Reading and Processing

Citation:
Paul N. Edwards, How to Read a Book, v.5.0, http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/PDF/howtoread.pdf.

Happy new year! I hope you had a restful break and feel refreshed.

For my first post of 2020, I decided to discuss a short paper by Paul N. Edwards about effective reading of non-fiction materials. This paper has been sitting on my to-be-read pile since last summer, and the beginning of the new year seems like an excellent time to visit it.

The author briefly outlines 11 reading strategies and techniques for all types of non-fiction works. It is an excellent high-level overview of methods that can be employed by anyone who needs to get some reading done, and they are simple enough that they can be adapted based on personal preferences and goals.

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Diving into Legal Pragmatism

Citation:
Michael Sullivan, Legal Pragmatism: Community, Rights, and Democracy (2007), introduction and chapter 4, https://www.worldcat.org/title/legal-pragmatism-community-rights-and-democracy/oclc/219688202&referer=brief_results

It is likely that we have arrived at my final blog entry for this year. I am travelling the next few weeks and cannot promise that I will read and blog something scholarly while I am away. I have not had a vacation in a very long time and hope to enjoy some downtime reading for fun.

I finished several research guides this past year, and I am especially pleased at how two of them in particular turned out:

These two guides were definitely a bit of a stretch for me. I do not have a lot of experience in the social sciences aside from my time in library school, and both of these guides turned out to be, by necessity, very multi-disciplinary.

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Casting a “wide and imperfect net”: Legal research platforms as data brokers for government surveillance activities

Citation:
Sarah Lamdan, When Westlaw Fuels ICE Surveillance: Legal Ethics in the Era of Big Data Policing, 43 N.Y.U. L. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 255 (2019), https://perma.cc/42HV-9AW6 .

To be completely honest, this is a topic I have been avoiding reading or thinking very much about, although it has been on the forefront of a lot of law librarian minds for well over a year. However, as more and more lawyers, law students, and librarians organize a protest movement against what is happening, the more compelled I felt to educate myself about it.

So here we are — it’s time to talk about the relationship between the parent companies of Westlaw and Lexis and the federal government, notably the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as it has developed in the area of immigration surveillance.

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“Get out of the bitter barn and play in the hay”

Citation:
Hansjörg Znoj, Features of Embitterment, in Embitterment: Societal, Psychological, and Clinical Perspectives 5 (Michael Linden & Andreas Maercker eds. 2011).

The TV show Friends has resurged like no one’s business recently. The quote in the title of this post comes from that show, and it was Phoebe Buffay who said it in “The One With The Prom Video,” which happens to be the first episode of the show that I ever saw. That was the episode that had the whole Chandler/Joey gold bracelet thing, and, of course, the prom video that started the whole Ross and Rachel relationship.

That quote comes to mind whenever I perceived bitterness in myself and others, which I promise is relevant here.

Anyway, this is the first time in this experiment that I have analyzed a book chapter instead of an article. It was helpful in terms of understanding the psychological construct of bitterness, which has been on my mind a lot lately. However, and perhaps more importantly, it showed that book chapters rarely can stand alone in a rewarding way.

In other words, I may know more about embitterment than I did before, but I’m still not really sure what to do about it.

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Law and Life are Complicated and Difficult

Citation:
Ana Aliverti, The Wrongs of Unlawful Immigration, Criminal Law and Policy, June 2017, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 375–391, https://link-springer-com/article/10.1007/s11572-015-9377-y .

Yesterday I participated in the first in a series of facilitated dialogues about immigration. I volunteer for these facilitated dialogues here at the law school every year because it gives students who are taking the Lawyer as Facilitator class the chance to practice their skills on real humans who are talking about difficult things.

The interesting thing for me about this experience is that I HATE hard conversations and confrontation and differences of opinion. As with many people who have domineering parents and/or self esteem issues, every disagreement becomes, in my mind, a personal attack. And yet, I still volunteer to do this every year. I always hope it will help me get better at and feel better about having difficult conversations in relatively safe spaces, and yet every year I feel just as inept at doing this as I ever did.

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I’m Back; Organizational Justice and Cynicism

Catherine T. Kwantes & Michael H. Bond, Organizational justice and autonomy as moderators of the relationship between social and organizational cynicism, Personality and Individual Differences, v. 151, Dec. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.04.046.

Well, it has been more than two months since I blogged about an article. During that absence from the blog, classes started here at the law school. Between individual research consults, library research classes, and lecturing in legal research and writing, I have been so busy with teaching and getting to know our students that there hasn’t been time for much else.

Yes, this is the life of a reference librarian during the late summer and early fall in an academic law library.

The important thing, of course, is getting back on the horse after you fall off. It is also important to internalize lessons learned through lived experience. I wanted to read and blog daily, but that is just not possible.

So the name of this blog has been changed to “Jennifer’s Occasional Read.” The word “occasional” will mean different things depending on the time of year. Today, it means I have an empty calendar for the first time in a long time, and an article I really want to dig into. So blogging starts again today. Will I blog again tomorrow? Who knows? Today is what matters.

Today’s article discusses social cynicism and organizational justice in the workplace and how they contribute to employees’ organizational cynicism and the health of the organization in general.

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Blogging as an Exercise in Control; Ethnography in Libraries

Citation:
Donna Lanclos and Andrew D. Asher, “Ethnographish”: The State of Ethnography in Libraries, Weave: Journal of Library User Experience, Volume 1, Issue 5, 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/weave.12535642.0001.503

So I think I am already getting the hang of how blogging will ebb and flow, in terms of the quantity of blog posts that I can reasonably manage at various times of the year. Late July and early August are, obviously, prime for daily reading of articles and blogging about them — it is right after the AALL annual meeting, and I am pumped about new ideas and scholarship. However, as mid-August approaches, we start preparing for the beginning of the academic year, and I have to cut back, which is OK.

I expect I will be back to daily blogging sometime in November, but even then it is too far in the future to worry about today. At least I am managing to do something today, which is good.

What did worry me today is that I noticed that a number of my previous blog posts had had their text replaced with an hyperlinked advertisement. WHAT?!?!?!?! I pay money for this blog and was very unhappy that this could happen. The poor person on the WordPress end of a support chat this morning got an earful from me. (An eyeful?) But they took it like a true pro, and showed me how to revert to previously-saved versions of posts, which I did. They also suggested I change to a stronger password, and I did that as well.

So three cheers for WordPress User Support. I am often on their end of our library’s chat reference, and I hope I handle difficult people as nicely as they handled me.

(Also, maybe I could have been a little less difficult, although I thought that HOURS of work had been deleted forever and I was not happy about it, so I am going to cut myself a little slack.)

Anyway, today’s article continues on the theme from last week: ethnography. I found an article written by two ethnographers who work full-time in academic libraries, and found that they had some very interesting things to say on this topic.

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Conducting Fieldwork While Female, or “Is Crit Always Legit?”

Citation:
Sandra M. Bucerius and Marta Urbanik, When Crime is a “Young Man’s Game” and the Ethnographer is a Woman: Gendered Researcher Experiences in Two Different Contexts, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 2019, Vol 48(4) 451-481, DOI: 10.1177/0891241618785225

Of all of the articles I have chosen to read during the early days of this experience, this one was far and away my favorite. Perhaps I missed my true calling as an ethnographer!

The authors are female ethonographers who conducted separate research projects that involved studying the behavior and experiences of certain types of men. The participants in Bucerius’s study were young, immigrant, “second-generation Muslim” men who were involved in selling drugs and other criminal activity in the German city of Frankfurt. Urbanik’s research project involved studying young men residing in a public housing project in Toronto, almost all of whom were racial minorities and who lived a “hip-hop” or “gangsta” lifestyle.

These two researchers collaborated on this article to explore the many ways in which the fieldwork required for this type of research can be difficult or dangerous for women. Looking through a gender-specific lens, the authors observed that the men who participated in this study, who were in certain ways socially disadvantaged, felt compelled to engage in “boundary work,” which means that they “increase their self-perceptions by relegating women into even more subordinate positions than they themselves occupy.”

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Librarians: Is Your Community of Practice (CoP) Doing More Harm Than Good?

Citation:
Sarah Vela, Knowledge Management, Diversity, and Professional Hierarchies in Libraries, Journal of Library Administration, v. 58, no. 8, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2018.1516950.

I had originally scheduled an article about legal translation today. However, after yesterday’s article about identities in the workplace, I decided this was a topic I wanted to spend more time with. Various searches led me to this article from 2018.

The author is a PhD student, and her research on knowledge management (KM) and organizational and cultural management models is quite extensive. With this article, the author is attempting to fill what she views as a gap in the literature: how KM and its influence on organizational behavior manifests itself in libraries.

It took her a while (perhaps a bit too long) to get to the libraries part. She began with a historical explanation of the concept of KM, and how it is based on the idea that there are two levels of knowledge: explicit (“comprehension associated with education and intellect”) and tacit (something that is “learned by doing”).

She also described how, in the literature, a “continuum of the degree of tacitness” of knowledge has been developed, and that the nature of knowledge can change based on where it is located on this continuum.

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