2013 Winners

First Place: Lily Yan, Uncharted Domains and the New Land Rush: Indigenous Rights to Top-Level Domain

Second Place:  Tim Forsman earned second-place honors for What the QSA Means for the Salton Sea: California’s Big Blank Check

The Ross-Blakley Law Library at the Sandra O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the Ross-Blakley Law Library Award for Exemplary Student Research. Lily Yan is the first place award recipient for her paper Uncharted Domains and the New Land Rush: Indigenous Rights to Top-Level Domains, while Tim Forsman earned second-place honors for What the QSA Means for the Salton Sea: California’s Big Blank Check. Lily Yan and Tim Forsman’s papers demonstrate sophistication and originality in the use of research materials, exceptional innovation in research strategy, and skillful synthesis of research results into a comprehensive scholarly analysis. 

A review panel comprised of librarians Victoria Trotta and Beth DiFelice and Associate Clinical Professor Kimberly Holst selected the winners from the competitive entries.

In addition to receiving a monetary award, the winners are also invited to publish their papers in the Law Library’s digital scholarship repository, and to feature their papers in the Law Library Display Case.

Yan’s topic, indigenous rights to top level domains or TLDs, was obscure so initially she gathered anything she could find on the topic. This spanned from bookmarking blogs and websites that mentioned ICANN’s (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) opening up of TLDs, to listening to podcasts on how to make money off a registry.  She sought the assistant of the Ross-Blakley Law Librarians who guided her to congressional history documents on ICANN.  She also examined the broader issue of intellectual property rights for indigenous groups and spoke with her law professors on these issues. Through her research, she was eventually led her to Eric Brunner-Williams, the chief technology officer of Wampumpeag.  He offered his thoughts and suggestions on the draft. Similarly, she reached out to a Māori activist who advocates for indigenous TLDs. He also offered his thoughts on the paper.

Yan points out:  The most important lesson that I have learned is to start researching early. It has taken more than one semester to complete the paper to my satisfaction. Even after I submitted it for class, I had not yet spoken to Mr. Brunner-Williams, who has been a critical contact person. I also learned that research papers are not written in silos where one solely sits in solitude for weeks to churn something out. For me, it required reaching out to librarians, professors, attorneys, fellow law students, and activists. Without their help, this paper would not be complete.

Tim Forsman’s paper was originally written as his Arizona State Law Journal Note submission. The research process involved utilizing a diverse array of sources, including Westlaw, California Statutes, other scholarly papers, as well as numerous internet and other resources. During the research process, he learned several valuable lessons including how to use Westlaw Next’s folder organization system in order to more effectively catalogue his case law research for the paper. Additionally, he found that numerous interested parties, such as the Salton Sea Authority, maintain resources which are dedicated to the essential components of his topic. Tim said:  Writing the paper helped me to hone my research skills by forcing me to draw on a diverse set of research sources, ranging from scientific journals to historical accounts of the Sea’s formation.