ILNews

IBA Interrogatories - Benjamin Keele

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul

keele Benjamin Keele

Research and Instruction Librarian, Indiana University McKinney School of Law

He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and Indiana University School of Library and Information Science. He served as a reference librarian at the William and Mary Law School prior to joining the library faculty at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is Benjamin Keele, and he has been served with interrogatories.

Q What does a research and instruction library do?

A Basically, I help people find legal information. Professors ask me to help find materials for scholarly articles they write and classes they teach. Students working on seminar papers or journal notes ask for help brainstorming research plans or polishing their footnotes. I also produce instructional materials and assignments for a legal research class the librarians teach. Research librarians often have specialties (I focus most on copyright), but I never really know what questions will come in on any given day. I find the variety very stimulating.



Q You have been a proponent of open access to scholarly information but it seems progress has been slow. Can that movement be successful, especially given the recent exposure following the death of Aaron Swartz?

A I’d argue that progress has actually been accelerating, especially in the physical and biological sciences. For legal scholarship, too, many law reviews are making their articles freely available online, and law professors have long been placing drafts and articles online through the Social Science Research Network. I think the conversation has mostly shifted from debating whether scholarship should be open access to debating how to pay for open access.



Q You collect diplomas. What is the prize diploma in your collection?

A I have two highlights. First is a 1940 Bachelor of Laws from Duke. The seal is Duke’s trademark blue. Second is a 1932 Master of Arts from my alma mater, the University of Nebraska. It was earned by Ralph Brooks, who became the 29th governor of Nebraska (my home state) and died in office. You can find the strangest things on eBay.



Q You have also been known to collect bobbleheads of U.S. Supreme Court justices. Which justice would you be most excited to add to your collection?

A The first judicial decision I remember being important to me was Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). It was significant because it articulated some First Amendment protections for student speech and I was on the school newspaper. Justice Abe Fortas wrote for the majority in that case, so I think a bobblehead of him would be especially fun.



Q Law schools and libraries are both operating in a period of unprecedented stress and scrutiny. What is the future of law librarianship?

A The notion that libraries are primarily storehouses of books will continue to be undermined by reduced purchasing budgets and greater use of databases that the libraries essentially rent, not own. I am optimistic that libraries will be identified more by the people who help access information than by the information the library holds. I am sure that people will continue to think of the library as “the place I go to get a book,” but I hope they will more often think of the librarians as “the people that will help me find what I need to know.” This vision requires librarians to continually improve and highlight our services, regardless of where needed information comes from or where our services are provided.



Q You have contributed as an author or co-author to over 20 academic publications. What is your writing process, and what makes a scholarly publication great?

A I read a lot at work, whether when doing research for someone or just reading about legal topics I think are interesting. As I read, questions occur to me, and I write them down. About 90 percent of those questions turn out to make no sense, and half of the questions that do have already been handled well by someone else. If a question makes it that far and I’m still curious about it, I read and think about it some more and then write up whatever conclusion I reach. I have to accept that most of my ideas will be dead ends, but I learn from the research along the way.A great scholarly publication should be written by authors who are genuinely curious about the subject and should avoid jargon as much as possible. I’ve found valuable information and ideas in papers that would be considered esoteric by most people, and I was surely not in the target audience for some of these papers, so I think writers should tailor their language so that people outside the writers’ fields have a reasonable chance of understanding the publications.



Q When you look back in 20 years, what do you hope you will have contributed to the field of law librarianship?

A I hope to have helped further an understanding of copyright law that enables libraries to perform their important jobs of providing access to and preserving information. I also hope to have helped train law students to understand how important legal research is and how to conduct good research.



Q If you could choose one U.S. Supreme Court case from the last year to participate in as an amicus, which would you choose and what party would you have been aligned with?

A Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley. This case decided that the first sale doctrine applies to copyrighted works produced outside the United States. Since many items in library collections were manufactured outside the U.S., the case had important implications for libraries. I would have sided with Kirtsaeng. The court happened to reach a decision I like.



Q You have traveled far and wide during your education and early career, with stops in Lincoln, Nebraska; Bloomington; Williamsburg, Virginia and now Indianapolis. Name your favorite dining experience for each city.

A Near downtown Lincoln is the Haymarket District, which has a number of nice restaurants and a great ice cream place called IvannaCone. It always had a rotating selection of really interesting flavors.I still miss Falafel on Kirkwood in Bloomington. Almost every time I visit Bloomington I get some falafel and mint tea.Williamsburg has a lot of tourist activity, so there is almost every chain you can think of, but there are also some very good local places. A place that recently opened was Mad About Chocolate. It has incredible baked goods and other confections. For a meal it is hard to beat their satisfying savory bread pudding.I’ve just started exploring the eateries in Indianapolis, but so far I’ve been most impressed by anything I get from Goose the Market. I could eat one of their sandwiches every day. My sense is that Indianapolis has the greatest selection of dining experiences of any place I’ve lived.•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

ADVERTISEMENT