Monday, July 23, 2018

All that giltters is not gold

Online isn't all it's cracked up to be When was the last time you cracked open and read a "real" book?  

No, not those electronic abominations.  I mean an actual book with paper and ink and everything. 

The way the media plays it, you'd think no one ever reads books any more. 
 
In fact, I was talking with a librarian who works at a  a law school the other day.  He informed me that they don't teach students how to use print resources anymore.

WHAT?!  Don't teach print?  Apparently, law schools have scads of money to spend and can, apparently, afford most everything the online world has to offer.

It's no wonder, then, that I regularly have new (and some seasoned) attorneys come to me and stand with awe and amazement at the wonder that are the print books on our shelves that no one had ever told them about.

The problem is that not everything is online.  Yeah, yeah - I know that's a shocker for some people.  Even if you have gobs of money to buy the most beeeeeautiful online catalog, you're still not going to find the gems that slip through the cracks.

Take, for example Shepard's Mobile Homes and Mobile Home Parks.  Published by Shepard's Citations Inc. in 1975, this resource is a gem that speaks to anyone who needs to know the law on mobile homes.  Most importantly, it is not found on either Westlaw OR Lexis Advanced.

Why is this important to point out?  Simply because if all you use (or teach) are online tools to conduct legal research, you will never know about (and/or use) this golden nugget (unless you know someone (i.e. a law librarian) who knows how to use both print and online legal research tools and who will teach/tell you about it/them).  Hint, hint.

So, picture it.  This guy came into my library.  Seems he lives in a planned unit community (or "PUD").  PUD is giving Guy grief because he stores/parks his mobile home on his property.

Seems PUD has a provision in its CC&R's that prohibit any temporary structures on PUD property.  Pointing to Guy's mobile home, PUD says either it goes or Guy goes.

Guy wants to research whether PUD can compel the removal of his mobile home.

Now, I could have sent him to read about property rights in

or any of the myriad of in-print or online real property offerings which may or may not have dealt directly with mobile homes or mobile home parks.

Instead, I dug through our superseded collection and pulled out our copy of Shepard's Mobile Homes and Mobile Home Parks for Guy to peruse.  Shepard's is an easy read and starts out in Chapter 2 with definitions and descriptions of terms germane to mobile home parks (i.e. a "planned unit community").

Since it's an older publication, Shepard's is going to reference some old law.  An easy fix to that is to be sure to check the current State's laws!  Regardless, what Guy was wanting to look at was Chapter 8, Section 2 (Construction of Covenant).  

Citing Colony Park Assn v. Dugas, 44 MiA 467, 205 NW2d 234 (1973), the court held that a similarly restrictive covenant failed to prohibit automobile-drawn trailer homes on a persons private property.

Guy is in pig heaven.  Yeah, it's an old case and it's outside Guy's jurisdiction, to be sure, but it's still good law.  With a quick jaunt over to West's California Digest, we were able to get around the jurisdiction problem by finding a relevant (and more current) case directly on point.

Guy left happy with an evil glint in his eye knowing that he had just what he needed to fight the evil PUD.  And with that, we see that all that glitters is not gold.  

Just because students and attorneys can conduct all of their legal research online, it does not mean that they have to (nor that online resources are all that are available for use).

So, stretch those legs, expand those horizons, and seek out your law librarian to see if there happens to be untapped gold in them thar book stacks.  I have no doubt but that your friendly neighborhood law librarian will nigh unto giddy if you ask them to show you all the wonders still available (only) in print.

I just bet.