Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Practicing librarianship: mail call

Now that we are in the new QU library building I can order many more books than previously. I like personally sorting through the new acquisitions for the law library when I can. Without warning, every once in a while the books and journals ordered for the College of Law appear from the University mail room. The wrappers and envelopes are removed already and the items are placed in a box in no particular order, a practice which can make it a challenge to determine the sender and delivery date for our ILS system.  It is often difficult to predict receipt of items or place claims. There is no system of mail delivery or addresses for buildings in Qatar, except for PO boxes in a central GPO, so there is really no other option than the mail room.  Most of the books I order are from library supplier Dawson in the UK. I have a long list of books to order but place about forty at a time to stagger their arrival so the acquisitions process is not overwhelmed. The average time of arrival of a book from Dawson is six weeks. Very slow. It is worth the wait , however.
Here is the most recent book box and a few example bilingual law journals.

Law Journal from Bahrain (Islamic date of 1432)

Qatar Law Journal

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Qatar University, College of Law and international standards

We have been busy.  Multiple initiatives here this month at the College of Law show the effort to bring international standards to legal education.  
·         The Forum on Energy and Environmental Law held a successful seminar for lawyers and executives on legal resolution of oilfield disasters.  
·         The first 21 female law students graduated from the Women in Law Leadership Development Program developed at the College of Law in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
·         International Moot Court teams from the College of Law participated in the Willem C Vis Middle East International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot in Oman, and the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at Al Jazeera. Both QU College of Law teams advanced to Vienna and Oxford for finals this month and next.
A recent legal development symposium highlights the need for these kinds of educational opportunities for law students. The theme at the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Center symposium was the need to benchmark international standards in professional legal education and practice in Qatar by focusing on practical skills for common and civil law lawyers.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Qatari Practice Materials

Developing the law collection works best when driven by patron suggestions. For example, yesterday I gave a library tour and info session on law resources to a law school class taught by Dr. Melissa Deehring Montouché, director of the new Externship Program . Melissa asked the students to submit lists of resources their employers used or wanted them to know about for legal practice in Qatar. The list turned out to be a composite picture of what resources lawyers think are important here. The offices QU law students are externs in include firms, courts, and government departments such as The State of Qatar Attorney General,  Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority,  Sultan Al Abdulla & partners,  Patton Boggs LLP, Al Tamimi LLP, Clyde & Co. LLP, and Qatari Diar among others.  The list is a great resource for me as most of the ideas for collection development I have gathered so far are distinctly academic and offered by College of Law professors.
The top four resources listed by the QU externs turn out to be a rich combination of primary & secondary sources with an emphasis on practice materials:
·         ‘IBA Newsletters.’ Publications from the International Bar Association got several, independent mentions as sources of value. Interesting to me as I had never thought of them previously as essential and we do not provide access currently. This is a secondary source I will attempt to add to the collection.
·         ‘The Qatari Commercial, Criminal Law Codes, Qatari Labor laws.’ Multiple requests for reliable access to the primary Codes of the country. I recommended the Gazette as the official source, and databases like Egyptian-based  Eastlaws for quality electronic scans of the originals. Also, parts of Qatari codes are offered in translation, such as labor laws at natlex. ICT Qatar is planning a full legal portal to primary laws to be introduced later this year, but as of now the most effective reference tool to obtain these materials may still be the telephone to call the local authority or the Gazette /Department of Opinion & Contracts for copies.
·         ‘Westlaw, Westlaw Gulf, LexisNexis.’ Westlaw got more requests than Lexis on the extern resource list. Westlaw International is a leading database and recently was joined by Westlaw Gulf to focus on the GCC region. I ran a trial subscription to WG and the College of Law faculty reported little depth beyond the UAE legal resources so we declined a subscription. The Westlaw rep from Dubai assured me they are adding more content to other GCC countries so this is changing. I was surprise that no students listed LexisNexis Middle East database, which we did purchase, so it seems that the marketing is not as successful for Lexis as Westlaw.
·         ‘The Brief.’ Two students listed this new source to me. The website describes the focus: “The Brief is the first magazine covering Middle East law as it applies to business.”  This the Gulf edition of the ALB series owned by Thompson Reuters.
The Library will be adding resources and titles offered according to the Collection Development policies. I look forward to any additional titles!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Books display

The new Qatar University Library ground floor circulation desk is home to the 'new books' display. Many new books are added every week. Please come check them out!