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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Truth From Fiction

Given the constant flow of events in the world of information and the waves of change confronting librarians, I search for a unifying theme. Can I find something that manages to pull it all together for me? As a law professor I talk to my students about that moment of insight when all of the pieces fall into place, when what had previously been a jumble of unconnected information suddenly shifts into a discernible pattern. Even if the fine details of the final product are unclear, there will be a structure, the subject will make sense. Where is such a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Library Budgets and Priorities: A New Year and a New Normal

For my first column of this year, I had first thought to compile a “top ten” list of major issues currently confronting law libraries and librarians. As I started work on the list, two things quickly became clear to me: first, the column’s space constraints would allow only the most cursory treatment of the ten issues; and second, it was becoming more and more obvious that almost all ten issues were related to or even driven by one great issue. That issue is library costs and the shrinking budgets with which we are expected to cover them. Law schools continue . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

If Your Library Was a Small Business, Would It Still Be Open? Part 2

In my last column we explored how entrepreneurial characteristics can augment librarian skills. Once again, using’s article 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs, we continue with points #8 to 25.

8. Project a positive business image. Unfortunately we still see that old “us and them” mentality in law firms: lawyers — and everyone else. Help diminish that by always projecting a positive business image. With a Masters degree (or commensurate experience), you too are a professional, but short of wearing your resume as a visible badge, use demeanour (confident and positive), speech (thoughtful, considered and forthright) and relationships . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

A Good News Story About EU Cooperation

The European Legal e-access conference Paris 21-23 November 2012.

There is much that is written that may falsely lead folk far from Europe to think that the EU vision is no longer successful, and that old Europe is slowly imploding. This meeting sure dispelled some of those myths. There is energy, enthusiasm and innovation going on in European circles that we English speakers are rarely exposed to. The European Digital Agenda is seen as a tool for economic growth, and this free conference provided an understanding of the legal e-access work underway.

It was organised by Juriconnexion, the French . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Career Planning – Choose Your Own Adventure

There’s something about the end of the year that provokes reflection and goal-setting. In the past few weeks, I have met with several of my staff to discuss next steps in their careers. In most situations, making the move into the next level of professional practice requires some learning. Managers can be a great sounding board and advocate for staff looking for new experiences. These questions came up again and again in my conversations with staff, and may be a useful frame for other managers and employees as they work together to develop a career strategy.

What is your goal? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Can You Trust Law Online? a 2012 UELMA Update

The Uniform Electronic Materials Act (UELMA) is slowly making that trust more of a reality in the United States. The Act was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL or Uniform Law Commission) and was approved by them in July of 2011. As of now it has been adopted by two states, Colorado and California, and is under consideration in four more. The Uniform Law Commission’s summary webpage on the Act has up-to-date information on the progress of it in the states and much more A good summary of the origins and drafting of it, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

“EBooks” v. “Online Books”

Almost two years ago, I wrote an article on eBooks and their application to a legal library. One trend I have noticed since then is that publishers now appear to be differentiating between “eBooks” and “online books”. “Online books” are those books that are available purely through databases or online platforms, such as Carswell’s eReference platform or CCH Online. By contrast, the term “eBook” is used to refer to books which are available in ePub (or other electronic formats) and which are intended for electronic devices. Licensing varies but generally online books are rented while eBooks are “owned” (subject to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

À La Recherche Des Livres Perdus, or 50 Ways to Lose Your Books

The Time of Humans

Libraries used to spend hours searching for missing books. We lose books when they get misshelved, mislabeled, mislocated, forgotten in offices, homes, or stolen. When I worked as a searcher, I found satisfaction in figuring out different ways to find lost books and finding them. However, I also know the emotional toll of looking for so many books and more often than not, finding very few. Or discovering that a patron has torn out a chapter from a book or removed contents from a looseleaf binder because they did not want to pay for copies or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Librarianship: The Never-Ending Story

In November of 2012 I attended the Distinguished Librarian Award ceremony of the Librarians Association of the University of California, Berkeley (LAUC-B). The beautiful Morrison Room in the Doe Library was the setting for this biennial event. This lovely reading room, with its muted lighting and its wooden shelves filled with volumes of great fiction, is permeated with the essence of learning and the life of the mind. The two honorees were Lillian Castillo-Speed of the Ethnic Studies Library and Marci Hoffman of the Law Library. Each of these women has a remarkable career, but since I know Marci well, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

If Your Library Was a Small Business, Would It Still Be Open?

For years, when interviewing candidates for library / information positions, I would ask about their entrepreneurial skills or for examples showing their entrepreneurial tendencies. Some got the question immediately , while others just looked confused. Thinking back, it could have been me, the way I posed the questions. Stereotypically, the term “entrepreneur” doesn’t come up in a typical library job interview. defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” What I was trying to implant into my library were exactly those elements of bold . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

On Bubbles and Magic Words….

As law librarians many of us teach our users the best approaches to using the internet, which includes how to best construct a search. It may seem pedantic to talk about operators and specificity, but it does sometimes help to narrow the results to a manageable number. We know that most people do not look beyond the arbitrary 10 results on the first page of a Google result screen, so it is pretty important that those ten are the right ones. We teach this stuff on the assumption that we are working on a level playing field with the various . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Hockey and Law Librarianship

I’m a bit of a sports nut. I love watching all types of sports on TV. And I get ridiculous when I go see any sport live. Roller derby is the bomb! The only sport I just don’t get is cricket. Maybe one day. Anyway, when I found out that the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) was meeting in Toronto, I just had to go. It’s the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame!

The Hockey Hall of Fame was all I had imagined and more. There’s a shrine to Wayne Gretzky, uniforms from players for all over the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information