Minnesota State Law Library

Technical Services - 2005 Annual Report

2005 Index

The Technical Services Department of the Minnesota State Law Library is responsible for the ordering, receiving, and cataloging of books and other media including Web sites and online documents for the Library’s collection. We processed and added 31,275 items last year. Of that number, 869 were new titles, which were highlighted each month in the New Books List. The State Law Library paper collection grew from 243,233 to 250,685 and the microfiche collection from 415,289 to 437,914. In addition, the Department cataloged 1231 items for 10 county law libraries throughout Minnesota. The Department also serves as a micropublisher, creating 1021 pieces of microfiche of the Minnesota Appellate Courts Briefs for county and academic law libraries. Each item we get in, we analyze, catalog, check in, process (adding a spine label, security sticker, and appropriate stamps), and then shelve in the appropriate location in either the State Law Library, Court of Appeals Research Library, or the Supreme Court Research Library. As we become more facile in the use of our new online catalog database, our online edits have increased dramatically. These online edits are, in fact, added items or deleted items, and they represent our serial collection, i.e. reporters, serials, periodicals, and new editions. The total of these materials was 6660. This translated last year to 30,136 online edits, as opposed to 22,236 edits for 2004. This is an increase of 36%.

Additions to the Collection: Last year the Library added a few significant materials to the collection. These were items that filled gaps and helped research. We filled a major gap in our microfiche collection of state session laws from approximately 1964 to 1983. The missing materials, which totaled 14,771, varied from state to state, but the new additions complete our state microfiche collection. Our regular subscription to the state session laws accounted for 3445 pieces of microfiche, which are purchased from the William S. Hein & Company. We receive the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, state session laws, state bar journals, GPO fiche, and our own appellate court briefs on microfiche on a regular basis. That total for 2005 was 22,625 pieces of microfiche for the collection.

Another exciting development (we do get excited about books), is the addition to the main library collection of the United States Supreme Court Reports. These are the official reports from the Supreme Court of the United States. In the past, the official reports were only housed in the Minnesota Supreme Court Research Collection and had to be retrieved on request. However, through a series of generous donations (312 items) and a small amount of money to fill some gaps, we were able to add this important research tool to our Federal Collection. We now have the Supreme Court Reporter (West), the Supreme Court Reports Lawyer’s Edition (Lexis/Nexis), and the official United States Supreme Court Reports together in our main collection.

People studying in the Law Library

Electronic books: We added 5355 NetLibrary records to our online catalog. These are electronic books which are available to patrons via our online catalog. Type in ‘netlibrary’ on the search prompt in our catalog and it will reveal this amazing collection of books available from your desktop. They cover a wide range of interest. For an example, type in the phrase ‘dummies guide’ and you will get all the ‘Dummies Guide’ books right at your fingertips.

Briefs: Briefs are filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals so their cases may be heard on appeals. The parties in each case file briefs which are argued and decided. The appellate courts issue opinions which are eventually published in the North Western Reporter. We continued to see an increase in the filing of briefs last year, and we processed 3141 briefs. We bound them into 97 volumes, which generated 1021 pieces of microfiche. We also processed 1431 transcripts of lower court cases heard at the appellate courts, which we archive for 10 years.

Microfilm Conversion: Minnesota Supreme Court unpublished decisions were converted from microfilm (unusable due to lack of a reader) to microfiche. The time covered was 31 December 1987 to 31 December 1993. We are very happy about this as it covers an important gap in our Judicial decisions archive.

Government Depository Library: 2005 was a special year for us in the Federal Government Documents Program, because we were nominated for "Federal Depository of the Year." The state chapter of depository libraries was pleased to submit our name to the Government Printing Office. Alas, we did not achieve the award, but there is satisfaction knowing we are highly thought of in the federal depository community. As the Government Printing Office continues its move to electronic format, we have experienced a steady decline in materials coming to us directly. Paper documents went down 14% from 2131 to 1825. We have seen a similar pattern in the decline of microfiche from 6490 to 3388, a drop of 48%. And the materials that we send to other state agency libraries through our shared depository agreement have declined from 185 pieces to just 90, a drop of 51%.

Collection Development: We subscribed to the WorldCat Collection Analysis service through OCLC to compare our collection in relation to other state law libraries and libraries with similar profiles. Do we collect strongly in our state legal materials? Do titles have a recent copyright? What percentage of a subject area is newer materials and what is older? How does this compare with our sister libraries? This analysis will help us in our future purchases.

Periodicals: A chapter in our Library history was closed during 2005 and another was embarked upon. We finally stopped checking things in our old manual Kardex system. An era has gone and now we are in the world of electronic check-in, prediction patterns for serials, barcoding, and integrating it all with our online catalog. What does this all mean? Well, it means you can find out if we actually have received a magazine or when is it due in the Library. Big step and one that is welcomed by staff and patrons alike.

The Technical Services Department supports the strategic initiatives of the Judicial Branch by providing much needed and important information to the employees of the Judicial Branch. Not only do we serve the Judicial Branch, we serve the Legislative and Executive Branches. We also serve the public of the State of Minnesota acting in our capacity as a State Law Library, providing information to members of the bar, students, and pro se litigants. In the process, we enable the Judicial Branch to provide access to justice for everyone.

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