Getting UEMLA on the General Assembly’s Agenda

Many counties in Maryland have open forums to allow community organizations to make an “elevator pitch” to their delegations. This Tuesday, Joan Bellistri, Paul Lagasse, and I attended the Anne Arundel County delegation’s forum in order to give them a quick introduction to the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).

Although we were the second-to -last organization on the agenda, the delegates examined our packet of materials and appeared to be engaged by what we had to say. Of course Joanie is an excellent public speaker and came prepared with a succinct four-minute talk based a sample speech from the AALL UELMA resources page. (Thank you, Emily Feltren Felton of AALL’s Government Relations!)

Following our presentation, one of the delegates asked a question regarding funding; no big surprise there. And after the forum, Paul and I had an opportunity to chat with one of the delegates about the importance of preserving born-digital legal materials. We referenced the Chesapeake Project linkrot study that revealed that after five years, over 50% documents with .gov domain were no longer available at their original URLs.

Forums like this are a great (and easy) opportunity to educate our delegates and senators about UELMA. Keep an eye out for similar forums in your county. Joanie and I have a packet of material and a speech ready to go. Won’t you volunteer to the same in your county?  Consider volunteering with your county and bring a fellow librarian…it is more fun with a colleague.

Mary Jo Lazun,  Maryland State Law Library