New Database List: Looks a little different, but does the same things and then some

On Wednesday, May 26, 2021 (just in time for the start of the summer semester), the Law Library launched its new database list tool aptly titled “Law Library Databases A-Z.”

For the most part, students might not even notice or experience much of a change. The new service should look remarkably familiar for a couple of reasons. Namely, it shares the same platform with the Law Library’s existing Research Guides. Further, the University Library also uses the same tool to host its database list.

As such, we do not expect students to have too many issues accessing the databases they rely on for research. That said, the new platform presents a number of new features and potential integrations with other systems.

The new database list offers a powerful interface to browse, sort, search and share the law library’s licensed databases. Users can still browse databases alphabetically, by subject, access type, and vendor, as well as search the entire collection. We retired the obscure and confusing access codes (GSU, GSR, LL, COL, etc.) for more descriptive access types such as College of Law only, All GSU, and Law Library workstations. Did you really ever know the difference between a GSU and GSR database?

New features include “Popular Law Student Databases” and “New and Trial Databases” lists located on the website’s right rail. These features offer easy access to commonly used law school resources and new library acquisitions, respectively. The new database list also allows for the simple sharing of resources –by this, we mean sharing with yourself for later use or sharing with your fellow students. After each database, there is a share icon that will allow users to email the database name, description, and link to themselves or another user. The “Top Resource” feature allows librarians to tag a database as a preferred or suggested resource and spotlight it in the browsable subject list display. Finally and arguably most important, now that the Law Library’s database list shares a platform with Research Guides, databases can be better leveraged and integrated into the research guides.

This is all good news, but it is somewhat bittersweet sunsetting our old Database List. This was a clever in-house application built by a handful of intelligent people (other than myself). The administrative side of the database list also managed Law Library’s proxy server. Pretty cool, right? While I cannot identify the actual launch date, the Wayback Machine suggests the database list served the College of Law Library and its patrons for at least fifteen years. That is a long life for a web application. So it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

The new database list can be found at https://libguides.law.gsu.edu/az.php. All links on the Law Library webpage will direct researchers to the new service. The look of our research guides and Law Library Databases A-Z may change in the coming months as the Law Library moves to a new website presence more in line with the College of Law’s website. That said, the functionality will remain the same.

Do good research.

120 Days?

Flickr Photo by ChatWithMatt.com

As some students have come to realize their time is up, or more so their CampusID password’s time is up.

Georgia State requires its users (faculty included) to change their CampusID password every 120 days. The application of this time limit is unfortunate, to say the least. It means that students that changed or created their account passwords in mid-August—say at the beginning of the fall semester—found their CampusID password expiring in the middle of December. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of anything going on in December that might cause a problem. Oh, I almost forgot students were taking finals in December. Silly me.

Please avoid the headache and panic of learning your CampusID password has expired at an inopportune time. Before finals come back around, take a moment and change your password now or when you are procrastinating studying for that next exam. Directions on how to change your CampusID password can be found here.

Your new passwords must:

  • Be between 10-32 characters in length
  • Start with a letter
  • Not be one of your previous passwords
  • Contain at least one lower case letter, upper case letter, and a number
  • Not contain one of the following characters: @ / () “ * ‘

It makes it awfully difficult. For help on creating a strong password take a look at these sites:

McAfee
xkcd

Finally do not forget to update your CampusID and password on your various devices, e.g. laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. Some directions on updating devices can be found here.

CampusID accounts allow students to sign in to the majority of the online systems at Georgia State University including Campus Email, PAWS, iCollege, and InsideLaw.

Meet Cassandra Patterson

This is the long-overdue continuation of an “in-depth” interview series with new librarians at Georgia State University College of Law Library, See earlier installments here, here, here, here, and here.

We introduce our new librarians in the same way we introduced their colleagues at Georgia State Law Library– with a questionnaire invented by Austin Williams which is borrowed in spirit, if not in part, from Marcel Proust.

Austin (if he were still here): What is your name and what do you do?

Cassandra: Cassandra Patterson, I provide reference services, teach one class of legal research (Research Methods), and oversee the library’s outreach services.


A: How long have you been at Georgia State University College of Law Library? 

C: It will be three months next Tuesday. Time flies when you’re having fun!


A: What books are currently on your nightstand (or Kindle)?

C: I am currently reading books that focus on leadership and vulnerability. (I love self-development books!) This month, I am finishing up Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.


A: What is an interesting fact about yourself that you would like to share with our readers?

C: I love college sports, especially basketball. My love for basketball started when I played basketball in my “younger” days. I also played on a team during law school (1Ls vs 2Ls)!


A: When you are not saving the world here at GSU Law Library, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

C: I enjoy watching sports and movies. I also love to travel and visit new sites.


A: Lastly, what is your favorite vacation spot? The place you go to leave it all behind for a few days.

C: My favorite vacation spots are the Isle of Palms in SC and Wrightsville Beach in NC.


There you have it, folks. The complete, unedited, behind the scenes interview with Cassandra Patterson.

Meet Gerard Fowke

This is the long-overdue continuation of an “in-depth” interview series with new librarians at Georgia State University College of Law Library, See earlier installments here, here, here, and here. 

We introduce our new librarians in the same way we introduced their colleagues at Georgia State Law Library– with a questionnaire invented by Austin Williams which is borrowed in spirit, if not in part, from Marcel Proust.

Austin (if he were still here): What is your name and what do you do?Gerard

Gerard: Gerard Fowke, I teach legal research, answer reference questions, and manage the library’s digital collections and services, all while drinking copious amounts of coffee and expresso.


A: How long have you been at Georgia State University College of Law Library? 

G: Approximately 2 months. I’m definitely a veteran of the institution 😉


A: What books are currently on your nightstand (or Kindle)?

G: The Dream Songs by John Berryman & The Library Book by Susan Orlean.


A: What is an interesting fact about yourself that you would like to share with our readers?

G: Way before I was a librarian, I was once a singer in a rock n’ roll band.


A: When you are not saving the world here at GSU Law Library, what do you enjoy doing outside of work?

G: I’m a big fan of museums and arts festivals. I also love trying new restaurants.



A: Lastly, what is your favorite vacation spot? The place you go to leave it all behind for a few days.

G: Now that I no longer reside there, I think Boulder, Colorado would be a great spot. The beauty of the place definitely has a relaxing quality I miss in the hustle and bustle of the ATL. 


There you have it folks. The complete, unedited,  behind the scenes interview with Gerard Fowke.

Revisiting the Charging Lockers (or visiting them for the first time)

Got something to say about the charging lockers? We want to hear it.

The College of Law deployed six charging lockers throughout the building to better support students’ use of mobile devices. See an earlier Blackacre Times post announcing the charging lockers arrival . These student resources have been in place now for a little over six months and it seems as good a time as ever to reflect on their usefulness and your experiences/satisfaction (or lack thereof) with them. To do so a very, very quick survey has been created. We humbly ask you to take two minutes to complete it. The survey link is below.

https://gsu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_2ridQmq3wa6NwIR

The endgame here is to learn if you are using them and if not how can we make them more useful, reliable, secure, convenient etc.; consequently, we want to hear from you even if you are not using the charging stations. It would be helpful to know why.

The College of Law charging lockers currently offer Apple Lightning, Apple 30-Pin, Micro USB, USB Type-C connections. They are located:

  • 1st floor, near skills suite
  • 2nd floor, classroom hallway
  • 3rd floor, classroom hallway
  • 5th floor, near printers/cafe
  • 6th floor, near elevators
  • 6th floor, near Law Review (this one was “recalled” for testing but will be redeployed soon)

And they look something like this just in case you never noticed them before:

pl-GeorgiaStateLaw-Rend1.2

120 Days?

passwordAs some students have come to realize their time is up, or more so their CampusID password’s time is up.

Georgia State requires its users (faculty included) to change their CampusID password every 120 days. The application of this time limit is unfortunate to say the least. It means that students that changed or created their account passwords in mid-August –say at the beginning of the fall semester—will find their CampusID password expiring in the middle of December. Off the top of my head I cannot think of anything going on in December that might cause a problem. Oh, I almost forgot students are taking finals in December. Silly me.

Please avoid the headache and panic of learning your CampusID password has expired at an inopportune time. Take a moment and change your password now or when you are procrastinating studying for that next exam. Directions on how to change your CampusID password can be found here.

Your new passwords must:

  • Be between 10-32 characters in length
  • Start with a letter
  • Not be one of your previous passwords
  • Contain at least one lower case letter, upper case letter, and a number
  • Not contain one of the following characters: @ / () “ * ‘

It makes it awfully difficult. For help on creating a strong password take a look at these sites:

Microsoft 
Apple 
McAfee
xkcd

Finally do not forget to update your CampusID and password on your various devices, e.g. laptop, mobile phone, tablet, etc. Some directions on updating devices can be found here.

CampusID accounts allow students to sign in to the majority of the online systems at Georgia State University including Campus Email, PAWS, Brightspace, and InsideLaw.

Libraries and Secret Doors

There is a time-honored mystery cliché that if you pull on the correct book on a library shelf then a secret passage will present itself. As someone who works in a library I have always been fascinated by this idea. But unfortunately (having handled almost every book in this library at some point in time) I am sorry to report that there are no secret passages or secret rooms to be found in the Georgia State University Law Library- save for the door to nowhere located in Law Review. I am also sorry to share that despite my repeated suggestions to the architects, new building committee, and anyone else who will listen there will not be a secret passage in the new Law Library.

I am not giving up.

With an eye to persuade everyone that we could use a little mystery in the new law school building and particularly in the law library, I share the following lists of hidden doors, passages, and rooms:

Bookriot’s 10 Kick-ass Secret Passage Bookshelves

Huffington Post’s 10 Secret Rooms and Hidden Passageways

Buzzfeed’s 31 Beautiful Hidden Rooms And Secret Passages

Houzz’s list of secret rooms

And if all else fails, we can always build our own with a little help from B. Light Design

Library Policies- not all that bad

Mentalfloss.com, online purveyors in bizarre, quirky, and nerdy trivia, recently published an interesting library-themed blog list – 9 Very Specific Rules From Real Libraries.

Looking beyond the unimaginative stock photo of a bun-sporting, cardigan-draped,  grandma frames-spectacled, corrective shoes-hobbled,  and eternally shush-ing librarian stereotype that alerts the reader, “this post is about libraries and the author is too lazy to move beyond an outdated and trite sitcom convention”

come on mental_floss, you are better than that

the post makes a good, albeit unintended,  point.

Libraries and particularly smaller, specialized libraries like ours often create policies that at first glance may seem silly or annoying, but are necessary to ensure welcoming and comfortable space as well as reliable resources for group and individual study and research.

I am linking below to a list of policies governing patrons use of the Law Library.  Each of these polices was created with the best of intentions to better support you and your fellow researchers.  As always we welcome your questions and ideas on how better to do so -including sunsetting outdated or irrelevant policies (or heaven forbid, the creation of new ones).

Law Library Policies: http://law.gsu.edu/library/2047.html

Hotmail Banned by CALI

Students that have registered with CALI using a hotmail account will need to take additional steps to continue to access CALI exercises and other services. Additional information about this change as well directions for hotmail users can be found here.

CALI is best known for their library of  interactive, computer-based lessons covering 33 legal education subject areas. These interactive tutorials are written by law faculty to supplement traditional law school instruction. In addition to the lessons library, CALI also offers ebooks, the classcaster podcasting and blogging platform, and the CALI Excellence for the Future Awards that recognizes students that receive the highest score in a law school class.

Offbeat Law Library Collections

Cameo Word Up LP coverThis year’s CALI Conference for Law School Computing was hosted at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in their beautiful new downtown facility located in the shadow of San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter.  The building still had that new, technology-rich, Leeds-certified smell about it. Everything in the facility was brand spanking new…save a pair of 300-thousand year old wooly mammoth tusks that were on display in the law library. The school had unwittingly unearthed the fossils when excavating for the new building and they did what everyone does when they do not know what to do with something:  give it to the law library.

This got me thinking of what other unusual items have by chance or device found themselves part of a law library or its collection. Below is the fruit of my first search. I am sure there is more to be unearthed.

  • I am equally perplexed by and envious of Cornell Law Library’s squash court.  Yes, that is right. There is a squash court in the Cornell Law Library.  Struggling with Georgia legislative history (or the lack thereof)? Well blow off some steam and play a quick game of squash.  After hitting a few trickle boasts, you will be ready to face that legislative history research again.
  • My personal favorite, being a child of the 80’s, is the platinum album of Cameo’s Word Up that is on display at University of Tennessee Joel A. Katz Law Library. The Library’s namesake is a successful entertainment lawyer that has represented Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett and Michael Jackson among others. He has donated a number of his platinum plated awards to the law library but it is the image of Larry Blackmon in a codpiece—which in his defense seemed to make perfect sense back in the 80’s—on the walls of a law library that just makes me smile.
  • Finally, Yale has added bobbleheads to the Lillian Goldman Law Library rare book collection. Likeness of the Supreme Court justices in bobblehead form are now given similar historical attention to those commonplace gilt vellum bound manuscripts that litter the rare book collection.  Their Rare Books Blog is actually quite fascinating and worth a read.