Happy Anniversary to UofL’s Institutional Repository, ThinkIR!

By Sarah Frankel, Open Access & Repository Coordinator

On February 12, 2015, Digital Initiatives Librarian Rachel Howard imported over 1,000 Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) from the University Libraries’ Digital Collections into the newly created ThinkIR: The University of Louisville’s Institutional Repository. Three years later, this particular collection now has nearly 3,000 titles which have been downloaded over 500,000 times! This same year, graduate students began submitting their theses and dissertations to ThinkIR directly, after approval from their committees. This has saved much time and effort, now that we no longer have to scan each paper or track down students to sign permission forms!

thinkIR homepage

In 2016, we began recruiting faculty scholarship for inclusion in ThinkIR and also developed a mediated deposit model where we create research profiles for faculty members, investigate the copyright status of their works and ultimately upload what can be included in ThinkIR. Today, we have 341 faculty papers in ThinkIR and over 50 faculty profiles have been created, which we anticipate will grow even more in the coming year.

In early 2017, the first open access journal hosted by ThinkIR – Journal of Respiratory Infections – was launched. We also host the Journal of Refugee & Global Health. Both journals are managed by UofL faculty and staff on the Health Sciences Campus.

In addition to these successes, ThinkIR is also home to the College of Education & Human Development Capstone Projects and the College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. In 2017, the administrators of the Honors Program and several faculty advisors began using ThinkIR in what we refer to as the “caterpillar” model. Each student submits a proposal, the faculty member reads it and submits their review, the proposal is then replaced with the thesis document by the student, then the faculty member submits a final review, the thesis is approved by the administrators and posted to ThinkIR. The entire process from beginning to end is completed using the repository!

To date, our most downloaded item is a 2012 Master’s Thesis from the Department of Pan African Studies: “The hidden help : black domestic workers in the civil rights movement” by Trena Easley Armstrong – this has been downloaded 7,725 times since February 12, 2015!

University Libraries offers new digital historic Courier-Journal

Despite recent budget challenges, the University Libraries have been able to maintain, or in some cases expand, the digital and print resources we offer our patrons. We have retained existing databases such as Elsevier’s Science Direct platform, and through cost efficiencies we are excited to offer new products, including the digital version of the historic Courier-Journal (1830-2000). Access to this new resource, which provides complete electronic access to the full Courier-Journal back file, is available from our web site at: https://library.louisville.edu/ekstrom/cj

The Libraries have realigned resources to assess efficiencies and create a more sustainable operating environment that ensures students, faculty and researchers can continue their important scholarship. Over the past year, the University Libraries system has:

  • Reassigned staff to focus on building sustainable collections.
  • Implemented a comprehensive e-resource management system.
  • Assessed costs and analyzed usage data for all databases and subscriptions.
  • Evaluated program needs and incorporated input from faculty.
  • Studied peer institutions for comparison.

As budget reductions brought about a significant funding shortfall for FY 18, we made the difficult decision to not renew the Elsevier platform whose costs had dramatically increased. In fall 2017, at the urging of Health Sciences Center faculty, the University restored funding for this critical resource.

We understand the Libraries’s centrality to scholarly work and are therefore excited to continue providing these rich resources for the University community. However, where we cannot provide access to resources, we offer our Inter-Library Loan system (ILL), as well as a broad spectrum of resources for faculty: http://library.louisville.edu/faculty.  You are invited to share your concerns with us via this online comment form.



Executive Orders: Best Sources for Research

by Erin Gow

Perhaps not surprisingly, given recent news, the Law Library has seen a sudden surge in questions about U.S. executive orders.

Wondering how to find out more about them? Here are a few good resources to get you started.

Executive orders are published along with other Presidential documents in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 3, which you can access online, in print in the library, or through a subscription database such as Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, Lexis or Westlaw.

To see recent executive orders visit the White House page. The American Presidency Project and Federal Register also reproduce executive orders, although there may be a slight delay before the latest orders are available.

For current and older Presidential documents, consult the FDsys compilation, which includes executive orders along with letters, statements and other documents.

Historic executive orders are available through the National Archives and through HeinOnline’s Daily and Weekly compilations of Presidential documents.

For more information about the issuing, modifying and revoking of Executive Orders, see the Congressional Research Service’s 2014 report.

Law School News from World War II

The Law Library and I are pleased to announce the addition of Law School News Letters to our digital collections. As they were published during World War II and focused on those affiliated with the Law School who had served in the Armed Forces, Memorial Day seemed like an appropriate time to prepare and release them to the public.

1942 Pearl with Students

This photograph from 1942 features, from left to right, law librarian Pearl Weiler, Chester Hart, William (Bill) Harvin, and Shadrach (Shad) Boaz. Miss Weiler edited the newsletter. Each of the three gentlemen above joined the Armed Forces and were included within the News Letter pages, for better and, in one case, sadly worse.

In 1943, law librarian Pearl Weiler (later Von Allmen) began to compile excerpts of letters written to her and others in the Law School along with news gathered from other sources, sending the resulting newsletter to alumni back to the Class of 1940 and other persons affiliated with the Law School who served during the war.


The popularity of the News Letter prompted Miss Weiler to expand coverage to the Class of 1939 by the sixth issue (it had already included more recent alumni as well as students who left law school to join the ranks), and then further expand it to any interested law school alumni the following issue. The News Letter ended with its tenth issue in February 1946 not out of lack of interest, but because, to roughly quote Miss Weiler, “so many of [them were] back in civilian life, it seem[ed] unnecessary.”

To that point, the last issue had a form for the School of Law’s records, which received nearly fifty responses, and more than a handful included notes of appreciation for the news or hopes – that Pearl shared – that the News Letter would turn into a Law School Alumni newsletter.

We are still awaiting word on whether or not we can post the responses online; while most of the respondents have likely passed on and the information found within them is not confidential, it is always better to be safe than sorry in privacy matters. In the meantime, they are accessible at the Law Library.

Libraries bid Fond Farewell to OLT’s Sahab Bolhari

On Friday, the Libraries says goodbye to a familiar, friendly member of the technical crew. Sahab Bolhari, a student worker with the Libraries’ Office of Libraries Technology (OLT), has been hired as a Technical Specialist with the History, Anthropology and Geography/Geosciences departments, and begins work on January 11.

Highly proficient, congenial, and a member of the tech crew since July, 2012, Bolhari will be greatly missed by his co-workers. sahab_bolhari

“Sahab has that renaissance blend, a unique pairing of preeminence as a technician, but also someone who likes people and is nice to work with,” said Troy Plumer, OLT technology consultant. “He embodies that liberal arts adage, ‘The next best thing to knowing is knowing how to find out.’”

“IT is constantly changing . . . Sahab really understands this and is constantly evolving,” Plumer continued.

“We’ll miss him greatly.”

Bolhari is set to graduate in May with a major in political science, and a minor in Russian Studies. His first love is IT, though, and he has enjoyed working with OLT for the past three years.

“IT is my passion. I haven’t had a single day where I’ve dreaded going into work. I really enjoy what I do, so that makes things easy.”

So why the political science degree? “The degree is just to make me a more well-rounded person,” he said.

He had praise for his co-workers as well.

“I learned a lot from Sheila [Birkla],” he said. “She has been kind of my mentor here. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did when I first got here. She gave me lots of advice and that has been very important.”

Members of OLT will honor Sahab with cake and cookies on Friday, January 8th, celebrating his new position, and bidding a sad farewell.

Luckily he’ll just be a two-minute walk across the Belknap campus, in Lutz Hall.

Sahab is among some 90 students who work for the University Libraries with tasks such as research, customer service, administrative support, checking out books and equipment, and other duties. Students learn how to navigate a real job, and the Libraries truly benefit from their efforts.

“We are one of the largest employers of student workers on campus,” said Libraries Associate Dean Melissa Laning. “They are a hugely important part of the services we offer.”

UofL Libraries Dean Robert E. Fox, Jr. Wins 2015 Campus Development Award

Dean Bob Fox was awarded the William J. Rothwell Faculty Award for distinguished service in development for 2015. Eligible recipients must be a dean, associate dean, department chair, professor, or associate professor who has distinguished him/herself among their colleagues in service specific to development during that calendar year. Dean Fox was the only person outside University Development to be awarded.


Libraries Dean Bob Fox and Director of Major Gifts Denise Nuehring.

Nominated by Libraries’ Director of Major Gifts Denise Nuehring, Dean Fox received the award from Keith Inman, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, on December 16th. Nuehring’s nomination praised Fox’s “leadership and unwavering support” in building a development program within a difficult fundraising atmosphere over the past four years.

The letter continues:

The library is a challenging fundraising environment due to the alumni being the priority of the academic units for fundraising purposes.  Working within this constraint takes creativity to identify methods to expand the prospect pool.    Dean Fox has shown a willingness to try different avenues and has been supportive of the many ideas presented to him.  He participates in the development process continually and often contributes financially as well to cover program expenses.

Dean Fox is an excellent leader with an exceptional ability to motivate and inspire his direct reports.   He creates an environment which allows one to not feel daunted by challenges but instead to see them as opportunities for exploration, growth and success personally and professionally.

Four Decades of Law School History

The Law Library has added four retrospective publications to its online collections. Whereas the previous collections consisted of historical legal documents, the most recent additions were published by Law School students and prominently feature the school and its alumni.

An example of a front page from the Louisville Lawyer, dated December 1966. An example of a page from the Louisville Lawyer from December 1961.

The earliest of the publications is The Louisville Lawyer, which was published from 1955 to 1974. With stated aims of “foster[ing] and maintain[ing] a closer relationship between the school and the alumni” and setting the foundation for a “full-fledged law review” (which came to be in 1961), the student-run newspaper featured articles on local and national legal issues; news from and about the law school, students, faculty, and staff; as well as feature articles about prominent alumni and professors.

An example cover page of the Louisville Law Examiner from the September 1984 issue.An example of a page from the Louisville Law Examiner from September 1978.

The Louisville Law Examiner, published from 1975 until 1991, was the most similar to a student newspaper. Although most pieces were still written to connect with and inform alumni, an increased number of features, articles, and (perhaps especially) advertisements were directed at students. Similarly, the type of humor found in the writing and comics of student newspapers such as the Cardinal, though not foreign to the Lawyer, was more frequently found in the Examiner.

A characteristic that did not change was the commitment to coverage of legal issues. A feature present throughout the Examiner’s run was known as “The Brandeis Brief”, a term originally applied to a practice Louis Brandeis created as an attorney, combining legal research with relevant contextual factors. The related goal of the namesake column was to “serve as an inspiration for others who feel that laws must conform to and reflect societal needs.”

An example of the cover of The Brandeis Brief, Spring 1994 issue.An example page from the Winter 1994-1995 issue of The Brandeis Brief.

When the Law Examiner expanded with the goal of attracting a national audience in 1992, it also appropriated the name given to Justice Brandeis’s writing style. The Brandeis Brief was no longer a newspaper, but a magazine. The namesake feature was replaced with the Harlan Forum (named after another locally-born Supreme Court Justice and donor to the law school, John Marshall Harlan), where two legal experts offered contrasting views on a prominent issue. Alumni news was expanded, however news about students was limited to one or two pages. The Brief forwent coverage of events such as orientation and Student Bar elections, instead featuring profiles of students, major student achievements, or significant changes to school programs familiar to alumni.

Shrinking budgets brought the end to the student-run Brandeis Brief in 1997. However, the title was reused for a School of Law-produced publicity magazine between 2000 and 2006, and the name has been revived once again for the current alumni relations newsletter.

An example page from the 1979-1980 Senior Bulletin.An example page from the 1989-1990 Senior Bulletin.

The odd addition out is the Senior Bulletin collection. Senior Bulletins showcased the graduating class for alumni and potential employers in addition to serving as a de facto yearbook. An archetype of the Senior Bulletin was printed in 1962 before the compilation was absorbed into The Louisville Lawyer from 1963 to 1974. The Bulletin became a separate publication again for the 1974-1975 school year, and with the exception of the 1976-1977 school year, was produced annually. “Senior”, an artifact term from when the School of Law was an undergraduate program, was replaced with “Graduating Class” for the Bulletin’s last four years of publication. Much the same as with The Brandeis Brief, budgetary concerns brought the end of the Bulletin after the 1998-1999 school year.

Much like a yearbook, participation was not mandatory, so the Bulletins do not serve as a complete record of every graduating student or of their activities. Nonetheless, if you are looking for quick information on a graduate, a class, or even law faculty members of a year covered by the collection, the Senior Bulletins are a good place to start.

You are invited to explore both the law student publications and the Senior Bulletins at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/law/.