CS-SIS Member Spotlight: Anna Russell

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:  Anna Russell

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Here is a list of many of the places Anna has lived:  Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Washington DC and Washington state, Bahrain, Coronado, CA (AKA paradise), and Anchorage, Alaska.

Now, here is a list of a few of Anna’s jobs:  naval officer, FBI intelligence analyst, academic law librarian, and federal court librarian.

How has she fit this all in?  Anna studied philosophy at the University of Notre Dame knowing that she wanted to continue her education, possibly in law.  To secure funding for these future studies, she joined the Navy and spent five years training, traveling, and getting out of her comfort zone.  With funding in hand, Anna looked into law school, although she knew that she had no interest in litigation.  At a prospective law school luncheon, Anna met the director of the law library and was persuaded to become a law librarian.  She attended law school at the University of San Diego while concurrently earning her M.L.I.S. from San Jose State University.  I asked how this was possible, and Anna had two answers.  1) She conceded that she didn’t have a job during her studies.  2) Her library program offered the flexibility of in-person and online courses which enabled Anna to complete law and library science programs at once.

With few law library jobs available in 2010, Anna went to work for the FBI as an intelligence analyst.  Before long, she accepted a job at her law school alma mater as an Electronic Resources Librarian where she worked for six years.  Although she enjoyed her job and supportive colleagues, her family was in transition and ready for adventure and cooler temperatures.  That’s when Alaska called.   The transition has gone well, and Anna has appreciated the warm welcome and guidance she has received from her new colleagues in the federal courts.  She is enjoying the various types of research she’s been assigned as a US Courts Librarian and is one of a handful of public law librarians in the state of Alaska.

 Interest in CS-SIS

Anna has been a CS-SIS member since 2011, and she finds Computing Services members to be a fantastic group of librarians with shared interests.  She appreciates the new and varied areas of technology discussed on the listserv and the helpful fixes members provide for Exam Soft and other software glitches.  She compares notes with others on what she has learned from the Cool Tools Café at AALL with enthusiasm.  Anna noted the strong connection between CS-SIS and CALI for academic law librarians, and she learned much about legal technology from CALI conferences as well.  Now that she is in a court setting, she is interested in web archiving and may look to CS-SIS resources and members for guidance on preserving court materials online.

 Future Plans

After transitioning from sunny, academic days in San Diego to majestic mountain days in Anchorage, Anna is looking forward to getting into a routine.  She is exploring her new role and identifying the best services she can provide in a court library environment.  Anna is also serving on the local arrangements committee for the WestPac chapter of AALL as Anchorage will be the host city for their annual meeting in the fall.  Anna invites us all to attend WestPac’s annual meeting in Alaska September 27-29, 2018.

 

Thanks to Anna Russell 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 tplumb@uwyo.edu.  It is a great opportunity to learn about a fellow member.

 

Cool Tool Spotlight #9: Gail Mathapo on Zotero

This week’s featured tool will be the last video from AALL 2017. The tool is Zotero, a free online citation tracker. Gail Mathapo, Reference Librarian and Professor of Legal Research at the University of Florida Levin College of Law – Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

Zotero claims to include “the best parts of older reference manager software” (for the old school librarians in us) in addition to “the best aspects of modern software and web applications” (for the tech junkies in us).

Sounds like a win-win!

Cool Tool Spotlight #8: Tawnya Plumb on Omeka.net

This week’s featured tool is Omeka.net, a web publishing platform for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits. Tawnya Plumb, Head of Electronic and Digital Services at the University of Wyoming College of Law Library, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

There’s a (seemingly unlimited) free trial, or there are a variety of paid plans ranging from $35 – $1000 a year. Omeka.org also has information on additional open source projects, including a mobile app.

If your institution doesn’t have any kind of repository, or if you’re considering jumping off the bepress bandwagon, this may be worth a trial!

Cool Tool Spotlight #7: Debbie Ginsberg on Grammarly, Word Rake, Perfect It

This week’s featured tool is actually a combo of Grammarly, WordRake, & Perfect It, three writing tools designed for lawyers to check for common style and consistency errors. Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian at the Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

It’s never too late for a good New Year’s resolution: use these to help improve your writing!

 

 

Cool Tool Spotlight #6: Rachel Purcell on Shorthand Social

(Apologies. This post was originally posted as #7 when it is, in fact, #6!)

Welcome to 2018!

This week’s featured tool is Shorthand Social, an easy to use “story builder” that integrates with social media. Rachel Purcell, Information Management Librarian at the University of Florida Levin College of Law Library, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

Who wants to be the first to share a story of how they spent their New Year’s Eve…? Anyone?

Cool Tool Spotlight #5: Patrick Parsons on Pixlr

Who doesn’t love alliteration?

This week’s featured tool is Pixlr, a browser-based photo editor that can be used to create marketing or promotional material for free. Patrick Parsons, Research Instructional Services Librarian at the Georgia State University College of Law Library, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

Also, who wants to mess with Photoshop* when you can do so much of the same for free (and more easily) online?

* No offense to lovers of Photoshop.

** This will be the last post of 2017. We’ll pick back up on January 2, 2018. See you next year!

 

Cool Tool Spotlight #4: AJ Blechner on Poll Everywhere

This week’s featured tool is Poll Everywhere, a web-based audience response system that gives presenters immediate feedback with live, interactive audience participation. AJ Blechner, Research Librarian and Librarian Instruction Coordinator at the Harvard Law Library, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

Go ahead. Use it to poll everyone in your next staff meeting on whether that meeting should have been an email…. (or maybe don’t)!

CS-SIS Member Spotlight: Brian Huffman

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:  Brian Huffman

 

Circular Path to Librarianship

Brian’s exposure to libraries began in a hospital nursing and later medical library when he was an undergrad student at Drake University.   He loved his job, embraced the technology involved, and witnessed librarians who survived high-stakes research (paying by the minute!) in a dialup version of Medline.  He began law school with the intent to work in environmental law, but after clerking he found himself working in family, criminal, and immigration law instead.  Ten years later, Brian’s firm was downsizing, and after careful consideration he opted to begin library school to earn his MLIS from St. Catherine University.  With law already under his belt, he secured employment at a county law library which helped support him through library school.   Brian wanted to find ways to give back, and he did so by bringing in MLIS interns into the county law library, recruiting students into law librarianship, and serving as a mentor.   After working in the Washington County and Dakota County law libraries in Minnesota, he transitioned to academic law librarianship at the University of Hawai’i where he is the Electronic Services Librarian.

Tech Stuff

As an Electronic Services Librarian, Brian handles anything tech related in the law library.  He spends a good deal of time on website develop and database selection, training, and maintenance.  Recently, he’s initiated a program to train law students in legal technology competencies.  He created an assessment program which was taken by his 1Ls during orientation and then designed a curriculum to teach the needed tech skills.  He was pleased with the student participation in the voluntary sessions and saw his students improve their tech ability.

Brian became a CS-SIS member four years ago and enjoys serving as one of our webmasters.  He is happy that CS-SIS brings together colleagues with unique interests who think about, brainstorm, and work on similar library projects.   He appreciates the networking opportunities Computing Services offers and attends AALL annual meetings seeking out CS-SIS content.  He’s also thankful to have programming opportunities available to him while he’s at his sunny desk in Hawai’i, as professional development opportunities are usually an ocean away.

Keeping Busy

In addition to serving in CS-SIS, Brian is vice-president/president-elect for WestPac and a previous president of the Hawai’i Library Association. He has also been active in LISP and MALL.  Locally, he serves as a law school representative for the faculty senate at the University of Hawai’I at Mānoa.

Transitioning from county law libraries in Minnesota to an academic law library in Hawai’i was a fun move for Brian.  He loves working with students and finds the electronic services position to be a good fit.  He confirms that Hawai’i is indeed a beautiful place to live and work with rich culture and history.  When he’s not chauffeuring guests around the island, Brian is actively working toward tenure in 2018.

Good luck and Aloha!

 

Thanks to Brian Huffman for his 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 tplumb@uwyo.edu.  It is a great opportunity to learn about a fellow member.

Cool Tool Spotlight #3: Cas Laskowski on TOGGL

This week’s featured tool is TOGGL, a time management tool that can be used as a browser extension or on the desktop. Casandra (Cas) Laskowski, Reference Librarian at the Goodson Law Library of Duke University, demonstrated this at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café.

Maybe this can help you figure out where all the time in your day goes….

Cool Tool Spotlight #2: Heather Simmons on PowerNotes

As a reminder, for the next several weeks a different tool presented at the 2017 AALL Annual Meeting Cool Tools Café will be featured with a link to a video demonstration by the presenter.

This week’s featured tool is PowerNotes. Heather Simmons, Law & Business Reference Librarian at the University of Illinois College of Law, demonstrates a useful browser extension, designed by former law students and lawyers, for organizing notes, links, and more.

Check it out! Because even research experts can use a little help.

(*PowerNotes was also recently featured in the November 8th KnowItAALL email newsletter.)

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