Explorations with Information and Technology

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July 2019

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Latest from Explorations with Information and Technology

I used to play around a lot with productivity apps. After awhile, my world settled enough that either there weren’t a lot of new apps or I wasn’t as interested in chasing them. Maybe I reached peak productivity. The release of Windows 10 has brought me to Microsoft Sticky Notes. I … like them. But I can be a fickle consumer. I decided to try them out against Google’s Keep to see if either provided…
Over a decade ago, someone told me that print legal texts only had about 5 more years to go. Even by that time, the e-book had a place in the information world. It continues to escape law library funders and governance boards why we haven’t converted entirely to this format. One gets the sense sometimes that they view the failure to do so reflects backwards thinking on the part of law librarians. At the risk…
I needed to find a government document. I had seen a link to the document on a site that was not controlled by the US government, so it was not the content I was looking for so much as an authoritative copy. It was unlikely that many other people were looking for it. After emailing a variety of government departments, I got a copy but the document was not publicly accessible anywhere. But it made…
Law libraries are continually challenged to shift the perspective that a library is a library is a library. This perspective can lead a governance board or funder to see a public library trend and assume that the same concepts apply to a law library. One of the ways I’ve seen this occur is in how people view collection access. While serendipity is a normal finding tool in public libraries, legal researchers may be more focused…
I’m going to touch on audience segmentation. I’ve had a couple of discussions since the start of the year about law libraries, usage, and audiences. In most cases, one audience is “the lawyers.” In courthouse law library contexts, we also have “the public” and “the judges.” If you stop there, though, I think you can miss nuance that may help you think about how to improve your service delivery. Just as important, I think there…
We are bound by our margins. I was thinking about information presentation when I was working on a personnel issue this week. Our corporate organization chart is a set of linked PDFs. My team – library, corporate records, and archives – lives on one page. An 8.5″ x 11″ (or almost A4) page. I was struck by how we continue to present digital information constrained by its physical analog. So many questions. I don’t really…
The reference question came from the C-suite. Normally, we run our reference inquiries through a traditional process but sometimes they travel down the hierarchy. Did we have access to this article in this journal? The answer: no. We spend literal millions of dollars to have access to legal information and don’t have a journal article. The why: it’s complicated. Your response to a request from a senior executive (managing partner, dean, senior judge) may…
I try to avoid red meat posts. When I see people making bad decisions about libraries, it’s easy to rile people up. Libraries are an easy thing to support because they often have a positive connotation: smells, experiences reading, free-to-access learning. Which may be why organizations cut the staff instead of the things that are used, without realizing that a library exists only with its staff, not because of its information. This whole post was…
It has been almost a year of working from home in the pandemic. This time last year, I worked at an organization with a dedicated IT team, and took a 2 hour commute to and from our physical space. Now? I work at an organization with a dedicated IT team but on my own internet, my own computer, my own software licenses, and reliant on my own know how. The regular interruptions caused by keeping…