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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Why Librarianship?

I was chatting recently with a friend and fellow librarian, and mentioned that my 16-year-old niece is considering librarianship as a career alternative. “Really?” my friend replied “I don’t know that I would encourage that –- in fact, I’m not sure I would go into it myself now. Is librarianship still relevant?”

That conversation, coupled with the invitation to contribute to SLAW, has given me a chance to really think about the relevance of librarianship. Is there a future for the profession?

According to the New York Times, librarians have never been cooler. Friends in the know at UWO . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Role of the in-House Research Lawyer – Is There One?

The idea for this column arose from discussions at a recent meeting of a research lawyers in Toronto. This column takes a slightly different path from our banter at that meeting but, in essence, rests on one of the same themes: the role of research lawyers in firms today.

As we all know, over the past several decades it has become not uncommon for law firms of various sizes to have in-house research lawyers. Similar functions to those of law firm research lawyers are also carried out by dedicated individuals in government departments, courts, tribunals, and other organizations; these persons . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Information Literate Legal Researcher

Information literacy is a well-established principle in library and information studies. Ensuring that their target population – users of their libraries and information centres – are information literate is a key goal of librarians and information specialists. The concept requires that library users know (or know how to determine) the questions they need to ask, how to find (or seek assistance in finding) the information they need to answer their questions, and – crucially – how to critically (and perhaps skeptically) examine and understand that information.

This goal applies equally to the specific context of legal analysis and legal research. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information


I’m fortunate enough in my firm to practice with several other lawyers in the same research practice group. We’ve learned over the years the value of collaboration, which usually takes the form of either “open door” discussions or our monthly meetings where we share news, frustrations, current work and workload issues. In hopes these discussions may be of interest to other researchers who often practice in isolation, I’m summarizing some of the issues dealt with recently (below) and welcome anyone to contact me directly if you wish to follow up in more detail:

  1. Commercial Databases – tips and gripes
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

From the Trenches

Daily routine in the trenches of an active legal research practice affords little time for exploring technological innovations in the legal field. Alas, I am therefore often left in the dark even after reading posts on Slaw about such technology. I’ve confessed my confusion and ignorance to Simon F, and he has responded by encouraging me to give a different perspective on issues that surround legal research and technology.

I acknowledge that much of the research I do can be, and often is, conducted by searching online legal databases, as well as internet sites and search engines. In particular, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

All the M’s in Information

Librarianship as a career choice was a remarkable fit for me, because I like to know everything about everything or at least how to find it (don’t call it nosiness!). My undergraduate studies may have prepared me for playing Jeopardy but it was my library degree that made it possible for me to get that rarest of all things — a Perfect Job! As a librarian I get paid for following my passion — finding information, organizing information, getting information out to end users. In order to do my job correctly, I get to talk to people. By asking questions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information