AALL hails Duke Law professor's study of law librarianship

March 11, 2008Duke Law News

March 11, 2008 — Richard A. Danner, Rufty Research Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Information Services, was recently honored by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) for his article “Redefining a Profession.” Originally published in Volume 90 of the Law Library Journal, a quarterly publication of the AALL, the piece was selected as one of the 25 “essential” articles published in the journal’s 100-year history. Danner’s article was hailed as “an exemplar of the scholarly application of broad-based research and ideas to law library issues.”

According to the introduction of “The Essential Law Library Journal,” the list recommends articles that any law librarian, whether a novice or someone experienced in the field, should read and absorb. The editors of Law Library Journal invited a select panel of 100 current and former law librarians to submit their personal choices of articles that they thought were “essential.”

Nancy Carol Carter, director and professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law/Legal Research Center, recommended Danner’s article. “During a rapid change in libraries, (Danner’s article) steps back from ‘doing librarianship’ to look at the very essence of our profession,” she wrote. “As an unknown company called Google was drawing up its documents of incorporation, Dick Danner wrote that researchers would be modifying their information-seeking behaviors to include more direct searches. That observation was background to Danner’s main theme: the relationship of librarians with other information professionals and how change would or should act upon the definition of these professions. He so successfully frames the issue that — years and many changes later — his analysis remains thought-provoking and useful as law librarians continue to reassess their role in the digital age.”

An earlier version of “Redefining a Profession” was the winning entry in the open division of the 1998 AALL/Matthew Bender Call for Papers competition. The article is also one of the most downloaded papers of the Duke Law Faculty Scholarship Repository, having been downloaded approximately 950 times by readers in more than 40 countries. — Brett Cornwright
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