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IBA Interrogatories - Benjamin Keele

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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.•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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