BYOD – Apps for Legal Research

Emerging Technology Planning:

As found in one study concerning, “Apps-based access to library materials and programs: 35% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 28% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.” BYOD (Bring YourOwn Device) sessions are increasing in popularity as shown in the 2016 Horizon Report. Studies have found that, “While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working” (Horizon, p.  2016) BYOD programming in which the lifestyle and communication customs of the patron are considered are proving to be a new path forward for libraries. It can also be seen that, “This development is ultimately less about the devices and more about the content that can be loaded onto them; BYOD enables students and educators to leverage the tools that make them most efficient, including location-based services, social networks, and video streaming” (Horizon, 2016).

Goals:

The goal of this project is to launch a program in which the research librarians are able to teach students, at the beginning of each semester, about how they can now access legal databases on their mobile phones.

By encouraging students to utilize these technologies, the librarians are learning how the applications for these three, main, legal databases can revolutionize how and when students are conducting their research. HeinOnline, WestLaw, and Lexis Advance are three massive legal databases that have an equally large price tag. Our library pays for these databases so that our students can have access to the most up to date legal information, however, sometimes students and professors are unfamiliar or unaware of all they have available through these databases. By integrating them into their phones, there is possibly a higher chance that students will start their researching in the database apps rather than just googling their query. The main objective of this project is to show patrons how to research in the apps, explore the interesting and helpful tools in each app, and to simultaneously create connections between the students and professors with the librarians.

Audience:

As stated previously, these databases are expensive. They are competitors in the legal research world, but all have something unique to offer. Due to the limited time that students will have access to all of these databases, it is important to teach them how to research in all three databases so that they are prepared for their future as legal researchers. Many law firms can only afford one of these legal databases, which makes knowing how to research in all three databases imperative and beneficial for their future endeavors. Student will not be the only ones benefiting from this training as professors will also be invited to learn how to integrate their researching onto their mobile phones. Professors tend to be the first ones to contact research librarians before they start their own cursory researching (meaning they depend heavily on the librarians to conduct research for them). By teaching them how to use these mobile apps to conduct research, it might empower them to start their research on their phones before contacting the research librarians for help. While it is always a good thing that the research librarians are still needed and utilized, it can be a bit overwhelming for them when they are trying to balance the research needs of both students and professors.

Lastly, due to the nature of this particular library, being a private law school, the audience for this program can only be law students and professors. Given the high cost of these databases, only law students enrolled and professors working at this law school will have access to these databases on their computers and mobile devices.

Action Brief Statement:

Convince law students and professors that by using legal research database phone apps they will be able to conduct their research from anywhere which will enhance their accessibility to information because not only are these databases expensive and often underused, they are amazing free resources!

Evidence and Resources:

This article was pretty helpful as it not only addresses emerging trends in technology for libraries, but specifically addresses the needs of academic libraries. Accessibility was one trend addressed in in this article that seemed relevant for this project. Jack Suess talks about an app called Access for All that saves settings across all programs and apps. Given that not all third party apps will work with certain smartphone settings, Suess argues that it’s important for libraries to encourage vendors to adhere to the Access for All technologies so that their services allow for equal access to materials and information, which is the core of the purpose of libraries.

Many smartphones today allow for font sizes to be enlarged for those that may have visual impairments. These settings will often also apply to third party apps making searching in these apps easier for those that may have trouble seeing. Similarly voice to text capabilities for searching and taking notes within these apps make them easier to use and navigate through for those with varying barriers of accessibility. There are also many settings and applications available to smartphone users that can help those with hearing, physical/and or motor skill disabilities. Features like “Speak Screen” on the iPhone can also help a user hear what is written in an article on an app simply by saying the command to Siri. When it comes to accessibility, smartphone are increasing their technologies can capabilities every day, making their integration into library programming and services a tool to increase the libraries accessibility. This integration of technology and education about various tools available to those with accessibility issues make them a fantastic tool for libraries.

With attention given to integration mobile devices into library programming in general, Bryan Alexander writes, “growing use of mobile for off-campus work (home, community involvement, study abroad, research, etc.)…  possible realization that underserved populations use mobile more than the typical college audience; we could see more mobile-first design to meet that group.” Due to the reality that research is occurring more and more outside of the library walls, such a program would draw students and professors into the library to teach them how to continue their research in a way that they might be more comfortable with. All of these legal database apps allow for proxy access which lessens the amount of logging in that professors and students would have to do while on campus or at home. Many people may have a smartphone or mobile device as their main tool for researching if the cost of a laptop is too high. For many students, this is often the case. By catering to these realities, libraries can work to meet their patrons where they are.

Again, Jack Suess says, “In focus groups we did with students in early 2015, we heard students ask us why our services aren’t mobile-friendly when everything else is. We have to make the transition to a mobile-first strategy… I believe by providing compelling content and tools we will see more faculty accept mobile devices in their classroom.” By providing this program for both professors and students, the goal is also to encourage professors to promote these apps once they become familiar and comfortable with the researching capabilities available.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy:

The mission of this programming is to encourage users to integrate their legal research into their everyday life and to utilize these resources in the best way possible for their needs. By keeping this the main focus of this programming, in 5-10 years when technologies may have changed drastically, it allows for this programming to constantly be evaluated and measured against the needs of the users. Libraries can already see how often their databases are used, so it makes sense to track their usage statistics of these three legal databases to see whether or not this programming ups their usage statistics. If nothing changes, or worse, if their usage statistics go down, it might be time to not only deeply consider this programming but also the helpfulness of these legal databases.

As far as involvement for policies, it would be smart to seek the advice of all of the library staff, initially, given that they might offer different insights into what users might need from this program. The systems librarian could provide insight into how to integrate these apps into the OPAC as well as how to keep users connected from within and outside of the library walls. The collection development librarian knows the ins and outs of the services offered by each database and could help the research and instruction librarians uncover hidden resources within the databases. From there, I think letting the instruction librarians experiment with the apps before their programming begins and seeking the input of a few current student users is a great place to continue the development. Once the programming is over, as can be seen by numerous libraries experimenting with apps ( Launching Library Apps), evaluation is the key to keeping this program relevant and useful to users. Seeking and taking seriously the experiences and reflections from the first group of attendees will allow for the program to grow and transform as technology and the needs of patrons evolve. Hopefully, these apps will also change over time. Staying up to date with need tools and capabilities within these apps can allow for a program like this one to stay helpful.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Considering that these databases are already being paid for from the library budget and downloading the apps is free, the only costs associated with this programming would be advertising, staff time, and snacks. Advertising would not take up too much money due to the resources available to the library through the university. Posters can be made with minimal money from the library budget, email blasts to students and online newsletters are virtually free (minus the staff time it takes to create them), and reserving space and technology (a computer and projector for presenting the information, chairs, tables, etc) can all be arranged for free through the university. One thing I have learned by working with law students is that the best way to draw them in is to advertise free food. It sounds cliche, but telling someone there will be free pizza at an event is almost a sure fire way to draw them into the room. Given that there a are around 300 students at this law school, only 100 of which are new law students, and classrooms can hold a maximum of 75 students, these sessions will need pizza for $75 students. By ordering through on campus catering, a pizza costs about $15 and has 8 slices. If each student gets 2 slices of pizza, (150 slices needed) 18.75 (call if 19) pizzas are needed. Therefore, $285 is needed for pizza. By allotting $15 for napkins and plates, a total of $300 is needed for food. (Pizza math is my favorite kind of math!)

So, as long as there is built in time for staff and librarians to work on this project, this is a relatively low budget programming initiative. This program is also a low cost way to gauge whether or not a custom built library app would be worth the time and cost needed to build. Before jumping into such an endeavor, that, by the time it is created could be irrelevant or go unused, a program in which we track and examine how third party apps are used with library services provides a great opportunity to make this decision.   

Action Steps & Timeline:

I think the timeline for this project can be relatively quick considering most of the work needs to be done on the library end. Explore these apps and the best ways to use them as well as fun features they offer is going to be the most time consuming part. This could definitely be a summer project, given that summer school is not as popular in law school as it may be in other academic settings, starting with the research and development stage happening right after school ends in May. Taking June as the time to explore what resources professors are assigning, projects they have coming up for the semester, and what they want to see students to be able to do is a good jumping off place. From there, the librarians can decide how to best meet the needs of the professors. They can also see what research needs the professors have for their own research.

Next, I think developing a presentation or video that explains how these apps work is a good step forward in developing the program. Once that presentation is done and rehearsed, it is time to get advertising materials created and organized. Having this program occur at the beginning of each semester, possibly during orientation, give students the chance to learn about these tools before they might need them. Similarly, it introduces students to the law research librarians at the first chance they can meet. Advertising materials could include fliers that can be posted around campus, postcard sized descriptions of the apps to be placed in orientation packets, and emails with hyperlinks to guides and videos that could be helpful (see below). Also- it is key to have the time, date, and free pizza details included on each of these pieces of advertisement! While we want to avoid bombarding them with too much information, this is a key time to hook them into the library and get them talking with fellow students as well as the research librarians. The key players in this programming are the research librarians. Ensuring that they have the time and energy to implement such a program, given their hefty schedules, is imperative for this program’s success. A timeline of three months, possibly less, to research and design this program is necessary.

After the programming is over, a survey should be sent out to attendees to see how they thought the session went and to gain an insights into improvements that can be made for future sessions. This survey can be put together before the program is offered, in the summer when the librarians have a lighter load due to students and professors taking vacations and classes being suspended. Two months after the programming, it would be wise to start to monitor the usage statistics of the databases to see if the programming helped improve usage of each database. By evaluating now, tweaks can be made to the program before spring orientation starts in the next year. This cycle can be repeated each semester with summer sessions reserved for major overhauls and changes to be made to the program if necessary.  

Videos:  

LexisAdvance 

WestLaw

Guides

HeinOnline

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: (Is this a new service that requires staff? Where will staff (or other) hours come from? Brainstorm some creative, outside-the-box ideas for generating hours.)

This is a new service that will require some staff time from everyone. Everyone on staff will need to offer some sort of input into how the project should be run, the research librarians will need to create the project, and the director will need to approve the project. The administrative assistant will be in charge of ordering food, supplies, and the room/technology needed for the program. Given that the bulk of this planning will be done during the summer when the tasks of all of the library can be lessened, this is the perfect time to create this program without burning out staff or needed to generate extra time/money for staff. Summer project that evaluate all aspects of the library can be reduced, and one team can be assigned to craft this program rather than evaluating the physical collection or the WebPAC (two common summer committees at this library). To keep it fun, it could also be a good idea to reach out to other local law libraries that may have already integrated these apps into their library programming. In doing so, our staff could learn some new ideas for how to start this project or see if anyone from other libraries would be interested in designing the program with our library.

Training for this Technology or Service:  

I think all library staff should view the training programming before it is presented to students and faculty. In doing so, they might be able to offer feedback about strong and weak parts of the presentation. The research librarians will be charged with designing the training. Keep the program itself to only an hour (at max) allows for those training to stay alert and concentrated while also keeping the viewers only for a limited amount of time. Having these sessions take place around lunchtime, so students can refuel while learning about apps and using their phones allows for this program to be physically and mentally nourishing. If this session is occurring during the school year, this is also the time when there are breaks in classes, so more students and professors will be able to attend the sessions. By having all library staff trained, they can also help students when they need it. Often students will see a staff person and, while it may not be their area of expertise, they will ask them a question about research. By having each staff person trained, they can all get students going in the right direction and can also help connect them with others on staff that can assist them further.

Promotion & Marketing:

Along with internal school promotions, it think it would be a great idea to reach out to these vendors to see if they have more ideas, tools, or free stuff to give away to promote their services. Students love free stuff! Highlighters and sticky notes are two of the most coveted resources of many law students given that they help them with their researching. By having these tools imprinted with the WestLaw App or the HeinOnline App, they may be reminded of the tool each time they go to take notes in class or in their text book. Communicating with librarians outside of our institution will also allow us to market this program to eventually be used in other schools or open to more than just our students. Lawyers that need continuing education credits could be invited to learn about emerging technologies in the legal field that can help them do their job better by doing more efficient researching on their phones.  

References:

Accessibility features: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/learning-and-literacy/

Accessibility: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/learning-and-literacy/

Boyington, B. (2014).  https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2014/03/19/11-apps-for-law-school-students

Horizon Report (2016): http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2016-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf

Kelly, R (2016). https://campustechnology.com/Articles/2016/01/13/9-Ed-Tech-Trends-to-Watch-in-2016.aspx?Page=1

Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., & Purcell, K. (2013). Library Services in the Digital Age. Pew Internet & American Life Project. http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/22/library-services/

 

Making room for makerspaces

I’m choosing to focus on the hyperlinked academic library, but specifically, the law library and it’s changing landscapes. Much of the literature we have been reading pertains to changing the space of the library as the materials users are needing and wanting also evolves. In law specifically, the print materials quickly become out of date at the law changes, literally every day. Due to this, digital resources are often the surest and quickest way to get the most accurate answer to a query about a specific legal matter. This trend is not specific to law libraries, but it does mean that a majority of our collection is unnecessary for a good portion of our users. As Keith Webster writes, “We need to rethink our business model for the digital age and redesign our model of interaction with the research community” (Webster, 2017). I think this also means we need to rethink the physical space and how we use it in our libraries.

One idea that has caught my eye throughout my research about changing physical spaces is the idea of makerspaces. One review of the possibilities of makerspaces explains, “a makerspace is an area where people can come together to create things, experiment and learn together” (Jones, 2013). In this model, the library allows for space for patrons to collaborate as well as utilize the library in the traditionally solitary and quiet way. By allowing for more spaces in which our law students can study together, respectively and calmly debate, and bounce idea off of each other, a makerspace encourages learning in which you are not alone. In reality, when our law students graduate and many go on to be lawyers, it rarely is a solitary work environment. Collaboration is outrageously common given the many practice areas of law and the inter-connectedness of such specialties. For instance, if a lawyer is practicing family law, they will likely encounter tax law as well as estate law.

An idea I’ve had for our library is to withdraw and discard many of the out of date and unused materials that we are currently paying for to be kept untouched and air conditioned. By doing this, the shelves that line the library wall to wall can be eliminated making space for more collaboration spaces with soft seating, conference tables, charging stations and the like. I enjoy Antony Groves ideas about a pop-up makerspace that does not have to be permanent. By providing a space where new technologies can be discovered, explained, and tested, our students will not only be drawn back into the library, but our graduates may have the upper hand when it comes to knowing about emerging technologies. Having a space for a reference librarian to explain a new database or tool connects students with the librarians, brings them back physically, and helps them to stay up to date on top technologies and researching tools. This could also be a space where students learn new formulas for drafting different documents or learn new procedures. By keeping the space available for collaboration and learning, where students can make something together and with help, the makerspace allows for successes and failures to occur without grading consequences. This experimental space could help students gain confidence in their work and abilities as well. As change and adaptability continue to be the focus of the library, while the the user is always first and foremost priority, makerspaces help law students and in turn will help the school.

References:

Antony Groves: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/02/23/the-journey-of-a-pop-up-library-makerspace/

Keith Webster: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/02/15/reimagining-the-role-of-the-library-in-the-digital-age-changing-the-use-of-space-and-navigating-the-information-landscape/?platform=hootsuite

Darren Jones: https://informationspaces.wordpress.com/tag/makerspace/

 

Just a rambling…

I was just thinking about how happy I am to be taking a class like this in my last semester of library school. I remember registering and being nervous that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a class while I was also writing my ePortfolio, but this class is getting me energized for my future in libraries. With each reading and book review post I’ve read I’m learning new ideas and feeling inspired to bring these ideas back to my library. Maybe when I’m done with school I’ll have enough time to implement these ideas. After May, it’ll be the first time in my life that I won’t be in school and I think I’ll miss all the critical thinking we do. I was writing about diversity in the legal profession (mainly that it’s predominantly white) and how law libraries can work to provide resources and programming to change those statistics. I hope keep reading and discovering when I’m not told to do so for school. I’m sure it’ll be nice to have a small hiatus from all the connecting and discovering, but hopefully I can find things to inspire me on my own.

End ramble.

 

Book Review- Everything is Miscellaneous – David Weinberger

Everything is Miscellaneous:

The Power of the New Digital Disorder

The text, Everything is Miscellaneous, by David Weinberger explores the history of how information has been classified, organized, and conceived in an easily understandable method. The author touches on different systems that have been developed to help with this organization such as the Dewey Decimal System, the evolution of encyclopedias, and how the internet has transformed access and classification of information. Focusing on Weinberger’s writings on how the internet has transformed who, what, when, and how people access information, the following are my reflections on the highlights of Everything is Miscellaneous.  

Most relevant to our class discussions and readings was Weinberger’s insights on the evolution of Wikapedia. What was most striking about his analysis was his comparison to the way that the Encyclopedia Britannica is compiled, edited, and distributed. Unlike the Britannica, Wikipedia is constantly being updated, edited, and improved by some who do not have any claim of expertise over what they are writing. Weinberger writes, “By announcing weaknesses without hesitation, Wikipedia simultaneously gives up on being an Oz-like authority and helps us better decide what to believe” (Weinberger, p. 140, 2007). With a different approach to how  information  is published, users are taught to question what they read. As Weinberger so plainly explains, “The trust we place in the Britannica enables us to be passive knowers: You merely have to look a topic up to find out about it. But Wikipedia provides the metadata surrounding an article—edits, discussions, warnings, links to other edits by the contributors—because it expects the reader to be actively involved, alert to the signs… (Weinberger, 2007, p. 142). The wild success and accuracy of Wikipedia proves to show that information truly is being approached differently and has a brave new platform provided by the world wide web.In Library 2.0, we saw how the wiki can be used to allow for collaboration within a community online and “builds a knowledge base that other technicians can draw upon” (Casey & Savastinuk, p. 86).  Wikipedia definitely proves to be an space where individuals can remain anonymous, ask questions, and find answers. There is something about giving the power to learn and contribute back to the people that really makes a librarian smile.

Weinberger speaks of how we try to wrangle and control information in a dynamically changing world. The “digital disorder” that has developed as technologies change literally everyday brings up new issues for keeping track of information. Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is working to give each book in their database an identifier which helps, if all of the books in the world are added to their database (Weignberger, 2007, p. 119) . Self-published or rare texts might not exist in their database which is where individual librarians, much like how Wikipedia is formed, are allowed to contribute their own records to the database. There is one problem with this method though, in that often there are multiple OCLC records for a title with varying levels of quality. Also like the editors on Wikipedia, OCLC can go in and delete poor records if they want keeping some of the integrity of the database. Both Wikipedia and OCLC exist to keep information in order, accessible, findable, and reliable for their viewers. Not everyone can contribute to OCLC like they can to Wikipedia, but everyone can view the information in OCLC through Worldcat. Having Worldcat as a place to create an interlinked catalog between libraries globally is such an amazing too see. 

Both of these example allow for user contribution as well as provide better access to information for the average user. You do not have to own a whole set of encyclopedias anymore to gain knowledge and, thanks to libraries, you can access that knowledge for little to no cost. I found this video to sum up more of what Weinberger discusses about Wikipedia in his text as well as a longer history of the site from the founder. Overall, knowledge is becoming more free and we are trying to organize it in different ways everyday. 

Overall, knowledge is becoming more free and we are trying to organize it in different ways everyday. 

References:

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: a guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc.

TEDGlobal. (2005). “Jimmy Wales: The birth of Wikipedia.” Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/jimmy_wales_on_the_birth_of_wikipedia#t-96227 

Weinberger, D. (2007). Everything is miscellaneous: The power of the new digital disorder. Macmillan.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

After reading the foundational texts over the last two weeks, I’m feeling fired up! I have been increasingly frustrated with the slow paced and almost non-existent change at my library. For background, I work in a law library where students rely heavily on the content the library provides whether it is in print or digitally. Legal materials are outrageously expensive and our students have to learn a whole new way of researching when they enter law school. Due to this, the role of librarians and the library materials is extremely important. We’ve adapted to the students needs, but so far I feel like we have been tweaking the vacuum rather than rethinking how vacuuming should happen (Matthews, p.1, 2012). I feel like we spend a lot of time talking about where we can improve our materials and access rather than rethinking our role in the law school as a whole.

Casey’s “Plan, Implement, Forget,” comes to mind when thinking about our library (Casey & Savastinuk, p. 39, 2007). We are functioning too slowly to keep up with the legal databases that are popping up left and right to provide our students with easy and quick access to their research. Due to the law changing literally every day, our print resources rapidly become outdated, so we need to find better ways to get our students online access to this information. It’s also the way they are used to finding answers. They’ve grown up with Google where they can find answers almost instantaneously. I doubt we’ll ever be able to provide Google-like answers, but, as Matthews points out, we can provide a Google like platform that combines online, print, and other ways for them to find the answers to their questions.

What stuck with the most from these readings is that we need to change the way we think about libraries, but also about ourselves! As librarians, we need to be constantly thinking of what could be done differently, not remembering how it’s always been done. Buckland points out 5 responses to library services and the last one I find most pertinent: “The allocation of resources to and within library services responds to preferences and perceptions by those who have resources to allocate. The actual allocation determines in detail the provision of library services” (Buckland, p. 23, 1992). While this article is almost 25 years old, this statement rings true with me as a cataloger. I am the person responsible for predicting what a user will type into the search bar find a resource. No pressure! Staying in tune with how people are researching and constantly considering how their perspective is different from mine is something I must always consider.

The idea of change should not be something on the backburner that we only address during the summer break months. Change should needs to be constantly considered. We survey our students about once a year, which I feel is far too little. I understand we don’t want to bombard them with surveys, but to keep in touch with students and their needs, it is imperative that we continuously seek their feedback. “Think Like a Startup” provides the perfect model, “Take your initial concept and develop it into a shareable format. Test it and analyze the reaction. You then use this insight to build a better prototype” (Matthews, p. 6, 2012). Far too often we don’t go back to build a better prototype until the whole project is outdated and useless for our patrons. By keeping change at the core of our mission as a service institution for our students, we can retrain our minds and transform our relevancy. Librarians must become change agents and break out of our boxes to implement this change.

Resources:

Buckland, M. K., Gorman, M., & Gorman, M. (1992). Redesigning library services: a manifesto. Chicago, IL: American library association.

Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: a guide to participatory library service. Information Today, Inc.

Mathews, B. (2012). Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism.

 

This is me!

Hi all- my name is Annie!

I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, but have lived in Orange, California for the last 8 years! Wow… that was weird to calculate. I currently work at a law library and love every minute. I’m a cataloging and metadata assistant by title, but essentially I do all of the cataloging and help with systems management. We’ve had a serials position open for almost 1 whole year so I’ve also taken on a lot of those responsibilities. I love my job! I’m excited to be starting my final semester of school (FOREVER) and see what else is in store for me career wise.

Before libraries, I studied religion and have an MA in Interreligious Studies. I love learning about different religions and how they do/don’t interact with each other. In today’s political climate, it’s been interesting to see how religion plays such a large role in society. Actually, getting that MA introduced me to libraries as I worked as a student in the library to pay some bills. Little did I know I’d end up here.

Outside of work- I love to exercise and cook! My husband and I are vegetarians and constantly trying new recipes. Most of the time they come out great! Sometimes they don’t, but… such is life. My favorite animal is a cow and I’ve amassed a ton of cow related items throughout my life. Mugs, a tea pot, paintings, wine glasses, egg timers, socks, pajamas, sweat pants, etc. I decided when I was 10 that I loved cows and people have given me cow-themed presents ever since.

So, if you have anything cow themed you’d like to share, I’d love to see it!

Looking forward to meeting you all and getting to know you throughout this semester.

-Annie

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