You made it! End of AY 2020-2021

Three snails are in a line, and look like they are crawling across concrete strewn with leaves. At the fore of the image there is a banner indicating the finish line, though the text is partially out of shot and out of focus.

It’s felt like a sluggish crawl to the finish line, but we made it! (Image by Jarmoluk via Pixabay)

Monday 24th May 2021 marks the beginning of the summer vacation, meaning that for the majority of students teaching has finished for the year and exams are over. Everybody who has completed a period of study during this confusing, stressful, and difficult year deserves recognition of the incredible effort they’ve put in. We want to acknowledge the great flexibility and adaptability our students in the School of Law (and across the University) have shown by managing to work on, submit assignments and complete courses of study. We’re proud to have played a part in keeping your education on track.

Library Services has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to make swift transitions as seamless as possible, and while we know it hasn’t been an entirely smooth ride we appreciate the patience and grace shown to us by staff and students while we managed the changes as best we could.

Although the pandemic isn’t over yet we hope that when the next academic year begins in September we’ll be looking at a very different landscape, with a robust vaccination programme, more freedom and therefore a much anticipated return to normal opening for our beautiful and well-used libraries.

We recognise that many staff and students will be continuing to research throughout the summer and would like to highlight that we’re available to support your work all year round, not just in term time! If you require support or have questions about resources during the summer months please use our email address (law.librarian@ed.ac.uk) to contact us.

~ Donna and SarahLouise

Click & Collect comes to the Law Library

The Law Library now is part of the Click & Collect Service!

The Click & Collect service has been expanding since it’s launch in Feb 2021. As of 29th March 2021 staff and students are able to place Click & Collect requests for print material from the Law Library collections.

The Law Library resources are in addition to those already available from the Main Library, New College Library, ECA Library and University Collections Facilities. Items based at other site libraries are not yet available for Click & Collect.

To order a book collection using the service:

  • Place your request through DiscoverEd.
  • You can order up 3 Click & Collect items at any one time. The maximum number of requests covers your total current Click & Collect requests.
  • All items requested should be collected from the Main Library as the Law Library remains closed.
  • Staff will undertake retrievals of items requested from the Law Library once a week (Tuesdays). So depending on when you place your request it may mean that it may take over a week for you to receive an email notification that your requested item is available for collection.
  • Once you have received an email notification that your requested Law Library item is available you should make a booking to collect your item from the Main Library.

Full details of the service are available on the main Library Click and Collect Service webpages:

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/library-services-update-2020-21/click-and-collect

Don’t forget that the Scan & Deliver Service is also available to you!

https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery/using-library/request-resources/scan-and-deliver%20

 

New Resources

A poster stating 'Edinburgh Everywhere: your library online' and depicting people busy with stacks of books surrounding a half-globe. Statistic about library services are shown in colourful circles are written across the middle of the page, echoing the half-circle shape of the globe.

Throughout the year the Law Librarians purchase new materials – sometimes following requests, and other times to ensure that new editions of established and key texts are available to staff and students. This part of our work has been especially busy this last year as learning and teaching has gone online!

Requests are received from students, staff and colleagues from across the Law School. Some are related to specific courses, but many are to support the research undertaken by staff and students.

We thought we would take this opportunity to let you know about a few of the new items we have recently ordered and received in:

This last item is a 13 volume set comprising of around 9000 pages, making it an incredibly helpful resource on the topic of the history of the Kurdish people. Having access to this material makes Edinburgh one of a select number of universities who give access to their students and staff to this unique resource.


Staff and students can place requests directly using the online forms available on the Library webpages.

If we cannot purchase the item (may be it is an older edition, out of stock, or not available in the online format you want) then we recommend you use the Interlibrary Loan Request Service which allows us to try to source access from other libraries or academic institutions.

If you would like us to consider a subscription, or you want to discuss your request further you can email us in the usual way using law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

Happy reading!

The problem with ebooks

Two hands enter the screen, one from each side of the image. One is holding a smartphone which has a book spilling out of the side, the other has a pile of paper currency which is being offered in exchange.

Image from mohamed_hassan via Pixabay

Working and studying through the Coronavirus pandemic has meant that we’re more reliant on ebooks and other electronic resources than ever before. As much as we would have liked for this to be a seamless transition to hybrid learning, it’s been a struggle throughout the year to make sure that we have access to all the essential materials you need for your coursework.

One of the reasons that we’re not always able to provide ebook access is that publishers do not always make their material available electronically. They may do this for a number of reasons, one of which is that they are worried they will not make the same amount of profit from print book sales as they usually would. They may also make the price of the ebook much much higher than the price of an individual print book to compensate for this potential loss of sales. For us in the Law school, we have found problems where publishers make books only available if you purchase access to an entire database of resources, often for hundreds of thousands of pounds, when we only need access to a handful of ebooks. This is not a realistic way for us to purchase access – budgets for resources are limited and getting tighter every year.

Some academic librarians in the UK have joined forces to launch an investigation into this spike in ebook prices and limits to availability because it is seriously affecting the courses that universities are able to run. You can read more about this campaign and the open letter sent to the UK Government asking for support here: https://academicebookinvestigation.org/ 

More recently, this campaign has had some publicity in national newspapers including this article in The Guardian by Anna Fazackerley, ‘Price gouging from Covid: Student ebooks costing up to 500% more than in print’:  https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/jan/29/price-gouging-from-covid-student-ebooks-costing-up-to-500-more-than-in-print

Last week it was announced that the Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has petitioned the Competitions and Markets Authority to investigate this issue:
https://academicebookinvestigation.org/2021/02/04/chartered-institute-of-library-and-information-professionals-cilip-formally-petitions-competition-and-markets-authority-cma-to-investigate-practices-of-academic-ebook-publishers/ 

We wanted to draw your attention to these items so that you’re aware that action is being taken at a national level, and that librarians and academics are working hard to ensure that higher education institutions are not held to ransom over ebook access. The issues we’re facing here in Edinburgh are not unique, but they are very worrying.  We hope that the investigations that are now being proposed will result in fairer and more equitable access for all in future.

If you’re worried about ebook access to core material for your course please speak to your course organiser or email us, law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

The Law Library, Old College

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Have you visited the Law Library this year?

This is a really unusual year for staff and students at Edinburgh and it can be disconcerting not knowing which facilities are open on campus, or what to expect when you get there. We want to reassure any students who are keen to visit the Law Library at Old College that there will be a warm welcome for you there. Our Helpdesk Team are working hard to make sure the library service is as safe as possible while still providing the excellent support you need to access the resources and study spaces in the building.

We’ve asked our Helpdesk Manager, Fran, to offer a few words of advice for anyone wishing to visit the library:

Library Helpdesk staff would like to welcome you back to the Library! We are here to help with guiding you to the study space that you have booked, card replacements and general enquiries. We do ask that you follow the guidelines for things that have been put in place to ensure the safety of all library users and staff. This means that you must wear a face covering (unless you have an exemption) at all times, even when you are sat in a study space. We have put a lot of cleaning material and hand sanitiser in the library, if anything is missing please let us know. There is a well marked out one way system which is there for you to follow and ensures that we all can maintain social distancing.

Our Helpdesk staff are ready to assist you in the library.

Fran and her team are ready to greet you during the library’s open hours, which are currently as listed below:

Monday 21 September – Friday 4 December 2020
Days Opening hours
Monday – Thursday 9am – 9.50pm
Friday 9am – 6.50pm
Saturday 9am – 4.50pm
Sunday 12noon – 4.50pm

These hours may change from the 5th December 2020 in preparation for exams. For more information on this and other changes to the service, check the Law Library pages on the university website:

Law Library Information
Law Library Opening Hours
Booking a study space

We hope that you stay safe and know that the Law Library will be ready to welcome you back whenever it is safe for you to be on campus.

Students sit in armchairs on the mezzanine level, visible in the top half of an archway. Students browse books in the library stacks on the ground floor.

View of the mezzanine from the Senate Room

Welcome!

Welcome to the Law Librarians’ blog, where we will post helpful resources, training materials and news from the library.

Our names are Donna Watson and SarahLouise McDonald, and we are the Academic Support Librarians for the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh.

If there’s anything you’d like to see feature on our blog in future please contact us by leaving a comment, or emailing law.librarian@ed.ac.uk.

students exiting the Law Library building in Old College quad

Law Library exterior, Old College