AALL Member Recognized for Involvement in National Day of Civic Hacking

by Catherine Lemmer

Technical.ly identified “7 awesome projects from this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking.”   The nationwide event was held on June 6 and organized by Code for America. The event convened hundreds of civic-minded hackers in cities across the U.S.

At number 5 on the “awesome projects” list was Code for Kansas City. Code for KC partnered with the University of Missouri, Kansas City’s School of Law. UMKC Law School’s Dean Ellen Suni and Michael Robak, Associate Director of the Law Library/Director of Law School Information Technology (AALL Member), developed the ideas for the Code for KC hackers. The KC hackers, who are working on the projects through November, are building a platform for developers and citizens to request data sets from the government and a parcel assessment tool that will allow interested parties to assess whether a particular parcel of land is suitable for a building project using zoning and parcel size specification.

Posted in AALL Annoucements | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Promoting Faculty Scholarship

by Jamie Baker

Most law schools are players in the zero-sum game of the US News ranking system. The overall score in this system is influenced in large part—nearly 40%—by quality assessment from peer academics, lawyers, and judges. One of the ways to help this score is by upping the reputation of the school through the promotion of faculty scholarship.

The librarian workflow can promote faculty scholarship in a variety of ways. One option is to track faculty scholarship alerts. A librarian can set up alerts in the major legal databases and various search engines to track faculty publications. Then, for example, when an alert occurs for a new article, the librarian can capture the PDF of the article and upload it to SSRN and to the institutional repository. One of the best ways to capture the PDF is to ask the individual faculty member for the PDF offprint that is usually sent by the publishing journal.

A very important part of uploading the article to SSRN and the institutional repository is to make sure that each article has an abstract that is search-engine optimized. SSRN does not perform full-text searching; it only searches fields such as title, abstract, and keywords, so a well-optimized abstract is essential for discoverability. A post by Wiley seconds this and offers great examples of a well-optimized abstract versus a poorly-optimized abstract. Optimizing abstracts for search engines will greatly increase an article’s chance of being viewed and linked in another work, which will help to increase the article’s ranking in Google search results.

Another trick is to foster more links to faculty articles. As an article from bepress points out, “[g]etting more links to your repository from reputable sites is probably your most powerful SEO tool. Search engines count the number of websites that link to yours, placing more value on links deemed to be from very reputable or popular sites.” bepress, Search Engine Optimization: How to Attract More Visitors to Your Repository, Digital Commons Reference Material and User Guides, Paper 35 (July 2012). This not only works for linking to the institutional repository but also to the individual article on SSRN. To this end, after an article has been uploaded to SSRN and the institutional repository, there are many ways that a librarian can promote the scholarship to “get more links.”

What can your campaign to encourage links include? Here are some ideas from bepress:

  • Link to the repository from your institution’s home page, the library’s website, and other relevant pages. For example, department web pages should link to any corresponding publications in the repository.
  • Add RSS feeds from your repository to the library or a departmental website.
  • Encourage faculty to link to their articles from personal websites, blogs, related societies’ web pages, and even social media sites like Facebook.
  • Link to repository content from related Wikipedia pages, as appropriate. Use the “edit” links on the Wikipedia page to suggest your repository content as a reference or further reading. Use the Wikipedia citation templates to enter an article as a citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_templates.
  • Web Directories: Web directories are human-edited, categorical listings of websites. Search engines consider a listing here as a positive rating factor. Consider submitting your repository to Open Directory Project (DMOZ), journals to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and scientific content to SCIRUS. Submit to other relevant directories as you discover them.”

bepress, Search Engine Optimization: How to Attract More Visitors to Your Repository Digital Commons Reference Material and User Guides, Paper 35 (July 2012).

Librarians are in the best position to create a systematic workflow to promote and maximize faculty scholarship and contribute to positive quality-assessment rankings. I am developing this workflow at my institution, and I would love to hear what others are doing to promote faculty scholarship.

Posted in Faculty services | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Last Thing On My Summer To-Do List

by Catherine Lemmer

2 Days without mentioning or alluding to the Legal Tech Audit or D. Casey Flaherty and Andrew Perlman.  
~Monica Sandler, Pinhawk Education and Training Daily

Monica Sandler‘s tongue-in-check postscript in today’s edition of PinHawk’s Education and Training Daily newsletter reminded me of a “to-do” item that has been on my list since the April 2015 ABA Tech Show in Chicago. The ABA Tech Show was the third time that I’ve seen Casey Flaherty, former in-house counsel for Kia Motors America, pitch his “legal tech audit.” On stage with Mr. Flaherty for this presentation was Andrew Perlman, professor and director of the Institute of Law Practice Technology and Innovation at Suffolk University Law School. As noted on the Institute’s website, Continue reading

Posted in Legal Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Law Librarianship featured in Library Journal

from the Editor

It’s just come to my attention that two law librarians—and RIPS members—from West Virginia University College of Law have published a piece in Library Journal‘s Academic Libraries e-newswire entitled The Future of Academic Law Librarianship. This opinion piece by Nicholas F. Stump and J.R. Kerns will likely be of interest to RIPS members.  It’s great to see fellow law librarians reaching a wider audience!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Value of Teaching Print Legal Research

by Tara Mospan

This summer I taught an Intensive Legal Research class composed entirely of 2Ls, in which not a single student had ever used print resources to locate primary law. My students were not trained in print legal research in their 1L research and writing course and had never had a reason to pull any print resources off the shelves—not until the first day of this summer course, at least, when they found out they would have a graded assignment requiring them to do just that. Continue reading

Posted in Information Literacy, Legal Research, Legal Research Instruction, practice ready, RIPS blog | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Legal Research “Junk Drawer,” or, Advanced Factual Research

by: Ashley Ahlbrand

No two legal research courses are exactly alike. Some focus on process, perhaps developed around one or two hypotheticals throughout the semester; others are junkdrawerbibliographic, with an aim to demonstrate a vast array of sources. Some flip the classroom; others embrace the traditional lecture method. Some teach legal research at a broad level; others are specialized to particular areas of law. Despite the many differences that can be found among these courses, it’s safe to say that they share the same goal: student mastery of key legal resources. That is, we all hope that, after taking our class, our students will be able to highlight the key legal issues in a client’s case, identify the appropriate sources to research those issues, and produce a well-reasoned, well-researched solution to the client’s situation. After all, the class is about legal research. Continue reading

Posted in Factual & Investigative Research, Legal Research Instruction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Your Story to Inspire Students

by Christina Glon

Dear Readers: This post is written by Christina Glon of Emory University School of Law. Christina will be joining the ranks of our regular contributors in August, but I wanted to share this post now. ~The Editor.

We all took our own path into law librarianship, and no two stories are alike. I was fortunate enough to have practiced law for seven years in two dramatically different legal whatsyourstorysettings before discovering librarianship. During that time, I had the privilege (or burden) of doing some decidedly dull work as well as the opportunity to work on some fascinating cases. In my short time working with law students, I have discovered that any story about legal work is fascinating to those who are chomping at the bit to get through law school and finally be “a lawyer.” I noticed that whenever I launched into one of my “I remember a case where…” stories, I suddenly became more interesting than Facebook. They were hooked, getting a behind-the-scenes look at what life will be like as a lawyer. Anyone who has ever stood in front of a class of law students knows getting Continue reading

Posted in Teaching (general) | Tagged , | Leave a comment