The Law Librarian As Trainer
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The Law Librarian As TrainerSid KaskeyPublished online: 17 Oct 2008.
To cite this article: Sid Kaskey (1999) The Law Librarian As Trainer, Legal ReferenceServices Quarterly, 17:3, 37-38, DOI: 10.1300/J113v17n03_07
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J113v17n03_07
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The Law Librarian As TrainerSid Kaskey
One of the main points discussed by James Burke in his excellentPublic Broadcasting Station television series Connections was that therate of change in the world increases when there is an increase inavailable information. When the tools to exchange information be-come better, the increase of change becomes faster. He stated, and Iam paraphrasing . . . . regarding change, you aint seen nothing yet.
Information, its formulation and exchange, is the fuel that moveschange. There are few fields that have had a first hand glimpse of therapidity and variety of the type of change that is possible than that ofLaw Librarianship. Locating and accessing information is the stockand trade for the field. Not so long ago, the tool for locating theinformation was the book. Digital manipulation has changed that.Digitally manipulated information can be placed on a platter, sent overthe phone, printed on a page, or recorded on a magnetic tape. Informa-tion transmission has become easier and, along with that, the tools toaccess that information have become more varied and more abundant.
As indicated above, the stock and trade of the Law Librarian is thelocating and accessing of information. This is slightly, and significant-ly different than the primary focus of an attorney. True, to be effectivean attorney needs to know where to access information, but, moreimportantly their primary focus is the application of that information.An attorney fighting a deadline is less concerned with how a properand legitimate rule is gotten than what the law or rule states.
So what does all this mean? It means a fundamental change in thefield of Law Librarianship. It means the evolution to the Librarian as
Sid Kaskey is Head Librarian for the Miami Office of the national firm of Mor-gan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. He has a Masters in Library Science from Florida StateUniversity and a Masters in Adult Education from Florida International University.He has been working as a Law Librarian since 1983.
Legal Reference Services Quarterly, Vol. 17(3) 1999 1999 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 37
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trainer. James Burke saw the need for a new group to help others withcoping with the rapidly increasing technological changes. Law hasalways been a changing entity and, after all, the practice of law alwaysincluded dealing with and locating the newest changes. It is the rapidlychanging tools used to locate the newest laws that demand the changein Law Librarianship. Librarians, in the past, would teach the use ofthe tools in the beginning of an attorneys career and again oftenwhenever an attorney ventured into a new area of law (introducing thepractitioner to the material that covers that area). But this instructionperiod was usually brief and dealt with the same types of tools gener-ally used in the other areas of the attorneys practice, e.g.,, books,indexes, digest, etc. This instructional aspect of librarianship encom-passed perhaps twenty percent. The percentage has changed dramati-cally. Now training covers more than fifty percent of a Law Librari-ans working hours. On any given day a typical Law Librarian willguide a researcher through a Lexis search, give instruction usingPremise software, show how download a binary file, and the listcontinues.
Burke was right. Rapidly changing technology will evolve a groupof technology navigators which will guide and teach people in theirevery increasing effort to cope with the rapidness of change. Thisevolution will break down further to subject specific areas. And, spe-cifically for law, the navigators will be the transformed Law Librari-ans, whom could also be known information navigators. There is noother legal professional that is better prepared to take on the role. It isours: the Law Librarian as trainer.D