Explorations with Information and Technology

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July 2019

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I do a lot of things from habit, moving from one thing to the next almost by rote. One can forget to stop every so often and look around and say, “what else can I improve while I’m here?” Over the last year, I had a number of opportunities to reflect on this as I was plugging away at an accessibility project. The biggest hurdle about change may be stopping to make a deliberate choice…
Leadership requires patience. Some things will take years to unfold. That’s the job. If you’re good at it, and circumstances allow, you’ll see your strategy work out. For more than a decade, I have kept watch for opportunities to make my staff positions less precarious. Fortunately, it’s been working out. For context, I manage a variety of information professionals. We don’t all work in the library domain and so our operational demands vary. But most…
I’m confident our law library is not alone this winter when it comes to planning for straitened circumstances next year. 2021 will be a year of reduced budgets. We lost staff positions and funding equivalent to 15% of our 2020 budget, which itself had been reduced from 2019 by 8%. As they say, anyone can manage when things are going well. The hard choices are where you earn your keep. Budget cuts are always hard.…
It is normal to follow patterns, habits that give us comfort. Or that make our environment familiar. The last 8 months have disrupted those patterns. I’m a morning person, but without a 2 hour commute, my decade-long morning habits have been hard to recreate. I’ve started to think about how, as we approach a year whose patterns may be more familiar, I will need to remember that 2020 was like no other for law libraries.…
It can easy to carp about other people when you have a blog but I try to be constructive. I have been thinking about other ways of delivering simple video-based instruction. Simple for the presenter but also fully utilizing the technology available. As I noted in a recent post, you can’t just wing it. But where to start? I decided I would walk through how to use OBS Studio to create more flexible information…
I find the creation of new law libraries an unusual and curious occasion. Legal information delivery does not change rapidly. We may see more information but the delivery tools increment slowly over time. When someone decides to create (or recreate) an actual law library, it’s an opportunity to see what their vision of the future is. In at least two US counties, it’s very much an old-fashioned approach to legal research. The Way Things Were…
One of my favorite activities is to talk to other law library directors. A colleague and I scheduled a call to talk about how law libraries are adapting during the pandemic. They are at a same-but-different type of law library. While we overlap in service delivery, the context is not identical. That always gives an opportunity to surface ideas that you might otherwise stow in a drawer as not being feasible. We are often told…
The pandemic has been terrible for many who have lost loved ones or continue to suffer from the effects of the virus. It’s impact has changed our behaviors. But in some ways, we have tried to find analogs for old customs and habits that don’t make any sense. It’s made me rethink whether some customs – like hand shaking – are worth doing. Open Hand, Open Heart I have always believed the reason for the
Law libraries license and purchase content and access. The costs of those things are volatile. Sometimes a publisher ships more or fewer items. Sometimes those items, no matter how numerous, cost more. The point is that a budget is not meant to be ESP. So when funders come to us at year end and extract money, it can create unnecessary pain. A couple of government law libraries are going through that right now. They rob