CS Roundtable @ AALL 2019

How does a critical theory of technology relate to the practice of librarianship?

If you’ll be attending the AALL Annual Conference in DC, come find out at the CS Roundtable on Technology and Culture in the Law Library, hosted by Rebecca Kunkel, of Rutgers University Law School Library.

It will take place on Tuesday, July 16 from 12:45 – 1:45 pm in room 156 of the convention center.

The discussions will focus on how technology fits into your library and your institution’s culture and are planned for 4 general topics within the critical theory of technology:

  1. labor process theory
  2. the critique of technology as ideology
  3. technology & gender
  4. technological determinism/critiques of the information society

There will be two handouts, one of which is intended to introduce participants to a few ideas in labor process theory. It is available online here for anyone who’d like to get a head start. (I’d recommend reading it even if you’re not going!) The other handout will be a short bibliography for anyone interested in doing more reading/research on the topics discussed.

We hope to see you there!

Proposed 2019-2021 CS-SIS Strategic Plan

I offer thanks to Ken Hirsh and his Strategic Planning Committee consisting of Kenton Brice, Kincaid Brown, Susanna Leers, Darla Jackson, Kris Niedringhaus, Amanda Watson, and Jean Willis for developing this strategic plan.  The plan has the unanimous support of the CS-SIS Executive Board as proposed and will be discussed and voted on by our membership at the CS breakfast meeting at the AALL conference in DC.

2019-2021 COMPUTING SERVICES

SPECIAL INTEREST SECTION

STRATEGIC PLAN

 

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Computing Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries is:

  • To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and knowledge about technology among law librarians.
  • To serve a leadership role in the ongoing professional development of law librarians as they evaluate, implement, and use new forms of technology at their organizations.
  • To assist law librarians with demonstrating to their organizations the important roles librarians play in advancing the understanding and use of technology in legal education and the practice of law.

OBJECTIVE:

Become the leading AALL source for continuing education opportunities for librarians and library staff that work with and have an interest in technology.

RATIONALE:

In the past decade there has been strong interest in the teaching of practice technology to law students and lawyers, as well as in classroom and courtroom technologies. This is evidenced by discussion among section members, by additional law school course offerings; by social media discussions focusing on the topic; by the creation of a Section on Technology, Law and Legal Education in the Association of American Law schools; and by the creation of a Teaching Technology Caucus within AALL. There is an overlap between the section and the Digital and Educational Technologies SIS in the narrow area of presentation technologies. Digitization has been an interest of a significant portion of our membership but has not commanded a large part of our focus in recent years.

The 2019 survey of section membership found continuing strong interest in educational programming by the section, and in developing substantive papers in topics of interest, as would a think tank. The survey also showed members are interested in more effective communication within the section and reaching out to librarians outside of academia.

 

GOAL I: SECTION EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING

OBJECTIVE:

Advance and align section educational programming according to membership interest and need.

STRATEGIES:

  1. Align educational programming with AALL’s Body of Knowledge.
  2. Continue to create and promote excellent programming at the AALL annual meeting.
  3. Develop and offer educational webinars and other programming throughout the year.

 

GOAL II: COMMUNICATION, ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACH

OBJECTIVE:

Actively engage members, both virtually and in person, throughout the year. Recruit new members.

Strategies:

  1. Appoint a special committee to consider whether to change the section’s name. The committee’s deliverable will be a recommendation to the board whether to change the name and, if the recommendation is positive, to accompany it with one or more options for a new name. The committee shall make its final report within six months of appointment.
  2. The chair or designated board members shall reach out to leadership of Digital and Educational Technologies SIS and the Teaching Technology Caucus to identify areas of shared interest and potential collaboration. If those organizations are willing, leadership shall discuss whether some form of organizational consolidation is desirable.
  3. Identify potential new members among existing AALL members and law librarians who are not yet AALL members.
  4. Implement an online annual business meeting.


GOAL III: EXECUTIVE BOARD AND COMMITTEE GOVERNANCE

OBJECTIVE:

To provide more structure to the work of the Executive Board and SIS projects; and, to provide more leadership and guidance to the Committee chairs in regard to Committee projects and goals.

STRATEGIES:

  1. Assign to both board members-at-large the responsibility to manage a section-sponsored social event at the AALL annual meeting. While this event presently is Karaoke with Ken, board members should plan for an alternative event when that becomes necessary.
  2. Continue efforts to develop effective governance continuity from year-to-year with cloud-based archiving of reports and other programmatic and governance documents. Continue succession planning efforts by the Executive Board.

How I Found Over 175,000 Downloads on Bepress for My Faculty

The impact maps provided by Bepress Author Dashboards as part of the institutional repository and SelectedWorks system are not completely capturing data associated with our faculty throughout the Digital Commons network. Our faculty have works stored in external (non-TAMU operated) Bepress networks, and any impact data associated with those works will not appear in the impact maps unless the metadata records for those works contain one of the faculty member’s e-mail addresses. As a result, faculty are reporting and relying on incomplete data when viewing their Dashboards.

While I was helping faculty understand the Bepress Author Dashboards, I noticed that some works in Digital Commons were not appearing in the Author Dashboard’s works list, even though the work had the author’s name in the metadata. Most of the works were accumulating downloads, but I could not find this data represented anywhere in the Dashboard.

Screenshot of one work by Professor Yu with 2,533 downloads associated with it.

Screenshot of Professor Yu’s Bepress Author Dashboard Works list that does not include any of the downloads associated with the object above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of curiosity, I ran a name-based search on the Digital Commons repository network advanced search for every faculty member at my school, using “Author” as the field and entering the author’s first name and last name as a string and selecting “All repositories” so that I could search the whole network.

Screenshot showing the Bepress Digital Commons Advanced Search with settings to search all repositories by author name.

 

This search process produced some false positives in the search results, so I verified each object was associated with the author I was searching for by cross-referencing CVs before adding the object’s direct URL to a spreadsheet to help me keep track of my discoveries. Then I checked to make sure each object was showing up in the dashboard.

Pro tip – Bepress’s Author Dashboard’s work list can contain multiple works of the same name, and it is time consuming to verify where each work is coming from using the interface. I found cross-referencing the download count on the record with the download count in the works list to be the most efficient approach.

When ordered alphabetically, it is difficult to quickly identify which object is being captured in the dashboard. Instead, use the download count and compare to the object’s record.

Using this workflow, I was able to quickly identify many works as not being accounted for in the Author Dashboard. I created a Google Sheet to store a direct link to the object’s record page, and I recorded the number of downloads associated with the record. By doing this, I was able to add up how many downloads I was discovering, and in the end it was over 175,000 downloads associated with over 400 objects.

The spreadsheet tabulation gave me a good sense that this project was important enough to devote more time and energy to resolve. Upon consulting with my school’s customer support representative at Bepress, Aaron Doran, we were able to figure out that the root cause of the issue was that the dashboard system connected data from objects using the e-mail addresses entered into the metadata record.

Screenshot showing author e-mail metadata field used by Bepress Author Dashboards.

 

Each SelectedWorks Author Profile has a primary e-mail address associated with it, and authors can also input additional e-mail address in the profile by going into “Account Settings.”

In Account Settings, authors can input additional e-mail addresses to help capture objects with those e-mail addresses in the metadata record.

 

This is the key linking mechanism that the Author Dashboard uses to pull in data from across the Digital Commons network. Bepress was able to help capture a small amount of data for my school by adding known, additional e-mail addresses for faculty to profiles and merging some duplicate profiles that had been created over the years. However, for us, that barely scratched the surface of the missing data: by far, most of the records I discovered simply contained an author name and no e-mail address at all.

My database-oriented mind figured it would be easy enough to have Bepress insert the e-mail addresses of faculty into the right records on the back-end, but this technical issue turned out to be more complex to resolve than that. Since each repository is independently managed, Bepress was not comfortable with unilaterally altering the metadata records of objects and requested that I reach out to every repository manager individually to request that they make the changes themselves or give Bepress permission to do so. At this point, I tried my best to convince Bepress to figure out a better way for me and others to approach this problem, mainly because annual reporting deadlines were quickly approaching. The faculty members at my school who rely on the Author Dashboards for reporting purposes were unaware of this impact being generated, and I wanted to be able to help get everyone all the data associated with them in a world where impact data is becoming more and more important.

While Bepress was very helpful in working with me to resolve this issue, in the end, they would not budge on any centralized solution that would be relatively quick and painless compared to what I had to manage: a mix of Google Sheets, color-coding, and mass e-mailing repository managers with an explanation of the situation and my request for assistance. A cool take-away from this any Bepress repository manager can appreciate is that once the e-mail address is added to the metadata record, the data is instantly piped into the author dashboard; you do not need to wait for a queued update to process!

If anyone else ventures to resolve this issue using this workflow, you can take the initial Google Sheet with the direct object link and add “Faculty Member Name,” “Faculty E-mail,” and “Repository Manager E-mail” columns to it; after adding objects by author name, you can re-order the Sheet by URL to more easily identify and group institutions together. From there, we had to figure out the best repository contact for each institution, and then I created an e-mail template explaining the context of the issue and provided a list of objects with links in the e-mail to make the metadata editing process a bit easier for them.

Screenshot of what my Google Sheet for tracking the progress on this project looked like.

As can be expected by a process requiring action by dozens of people, several repository managers have not responded to my request. If Bepress were to implement a solution to this issue that could be managed centrally on the back-end, my faculty would be able to benefit from all of the impact data associated with them. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the repositories responded quickly with either a grant of permission or with certification that the metadata had been updated by them; as of now, using this workflow, over 85% of the downloads have been added to Author Dashboards. Several people replied enthusiastically to my e-mail, which inspired me to document the processes and workflows so that others can recreate it and benefit. I imagine my school is not the only one that has faculty with content in Digital Commons networks that is not being properly piped into the Author Dashboards.

Until Bepress comes up with a different approach, I think repository managers uploading content should try their best to include an e-mail address within the metadata. At times, this may not be possible, and it will surely increase the time it takes to process the ingestion of objects, but it seems to me the loss of the impact data associated with these objects is a big enough concern to encourage repository managers to take the time to add e-mail addresses. Otherwise, any impact stemming from that object is most likely not going to be reflected in that author’s impact and growth narrative, particularly for faculty relying on the Author Dashboard to accurately represent that person’s impact data across the Digital Commons network.

If you’d like to indicate whether or not you’d be supportive of Bepress implementing a more efficient solution, or if you have any comments about this issue, please feel free to fill out this quick survey: https://tamu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b8bmV4P7CR0ZMzz. You can also reach out to me if you have any questions about the workflow, or if you’d like to see some Google Sheet and e-mail templates to help you get started!

Proposed CS-SIS Bylaws Changes

Last fall, our Executive Board queried membership on its support of having a CS-SIS virtual business meeting prior to the annual conference beginning in 2020.  Over 90% of our voting membership said yes.  We will vote on the following bylaws changes, with a friendly amendment offered by Ken Hirsh, at our breakfast business meeting in DC to permit our section to move forward with this option.

 

ARTICLE IV: GENERAL BUSINESS MEETINGS

Current: Section 1. There will be a general business meeting held annually at the annual meeting and conference of the Association.  It shall be held at a time and place so that all business which needs to be conducted can be.

Proposed:  Section 1. There will be a general business meeting held 1) in connection with, or during the annual meeting of the Association or 2) virtually on a date determined and announced in advance by the Executive Committee.

Current: Section 3.  For purposes of tabulating votes, only members in full standing of the Section may vote; a quorum shall consist of the members present at the meeting; and majority shall be based on the number of voting members who vote (i.e. do not abstain).

Proposed: Section 3.  A quorum shall consist of the members present at the meeting  (amendment would add … or remotely participating in a virtual meeting.)

Current:  Section 4. The presence of twenty section members at the commencement of the annual section business meeting shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Proposed: Delete Section 4.

 

ARTICLE IX: PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE

Current:  Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, in the latest edition, shall govern all deliberations of the Section, except as otherwise specified in these bylaws. When used throughout this document, terms of gender (for example, pronouns) shall be considered to be gender-neutral in intent.

Proposed: The rules of order mandated by the AALL Bylaws shall govern all deliberations of the Section, except as otherwise specified in these bylaws. When used throughout this document, terms of gender (for example, pronouns) shall be considered to be gender-neutral in intent.

ABA TECHSHOW Call for Proposals

If you have a suggestion for a topic you (and others) would like to hear, or if you are interested in being a presenter, consider submitting a proposal for ABA TECHSHOW 2020. Proposals should be submitted here. Proposals will be accepted until midnight (Central Time) Friday, June 21, 2019. For those of you who are academics and interested in speaking in the academic track at TECHSHOW 2020, you should submit your proposal and forward a copy to Michael Robak (michael.robak@stthomas.edu), who will be working with the diverse and qualified TECHSHOW Board to help coordinate the Academic Track.

While submitting a proposal does not guarantee a speaking slot at TECHSHOW 2020, it certainly increases the chance that you could be selected.

If you are selected as a speaker, there are benefits, including complimentary registration to TECHSHOW. I hope that CS-SIS will be able to support a travel grant to TECHSHOW again in 2020. If you missed the blog post by the recipient of the CS-SIS ABA TECHSHOW 2019 grant winner, you may want read it for some inspiration. However, I encourage you to go ahead and submit a proposal to increase your chances of attending.

CS-SIS Breakfast Meeting

If you haven’t already, please consider registering to attend our traditional CS-SIS breakfast meeting to be held offsite at Busboys and Poets at 7:00 am on Tuesday, July 16th.  We have some important business to attend to, including:

  • voting on changes to our bylaws that would permit online annual meetings,
  • discussing and voting on a new CS-SIS strategic plan,
  • recognizing Roger Skalbeck as the 2019 recipient of the Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award,
  • congratulating Mari Cheney and Kenton Brice as grant recipients,
  • and last but certainly not least, honoring and thanking Ken Hirsh for his service to CS-SIS as he launches toward a new challenge.

Hope to see you there!

CS-SIS 2019 Annual Meeting Grant Winners

The CS-SIS Grants & Awards Committee would like to announce this year’s AALL Annual Meeting Grants winners.  The 2019 CS-SIS grant for students and new librarians was awarded to Kenton S. Brice, Director of Technology Innovation at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  We also awarded the 2019 CS-SIS grant for experienced librarians to Mari Cheney, Assistant Director, Research and Instruction at Lewis & Clark Law School’s Boley Law Library.  Congratulations to Mari and Kenton.  We look forward to seeing you in Washington D.C. in July.

C.J. Pipins, Chair, 2018-19 CS-SIS Grants & Awards Committee

Roger V. Skalbeck – 2019 Winner of the CS-SIS Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award!

Congratulations to the recipient of 2019 Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award, Roger V. Skalbeck, Professor of Law & Associate Dean for Library and Information Services at the University of Richmond School of Law.  Roger’s contributions to CS-SIS, AALL, and the profession as a whole are plentiful.  He is a frequent presenter on legal technology at national conferences, and he writes about libraries, technology, and intellectual property. Some (but not all) of Roger’s other professional activities include serving on the Board of Directors for the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), serving as a member of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission’s Committee on Self-Represented Litigants, and participating as a member of the Legal Scholarship Advisory Board for LawArXiv.  Congratulations on this very well deserved award!

C.J. Pipins, Chair, 2018-19 CS-SIS Grants & Awards Committee

Cool Tools 2018 Spotlight: Powernotes

In this video, Cindy Bassett, Electronic Services Librarian at the University of Missouri School of Law, demonstrates Powernotes, a paid browser extension that helps researchers to collect sources and citations from multiple websites.  Powernotes is a great tool to create outlines or bibliographies, with the potential to assign citations and quotations to specific subject areas quickly, add comments to each source as they are saved, and re-order sources very easily.

CS-SIS Election Results

Congratulations to our newly elected CS-SIS board members:

Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect:  Amanda Tyre Watson

Treasurer/Secretary: Shay Elbaum

Member-at-Large: Eli Edwards

Sincere thanks to those who were willing to run for office and to Eric Young and his Nominations Committee for selecting such excellent candidates.

 

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