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From Print to Digital and Back Again:

30+ Years of Lessons from UGA Law Library's Newsletter

Rachel Evans

on 3 July 2018

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Transcript of From Print to Digital and Back Again:

In 2013 issues had slowed down again. Only 3 were published in 2013. Librarians now had more active roles in teaching and research than ever before. The HTML layout and format had been the same since 2003, and was time consuming to create.
From Print to Digital and Back Again:
Rachel Evans, M.L.I.S.
Web Coordinator, I.T. Services
Alexander Campbell King Law Library
University of Georgia School of Law
With a dedicated editor back in the driver's seat, Amicus gets a facelift, moving to law.uga.edu. It is now only published online. Book reviews are now a part of every single issue, titled "Featured Acquisitions". Staff and faculty are a central part of content.
At some point the typewriter is abandoned for Word Perfect, but it is hard to tell exactly when the shift occurred (perhaps in 1992?). The icons/images and articles begin to show the evolving technologies in the library.
From Typewriter to Word Perfect
More issues see other staff members contributing content.
The end of each issue invites submissions and feedback to the editor.
Many issues are for 2 months instead of 1; 2000 and 2001 see font changes; 2-column layout returns and leaves.
New regulars: "Watchable Websites" (new version of "website of the month") and "From the Computer Labs".
Issues continue to focus on staff and technology more than anything else.
In 2000, book reviews begin to appear in issues (an early version of what would become "featured acquisitions")
Steady as She Goes: 1998 - 2001
30+ Years of Lessons from UGA Law Library's Newsletter
Volume VII, Number 2 introduces 2-column layout;
includes images/icons and expands to 4 pages
An editor is born: Carol Watson
Content and layout styles begin to shift:
As of October '96 all print issues include a link to the online newsletter:
New editor: Anne Burnett
Table of contents for each issue
No more columns; horizontal line breaks left-hand gutters
Color images are introduced as well as a UGA "logo" block
A contest is created for generating a newsletter title
"Staff Focus", "From the Director", and "Website of the Month" become regulars
Transitions 1996-1997
6 years with no major changes
The editor didn't like doing this part of his job. So he didn't!

In 2000 he released 6 newsletters.

In 2001 he released 5 newsletters.

In 2002 there are no records of any newsletters.

In 2003 the newsletter editor shifts back to Anne Burnett.
The year of no newsletter: 2002
From 2003 to 2014, the newsletter remained online with no printed versions during this time. Many popular features came out of this time period and some of them continue today (these are in addition to library hours, policies and resources):

Featured Acquisitions
- book reviews that highlight recent purchases
Stress Relief
- beginning in April 2005 various stress busting tools, ideas and events become ritual each fall and spring just before exams (ex. worry dolls)
Crossword Puzzles
- from April 2006 - Nov. 2010 an interactive crossword puzzle is in each issue (ex. Athens eateries, prime time law, fictional lawyers)
Book Repair Clinic
- an event the library would host almost every semester beginning in April 2008 as a service to law students and law faculty
Law Dawgs
- beginning in Sept. 2008 with library staff pets (MOST POPULAR)

Staff Focus pieces continue with new hires, retirements, and just for fun. Library instruction begins to take on the title "Lunch-n-learn" (More events are shared).
Popular Content: 2003 - 2014
In April 2015 the library publishes the first print version of the newsletter since 2003! The print version is popular with students, placed at circ.:
Print is Back!
Tech for Creation/Publication
KanbanFlow for workflow/team management
Drupal CMS for online publication/RSS
MailChimp for email blasts (700+)
Piktochart for print editions
Xerox color copies 11x17 (30 or less)

Dissemination & Assessment
Anchor tags for "contents" to allow MailChimp to capture click stats
MailChimp for % open stats
Google Analytics for total page views

Just starting up this extension of Amicus
Episode 0 was the pilot/test (May 2017)
Episode 1 just finished (Sept. 2017)
Pondering title (Amicus used by Slate)
Studio with Logic Studio Pro in library
MixCloud for now; Podcast Generator ?
Beyond Words
From HTML to CMS
Many of the "new" ideas we use today in our newsletter have been done in past issues (without us knowing!):
History Repeats Itself
Why a Newsletter:
your library's time capsule
Visual Timeline:
1984 to 2017
Who's Who and When:
30+ years of content & curation
Content Shape Shifting:
past, current and popular recurring examples
History Repeats Itself:
print isn't the only thing that's come back
Beyond Words:
technology & methods used for publication & dissemination
Don't Re-invent the Wheel:
models for content curation & creation; feed social
Why a Newsletter
A library newsletter is like a time capsule:

shows shifts and trends in technology
a document of new hires, employee achievements and retirements
archive of your library's evolving resources
captures changes to your facility/renovations
serves as a timeline of library events
can serve as an idea bank for the future

It can also bring your library community together and allow employees to get creative. It is an excellent marketing and communications tool between your library and your patrons.
Printed copies were placed in student, faculty and staff mailboxes (600 +)

Listed a handful of resources, plus information and dates for "training in the use of the computer research systems".

This is Volume I Number 2 (#1 is missing but likely
circulated in
Spring 1984).
Simply titled "News" and prepared on a typewriter.
Hours, policies and new technology become a regular part of the newsletter.
Reiterated policies: photocopying, food & drink, and noise in the library.
Jan. '95
Nov. '95
The title
Amicus Briefs
is first used January '97.
According to the way back time machine at archive.org, the first online version of the newsletter appeared in January 1995 along with the arrival of editor Carol Watson (who was the Computing Services Librarian at the time).
Hello World: the Newsletter gets HTML-ed
"Silver Platter" mailroom
introduces listservs
Staff news introduced, horizontal line
breaks return, header and fonts change
January of 2000 sees a new editor: Jim Sherwood.
Header, style and font changes again, left-hand gutter returns.
Watchable website: Google!
2010 Crossword Theme
2017 "Favorites from Fiction" Series
2003 Summer Reading
2017 Summer Reading
Even this presentation has been done before:
In 2006 then editor Carol Watson gave her first AALL presentation on library newsletters!

In 2014 the newsletter moves within the framework of the law school and law library website (Drupal content management system). It now has its own content type designed specifically for Amicus. The content feeds into a "view" page and has an RSS.
Last HTML Issue
New Method in Drupal
The online version continues to be the way
most people read the newsletter. Our most popular feature of all time, Law Dawgs is the reason students pick up print copies.
1995 - 2002
2003 - 2015
2016 - 2017
1984 -1995
Single editor, curated, created and published content
Single editor, curated and published content; shared assigned content creation with staff
"Steering Group" team of librarians generated ideas, assignments and publication dates
Large "Public Relations" team reviews assignments, adds ideas, helps with content creation. Single editor compiles and publishes.
Librarians share ideas & content
Smaller PR team share & comment on ideas
Outreach Librarian & Web Coordinator collaborate on publication dates, compile and review issues;
PR team shares responsibility for feeding to social.
Any Questions?
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