Monday, October 11, 2010

We've Moved!

The RIPS Law Librarian has moved to WordPress. You can check us out at Please update your feeds accordingly.

RIPS members: We will add the RIPS email address to the subscription part of the new blog, so hopefully your receipt of blog postings via email will continue uninterrupted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When Bad Graphs Happen to Good Papers

For those of us who assist faculty or students in their empirical research endeavors , I thought I would highlight a resource that we can share with them to prevent bad graphs from happening to good papers.

"Legal Writing: Getting it Right and Getting it Written" (5th ed. Thomson West 2010) by Mary Barnard Ray and Jill J. Ramsfield, is likely already part of your collection of legal writing texts. However, one part of the book you may not have known about is the advice given on how to use graphics and which form is most appropriate to use (pages 174-184). Specifically, the authors provide pointers on good graph design and when it's better to stick the graphs at the end as an appendix rather than embedding them within the document. They also provide clarification on the proper uses of pie charts, bar graphs, stacked bar graphs or side-by-side bar graphs, line graphs, and tables.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

RIPS Annual Meeting Follow-up: The Condensed Version

Fellow RIPSters,

There will be a more substantive post later which includes the Annual Chair Report to AALL, but here are some brief notes on RIPS activities at the 2010 AALL Annual Meeting in Denver.

  • Word of mouth on the programs we sponsored was highly positive.
  • The C8 Forum sparked such a lively discussion that we ran a little long. Apologies to the FCIL-SIS for the inconvenience.
  • There was a full house for the Research Instruction Roundtable, and the Patron Services Roundtable was well attended considering a lot of us were hitting the proverbial wall by Monday evening. The presence of private, court, and agency librarians helped spark the hour long discussions
  • The Breakfast/Business Meeting was our largest to date, and the Hyatt's food was well received. Our mascot, Puron the Penguin was passed along to the 2010-2011 Chair, Katie Brown. The rest of this year's Executive Board consists of Kris Helge (Texas Wesleyan), Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect; Maribel Nash (Chicago Kent), Secretary/Treasurer; Uwe Beltz (Texas Tech) & Liz McCurry (Charlotte School of Law), Members at Large; and me as Past Chair.
  • Jessie Burchfield, from the University of Arkansas - Little Rock, and Duane Strojny, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School were named co-recipients of the 2010 RIPS Star Award.
  • The Alphabet Soup reception was highly attended, and the addition of the Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award announcement made it an even better event.
  • Lots of interest in the SIS was shown among CONELL attendees, folks stopping by the Activities Area table, and AALL as a whole. Congratulations to Marianne Rogers, (York University Law Library) and Shira Megerman (soon to be at the University of Florida Law Library) for winning our prize drawings.

Thank you to everyone who made it such a terrific Annual Meeting and a fantastic year for RIPS. I was honored to be a part of it.

Robb Farmer, Past Chair RIPS-SIS

Thursday, July 8, 2010

2010 RIPS Business Meeting Financial Report

Both in an effort to go green, and for those members unable to attend, here are some of the supporting documents for this year's RIPS Business Meeting and Breakfast held Monday, July 12th at 7:15 a.m. Special thanks to Lynn Murray, our Secretary/Treasurer.

Robb Farmer, outgoing Chair, RIPS-SIS

RIPS Roundtables at the AALL Annual Meeting

OK, I know I'm going blog-post heavy today, but please bear with me for another important announcement. Each year, RIPS hosts two roundtable discussions - one for each of the missions that make up our acronym- and we hope to see you there.

The Research Instruction Roundtable is scheduled for Sunday from 5:30 - 6:30 in CCC 608. As always, it's a chance to meet with other librarians who help their patrons/attorneys/students/faculty learn how to use various legal resources. While recent roundtables have been a little heavy on the academia, they are neither just for academics, nor only for RIPS members. So, if you know anyone from PLL who doesn't have an RI roundtable to go to, drag them to ours.

The Patron Services Roundtable is scheduled for Monday, but is also from 5:30 - 6:30 and in CCC 608. So, if you want to come to both, we've made it easy on you. The Patron Services Roundtable has the potential to be the most free-wheeling discussion out there, since we all serve patrons, no matter what else we do.

There's no real theme to our Roundtables this year. This is your chance to discuss what YOU think is important and timely in regard to these missions. We all have gripes, we all have successes, and we all have war stories. This is a chance to share what worked, what didn't, and what you're concerned with for the near future. The issues that come out of these discussions help shape what RIPS can and will do in the next year. Also, not so coincidentally, there are RIPS committees focused on both missions, in case you want more direct involvement.

Robb Farmer, RIPS-SIS chair

RIPS Committee Meetings and Information Sessions in Denver

Whether you're a long-time member or one of the new additions to RIPS, one of the best ways to get involved and serve the organization is to join one of our committees. We have several standing committees, while other ad hoc committees may be organized for special projects or concerns.

Brief meetings and informational sessions for all our current committees will be held at Noon on Monday, July 12th in CCC Room 107. There you can learn about the missions of each committee, meet current Chairs, and decide which ones may be right for you. We would especially welcome involvement from private librarians; state, court & county librarians; technical services librarians; new librarians and students.

Committees include:

Programming - Annual meeting programming has been a hot button issue (next year's C8?) recently, and as an SIS, we have an automatic bid for each year's annual meeting. This committee helps identify, select, and implement educational programs suitable for RIPS's large and diverse membership. Programming includes official AALL Annual Meeting programs; sessions produced by RIPS like the annual C8 forum; or virtual/distance learning like webinars.

Patron Services - One of the two primary missions that give our SIS its name. No matter what your job description or where you work, you serve patrons in some way. This committee works to make that service more effective and efficient, through such means as planning the Annual Meeting roundtable and collecting information like policies, forms, and training guides.

Research Instruction - Focusing on our other primary mission, this committee helps plan the Annual Meeting roundtable and address issues on teaching legal resources to our different patron groups. Recently, a law librarian blog post commented that the PLL-SIS did not have an RI roundtable. While that may change, we'd gladly let private law librarians to address their research instruction issues on our committee.

Legal Research Teach-In: This committee is responsible for the Legal Research Teach In Kit, a RIPS publication compiling sample instructional materials such as research guides, lesson plans, and presentations.

Public Relations: This Committee helps spread the good word about RIPS to AALL, potential members, and to our profession.

There are also a couple of special committees on the horizon. Details on those are coming soon. If you're interested in committee work, but can't make the informational session, don't fret. Just let me know, and I'll get you in touch with the right person. We look forward to working with you.

Robb Farmer, RIPS-SIS Chair

RIPS Programming at the 2010 AALL Annual Meeting

A wise man once told me that repeated reminders, according to advertising methodology, get them in the door. So, though we've said it before, we're saying it again. Mark your calendars, because RIPS is bringing you lots of great education opportunities for you in Denver. Details are below.Special thanks to rising Chair Katie Brown and the Programming Committee for identifying great programs to sponsor.

Robb Farmer, RIPS-SIS Chair

2010 RIPS C8 Topical Forum: To Serve Man: Patron Services to the Disadvantaged During and After the Downturn.

Monday, July 12, 10:45

CCC Room 109

Last year, we looked at the recent economic turmoil with an eye toward how law libraries might turn adversity into opportunity. Now, we turn our attention outward to examine how difficult times affects law librarianship's mission in serving low income, tribal, disabled, incarcerated, non-English speaking, and other underrepresented populations. The discussion will be led by a panel, but we want you to offer your own questions, opinions, and experiences.

What is it you do again? Marketing the patron services of the traditional to the nontraditional librarian

Monday July 12 8:45

CCC-Room 201-203

People often get in a rut when marketing their services to their patrons. This program will expose the audience to the marketing of services at a variety of libraries. The format for the program will be a round robin/poster session.

Behind the Scenes at the U.S. EPA

Sunday July 11 4:15

CCC-Room 108-112

Law librarians are familiar with how to research regulations. But do they know about the documents generated in the regulatory process, or how they can best serve non-legal professionals seeking this information? A research chemist and law librarian from the United States Environmental Protection Agency will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the regulatory process

Lies, Damned Lies, and Reference Statistics: Maximizing Your Data Efficiency

Monday, July 12 10:00

CCC-Room 201-203

While data about reference transactions can prove extremely useful for evaluating services, many librarians express unhappiness with their existing methods of collection and analysis. Before reinventing the wheel (again), come to this lively and opinionated evaluation of the most popular techniques for collecting reference statistics.

Beyond (But Within) the Academy: Teaching Research in Law School Clinics

Tuesday July 13 10:45

CCC-Room 201-203

Clinical education provides law librarians with a tremendous teaching opportunity for many reasons. First, the clinics are in line with the Carnegie Report's recommendation for experiential learning. The classes are relevant and specific, which benefits adult learners. Second, many clinics are transactional. Librarians can teach an area not often covered in the traditional legal research curriculum. Finally, librarians can become integrated in Course Management Systems (CMS). CMS software generally excludes libraries in their design, so faculty members overlook the role librarians can play in their classes. During this session, a panel of librarians will discuss the role their libraries play in clinical education, and provide suggestions on how your library can become better integrated with your law school clinics.