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Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Single or Many? Managing Accounts for Database Subscriptions

Over the last five years, electronic resources have become an increasingly more important part of the services provided by law libraries. Administering electronic database subscriptions can be a time-consuming process; managing an electronic subscription includes, but is not limited to, evaluating the resource, negotiating a contract, training users, dealing with passwords, and billing back costs (if necessary). This column discusses a specific aspect of managing database subscriptions: the advantages and disadvantages of using individual user IDs rather than organization-wide passwords.

One problem with the growing number of online database subscriptions is the associated increase in the number of passwords that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Access to Justice on the Prairies

Access to justice is a hot topic, having been discussed on Slaw in the past few months here and here. Here in Winnipeg, the catalyst was the release of the 2008 United Nations Report, Making the Law Work for Everyone. Our response to this report is the Legal Help Centre.

Executive Director Karen Dyck envisions the Legal Help Centre as a place “… to assist disadvantaged members of our community to access and exercise their legal and social rights.” This agency will help people determine their next course of action in solving a problem, which may not even . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Rebuilding an Academic Law Library, Part 2: Everything Old Is New Again

 [This is the second in a series of articles about the trends, theories, principles and realities that have influenced the redesign of the library of Osgoode Hall Law School — part of the renovation and rebuilding of the law school currently underway.]

The chief glory of the Osgoode Hall Law School Library is its world-class collection of early Anglo-American legal materials, including the largest collection of legal Canadiana anywhere. Despite pressures to recover space and plans to send some materials offsite (see my earlier column) when the Osgoode Library moves into its new facility in Summer 2011, we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Finding Hidden Treasure

Like many of my North American colleagues, I keep up with new law journal articles by subscribing to alerts from Current Law Journal Content (CLJC), the free table of contents service published by the Washington & Lee School of Law Library and the University of Texas Tarlton Law Library. Particular characteristics of certain of the commercially published law journals indexed in CLJC have recently puzzled me: the practices of these journals seem out of step with today’s norms for distributing metadata and content of scholarly and professional articles. Here’s what I’ve seen:

  • Many of the articles in these
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Fail Safe

Not failure, but low aim, is crime” – James Russell Lowell (1819-91)

Innovation, and creating innovative environments, was a common theme of my reading this summer. It wasn’t planned – it just seemed to be a topic that many of my favourite professional development sources. I thought I’d take this column to pass along some of the key messages from that reading.

Fail early, fail often, fail small

It’s true that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. But failing early in the process of developing a product or service allows us to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Death of the Looseleaf??

The looseleaf service is one of the legal publishing world’s more interesting phenomena of the last third of the 20th century. Conceived in its most familiar form in the 1960’s as Keesing’s Contemporary Archive by the Commercial Clearing House, they were seen as a clever alternative to publishing new editions of books. It was acknowledged that the pace of change in passing new legislation was increasing, and it was difficult to make a bound book of legislation on a topic of law current, because of the delay between writing and publication. The idea of collecting a book as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Locating Territorial Legislation

My library is frequently asked what the best tools are for legislative research in the territories. For provincial legislation (with the exception of British Columbia*) CanLII tends to be our resource of first choice. When it comes to the consolidated legislation for the territories, the situation is a little trickier. Free consolidated legislation is not available for all territorial legislation, so in some cases it may be easiest to go straight to the paid source.

The following is a list of the resources available for finding territorial legislation. Please note that in some cases a completely up-to-date consolidation may not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Hall of Fame Law Librarians

I love a good sports analogy, so I was thrilled to see Frank Houdek’s article in the July 2010 issue of the AALL Spectrum, “Introducing the AALL Hall of Fame.” Ooh, I thought, what would be the law librarian equivalent of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 300 wins, 500 home runs, 3,000 hits, and similar measurable longevity and career athletic achievement stats? And did any of my foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) librarian colleagues make the AALL Hall of Fame?

For the AALL Hall of Fame, “a nominee…must be or have been a member . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Nostalgia and the Internet

The current spate of stories concerning nations trying to limit the use of Blackberries, when combined with the recently floated ‘net neutrality’ agreement between Verizon and Google, is emblematic of the continuing invasion of the world of telecommunication by the world of governmental and corporate power. Almost two decades ago, I was on a panel with Professor Marge Shultz of the Berkeley Law School faculty, who made a remark that I have never forgotten. Professor Shultz opined that,

Our ability to make advances in technology is outpacing our ability to understand how such progress fits in with law and politics

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Outsourcing Legal Information

I tend to live in the future. I think about what it will be like when I’ve paid off all my debts, how I’m going to celebrate a significant event coming up next year, and what my next job will look like. So last December, when the legal outsourcing firm Integreon announced the first “Shared Information Service”, or outsourced law library services, I was very intrigued. At the time, I remember thinking, “how are they going to do this?” I can understand outsourcing research (be it legal, business development or competitive intelligence), but how do you outsource the physical . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Rebuilding a Law School Library (Part 1)

Not all Slaw’s readers will be aware that Osgoode Hall Law School is being renovated; in fact, it might be more accurate to say the School is being rebuilt. The existing building has been completely gutted, all interior walls and finishes have been removed and everything is being reconfigured, redesigned and replaced. We’re also getting a large addition. For all intents and purposes, it will be a new law school – and this includes the library.

Since starting at Osgoode two years ago, nothing has consumed more of my time than planning the new Osgoode Hall Law School Library. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

What Do Citizen Lawmakers Need to Know?

Introduction: Citizen Lawmaking Online

Citizen lawmaking seems ideally suited to today’s Web. Government social media and online deliberation resources, coupled with widespread access to broadband in many nations, and much improved Internet access to laws, combine to furnish citizens with abundant means for participating in the creation of laws online. The category of information and communication technologies (ICTs) that enable online citizen involvement in lawmaking has many names, including eConsultation, eDemocracy, eParliament, eParticipation, eRulemaking, and Dr. Beth Simone Noveck’s “collaborative democracy”.

In the U.S., citizens in many jurisdictions already have the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information