Archive for June 30th, 2011

Book Review: Economic Development: the Critical Role of Competition Law and Policy, edited by Eleanor M. Fox and Abel M. Mateus

Economic Development: the Critical Role of Competition Law and Policy, edited by Eleanor M. Fox and Abel M. Mateus. Edward Elgar Publishing Company 2011. (2 volumes; volume 1 471 pages , volume 2 593 pages);  $599.95 hardcover edition.

Economic Development: the Role of Competition Law and Policy is an excellent collection of essays for any scholar interested in the area of international law and trade; specifically, anyone interested in international business law in developing countries will find these two volumes very useful.

These two volumes collect essays previously published related to competition law and how such laws affect the growth and development of the economy, concentrating primarily on developing countries.  The volumes examine how government barriers can or have been removed in order to allow free entry into the market in comparison to how the government in these countries can retain these barriers and in effect frustrate the notions of free competition.

Volume 1 focuses on issues of legal design of economic and political economic trade policies.  In this volume, the articles concentrate on how these legal and economic policies affect developing countries; some specific issues examined are: the improper assumption by international organizations that the foundation already exists in developing countries for the proposed market mechanisms; the incorrect belief that wealth from the implementation of these market mechanisms would solve poverty problems; how competition in the market can provide for greater government accountability and transparency; and how high transportation costs, infrastructure costs and restrictive business practices may thwart gains from a competitive market system.

The second volume focuses on competition law and institutions for advocacy and enforcement of said competition law.  This volume takes a look at how the law and legal strategies can be used to harness competition to advance development goals.  Issues discussed include the difference between developing countries and developed countries, how monopolies and cartels can impede competitive markets, and how such issues can hopefully be resolved.  In the final section, the experiences of China, India, Chile, Mexico and Sub-Saharan Africa are specifically reviewed in order to illustrate the issues previously discussed.

Having majored in Economics as an undergraduate, the ideas presented in these two volumes present interesting ideas and illustrate some very important issues that tend to block the implementation of competitive markets in many nations.  The articles demonstrate how these competitive markets are at least one way to help developing nations to continue their development.  By gathering these essays, although many were previously published elsewhere, and organizing them into these two volumes, the editors have created a truly valuable resource for anybody interested in researching in this area.

Reviewed by Paul D. Venard, Reference Librarian, University of Dayton Zimmerman Law Library

Librarians Need to READ© – Author’s Table of Contents

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up to the June 2011 Spectrum article, “Librarians Need to READ©.”  What follows is author Jacqueline Cantwell’s initial table of contents for a manual for librarians assisting SRLs.

Manual—Introduction

  • Welcome librarian and let her know that she is entering a tradition. List current and past librarians’ involvements in local associations.
  • Write how daily work contributes to the larger goal of the library. 
    • Use insight from Sally Engle Merry’s study, Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness Among Working-Class Americans, shows how self-represented litigants (SRLs) want a fairer life and see the courts as a way to achieve that.
    • Provide contacts within court system, especially self-help centers.
    • History of collection—why things got cut, policy decisions for various areas. Annotate core items of collection by drawing upon reference databases like notes.
    • Use data collected from reference database to give a percentage of questions. For instance, it would be interesting to know how many questions are requests for commercial forms.
    • Problem here: With the shift to online, many patrons skip the librarian and fruitlessly wander online databases. Our contract negotiations with Lexis may have to include reports on types of questions. I have asked for this information from Lexis and was told that searches were confidential. I need that data; and, as I remember from my union days, everything can be negotiated.

Manual—Standards and Checklists

  • RUSA (Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association) Guidelines
  • READ© Scale. Use the READ© scale and the reference database to evaluate the knowledge required to answer a question and appropriate levels of customer service
  • Teresa Welsh’s intern evaluation sheet for the University of Southern Mississippi Library and Information Science practicum program is wonderful. She thought through what makes an excellent librarian. This form could be applied to staff evaluation, not just interns. University of Michigan checklist for job interviews—a good way to monitor one’s work and career path before that job interview.
  • Checklists from Judicial Opinion Writing Manual
  • Research tables from Callister’s “Time to Blossom”
  • Now is there a way to incorporate these checklists into a prompt for reference encounters. Virtual and telephone staff have checklists. Can our terminal real estate include a prompt pop-up?

Manual—Interview Training

The training skits and examples I wanted can be found on YouTube and the web. Coordinating a training program with the checklists above and web-based programs would be enough to start an in-house program.

  • Librarian411.org is a great resource. I need to go through its YouTube videos and incorporate its insights into my daily work. I really enjoyed “When Bad Things Happen to Good Librarians”
  • YouTube has an amazing number of videos for staff training that provide hints on how to handle difficult situations. Some are hilarious. Try “The Professional Librarian.” The Los Angeles Law Library has a nice video that is only six minutes, but would be a good start for a staff training session. Unfortunately, I have not found any videos of reference problems with SRLs.
  • Infopeople and Ohio Library are good sources for staff training. Infopeople has a good list of open-ended and neutral questions.
  • Review the glossary to an interview textbook after watching Librarian411.org videos. Our reference desk situations are not unique. We can take advantage of theory to gain perspective on our work.
  • Ask a colleague unknown to library users to observe the library and how staff act. 

 

Jacqueline Cantwell (jfcantwell@earthlink.net) is senior law librarian at the Brooklyn Supreme Court Library in New York.


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