Target Audience: Special collections librarians, reference librarians, catalogers, collection development librarians
1) Participants will be able to identify six types of evidence for reconstructing the contents of historic lawyers’ libraries.
2) Participants will be able to contribute historic library inventories to LibraryThing for research and collection development.
The contents of early law libraries provide important evidence for legal historians studying individual lawyers, the development of doctrine, and the history of legal publishing. The program will first examine the historical study of individual law libraries: how to analyze a library as a historical document, how to reconstruct a library, and why it is a powerful and useful collection development tool. Next, the program will demonstrate LibraryThing’s “Libraries of Early America” project: how this free and open-access database enables the aggregation and comparison of holdings from many early libraries; how the project enables the study of libraries from broad geographic areas, time periods, and professions; how law librarians can add information on historical law libraries; and opportunities for developing new tools.