AALL Program Review: The New Generation of Legal Research Databases: Eighteen Months Later

By Mary Jo Lazun
Head of Electronic Services
Maryland State Law Library

When this program was accepted for the Annual Meeting, the panel was hoping to present a comparison of WestlawNext and Lexis Advance.  Since Lexis Advance has not been released, the panel presented the results of a survey of law librarians about WestlawNext with commentary from the panelists.

  •  More law firms than law school libraries are using WestlawNext. Very few corporate, government, or courts libraries are using WestlawNext.
  •  Most firms did see increased costs in using WestlawNext, but some saw a price decrease. Overall the pricing model seems simpler to understand.
  •  WestlawNext searchers liked:

Ease of use
Federated search
Folder and folder sharing
Faceted and aggregated results that show new material
Librarians liked that searchers saw not only primary sources but valuable secondary sources.

  • WestlawNext searchers disliked:

Oversimplification of research
Lack of precision
Unclear, inconsistent search algorithm
Exclusion of some Westlaw materials
Difficulty knowing what content is (and is not) included
Difficulty constructing Boolean searches
Difficulty constructing narrow issue searches
Unavailability of field searching
Tendency to get too many search results

A podcast of the presentation and handouts are available to AALL members at: www.softconference.com/aall/sessionDetail.asp?SID=250810

Program Coordinator:
Caren Biberman, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

Victoria J. Szymczak, Brooklyn Law School Library

Lisa A. Spar, Hofstra University Law School Library
Jean P. O’Grady, DLA Piper
Denise A. Pagh, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

LLAM’s 2011 Annual Meeting Grant Recipient Reports on AALL in Philadelphia

By Thea C. Warner
Niles, Barton & Wilmer

As the recipient of the AALL/LLAM Grant, I was able to attend the entire AALL Annual Conference and Meeting in  Philadelphia this summer. I found this to be a wonderful opportunity. My adventure began with the train ride from Baltimore to Philadelphia on Friday, July 22nd; Amtrak trains were delayed throughout the northeast corridor due to the extreme heat. Luckily, I arrived in time to attend part of the PLL-SIS welcome reception that evening at the Union League Club of Philadelphia. I attended the PLL Change as Action Summit on Saturday and have written a separate article about the experience. The Summit was followed by the Exhibit Hall Ribbon Cutting/Opening Reception. Attendees had the opportunity to sample some local fare (including soft pretzels, philly cheesesteak and Tastycake products) and there was ample time to visit exhibitors and to network with colleagues.

Conference programming began Sunday morning with the Opening General Session/Keynote Speaker. Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor at Slate, gave a very engaging and informative talk on the Supreme Court and current free speech issues. Following the opening session, I made a last minute decision to attend the Animal Law Caucus Presentation at noon (I had somehow forgotten to sign up for the PLL-SIS luncheon when I registered for AALL and it was full by the time I realized this). Dr. James A. Serpell gave a very interesting talk entitled “The Development of Human Attitudes Toward Animals and Animal-Assisted Therapeutic Interventions.”

Sunday afternoon was filled with interesting programs. I selected “Delaware: The First State for Corporation Law” for the first session and followed this with “Electronic Resources Management (ERM) Systems Showcase.” Both proved to be good choices as much of the information the speakers presented was new to me. I closed out the day at the BNA reception which included a very nice dinner, a great view of the downtown, and many opportunities to meet new people and to network.

Monday was another full day that included programs, meetings, and time at the exhibit hall. I began the day with a PLL-SIS Program, “Through the Looking Glass: Harnessing Technology in Today’s Law Firm Library.” This session provided a very helpful overview of current technology. I attended several additional programs on Monday, including “Can the FCC Regulate the Internet?” and “To Recover or Not to Recover: Trends, Solutions and Alternatives for Taming Online Research Costs.”  At the conclusion of the programming portion of the day, I attended, for the first time, the PLL-SIS One-Person Law Libraries Group Meeting. I was pleased to have the opportunity to become involved with this group. The evening festivities were hosted by Westlaw at the Reading Terminal Market, which is closed to the public in the evenings. Many of the merchants kept their stands open so attendees were able to sample a variety of cuisines.  

Tuesday, July 26th was the final day of the conference and included programs, more opportunities to meet with vendors, and the Exhibit Hall Reception. I wrote an article for PLL Perspectives on one of the programs I attended Tuesday morning – “Getting to Yes for Your Library: Negotiating Vendor Contracts in Your Favor.” This session was sponsored by the Private Law Libraries SIS and the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors. My trip home was less eventful than the one to Philadelphia, although the MARC train did break down in the tunnel shortly after leaving Penn Station. Luckily, it was not too long before the train was repaired and we were on our way! All in all, attending the entire AALL Annual Conference was an excellent experience for me, and the AALL/LLAM grant made this possible.

AALL Program Review: SCCLL Program: Value of a Public Law Library

By Janet Camillo

VALUE OF A PUBLIC LAW LIBRARY:  How County Law Librarians in Pennsylvania Collaborated with Courts to Provide Services to Self-Represented Litigants

Two Pennsylvania law librarians, Eleanor Gerlott from Lancaster County Law Library, and Melanie Solon from Berks County Law Library, described how they and other county law librarians collaborated with the courts to provide services for pro se litigants in their counties.  Eleanor established a separate self-help center in her courthouse, while Melanie handled pro se questions by handing out informational packets and forms.  They described the process they went though and gave hints on what worked well for them.  They also pointed out some sticking points and problems that they encountered.

Both Eleanor and Melanie found public use in their libraries increasing and were asked the same questions repeatedly.  In response, both worked with their chief judges to establish a task force of interested parties to deal with the problem of pro ses in the courts.  Collaborating with all interested parties and having court backing was absolutely essential. Fortunately both librarians had the support of their chief judges, as well as court administrators and clerks, which brought other judges on board and made for smooth referrals and practical help in the form of space and furniture.  They involved the local bar members to help develop appropriate and accurate forms and answer concerns about loss of business. Other important partners included the public defender, district attorneys, domestic relations offices, legal services, and public librarians.

Both librarians faced similar objections and issues.   Skeptical judges had to be won over with the help of the chief judge.  Attorneys who thought they would lose business found that once unrepresented litigants were educated, the court process was smoother and took less time.  In fact, educated patrons sometimes hired attorneys once they saw how complicated their cases actually were.  Melanie found she had to deal with some noise and child care issues in her library.  Both librarians had to develop clear notices about unauthorized practice after finding that patrons occasionally asked attorneys or librarians for help filling out forms.

The speakers emphasized the importance of marketing, including developing a good web site to insure a successful project, and the necessity of keeping good statistics.  They both continue to review the information that they provide to patrons and to add more forms as issues and questions come up.   In the future, forms for non-English speakers still need to be developed.

Joan Bellistri moderated this SCCLL sponsored program, which was well attended.  The speakers were informative, and their emphasis on collaboration, careful statistics, and marketing was valuable for all types of librarians.

AALL Program Review: PLL Change as Action Summit

By Thea C. Warner
Niles, Barton & Wilmer

Since I found the Private Law Library Change as Opportunity Summit, held last year in Denver, to be such a great learning experience, I decided to attend the PLL Change as Action Summit on July 23rd in Philadelphia. The Change as Action Summit was the culmination of a two-year initiative by the Private Law Libraries SIS. I found the programs at this year’s Summit to be replete with valuable information and ideas.

The Change as Action Summit began with a reception at the Union League Club of Philadelphia.  Although Amtrak trains to Philadelphia and other points along the Eastern Corridor were delayed due to the extreme heat, I arrived in time to attend part of the reception.  There was still to time to network with colleagues and to sample some local fare, including soft pretzels, Philly cheesesteak, and a variety of pizzas.

The Summit continued on Saturday with two morning speakers.  The first speaker was James Jones, Senior Vice President at Hildebrandt Baker Robbins, the world’s largest provider of management consulting services to law firms and corporate law departments, who gave a very informative talk on understanding law firm trends. Esther Dyson, the founder and chairman of Edventure and considered one of the most influential voices in the Internet industry, provided her insight on technology changes in business and libraries.

The morning speakers were followed by break-out sessions that provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss the series of Law Firm Management webinar programs held throughout the past year.  There was time to attend two of the five sessions and I selected “Technology and the Law Firm Library” (Greg Lambert and Scott Preston, moderators) and “Moving Beyond the Library Walls to Support Strategic Knowledge Management” (Steve Lastres and Julie Bozzell, moderators). All the moderators were very knowledgeable about these constantly changing aspects of law firm library management.

Greg Castanias, Partner, Jones Day, spoke at the PLL Summit luncheon. His talk, entitled “How Librarians Add Value to Their Law Firms”, probably elicited the most intense reaction of any program at the Summit.   The full text of his talk can be found on the On Firmer Ground blog: http://firmerground.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/how-librarians-add-value-to-their-law-firms-advice-from-greg-castanias-jones-day-library-partner/.  At least two out of the three individuals behind Three Geeks and a Law Blog followed with a lively and interesting talk on “Trends, Tempests and Teapots.”  Although some of the posts admittedly sort of go over my head, their blog is sure to help law librarians keep up with legal technology: http://www.geeklawblog.com/.

The afternoon programming consisted of three concurrent tracks focused on administration, reference/research and technology/tech services. I found it difficult to select only three of the total of nine sessions offered. I ended up attending two of the technology/tech services programs – David Curle on transformations in the legal publishing industry and Joelle Coachman on integrating new technology into your library. I also attended one of the reference/research programs  – Gary Price on finding and evaluating web-based resources. I found these programs all to be very interesting and informative.

Once again, I found the PLL Summit to be well worth the investment and I would highly recommend any future PLL-SIS programs of a similar nature.

Featured Articles – June 2011

AALL Program Preview:  Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries (CAFLL) Conference

AALL Program Preview:  Services for Self Represented Litigants In Pennsylvania

Ideas in Client Service: Lessons from the Union Square Café

Document Delivery at the Maryland State Law Library

Looking to Beef Up your Resume?

UB Law Collection Development Reflects Changing Trends in Librarianship

“Link Rot” and Legal Resources on the Web:  Have We Reached a Plateau?

Dee Van Nest Retires from the Maryland State Law Library

AALL Working Group Update

Legal Research “Demystified” at MLA pre-conference in Ocean City

2011 Spring Fling Gallery

2011 Spring Fling

On May 2nd, over 20 members of LLAM enjoyed a dinner buffet and desserts at Teavolve at Harbor East in Baltimore. Susan Herrick thanked the 2010-2011 Board Members, committee chairs, and volunteers in her final speech as LLAM President. Sara Witman was greeted as the incoming chapter president for the 2011-2012. Thanks for a great year!

AALL Working Group Update

By Joan Bellistri
Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

The Maryland Inventory of Primary Legal Information is Done!

The Maryland Working Group has completed the Maryland section of the National Inventory of Primary Legal Information. The Maryland Working Group is one of many AALL working groups working to collect information on the availability of all primary legal resources in the United States at every level of government. Each state has been working to enter this information into their own Google spreadsheet. According the Government Relations Office Issue Brief,  once information from all fifty states, D.C., and the federal government has been collected, the results will be analyzed and used as needed by experts who will be working with LAW.gov, the Law Library of Congress and AALL public policy committees.

The Maryland Working Group has been working since last August to collect information for all Maryland primary law. We had a “final push entry party” on May 12 at the Maryland State Law Library to work entering the information for the municipalities. I joined Susan Herrick, Mary Rice, Vickie Yiannoulou, Andy Zimmerman and Mary Jo Lazun for our “party.” Meeting at the State Law Library allowed us to all work together with laptops accessing the online information via the wifi there. We also had easy access to the library’s collection of municipal print codes. Working as a group we were able to discuss and resolve any questions as they arose.

The working group began work with the state level of primary materials. After the first “party” in August where the spreadsheet and entry form were demonstrated, each member of the group volunteered to collect information for the various branches of government. The next step involved collecting the information for all levels of county government. Members of the Conference of Maryland Court Law Library Directors volunteered to enter information for their respective counties. Since there are many more counties than conference members, it was great that Mary Rice was willing to work on most of the other counties.

There are more than 150 municipalities in Maryland. This next step presented a challenge for meeting the June 2011 deadline. Mary Rice and Janet Camillo began work on the municipalities as soon as the counties were done. In order to meet the deadline, I planned another group entry “party.”  After May 12, we all agreed to continue until all municipalities on the list had been entered. (We used another Google spreadsheet to keep track of who had done which municipality so that we would not duplicate efforts.)

I am happy to report that we were finished by June 1. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this major project: Steve Anderson,  Janet Camillo (who continued to work after her retirement), Pat Behles, Joanne Colvin, Tonya Baroudi, Katherine Baer, Susan Herrick, Mary Jo Lazun, Carol Mundorf, Andy Zimmerman, Flossie Barnes, Errin Roby, and Vickie Yiannoulou.  And a special thanks to Mary Rice, who did far more than her fair share, and also took on the task of  reviewing the inventory after all was entered.

‘Link Rot’ and Legal Resources on the Web: Have We Reached a Plateau?


WASHINGTON (April 25, 2011) – Does the rate at which Web pages are lost to “link rot” slow down over time? The latest link rot study conducted by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group shows that this might be the case.

As National Preservation Week 2011 begins, the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group is releasing the results of its fourth annual analysis of link rot among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the Web and archived by the Chesapeake Group. After three years of observing the rate of link rot nearly double on an annual basis, the Chesapeake Group found that link rot in its sample of URLs originally collected in 2007 and 2008 increased by only 2.5 percent in 2011. The sample includes URLs primarily from state government (.state.__.us), government (.gov), and organization (.org) top-level domains.

The Chesapeake Group is a shared digital archive for the preservation of Web-published legal materials, which often disappear as online content is reorganized or deleted over time. Participants include the Georgetown and Harvard Law Libraries and the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia.

The 2011 analysis reveals that 30.4 percent of the online publications in the sample have now disappeared from their original Web pages but, due to the group’s Web preservation efforts, remain accessible via permanent archive URLs. This sample of online publications was first analyzed in 2008 and showed link rot to be present in 8.3 percent of the publications’ original URLs. In 2009, the same sample showed an increase in link rot to 14.3 percent, and in 2010, link rot in the sample jumped to 27.9 percent.

Although the 2011 link-rot rate of 30.4 percent represents a significant loss of content over the four-year period, the increase observed from 2010 to 2011 is less than three percent and deviates from the pattern of steadily increasing link rot observed in previous years.

The analysis also explores the prevalence of link rot among top-level domains. A detailed summary of the study is available at http://legalinfoarchive.org/.

The Chesapeake Group is a founding member of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) Legal Information Archive, a collaborative digital preservation program for the law library community. For more information, visit the LIPA Web site at www.aallnet.org/committee/lipa or the Chesapeake Group at www.legalinfoarchive.org.

UB Law Collection Development Reflects Changing Trends in Librarianship

By Joanne Dugan Colvin
Assistant Director for Public Services
University of Baltimore Law Library

Construction on the new John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore is well underway. Travelers on Charles Street can see the girders climb out of the foundation that was poured this winter. (You can see it, too, through our live webcam! http://tinyurl.com/3plmpmo) The building has now reached the fourth floor of what will be a twelve story building.

The new library space has significantly affected our approach to collection development. We are taking the plunge and often relying solely on electronic resources for primary sources material. Only a few years ago it would have been inconceivable for an academic law library to jettison the National Reporter Series or the statutes of all of the states; now it’s an easy decision. Most states publish their cases and statutes online now, plus students and faculty have access to Lexis and Westlaw. We also provide public access Lexis for lawyers and members of the public who come to research. It doesn’t provide the full coverage that regular Lexis does, but it does make primary law readily available.

We are approaching secondary sources a little differently. We have just finished an “extreme makeover” of our classified collection, discarding about 25% of the collection. We have also canceled and will not be moving our law journal collection, instead relying on Hein Online. (As legal scholarship becomes more interdisciplinary we have also devoted more money to other journal databases such as JSTOR and Academic Search Premiere.)

Once the new building is occupied, the law library footprint will have both expanded and contracted. Our physical space (and in particular, our shelf space) will be much smaller. On the other hand, by emphasizing electronic resources, the library reaches beyond the physical confines of the building to serve our patrons wherever they travel.

Volunteer Needed: LLAM eNews

Are you experienced in using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in WordPress? If not, do you want to learn? LLAM eNews is looking for a volunteer to enhance the look and format of our WordPress newsletter page using CCS. This is a perfect opportunity to learn valuable new technology skills to add to your resume or take on a new challenge. And being a member of the Special Committee for Communication and Technology requires just a few hours of work each quarter.

There are many web tutorials and step-by-step guides available that teach CSS so even if you’ve never heard of it there are plenty of ways to learn. If you are interested in enhancing your web skills please contact the committee at llamnewsmd@gmail.com.

Document Delivery at the Maryland State Law Library

By Mary Jo Lazun
Head of Electronic Services
Maryland State Law Library

It is an unusual day when staff at the Maryland State Law Library (MSLL) does not fulfill a request for a brief, bill file, or unreported opinion. For fifty cents per page, or for free to Maryland state employees, the library staff will retrieve, scan, PDF, and email the document. To make the process even easier, the library accepts, and prefers, payment via Visa or MasterCard. The usual turnaround time is the same business day for requests received before 2:00pm. To request a document, just call the reference desk at 410-260-1430 or use the document delivery form on the library’s home page.

Available for Document Delivery from the Maryland State Law Library

  • Unreported opinions back to1988
  • Court of Appeals briefs
  • Court of Special Appeals briefs for “reported” cases
  • Maryland superseded codes
  • Maryland session laws
  • Maryland General Assembly bill files 1977-1997
    Please note that some bill files are too long for library staff to make a copy.

Now online!

Ideas in Client Service: Lessons from the Union Square Café

By Monique LaForce
Corporate Intelligence Analyst
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Famed New York City restaurant owner Danny Meyer is widely considered to be an expert in creating memorable dining experiences for guests and providing “engaging hospitality”[1] in all his restaurants, which range in style and formality from white linen to BBQ, chichi Indian fare to half smokes.  Mr. Meyer’s first restaurant, Union Square Café, has been given Zagat Survey’s #1 ranking as New York’s Most Popular Restaurant eight times.  His restaurant Eleven Madison Park was this year honored with the James Beard award for outstanding restaurant.

In 2006, Mr. Meyers published a successful tome on bringing hospitality principles to business.  With the announcement that Mr. Meyer is invading neighboring DC (with the opening of one of his Shake Shack diners and the procurement of a Nats Park concession license), the time seemed ripe to examine the applicability of Mr. Meyer’s philosophy of hospitality to the law library.

Several of Mr. Meyer’s observations about life in the demanding and fast-paced world of New York cuisine are applicable to law librarians.

  1. Service is a monolog . . . [h]ospitality is a dialog.”  As librarians, a significant focus of our interactions with our clients is providing excellent customer service.  Perhaps occasionally we should stop to consider whether we are providing excellent hospitality.   Are we performing an engaged reference interview, or simply responding in a rote way to whatever the patron asks?  Are we seeking feedback from our clients as to what research services they need or are lacking?  Lore has it that there was a transactional lawyer who, when he realized that one of his major clients was seeking counsel from another law firm on some deals, asked the client why it was hiring the other firm.  Turns out, the competing firm wasn’t any better at providing transactional advice, but had better office supplies in its conference rooms. Hospitality ruled the day.
  2. Before you go to market, know what you are selling and to whom.  It’s a very rare business that can (or should) be all things to all people.”  As information archivists, retrievers, and analyzers, we as librarians may try to become all things to all people.  Sometimes, it might be beneficial to step back and examine a request, procedure or purchase in an effort to determine:  Is this the appropriate department to solve this problem?  Are the resources necessary to solve this problem appropriately spent in solving it?  If we add a particular service or database, is it beneficial to a large or important contingent of stakeholders?  Hard as it is for us to swallow, it is okay to say no sometimes.  Albeit in a hospitable way.
  3. People who aren’t alerted in advance about a decision that will affect them may become angry and hurt.”  A solid principle of hospitality is good communication – making stakeholders feel they are part of a process, not hapless victims of a decision thrust upon them.  For example, many electronic database providers have recently changed their interfaces and lexicons – some drastically.  Have we made our clients aware of these changes in advance? Provided learning opportunities?  Educated ourselves as to all the intimate details of these changes so as to provide counsel to our patrons during the change-over and after?   Change is the ultimate constant, so there are opportunities for us to welcome stakeholders into the decision-making process on an almost daily basis.
  4. The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.”  Mr. Meyer provides multiple examples of mistakes that have happened in his restaurants – dinners spilled on designer ensembles, floral arrangements catching fire, guests passing out in dining rooms.  What sets a great restaurant apart from a good one, Mr. Meyer argues, is its ability to “write a great last chapter.”  Mishaps will forever go hand-in-hand with running any service organization – how we handle them determines whether one can “earn a comeback victory with the guest.”  How do we handle a missed deadline?  A response to a research request that lacked critical information when delivered?  A mistaken quote to a client on the cost of performing a search in a database?  How we follow-up with our patrons will determine whether our customers give us “a chance to earn back their favor.”

Mr. Meyer has built his entire restaurant empire on a philosophy of hospitality, generosity to the customer, and dedication to a great dining experience.  As law librarians, we can adapt these lessons to flavor our interactions with our clients to provide a superlative research experience.

[1] Quotations are drawn from Danny Meyer’s 2006 New York Times best-seller, “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” as are the basic ideas of hospitality that appear throughout the article.

AALL Program Preview: Services for Self Represented Litigants In Pennsylvania

By Joan Bellistri
Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

As a member of the Self Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) Law Librarians Working Group, I volunteered to propose a program for AALL 2011 that would provide information on how court libraries in Pennsylvania provide service to the self represented. After agreeing to come up with a program, I realized that I didn’t really know any court librarians in Pennsylvania. I just started calling court librarians in the AALL directory to find out what they do. I was able to persuade three county law librarians to talk about their experiences with self represented litigants.  Eleanor Gerlott of Lancaster County, Melanie Solon of Berks County and Tracy McCall of Dauphin County all work in court law libraries with a small staff. Still, all of them have been involved in the development of programs for the self represented in their courts. Eleanor was instrumental in the creation of the Lancaster County self help center. She manages the center, which is not on the same floor as the law library, with a staff of two. Melanie works with  her court’s Pro Se Task Force, which creates forms packets for use by self represented litigants. Tracey established the self help center in her law library and was a member of the forms committee.

The program was not accepted by the AMPC, but will be sponsored by the State, Court, and County Law Libraries Special Interest Section. The program is scheduled for Sunday, July 24, at 3:00. Only two of my original contacts, Eleanor and Melanie, will be presenting, but the program will be of interest to those of us in county law libraries that are seeing an increasing number of self represented litigants. The Value of the Public Law Library: How County Law Libraries in Pennsylvania Collaborate with the Courts to Provide Service to the Self Represented Litigant will provide information on the creation of a self help center and SRL forms development. More importantly, I hope that it will enable county law librarians to demonstrate the value of the court law library as an indispensable element in the court’s ability to provide service to the self represented litigant.  By taking the lead in the development of services to meet the needs of self represented litigants, law librarians can enhance their visibility while demonstrating their value.

Featured Articles

Featured Articles

AALL Maryland Working Group Update

By Joan M. Bellistri
Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

If you visit the AALL Government Relations Office page on AALL’s website you will see that “AALL is organizing working groups in every state to respond to challenges that threaten the authentication and preservation of online legal resources, and to contribute to the development of a ground-breaking national inventory of primary legal information at all levels of government.”

The following objectives in the AALL 2010-2013 Strategic Directions for Advocacy demonstrate the importance of the availability of authentic, permanent and publicly accessible legal information to law librarians:

Continue advocacy efforts to ensure the authentication and preservation of official digital legal resources.

Continue to advocate that government information must be in the public domain, and that information on government websites must be permanently available to the public at no charge.

The AALL Access to Electronic Legal Information Committee (AELIC) adopted “Core Values Concerning Public Information on Government Web Sites.”   These core values stress that information on government web sites be accessible, reliable, that official status of electronic versions be designated, comprehensive and preserved.  The core values act as a guide for the formation of the AALL working groups.

The goals of the AALL Working Groups are outlined in the GRO Advocacy Toolkit issue brief, “AALL State Working Groups to Ensure Access to Electronic Legal Information.” The first goal of the working groups is to challenge and stop attempts to discontinue print of legal sources unless “there is an official, authenticated online version that will be preserved for permanent public access.”  Working groups will also work to ensure that legal information included in the state’s data portal have a disclaimer stating the information is not official if the information is not authenticated or preserved.  The third task of the working groups is to contribute to the national inventory of all U.S. primary legal resources.  The data collected will be analyzed and used by LAW.gov, the Law Library of Congress and AALL policy committees.

The Maryland AALL working group was the first to form.  However, we formed our Working Group under pressure in November of 2009 when we had to respond to the prospect of the Maryland Register ceasing to publish in print without any provision for authentication or permanent public access to the proposed digital only publication.  We still have a print Register through the efforts of our working group and the advocacy efforts of the Maryland Judiciary. The whole story is included in the AALL GRO Advocacy Toolkit case study, “Maryland Working Group Stops Elimination of Print Register.”   No sooner than we began work on the Register issue did we became aware of bills introduced during the 2010 session that would have allowed that counties publishing their county codes electronically to discontinue providing print copies to certain institutions as the law currently provided.  The Working Group provided testimony and the bills were part of bills mentioned to legislators during MLA Library Day at the legislature.  As a result, only the print copies required to be sent to the county delegations were discontinued.

So from the start, the Maryland Working Group has worked to respond to challenges that threaten the authentication and preservation of online legal resources.   With our group already formed, it was easy to answer the call to contribute to the National Inventory of Primary Legal Information.  By collecting information on all of Maryland’s primary legal information we will contribute to this large national project and at the same time will have created a great resource for use in Maryland.

A spreadsheet on Google Docs is being used to collect the information for all levels of Maryland government: state, county and municipal and for all branches of government: executive, judicial and legislative, for each of the levels.  The spreadsheet is populated via a fill-in-the blank form that has a section for each level of government.  So far, we have completed the state level for all branches.  We have created a Google group for group discussion of Maryland issues and we also belong to the AALL Google group for communication with other working groups.

We met at the Maryland State Law Library in August for a demonstration of the spreadsheet and form.  We were able to add the first entries as a group. Members of the group then volunteered to collect information for the judicial and legislative branches.  The executive branch was divided alphabetically using the Maryland Manual online, Maryland.gov, and a search of the Maryland State Law Library catalog.  We gave ourselves a deadline of November 1, which we did a pretty good job of meeting.  The deadline for the national inventory is June of 2011.

Our next step is the counties.  Court librarians have already volunteered to gather the information for most of the counties but there are still some counties that are not yet spoken for.   The State Law Library has made this step easy with links to all codes and/or catalog records.  The Maryland Manual county page is another source for links to the county information.  After the county information is complete, we will then go on to the municipalities.  Luckily the Maryland State Law Library and the Maryland Manual have provided links to all of Maryland’s municipalities, as well.  (I am working on a list that will combine the two.)  Still this will be quite a job as there are about 250 municipalities in Maryland.

Emily Feldman in the AALL GRO office has just issued a challenge to all of the working groups.  Working groups are being challenged to add 75 new titles to their inventories before the end of the year. There will be a contest to see who can add 75 titles in the least amount of time and then who can add 100 or more titles before the end of the month.

If you would like to volunteer for this project we will be happy to have you.  You can contact me for more information (library@circuitcourt.org or 410-222-1387).  If you would like more information see section 4.4 of the Advocacy Toolkit on working groups and take advantage of the slides from the AALL webinar on the National Inventory.

The Maryland State Law Library Adds Live Chat to Its Reference Services

By Catherine I. McGuire
Outreach Services Law Librarian
Maryland State Law Library

Last June (2010), the Maryland State Law Library began monitoring the Maryland AskUsNow! 24/7 chat reference service for live questions, four hours per week.

The Library has been a partner with Maryland AskUsNow! since the program’s start in early 2003. Maryland AskUsNow! (http://www.askusnow.info/) is a statewide interactive chat reference service, and is a partnering member of an international consortium called the QuestionPoint 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Librarians from the AskUsNow! and partner libraries globally respond to reference questions from customers via chat.

The Maryland State Law Library has been participating, as a back-up subject specialist, in the chat service since the service began in March 2003. When a customer asks a law-related question during a live chat session and the resources or knowledge required to respond are too specialized for chat or the providing librarian, the session transcript is referred to the participating law librarians. The Charles County Public Law Library joined the State Law Library in responding to follow-up questions in 2005.

In June 2010, the State Law Library began making a law librarian available through live chat as well, four hours per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. (except holidays.) During those hours, a law question in the system is answered live when the customer needs help, not later via email.

During the hours that a law librarian is “live”, someone with a question can enter the AskUsNow! chat service in a number of ways: through participating libraries’ websites including the State Law Library’s site; through www.askusnow.info; or via a link on the Maryland People’s Law Library (www.peoples-law.info). On the People’s site, during non-live-chat hours, a link is provided so that the public can choose to email a question to the State Law Library’s reference desk. That question will be picked up and responded to through the Library’s regular email reference services.

Questions through the service have come from a broad range of Marylanders. A large portion of the AskUsNow! customers are students; however, while law-related questions have come in from the student population, there have also been a good number of non-student customers: self-represented litigants, teachers, a few attorneys, and even a few non-law fellow librarians.

The Library is tracking usage; however, from June 2010 until early January 2011, there was no wide advertisement of the availability of law librarians. This was a deliberate choice, made to allow the law librarians staffing the service to adjust to the different functionality of a virtual reference service, and to allow testing time to sort out optimal service hours and scheduling conflicts. In January 2011, the link from the Maryland People’s Law Library went live, and with it, a general announcement that the service is available. Since January, usage of the law connection on AskUsNow! has trebled. Though it’s still early to measure the consistency of the response, it is clear that the service is both utilized and appreciated.

Questions received through the service vary on topics as widely as they do at the regular reference desk. There have been consistently higher numbers of questions on family law (particularly custody issues) and foreclosure, but there also have been questions on tax issues, zoning, landlord/tenant, privacy laws, neighbor law, criminal law, and more. When responding to chat questions, chat librarians try to point the customer to web resources as much as possible. When a question clearly requires non-online materials, librarians have the option to route the question to the follow-up system, to respond in a more lengthy and comprehensive manner after researching in alternate resources.

Patron response has been very positive. After a session, patrons have the option of completing a brief online survey relating to the service. The surveys received relating to law sessions have almost uniformly come back with “excellent service.”

MLA Maryland Library Legislative Day

By Joan M. Bellistri
Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

Susan Herrick, Pat Behles, and Tonya Baroudi

On February 23, 2011, librarians from across the state came to Annapolis for the Maryland Library Association’s Maryland Library Day at the legislature.  LLAM was represented by members Joan Bellistri, Jackie Curro, Pat Behles, Susan Herrick, Tonya Baroudi, and Janet Camillo.

For the past few years, the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library has been the gathering spot for librarians to prepare for their day in Annapolis. The first task of the day was to prepare the packets for distribution to the legislators. The folders were already filled with statewide information including the LLAM brochure.  Each county brought local information specific to their county to add to the folders. Circuit court law libraries were able to add information to the county side of the folders as well.  Bags of candy, chocolate turtles, and Maryland library buttons were also distributed to be handed out with the information packets.

As packets were prepared, a continental breakfast, provided by LLAM, was available.  Hannah Powers of Alexander and Cleaver, a firm that provides lobbying assistance to MAPLA, began the breakfast briefing by reviewing the issues facing libraries in the 2011 session.  Funding for public libraries in the budget will remain at current levels rather than increase as provided by MD. CODE ANN. EDUC. §23-503.  Although this will in effect be a decrease in funding, libraries are willing to do their part in helping the state of Maryland to recover from current budget woes. With public library funding remaining flat over the last four years, public libraries will have in fact lost more than 11 million.   Mary Baykan, legislative officer of the MLA Legislative Panel, provided those who would be visiting their delegations with talking points.  Librarians would not be asking for reinstatement of funding amounts but would instead promote public and school libraries.  Included in the message was that “over three million Marylanders have library cards; a recent Maryland poll found that Marylanders use and value libraries as an essential service; and that public libraries have proven to be a life line in helping Marylanders improve their job skills, search online for employment, get an email account, fill out job applications online, and improve resume writing skills.”

The group then headed to the statehouse to hear Maryland Library Day proclaimed in the Senate.  The gallery was packed, as it was also the day that the Senate debate on the gay marriage bill was to begin. Those who were able to get a seat did find it a bit more interesting to remain in the gallery after the proclamation than in past years.

Librarians then formed into county groups and began visiting their delegations.  Some librarians were able to break for lunch at the Reynolds Tavern across the street from the courthouse – a fitting location, as it once housed the Anne Arundel Public Library in Annapolis.  The AACPLL’s “reading room” became the break spot for librarians throughout the day until it was time for the reception held in the Senate Office Building, where there was a good turnout of legislators and librarians.  This reception traditionally is another means for librarians to promote libraries to legislators,and also for librarians to talk with each another. The day on the whole is also a great opportunity for law librarians to make connections with and support our colleagues in other Maryland libraries.

Susan Herrick and Margaret Carty, MLA Executive Director

The Importance of Being “Gently Stewed”: Marion Elizabeth Rodgers on Mencken, Governor Ritchie, and Prohibition

By Sara Witman
Research Librarian
Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander

At the start of her lecture to a packed room at the Baltimore Bar Library on February 8, Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, author of Mencken: The American Iconoclast, mentioned the wine reception immediately following the talk.

“On such occasions,” she said, “I am reminded of one of Mencken’s favorite doctrines, that ‘the whole world would be better if the human race was kept gently stewed’ … which brings me to the topic of this evening.”

Rodgers kept the audience laughing throughout her lecture on “Mencken, Ritchie and Prohibition.” Her focus: how a driving force behind the repeal of Prohibition was a combination of the independent character of the state of Maryland, the 42 newspaper columns Mencken wrote against Prohibition, and Governor Albert Ritchie’s stand against enforcing the anti-liquor law.

In 1920, H.L. Mencken began writing against Prohibition in his weekly column for the Evening Sun. Governor Ritchie was a regular visitor of Sun offices and began to agree with the anti-Prohibition ideas.  When Ritchie attended a Governor’s Conference in DC, he was the only governor to protest the requirement that states enforce Prohibition, a policy that Ritchie called a federal infringement on Maryland’s rights. Interestingly, Maryland never had a state enforcement act for Prohibition.

Rodgers provided fascinating details about life in Maryland during Prohibition. According to Rodgers, by the end of Prohibition, Maryland was “one of the wettest states in the Union.” Ritchie announced that state troopers would not bother places selling alcohol in Maryland. Speakeasies were declared to be “cigar stores” with a door in the back with a window; when you knocked on the door and said, “Joe sent me,” you’d be let right in.

Another interesting fact was that many people brewed their own beer in Baltimore during the time because alcohol was very expensive. In some neighborhoods, the air on Sundays would smell deeply of hops and malt. Mencken brewed his own beer each Sunday; the guinea pigs for his brew experiments were often the musicians of the Saturday Night Club.

Rodgers mentioned that Ken Burns is currently producing a documentary about Prohibition, which should focus in part on Mencken and Baltimore, as well. That documentary is scheduled to be aired in December.

The growing friendship between Mencken and Ritchie, particularly through a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, was described beautifully by Rodgers.  Her meticulous book, Mencken: The American Iconoclast, is widely known as H.L. Mencken’s definitive biography. Additionally, when speaking about Mencken, Rodgers’ enthusiasm for the subject is contagious.

Many thanks to the Bar Library for another successful program!

Two Quarters and a Penny: Hello Title 51!

After more than eight decades of 50 titles in the U.S. Code, there is a new neighbor on the block. Bill H.R. 3237 was signed by President Barack Obama in December 18, 2010, and became Public Law 111-314. Title 51, also known as “National and Commercial Space Programs,” is a compilation of existing general law related to space programs.

The Office of Law Revision Counsel explains

Over the past five decades, a substantial amount of legislation was enacted relating to national and commercial space programs. In the United States Code, some of these provisions appeared in title 15 (Commerce and Trade), some in title 42 (The Public Health and Welfare), and some in title 49 (Transportation). No distinct title for national and commercial space programs existed in the United States Code because the organizational scheme for the Code was originally established in 1926, before such programs were contemplated.

Public Law 111-314 gathers provisions relating to national and commercial space programs, and restates the provisions as title 51, United States Code, “National and Commercial Space Programs”. Public Law 111-314 does not provide for any new programs. Nor does it modify or repeal any existing programs. Rather, the Act restates existing law in a manner adhering to the policy, intent, and purpose of the original enactments, while improving the organizational structure of the law and removing ambiguities, contradictions, and other imperfections.

But wait…there’s more. Titles 52 – 55 are also in the works. These proposed titles are:  Title 52 Voting and Elections, Title 53 Small Business, Title 54 National Park System and Title 55 Environment. As with Title 51, these titles will be comprised of exiting law and will become positive law upon enactment.

Ideas in Client Service: Assisting New Associates with Business Development

By Monique LaForce
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

In many law firms, come September, a new crop of eager first year associates joins the ranks.  As librarians, we often think of training our new associates on CALR techniques or outlining procedures for making research requests, but we don’t always think of how we might be of assistance to these new lawyers in building their future books of business.  Below are three pieces of advice for new associates looking to build their practices, and suggestions for librarians on how to assist in these endeavors.

1.  Become an amazing lawyer. When law students graduate, they are not yet superstars in their field.  They still have to learn the substantive practice area they have chosen, as well as related skills, like negotiating or trial techniques.  One of the major sources of new business for lawyers is referrals.  Becoming an expert in a particular substantive area is a great way to get those referrals.

If a new lawyer is interested in becoming a white collar trial attorney, refer her to sources such as Mauet’s Trial Technique, Courtroom Criminal Evidence by Edward J. Imwinkelried, or Lafave’s Criminal Procedure to help her develop a strong foundation in the practice area of her choice.  Assist her in setting up current alerts for developments in criminal law.  Offer to put her on the route list for any relevant publications the library might receive.  In short, help her to expand her substantive knowledge of her chosen area, so that she can build her expertise, which she can then sell to potential clients.

2.  Keep your networks warm, warmly. Again, referrals are critical for attorneys, so new associates should plan to keep their networks warm.  Of course social media is a great way to do this (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but a personalized message can go a long way in making a lasting impression.  Such personal touches might include a congratulatory letter when a former classmate changes positions or a copy of a recent article about a subject a contact is passionate about.

Remind new lawyers that they can set up free news alerts on Google or other services about companies, colleagues, or subjects.  Offer to help associates with specific business development information requests for keeping in touch with contacts.  This can be as simple as assisting in locating a snail mail address if an associate wishes to forward a hard copy of an article and has only electronic contact information for a potential client.

3. Join one organization where you will interact with people who are in a position to refer work to you. Again, referrals are a primary source of business development, so a new associate should consider joining one organization where he will come into contact with people who are in a position to hire him or refer clients to him.

For example, if an associate wishes to pursue a career in estate planning, she might volunteer to assist a non-profit organization with a legacy gifts program.  This would give her experience with structuring legacy gifts, and would bring her into contact with individuals in a position to hire her to counsel on other estate planning matters.  A librarian may offer to assist the attorney in locating a few possible organizations, based upon the attorney’s interests and chosen area of law.

While there are many other strategies associates may pursue in becoming rainmakers for their firms, these three provide opportunities for librarians to assist in building the future leaders of their law firms, and, in turn, educate new patrons on the breadth of library services available to them.

Celebrating Anna Ella Carroll

By Pat Behles
Gov. Docs. & Reference Librarian
University of Baltimore Law Library

Anna Ella Carroll

“Once in a while, a real hero is forgotten.”

Maryland honored one of those forgotten heroes, as November 20, 2010 was designated Anna Ella Carroll Day.

Anna, long footnoted in history, was a secret member of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Cloaked in obscurity and forgotten by all but a few for over 150 years,  Ann, as she was known by her contemporaries, was recognized in her home county of Dorchester with a day of festivities.  A ceremonial wreath laying (by Brig. Gen. Wilma L Vaught, USAF Ret), unveiling of a special painting, and the premiere of a movie entitled Lost River: Lincoln’s Secret Revealed.

Ann was born in 1815, and was the granddaughter of Charles Carroll and the daughter of Maryland Governor Thomas King Carroll.  Her father educated her in law and politics, which was very unusual for a woman in that era, for as a woman she could neither vote nor hold office.  Though only 15, she ran the family business and the household while her father was governor.  She was a pamphleteer and lobbyist, and she naturally gravitated towards politics.  She got a job at the National Intelligencer, a Washington investigative  newspaper.

Not satisfied with political parties of the time, she helped to form the American Party (known in history as the Know Nothing Party), noted for their nativist policies.  They backed Millard Fillmore, who lost to James Buchanan.  In 1860, the party merged with the Republican Party and helped to make the deals that led to Abraham Lincoln’s nomination as the candidate.  Ann was instrumental in suggesting to Lincoln the strategy that he used to keep Maryland from seceding; she prepared a brief for him of his presidential powers.  She continued to prepare briefs on relevant issues, including battle strategies.  Travelling to the west to visit relatives, Anna talked to troops and generals and researched the rivers in the area.  She developed the battle strategy for the Tennessee River campaign (1861) and suggested General Grant as commander. Her strategy  was accepted and used, and the victory is credited with shortening the war and saving lives.  President Lincoln couldn’t give her credit during the war for morale purposes, because she was a civilian and a woman, but promised her that he would do so after the war.  She was accepted by other members of Lincoln’s cabinet but not by the First Lady, Mary Lincoln, who was jealous of the attention that was paid to her.  When artist Francis Bicknell Carpenter painted “Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation” in 1862,  originally Ann was part of the painting as part of Lincoln’s cabinet.

Featured Member – Bernice Bernstein

Bernice Bernstein Retires from the Maryland State Law Library

By Catherine I. McGuire
Outreach Services Law Librarian
Maryland State Law Library

When Bernice Bernstein joined the then-named Maryland State Library on June 29, 1966 as Assistant Librarian, she planned to stay for a maximum of five years. Little did she know that she would be retiring, with more than eight times her original goal, in February 2011. In her more than 40 years with the State Judiciary, Bernice has seen a number of significant changes. She has worked under three Directors (Nelson Moulter, Mike Miller, and Steve Anderson.) She has seen several former law clerks become judges. And she has seen the Library through one major move and several slightly smaller renovation upheavals, including asbestos removal and the construction of the Special Collections Room.

In June 1966 when Bernice began working at the Library, the institution was housed in the Court of Appeals building in downtown Annapolis, across from the Capital. The stately facilities – three tiers with glass floors and steel stairs – were used by members of the Legislature and the Judiciary together. Bernice took the place of Ruth Burton, who had moved on to become the first head of the newly-established Legislative Services Library. In addition to her regular library duties, Bernice also handled requisitions and supplies for the legislature.

Almost simultaneously with her 1966 start, the Court of Special Appeals was established, with the swearing in of the first Court of Special Appeals judges in January 1967. Bernice recalls that the new Special Appeals judges had chambers in the Jeffrey Building on Francis Street, which ironically also housed the new Legislative Services Library.

When it was decided to tear down the old Court of Appeals building to make room for a new Legislative Services Building downtown, the Library moved to the new Courts of Appeal Building, in August 1972. The Library staff, which consisted at that time of five full-time and two part-time employees, helped by a few summer students, packed the entire collection using a color code system developed by Bernice’s co-worker, Dee Van Nest. Special attention and precautions were taken to pack and move the John James Audubon Birds of America elephant folios.

The formal relationship of the Library with the Judiciary was established in 1978, when it took on its present name of the Maryland State Law Library.

The Library’s collection up through the 1970’s had consisted mainly of print and microform materials. With the introduction of computer technology, the Library’s operation changed substantially. Bernice’s entire operation went from a manual system to a much more sophisticated system allowing faster input of information and a quicker response to inquiries, all of which she considers a plus.

One down side to the growth of computer technology, in Bernice’s opinion, has been a loss of personal interaction with customers and co-workers. Bernice remembers that once upon a time, she knew most of the regular Judiciary patrons because they came to the Library in person. Now that they can access much of their research from chambers, the Library staff and Judiciary patrons interact much more frequently via email and telephone, and less frequently in person.

The basic arrangement of the collection has stayed the same, with periodic shifting as needed by the expansion of various series. Over 40 years, the Library has added numerous online research products to enhance and expand the collection.

Over more than 40 years, Bernice has accumulated her own ‘library’ of special memories. Two stand out the most for her.

The first is when Bernice was expecting her first child. On Friday, May 6, 1977, she worked late to clear up any details before the birth. Mike Miller, Director of the Law Library at that time, mentioned Bernice’s circumstances to Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy, who then sent Bernice a personal letter congratulating her on the happy event and thanking her for her dedication.

The second memory is of her nomination by Court of Special Appeals Judge Arrie W. Davis for the Daily Record’s Unsung Legal Heroes awards program. On May 8, 2008, Bernice received word that she had been selected as one of that year’s recipients. The award is, she says, the highlight of her career.

In her years at the Library, Bernice has made many dear friends. To this day she stays in close touch with some of her original colleagues, Joan Saalwachter Princeotta, Bev Mattheau Roberts, and Pat Phillips Bucheimer.

Bernice will miss the people at the Library and the Judiciary. She says she will even miss the work. A self-described “regimented individual” who has always been “more career-minded than domesticated,” she knows the change to a more relaxed lifestyle will take some adjustment. She looks forward, however, to having more time with family and friends, and especially to not having to drive on icy winter roads. Bernice is even thinking about learning to cook!

GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) America’s Authentic Government Information

By Pat Behles
Gov. Docs. & Reference Librarian
University of Baltimore Law Library

One mission of the GPO (Government Printing Office) is to provide for, in partnership with the Federal depository libraries, perpetual, free, and ready public access to the print and digital publications of the Government.

In keeping with this mission FDsys http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/ continues to give the American people a one-stop site to authentic, published information, while enhancing the searching and browsing capabilities found on GPO Access. Transition to FDsys was completed in January 2011, with more collections to be added in updates.

FDsys provides free online access to official Federal Government publications. Through FDsys you are able to search for documents and publications; browse for documents and publications; access metadata and download documents in multiple file formats. FDsys contains almost 50 collections of Government information ranging from Congressional materials, to Presidential materials, and materials from Federal agencies. For a full list of FDsys collections visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectiontab.action

In many ways, using FDsys is similar to conducting a typical Web search. One of the changes from GPO Access is that you can easily search across multiple publications or collections from a single search box. When you enter a search query, FDsys will locate relevant information for you, just as if you were using any other search tool. After inputting your search terms, you will be provided with a list of relevant results, which can be narrowed down and filtered.

FDsys enables GPO to manage Government publications from Congress and Federal agencies that are submitted to GPO in digital form, gathered from the Federal web sites, and created by scanning previously printed publications.

FDsys will allow Federal content creators to easily create and submit content which will then be preserved, authenticated, managed and delivered upon request.

For almost 150 years, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has been the official disseminator of government documents and has assured users of their authenticity. In the 21st century, the increasing use of electronic documents poses special challenges in verifying authenticity, because digital technology makes such documents easy to alter or copy, leading to multiple non-identical versions that can be used in unauthorized or illegitimate ways

To help meet the challenge of the digital age, GPO has begun implementing digital signatures to certain electronic documents on GPO Access that not only establish GPO as the trusted information disseminator, but also provide the assurance that an electronic document has not been altered since GPO disseminated it.

Currently, the following documents are signed in FDsys:

• Additional Government Publications (select documents)
• Budget of the United States Government (FY 2010 and 2011)
• Code of Federal Regulations (select years)
• Compilation of Presidential Documents
• Congressional Bills
• Congressional Directory
• Congressional Record (Bound Edition)
• Federal Register
• House Rules and Manual
• List of CFR Sections Affected
• Public and Private Laws
• Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
• Senate Manual
• United States Code
• United States Government Manual
• United States Statutes at Large

GPO uses a digital certificate to apply digital signatures to PDF documents. In order for users to validate the certificate that was used by GPO to apply a digital signature to document, a chain of certificates or a certification path between the certificate and an established point of trust must be established, and every certificate within that path must be checked

What is GPO’s Seal of Authenticity?

The GPO Seal of Authenticity is a graphic of an eagle next to the words “Authenticated U.S. Government Information.”

What are validation icons?

Validation icons appear next to the GPO Seal of Authenticity to notify users of the content’s validity status. The following is a list of icons that are used by Adobe to convey information about digital signatures.

There are tutorials, help screens, FAQs and a manual to help with use of FDsys, as well as ask GPO functions.

Holiday Party

On December 9th over 35 LLAM members, friends and family started the season with a holiday party at The Waterfront Hotel on Thames Street in Fells Point.

The restaurant, located just across the street from the Homicide: Life in the Street building, was the perfect setting for holiday fun and cheer. The festivities included a delicious buffet dinner, an open bar and the traditional silent auction.

The auction raised $550 that will be split between the Maryland Food Bank and the LLAM Scholarship Fund. Auction bidding was active and the items included a chocolate basket, spa kit, a ceramic lamb, several books, a watercolor print, wine, a Sheep “Baddd Girl (ewe know it)” T-shirt, a Flip Video Camera (donated by Todd Henderson of West) and many other items.

Janet Camillo was awarded the Service to LLAM award. Susan Herrick expressed the appreciation of all LLAM members for Janet’s many years of service, which included nearly every possible LLAM office and committee chairmanship, as well as participation in AALL,numerous Special Interest Section committees and many other library related groups. Janet was joined at the party by her husband, Larry Johnson.

NPR Tour

By Katherine Baer
Maryland Collections & Reference Librarian
Maryland State Law Library

NPR headquarters is located in downtown DC near the DC Convention Center, and this is where many of its news programs, such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, are produced.  About 15 LLAM members were taken on a tour of their facilities guided by NPR librarians.  The librarians took us though the building, pointing out high points of the NPR news process while describing the varied duties of the librarians themselves.

The tour started in the Broadcast Library.  The Broadcast library is where most of the NPR library collections are housed.  The major collection is the recordings of NPR- produced shows.  For many years, there was only 1 copy of the shows, and they were stored on analog tape.  These reels are now kept in a climate-controlled archive connected to the library, and earlier years can be found at the National Archives.  In 1999, NPR began making show copies on CD-ROM, with both a circulating and an archival copy.  One major reason why this was done is because analog tape can get a condition called “sticky-shed syndrome”.  This is when the layers that make up the tape separate and become sticky resulting in shedding when the tape is played.  NPR actually uses a convection oven to “bake” these tapes, which fuses the layers back in place temporarily, allowing a copy to be made. Now the CDs are in the process of being saved to servers as backup to the CD copies.

The other two major collections housed in the Broadcast Library are the music and the spoken word collections.  There is a music librarian who helps directors and reporters make selections of the music that is played within segments and through the shows. As you can imagine, NPR has several thousand CDs to choose from, as well as several online sources.  Spoken Word is a collection of historical sound ranging from old radio newscasts to early TV programs, commercials, and political speeches.  Anytime you hear archival sound in an NPR program, the chances are it came from the Spoken Word collection.  If the library does not have something a producer or reporter needs, the Broadcast librarian will make every effort to find it.  The Broadcast librarians rotate manning the main information desk, and when they aren’t on reference, some are cataloging NPR programs, working on digital projects, and gearing up for a migration to a new library system.  Selection of a new system for their catalog has been quite complicated as they are trying to find a system that can work with all the other systems throughout NPR.

Inside Studio 4E.

There are also reference librarians “embedded” throughout the News division, and we met some of them as we moved on through the building.  The NPR News division is divided up between both shows and units; e.g. there is an area where all the Morning Edition staff works and another area for the Science unit, etc.  The News Division is spread over four floors and there are five librarians located throughout.

Other stops along the tour included Master Control.  This is the central area where all NPR’s input and output gets coordinated.  It looks like a space ship with hundreds of blinking lights & buttons.  It is continually manned by engineers making sure everything gets where it needs to be.  We were also able to go to one of the studios while the show Talk of the Nation was on the air.  There is a viewing area for guests where you can see both the director and the show host.  We saw their state-of-the-art Studio 4A that is used for live interviews with recording artists.  As you can imagine the digital revolution is huge at NPR, so we stopped by two projects that focus heavily on the digital world.  One was called NPR Labs and the other was Digital Music.  NPR Labs’ sole purpose is to explore new technologies and their possible uses throughout the NPR system, and Digital Music allows for a central location for musical genres and a variety of media platforms.  Lastly, we stopped by Morning Edition and heard how a show is produced, including how the various news pieces come in and how they piece together the segments.

It was fascinating journey into the behind-the-scenes action at NPR, highlighting the news, music, digital, and library missions.