Annual Meeting Grants

AALL CS-SIS Grant for Students and Newer Librarians:

The purpose of the AALL CS-SIS Grant for Students and Newer Librarians is to provide financial assistance for newer librarians or students in library/information school or law school to attend the AALL annual meeting or a workshop offered at the annual meeting. Among the factors taken into consideration are qualities or activities that indicate the person shows promise of future involvement in the law library profession, especially those who are directly involved in providing technology support of any kind within law libraries.  There is one grant in the amount of $700 available for students or newer librarians this year.

AALL CS-SIS Grant for Experienced Librarians:

The purpose of the AALL CS-SIS Grant for Experienced Librarians is to provide financial assistance to librarians who have a demonstrated commitment to the law library profession, especially those who are directly involved in providing technology support of any kind within law libraries.  The $700 grant may be used to attend the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting & Conference in Washington, D.C., or registration fees for another educational event, such as a pre-conference workshop held in Washington, D.C. All funds are provided by the AALL CS-SIS.

Successful CS-SIS Grant awardees are expected to write an article about some aspect of their experience attending the AALL Annual Meeting and Conference in Washington, D.C.  The article may feature an in-depth review of one program attended or an overview of your whole conference experience, for example.

To apply for a grant, fill out the requisite application (Newer Lib Grant Application 2019 or Experienced Lib Grant Application 2019) describing how you meet the criteria for the applicable grant, and send it to C.J. Pipins, Chair of the CS-SIS Grants and Awards Committee, at  Applications are due via email by midnight on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

Call for Nominations: Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award

This is a call from the CS-SIS Grants and Awards Committee to submit your nominations for the Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award by March 15, 2019.

The Kenneth J. Hirsh Distinguished Service Award honors a CS-SIS member who has made outstanding contributions to the SIS, to AALL, and who is well regarded for their service to the profession. The inaugural award recipient was Ken Hirsh, in whose honor the award is named.


  • Outstanding leadership through committee work, service on the executive board, involvement in special projects or other activities
  • Participation in professional development activities in furtherance of the section and its interests, including educational program planning and presentations
  • Involvement with mentoring activities to foster interest and participation in the section and its activities
  • Evidenced commitment to the section, its purpose, and its role within the association in furtherance of the law library profession

To be eligible for the award, a nominee must be an active or retired member of the CS-SIS.  Section officers are not eligible for this award during their term of office.  For a list of past award recipients, please check the CS-SIS website.

The CS-SIS Awards committee welcomes self-nominations, as well as nominations of your colleagues. To nominate yourself, or a colleague, send a nominating letter outlining how the nominee meets the criteria above to C.J. Pipins, Chair of the CS-SIS Grants and Awards Committee, at  Nominations are due by March 15, 2019.

CS-SIS Member Spotlight: Elizabeth “Eli” Edwards

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:  Elizabeth “Eli” Edwards

If you happened to meet Eli at the AALL meeting in Baltimore, you would have noticed that she has a wonderfully unique business card featuring Shuri from Black Panther.  After getting to know Eli better, I’d argue that she is just as cool as tech-savvy Shuri, and we’re lucky to have her as one of our newest CS-SIS members.

Eli has been working on and off in libraries since 1989.  She worked at the downtown Los Angeles Public Library while studying political science at California State University.  She later worked in technical services at Stanford, a kind institution who paid for her MLIS tuition at San Jose State University.   While working on the Google book project at Stanford, Eli grew interested in legal issues, specifically intellectual property rights.  This interest, with encouragement from mentor Mary Minow, took her to Santa Clara University School of Law where she earned her JD and formulated a lifelong mission to advocate for information access.  Since then, Eli has gained a wealth of experience in firm (Foster Pepper PLLC), court (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), and vendor (Justia) settings which positioned her return to Santa Clara University School of Law to fill the role of Emerging Technologies Research Librarian.

She is enjoying her new position very much, finding a balance between technology and teaching.  She serves as a resource on legal technology, tapping her law firm experience in identifying lawyer needs.   She just finished teaching her first class, Technology and Innovation in the Practice of Law, which she developed for her law school with the help of experts from AALL and CALI.  Spring semester she’ll be team teaching advanced legal research for the first time.  She beams with satisfaction when helping people find out of reach information and loves when students get that excited research glean in their eyes.

Eli is happy to be part of AALL and CS-SIS and is looking forward to meeting, working, and connecting with other law librarians.  She just got back from exploring the legal technology offerings at the AALS meeting, and she’ll be attending the ABA TECHSHOW and CALIcon in 2019.  She’s volunteered to serve on the CS-SIS blog committee, and I look forward to reading about her discoveries.

Of course, there is more to life than law librarianship.  Eli volunteers at a radio station run by a junior college, training to be a DJ and help with the music library, and appreciates fun people who are passionate about music.  She is also an avid sci-fi fan and is known to attend Steampunk conventions.  Eli adores Shuri, who she uses as her own avatar, and respects Shuri as a thoughtful leader who does not shy away from technology.

Thanks to Eli Edwards for her 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  It is a great opportunity to learn about a fellow member.


Cool Tool 2018 Spotlight: Blockchain

Were you unable to make it to the Cool Tools session at this past AALL Annual Meeting in Baltimore? The CS-SIS blog will be posting video recaps of last year’s sessions so that everyone can get caught up on these new and exciting technologies.

This time, Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian at Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, walks us through the emerging field of blockchain. Debbie walks through the nuts and bolts of Blockchain, using live demos and a blockchain “sandbox” to illustrate many of the concepts and processes underlying the final result, and then shows off a graphical representation to help visualize these complex systems.

Cool Tool 2018 Spotlight: Coggle

Were you unable to make it to the Cool Tools session at this past AALL Annual Meeting in Baltimore? The CS-SIS blog will be posting video recaps of this year’s sessions so that everyone can get caught up on these new and exciting technologies.

First up, Kris Turner, Assistant Director of Public Services at University of Wisconsin Law Library, talks about Coggle, a free tool for mind-mapping and project planning. Kris covers the features of the free (and paid) versions of this online tool, and gives a demonstration of Coggle in action.

CS-SIS ABA TECHSHOW Travel Grant Opportunity

The following post is authored by Darla Jackson, CS-SIS Vice Chair

Being aware of technology and expanding our network is so important to being able to effectively and efficiently accomplish our work as information professionals. Attending and participating in ABA TECHSHOW is an opportunity to increase knowledge and awareness of the topics and tools in legal technology. As a result, when I was selected as the CS-SIS Vice Chair, I proposed that my vice chair project include expanding opportunities to attend ABA TECHSHOW.  The CS-SIS Executive Board has provided support for this endeavor by establishing a travel grant for ABA TECHSHOW.

The application deadline is January 4, 2019, so don’t delay! We set the deadline early so that the grant recipient can register in time to take advantage of the early bird registration pricing.

You may be wondering how, after attending ABA TECHSHOW, you can get more involved. I certainly did. I would suggest that you join the ABA Law Practice Division. With the ABA staff, LPD is responsible for organizing ABA TECHSHOW. By joining you also get a discount on ABA TECHSHOW registration.

You might also consider proposing a program for the next ABA TECHSHOW. Submitting a proposal doesn’t ensure that you will be selected to speak, but it doesn’t hurt.  I always watch the LawSites Blog to make sure I know when proposals are being accepted.  Also, I try to look at blogs and articles, like the one I co-authored here, to ensure my proposal ideas are not dated.

This year I submitted several proposals. While the proposals were not selected, the TECHSHOW Board invited me to speak on other interesting topics, including document management with a really great co-presenter, Bryan Sims.  If you are interested to see who is serving on the TECHSHOW Faculty this year, follow the link.

You may note that Catherine Sanders Reach, a former law librarian and co-vice chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2019, is a member of the TECHSHOW Faculty. Catherine knows people and technology and, in true former law librarian fashion, is generous in sharing her knowledge.

Take advantage of the opportunity to apply for the CS-SIS Grant! If you are not a CS-SIS member, consider joining! The CS-SIS is always looking for new members dedicated to serving all the information needs of their users with the aid of developing technologies.

UC Berkeley Law Migrates to TIND ILS

Editor’s note: After reading the press release announcing UC Berkeley Law’s selection of a brand new ILS, we reached out to the folks at UC Berkeley Law to tell us more about how this transition happened and how the new ILS compares to their old one. Thanks to Christina Tarr, head of the Cataloging Department at UC Berkeley Law, for this blog post. 

We were contacted in September, 2016, by Kathy McCarthy, who had formerly been our Sales Consultant at Innovative and is now the Vice President for Partnership Development for TIND. TIND offered us “ a unique opportunity to work closely with a small group of talented developers to shape an ILS platform to your individual needs. And likely at a much lower cost than what you are currently accustomed to,” and we took them up on it. In August 2018 we went live with TIND.

We had not been actively looking for a new ILS, but when contacted, we found that we were ready to make a move. We’d been with III since the early ’90s when we were one of Innovative’s first customers, and I think TIND offered us now what III had offered us in the ’90s – a new and modern approach to doing our work.

Some appealing things about TIND are that it is new and modern. While Sierra felt like a tank – a specialized but rigid vehicle well suited to doing our work, but with perhaps more horsepower than we needed, TIND is more like a Toyota – light, flexible, and more fuel efficient. For example, because it’s web-based, lists are simple to create, and we no longer need to save lists in a special place. We now just save URLs for searches. In Sierra, of course, we could export lists to excel, or export records to MARCedit and reimport them, but in TIND it’s quicker and easier, and patrons, without our intervention, can export lists of records themselves to Excel, and can easily update their patron records. It’s lighter, and more flexible, and yes, less expensive.

There are drawbacks. TIND built an acquisitions system based on our workflow, and they are still working out some kinks. We appear to be their first real research library client, and there are things, like the lack of a browse feature, that gives us pause (although they have committed to adding this feature). Statistics are not yet as robust as they were in Sierra. Still, I think we are glad we’ve made the change. The flip side of having no browse feature is that searching is great – basically, you can search for anything that’s in the record, you don’t need to use indexes, and you can combine any element. Moving has also caused us to rethink our workflows, and there are things we felt we could not do without that we have now happily forgotten. The collection feature is handy for all sorts of purposes. We like the clean, uncluttered design. The authorities system promises to link headings and authority records in a modern way. We have managed, in TIND, to straighten out our item and patron types in a way we never could in Sierra, though that was probably our fault. And that may, in fact, be part of it – it’s probably not a bad idea to switch systems every now and then, just to reassess messed up workflows that you have been living with for years because you didn’t realize you didn’t need to.

Overall, we are pleased with our new ILS and really appreciate the customer service provided by TIND. Take a look for yourself at


Top Tech for Holiday Gift Giving

Do you have a tech lover in your life? Not sure what to add to your own wishlist this holiday season? Here’s a link roundup of gift guides for tech lovers.

  1. From The Digital Edge (a Legal Talk Network podcast): ‘Tis the Season: Tech Toys for the Holidays 2018. This list includes a voice-activated trash can, a smartphone sanitizer and charger, and a smart mini projector.
  2. From Ars Technica: The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018 — Good Tech for the Power User in Your Life. This list includes a USB security key, a media streamer, and a tech toolkit.
  3. From CNET: Holiday Gift Guide 2018: CNET Editors’ Top Picks. This list includes headphones, a video streamer, and a dual-USB charger and built-in battery.
  4. From Forbes: These are the Best Technology Gifts You Can Buy This Year. This list includes a ceramic Bluetooth mug, a wireless power bank, and a sleep trainer.
  5. From the New York Times: 2018 Holiday Gift Guide–Tech. This list includes a digital petsitter, a digital photo frame, and wireless headphones.

Do you support a virtual business meeting for CS-SIS?

Based on survey results in August, members strongly support moving our CS meeting to an off-site venue. As such, the Board is looking into venue and timing options in DC. The survey results were not as definitive on the issue of changing our annual business meeting to a virtual format that would be held before the AALL conference. This change would require an amendment to the bylaws, so the Board would like to get more responses from the membership before pursuing this option for 2020. Additionally, the Board needs more information from you to plan the off-site meeting and social event that will take place at the 2019 AALL conference.  The 2019 Schedule-at-a-Glance is now available for your review.

Please help us plan for the future by filling out a three-question survey by Tuesday, November 27th.  Thank you!

Top 30 Browser Extensions

I am an unapologetic browser extension enthusiast, especially when it comes to finding articles behind paywalls and saving money (okay, so those go hand in hand). Below you’ll find a list of our favorite browser extensions that save time, money, and sometimes even our sanity.

But in all seriousness, I started compiling my own list of favorites when I discovered that more and more full-text articles were housed behind paywalls and I looked for tools to legally get behind those paywalls. What happens when an article isn’t available in my library’s print collection or through a database? Before requesting the article via ILL, I check for article access using three of the browser extensions mentioned below: Google Scholar, the Open Access Button, and Unpaywall.

In addition to article access, I use browser extensions to find coupon codes when online shopping, to send links from Gmail directly from my browser, to save links to PowerNotes, to create shortened URLs, and many other things! Read on for a list of our favorite 30 browser extensions, compiled by myself, Emily Barney, Debbie Ginsberg, and Tawyna Plumb.

  1. Active Inbox: Turn your inbox into a task manager (Free trial, $4.16/mo)
  2. AdBlock: Blocks ads, including YouTube video ads, without giving any personal info (Free)
  3. Amazon Assistant: Get delivery updates, deal notifications, and access shortcuts to Lists (Free)
  4. Bitly: Create shortened URLs directly from your browser (Free)
  5. Boomerang: If you use Gmail, Boomerang is a nice add-on that allows you to schedule messages to be sent at a later date (Free)
  6. BS Detector: Alerts users to unreliable news sources (Free)
  7. Buffer: Manage all of your personal or business social media from one place (Free starter plan; premium plans available)
  8. Diigo: Save and annotate web links and cached pages (Free, premium plans available)
  9. Ebates: Automatically apply coupon codes and get cash back when online shopping (Free)
  10. Evernote Clip: Save links, articles, and PDFs to your Evernote account (Free, premium plans available)
  11. Eye Dropper: Easily detect any color on web pages (Free)
  12. Google Scholar: Lookup scholarly articles as you browse the web, and easily identify PDFs, when available (Free)
  13. Grammarly: Built-in grammar checker (Free, premium plan available)
  14. Honey: Honey searches and applies coupon codes (including free shipping) to your online shopping cart (Free)
  15. HTTPS Everywhere: Encrypt your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure (Free)
  16. LastPass: Password manager and password generator (Free, premium plan available)
  17. Library Extension: Looking for a book or ebook? Begin on Amazon or Goodreads, and this extension tells you if your local library has a copy (Free)
  18. Memento Time Travel: View past versions of web pages (Free)
  19. Momentum: Replace your new tab with a personal dashboard customized to your preferences (Free)
  20. One Click Extensions Manager: Easily manage your Chrome extensions (Free)
  21. OneTab: If you suffer from too-many-tabs-open-itis, this extension was made for you; convert your tabs into a list and when you need the tabs again, restore them individually or all at once (Free)
  22. Open Access Button: Access full-text articles when available, or request access directly from the author (Free)
  23. Save permanent records of web sources you cite (Free; account required)
  24. PowerNotes: Gather, organize, and keep track of research; works with Lexis and Westlaw (Free, premium plan available)
  25. Rescue Time: Track how you spend your time on the internet to help increase your productivity and answer the age-old question, “Where did the day go?” (Free, premium plan available)
  26. Send from Gmail: Makes Gmail the default email application from your browser; a compose window in Gmail appears when you click any email address on a webpage (Free)
  27. SurfSafe: Catch misleading, photoshopped, and fake news (Free)
  28. Unpaywall: Search for an article and if it’s available via open access, an unlocked icon will appear on the right-hand side of the screen (Free)
  29. Web Developer: Adds various web developer tools to your browser (Free)
  30. Zotero: Save online sources to this free and open-source reference management tool (Free)

We’d love to hear your favorite browser extensions – chime in on Twitter @CSSIS and let us know which extensions make your life easier!