Thirty-four thousand electronic titles. Forty-seven licensed database systems. An interactive classroom for research training. Cameras and microphones at the ready. Marshaling these substantial academic and research resources, the librarians at the College of Law Library are preparing to welcome the inaugural class of JDinteractive online law degree program students when they arrive on campus for their first residency session in January 2019.
While they’re in Syracuse, JDi students will meet the librarians and library staff, get registered for online databases, and learn and practice the search techniques that they will use throughout their degree program.
One of the features that distinguishes legal reference is that it’s almost never “short answer.” When a librarian meets with a student in Dineen Hall, they are sure to say, “Please, sit, so we can talk about the research problem you’re trying to solve.” Because JDinteractive emulates the first-class academic experience students receive in Syracuse’s residential J.D. program, that’s also the reference experience JDi students will have remotely—using interactive video and split screen technology so librarians and students can see both each other and the online research tools they’re learning to use.
What about traditional legal research tools for the online students? With 103,000 print titles and more than 1 million legal documents in microform, the College of Law Library has a wealth of resources to offer students through its Digitization on Demand and Document Delivery programs. In addition, specialized treatises will be sent to JDi students in upper level courses, the same way that libraries use Interlibrary Loan to share books with users.
“The services provided by the Law Library mirror the research environment that law students will find in law practice,” says Library Director Jan Fleckenstein. “Because all of our students—residential and online—have access to a wide range of online research tools, as well as librarians skilled in helping them navigate the legal information environment, they will be well prepared to do effective legal research throughout their careers.”