Monthly Archives: December 2010

More Google Search Tips

From guest blogger:
Joelle Coachman
Research Librarian @ McKenna Long & Aldridge

Ask any librarian or search professional why they like Google, and I’ll wager they will tell you- “It’s the Boolean, Baby!”. When you are attempting to search through the millions of pages Google indexes, Boolean and other advanced search operators are indispensable tools of the trade. Here’s a round-up of helpful guides and resources on Google search.

The Digital Inspiration blog spotlights proximity searching in the post An Undocumented Search Operator. They also have a handy 1-page cheat sheet.

The Google Guide is an online interactive tutorial and reference for “experienced users, novices, and everyone in between”. In addition to a 2-page cheat sheet for Google search, they also have a cheat sheet on the advanced calculator functions in Google search.

See also our previous post Google Search Tips.

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Amazing New Resource from Stanford

From the Legal Research Plus blog:

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Supreme Court of California website, SCOCAL.

SCOCAL is a joint project between the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School, and Justia, Inc.

The site provides free access to the full text California Supreme Court opinions from 1934 to the present, along with detailed annotations of selected cases written and edited by students in our Advanced Legal Research class here at Stanford. For selected cases related California Supreme Court briefs, other documents and news items are also available, all free of charge. Users may subscribe to separate RSS feeds of new opinions, annotations, Court news and follow the site on Twitter.

Special thanks to FastCase for providing a large number of the California Supreme Court opinions available on the site.


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Information Overload: A History

“Is there anywhere on earth exempt from these swarms of new books?”

This quote was recently mentioned in an extremely fascinating Boston Globe article about the history of information overload. What is most interesting are all of the innovations that stemmed from the pressure created by the situation.

When thinking about the current situation, as it applies to law, I’m not sure we have yet seen the same types of innovations. Perhaps something is right around the corner.

Hat tip: Out of the Jungle

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That’s a “Library”?

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the ways some libraries are using new technology to better serve their patrons. For example, in Hugo, MN:

“the new library branch has no librarians, no card catalog and no comfortable chairs in which to curl up and read. Instead, the Library Express is a stack of metal lockers outside city hall. When patrons want a book or DVD, they order it online and pick it up from a digitally locked, glove-compartment- sized cubby a few days later.”

Several other cities have similar plans, such as:

  • Mesa, Ariz., plans to open a new “express” library in a strip-mall, open three days a week, with outdoor kiosks to dispense books and DVDs at all hours of the day
  • Palm Harbor, Fla., meanwhile, has offset the impact of reduced hours by installing glass-front vending machines that dispense DVDs and popular books.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by some in the public library community. James Lund, director of the Red Wing Public Library in Red Wing, Minn., is quoted in the article saying, “the basis of the vending machine is to reduce the library to a public-book locker.”

But guess what? Hugo, MN reports that “visits last year rose 10% compared to 2007“, and they plan to add more lockers very soon.

I believe that we as librarians need to adapt to our customers, not continue to ask them to adapt to us. If your customers are at the mall, add kiosks like Mesa, AZ.

How does this apply to the law librarian? Ask yourself some probing questions about your services and how your patrons use them (or don’t). For example, if your attorneys don’t visit the library or your intranet page, how can you bring the information to the pages or places where they ARE? Is it vitally important to maintain something that no one uses or more important to provide services that are used and valued?

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