Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Library building

The new library will be completed at the end of this year and will be the largest building at Qatar University with a capacity for a million volumes. The second floor will be the male library. I have completed one hard-hat tour of the construction site with other librarians. Wow.

Here is the link.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Al Khor Dhows

We took a drive north to the fishing port of Al Khor. There are active fishing boats and pearling there from wood dhows. They still build and repair the dhows at the Marina.

The boat 'Al Boom'

Rob in red with two girls

Qatari Public Prosecution and access to legal information

Our Dean recently secured access to the cases of the Qatari Public Prosecution office so that Faculty with an appointment may research criminal cases. These are records of criminal prosecutions in archives and are available only in paper to those with permission to access them. There are plans to digitize and translate them in the future. In May the Public Prosecution Office of Qatar adopted electronic case management and in July announced the first public access website at The Qatari Attorney General and his department are changing the rules of public access to legal information in Qatar!  

Thursday, October 20, 2011


One of my priorities is the creation of a comprehensive College of Law collection development plan. I am assessing many law databases with a Middle East focus and am on the phone with vendor representatives mainly in Europe who visit Qatar or can provide a webinar and limited database trial. Many of these are new to me. It is fun and here is a partial list that I get to test drive:
·         Eastlaw (just to balance Westlaw!)
·         Justis to   (for full text case law from around the world) or   (for the legal indexing tool that will cite international use of a case)
·         Kotob Arabia e-Library   (first e-book vendor for Arabic titles, some 334 in law) and Almanhal with 224 e-books in Arabic in law
·         LexisNexis Middle East Law (attempting to cover  the GCC and translating materials starting with the UAE; QU may partner with this one for Qatari content)
·         LexisNexis Juris Classeur (all French navigation and content; many of QU law faculty speak French as a second or third language)
·         Westlaw International (useful for international common law research and Journals)
Arabic writing often does not display correctly in HTML formatting for the web and so databases with .PDF versions of documents are highly favored.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lawrence of Arabia

This is one of my favorite movies and to be in Arabia and have Omar come visit is the best!

International Review of Law

Qatar University College of Law is initiating many new functions to meet the goal of ABA standards in legal education. The effort is impressive considering the law faculty here dates back to 2005 and split from the College of Sharia only this year. In the past year the College of Law was visited by one ABA inspection team, an assessment team, and has a visiting professor on the Faculty employed by the ABA to advise the school. New initiatives here include a Legal Writing Centre, domestic violence clinic, Moot Court teams, library, and a new Dean for Research. Another first for the school is a law review called the International Review of Law. ( Announcement ) I will be the citation checker and on the board of editors.
We also are preparing for SACS accreditation! The University has implemented accreditation efforts in all colleges here with international accrediting agencies. Unlike SACS, the ABA does not accredit schools outside the US so meeting those standards is self-imposed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Women's Library

The Qatar University campus is divided into a Women's and Men's campus and so is the library. The current QU Women's library is where I work much of the time. It has a stunning exterior with many wind towers. The collection is recently re-classified from Dewy Decimal to LC and from Card Catalog to OPAC. The Arabic materials are slower to update and many are still in the process of finding new LC call numbers. The whole collection will move to a much larger new library facility later in the year.

Showing the girls the old card catalog!

                                          The books are up in the wind towers!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


The family car, a Nisan Tiida, we got last week makes exlporing Doha much more easy. We are fond of the beach and took this shot of the kids playing. It took me two months to get a Qatari driver's license so I could rent a car. Before the car we relied on a bus and a driver named Mr. Jone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

College of Law Updates

This week QU College of Law welcomed Lord Woolf to inaugurate the new Moot Court Room. Lord Woolf was past Chief Law Lord of England and Wales. I met Lord Woolf ten years ago when I was a law student on a Cambridge Law study program and look forward to seeing him again. The new Moot Court Room is one of many new facilities in the just finished Business/Law Building at Qatar University. The bench and jury box in the Moot Court Room were donated from the fabulous Qatar Financial Court in downtown Doha. 
The College of Law also got a shout out locally for proposing the first law clinic in the country. The Domestic Violence clinic will hopefully be the first of several clinical opportunities for QU law students. Here is the press.

Picture of Lord Woolf, VP and President, Legal Writing team:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flight to Doha with kids

We spent two weeks with Irma’s family in Miami Lakes, FL, waiting to fly to Qatar on August 19th, 2011. Our three tickets plus a lap-child seat for Gracie were one-way and cost over $8,000 paid for by Qatar University. The flight would be through DC and cover 12,000 miles over thirteen hours.  It was exciting to get the etickets and visas!
Planning for the trip was never complete. Our combined baggage of seven checked bags and seven carry-on bags required a separate pick-up truck to get us to the airport. It is hard or impossible to plan for everything you will need for a three year stay and we purged more than we expected or put things in a small storage unit to get our total bags down to 14.
The check-in was the worst part of the whole journey. The counter had no record of Gracie at all and was prepared to stop us from boarding without an additional charge. We were running late as usual, so this additional headache was unbearable. We had the proof that Grace did have a ticket and eventually persuaded the airline too.
The Qatar Airlines Boeing 777 was the best plane we had experienced. Full service and very comfortable. Gracie and nine other babies slept in hanging bassinets on the plane. Allie and Dad slept the whole night or watched the excellent entertainment system. 
One decision we made to purchase an iPad 2 turned out to be a great one. Our kids loved the interactive children apps and other features of the iPad so much they needed to take turns playing with the computer. This was a surprise to me. I was amazed to see my 20 month old use a computer with some success so fast. The iPad was intended more to use in Qatar where we would need instant internet and we knew the compatibility of the iPad globally.
We arrived in Doha, Qatar, two days later after crossing Newfoundland, the north Atlantic, Ireland, UK, Europe and lastly Turkey and Iraq.
At arrivals we met our greeter and were seated at a lounge for VIPs. We had our passports and baggage done by proxy while we had tea and water in the lounge. I never had to lug the 14 bags again! A driver took us that night to our apartment.
Each faculty member at QU is offered accommodation for the duration of the employment contract. We accepted the keys to a three bedroom apartment in a gated compound. The major furniture was there already and they even put food in the fridge. Allie asked that we use the swimming pool by the club house before we even when to bed.

Purpose and Focus

This blog creates a record of one law librarian's adventures and activities as lecturer/law librarian at Qatar University, College of Law. After eight years as an academic law librarian in the United States the opportunity to create a law collection in the Middle East at a College of Law establishing ABA standards was a welcomed departure.

My family and I left our home in Arizona and relocated to the Emirate of Qatar in August 2011. I had just turned forty and was an Associate Dean of the Law Library at the Phoenix School of Law. My wife and I both reacted the same way to the job offer from Dean Okour and could not wait to fly to the Middle East with our two daughters for a three year commitment.