CS-SIS Member Spotlight: Kenneth Hirsh

The Computing-Services Special Interest Section is made up of awesome law librarians doing interesting things.   The CS-SIS Member Spotlight is designed to shine light on our membership so that we can learn more about each other and stay connected.

CS-SIS Member Spotlight:  Kenneth Hirsh

Kenneth J. Hirsh, a Familiar Name

Since 2004, CS-SIS has honored members who have made outstanding contributions to the section, to AALL, and to the profession as a whole with the Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award.  Ken received the inaugural award in 2004 and continues to be recognized for his outstanding contributions having served as CS-SIS chair, SEAALL president, AALL Executive Board member, and a long-time member of the CALI Board of Directors.  If you didn’t meet him in one of these associations, you may have encountered him as a student at the University of Miami (AB), the University of Florida (JD), or Florida State University (MS).  He was a reference librarian and an I.T. director at Duke and is now the Director of the Law Library and Professor of Practice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.  Last, but not least, you may have watched him win some money on Jeopardy in 2016.


What we know as Computing Services SIS was formerly the Automation and Scientific Development SIS.  Members communicated through the section’s print newsletter, Automatome, which is archived on our website for those interested.  In the 1990’s, many academics who were interested in computers joined the Technoids mailing list, hosted by Tom Bruce at Cornell.  Discussions at the time considered the roles of librarians, questioned who should manage computers in the law school, and covered hot topics such as Gopher and the internet.  Ken recalls when Anne Myers set up the first internet room at AALL in Boston in 1993.  In 1996, when Ken served as vice-chair, the section was renamed Computing Services.  Although several names where considered, “Computing” Services was selected to signify that the section is about people, not about devices.  With the name change came a new online newsletter, CS-SIS Connecting. It was initially edited by the late Liz Glankler, who received the Distinguished Service Award in 2006.


Ken continues to love CS-SIS and is glad to be part of it.   He believes that our section has always been and will continue to be a home for all law librarians interested in technology, regardless of their professional titles.  These days he sees a strong interest in teaching technology in law schools and in law firms.  He notes that this interest is reflected in conference coverage, such as at the ABA tech show and CALIcon, and in organizations such as ILTA (International Legal Technology Association).  An innovator in his own right, Ken has developed a Technology in the Law Practice course which he co-teaches at the University of Cincinnati.

Karaoke with Ken

Have you heard of Karaoke with Ken?  If you haven’t participated before, consider it a must-attend event at your next AALL annual meeting.

History:  While Ken had indulged in karaoke with Duke coworkers and SEAALL colleagues in years prior, 1997 was the year that Karaoke with Ken became AALL tradition, starting in Baltimore with Jim Milles and Don Buffaloe.  In 2001, CS-SIS became the official sponsor of Karaoke with Ken (well played, Kris Niedringhaus), and 2018 will mark the famed event’s return to Baltimore.

Please download the AALL 2018 app and add Karaoke with Ken to your schedule.  Singing will begin at 10pm on Saturday, July 14th at Supano’s Prime Steakhouse, 110 Water Street, but get there early to secure a seat.  Ken anticipates starting off the night with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, will work in his tradition Mack the Knife, and is hoping to sing a duet with Shira Megerman from Boston University.  We hope to see you there!

Thanks to Ken for his willingness to be interviewed for this CS-SIS member spotlight.   If you are interested in interviewing and writing a blog post about a CS-SIS member, please contact Tawnya Plumb at tplumb@uwyo.edu.  It is a great opportunity to learn about a fellow member.