Graduate Certificate

Legal Information & Scholarly Communication


Row of legal books on bookshelf

Get the background necessary to serve in libraries, archives, government agencies, and businesses that involve legal information.

About the Program

As law firms grow in size and become more specialized, there is a growing need for researchers able to investigate legal issues and the underlying factual issues of litigation and transactional law. It is hard to imagine a discipline where legal issues don’t regularly arise. The graduate certificate in Legal Information and Scholarly Communication will give you the necessary foundation to work in businesses, government agencies, archives, and libraries that deal with legal information.


The certificate requires 18 unit hours. Nine units will consist of required core courses plus a required internship of 3 units.  The remaining 6 units will be chosen from electives approved by the School of Information.

Core Courses

  • 12 units

3 courses are required

Structure and workings of scholarly communication and products in the U.S. Examines the content and technology of scholarly communication in various disciplines.

This course is for students who seek to be law librarians. The course will meet once a week for two hours where the students will develop lesson plans and practice teaching legal research in specific areas such as the case, the statute and legislative history, secondary sources, non-legal research, CALR, administrative law and the internet. We will videotape their practice classes to critique and to allow students to monitor their own teaching styles. They will also develop web pages for the course. The course will culminate with the students actually teaching the Intermediate Legal Research (boot camp) class which takes place the week after the Spring semester ends.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment. Students concurrently enrolled in the M.A. LIS in the School of Information should enroll in a LIS 698 Capstone Internship for a 3 credit internship to satisfy the MA Capstone Internship requirement. See the MA Internship page for additional information.

Choose one additional course from:

The U.S. government collects, generates, publishes and distributes a vast amount and variety of information. All information professionals-even those who do not intend to specialize as government document librarians-should understand the organization of and promote access to this body of work. In this course, lectures, discussions, and readings will acquaint students with theoretical and practical knowledge. The assignments will provide opportunities for deeper exploration of government information policies and resources. Graduate-level requirements include a policy paper worth 35% of their final grade.

Introduces the basics of copyright law and fair use, also discusses the theoretical foundations and history of copyright and the public domain. These issues are placed within a broader multicultural and international context. By the end of the course students will: (a) know the basics of copyright law and fair use as they apply to libraries and related information services, and (b) understand the importance of balancing the rights of intellectual property owners with the societal need for a robust public domain.  Graduate-level requirements include an individual project on a topic chosen in consultation with the professor.


  • 3 to 6 units
  • Other elective courses may be approved by the Certificate Advisor

This course will focus on how to insure that we can reliably get quality information and will also consider information quality from the perspective of the suppliers of information.  Principles of evaluating information exchanges and sources will be discussed and topics will include the verification of the accuracy of information and the evaluation of resources in specialized subject domains.  Graduate-level requirements include a stronger emphasis on the group presentation. Participation, midterm exam, individual project, and short assignments will not contribute as heavily to the final grade.

Designed for information professionals who intermediate between information seekers at all levels and information resources in all forms including texts, images, audio, and data. Course material and assignments focus on intermediating services such as interviewing; online searching of catalogs, indexes, and open-access repositories; instruction; and reference collection curation.

Study of the user interface in information systems, of human computer interaction and of website design and evaluation. Graduate-level requirements include group work and longer examinations.

This course will address the impact of technology on the fundamentals of libraries, archives and records management. Many librarians, archivists and records managers who have been working for even a few years find that they need to know more about working with digital information, the shift from paper to electrons caused a shift in the fundamental nature of the professions. To thrive in the digital era, they need new skills to accomplish many of the same tasks. Collections will no longer be physical, bur virtual. Patrons will often be thousands of miles away, not just the other side of the reference desk. This course is intended to help you understand this new environment.

This course provides you with a basic understanding of the theory and practical approaches to the management of information and technology in the digital information environment. Management topics considered in this course range from the strategic (planning, leadership, and policy development) to the tactical (project management, the acquisition and deployment of technology). The course combines reading, discussion, collaboration, project work, independent study, and guided hands-on practice in order to reinforce the concepts described in the project objectives.

This course will focus on a wide range of issues dealing with law library practice and administration, including but not limited to digital law libraries, collection development, law library administration, teaching legal research, database management, professional ethics and intellectual property issues. Several classes will be taught by guest lecturers, primarily librarians from the law library.

Course Sharing

Up to 12 units may be shared between the certificate and Master's degree. Up to 6 units may be shared with another certificate.