Tag Archives: Ashley Moye

Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals: From the Columns of Against the Grain – A Book Review

copyrightquestionsandanswers

For many information professionals, copyright fascinates and confounds. Copyright is glossed over in many classes, and librarians struggle to find clear answers to questions that arise in their practice. In the early days of a career, it is easy to blame youth for your befuddlement, but as years pass it becomes more and more difficult to plead ignorance. I have turned to a number of resources, including books, seminars, and massive online open courses, but all have skimmed over practical issues. For many librarians, copyright is simply a hurdle, not a concept to be lingered over, and swift resolutions to imperative questions are invaluable. Copyright Questions and Answers for Information Professionals: From the Columns of Against the Grain by Laura N. Gasaway goes a long way in fulfilling that need.

Gasaway, a recognized expert on copyright, has been wrangling with copyright problems for fifteen years now, answering questions from readers in a regular column in Against the Grain, the periodical offshoot of the Charleston Conferences. In her column, she addresses her audience of librarians, publishers, teachers, and authors, clearing the fog and replacing it with clear practicalities, one query at a time.

In her new offering, these questions and answers have been curated, updated, organized, and reassembled, giving readers access, in a single work, to Gasaway’s experience and expertise that was before scattered throughout her columns. Gasaway covers all the usual suspects, including fair use rights, library reserves, licensing, interlibrary loan, preservation, software, and digitization. Question-and-answer pairings are organized into topical chapters, and the book finishes with an emerging issues chapter providing current content on timely subjects such as HathiTrust and the first sale doctrine.

Each chapter features a brief introduction that provides context, but the value of the text lies in her answers to each questioner’s specific needs. While this idiosyncrasy does make the book poorly suited for cover-to-cover reading, it is perfect for quick reference. Other popular copyright texts use the question-and-answer format to show applications of broad concepts, but since the questions posed in this book are wide-ranging and true to life, it effectively provides applicable answers to specific questions. Unfortunately, this also means that when looking for concrete answers, there is no guarantee that guidance for a given question is present between the covers.

In this case, a comprehensive and exhaustive index holds the key to unlocking the precious wisdom inside this book. This is a weakness of the book. While a primarily question-and-answer format leads you to believe that this work would be well-suited for novices, specialized vocabulary or specific portions of the Copyright Acts are often indexed instead of the words used by the questioner. Underutilized cross references again hinder those without a strong knowledge base, and while excellent term definitions and clear, concise summaries of concepts are repeatedly provided throughout the text, the index does not easily lead a reader to them. Not having comprehensive keyword references may seem to avoid redundancy, but instead it limits usability. Readers will not be approaching this text with exact replicas of existing questions, but instead will need to glean their own answers through a careful reading of answers to similar inquires. Because the language of exact inquires is not carefully indexed, an e-book version of this work would be preferable, allowing readers to perform keyword searches and thus work with whatever vocabulary they have on hand.

While the index and other minor inconsistencies keep Gasaway’s content from shining as brightly as it should, Gasaway deserves great praise for her work’s greatest strength: her ability to strike a balance between handing out specific advice and teaching readers strategies to navigate the treacherous waters around best practices and general guidelines. Guidelines and fair use do not lend themselves to cut-and-dry answers, making many copyright texts full of generalizations. However, Gasaway brilliantly teaches her lessons through examples, focusing not only on the use of best practices, but also on the importance of careful risk assessment. She reminds readers that copyright is rarely a firm line, unfortunate though it seems. Instead, application of copyright law is often nebulous. Gasaway’s well-balanced advice guides readers in making their own choices, weighing their options, and choosing to overcome their copyright hurdles the way that is most appropriate for them. In this role, Gasaway is truly a master of her craft.

~Ashley Moye~

This book review first appeared in 106 Law Libr. J. 108-109 (2014).

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Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, Of Interest to Law Students

Need Student Publishing Support? Your Library has a Guide for That!

While some long to see their names in lights, and others their names in block lettering across the cover of a bound volume, publishing as a student is a route each and every one of you can benefit from, even those without specific dreams of grandeur.   Seeking out potential avenues of publications and creating content not only allows you to contribute to the profession and legal community, but also gives you a chance to build a public profile, develop your writing skills, and advance your learning in your chosen fields.

Do you know about our Research Guides page, which features a range of information tools designed to assist you with your research and study at Charlotte School of Law?

This page now plays host to our newest research guide, focused specifically on student publishing support.  Featuring both academic writing resources available through your library and free online materials, this guide serves as a one-stop resource to connect you with writing and publishing advice, submission guidelines for various journals and tools to help you decide where to submit.  It also provides information on copyright and your own rights as an author, resources for empirical research, and additional resources specifically tailored for law review.

And as always, if you run in to any questions or need further advice, don’t hesitate to ask your friendly library staff for assistance!

~Ashley Moye~

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To Display or Not to Display: That is the Question. Or Is It?

tsll

I think we can all agree that one of the most confounding changes related to Resource Description and Access (RDA) is that affecting those inscrutable 33x fields. We’ve all asked the questions, ranging from “What are they?” and “Why are they there?” to “What do we do with them?” and “So what happens to these GMDs?”

While there are concrete answers to the early rounds of questions like what and why, many libraries are still struggling with reconciling answers to the latter questions. Opinions may be scattered, but as implementation becomes a distant memory and day-to-day reality ensues, librarians are initiating workflows and solutions that balance the needs of public services and technical services staff as well as the needs of the all important end-users.

First, let’s review a little background. Originally, bibliographic records used the General Material Description (GMD) to distinguish between differing types of records, including microform, motion pictures, sound recordings, and music. One field, however, proved itself a problem child as time progressed. Originally called “computer file”, the GMD for “electronic resource” served as a catch all for data, programs that process data for use, and combinations of data and programs, accessed either locally or remotely. But as times changed and the information superhighway grew longer, wider, and more circuitous, this simple description of “electronic resource” no longer proved useful in clearly and concisely identifying resource types for the patron. In this same manner, “motion picture” and “videorecording” also proved to be increasingly limiting as descriptors.

Enter RDA and those inevitably messy 33x fields. The purpose of replacing the single GMD with three fields—content type, media type and carrier type—is an attempt to parse out the pieces that had previously been combined into one GMD, thus providing additional clarity to the description of resources. Current RDA records can distinguish between subtle differences in the mass of records originally clumped together under a single term, with each field serving a specific purpose in breaking down the now diverse elements of resources.

While these 33x fields will inevitably replace the GMD, in the meantime, librarians are left bridging the gap—both in workflows as well as in their integrated library systems. All of us face the same decisions, with a few common questions emerging. Do you display your 33x fields? How do you reconcile your AACR2 records still featuring the GMD with your new RDA records?

Yes, eventually 33x fields will need to be added to all non-RDA records. The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Guidelines on Hybrid Bibliographic Records recommend a period of three years, where catalogers editing non-RDA records are asked to leave GMDs present in records through March of 2016. This allows vendors ample time to implement changes to their discovery systems that will actually make good use of the 33x fields. After that time, GMDs dissolve in to dust. In the meantime, how will your library choose to handle this conundrum?

The first challenge is tackling inconsistent displays in the catalog. Weighing your library’s cataloging resources and staff workloads, you must decide whether to let records live side by side in harmony or to attempt to hybridize your records – either by inserting RDA 33x fields in to AACR2 records or inserting GMDs into RDA records. Unfortunately, this is a time-intensive endeavor, and many libraries simply do not have an excess of valuable, yet ever-diminishing staff resources to make these consistency changes feasible.

Most libraries are in agreement that the GMD is overwhelmingly seen as a visible and understandable field, allowing quick and easy displays to internal and external users when searching for the desired format of particular records. Patrons want and need access to this specific format information in the brief displays in the catalog, and as many ILSs still cannot transpose the 33x fields into something as visible and understandable, it seems as though GMDs are here to stay – for a limited time only, of course. In some instances, libraries are consciously retaining the GMDs in older records for the sole purpose of auto generating 33x fields for these records in the future; after the 33x fields have been inserted, the GMDs will be deleted. If choosing to retain your own GMDs, consult with your vendors; they may offer the option of inserting these fields in to their RDA records prior to delivery, saving valuable technical services staff time for other purposes.

Librarians also generally agree that the 33x fields are overwhelmingly considered incomprehensible to both patrons and staff, as these fields were originally designed to be read by computers, not by living, breathing human beings. As a result, most libraries find displaying values in records that are not interpretable by end-users a bit senseless. RDA is focused on the ease for the user, and as a result has removed the use of standard abbreviations, even those as basic as p. and ill., which makes it almost counter-intuitive that libraries are wrestling with whether to display 33x fields in a traditional manner.

This doesn’t mean libraries aren’t finding ways of using these fields though. The 337, or media type field, appears to be suppressed across the board, as it rarely provides new information to patrons. And often, the terms used can be misleading. Content and carrier type seem to be clearer fields, so the combination of the two can be used to create a description that users can understand. Therefore, libraries may choose to map [338:336] to display where the 245$h currently displays in both their brief and full displays. In these cases, they may choose to suppress the specific [volume:text] combination, as it is neither useful or necessary; libraries may also find various content types too verbose or obscure, choosing more appropriate terms to display instead.

Format labels and generated icons based on fixed fields and coding seem to assist in bridging the gap—allowing some libraries to remove themselves from these issues all together by taking away the need for either the GMD or the 33x fields being displayed. Facets and icons overcome the fact that GMDs are general and lack specificity. However, these fixed field icons may not capture the content and media aspects of complex and hybrid records effectively. Additionally, while icons may be visible to the public, staff members may not be able to view the icons, depending on your ILS.

Options abound at this point, and libraries will continue to respond in creative ways, learning from each other and making decisions based on their own internal and external user needs. The important thing to note is the following: Despite the ways your library chooses to reconcile these fields, do not – and I repeat – DO NOT remove this new RDA data from your records. No one has any idea what systems of the future will offer in terms of capabilities, and this field promises to be an amazing data gold mine in the future.

~Ashley Moye~

 Technical Services Law Librarian (TSLL)  is an official publication of the Technical Services Special Interest Section and the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.  This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue and is reprinted here with permission.

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Kudos to CSL Alumni, Maile Wilson – the First Female Mayor of Cedar City

Graduation

Maile Wilson at Charlotte Law Graduation

The library extends their congratulations to our former SBA Senator and recent graduate, Maile Wilson, who was elected Mayor of Cedar City, Utah, this month.  Impressively, she campaigned while studying for the bar.

Wilson graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the school:

What have you taken with you from CharlotteLaw?  Has any of your experiences here influenced your choice in career?

I knew even before attending CharlotteLaw that I wanted to be involved in public service and politics. Through my previous educational pursuits, I had received my undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s in public administration.  The legal education I received has helped me fulfill that dream and career path.  Not only do I feel more prepared and have a better understanding of the numerous issues that will face my community, but I also have a large network of individuals that are just a phone call away that I met during my time at CSL.

What did it feel like when you got the news of your election? 

When I first got the news that I was elected I was in shock.  My community has never had two candidates with such diverse backgrounds and although I hoped for the best, I was not sure how the election was going to turn out.  Everyone in my house was cheering as they realized that this was a historic election for Cedar City, Utah.

Mwilson

Mayor Wilson will begin her term January 1, 2014

How does it feel like to be the first female mayor of Cedar City?  The youngest in Utah?

It is an honor to be elected to serve the community where I was raised.  While I did not tend to emphasis age or gender during the campaign, since the election it has become a major focus as I am both the youngest and first female mayor in Cedar City history.   My election has shown individuals of all ages, especially our youth, that age and gender do not have to be an obstacle for their chosen career path.  Instead, I hope my story has shown that everyone should go after their dreams and put the stereotype notions aside.

What are your goals for Cedar City in your first term?

I have a 5 point plan that I will focus on during my time in office which includes: 1) Updating & expanding the City’s technology resources; 2) economic development; 3) City beautification; 4) prairie dogs; and 5) maintaining water as a major priority for growth now and in the future.

Labor Day Parade with Jaxon and Taylyn

And the CSL Library?

During my three years at CSL I spent countless hours studying in the library. This not only gave me an opportunity to work with my fellow classmates to better understand the law, but it also allowed me to develop lifelong friendships with the other CSL students and faculty.

So congratulations, Mayor Wilson —  I know I speak for the entire library when I say that we are so proud of you and your accomplishments!

~Ashley Moye~

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Advanced Legal Research Student’s Corner – A Research Guide by Charlotte Law students, for Charlotte Law Students

ALRStudentsCorner

While law school may feel like a solitary journey at times, one of the strongest resources our students have are each other.  From your classmates to your upperclassmen to your alumni, each and every individual here at Charlotte Law has something to share with you.

Librarians here develop Research Guides for our patrons, featuring a range of information tools designed to assist you with your research and study at Charlotte School of Law.  They are a pathway to library resources most relevant to your area of study and contain recommended library resources – books, databases, journals and websites, as well as helpful research tips.

But one guide stands out among these, as it is composed solely of content created by your colleagues: ALR Student’s Corner: Specialized Legal Research Tips.

One of the assignments for Charlotte Law’s Advanced Legal Research course is to create a posting for the Charlotte Law Library blog on various resources for legal research, ranging from semester to semester to cover specialized legal databases, free online resources, print materials, mobile applications and legal blogs.  These postings focus on reviewing the resources from the perspective of a law student or legal professional, detailing strengths and weaknesses and methods of access and often teach the reader how to use these resources both effectively and efficiently.

All of these postings have been combined in to a comprehensive guide, chock full of brilliant content applicable to each and every one of you.  Explore this guide to find our more, learning from our students how to locate and access the resource, context for use of the resource and specific research tips.  You’ll also find examples of these uses as well as see graphics of the resources themselves.

Click here to view all Advanced Legal Research student postings on the Charlotte Law Library blog.

And as always, don’t hesitate to ask your friendly library staff for assistance!

~Ashley Moye~

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Trick or Treat: 2013 PALS Halloween Celebration

HalloweenCSL2013

Last Friday, children streamed through the halls of Charlotte Plaza, enjoying the annual Halloween festivities organized by PALS (Parents Attending Law School).  While the library’s temporary location did prevent us from being able to turn our floor into a Halloween wonderland, we were able to represent in style by commandeering a table and carving out our own spooky niche to distribute candy to our tiniest members of the Charlotte Law community.  We’re already looking forward to next year, when we will have the opportunity to transform our new space into another Halloween wonderland…

Check out some pictures from earlier celebrations here and here.  And until next year, stay safe and enjoy your candy!

Straws for display purposes only.  Do not eat.

Straws for display purposes only. Do not eat.

~Aaron Greene & Ashley Moye~

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Meet CALI: Interactive Legal Tutorials, Free eBooks and More

CALI, short for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, has been providing online interactive lessons and tutorials on a variety of legal subjects since 1983.

Frustrated by the rule against perpetuities?  Need to brush up on the formation of a contract?  One terrific tool for doing this is CALI–a database of interactive review questions that help you identify relevant issues and apply recently learned concepts.  All you need for access is your Charlotte School of Law Authorization Code given to you during your orientation.

caliauthorizationcode

Need your Charlotte School of Law code? Contact the library!

Did you know that there are almost 1,000 CALI Lessons freely available to you as a student at the Charlotte School of Law?

Today’s CALI Lessons are web-based tutorials covering a variety of legal topics. Currently there are over 950 Lessons in over 35 law school topics in the CALI Lesson Library.

You also have access to a growing collection of free ebooks in many formats, such as Kindle, iPad and PDF through their eLangdell project.

CALI’s eLangdell® Press offers free legal casebooks, supplements, and chapters. eLangdell content has a nonrestrictive license that allows for free digital and e-book downloads, cheap printing, and easy editing.

And now there’s a digital version of their TimeTrial game where students can play and save their scores IF they have registered and logged in to the CALI website with their law school’s Authorization Code.

timetrial

CALI Time Trial is a card game that challenges your knowledge of legal history. Draw a card and fit it into the time line based on the information on the card. Sound easy? How much do you know about NLRB vs. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.?

If you’d like to learn more about CALI, you can read more at CALI’s website – or you can visit the Reference Desk in the library for more information.

Don’t worry if you can’t find your CALI password. Come by the Reference Desk – we have plenty more!

~Ashley Moye~

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Filed under Books & Stuff, electronic resources, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Information, Websites

From One Accidental Law Librarian to Another: A Book Review

theaccidentallawlibrarian

I have to confess straight off the bat, that I am probably more entangled with and emotionally vested in Anthony Aycock’s work than many others reviewing this book; besides Anthony’s wife, that is.  It is due to Aycock that I can proudly call myself an accidental law librarian.

Never fear, though.  I promise that my review will be honest and unbiased.  However, because of my entanglement, I feel compelled to break tradition and take a moment to wax philosophical about my early days in library school and my arrival at Charlotte Law, both as an opportunity to breathe more life into this review and also to celebrate those serendipitous moments and connections in the library profession that chart your course and set your path.  Long and twisted journeys precede most librarians finding their place and their home in their profession, and oftentimes not only do we end up somewhere we never pictured, but our futures are touched and changed by unexpected people.

As a young MLIS student during the dark ages of the transition from on-site education to distance education, I had the challenge of navigating the waters between online classes and in-person classes from a satellite location.  Naturally, I gravitated towards what was comfortable – the in-person classes.  However, expecting a traditional class from a satellite campus that is transitioning to distance education leaves you with few options, especially when you have students from the main campus driving to the satellite campus for classes, simply because the cost was so much lower.

This is my roundabout way of saying that I ended up in Legal Resources almost accidentally.  And so encountered Anthony Aycock…

There was no way of knowing that he was the key to my future place in the library profession, so I merely sat back and enjoyed his instruction.  He was restricted significantly by circumstances, attempting to teach Legal Research using little more than PowerPoint slides, scans and a handful of print books because the university did not have a formal law collection, much less subscriptions to the major legal research players, nor would we have been able to use it to our hearts content, since we were the plus ones on campus.  These coveted in-person classes were filled with anecdotes and meanderings and my favorite, the absurd and unexpected real life cases that he would display and discuss.  In the six years since I graduated, times have changed significantly, with free legal resources and online research becoming more and more prevalent.  I’m not sure if class will ever be taught the way it was previously.

And I tried in class.  I really did.  As hard as I could.  But the simple fact remains – you can’t effectively teach a reference class without putting the books you’re talking about into the hands of the students.  You can do a good job.  You can do a great job.  But you can’t make students into confident reference librarians without getting their hands dirty.  Weeks of classes, despite including two visits to the Charlotte Law Library for dabbling in the dirty hands theory, seem to break up the lessons and disconnect the legalese and the convoluted resources from each other.  So despite an entire course in legal resources and research, after I finished the semester, I still felt like I was l floundering in a pair of water wings.  Why did I care, though?  Why would it matter?  I had no idea where I would end up after graduation, but I absolutely never envisioned ending up in a law school.

Enter that near graduation point of panic, where you’re realizing how crucial library experience is when trying to market yourself.  Add that to restricting your search to part time jobs, local, with hours that will accommodate single motherhood, and you’re almost frantic at the lack of options.  So I started reaching out to everyone I knew and every venue I could identify, casting a wide net.  I’m sure other librarians can commiserate with this feeling.

One such reach was to Anthony Aycock, my former professor, inquiring about part time work at a law firm.  By luck and serendipity and grace, he asked me to come in to the law school and apply for a job to lend a hand on the reference desk on the weekends.  I gulped and did some heavy breathing and then decided that the opportunity for experience was worth facing my fear.  However, once I came in, the current Director of Technical Services discovered my undergraduate and graduate mathematics and statistical background and immediately tapped me for technical services.  Over the years, my responsibilities increased as well as my knowledge, leaving me with a thirty hour a week job that both challenges me and grants me work-life balance, but that reference desk remained out of reach and the overwhelming fear of the desk increased exponentially.

Unfortunately, as the years passed and the books in the library and the records in the catalog became full of my fingerprints, I came to the realization that the more I knew about the world of law, the more I knew I didn’t know.  And without a J.D. or a Paralegal certificate and a busy, busy job doing a little bit of almost everything in Technical Services, there was no time, no resources, no energy left to dive in to the convoluted field and learn.  Six years have passed since then, and prior to opening the pages of The Accidental Law Librarian, I still joked about how I thought tort was simply a misspelled delicious multilayered cake filled with buttercream.  I could recognize every book on commercials and movie screens, giving my increasingly unamused couch companions the title, publication schedule and method of updating, but I couldn’t for the life of me explain why you would ever use it, and it killed me.

Time to queue the music.  Enter Anthony Aycock’s new book, The Accidental Law Librarian.  As soon as I opened to the contents page, a smile slipped across my face.  With Anthony as my first real connection to the library profession, the first of those amazing librarians that collect on a list throughout your life – the ones that you are indebted to, the ones that helped carry you to the point you are at now, the ones that gave you a chance, took a risk, believed in you, opened up to you – I was immediately hit with a moment of nostalgia.  Anthony is a librarian, yes.  But he’s also a writer.  A creative writer.  And this book was filled with reminders of his zany sense of humor and his tongue in cheek approach to the driest of topics.

From Chapter One’s subtitle of “What are all those books on Law and Order?” to the encounters with entertaining footnotes pointing out facts like Wexis is the librarian equivalent of Brangelina and Bennifer, this book dripped personality.

The dripping personality isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though.  Some people might find the excessive anecdotal bits and pieces nothing but glitz, distracting from the true content.  For instance, does a serious reader really need a chapter that starts out like the beginning to a bad romance novel?  Will they find it frustrating to follow footnotes and end up at pithy comments instead of formal citations?  Perhaps.  But perhaps a reader will find it refreshing, a welcome change from dry and dusty wording and standard approaches in primarily educational texts.

Either way, after sitting through prose that may or may not be excessive, readers are rewarded by the clear and concise manner that Aycock uses to approach most every aspect of law librarianship, ranging from discussions of primary and secondary sources, legal publishing, basic concepts and terminology and resources for the lowest common denominator reference desk bathroom break coverer wanna be (see also: me).  He then moves on to more specific advice for sitting the reference desk, including a frank discussion about the unauthorized practice of law fear that hovers over those bridging the gap between lawyer and librarian.

I was constantly stumbling over fascinating tidbits throughout the book, so even those sections that seemed more rote and addressed things that I had already gleaned through my six years ensconced in the back of a law library had something valuable to offer.  From explaining annotations and citations in a way that a newbie can understand, to listing out what a law librarian can and can’t do, to tracing the history of legal publishers in an engrossing manner, the ah-ha moments kept piling up.

As the book progressed, Aycock guided readers towards more specific information about online resources and mobile apps as well as navigating the world of public records.  With a somewhat less than seamless transition, he offered more tailored information for those in law firms, keeping my interest with his familiar writing style, but almost losing my interest because of its inapplicability to the strictly academic world.

Not content to stand on his own laurels, Aycock recommends a variety of resources for the budding accidental law librarian, ranging from print to online, even social media channels.  Unsurprisingly, he snagged that waning interest of mine back, since librarians are always on the hunt for more education, more resources, more materials to peruse.

My favorite portion of the later chapters was Aycock’s honest discussion about whether law librarians truly need a J.D. or an M.B.A.  This always seems to be a hot topic, or at least has been for my short six year library career, especially for those non-reference librarians who accidentally fell into law librarianship.  Coming from Aycock, a law librarian with a variety of academic credentials, though neither of the ones preferred for traditional legal reference positions, I appreciated his candor wholeheartedly.

Tables in the book were invaluable and a fantastic way of displaying lengthy content in a more efficient and palatable way.  To my dismay, though, screen shots were thrown up with some regularity, as well as those hyperlinks everyone wants to include in their printed materials these days.  I admit, I always find hyperlinks frustrating in a text.  With the information world changing as quickly and as grandly as it does, it seems to me that screen shots and images of websites are nothing but page filler; although I concede that they do break up the wall of text and content nicely and provide a little more white space on which to rest your eyes.  And hyperlinks?  Come on.  First of all, see earlier comment on page filler.  Second of all, I know very few individuals that actually open their book up next to them and hand type extensive URLs from the page in to their browser.  I certainly don’t do this myself, and find the inclusion of hyperlinks and screen shots in a printed text both frustrating and excessive.

Aycock, however, is a step ahead of the game and managed to temper my personal frustrations by creating a blog: http://accidentallawlibrarian.wordpress.com/ which provides hyperlinks directly to the resources in each chapter and all are kept current.  I still don’t like them cluttering up my book, but I have to tip my hat to his gesture and its resulting functionality.

All in all, even putting aside my personal connection and gratitude to Aycock, the hat tipping continues, as Aycock has created an accessible resource, basic enough for library students, public librarians and accidental librarians like me, yet detailed enough that even those who know the basics will learn something new.  Unthreatening and comprehensive.  Readable and browsable.

If only he had written it seven years earlier.  I could have tested out of three credits for my Masters in 247 pages.  And have been able to leave my office over the last few years and head out to the reference desk a little more often to see if anyone needed a bathroom break…

~Ashley Moye~

Aycock, Anthony. The Accidental Law Librarian. Medford: NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2013. 247p. $39.50

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Fast and Free Government Internet Resources: Federal, State and Local – A New Research Guide for You

Businessman Wearing Cape

Fast and free legal research online?  While this statement may sound like an oxymoron, the government does provide plentiful Internet resources on a federal, state and even local level which can be used to assist you in your legal research.  Be aware, though, while there is no doubt that the web provides plentiful information, not all of this information is considered credible.

In February of this year, Susan Catterall and I had the privilege of teaching about this very topic for a Continuing Legal Education course hosted by the National Business Institute.  Our manuscript now lives in our collection, and the content created within this document has also been transitioned into a Research Guide for the Charlotte Law Library and our patrons.

Do you know about our Research Guides page, which features a range of information tools designed to assist you with your research and study at Charlotte School of Law?

The Charlotte Law Library Research Guides page now plays host to this new guide – Fast and Free Government Internet Resources: Federal, State & Local.   The overarching goal of this LibGuide is to provide you with efficient and cost-effective tips and resources, but as you conduct your research, acknowledge that your time is valuable and weigh that cost against the cost of supplementing your research with fee-based searches.

This guide will introduce you to free Internet resources to assist you in your legal research, from the federal to the state to the local level.  Check it out to learn more about specific resources relating to state and federal statutes, government agencies and regulations, licensing boards and commissions, using federal statistics and making FOIA requests.

And as always, don’t hesitate to ask your friendly library staff for assistance!

~Ashley Moye~

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Filed under electronic resources, Libguides, Of Interest to Law Students, research guide

The Digital Commons Law Network

Open Access has become one of the new hot topics in academic scholarship, especially in law schools. What is open access?  Well, open-access materials are digital, online, free of charge, and free from most copyright and licensing restrictions.

open_access-logo

Did you know that in November of 2008, directors of some of the major law library players, such as the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Harvard, Stanford and Yale met in Durham at the Duke Law School to discuss open access in the legal environment?

As a result of this meeting, the “Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship” was created, calling for law schools to no longer publish in print format, instead focusing only on electronic publication in stable, open digital formats.

Since then, libraries and academic institutions have begun a movement towards the use of “institutional repositories”, which provide open access to institutional research through archiving, promote the institution as well as the scholars through the visibility of these words, collect content within a single platform and location and store and preserve additional digital assets.

While institutional repositories are developed as databases, there is almost no capacity for the reader to browse.  Repositories don’t necessarily allow connections between their own materials, much less those created and housed at other institutions.

digitalcommons

In response to this, the leading hosted institutional repository (IR) software platform, bepress, has created the Digital Commons Law Network, which draws together open access content from nearly 300 repositories that use the Digital Commons IR platform.  Anyone with an Internet connection can access this resource, with no pay-walls, embargoes or subscriptions.  This Network currently contains almost 650,000 works from 275 institutions, with over 113,000 of these works specifically devoted to the topic of law.

The Digital Commons Network brings together scholarship from hundreds of universities and colleges, providing open access to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work. This constantly growing body of publications is curated by university librarians and their supporting institutions, and represents thousands of disciplines and subject areas—from Architecture to Zoology.

The intuitive interface invites you to explore discipline-specific Commons, where you can view and follow popular authors, institutions, and publications in your field. And you’ll never run into pay walls or empty records, because only full-text, open-access research and scholarship are included in the network.

Check out this resource for yourself at http://network.bepress.com/, and explore all of the amazing resources that are available free to you, complete with search functionality and browse capacity.  

Be sure to check out our Open Access LibGuide for more information on the Open Access movement.

~Ashley Moye~

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Filed under collection, electronic resources, Libguides, Of Interest to Law Students