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Publications, Speeches, Etc.

This page is presently divided into three sections: Substantive works are representative of very large projects that took considerable time and often involved collaboration with several other people. SCCLL SIS Columns: Charley’s Corner are relatively recent short pieces that present my point of view on a variety of topics. Speeches are relatively recent speeches that have been requested. These three sections are representative of my level of work and research concerns.

Not included at this time is a full archive of all the articles, speeches, and columns that I have written over my more than three decades as a law librarian. Many of those were quite relevant and perhaps provocative at the time, but would now appear to be quaintly dated. For a slightly longer list, consult my full curriculum vitae (Full CV) listed on the left navigation bar.

Substantive Works

As I was not an academic librarian, I have not kept a detailed list of every speech and publication that I have made, typically five or six a year. Indeed, most are very routine matters, such as small columns in bar association newsletters or small speeches and panel participation at local library association meetings, that came with my office as a law library director, first at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, and then at the San Diego County Public Law Library. Here are some highlights from my publishing history. For a slightly longer list, consult my full curriculum vitae (Full CV) listed on the left navigation bar.

  • “A Bibliographic Essay on Cognitive Linguistics for Law Librarians and Legal Researchers." (2008, updated 2010). A Lexis-Nexis Research Grant Project from the American Association of Law Libraries. For a PDF version (500 KB), click here.

  • “The Queen of Chula Vista: Stories of Self-Represented Litigants and a Call for Using the Cognitive Theory of Linguistics to Work With Them,” Law Library Journal, vol. 99, issue 4, pages 717-756 (Fall 2007). An earlier version of this article was a winner in the Open Division of the American Association of Law Libraries Lexis-Nexis Call for Papers for 2006. For a citable PDF version (3.1 MB), click here.

  • As chair of the Relocation Appeals Board for the City of San Diego, I presided over and wrote the opinion for the case of San Diego Refrigerated Services vs. Centre City Development Corporation (May 2003). This two-year case required seven day-long open meetings, huge amounts of documentation, and considerable research. Albeit only precedent for the City of San Diego, my opinion established the concept that “equitable relief” is not judged solely as “equal relief,” and that special circumstances can call for differing relief to different relocated parties. Much to the surprise of the City’s Centre City Development Corporation, the City Council accepted my opinion, and the parties subsequently settled. (This was the last of the seventeen litigated cases that occurred as a result of the creation of the San Diego Ballpark Redevelopment Zone. Petco Park opened April 8, 2004, two years later than scheduled.) Please contact me at if you have an interest in this Board opinion.

  • I was editor of the For Your Information newsletter of the Council of California County Law Librarians for ten years (1988-1998), four times a year. The FYI reports a considerable amount of matters, including legislative, to the CCCLL membership. I transformed it from a photocopied information piece to a full scale, desktop published newsletter, with about 25 pages per issue. The newsletter is available at any California county law library. For a list of these, see .

  • I was the original author of the Recommendations portion of the report from the AALL Special Task Force on the Renaissance of Law Librarianship in the Information Age, Toward a Renaissance in Law Librarianship (American Association of Law Libraries, printed by West Group, 1996). The report was distributed to every member of the Association and was greatly influential on AALL strategic planning and subsequent task forces. The report is out of print, but a synopsis is available on the AALLNET website:

  • I was the chair for the Sourcebook for Law Library Governing Boards and Committees (AALL pub. #45, Rothman, 1994). Shirley David (Sacramento County Law Library), who worked with me on item 2, and I had presumed that we could take the Trustees Manual national with some ease, but that proved not to be the case, as the disparate types of law libraries and their governing boards required a complete re-write and expansion. I wrote about 70 percent of the original text. For this effort, I was singled out to receive the Connie Bolden Award from the State, Court and County Law Libraries Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, but I am mostly proud of coordinating the many contributions and the work of the committee.

  • I was the reporter for the greatly expanded Council of California County Law Librarians’ Trustees Manual (3rd ed, 1992). It went from 10 pages to 306, and included a wealth of sample materials gathered from the members. I wrote about 60 percent of the original text, or approximately 50 pages, and organized the materials. A current version of this manual is now available in compact disc from the Council. You may contact them through their website at .

  • I was the local editor for the book, A Street Is Not a Home: Solving America’s Homeless Dilemma, by Judge Robert C. Coates (Prometheus, 1990). Essentially, we built the book on my computer, and I went over every word several times. The book was distributed by a foundation to over 9,000 state and local legislators and executive office holders. I administered the grant on behalf of the foundation.

  • As the last editor of the Law Library Journal (1981-1984) when it was run on entirely volunteer staff, I upgraded the product by requiring cite checking of all citations, by creating a guide for authors that (with small revisions) is still being printed in each issue, by creating a guide for the preparation of bibliographies, and lastly by writing the proposal to the AALL Executive Board that enabled the next editor to hire copy-editing staff and to begin electronic submission of text to the printer.

SCCLL SIS Columns: Charley’s Corner

I have written a column for the Newsletter of the State, Court and County Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries for several years. The column, called “Charley’s Corner,” is a somewhat curmudgeonly observation of items that struck my interest over the years. Some of it comes from observing conditions common to all public law libraries, and some of it comes from my own research. Here is the accumulated archive. These are also available at the SCCLL SIS website, Please note that these do not include other articles for the SCCLL SIS Newsletter that I have written, such as the Messages from the Chair I wrote during my year as chair of the section.

If you click on the title of an article, it will open a PDF file in a separate window. You will need Adobe Reader to read the file. If you do not have Adobe Reader, then click on the icon at the bottom of the left window navigation bar to get a free copy installed on your computer.

“Election Special: Changing the Frame.” Noting the Nobel Prize winning work of Daniel Kahneman (with Amos Tversky) showing that the “rational actor” economic model fails to show how people actually make choices, I note that the freedom of the marketplace frame has skewed our brains into thinking that things are better done when there is a profit motive and it has affected our political thought. Volume 34, Number 3, Fall 2008.

“Cultural Competency: A Layered Problem.” Using information from the 2008 Equal Justice Conference, and a little bit of cognitive linguistics, I found a hierarchy of four separate layers of misunderstanding that self represented litigants may suffer when they come to court. Innovators serving them are finding ways to break through. Volume 34, Number 2, Spring 2008.

“Profiling at the Reference Desk.” The much maligned term "profiling" is used to describe the infamous tactic of choosing someone to search and possibly sanction based on physical criteria. But cognitive neuroscientists tell us that we use profiling all the time, and, in fact, could not survive without it. We need to recognize that we do and learn to do so properly. I take as my example the law library reference desk. Volume 34, Number 1, Winter 2008.

“Writing in Prototypes is Different from Speaking in Them.” We commonly use the scenario of an individual working through a problem when speaking about a group, such as self represented litigants. I found, much to my surprise, that one has to be more careful when writing. Volume 33, Number 3, Fall 2007.

“Prototypes and Categories: Making Zoning Laws That Work.” The cognitive linguists' term "prototypicality" refers to using prototypes to gain sense of words, rather than strict logical categories. Now it seems there is a movement within city development codes to use prototypes as representatives of preferred structures, rather than trying to list restrictions. Volume 33, Number 2, Spring 2007.

“Prototypes, Metaphors, Clichés, and Service of Process.” According to cognitive linguistics, creativity comes through radial expansion from prototypes, often through metaphors. These metaphors eventually become standard usage and even jargon terms. Volume 33, Number 1, Winter 2007.

“Rules versus Relationships at the Reference Desk.” Applying some thoughts from legal anthropologists to the words law librarians use to communicate with self represented litigants at the reference desk. Volume 32, Number 3, Fall 2006.

“Some Cognitive Science for the Reference Staff.” This is an early, shortened version of the “Queen of Chula Vista” article, applying thoughts on the cognitive theory of metaphor to helping self-represented litigants. Volume 32, Number 2, Spring 2006.

“The Political Ramifications of Inter-Library Cooperation.” Joining with public librarians can increase a public law library’s political presence. Volume 32, Number 1, Winter 2006.

“Starving Government Is a Failed Policy.” The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina shows the problems that neo-conservative policies create for citizens. Volume 31, Number 3, Fall 2005.

“Some Observations on Points of View.” The law library is a good laboratory for observing the differences in world views that some philosophers find critical in determining truth. Volume 31, Number 2, Spring 2005.

“My Middle-Aged Career Change.” Explaining my choice to retire to do scholarly research and consulting. Volume 31, Number 1, Winter 2005.

“Law Librarians Must Vote for a President .” Republican and Democratic governmental policies that affect libraries are examined in anticipation of the upcoming election. Volume 30, Number 3, Fall 2004.

“Some Disparate Ramblings.” Short pieces on: the biological root of ethics, security incidents becoming routine, the growing divide between the types of law librarianship. Volume 30, Number 2, Spring 2004.

“A Research Agenda for Public Law Libraries—Where to Start.” A call to combine informatics, modern jurisprudence and the increase in self-represented litigants for a research agenda. Volume 30, Number 1, Winter 2004.

“Am I spending too much time planning for a new building?” With the great increase in scanning old publications into databases and distributed reference, what will new law library buildings need to be? Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2003.

“Two Hundred Channels and Nothing Worth Watching—It could be worse!” An argument against the de-regulation of ownership of television stations. Volume 29, Number 2, Spring 2003.

“Food for Thought.” In critically reviewing the new pamphlet from AALL: Beyond the Boundaries: Report of the Special Committee on the Future of Law Libraries in the Digital Age, I note that public law libraries’ education role is increasing. Volume 29, Number 1, Winter 2003.

“The Weight of Democracy.” In the aftermath of 9-11, doing legislative battles to maintain funding for public law libraries is ever more important to help protect our freedoms. Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2002.

“The Queen of Chula Vista and Other Tales.” Even the craziest of self-represented litigants share some innate respect for the law. Volume 28, Number 2, Spring 2002.

“Of Geniuses and Librarians.” Librarians have a broad view and not a lot of time to ponder ideas. In short, they work too hard to be geniuses. Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2002.

“Who Ya Gonna Call?” As arbitration increases, especially in certain fields of law, our jurisprudence suffers from a lack of observable cases. Volume 27, Number 3, Fall 2001.

“What, Me Worry?” Ruminations on what is really important in our lives, work or kids. Volume 27, Number 2, Spring 2001.

“Some Rooneyisms.” Vignettes on writing columns in the computer age and other facets of modern life. Volume 27, Number 1, Winter 2001.

“Defragging Old Brains.” Using computer analogies to discuss older folks’ learning skills. Volume 26, Number 3, Fall 2000.

“Technology Gripes.” Vignettes on problems with technology in law libraries. Volume 26, Number 2, Spring 2000.

“And the Word Was Law . . .” An examination of law as written word in an age of graphics. Volume 26, Number 1, Winter 2000.

“VOTE YES on the Bylaw Amendment!!!” Urging members to vote in favor of a revision of AALL memberships rules to allow trustees to be members. Volume 25, Number 4, Fall 1999.




While I have given many speeches over the years, I am posting only those which have been requested recently.

If you click on the title of an article, it will open a PDF file in a separate window. You will need Adobe Reader to read the file. If you do not have Adobe Reader, then click on the icon at the bottom of the left window navigation bar to get a free copy installed on your computer.

Bernard E. Witkin, Esq., Award Acceptance SpeechAnnual Bernard E. Witkin, Esq., Awards Dinner, Law Library Justice Foundation, San Diego, California, November 16, 2005. The gist of the speech was the role of public law librarians and the necessity of public law libraries.

Marian Gould Gallagher Award Acceptance Speech American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, July 18, 2005. The gist of the speech was the mission of law libraries to protect access to legal information and collaboration among law librarians.

“The Librarian’s Role: Set Them Up To Do Good, or ‘Don’t Bore Your Board’” AALL Meeting, Washington, DC, July 18, 1999, for the program “Law librarians and their governing bodies—Identifying strategies for a successful working relationship.”


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