Category Archives: Libraries & Librarians

Study Examines How Academic Law Libraries Use Blogs to Engage with Users

A new study in the latest edition of The Reference Librarian explores the use of blogs by academic law librarians.  In “An Exploratory Examination and Critique of Academic Law Librarian Blogs: A Look into an Evolving Reference Communication Practice,” author Grace Jackson-Brown of Missouri State University “demonstrates how academic law librarians use blogs as a communication tool and become proactive in their Reference/Research roles.”

Jackson-Brown identified 227 law library blogs (using the list maintained by CS-SIS).  Of these, 67 were academic blogs.  A small random sample of seven blogs was selected.  WisBlawg was one of the blogs included in the study.  A full list appears below:

Jackson-Brown examined posts from the 2014-15 academic year and placed them into categories based on the primary content of the post.  The largest category (30+%) was “Reference/Research.”  These were further subdivided into the following:

  • Texts about reference and/or research resources or services
  • Embedded media about reference and/or research
  • Links to or attachments of Research Guides (LibGuides or other bibliographies)
  • Promotions about instructional workshops, research forums, or other reference/research formal instruction

Jackson-Brown found that the blogs in the study were mainly targeted toward internal audiences (primarily law students) but that the blogs also had wider appeal to general audiences.  WisBlawg is an outlier among the group as our primarily target audience is external as noted in the study.

In her conclusion, Jackson-Brown states that

The study shows how a sample group of law librarians through the social media of blogs engage with their libraries’ users and wider audiences or communities. The law librarian bloggers “push out” important information content based on what they anticipate will be of interest or need to their users and audiences in an effort to connect and interact with communities of researchers and library users.

The University of Wisconsin Law School announces the Bhopal Digital Repository

Last week, the UW Law School hosted a symposium on the Bhopal Disaster, which killed thousands of people in the Bhopal region of India, left a long legal trail, and is still controversial to this day.

As a part of that symposium, the UW Law Library, in conjunction with faculty members Mitra Sharafi, Sumudu Atapattu and Marc Galanter, launched “Bhopal: Law Accidents and Disasters in India: A Digital Archive initiated by Marc Galanter“.  This digital archive, housing nearly 3,500 scanned items related to Bhopal, is freely available for anyone to use.  The resources range from court documents and newspaper clippings to embedded video and other secondary resources. The court documents can be downloaded as full-text PDFs from anywhere in the world, while the newspaper clippings can be downloaded at the Law School.

Professor Marc Galanter, who was involved in the Bhopal legal case in the United States, provides pertinent background history and context for new researchers, and his collection is what both inspired and formed the foundation for the digital archive.

Researchers can quickly do a full-text search across the entire collection or narrow down to search only newspaper clippings or court documents. A bibliography of related Bhopal resources is also included.

Potentially the most exciting part of the Bhopal archive is that it will continue to grow. As other Bhopal scholars volunteer their unique material, it will be reviewed and added to the collection, thereby strengthening the usefulness of the collection itself.

The Bhopal collection is the first special collection of the UW Law School Digital Repository.  If there are any questions about the Bhopal collection or the repository itself, please feel free to contact Kris Turner, or more information can be found at the UW Law School Library website.

WI State Law Library Named in Honor of Justice Prosser

In a ceremony on October 19, the Wisconsin State Law Library was officially named the David T. Prosser, Jr. State Law Library.

From the State Law Library blog:

The event, attended by a number of public officials, marked Prosser’s 40 years of public service on the Supreme Court, Tax Appeals Commission, and Legislature prior to his retirement in July of 2016.  [The] ceremony was also an opportunity to highlight the library’s 180 years of service to the State of Wisconsin.

For more information, see the WI Court System’s press release.

UW Law Library Celebrates 35th Anniversary as US Government Documents Depository

This month, the UW Law Library celebrates its 35th anniversary as a Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Selective Depository.

As a Selective Depository, the Law Library receives certain classes of federal government documents free of cost and makes them available to the university and law school communities and to the general public.  The Law Library also houses some documents for the UW Madison General Library System which serves as a Regional Depository.

Our Documents Assistant, Margaret Booth, has created a lovely display entitled “Documents Through the Decades” showcasing the history of our 35 years in the FDLP and some interesting documents of various media types.  There are even a few floppy disks – remember those?

fdlp1

There are also some giveaways, including brochures, pocket constitutions, bookmarks, notepads, and pencils.

fdlp2

Legal Information & Technology SSRN eJournal Offers Law Library Scholarship

Happy Birthday to the Legal Information & Technology eJournal which just concluded its fifth year.  This SSRN eJournal, curated by Randy Diamond and Lee Peoples, provides a platform for the dissemination of law library scholarship.

Beginning this year, the journal, which has heretofore been sponsored by  the Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries and the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries, will be self-sustaining.

I subscribe to this journal and frequently find many interesting and useful articles.  Institutional and individual subscription information is available at http://www.ssrn.com/en/index.cfm/subscribe/.  Note that many university departments and other institutions have purchased site subscriptions covering all various eJournals.

Here’s a sampling of some of the articles in the upcoming issue of the Legal Information & Technology eJournal:

“Happy Birthday” Copyright Smoking Gun Unearthed by Law Librarians

Warner/Chappell Music, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group, has long claimed to own the rights to “Happy Birthday to You,” probably the most recognized English language song in the world.  However, new evidence unearthed by librarians at the University of Pittsburgh Law Library calls that claim into question.

According to PittLaw, Warner/Chappell’s claim is based on a 1935 copyright registration.  But now an earlier 1922 publication of the song has come to light.

The fourth edition of The Everyday Song Book was published in 1922 and contains lyrics for “Happy Birthday To You” without any copyright notice, which predates Warner/Chappell’s 1935 copyright registration. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plaintiffs discovered evidence of the book, a blurry photo in Warner/Chappell’s own files, which they were given access to only three weeks ago.
Now, with the help of the Pitt Law Librarians who located an original copy of the work in their collection and provided a clean scan as evidence, the song may become free to the public.  Read more at Above the Law.
Happy Birthday song image

A Zotero Update and work-around for the UW Catalog

2015 has been a whirlwind year of change for UW Libraries, even though most of it is not obvious to users. The campus (and entire UW system!) recently switched our library catalog platform and modified several of our web discovery tools.

Zotero, a free and very helpful citation manager used by many Law School faculty and staff, was also recently updated and changed in Firefox. Instead of seeing a book icon (or folder, journal article, etc.) in your address bar, the Zotero translator tool is now located to the far right in your Firefox browser, as indicated in the screenshot below:

zotero

To save your item (book, article, website, etc.), click on the drop-down menu and select how you want the resource to be saved. It’s an easy-to-use upgrade, but one that was rolled out somewhat quietly.

All these changes, however, have caused one part of Zotero to go on the fritz. If you try to save a book, etc. from the UW library catalog, Zotero currently cannot detect all of the information about the item and so doesn’t know that it is saving information for a book or journal. It will simply try to save them item as a webpage…which leaves a lot of useful information behind.

The UW team is aware of the problem, but it may take some time to fix it as there are so many other changes to work through at this time. In the meantime, a helpful workaround is to go to Worldcat.org, a catalog of library materials worldwide, and locate your book, etc. there. You will be able to save your item with all of the important data and information quickly and easily.

If you have any problems or questions, feel free to contact either Kris or Bonnie and we’ll figure out a solution.

Dane & Milwaukee County Law Libraries Renamed

Two Wisconsin county law libraries have been renamed. The Dane Legal Resource Center will now be known as the Dane County Law Library and the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center is now the Milwaukee County Law Library.

From WSLL @ Your Service:

These new names give our users a better understanding of the legal information services we offer. Both county law libraries work extensively with legal service providers. Complimentary to that one-on-one assistance, the library provides convenient access to legal information and space to work right in each Courthouse.