The changing face of current
awareness reporting in law
Terry Ballard and Anna Blaine
Mendik Library, The New York Law School, New York, New York, USA
Purpose – In response to budgetary concerns and feedback from users, the New York Law School’s
Mendik Library needed to streamline the way it reported current law journal table of contents (TOC)
information to its users. As part of this streamlining process, the librarians discovered that most of the
journals they provided in paper had web pages that provided full access to all articles in their current
issues. The librarians responded to this opportunity by building web pages that provided links to these
journals and noted when a new issue had just appeared. The purpose of this paper is to assess the status
of current awareness information in the ﬁeld of legal journals and uncover the options for best using them.
Design/methodology/approach – The library worked from a list of journals that they purchased
through paper subscriptions. They determined the web page location of each and then checked
whether the journal provided TOC data only, full text through internet protocol recognition or open
full text for at least the current issue.
Findings – More than 60 percent of the law journals that Mendik purchased had online TOC
available with full, free access to the content.
Originality/value – Librarians can begin to explore replacing TOC reporting with virtual journal
shelves that contain full content to the articles.
Keywords Academic libraries, Series, United States of America
Paper type Case study
Glossary of terms
HTML Hypertext Markup Language – the principal language for displaying textual data
on the world wide web.
IP Internet protocol – method or protocol by which data is sent from one computer to
another via the internet.
ISSN International Standard Serial Number – the international identiﬁer for serials.
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group – method of compression for photographic
image. It is named for the committee that created the standard and.jpg is the ﬁle
extension associated with it.
OCLC The Online Computer Library Consortium – a worldwide bibliographic consortium
that provides bibliographic records describing more than 60,000,000 published
PDF Portable Document Format – an image ﬁle format created by Adobe Systems in
1993. This format can be viewed on the web to view documents in their original
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 16 September 2009
Reviewed 2 October 2009
New Library World
Vol. 111 No. 3/4, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited