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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Hide and Seek – a New Paradigm for Finding Official Documents?

The web makes so much information available that we sometimes forget that there are still many hidden archives and collections that are not immediately accessible by way of a simple Google search.

One example is the pages created by government departments that house reports, policy papers and the gamut of related materials that are collected by the departments to keep the public informed, and which are often commissioned to inform the government of issues and concerns that may form part of policy. One of our academics was concerned recently when she went to the Department of Justice website to locate . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

A Sobering Trip to New York City

These are ominous days for law librarians in the United States. On Thursday, February 23, I spoke at the sixth annual ARK conference on law libraries in New York City. The conference was attended almost exclusively by law firm librarians, with a sprinkling of academic law librarians and vendors sprinkled in. Jean O’Grady of the law firm DLA Piper was the lead organizer. I have known Jean for a long time; she is smart, funny and business-savvy. Her firm made news by signing on to the new Bloomberg Law service, making her even more interesting. For details check out Jean’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Trends in Academic Law Libraries: What Are the Implications for Private Law Libraries?

In 2011 the Education Advisory Board released a report, Redefining the Academic Library: Managing the Migration to Digital Information Services, which looked at trends in academic libraries and the direction in which they were going. Although I work in a private law library while the report deals with academic libraries, I found the report very interesting; a number of challenges that it identifies are also faced by private law libraries.

The usual suspects are here: rising journal costs, the challenge of being a library in the age of Google and Amazon, and trying to do more with less. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Don’t Dumpster That Book! a Life as Art Awaits It

Artists are cutting, burning, and hanging books to create “shaped prose”, landscapes, and faces. University of Iowa professor, Garrett Stewart, sees these book sculptures as symbols of “renewable intellectual energy.” The resulting art is pretty incredible, albeit bittersweet,and sometimes strangely beautiful (such as the Edinburgh paper sculptures). This “book tree” from a gallery in the Netherlands is a good example:

Click on image to enlarge

Give Law Books to Art

Law libraries in the Netherlands have also gotten into the act. Here is a sculpture created out of law books that have been written in, torn, or defaced . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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