Skip to main content

Collective Bargaining Agreements Research (with a Digression)

News reports of the last few weeks have been primarily focused on two areas: the turmoil in the Middle East (for once, and thankfully, not referring to the ongoing Isreali-Palestinian conflict) and collective bargaining agreements (or CBAs). And the latter is not only referring to the political conflict that is taking place in midwestern American states such as Wisconsin and Ohio, but even sports reports are filled with references to the ongoing negotiations between the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Player's Association, or fears that the National Basketball Association will suffer a lockout because of a failure to reach agreement on a new CBA.

All of these reports got me searching the Internet to see what kind of resources were available so I'd be ready when the inevitable patron comes to the Reference Desk asking about CBAs. My searches led me to a wonderful guide from Cornell University called Labor Unions and the Internet. Designed using the LibGuides platform, this guide contains a profusion of tabs, including tabs dedicated to General Web Research, Industry and Economic Research, Legal Research, and several subtopics, including CBAs. Each tab consists of lists of links to sources with brief descriptions of the sources. Overall, I was impressed with how this guide was organized and with the quality of the links available.

(Now for my digression.)

There was, however, one thing I have an issue with: On the General Web Research tab, the second to last item was a link to Wikipedia. Thankfully, the description under the link contained the following disclaimer: "Use Wikipedia wisely to get an overview of a topic and links to authoritative sources. Beware of entries that could reflect author-biases and of entries that lack proper citation." But, ultimately, I personally would like to see this link removed from future versions of this guide. I have two reasons for my position.

First, a guide of this nature should be intended to guide patrons to helpful (preferably authoritative) sources that they may not be aware of or that may be difficult to locate. At this point in time, it's hard to imagine that anyone, even the most destitute of patrons, would be unaware of Wikipedia; and for the very few who are, I'm sure the reference librarian would be able to suggest it, if appropriate . . . which dovetails nicely into my second reason: I've always been of the opinion that one of a librarian's duties is to help patrons make the right decisions about which resources to use when given the opportunity. Yet, this guide merely shows the patron the entrance to Wikipedia armed with just a disclaimer and a hope that they'll stumble on quality articles. If you're going to include Wikipedia in a guide like this, then you should take the time to identify the appropriate articles that are neutrally written and contain proper citations. Otherwise, have you really helped any patrons who take that path?


Popular posts from this blog

Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades

It’s that time of year again. Law students across the country are poring over their class notes and supplements, putting the finishing touches on their outlines, and fueling their all-night study sessions with a combination of high-carb snacks and Java Monsters. This can mean only one thing: exam time is approaching.

If you’re looking for a brief but effective guide to improving your exam performance, the O’Quinn Law Library has the book for you. Alex Schimel’s Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades, now in its second edition, provides a clear and concise strategy for mastering the issue-spotting exams that determine the majority of your grade in most law school classes. Schimel finished second in his class at the University Of Miami School Of Law, where he taught a wildly popular exam workshop in his 2L and 3L years, and later returned to become Associate Director of the Academic Achievement Program. The first edition of his book was written shortly after he finished law school, …

Spying and International Law

With increasing numbers of foreign governments officially objecting to now-widely publicized U.S. espionage activities, the topic of the legality of these activities has been raised both by the target governments and by the many news organizations reporting on the issue.For those interested in better understanding this controversy by learning more about international laws concerning espionage, here are some legal resources that may be useful.

The following is a list of multinational treaties relevant to spies and espionage:
Brussels Declaration concerning the Laws and Customs of War (1874).Although never ratified by the nations that drafted it, this declaration is one of the earliest modern examples of an international attempt to codify the laws of war.Articles 19-22 address the identification and treatment of spies during wartime.These articles served mainly to distinguish active spies from soldiers and former spies, and provided no protections for spies captured in the act.The Hagu…