Thursday, August 16, 2012

Consider the Source

frazzled nervesThe other day, a lady came up to me demanding to know why she couldn't find what she was looking for.  Seems she was looking for information about unlawful detainer (i.e. she was being evicted from her apartment).  The problem was that she was looking in the index in one book expecting to find what she wanted in another book.  For 20 minutes she stood there becoming more and more agitated because I "wouldn't" help her.  What I tried to convey in the simplest terms (and what she failed to grasp) was the concept that you can't use one index and expect to find what you want in a completely different book (she thought all legal indexes were on a 1:1 scale meaning all indexes referenced all books because they were all law related).  

Yeah, I'm sorry to have to tell you this but if you want information about Landlord Tenant stuff, you need to be holding the Landlord Tenant book (not just any book on Landlord Tenant but the book that you want to find information in).  If you want information about zoning, you have to be holding the book about zoning.  If you want information about trademarks, corporations, probate, domestic violence, or animal rights (or any of the other 50 zillion (that's right, zillion) topics found at any law library), you have to be holding that respective book.

There, I said it.  I feel better now.