A Day in the Life - Kate Jackson: BIALL Newsletter, January 2013

Legal Research Librarian at the Bodleian Law Library

Living outside of Oxford my day starts with what should be a 30 minute journey which as usual turns into 50 minutes after negotiating traffic. Having procured a cup of coffee I then log-on and check my emails. Being the contact for our International Human Rights distance students there is usually something in my inbox from a different time zone.

The enquiry could be as simple as finding an online article or as in-depth as needing help with research on drones (the military not science fiction kind) or an obscure 1960s UN document.

Having drained every last bit of caffeine I usually go through my diary to check for any meetings.  As the Law Library is part of the wider Bodleian Libraries there are a number of tasks that are university-wide. One of these is a live help service for people using the library catalogue SOLO and I spend an hour each week at the end of an instant messaging service helping users find what they are looking for. It is great when I get legal queries but not so good when I get asked how to find 19th century German newspapers! This morning I have a quiet hour dealing mainly with ordering books from the book storage facility in Swindon.

The rest of the morning involves preparing for our new-look internet pages. As part of the Web Redevelopment Team I am currently trying to arrange a number of user testing events and so a lot of my time is being spent looking at user testing products as well as writing exercises. As I am also primarily responsible for the day to day maintenance of the Law Library web pages, I spend an hour or so doing the initial preparation work to map our old site across to the new template. The hard work starts in January but luckily for me I have a great team to help.

Lunch usually involves a salad or sandwich and if the weather is nice a walk round the lovely University Park in Oxford. Of course if the weather is not so good then I usually spend the hour reading or catching up with friends.

This is quiet time of year for teaching but in the afternoon I spend a couple of hours going through online teaching guides and materials. The Bodleian Libraries has a series of guides called Libguides and as editor of a number of law guides I need to check to make sure links work, presentations are up to date and new resources have been added.   I then look over my classes for the Legal Research and Mooting Skills Programme (LRSMP) which is a compulsory course for first year undergraduates.

The first unit was at the beginning of Michaelmas term (October) and the rest is done in Trinity term (May-June) but I always like to go through and make sure everything is still relevant and fresh so there is no last minute panic. After rearranging some of the class content, I change a couple of screen shots and update the text on the LRSMP website. At the moment there is an optional test for students that we are trying to get online in the next few weeks and so the question pools need to be checked to make sure that they still work on the VLE.

Another coffee and then on to writing a policy and instructions for our social media which includes a blog, a Twitter and a Facebook account. We have the basics on a wiki already thanks to the efforts of the Web Team last year but it needs to be updated and consolidated. I also spend a few minutes jotting down suitable subjects for future blog posts, we have just finished writing and publishing our series  – ‘The 12 (Legal) Days of Christmas’ which was quite intense but lots of fun.

Around 5 o’clock I will look over the next day in my diary, cross a few things off my to do list (and usually add a lot more) and double check my emails before logging off and hopping back on a bus for my journey home.

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