By the LLNE Service Committee
Earlier this summer the Service Committee launches its legal research web portal aimed at public librarians, LLNE Legal Link. It got a great reception at AALL in Philadelphia and the Committee hopes to continue expanding the project over the next year. The Committee developed postcards to help publicize the project to public librarians. Please consider picking some up at the upcoming Fall LLNE meeting and bring them back to public libraries near you.
Currently, the portal hosts a directory of public law libraries available in each state, as well as information on how a bill becomes a law in each New England state. The Legal Link will likely expand to connect its users to local legal aid organizations, legal research guides for a variety of topics, best practices, and links to state statutes, court rules and regulations. While the main goal of Legal Link is to serve as a clearinghouse for legal information, we are also interested in creating commentary and new content to help explain how to adequately use these resources.
At AALL, the Committee also presented a poster session describing its work on the public library legal book drive during 2013-2014. It was the only poster session during AALL that a chapter had created and there was interest in potentially recreating the project from other chapters across the country.
Over the next year, the Committee will continue its work on LLNE Legal Link and also develop roles for LLNE members who may want to contribute to the project without serving as an official member of the committee. These members would provide assistance with concrete tasks or questions the Committee has. If you are interested in learning more please contact a Service Committee member.
By Carli Spina
These days, our patrons are always on the move. Whether this means a lawyer who is traveling for a client or a law student who is studying abroad, law librarians increasingly are faced with providing high quality reference service over long distances. While this frequently means lots of emails, this isn’t always the best way to answer questions or demonstrate techniques. Moreover, email can’t reproduce the personal interaction of a face-to-face meeting. Many libraries have experimented with using video chat to improve these long distance interactions, but often these tools have required that both the librarian and the patron have software pre-installed on their computer, which can be difficult depending on the technological skills possessed by the patron among other variables. Firefox Hello, a new chat tool from Firefox addresses many of these issues and offers a nice way to connect more personally with patrons no matter where they may be.
One of the greatest advantages of Hello is that it requires no login or account. Anyone with the latest version of Firefox installed on their computer may start a Hello session by clicking on a chat bubble icon at the top of the browser window as seen below without having to create an account or install a separate application.
Clicking on the chat bubble reveals a dropdown menu as seen below. The menu includes your Hello history and the option to launch a new conversation. Each new conversation can be named and then you can email or copy the URL to share with anyone. To join the conversation, the recipient of the link need only be using a WebRTC-supported browser. This means anyone who has access to Firefox, Chrome, or Opera will be able to accept your conversation invitation simply by clicking on the link and then clicking on the join the conversation button in the resulting window.
Once a chat has been initiated, participants will enter into a video chat window if they have a web camera enabled on their computer. However, at any point, a participant may choose to mute either the audio or the video on their side of the conversation.
While all of these features make Hello very useful and usable, what really sets it apart is the screensharing options that are integrated into this tool. Using this feature, either party can share either the tabs in their browser or any other window they have open on their computer. This makes Hello an invaluable tool for collaborating on projects, troubleshooting technical difficulties that patrons may encounter, or demonstrating tricky navigation or search techniques in databases.
By the LLNE Service Committee
The Service Committee is proud to announce that LLNE Legal Link, our legal research web portal, is now live and you can access it here and from the LLNE homepage. We will be debuting the website at AALL this week in Philadelphia, passing out postcards at the LLNE booth, so be sure to help spread the word!
The idea behind Legal Link was to create a legal research portal for public librarians, where they can find relevant legal information for the New England region all in one place. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Legal Link will serve largely as a curator of legal content – linking out to resources that LLNE members trust and use often so that non-law librarians in the region will have quick and easy access to useful reference materials. Because the portal is freely accessible from our website, we also anticipate it serving as a tool for pro-se individuals who are navigating the legal research world on their own.
As of now, the site hosts a directory of public law libraries available in each state, as well as information on how a bill becomes a law in each New England state. Going forward, we hope to grow Legal Link by connecting its users to local legal aid organizations, legal research guides for a variety of topics, best practices, and links to state statutes, court rules, regulations, and more. While the main goal of Legal Link is to serve as a clearinghouse for legal information, we are also interested in creating commentary and new content to help explain how to adequately use these resources.
Cornell announced today its new Legal Research Engine available at http://library.lawschool.cornell.edu/guides/researchengine.asp“
This specialized search engine helps users easily find authoritative online legal research guides on every subject. It searches approximately 20 different web sites that either prolifically publish guides, or index and link to guides. The number of web sites searched was deliberately kept small to keep search results manageable and focused. You can also add it to your Google home page. “
This is a nice resource but because it searches whole web pages a lot of extraneous results pop up when you run a search. For example a search on “right to die” does return a couple research guides on point but you also get some less useful items like an LLRX article about web searching.