Posted in Internship

Law Reference Internship, Week 9

Without noticing, half my internship has flown by!  With spring break on the horizon, reference desk activity has continued to be light; still, the patron requests that have come in I have handled quite professionally with little need for outside assistance.

The ongoing research project I have been assisting with for most of the semester is progressing quite nicely.  The librarian with whom I have been working on this will be presenting the fruits of our labor for a group of professionals in April, so we are working furiously to finish the project by then.

I had an interesting phone interaction this week with a librarian at an out-of-state law firm requiring Indiana administrative law assistance; although the Indiana Register is now online, it is not so in its entirety, and she needed an earlier citation.  What was interesting was the middleman role she played.  We sent her the first document she requested, only to find out the next day that the attorney for whom she was working wanted to try and find other references to the Indiana Administrative Code citation in earlier registers.  This ended up being a case of a non-answerable reference question, but I was able to provide both the proposed and final rules for the attorney.  Wanting to make sure I had not missed any other useful resources, I sought the advice of another member of the reference staff; after explaining the situation, I was surprised when this librarian told me that the information I had found was correct, but that I should do no more for this attorney.  Which leads me to my lesson of the week:

Lesson learned: While it is my job as a reference intern to assist patrons with their questions, it is not my job to conduct attorneys’ research for them.  The situation would be different if I were an intern at the firm, but at an academic institution, this is not my role.

Author:

I am the Assistant Director for Public Services at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. My research interests include exploring how emerging and existing technologies can be used to enhance library services and legal education as well as how to address knowledge gaps and meet the educational expectations of today's law students.

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