The LLMC-Digital Newsletter
June 15, 2007
1– LLMC’s annual members’ meeting -p.1
2– A major boost from LLMC's host -p. 1-2
3– Winding up the state court reports project -p. 2-3
4– News from the extern scanner sites -p. 3
5– Archiving FJC publications p. 3
6– Remembering two LLMC stalwarts -p.4
LLMC’s Annual Members’ Meeting
As most of our readers know, LLMC is owned and run by a fixed group of Charter Members, comprised of the 256 intrepid and far-sighted libraries that launched the digital project over four years ago when they became the founding subscribers to LLMC-Digital. (Endnote # 1) The way the Consortium functions is that the day-to-day affairs of the project are supervised by a corporate Board of Directors elected by the Charter Members. The directors in turn are advised as needed, particularly when unforeseen issues come up between the annual meetings, by an 18-member Advisory Council, also elected by the Charter Members. The Charter Membership meets once a year, always in conjunction with the annual convention of AALL. At these annual meetings the Charter Members select colleagues to fill vacant seats on the two governing bodies, receive reports from the LLMC staff on the project’s progress, provide their input on is-sues major and minor, and decide policy questions submitted by the Board of Directors.
The 31st annual LLMC Members Meeting will be held on Monday, July 16, 2007, during the AALL convention being held this year in New Orleans. (Endnote # 2) Other subscribers are also welcome to participate in the meeting; although voting privileges are reserved to the Charter Members. Voting entitlement packets for the latter will be available at the door for pickup by representatives of the Charter Member libraries.
A special feature of this year's meeting will be the initiation in office of LLMC's new executive director, Mrs. Kathleen Richman. (Endnote # 3) All members are invited to come and get acquainted with Kathleen, and to hear some short remarks on her aspirations and goals for our Consortium. In addition to the Members Meeting, there will be more casual opportunities to meet and talk with Kathleen at the LLMC booth (No. 829) in the AALL convention exhibits hall.
An additional feature available at the our booth this year will be demos by Library of Congress personnel of a groundbreaking application of the LC classification schedules to the discovery of the legal records of indigenous governments in the America's. This is a project upon which LLMC has been pleased to provide LC with modest cooperation over the past year or so. For those interested in a more structured presentation, the project also will be the subject of an independent AALL Technical Services SIS Program entitled LC's Classification Web: An Electronic Gateway to Indigenous Government and Law in the Americas. Timing is Tuesday, July 17, at 9:00–10:30AM. (Endnote # 4)
LLMC Gets a Major Boost from Its Host
Since its founding some 31 years ago, LLMC has benefited enormously from the fact that its host institution, the University of Hawaii provided free headquarters-and-plant housing for the project. It is no exaggeration to say that we literally couldn't have survived without this assistance. Additionally, during these past years every LLMC fiche and digital customer has benefited directly from this subsidy. It has been a major factor in our ability to hold our prices low for both our fiche and also our digital product.
Page 2 of the print ed. starts here
One remarkable aspect of LLMC's “sojurns” in various University of Hawaii facilities on two different campuses is that they were al-ways just that, temporary stays. The wonder is that we have managed to cling on for 31 years living under a month-to-month lease. Despite that uncertainty, these arrangements in fact proved minimally adequate to our needs during our fiche era. However, the inability to plan ahead has prevented us from making the physical improvements to our present quarters required for the complicated and delicate range of digital equipment we now operate. It is very hard to justify putting substantial funding into a physical plant that one might lose on very short notice.
We are happy to announce that the University Administration has now recognized this problem and has agreed to provide a long-term solution. Following the President's recommendation, the University Board of Regents voted last month to give LLMC a twenty-year, nominal-rent lease on the building we now use for headquarters. In effect our host has agreed to guarantee for two decades a subsidy for our project amounting to more than half a million dollars per year. We can only interpret this generous act as evidence, both of the importance the University Administration assigns to our mission, and also of its confidence in our ability to achieve it. On behalf of the whole LLMC community we have expressed to the University President and his team our gratitude for this outstanding contribution to our future wellbeing.
The building for which we now have a long-term lease is located on the university system's Windward Community College campus. We share with the campus a remarkably scenic site at the bottom of a near-perpendicular, 1,100-foot-high range of cliffs (locally called a pali) in a Honolulu neighborhood called Kaneohe on the eastern side of the Island of Oahu. It's about twenty minutes through the mountains by tunnel to downtown Honolulu.
The building has a gross square footage of roughly 11,000, of which about 6,000 is assignable, the remainder being halls and stairways. Built in a plain-vanilla design in the early 1950's, it is a very sturdy concrete affair with, remarkably for its time, steel roof trussing. It started service as a nurses' dormitory, during a time when the whole site housed the state's mental hospital. While that initial use mandated a layout into many tiny rooms, fortunately the interior walls are non-load-bearing and thus can be removed or modified with relative ease as needs dictate.
Over the seventeen years during which we have occupied roughly half of the space, we have rehabbed our part into usable condition on a piecemeal basis at a total cost of about $150,000. In the next several years we will recapture the rest of the space, provide for central air conditioning, and bring the building up to code and into compliance with federal ADA requirements. Fortunately, since our headquarters operates as a work site, a factory if you will, we will not need to upgrade it to the level one might expect in a public facility such as a library. The bywords will be plain and functional. We expect that the work will be done in phases and that it will be completed over the next two or three years as funds become available.
Winding up the State Court Reports Project
While we continue to add content to LLMC-Digital in many areas, for the past three years our primary scanning focus has been on the court reports of the U.S. states. During our fiche era our printed catalog U.S. States Collection; Law and Government Documents described what was by far the world's most complete collection of filmed state court reports. We have used that same catalog as our template as we worked to create the fiche collection's digital counterpart. However, this time around we plan to be even more complete, since, apart from adding the odd title that was previously overlooked, we also are targeting all of Pennsylvania's “side reports”; i.e. the one hundred or so series covering courts of first instance in the various Pennsylvania counties. Our ultimate goal is to provide our subscribers with the assurance that they can count on all public domain, U.S. state court reports being available on LLMC-Digital. We expect to complete roughly 99% of this goal during this year.
The first phase of the project involved scanning all of the usable state court reports volumes from the collection of Wayne State
Page 3 of the print ed. starts here
University Law Library. That initial gift got us to roughly 75% of our goal. In the second phase we have been absorbing some 2,600 gap-filler volumes provided principally by the law libraries of the University of Kansas, the University of Chicago, the University of Richmond, Worchester County (MA), Oakland County (MI), and the Maryland State Law Library. We expect to have completed that second-phase work by the end of summer. Once those books have been absorbed, we will be in a position to publish a definitive desiderata list asking for everybody's help in filling the last remaining gaps.
News from the Extern Scanner Sites
LLMC now has step-and-repeat book scanners operating in four strategic library locations; each with special collections of great interest to portions of our user constituency. Our partners are the law libraries of George Washington University, Los Angeles County, and Saint Louis University and the Hawaii State Archives. Significant scanning projects covering discrete subject areas are now coming to completion at two of those sites.
— Hawaii State Archives (HSA): The primary goal for this site over the past two years has been to capture the laws (session and compiled) and the legislative journals of the Hawaiian Kingdom (1840–94) and the short-lived Republic of Hawaii (1894–1900). Later materials are much more commonly held and are being scanned routinely at LLMC-Kaneohe. Much of the Kingdom/Republic journal material exists in unique copy only at HSA and a significant portion is in manuscript. Now all of the scanning of this material has been completed, and the session laws for the Hawaiian Kingdom are already online. The remaining titles are undergoing some rather complicated tagging and cataloging and should be up by the end of the year.
— Los Angeles County Law Lib. (LACLL): The first subject project tackled at this installation was the first section of our guide bibliography The Common Law Abroad (CLA), “General Treatises.” Because LACLL's collection contains a high percentage of the 311 titles listed in that section, they decided to concentrate on these titles as their initial project, and are well along the way to completing the lot. This large number of titles will now proceed to St. Louis University for cataloging, after which they will soon start appearing on LLMC-Digital. Because the web site is organized somewhat differently than the CLA book, these titles will appear online in a new section styled “British Empire Studies.” We expect the bulk of the targeted portion of that collection (i.e. the titles listed in CLA-Section-One) to be completed and online by the end of the year.
Archiving Federal Judicial Center Content
Those familiar with LLMC's fiche collections know that during 1999 and 2000, in cooperation with the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) we did a retrospective filming of the entire FCJ print publication backfile. That retrospective collection, numbering 211 titles in 240 volumes, was described in a print appendix to Section one of our fiche catalog published in 2002. Many of those titles already have mi-grated online to LLMC-Digital, and all of the rest will follow methodically as more of the backfile hardcopy is received from the FJC.
In continuation of our long partnership, we and the FJC have now concluded an agreement under which LLMC will serve as an archive for everything published by the FJC. In addition to print publications this now will include those materials published by the FJC only online. We will inaugurate this new venture by providing an LLMC-Digital version of a new FJC online-only periodical, the FJC Research Brief, along with the occasional background papers published with its articles.
The mechanical details of this new venture will be arranged as follows. The materials in question are posted by the FJC in PDF format. LLMC will print those PDF's to acid-free paper, from which we will scan the images to be mounted on LLMC-Digital. After the acid-free pages are used for scanning purposes, they will then be shrink-wrapped and shipped to our dark archive in the Kansas salt mines. Meanwhile the images will have been written to archival fiche, thus providing to the FJC the same three-format archiving used by LLMC.
Page 4 of the print ed. starts here
Remembering Two LLMC Stalwarts
Our LLMC community recently lost two great friends and steadfast supporters. Both were also major players in the larger law library community. While their accomplishments in that wider field will soon be memorialized in more appropriate forums such as the Law Library Journal, we would like to add a few words here in tribute to how much they meant to our enterprise.
Bethany Ochal was one of those great people who, if your were lucky enough to have her on your side, you could count on to just hang in there no matter how long it took to get the job done. Bethany, then the Director of the Orange County (CA) Law Library, signed on to LLMC in 1978, a year or so after it got started. We say “signed on” because she made it clear from day one that she was “in for the duration.” She told us that she intended to use fiche as a major building component in her expansion of the Orange County Law Library collection, and that we could count on her to buy one copy of everything that LLMC published. Quite apart from this solid financial support, she was a tireless proselytizer for LLMC, personally recruiting many libraries to join in. She also served six terms as a member of LLMC's Advisory Council and two three-year terms on its Board of Directors. It would be impossible to remember, much less list, all of the ways in which she influenced LLMC's early development. Even after retirement from library work Bethany kept up her interest in LLMC's various projects, writing occasionally to comment on current developments. In the last couple of years, after she had relocated to an assisted living facility, writing became harder. But she still dictated letters to her daughter, and we would get the occasional reminder that she was still watching out for us. With her recent passing, LLMC has lost one of its most loyal friends.
Tom Steele, about whose death at 58 on March 27 we learned too late for comment in the last issue of this newsletter, was another very long-term LLMC supporter. He first appeared on our radar screen back in 1979, just after he was appointed director of the fledgling Franklin Pierce Law Library. Tom used LLMC's product to help build up that collection and then continued to patronize us after he became director successively of the University of Mississippi and the Wake Forest University law libraries. In addition to his welcome financial support, Tom had a bent for the practical aspects of publishing and generously shared his insights by mail, and then by e-mail, on a regular basis. He was enamored of the idea that LLMC should serve after the manner of a TVA in the legal microforms publishing arena, helping to keep general pricing levels reasonable by providing salutary competition. Tom served six terms on our Advisory Council and a three-year term on our Board of Directors. During the latter period that he became the first Board member to urge us to expand our offerings into the online world. As he told the Board then: “In the digital era, content is king. LLMC has content. We should seize this opportunity to make that content more accessible.” It took us a while to ramp up our courage to the level of his vision, but we finally followed his advice. We are richer for his having been our colleague and poorer for his untimely passing.
1.) New readers can view the list of Charter Members by going to www.llmc.com and clicking successively on the tabs “About LLMC” & “Charter Community.” They will see that our membership includes all kinds of libraries, although it is decidedly weighted toward the academic side, including 88.5% of all U.S. law school libraries and 75% of the Canadian. This list also tells the voting entitlement of each Charter Member.
2.) At press time the assigned venue was the Marlborough Room of the Hilton Hotel. Check the final program on site for the most accurate information.
3.) A short biography of Kathleen appeared in the last issue of this newsletter, archived at www.llmc.com/Newsletter/Issue24_April_2007.asp
4.) At press time the assigned venue was the Morial Convention Center's Rm. 224. Check the final program on site for the most accurate information.
End of Issue # 25