Library Newsletter Spring 2008

Newsletter Archive January 2008

Mike Saporito with library staff. See below for details of his visit

New Year Greetings from all of us at the IALS Library! Best wishes for 2008 to all our users and readers, and we look forward to keeping in contact with our colleagues in law schools and law libraries throughout the year. In this issue, we offer you some news about IALS Library and associated services, including the IALL Conference in Mumbai, collaboration with the Social Law Library in Boston, and an update on library and information services at IALS.



Top of page

Mumbai Conference of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL)

The 26th Course in Law Librarianship of the International Association of Law Libraries was held in India in December 2007. The conference was orgnaised by IALS Librarian and Associate Director, Jules Winterton, recently re-elected as President of the Association, and Local Organiser Uma Narayan of Nishith Desai Associates and formerly Chief Librarian of the High Court Library in Mumbai. The four-day conference was inaugurated by the former Chief Justice of India and brought together distinguished speakers including judges from the Supreme Court and from the High Court in Mumbai, senior advocates, legal activists, and academics including the Vice-Chancellor of the SNDT University in Mumbai.

The conference organising committee

The conference is the Association's major educational event and each explores a different legal environment and its literature. The Indian legal system has been subject over a relatively short period to the stresses of globalisation in all its manifestations. There is a dramatic meeting of modern and traditional and the courts are often called on to find a balance. The conference allowed delegates to explore the development of the Indian legal system and its legal literature as it adapts to the impact of globalisation with the guidance of some of the most senior members of the legal profession. The juxtaposition of modern and traditional, evident on the streets of Mumbai, was pointed up by the speakers throughout the conference. The topics covered included women's rights, intellectual property law and technology transfer, legal aspects of outsourcing, legal education and the legal profession, environmental law, international trade law in an Indian context. The conference was reported twice in the national Times of India, and you can find some press coverage in the news section on the IALL website. The Assocation hopes that the event will promote the profession of law librarianship in India.

Hester Swift, Foreign and International Law Librarian, IALS, now gives us her account:

Librarians specialising in foreign and international law had an Indian adventure in December 2007, attending the IALL's 26th Annual Course on International Law Librarianship in Mumbai. The theme was "Global challenges and the Indian legal system" and the Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Gateway of India made a striking cover picture for the conference pack.

The former Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, speaking to the conference

The former Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, speaking to the conference. The inaugural speech by the retired Chief Justice of India, the Honourable Mr. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, was followed by an athletic display of folk and Bollywood dancing, a wonderful way to start a conference. The speakers on the subsequent days were an impressive array of judges, solicitors and barristers, together with the Librarian of the Supreme Court of India and representatives from both Indian and international legal publishers.

We heard about the fundamental rights embodied in the Constitution of India and the development by the courts of the article twenty-one right to life to affect many different areas of law. There was a sobering presentation on women's rights and legislative reforms by Flavia Agnes, feminist activist and advocate at the Bombay High Court. Delegates were treated to a dynamic presentation on the development of the Indian Legal Information Institute website, which was set up at just over a year ago with the aim of making Indian legislation, case law and related information accessible to all for free. A representative from the Eastern Book Company gave a survey of Indian legal literature and we were updated about developments on Westlaw International and Hein Online.

Uma Narayan, the extremely efficient conference organiser, and her very capable team had also laid on a programme of library visits. We saw the University of Mumbai's beautiful Fort Library; the Maharashtra State Central Library, a public service providing materials in fourteen different Indian languages as well as English; and the Asiatic Society Library, a private library founded in the1830s. We were also fortunate enough to be taken on sightseeing trips, including an excursion to the awe-inspiring Gharapuri cave temples on Elephanta Island, which date from the fourth to the ninth centuries.

The conference was an excellent opportunity to meet other librarians involved in foreign and international law and to hear about their work. I learnt a great deal about Indian law, about the country's legal system and Indian legal information. Since I came home I have already put to good use the contacts I made in Mumbai and they will be of great value in the future.

Hester Swift

Top of page

Collaboration with the Social Law Library, Boston, United States 

Mike Saporito visited the IALS Library during early December 2007. Mike is the Access Services Librarian at the Boston Social Law Library .

Founded in 1803 by an Act of the Legislature, the Boston Social Law Library is a private membership library and the library of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. "Social" in the title means the nineteenth century sense of a social group, concerned with pooling resources for a common aim.

The Library has had many different locations in Boston. It gets some state funding, but much of its income comes from member subscriptions. Their membership base ranges from solo practitioners and small law firms to large and well-known firms and organisations in and around Boston.

In his talk to IALS staff, Mike outlined the Social Law Library's collections:

  • Rich collection of legislation and law reports for each of the 50 US states
  • Attorney general opinions
  • Treatises
  • Publications of the ABA, the American Law Institute and other professional organisations
  • Databases available on-site to members
  • Periodicals: most everything indexed in Index to Legal Periodicals
Mike Saporito (right) with Mark Hayward, IALS Library Subscription Services Manager

Mike's job is Access Services Librarian and includes the overseeing and scheduling of circulation services and interlibrary loans, overseeing the document delivery service to members, collection maintenance, and member retention and marketing. He co-ordinates lots of mailings.

The Social Law Library has some 14,000 members. Courier firms are used to deliver lots of loans and documents every day around Boston, so there is a "constant blur of courier activity". The library is open 8 to 8 Monday to Friday, and closed at weekends. IALS Library has signed a reciprocal agreement with the Boston Social Law Library to ensure their readers and subscribers to their document supply services have access to each other's collections. The Social Law Library is one of the largest and most respected legal research institutions in the United States with a collection that is strong in United States practice-oriented materials.

Gerry Power, Access Librarian, IALS

Top of page

Intute: Law

Heather Memess, Intute Law Project Officer, outlines the online tutorials from Intute

The IALS Library continues to work on the Intute: Law Gateway. Intute is a free online service providing access to the very best web resources for education and research. Library staff select, catalogue and write descriptions of high quality legal resources before adding them to an internet catalogue which can be searched or browsed. While the internet catalogue forms the core of the service Intute also offers freely available training materials designed to promote and support internet and information literacy skills.

The Virtual Training Suite (VTS) is a collection of interactive online tutorials aimed at students, lecturers and researchers covering over 65 subjects taught in further and higher education. The subjects are grouped into the same categories as the Intute web resource catalogue- Science, Engineering and Technology; Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences and Health and Life Sciences. The Internet for Lawyers tutorial is part of the Social Sciences group. The tutorials have been written by information specialists and provide a good starting point for students using the internet for studying and research. Each tutorial follows a similar format with sections highlighting the key websites for the subject, providing guidance on the most effective ways of searching the internet and practical tips for evaluating the quality of the information found. The tutorials are self-paced and include interactive quizzes and practical examples of how others are using the Internet to support their research and studies.

A generic internet tutorial called the Internet Detective is also provided on Intute. This is aimed at students using the internet for university or college work. The tutorial has a film noir theme highlighting the potential advantages and possible pitfalls when using the internet for academic work. The tutorial looks at developing internet research skills and gives guidance on evaluating information found on the web. There is also a section on plagiarism and copyright and the dangers of copying and pasting.

A selection of support materials on using the VTS can also be downloaded from the site. For a more detailed look at Intute and how to use the service see Steve Whittle's article Intute: Law- the What? Why? How? Where? and Who?

Top of page

News in Brief

IALS now has a subscription to modules from the German legal database Beck-Online. Access is available to library users onsite. Remote access is provided for IALS and University of London teaching staff and students. The database can be accessed from the electronic law library. The Beck home page indicates the sections covered by the IALS subscription. These include full text legislation and commentary (Nomos Bundesrecht, Schönfelder plus, Staudinger BGB plus and Sartorius plus) and full text articles from a selection of journals eg. Neue Juristische Wochenschrift and Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht .

Katherine Read, Academic Services

David Gee, Deputy Librarian and Academic Services Manager, has completely revised and updated his research guide to public international law , and you can find it on our website . Coming soon will be the updated research guides to the United States and to Spain, and a brand new guide to the material of the Council of Europe. A number of new research guides are underway, and will be published on our website later in 2008.

New Legal Research Training Room

During September last year, the main public area on the 4th floor of IALS library was refurbished and reconfigured. A new Legal Research Training Room was created with projection equipment and 18 PC-equipped desks. The new room doubles the capacity for the well-attended electronic research training sessions given by the library staff, reported below. The computing facilities are freely available for general research use at other times. During the refurbishment the self-service photocopying facilities were moved into separate dedicated accommodation. A casual seating area will be introduced this term in the area. 

Electronic Information Training Sessions for Students at IALS Library, Autumn 2007

A total of over 450 postgraduate law students have availed of information training sessions at IALS Library during the Autumn term, 2007, and feedback from the events has been very positive in terms of both standards of training and learning outcomes achieved.

The Academic Services team at IALS Library delivered 37 training events from late September until the end of November. The programme offered a variety of demonstration sessions and the practical "hands-on" sessions, and included: 

  • 4 sessions demonstrating the Electronic Law Library with an overview of the databases and how they can help research
  • 2 sessions demonstrating online sources of public international law
  • 2 sessions demonstrating online sources of European Union law
  • 2 sessions demonstrating online sources of European Union law
  • 24 practical "hands-on" sessions to introduce searching and browsing of LexisNexis Butterworths and Westlaw UK, with practical exercises on finding cases, legislation and journal articles

Top of page

From the IALS reserve collections

This volume of Bosanquet and Puller's Reports was published 200 years ago in 1808, and is from the IALS reserve collection.

These reports were reprinted in the English Reports, volume 127.




Also from the reserve collection, this volume of the Central Criminal Court Sessions Papers was published 150 years ago in 1858.

Earlier series of these proceedings, from 1674 to 1834, have been published online in an award-winning and freely available database entitled The Proceedings of the Old Bailey


Top of page

News compiled and distributed by Gerard Power, Access Librarian, IALS, e-mail

Top of page

Page last updated: 18th July 2018