MSLL Logo 2000 Annual Report

Electronic Services

Where Have You Been for Twenty Years?

Barbara Golden, Electronic Services LibrarianNearly twenty years ago, our Library staff recognized that computers would dramatically change libraries and the profession of law librarianship. Our first computer was purchased in 1983. As unlikely as it seems, this very computer - an early Texas Instruments PC with a 10-megabyte hard drive, 128k memory - is still used to print book labels. In contrast to that first computer, most of the Library's PCs today have a six-gigabyte hard drive, 32MB memory.

Realizing the importance and necessity of computer technology to library development, the Library first stated it's need for a computer guru in the December 1982 report Microcomputer Automation at MSLL. Fifteen years later, an Electronic Services Librarian was hired to maintain the Library's website (which includes the Minnesota appellate courts opinion archive), advise on the purchase of electronic format materials, and consult on the efficient and effective use of information technology by the Library's staff and patrons.

It's a Hit

The case archive webpage receives the most visits of any page on the Library's website. In 2000, it received over one million hits, with the most popular Supreme Court opinion getting more than 400 hits. The most popular Court of Appeals case received more than 350 hits. Because the Clerk of the Appellate Courts leaves opinions online for only one week, the Library performs an invaluable service by archiving appellate decisions and making them searchable back to May 1996.   [Top Cases of 2000]

You Mean You Can Get All That on the Web?

The Library website continues to develop and expand. Among its features are the following: links to Minnesota legal resources (including a comprehensive listing of municipal ordinances); a list of other state law library websites; a directory of Minnesota county law libraries; the Library's online catalog; Library information, history and publications; as well as links to the Minnesota appellate courts and many other legal sites.   [Top Pages of 2000]
Twenty years ago, the standard way to ask a reference question was to do so at the reference desk or, possibly, to telephone the Library. Today, we've added a new reference dimension, one that allows a reference question to come from anywhere in the world - almost instantaneously. New in 2000 is the option and availability of e-mail reference. Library staff will either answer the question, if possible, or provide an appropriate referral to an attorney, agency, or other library. The Library response is delivered by return e-mail or, occasionally, by phone. Patrons can now obtain reference assistance by e-mail, telephone, U.S. mail, and in-person.

Moving Online

In 2000, the Library began offering access to KeyCite and the Index to Legal Periodicals over the Internet. The Index to Legal Periodicals provides citations to articles published in legal journals and law reviews. KeyCite allows you to track the history of a published court decision and find citations for all of the cases that examine, discuss, or otherwise refer to the original case. In the past, these titles were in paper format, but the new online versions offer more powerful searching and up-to-date information, as well as an ease of use not dreamed of in the past.

Go to 2000 Annual Report homepage
        Go to Administrative Services
        Go to Outreach Services
        Go to Public Services
        Go to Technical Services

Return to Minnesota State Law Library Homepage
This page was posted on May 2, 2001.