unable to access web sites needed for their classes.
Jonathan Band provides a comprehensive guide to the recent international adoption of the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.” The Treaty is intended to promote the making and distribution of copies of books and other published materials in formats accessible to people with print disabilities. The Treaty would achieve this objective by obligating signatory countries (referred to as Contracting Parties) to adopt exceptions in their copyright laws that permit the making of copies in accessible formats as well as the distribution of those copies both domestically and internationally. This memorandum explains the Treaty’s provisions. The memorandum concludes that Title 17 of the United States Code complies with the Treaty’s requirements, and thus that the United States could sign and ratify the Treaty without making any changes to domestic law.
Hays Butler and Emily Feltren document the process and successful implementation of dynamic, extensive project conducted over the past three years by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) working with law librarian volunteers around the country to build the first-ever National Inventory of Legal Materials, an inventory of print and electronic legal materials at all levels of government. More than 350 volunteers have added nearly 8,000 legal titles to the inventory so far.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act: A Brief Legislative History with Links, Reports and Summaries
The “craft” of legislative history construction is practiced with unique and outstanding expertise by law librarian Rick McKinney. This history is designed in a streamlined fashion so as to allow users to more easily check when provisions in the law got into bill and then check for related remarks concerning those provisions. It also has links to earlier legislation related to different titles of the Act, to the Administration’s proposed legislation in 2009, to related CRS reports, and to various summaries and commentaries of the law on the Web.
Not long ago, the law library was “a place”. It housed printed materials and staff and provided work space for research. Lawyers went there to use books and consult librarians to locate and complete assignments. Today Eleanor Windsor and Ron Friedmann report that the notion of a modern law library is very different, shaped by the skills of specialized researchers and information managers rather than by bookshelves and bound volumes.
How many times have you wondered how to do a task or work with software? You feel wonderful once you have found a colleague who could share their “know-how” about how to complete that task more efficiently or how to implement an applications that does not have a manual that makes sense to you. Lorette S.J. Weldon focuses on four factors to consider when you want to share your knowledge on your own: cost; timing; equipment and global presentation.
Elaine Billingslea Dockens and Karen Krupka, each of whom has over 20 years of law librarian experience, discuss the field of law librarianship, and key issues and factors that new law librarians are likely to encounter as they enter this unique, and still vital profession.
Sarah Rhodes discusses the monumental challenge of preserving our digital heritage. She argues that law libraries specifically have a critically important role to play in this undertaking as access to legal and law-related information is a core underpinning of our democratic society. Our current digital preservation strategies and systems are imperfect but tremendous strides have been made over the past decade to stave off the dreaded digital dark age, and libraries today have a number of viable tools, services, and best practices at our disposal for the preservation of digital content.
Carol A. Watson discusses how effective project management requires considerable thought and preparation before actually initiating the work of the project. Although many of us are eager to jump into the tasks related to a project, it is important to remember that careful planning will provide the groundwork for a successful project outcome. Carol reminds us, “Remember, it takes time to save time,” and she will be writing on this overall topic in forthcoming issues of LLRX.com
The November 17, 2009 Google launch of free caselaw searching via Google Scholar is the focus of John J. DiGilio’s timely content and resource review.