Books Above the Throne: Geopolitical and Technological Factors Exalting Textual Authority in Seventeenth-Century England

Law librarian Paul Callister (UMKC School of Law) has written “Books Above the Throne: Geopolitical and Technological Factors Exalting Textual Authority in Seventeenth-Century England

Actualization of the rule of law necessitates more than the enumeration of individual rights and the careful articulation of divided powers, but the presence of an information or media environment conducive to such rule. Specifically, in the case of seventeenth-century England, it is the ascendancy of the printed book, as characteristic of the information environment, that effectively establishes a limitation on royal power.

The article applies geopolitical, temporal, and technological factors of media theory to seventeenth-century England in order to understand the effects of the information environment upon legal institutions and government. It considers factors such as the textuality of the reign of King James I, effusive spread of printing throughout Europe, smuggling of political and religious texts from overseas, citation to a much broader base of textual of authority, and developments in stabilized texts and cross-referencing to create a web of authority. Each of these factors affected the development and independent standing of legal and authoritative works, such as Lord Edward Coke`s Institutes, the English Bible, and political tracts. In turn, the influence of such works on legal and political developments curtailed absolute monarchy and led to the onset of roles for public opinion and political discourse.

A presentation, based upon this paper, was originally made at the 5th International Conference of the Book, Madrid, Spain (Oct. 2007).

Source: LSN Law & Humanities Vol. 12 No. 28,  07/30/2008

Aspatore Books

I was introduced to Aspatore Books at the meeting of the West Academic Advisory Board (Thomson recently acquired Aspatore).  Aspatore provides questionnaires to experts it has identified and helps to then craft short chapters for these experts to revise and approve.  I think the concept is an intriguing one and I see two additional uses for the books in the series.  For one thing, the books can help librarians identify individual names to use for more precise searching (e.g., searching author fields of business and trade journals).  And beyond that, being a reference librarian is often a case of putting a patron in touch with someone who might be able to help them with specialized needs, and these books can help identify who some of these contacts might be.

Aspatore has recently published two books about law librarianship.  The books are:

The Changing Role of Academic Law Librarianship: Leading Librarians on Teaching Legal Research Skills, Responding to Emerging Technologies, and Adapting to Changing Trends (Inside the Minds series).   Contributors include Paul D. Callister, Michelle M. Wu, Philip C. Berwick,  Nancy L. Strohmeyer, Roy M. Mersky, Joan Shear, Christopher L. Steadham, Carol A. Parker, and Olivia Leigh Weeks

and

How to Manage a Law School Library: Leading Librarians on Updating Resources, Managing Budgets, and Meeting Expectations (Inside the Minds)

Full disclosure:  I have a chapter in this book.  (A number of the authors of chapters in these two books are or were members of the West Academic Advisory Board). Other authors are: Dan Martin, Michael Whiteman, Scott B. Pagel, William Blake Wilson, Christopher A. Knott, Kris Gilliland, Marian F. Parker, Penny A. Hazelton, and Sherri Nicole Thomas

I imagine that copies of both titles, in addition to others from this publisher, will be available in Portland and I encourage you to take a look.