I’ve just returned from the 2012 CALL/ACBD Conference where I always enjoy engaging with my colleagues from across the country and further afield, renewing old acquaintances and making new friends. This year’s conference marked the kick-off of CALL/ACBD’s 50th Anniversary celebrations as part of that celebration we were encouraged to share our reminiscences and I would like to share one of mine here.
My first CALL/ACBD conference was in 2002 in Victoria. My memories from that conference include being somewhat awed by the conference itself and impressed with my new-found colleagues but what rings more than that was the announcement that was made in the middle of that conference that shifted the face of legal publishing in this country. In the words of CALL/ACBD Honoured Member Denis LeMay from v 27:3 of Canadian Law Libraries (as it was then):
Quicklaw makes an announcement! The moment was grave and solemn when Professor Lawford in person informed us that he was forced to “sell the family farm.” This is a crucial move in the history of Canadian legal publishing. Lexis/Nexis was chosen to form a new partnership where both parties are firmly committed to offer the best of their culture, knowledge and technology. Professor Lawford noted common views in the philosophy of both enterprises. Quicklaw’s loyalty, generosity and excellence were recognized by a standing ovation – a testimony to the place that they will always have in the hearts of CALL/ACBD members.
My memories from that announcement include a murmur in the room and the feeling that something had happened to a member of the family, a figurative bombshell had been dropped in the room. I was early in my career at that point but I understood the significance of this event but perhaps not all of the implications that went along with it. Given all the change that has occurred in the past ten years it is safe to say that this announcement was a hinge-point in how we think about Canadian Legal Information. In many ways it is difficult to believe that it was ten years ago. 2002 was CALL/ACBD’s 40th anniversary, I wonder what might be in store for the next ten years and the forty after that; regardless, it would take a significant event to top the announcement that was made in Victoria in 2002.