Monday, January 15, 2007

Questions for fellow bloggers

Two recent law review articles dealt with issues important to librarianship: Alasdair Roberts in The Global Movement for Government Transparency: The Challenges Ahead (22:1n Focus on Law Studies 4-5, 11 (Fall 2006)) writes about access to government information. The Fall 2006 UMKC Law Review 75:1 is devoted to legal history research through court records.

Mr. Roberts is someone I need to read more of. His brief article describes how private companies that contract to perform traditional government functions (education, water, defense, etc.) are not obligated to provide information to the public. Governments have not complied with right to know acts and many international bodies impose secrecy as a condition of membership. Roberts calls for ngos and philanthropies to monitor governments’ compliance with right to know laws and points out that it is difficult for such groups to persist. Our library associations’ government relations committees already do this. Could our association collaborate with groups outside of library land?

The articles in the UMKC Law Review are very interesting. Court filings and briefs are a mass of unorganized data. Are any librarians involved in court data projects that involve formatting the data for analysis?

Is anyone on this blog aware of librarians writing from the viewpoint of these authors? If not, would engaging in these two areas of discussion enhance our profession? I don’t do enough professional reading so I would appreciate my fellow bloggers suggesting library sources on this and contributing to the discussion through posts..

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