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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

A New Law Librarians’ Institute?

A few weeks ago, Connie Crosby wrote about the challenge for law librarians in earning a law degree, especially if they’re already working in a law library and don’t want to attend law school full time. Around the same time, John Papadopoulos wrote about how the Legal Literature and Librarianship class at the University of Toronto’s Information School is always oversubscribed. It appears there is an opportunity here to fill.

After many years of planning, last June, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit presented a week long program called the New Law Librarians’ Institute. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Google-Centric Habits and Gen Y

My first article asked, “Where have all the articling students gone?” One of the posted comments prompted this article. The comment was:

When Gen Ys do come to you for advice on how to start researching an issue, where do you get them to look first? Classic texts, online texts or search engines of the literature or cases?

It’s not the resource that determines the advice I provide, it’s the question itself. Most often my advice is straightforward: start broadly with secondary sources, use those to narrow your research, and then finish off updating with primary sources, i.e. case law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

2012-02-01 Developing a Library Collection Development Policy – Journals Part 1

This is the second in a series of columns about developing a library collection development policy. In my last column, I addressed some of the issues surrounding monographs. In this column, I’d like to consider journals, how they’re used in legal research today both in practice and in law schools, and their place in a contemporary law library collection.

Journals vs Serials

I’ve purposely used the specific term “journals” rather than the broader term “serials”. Serials are any publication that is issued either periodically (daily, weekly, monthly, etc) or serially in successive discrete parts, the publication of which is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Professional Associations and Why They Matter

Do you belong to a Professional Association? Have you become involved in it in any way? This column is written in praise of such bodies, and the work they do. It’s not very techie, there isn’t anything new or even greatly educational in it, but it is more a reflection on an unsung entity that is not often recognised beyond its own membership.

In December I participated in the annual meeting of the International Association of Law Libraries, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was the 30th meeting, with the first one being held in 1966; they . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Lessons Learned: Why Print Is Dying

Last summer I wrote an article that was scheduled to be published in the Law Library Journal. The article, like Gaul, was divided into three parts. Each of the three was edgy. The first was a reflection on the end of scholarly bibliography as a mainstream intellectual activity. The second was an overheated rebuttal of a piece on the nature of Law Librarianship that the eminent Professor G. Edward White had written in the Green Bag a few years back. The third part consisted of me pontificating on the future of academic law librarianship in the United States. In that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Pitblado Lectures

Recently, Slaw introduced Talklaw, a calendar of legal conferences and events. This reminded me of an annual legal conference that doesn’t get talked about much outside of Manitoba, the Isaac Pitblado Lectures.

Non-Manitobans are not likely to be familiar with Isaac Pitblado. As stated in the biography from the Pitblado Lectures published papers:

At the time of Isaac Pitblado’s death, the Hon. Richard S. Bowles, the President of the Law Society of Manitoba, said about him:

The Law Society has lost its most respected and beloved member. Canada has lost one of its most able and distinguished sons.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Researching Careers in Foreign, Comparative, and International Law (FCIL) Librarianship, Or, It’s a Wonderful Life!

I stumbled into this career and it has been a blast! I did not plan to specialize in foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) librarianship. I just wanted to be the world’s greatest general legal reference librarian (ah, youth!). But, here I am, enjoying doing work I never imagined.

Because I’ve been in the profession for a while, I get asked from time to time – how does one become an FCIL librarian? Here’s what I would have done to research career opportunities as an FCIL librarian (besides reviewing job postings to see what current employers are expecting from FCIL . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Disaster Planning for Smaller Libraries

A few months ago we had a minor flood in the library. It wasn’t catastrophic, in large part due to the observant eyes of a lawyer browsing our tax section. Nonetheless it was a reminder of how important it is for libraries, regardless of size, to have a disaster recovery plan. In addition to our firm-wide business recovery plan, we now have a specialized library disaster plan.

Key tips for the disaster plan include:

  • Keep the plan simple. Guy Robertson, a specialist in disaster planning, recommends that the plan be small and portable; wallet-sized is ideal.
  • Clearly delineate responsibilities of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Openness and Interoperability: The Aims of Recent Legal Informatics Activity

Recent activity in the legal informatics world has been characterized by numerous efforts to make legal documents and technologies more openly available, and to make legal information more interoperable. Here are some examples:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Where Have All the Articling Students Gone?

This is my first column for Slaw, and may I say, it is an honour to be asked to contribute. Of all the reading material that crosses my desk and my computer, Slaw is one of the few for which I have always made time, even if it’s just to scan titles. The combination of blogs and columns always seems to bring me information, just when I need it, or even better, before I know I need it.

By way of introduction, for many years I worked as a Law Librarian in Bay Street law firms. I even spent a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting is an interesting publisher, established in 1865 by the legal profession in Great Britain, to bring some order to the then somewhat chaotic world of law reporting. Before this time, English law reports, now known as Nominate Reports, were produced on an individual basis by barristers, with a series lasting from one or two volumes, to the working life of the author barrister. Series varied in standard, layout and structure.

The ICLR oversaw the introduction of an orderly reporting system with the creation of The Law Reports, as the series that would report judicial . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and the Law

Decades ago when I was looking for legal information on gays in the military worldwide, resources were scarce. Those gopher, pre-web days are gone and now researchers can find a wide variety of resources on the global legal status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people. So, let’s check to see how these resources cover military law related to LGBTQI persons around the globe.

The newest resource is the International Commission of Jurists’ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Justice: A Comparative Law Casebook (September 2011). It includes a foreword by the Hon. Michael Kirby, former President of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information