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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Something to Hold Onto:[1] Where Paper Makes a Stand

A refuge remains for the printed page. Herewith the tale:

Ross Davies, one of my culture heroes, has published a fascinating article which goes by the salubrious title “The Increasingly Lengthy Long Run of the Law Reviews: Law Review Business 2012—Circulation and Production” in Volume 3, No. 2 of the Journal of Legal Metrics (2013). Professor Davies is an accomplished scholar at George Mason Law School who produces excellent scholarship in the usual mode for a legal scholar. But it does not stop there. He also has an endearing fixation on the mechanics of legal information and a love of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Problem With Discovery Tools and Law Firm Libraries

Most legal libraries subscribe to a number of online services, so library users frequently have to search multiple electronic resources as part of their legal research, and trust that they have not inadvertently missed any relevant resources. Researchers need to know what electronic products they have access to, what materials these products contain, and how to best to search them. Other challenges related to online research include the duplication of resources (some materials can be found in multiple online services) and cost containment.

University libraries have been dealing with precisely this problem for a while now. Discovery tools (such as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Free Access to Law in the United Kingdom and Beyond

I did not to go to Law via the Internet 2013 held on the Island of Jersey September 26 and 27, because the dates were not close enough to my planned trip to England in October to be able to do both. You can get a taste of what the conference was about from their web page and this statement:

It is 11 years since the Declaration on Free Access to Law was signed at Montreal and the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) was founded. Since then the movement has grown to include organisations from more than 50 countries

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Open Access, Free Access to Law and Access to Canadian Legal Scholarship (Part 1)

[This is the first of a two-part column on open access and public access to Canadian legal scholarship within the free law movement. This week (October 21-27, 2013) is International Open Access Week. This annual global event, now entering its sixth year, is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to promote the goals of Open Access to the public generally but especially within the academic and research communities, to demonstrate its benefits and to inspire wider participation in making Open Access a new norm in scholarly publishing. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

HELLO, My Name Is Joan, and I …..

… am an Information Addict. Information overload, also known as infobesity or infoxication, is a constant in my life. How about yours? Both conferences I attended this summer had sessions on time management, organization, workflow, productivity; topics that are directly related to how well we cope with the amount of information in our lives and the work that we produce using it. So I know I’m not alone on this island.

My quandary exists in that I want to get the most out of both my professional and personal life. Each feeds the other, and yet it is extremely important . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Case for Linked Data as Legal Information Infrastructure

The promise of technologies related to the semantic web is coming closer to realization. These innovations have interesting potential as ways to provide better navigation of legal information and to work as infrastructure to encourage innovation in both software development and content generation. This could be achieved by providing the means to separate the development of applications, the production of secondary content, and the development and maintenance of databases of primary legal information. This is important for legal researchers as it has the potential to remove the barriers among publishers’ platforms and facilitate better utilization of content from multiple sources. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Selling the Farm?

Readers of SLAW know that, as a rule, librarians are passionate about their collections, and despite negative stereotypes, they embrace the electronic resources and developments with alacrity, often way ahead of the pack. (For example, in 1998, the librarian community were among the earliest adopters of, and overwhelmingly enthusiasts for, the new Google search engine, with is simple clean lines and lack of advertising – such a contrast to the AltaVista, Ask Jeeves  and Excite interfaces in use at the time.)

Where practical and useful for the organisation, librarians equally maintain the book resources for which they have responsibility. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Citation Wars Redux

The Internet has eroded traditional sources of authority. Where once the Encyclopedia Britannica was a final word on many subjects, Wikipedia now reigns supreme. A decade or two ago, the annual Information Please almanac with its sweet index could settle all arguments, now a Google search will do. A highly articulated structure of editors and review panels once guarded the mountain top of cognitive authority. But no more. The retrieval of information no longer troubles us, sorting out the glut of data is the trick. Yet one source holds sway in the world of legal information: The Uniform System of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Changes in Cross-Border Corporate & Transactional Law Research

Lawyers and researchers looking into legal issues in international business transactions face a changing research landscape. Traditional tools for cross-border research are falling by the wayside. Lexis stopped updating the Martindale-Hubbell International Law Digests (summaries of foreign law authored by local law firms) after the 2011 edition. Lexis last updated its (now archived) International Multi-Jurisdictional Surveys in 2009. Westlaw no longer includes access to Practising Law Institute (PLI) course materials. Many researchers find print looseleafs difficult to use. Luckily, new research tools are filling the gap. Researchers looking into issues in transnational transactions have some really great, viable online options . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Recharge Your Career

Whether you are starting your career, are mid-career or are winding down, you should take time to recharge. Ever since 1975, one of my favorite ways to refresh lagging enthusiasm for the rigors and routines of work has been to go to the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). In the early days I was energized by meeting new people and learning new skills. As the years rolled by, my excitement was in honing skills and in catching up with the many friends I made over the course of my career. Now that I am retired, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Measuring the Performance of Law Firm Libraries

It is challenging for law firm libraries to measure the performance of their libraries. Traditional library metrics are less helpful for law firm libraries compared to public or academic libraries; for example, circulation statistics are often used as an indicator of library usage and what parts of the library collection are in highest demand. In law firm libraries, many of the materials are used primarily in the library or are signed out to a single lawyer for months (in some cases for years) at a time. The circulation statistics for a given book will therefore suggest that it was never . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Convergence, or a Tale of Two Conferences

Recently I had the great opportunity to attend two seemingly opposite conferences addressing the duality my professional life has taken on. Going directly from one to the other, I became aware immediately that lessons learned from one could be applied to the other: the similarities and differences very illuminating to problems both sets of professionals are experiencing.

One of the great things about my position as the Executive Director of the Toronto Lawyers Association is that I’ve been introduced to a whole new galaxy of professionals … the people that make up the Canadian Society of Association Executives. They are . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information