Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Asian Tsunami Relief - Making Donations & Other Info for Canadians

At this time funding is greatly needed to send potable water, medicine, and emergency relief workers to areas of Asia desperately in need.

Donations - major relief agencies
Note: websites and phone lines may be busy due to volume. Please keep trying. You may also make a donation at your local bank branch (CIBC has been confirmed so far).

Canadian Red Cross - online donations or call 1-800-418-1111. Please specify "Asian tsunami relief". Cheques also accepted by mail and in person at a local branch of the Red Cross.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) or call 416-964-0619 or 1-800-982-7903 (toll free)
Oxfam Canada - online donations or call 1-800-GO-OXFAM (1-800-466-9326). Cheques also accepted by mail.
World Vision - online donations or call 1-866-595-5550.
UNICEF - Canada donation form or call 1-800-567-4483. Cheques also accepted by mail.

News Updates
Current news articles - from Google News
Foreign Affairs Canada
Canadian Red Cross
World Vision Canada - South Asian Response Q&A
UNICEF - Tsunami Disaster Press Room

Reprinted from the Canadian Red Cross website:
Are you concerned about a missing relative?

Canadians in affected areas

Those who are concerned about Canadian relatives in the affected countries should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s inquiry line at 613-944-2471 or 1-800-606-5499. The Department of Foreign Affairs has responsibility for Canadian citizens
travelling or living abroad.

Non-Canadians in affected areas

The Canadian Red Cross is currently unable to accept tracing requests for people concerned about missing non-Canadian relatives in the affected countries. It is expected however, that requests will be accepted in the coming days. CRC is in close contact with the Federation and the International Committee of the Red Cross who are coordinating the massive effort to trace missing persons affected by the disaster. Given the magnitude of the disaster, the first priority is to assist those in the affected areas to make contact with relatives outside of the area. It will then be possible to accept requests from those living abroad.

CRC will advise the Canadian public once it is possible to accept tracing requests from Canada.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Essential Law Library

I was poking around in the terrific law library resources on LibraryCo's website once again, and found The Essential Law Library. This is a list of essential texts that should be in all Canadian (or, at least, Ontario) law libraries. It was compiled by Karen MacLaurin, Anne Matthewman, Janine Miller, Suzan Hebditch and Wendy Hearder-Moan, and is a great resource for anyone starting to put together a basic collection, or for someone to check an existing collection for gaps. It appears to be current to 2002, so quite current. They give a good explanation of their selection criteria at the top.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Internet Librarian 2004 on its way!

I had a call yesterday saying my copy of the CD of proceedings from Internet Librarian 2004 is now ready and being shipped. Now, there's a nifty little Christmas surprise! I can't wait....will promise to post anything good I learn.

Leading Parallel Lives....

In a Parallel Universe (let me call it, say, "Vancouver") there is a law firm library manager, heavily involved in the local Association of Law Libraries, keeping a nifty little blog for Canadian law librarians that points out neat new things and makes lots of personal comments. Check out Steve Matthews' Vancouver Law Librarian Blog.

Wow! I had heard about him, and the rumours are true. We are leading parallel lives. I had a nice note this week from Steve introducing himself and finally had a look at his blog for myself as a result.

I'm relieved to finally have another Canadian law librarian blogging. Welcome, Steve!


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Hooked on Reading - Online Bookclub Idea

Western Counties Regional Library (in Nova Scotia) offer several Online Book Clubs. You provide them with an e-mail address, and they provide you a portion of reading from a book via e-mail each day. Each week you read 2-3 chapters. If you like what you have read, then you are supposed to sign the book out of the library. They have various book categories, including one of books before publication.

I haven't signed up for anything yet, but it is an interesting idea. I wonder how we could use this idea in law libraries? Make sample newsletters available to lawyers before they commit to signing up? Feed them portions of our personal diatribes each day until they have read 2-3 rants per week. Oh, the ideas are endless....

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Google Versus the Library - Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Word is spreading far and wide about today's press release from Google: Google Checks Out Library Books. Google has made agreements with a number of prominent libraries to digitize large portions of their book collections.

Google co-founder Larry Page quoted in the press release: "Google's mission is to organize the world's information, and we're excited to be working with libraries to help make this mission a reality." Well, apparently the library world is excited about this prospect also.

Here are the related headlines from around the world courtesy of (who else?) Google News: News about Google.

I particularly like the write-up in the New York Times: Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database". (You will need to register for a free NYTimes password if you don't have one already. Which leads me to ask: why don't you?) The second page in particular includes a discussion of how this could potentially affect libraries, with roles changing from storehousing and indexing of printed materials to organizing and retaining digitized materials. Looks like the experience of law libraries and other specialized libraries could be increasingly felt in academic and public circles as well. If it isn't already, which really would be hard to believe.

Perhaps what we are most thrilled about is the world apparently excited about accessing library materials that, for the most part, have been forgotten in this Age of Google. Which, if it really happens, would be a good thing. After all, there was life before 1996. It may be difficult to remember, but that is what the Library is there for, isn't it?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Reference re Same-Sex Marriage

Apparently I've been AWOL the last few days...too busy getting caught up from being off sick in September and October!

I would be remiss, however, if I didn't post a link to the Supreme Court of Canada's Reference re Same-Sex Marriage. The outcome, that the Parliament may put forward legislation regarding same sex marriage and that it is constitutional, is a positive one. Now we wait for the proposed legislation to be introduced, reportedly sometime in the new year. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Great New Look @ the Great Library

I just popped onto the Great Library's website (Law Society of Upper Canada), and noticed they have a great new design to their web page. It looks terrific: lots more info directly at the user's fingertips, including a web-enabled photocopy request form, livelier catalogue interface (AdvoCAT), staff directory, and lots more. I use this website a lot, so will enjoy the changes.

Orange You Glad?

The December issue of Quill & Quire has an article on page 6 about the recent trend of orange covers for literature releases. A quote from Melanie Wood, former president of Color Marketing Group, says that people who feel overwhelmed by the state of the world "want to get the war behind us, start anew and have fun again. Colors that refresh and rejuvenate will lead the way, with innocent tones of pink and peach giving us a sense of freshness and promise of tomorrow." The article goes on to say orange restores an optimism of life.

Okay, so that explains why I picked these particular colours for my blog; however, I STILL don't regret getting rid of those orange chairs that were in our library....

Shirley Elliott - A Life Well Lived

There was a wonderfully written obituary in the Globe and Mail about Shirley Elliott, Nova Scotia Legislature Librarian from 1954 - 1982, written by Allison Lawlor. Article on the The Globe and Mail website. The paper edition has her photo--my edition has it on page S7. She sounds like a very interesting person; I'm sorry never to have known her!

(Idea for the title of this post from Martha!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Buying Mittens When You Really Want a Hat

Okay, back to the REAL world after that lovely interlude. Law libraries had been notified by Factiva that we will no longer be served by Factiva, that they had made an arrangement with LexisNexis to provide us support. Okay, LexisNexis knows us better so perhaps that makes sense. We were complaining about Factiva service since, unless you are a big customer, you just don't get any personal service. So maybe this would address that. My one big concern was: how is LexisNexis going to support two platforms?? (Three in Canada, what with Quicklaw).

Well, today my concern was answered with another notice: they are not going to support two platforms. As of March 1, 2005, they are putting the Factiva content onto the LexisNexis platform. Now, this may be nice business for LexisNexis, but the two interfaces function completely differently and how am I going to make this work?

I feel like the kid being kicked out of the house by her parents: "You're 16 now, you're old enough to work.". Yikes. Or better yet, what about this analogy: "Sorry, we don't sell our hats to people with blonde hair. But we have an arrangement with the fellow down the street who will sell you some mittens instead...".

I'm sure regretting whining about difficulties using InfoGlobe years ago!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Stop and smell the roses....

Thursday night I helped out with a firm client event. Actually, I kind of invited myself along. But they seem to have appreciated my presence, and I was given this beautiful flower arrangement at the end of the evening as thanks. Posting here for all to enjoy! Posted by Hello

Flowers Posted by Hello

Flowers Posted by Hello

Legal Blog Watch

The people at American Lawyer Media are catching the wave, bringing us the Legal Blog Watch. For now they are monitoring seven lawyer blogs, including Matthew Homann's blog the [non]billable hour which I've spoken of in a previous posting. Congratulations, Matt!

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Party's Over...

I'm sad to see the Internet Librarian conference end. And I wasn't even there! Reading the blogs each day was quite thrilling. Thank you, IL bloggers. I've learned a lot from their postings, both snippets and full-blown commentary. It was like watching the highlights reel, really. And now I will count the days until my CD comes in the mail. I will have to report back as to my impressions once I've seen it.

Not only has it given me a few ideas for work, but also various professional activities I'm involved in. Can't you see the wheels turning in my brain? They've definitely given us a glimpse of the future of conference-going.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

New Digs for LexisNexis Canada (a.k.a. Quicklaw)

LexisNexis Canada had a nice reception last night for library managers in their new downtown Toronto office at 181 University Ave. (at Adelaide St.). For those who didn't have the privilege to attend, I must say it was nice to see they have increased capacity for classes, adding a few more computers. Our friends from the former Quicklaw, Inc. have more individual work space, with larger offices and/or cubicles (depending on their position). They aren't quite as close to the downtown core as in their former space, but it is well worth the trip over. Those of us who were there have decided all future contract negotiations must be held in their offices rather than ours. Just so we can stretch out a little more! Heh.

I was one of the later people to arrive, and it was fun to see lots of familiar faces from the law librarian community and also meet a few new ones.

I also got a kick out of Pat's framed photo of the old 9600-baud Quicklaw-designated terminals that ruled when I first started in law libraries in the 80s. How far we have come! And I still remember when 9600-baud seemed like lightning speed. Whew! Okay, so I've been on this computer train longer than some might have thought...I even remember 300-baud. Heck, I've even used punch cards. So there. And I wonder if anyone under 30 understands what I'm talking about? I've said too much already....

Teaching Library Staff How to Blog

Link to PowerPoint presentation from Internet Librarian 2004, presented by Stephen M. Cohen and Michael Stevens: Get
'Em Started: Teaching Weblogs to Library Staff

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blogger in League With Factiva?

I was just posting a rant with links to Factiva's website, and it was "zapped" by Blogger. Do I smell a conspiracy?!? News at eleven....

Just Like Being There! - CD of Internet Librarian 2004 available

I've been reading along with a number of blogs, and can't help wish I was there! Soon I will be able to at least pretend, once I obtain my copy of the sessions on CD-ROM. It's available from The Digital Record Inc. website (scroll down to "Internet Librarian"). Cost is $96 US if you purchase online; $160 US otherwise. Also available in cassette or audio CD flavours. It will be sent out approximately 3 weeks after the conference.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Search Engine Optimization

Article in Backbone Magazine, The Strength of E-Business, discusses search engine optimization (SEO). Overall I believe it's an excellent article, although I disagree with the use of metatags; I think their usefulness for SEO is waning. I think Google disregards them nowadays.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Can't be in Monterey?

Like me, you can instead subscribe to the Feedster RSS Search and read all the blog postings about the Internet Librarian conference instead. Think positive thoughts, and perhaps SOMEDAY we'll get there in person!

Thanks to Jessamyn for the tip on

CIRA - Proposed Policy for Internet Domain Name Privacy

CIRA (the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the body that registers the Canadian domain .ca) today released a draft policy to restrict information available to the public from its "Whois" directory in a bid to give domain owners increased privacy. See the press release: NEW POLICY TO SET STANDARD FOR INTERNET DOMAIN NAME PRIVACY. Public comments are being taken via a web form until January 12, 2005.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Legal Periodicals Blog

Where was I? Oh yes, before the CALL 2005 e-mail came in and got me all excited, I was checking out this new Legal Periodicals blog by John Doyle, Washington & Lee Law Library as pointed out in Sabrina Pacifici's newsletter beSpacific .

Posting it here merely for my own future reference. Of course, you are allowed to look at it too, I suppose!

CALL/ACBD 2005 Conference Website

The website for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association Canadienne des bibliotheques de droit 2005 Annual Conference has just been opened up! CALL/ACBD 2005 will be held in St. John's, Newfoundland May 15-18, 2005. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Shoe on Other Foot

California-based library school student Marielle is hoping for entrance to Canada: sensible shoes...waiting for the revolution since 1965. She doesn't allow us to post comments on her blog or e-mail her; however, with her sense of style, I think she should be a shoe-in for admittance!

Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)

Just discovered the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) based out of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law. I was hunting around for info on the Creative Commons, in particular Canada's involvement, and found CIPPIC. Hmmmm....wonder how many of my colleagues know about this?

David Boies Biography a Hit!

I purchased the new David Boies biography Courting Justice: From New York Yankees v. Major League Baseball to Bush v. Gore, 1997-2000 for our office on a whim. Boies is the litigation powerhouse who represented Al Gore during the controversial 2000 U.S. elections.

The partners here LOVE it and are passing it around. Great idea if you have a general reading collection or are looking for a Christmas gift for that favourite litigation lawyer. Read the review on

Sunday, November 07, 2004

United Church Ministers to Unionize?

Ontario and British Columbia ministers in the United Church are investigating
signing on to the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union.

CTV story: United Church minister in union drive with CAW.

Official response on the United Church of Canada website.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Uh Oh! I goofed.

I'm in the process of setting up a few different blogs for various personal purposes under my Blogger account. Thought I was changing templates for one of the other ones, but turned out I was working in this one and lost all my customized settings. So, all the links down the side and the statistics link are all gone. Yikes! A hard lesson. Will take me a few days to get things posted again. Sorreeboutdat!

Hallowe'en 2003 Challenge

Hallowe'en 2003 - Costume Challenge  Posted by Hello

I now have the capacity to add photos to this website! Last year I challenged others to wear costumes at work so I wouldn't be the only one in costume. This is a costume from the movie "Kill Bill". At the time the movie had only been out a week or two, so few people knew who I was. However, what more could you want for a costume with a wig, mask and sword?

Hallowe'en 2003 - Connie as Crazy 88 (No. 3) Girl Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Changes are afoot! The International Standards Book Number (ISBN) will be changing from 10 to 13 digits on January 1, 2007. It's reported on the BookNet Canada website under ISBN-13. A couple of highlights:

The ISBN will change from 10 to 13 digits on 1 January 2007

Existing ISBNs will be prefixed by 978

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Practice blog and blog app discussion

In my posting Hectic week! from Oct. 30th, I promised to post any good practice blogs I set up. I decided to play around more with my trial subscription on Typepad (a pablum version of Movable Type) before it closes down. Here it is if you want to check it out: . It is a trial blog for my book club. Unfortunately it will only be open until approx. Friday and then I will be canning it.

Looks great, doesn't it? I really like the look of it. Here are the reasons why I won't be continuing with this software:

- I used their terrific book list feature to set up photos and links to all 70 books my book club has read. I thought this was great until I loaded it onto the blog itself. Unless I show all 70 books on the front page (see down the right side), there is no way for others to view the archives of past books. I asked about having this added as a feature, but was told it would be low priority. Therefore, I am going to try to find a similar low-cost function somewhere else and add it onto a blog set up with a different shop.

- inflexibility of the application. I can't do much in the way of playing around with the look of it since they don't give access to the underlying HTML code. I LOVE Blogger for this reason. Apparently the grander software Movable Type is a lot better in this respect, but it would mean hosting it on my own server.

I have also been playing with WordPress in my Blogs course. It has the flexibility of Blogger, plus the complexity of Movable Type. It is free, open source apparently (so my instructor Amanda tells me). The only drawback is the need for a host; however, this gives more security. Right now Blogger can go down for the day or my blog can get zapped, and I would lose it all. So, might be worthwhile seeing what kind of hosting my subscription includes!

The Business of Blogs for Lawyers

Today I attended a "webinar" (a.k.a. web seminar) along with our marketing manager. It was put on by the Legal Marketing Association, and presenter was Kevin O'Keefe. The session was entitled: Maximizing Your Law Firm's Web Site. A lot of it was common sense, but he had some great insights as well. He talked a lot about the importance of blogs for lawyers, as a way to get rich content onto a website and thereby improve listings on Google. Pretty interesting stuff. The PowerPoint presentation should be posted shortly somewhere.

In the meantime, check out his company LexBlog's website They are in the business of building blogs for lawyers! Kevin's blog, linked from LexBlog in the upper right corner or accessed directly at, also entitled "Real Lawyers Have Blogs(TM)", has a lot of great tools and info for getting lawyers blogging.

I'm quite taken with the idea of having individual lawyers and/or practice groups posting internally, and he has a piece on that called "Blog software for large law firm intranets and knowledge management". It doesn't have quite as much technical info to help me get started as I would like, but it does tell me what they have used blogs for internally, and that Movable Type was the application used.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Reasons to Get Out of KM

This essay by Dave Pollard on his blog "How to Save the World": If You're in Information Technology, Please Get Out is brilliant. As organizations become more focussed on cost savings rather than innovation, they are pulling resources out of Knowledge Management (KM). Pollard argues that those intelligent, creative people who are currently in KM should get out of the organizations while they can and become entrepreneurs. He has expressed some of the sentiments I have felt for a while.

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

Good article with some excellent ideas: Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload. The basic premise is to set a good example for others, and then he lists some principles for good message sending. I admit to being guilty sending some poor messages. I notice when I am out of the office I have fewer messages than when I am in, evidence that I help to generate a lot of the e-mail that comes back to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Hectic week!

Sorry to be incommunicado this week, everyone. I was in budget hell getting my numbers together (still have to finish the whole report), we ran a Hallowe'en costume challenge in our library today so I spent a good part of my evenings making my costume, and I had lots and lots of professional activities-type work to do. Despite the stress it really was a lot of fun. Yes, even getting the budget numbers together. It's my one big time of the year to use my advanced math skills! Plus I learned more about using Excel spreadsheets this time around. 8-)

I hope at some point to get the photos working on this website so I can post a photo or two of my Hallowe'en costumes (this year and last year).

This weekend I will be setting up another blog for the blog course I am taking, likely using a different software so I can try something else out. I am learning A TON from the course. If I create anything interesting I promise to post a link here. Some ideas:
- health and wellness blog for librarians (not to be confused with a blog by a medical/health librarian)
- Crosby family blog
- books I have read
- music or movie links and reviews
- photos of things in my house. Okay, this sounds weird but there are some interesting architectural features and piles of stuff that might look cool if photographed in the right light....
- personal diary of stuff I am doing (which could pretty much incorporate all of the above)

None of these really grab me just yet. I love the idea of a family blog, but will work on that later. I am already working on drafts of two other blogs: one for my bookclub, and one for my association (TALL). Okay, I'm a little blogged right now...

....can't wait for the extra hour of sleep when we turn back the clocks tomorrow night!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Button Maker

If you would like to create small buttons for linking, such as the Bloglines, Blogarama and BlogsCanada buttons to the right on this blog, there is now a free buttonmaker here: Button Maker from the Kalsey Consulting Group. Very cool. I just created one for my Intranet, although now I've got to figure out what to do with it! Heh. I like these little buttons, however, because they all look similar and give a neat, professional appearance to links on a page. The button is created as a graphic, so to use it you need to save it to a server and link to it on the server. Since I don't have my own server (yet) to link to I won't be able to show you my new button unfortunately!

RFID in Libraries - Who Does Tagging?

As they did with barcoding, Wal-mark is now mandating their suppliers mark their products with RFID tags: Wal-Mart to Expand RFID in 2005. Why do we not do the same with libraries; why do we not require the publishers to include tags on books? Possibly the "big box" booksellers will require this, and we will be able to use this to our benefit. But in our industry, law librarianship, we often purchase directly from the publisher. When, then, will this just be an industry standard? Is it in our own interest to force the issue, or should we wait it out? And then the question of older books: will it be worthwhile going back and tagging books we already own?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Toronto and North York Bylaws

York University has an excellent guide page on Toronto and North York Bylaws. It gives guidance as to where to find these By-laws before and after the Greater Toronto Area amalgamation a few years ago. The page is a little slow at opening, but worth the wait.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

New E-mail Address

I have now changed e-mail addresses for this blog. I have switched to an account with Sympatico. Hotmail had recently changed their settings so that I have to use very low security settings in my browser to access it, and even when turning my security off, I still have problems accessing the account. I tried to discuss this with one of their customer service reps, but that was not helpful (he gave me advice on how to close the account!) So, I will be closing it down sometime this week.

Friday, October 15, 2004

WestlaweCarswell - Quebec cases & French language option added

News bulletin from Carswell about changes to their online product WestlaweCarswell. They have added some cases previously only found on the Quebec system SOQUIJ, which is good news for those of us outside Quebec who do not access SOQUIJ.

Church Law Texts

I noticed someone today on one of my listservs asking for a loan of a couple of these books. From U.S. publisher, they look of interest for anyone with a church law collection. Since we do have a practice in this area, am going to consider a few of these titles for our own collection.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Major Canadian Newspaper Loses Copyright Case

Recent report from the CBC: Globe and Mail loses copyright case.

The decision, from the Ontario Court of Appeal website:
Robertson v. Thomson Corporation (October 6, 2004).

This decision goes back to an issue from 1995 when freelance writer Heather Robertson disagreed with the Globe and Mail's publication of her articles in Info Globe (long since absorbed by Dow Jones Interactive, now known as Factiva), the CD-ROM version of the Globe, and an electronic version of the Canadian Periodical Index in addition to the hard copy of her newspaper. The Court of Appeal upheld the lower court's decision. My favourite quote of the decision, included in the CBC article and here taken completely out of any sort of context, is from Madam Justice Karen Weiler: "...a database is not a newspaper..."

The CBC speculates as to the implications for future uses of freelance material; however, this is a moot point. Since this decision (and possibly others like it) went to court back in the mid-90's, newspapers have presumably been covering themselves with appropriate terms of agreement when signing on freelance reporters and writers. I doubt we will see much in the way of change as far as users of electronic databases go.

It is unlikely, however, we will ever see articles from the past reinstated to electronic databases. In many ways this is a shame. They will likely only be retrievable through a paper search which, for those of us who have searched manually through years' worth of old newspapers, is largely dooming those articles to obscurity.

Note this decision makes references back to the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339; 2004 SCC 13 for definitions of copyright.

Thanks to Canuck Librarian for the tip on this!

On Being a Librarian

For those just starting out in the library industry, or thinking about becoming a librarian, there are some excellent posts on this site: Library Information.

RFID blog

This blog on RFIDs (radio frequency identification tags): The RFID Gazette tracks the latest news and advances, and includes a category for libraries. This is a method of tagging inventory that will hopefully come down in price enough so we can tag individual books. Information can be read from the tags with a reader via radio frequency. This will be a boon to those of us who walk the halls looking for that one missing book....

Monday, October 11, 2004

UBC's Law Library Reference Blog

The Law Library at University of British Columbia has a blog for its reference staff: Law Library Reference Blog. I like how they have categorized postings in an "Archives by Category" feature on the left of the screen. In addition to great links, they also post some of their own research tools. Very useful.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Course on blogging and RSS is putting on a course called Getting Started on Weblogs and RSS. Instructor is Amanda Etches-Johnson of McMaster University. It runs six weeks starting October 12, 2004. It is a web course, with readings and exercises sent weekly by e-mail, a discussion via bulletinboard (the original blog software! Long live BBS!) and one teleconference. has lots of other great courses as well, including Internet and search engine topics.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Parliamentary Website - Main Page Redesigned

The main page of the Parliament of Canada website has been redesigned--just in time for the new session! It seems to have a more 'current awareness' focus with links to the site's new additions. Colour scheme has changed with more orange. Why orange? So far it looks very functional, however.

Monday, October 04, 2004

WSIB Operational Policy Manual - Ontario

The Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board will be putting its Operational Policy Manual onto its website later this fall. It will be free, unlike the paper subscription we currently carry. We plan to switch to the website once available. To be notified when it is available on the website, send an e-mail to .

Friday, October 01, 2004

Speeches on video

C-SPAN has speeches and other important news items on video "archived" on their website. For example, British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking on Iraq in a number of venues. Content is primarily U.S. sources and issues. For example, the Kerry/Bush debates are currently featured on the front page. Thanks to Vanessa for pointing out this great site!

The Future of Integrated Library Systems

This Library Journal article was sent to me by a colleague earlier this year:The Future of Integrated Library Systems: An LJ Round Table. I haven't had a chance to read it yet so won't comment now, but am putting it here for my future reference.

Client experience - lessons from Starbucks

Today I cleaned out a pile of old e-mail, about 4,000 messages or so (you think I'm kidding, don't you?). Came across a few interesting tidbits to share. I will put them here under separate cover.

See this article: The Starbucks Experience. I've long felt the trend for Libraries is toward becoming more like the trendy bookstores (Chapters, Indigo, Borders). Being more like Starbucks is a similar concept.

Monday, September 27, 2004

"Cyber-Librarians" at University of Toronto

This story from University of Toronto's on-campus paper, The Varsity: "Cyber-Librarians" to take over . I have successfully used a similar service offered jointly by York University, University of Guelph, and Ryerson University and found it useful.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Article on Associates' Exodus

There is an excellent article in the inaugural issue of magazine The Bay Street Bull. It is called "The Mid-Year Itch: Mid-level associates are stepping up their exodus from Bay Street law firms. This time, it's not about the money" by Janice Zima, pages 23-25. Unfortunately this article is not on their website, but you can request a free sample copy of the first issue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Canadian blawg - privacy law

I have just come across this "blawg" from lawyer David T.S Fraser: PIPEDA and Canadian Privacy Law. Great use of a blog for a specific legal topic. Hey, and check out whose blog is at the top if his blogroll on the right side! Looks like he has good taste also. 8-)

Bloggers beware: don't trash your boss

Stories are emerging about bloggers being dismissed from their jobs for blog content. This story by Graeme Smith on the front page of today's Globe & Mail (Toronto edition):
"Bloggers learn lesson: Don't trash your boss" about a woman working in Iqaluit (the capital of Nunavut, one of Canada's territories in the north) as an agent for Nunavut Tourism. Seemingly benign comments were seen to be negative and she was dismissed without warning. Quoted from the article:

"The general rule is you can get fired if your off-duty conduct reflects badly on the employer," said Howard Levitt, lawyer and author of Law of Dismissal in Canada. "Her case is really close to the line."

Other rules of thumb: don't name names, and always assume your blog is publicly available, no matter how private you intend it to be. See these comments about a Toronto Starbucks employee who recently was dismissed for blog postings that were not so benign, courtesy of BlogCritics:

The original story: Employee fired by Starbucks over Blog

A rebuttal: Starbucks' blogging barista fired fairly.

Finally, Blogger has this article: How Not to Get Fired
Because of Your Blog

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Law Librarian quoted in Florida news

Okay, the "Law Librarian" in question is me. I was quoted by an Orlando Sentinel movie critic on assignment covering the Toronto International Film Festival. See: Movies. Never mind the poor grammar; I spoke quickly and he didn't really get my quote down perfectly onto paper. Could be worse: at least he spelled my name correctly and my quote made it in. My partner Marty's quote didn't even make it.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Canadian Inter-Corporate Ownership

Canadian Inter-Corporate Ownership is a corporate family tree product produced by the government agency Statistics Canada. It has long been considered very reliable for this type of information. Until now it has been available on FP Infomart. Those of us who use the product rarely were able to use it on a "transactional" basis under our Infomart subscriptions. It now appears to have been removed; I have heard it is because they were not able to obtain current information from StatsCan.

To obtain this information, the CD-ROM from StatsCan must be purchased. Details are on the product main page. Website indicates it is available for full subscription (quarterly) at about $1,065. Individual quarterly CDs are available for $375.

I need to think about how often we use this product, if it is worth purchasing a quarterly CD at $375 and if we can live with out of date information toward the end of the year? I suppose I could just wait until the information is needed to buy the CD, providing I could obtain it fast enough to answer the question. Or, hang on to see if Infomart reinstates it.

Hmmm...seems to be the latest fashion in vendor problems. Wonder if we could negotiate a lower subscription rate with Infomart since we have lost some content?

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Run for the Cure

Librarianship is a female-dominated profession and, with that, comes female-dominated issues. As in past years, I am taking part in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Run for the Cure. In past years I have organized a team through work. This year I am walking with my sister-in-law Lyne. If you are interested in making a donation (or perhaps just seeing my photo) visit my personal donation page. I am quite impressed with how they have upgraded their technology and made donations through a webpage possible.

Thank you,

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

New feature - e-mail from this blog

I have now added the new Blogger feature that allows you to e-mail a posting from this blog to someone else. Just click on the little envelope under each posting.

U.K. Law Reports to reappear on LexisNexis

I thought I had posted about this earlier, but apparently not. This was reported in a few places elsewhere in blogland: U.K.-based Law Reports were removed from LexisNexis back in late July or early August during negotiations between LN and the database supplier. A little bird has told me the databases will likely be reinstated shortly, as soon as September 11th.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Technorati: Searching the World Live Web

I just discovered the weblog search tool Technorati. It appears this blog has been indexed by it (try searching "LexisNexis" and you should see posts put in here the last couple days). It appears to index this blog a lot faster than Google.

I have not signed up for a membership but it looks like you can use this tool to watch for discussions in blogs. Over 3 1/2 million blogs are tracked! I like the features "BookTalk" and "NewsTalk" which indicate which books and news topics are currently being discussed in blogs. Doubt I will ever make the "Top 100" popular blogs but it is interesting to see what has made it. Not surprisingly BoingBoing is right up there.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

McLuhan 2004: Toronto International McLuhan Festival of the Future

This upcoming event caught my eye in the Toronto International Film Festival programme: McLuhan 2004: Toronto International McLuhan Festival of the Future. Includes something called "Hot & Cool", a look at interesting new technology applications. The whole programme doesn't seem fleshed out just yet. Inaugural programme takes place in October.

LexisNexis Spotlight on International Librarians - Louis Mirando

My friend and colleague Louis Mirando is currently the featured librarian in LexisNexis' Spotlight on International Librarians. Congratulations, Louis!

Quicklaw Classic Note

For anyone running Quicklaw Classic on your system, you will want to check that it is still working. It is no longer supported by LexisNexis in favour of their web version at That much I knew a while back, but it appears our Classic version stopped completely working the last day or two. My understanding is one can sign on, but searching does not work.

Apparently it is possible to download a more recent version that still works from their website. I wonder, however, how long this version will continue to work? This will be impetus for us to switch our researchers over to using the website exclusively, but it will require training. We may download the more recent software in the meantime to make the transition a little smoother.

For my own part, I have weaned myself off the Classic version and have been using the Browser version. Now it is time to help others do the same, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Finding breaking news for an intranet - Toronto / Canadian news

We try to keep our home intranet page fresh by including late-breaking news as I have time to add it. Someone recently asked me how I find this information; following is a quick list:

In addition to signing up for the usual Supreme Court of Canada and other government e-mail news, I also receive FlashMail from ("CP24", the all-news TV station from CHUM City). They send out e-mail as news is breaking as well as headlines for the day's upcoming newscast.

I also listen to the news throughout the day, either the audio from CP24 (available from the website, the left toolbar) OR CBC News, livestream from their website. I listen to Toronto news, but there is news available for all Canadian regions.

Another great source is to receive press releases from Canada Newswire's Portfolio service, free with registration. You can target specific releases or, my preference, receive the Media Daybook each morning. This tells of upcoming press conferences in the day. This is particularly useful for indicating when a government department is going to be releasing big news that day so you can listen for it. You can also view the Media Daybook directly on the website at

If nothing of interest to the firm is available from these sources, I troll around various pages including Law Society of Upper Canada, Bar Association pages and the like.

Unfortunately none of this is in RSS (that I have noticed), so I do not put live feeds directly onto our intranet. I pick and choose and manually update our "Home" and "What's New" pages.

If you know of another source for this type of business/legal/general interest information, let me know. I'd love to add to my little collection of sources.


Friday, August 27, 2004

Article on advanced Google features

I was reading the May 2004 issue of Backbone Magazine and found this great article about Google: "The Google Guide: What You Don't Know About the World's Favourite Search Engine" by Garratt Washy. I knew about some of the features, but not all. It is a great brief summary of what is currently available.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Gems found again on LLRX

Some great articles in this week's LLRX:

- article on blogging from the queen of law library communication herself, Sabrina Pacifici: "Blogs: Are they here to stay? Should you be blogging? How do I find relevant blogs?" (in PDF).

- article on electronic storage: "Notes from the Technology Trenches: How Permanent Is That Storage?" by Cindy Carlson. Something many of us are trying to deal with.

- and a timely article for me since I was doing some proofreading this week, "Wisdom From the Grammar Goddess: My Pet Peeves" by Diane Sandford. Some great reminders and clarifications.

LLRX always has fantastic resources. Check in periodically to or, better yet, sign up for its e-mail service.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Blog applications comparison - Blogger and Typepad

Blogger has been adding numerous features, and everything is now free! I tried to upgrade to a paid level, but was told all features previously at paid levels are now available at the one level. Plus, they keep adding new features and have now removed the advertising. Since Blogger is owned by Google, my guess is this was changed as a result of the company going public. But, how do they plan to bring in revenue? I'm not sure what they are doing.

One feature I thought has been lacking is a search window for the individual blogs. You will see one now appears in the toolbar at the top of this blog. I haven't tested it out yet, but since my blog seems to have been picked up by Google, it should be indexed. If you run into a problem, do let me know. The other feature I would like to see is subject indexing, so that I can categorize individual posts with subject headings.

There are some other nifty features on the toolbar at top, including a link to another randomly chosen, recently updated blog ("Next blog"). Kind of fun to surf through other blogs, especially to see the variety in layouts.

I have been testing out blogging on Typepad as well. You can take a look--I have started creating one for my book club: . I haven't put any postings in it yet. I do like the calendar, and the ability to add books and their photos. However, it doesn't have the flexibility of Blogger--in Blogger I can work with the underlying HTML and adapt things whereas Typepad has preset features that you pick and choose from. I could add a calendar and the books feature if I can find them available somewhere (I have a lead on the books function). They do have another version, Movable Type, which is software for use on your own host and which allows you to fully adapt. Typepad is meant to be basic for those who want a quick set up.

So far, I would say if you are just starting out into the blogging game, Blogger is your best bet and keeps on getting better.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

I just noticed this on the National Library and Archives of Canada website: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. It currently covers people who died between 1000 and 1920. Great idea for basic historical research. Includes names listed in alphabetical order and lots of search capability.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Canadian mediators & arbitrators - web directory

Tracking down a mediator or arbitrator has always been a pain. To fill this gap, a number of Canadian ADR organizations have gotten together to create the Canadian Mediators & Canadian Arbitrators : National Online Directory.

New in-context search tool: blinkx

Thanks to Maggie for pointing this out. New tool takes whatever you are writing or reading and provides links to related material, both on the web and on your machine: blinkx. I haven't tried it out yet but initial reports are good.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

"$100 from 100 lawyers" - rebuilding law libraries in Sierra Leone

I posted this on our intranet at work, and thought it might be of interest to others so am posting it here as well:

The headline on the Law Society of Upper Canada home page is an eye-catcher: "Urgently needed: $100 from 100 lawyers". It refers to the $10,000 needed to ship 6,000 lbs of donated law books to the Sierra Leone High Court library and Special Court library. The High Court library was Sierra Leone's principal law library until it was destroyed during ten years of civil war. The Special Court was created under United Nations Security Council mandate.
Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada
is joining forces with the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) to rebuild these libraries.

Further information:

Full details from the Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada website

Sierra Leone's Special Court
from Global Policy Forum

"Bringing Justice to Sierra Leone"
- BBC News article on creation of the Special Court

Ontario County Law Libraries profiled

I just had a look for the first time at the LibraryCo website. LibraryCo is the name of the Library system of Ontario Law Associations. My favourite part of this website is under "About County Law Libraries", the profiles of the county law libraries that were recently added. It's especially great seeing a photo of each. It's amazing how much the addition of photographs can boost a webpage and make the reader feel more connected to the subject on the screen.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Centre for Innovation Law and Policy

For anyone who hasn't seen this website, it is worth a look: Centre for Innovation Law and Policy based at University of Toronto Faculty of Law. The centre supports courses at various law schools, not just U of T. On the website I particularly like their "Innovation Law Forum - research Resources" section which has links to articles and video clips on these topics:
Computer Law
Electronic Commerce
Innovative Ventures
Intellectual Property
IT/IP Careers
Health & biotechnology law

The website also offers e-mail of new events, and they have a new publication called Innovations.

Sooin Kim, the Librarian from Bora Laskin Law Library keeps them well organized and up to date!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Blogging for intranets

I was researching blogging application software and looking to find out what is available for blogging inside a firewall for the purposes of our intranet. I found this recent article: "Intranets - moving from information to knowledge: The role of blogs and wikis" by Martin White, Managing Director of Intranet Focus Ltd. in the U.K. Discussion was easy enough for a rookie like me to understand, and gives a good discussion of different applications available. Presented May 3, 2004 at the Croinfo 2004 Knowledge Management Conference put on by the National and University Library and PLIVA Pharmaceutical Industry Inc., in co-operation with the Croatian Information and Documentation Society.

I'm interested in other articles/web pages on this topic if anyone has a good one.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

SCC Copyright decision - summary

There is a summary/interpretation of the Supreme Court of Canada copyright decision Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH and other publishers in a recent issue of Intellectual Property a newsletter from Federated Press (link is not to the correct issue): James Tumbridge, "CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada - Supreme Court Defines 'Originality' and Specifies the Limits of 'Fair Dealing'," Intellectual Property (Vol. X, No. 4), p. 618-623.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Changes to Globe & Mail website access

I was just reviewing an article on the Globe & Mail website and wanted to send an e-mail of it to someone else. It appears the Globe now requires registration (albeit free) for using their "e-mail" and "print" features. They say that it is for the purposes of monitoring how their website is used; however, since their major competitor the National Post made most of their articles pay-per-view I wonder if the Globe is evaluating similar positioning?

While I haven't minded so much registering for free access on the New York Times website, for some reason I find this more offensive. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it is because the pop up registration page was poorly created and I cannot actually access the whole page to fill in the form? Perhaps the Times put a lot more value into their product and so I don't mind giving a little something back in return? More likely it is because I already have subscriptions to the Globe at both home and work so have more of a sense of entitlement. I'm likely not the only one--it's going to be hard for them to change this sort of attitude I think.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Renewing "WeeCarswell"?

It's about a year since the last big push for firms to subscribe to WestlaweCarswell. With many renewals now coming up, it is a good time to have a fresh look at Catherine Best's comprehensive review "WestlaweCARSWELL:Third Time a Winner?" Some of the features may have changed, but it is worth a look at this article to see what needed improvement when it was last launched and whether any changes have been made since then.

It seems to me, overall, that it makes most sense to purchase the most basic level available on flat rate and then access other areas of the product on a transactional basis until such time that use of outside areas is comparable to flat rate use. Certainly their renewal levels encourage this type of strategy since signing on for an additional chunk of flat rate is just an invitation for an increase of prices in the future. I'm interested in whether others have differing strategies.

Some people are reporting a drop in the percentage of the cost that is billed back to clients in the second year. Presumably once lawyers saw the cost charged to clients in the first year, they thought the rate was too high and instead charged back to office files.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Prime Minister announces new Cabinet

Announcement with link to list of new Cabinet from the Canadian Prime Minister's website. Hey, Ken Dryden was one of the top picks! He is now Minister of Social Development. I had the good fortune of meeting him last year when I had a copy of his book The Game autographed for my brother, a long-time fan. Despite a huge line of eager fans, he took the time to inquire about my brother and what he is doing with his life. Seems like a good guy--let's hope it translates to Parliament Hill. I think this was a good move on the part of Martin's team since I'm sure there are a lot of people who think highly of Dryden.

Monday, July 19, 2004

RSS news feeds from Government of Canada

Looking for ways to boost your intranet or stay on top of Government news? Check out Government of Canada Newsroom - Choose Your News. Thanks to Matthew Skala for pointing this list out on his blog (which in itself is available by RSS feed). He mentions that news is sparse, but at least it is a start.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Better link for Paralegal Regulation meeting

This page is better for the subject discussed below: "Paralegal Regulation in Ontario". Cheers!

Regulation of paralegals

On the evening of Monday, July 12th, the Canadian Association of Paralegals will be holding a meeting to discuss regulation of paralegals. Event details here. Here is a related consultation paper from the Law Society Task Force on Paralegal Regulation, Law Society of Upper Canada, called Regulating Paralegals: A Proposed Approach dated May 2004 that will presumably be discussed.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Hill Cam

Here is a camera viewing Parliament Hill (our federal government buildings, in Ottawa, Ontario) for Canada Day. You may need to refresh your browser to see the picture. I'm looking at it right now, and there are hundreds of people facing the stage in front of the Peace Tower, and the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds. Looks like a great day for a celebration!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day everyone!!

Law Society releases new Model Policy

In time for Pride week, the Law Society of Upper Canada released this Model Policy for law firms called "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Creating an Inclusive Work Environment." (35 pages PDF file).

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Construction Law Research Guide

Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto has put together this brilliant Construction Law Research Guide to showcase a collection donated by the members of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Not only is it terrific construction law resource, but also it is a fantastic pathfinder example ("pathfinder" = "research checklist" in library lingo). I especially like the list of subject headings and the direct links to Ontario legislation on e-Laws.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Inforumed - The FIS Inforum Blog

The Faculty of Information Studies at University of Toronto has a blog put together by their Inforum staff: Inforumed - The FIS Inforum Blog. I have just discovered it, but looks to have been running about as long as my own blog, and includes interesting notes about blogging and information sources aimed at library school (sorry, "information studies") students. Lots of good stuff here!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Toronto info

For anyone looking for hip, up-to-the-minute happenings in Toronto, whether you are visiting or live here, check out the MartiniBoys website. They also have an e-mail service you can sign up for. It comes out every Friday morning and gives you tips on things to do for the weekend including club listings, restaurants, movies and the like. Good addition for a law firm intranet listing.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Law Society Cautions Against Use of Index

The Law Society of Upper Canada sent out this caution and the Globe and Mail has picked up on it as well in today's paper.

Big Library Funding Announcement by Ontario Government

Is it my imagination, or is this big announcement from the Ontario Government giving support to libraries across the province much ado about nothing? I mean, $400,000 is better than a kick in the pants, but is it really going to help the 400 libraries across the province? It must be called the "Library Strategic Development Fund" for a reason since without a very specific strategy, I expect this would hardly make a dent. Okay, I admit to not knowing a lot about public library administration, and even less about their funding. I would be interested in hearing another viewpoint or at least from someone who knows a little more than me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Law Firm Office Leases

Excellent article in the April 2004 issue of Lexpert magazine: "Law Firm Office Leases: Cost, Culture and Change" by Marzena Czarnecka (link to excerpt only).

It starts by discussing the law firm leasing scene in London (Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy) and talks about how this has influenced Canada. In-depth discussion of what is happening in Canada, and at the end of the article is a table comparing leasing statistics of firms in various Canadian cities.

Of particular interest is the discussion of how a lease renewal is the time firms often evaluate whether they are viable or not, citing Campney & Murphy in Vancouver, Morris/Rose/Ledgett in Toronto, and MacKimmie Matthews in Calgary as those that decided they were not.

CARDonline | Canadian Market Statistics

I just noticed the website for CARD (Canadian ad rates database) has some Canadian Market Statistics available, including breakdown of population by city, age, household income, retail spending. Numbers are only 1 or 2 years out of date. Good for some quick-and-dirty data.

Yahoo! Canada Mail announcement

Yahoo! Canada has released a press release announcing improvements to Yahoo! Canada Mail. I haven't looked at it yet, but expect they are setting themselves up to compete with Google's Gmail.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Are law books becoming obsolete?

I question the article "Books Checked Out: Online legal research more popular than old-fashioned book research" by Lyndsey Shinoda in Law Office Computing, June/July 2004 issue (pages 32-33). It talks about CD-ROMs being obsolete except for certain applications (I agree with this) and how books are also becoming obsolete (with which I disagree). Among those interviewed are a law student and two representatives from West. Others interviewed are a lawyer in a firm, and a director of a U.S. law school. I wonder if the librarians these people work with are in agreement?

While I think on-line services can replace some types of books such as statutes and case law reporters, there is no good substitute for a good textbook on the subject with overview of the law in an area and more thorough analysis than that found on a website or in an article. These will not become obsolete any time soon.

PIPEDA legislation changes

We almost missed this, so perhaps others did as well--new regulation under PIPEDA (privacy legislation): Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 138, No. 8, April 21, 2004. It came into force on the date registered, March 30, 2004.

There was also a recent amendment made to PIPEDA by Bill C-7 which received Royal Assent on May 6, 2004. The changes made to s. 7 were proclaimed to come into force May 11, 2004. The proclamation was published in Canada Gazette Part II, June 2, 2004 as SI/2004-51.

Also, proposed regs from Canada Gazette Part I, Vol. 138, No. 15 - April 10, 2004:

Organizations in the Province of Alberta Exemption Order

Organizations in the Province of British Columbia Exemption Order

There, I just did everyone's work! 8-)

Friday, June 11, 2004


According to one commenter to my blog entry from last night on Paper Chase from Jurist, there is a Canadian version JURIST Canada hosted by Bora Laskin Law Library at University of Toronto. Unfortunately a feed does not appear to be available at this time. Would be a useful addition to intranets if there was.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Waxing Poetic about the Silver Screen

My sentimental side is showing today, and it has a big thing to do with my currently watching "You've Got Mail" for about the millionth time. Sappy pop schlock I know, but I love it. I'm a real sucker for Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks films, my other favourite being the wacky film "Joe Versus the Volcano", an odd precursor to "Cast Away".

This one in particular appeals to me because it is both about the world of books, and the world of e-mail and chat. And set in NYC! How can my heart strings not go zing? Even the blatant product placement doesn't disturb me. I must be right in the demographic.

Not to mention everything that Kathleen Kelly (a.k.a. Meg Ryan) espouses sounds a lot like arguments librarians make when trying to prove our necessity. It's just heartbreaking when Fox Books causes the Shop Around the Corner to go out of business. I'm not sure what I take away with it--keep up with the times or risk someone else doing it for you? Hang onto your old values and risk being seen as obsolete? Okay, so it's not necessarily such a nice story. But I still find it watchable every time.

JURIST's Paper Chase

I've seen this website before and came across it again tonight: JURIST's Paper Chase. The name hooked me right off the bat, having been a fan of the book, movie and TV series of the same name back when I was in high school. If I had any inclination to go to law school, enthusiasm for The Paper Chase alone might have propelled me there. All the Professor Kingsfields/John Housemans would not have dissuaded me....

...but I digress. THIS Paper Chase is compiled by Professor Bernard Hibbits and his law students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Latest news is added continuously. Access is in many forms--website (blog), e-mail update, or news feed added to a website or intranet. Worth taking a look.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The National Judicial Institute

I had not heard of this organization before: The National Judicial Institute. They are dedicated to the development and education of judges across Canada at all levels. They and their independent Partner organizations provide courses for the judiciary. I'm sure anyone working in the courts will be familiar with this group; this is the first time I've come across them however.

Monday, June 07, 2004

LibraryLaw Blog

LibraryLaw Blog is put out by a few law librarians in the U.S.. Main focus seems to be copyright law and digitization. Site owner Mary Minow includes links to slides from various presentations she has given.

Death of Search Engines?

Interesting article by search engine research guru Rita Vine on LLRX: "Coming Soon - the Death of Search Engines?". Her thesis is that search engines are becoming too big and inefficient, and that people are tiring of looking through pages and pages of mediocre results. She also comments on the effect of advertising and where all of this is heading. I've already heard others repeating these arguments--coming soon to a meme nearest you!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Welcome to the relaunch of this Blog!

I have taken advantage of several new features in Blogger to bring you this updated blog. In addition to the new look (instead of just 4 choices for design, we now have about 25) I have added the following features:
- readers now have the ability to add comments (look for the "comments" link underneath individual posts);
- links to individual recent posts from the sidebar at the right allows you to actually bookmark individual postings;
- I can now submit posts to the blog via e-mail. If I wanted to make this a cooperative blog, I could give out the secret e-mail address and allow others to post. Great if you are not able to access the web, such as if you are travelling.

As well, since the weekly archives were becoming too voluminous, I have now changed the archives to monthly. I've also changed number of posts on the first page to three days' worth rather than four since I was posting frequently each day and there was a lot to scroll through.

I welcome your comments about the changes! Next I hope to take advantage of the new "profile" feature which allows me to add a little profile of myself in the sidebar. I think we also may be allowed to do some photoblogging, so if I get ambitious might do a little of that also if it is free.


Couple more notes

To view a posting on a separate page, along with any related comments, click on the time underneath the posting.

If you want to make a posting, Blogger is going to ask you to set up a free account. You can do this if you would like to have your name automatically show up in the posting; however, it is not necessary. I have allowed for anonymous postings---look for the "discrete" link saying something like "post anonymously".

Some Blog Stats

I have been keeping track of stats on the use of this blog. A few interesting items:
- 158 different people viewed this blog in May.
- The website had on average 9 or 10 visitors a day. On the best day it had 18.
- Most visitors were from Canada and the U.S.. Two have been from other countries (Argentina and Australia).
- A number of people have accessed this page by doing a Google search for terms that have little (if anything) to do with law librarianship. It shows me that, when I post extraneous material not focussed on the specific subject of this blog, it could be leading people astray.

I read somewhere recently that the average blog has 12 readers. These stats show that has been exceeded. By watching the stats I am learning a lot about positioning a website for marketing purposes. That is not the reason for this blog, but it is interesting to note the various developments and build my own understanding of this medium.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Because law firms just aren't real enough

David E. Kelley, creator of hit TV legal series "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice" is poised to create a new reality show. FindLaw Legal News reports in the article "Real Lawyers to Compete in TV Series" that Kelley has been critical of reality shows, but has succumbed to pressure to create a show in the new millennium mould. A law firm of real lawyers will be created, and gradually one by one they will be fired. Last one left will be the winner. Hmmm, just like real life. Since Ally's short skirts have been off the air, it has been awful quiet around the law firm water coolers. This should hopefully liven things up again.

Password security

Interesting article on FindLaw about the problems with passwords: "Hacking Sparks Need for Complex Passwords".

Abebooks expanding into new books

The world's largest online seller of used books, Abebooks, will be adding new books to its repertoire. Press release.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

An Evening to Celebrate Librarians

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending the University of Toronto Faculty of Information Students Alumni Association (FISAA)
Spring Reunion Dinner
honouring various award winners and graduates from classes ending in 4s and 9s (I graduated in 1994, so I guess that is where I fit in).

It was a lovely to see faces I hadn't seen in about 10 years, and also to see quite a few new faces as well. What a diverse bunch! There were people just starting their careers, those mid-career and at the top of their game, and still others who were there to celebrate a life well spent in the library vocation. Many different types of libraries and non-traditional library jobs were represented. It was an honour to break bread and share war stories with such a distinguished group.

Jane Cooney, President of Books for Business was the guest speaker. She was quite clever in bringing up representatives from past decades to speak about the library school in their day and the pertinent issues of the time. It was quite interesting to see the progression of where things started and how they have gotten to where they are today.

Thanks to the FISAA Executive for a lovely evening, especially President Roula Panopoulos (FIS '99) who welcomed everyone, and Tracey Palmer (also FIS '99) who personally invited me to attend.

I encourage others to show some interest in your alumni associations (many of us have more than one). Not only is it a way to show some interest in the schools and the students coming up through our ranks, but also it is a great way to connect with colleagues (otherwise known as networking). And as Jane Cooney said, we need to spend less time solving problems and more time celebrating!

Monday, May 31, 2004

Supreme Court of Canada - Subscribing to New Library Titles

The Supreme Court of Canada provides a list of new acquisitions from their website. You can also subscribe to an e-mail of the list from this page: Supreme Court of Canada - Subscribing to New Library Titles. While most of us can't borrow from this collection, I think this would be useful for those of us doing collection development to see what is coming out. - Trends in Blog Searching

Guide to blog searching on LLRX: "Trends in Blog Searching" by Christina K. Pikas, updated May 24, 2004.

Friday, May 28, 2004

I've Been Indexed!

At least one reader to this blog has found it through BlogSearchEngine. In particular, from the category Job blogs and career blogs. It is described as "Blogs by people who hate and love their jobs and careers." Hmmm...I wonder which category they think I fall into? 8-)

What's New in Hein-On-Line

HeinOnline keeps getting bigger and better. Take a look in the What's New in Hein-On-Line section under May 28, 2004: lots of new content added. For Canadian content, coverage of the Alberta Law Review has been expanded.

If you haven't used this service before, it has full-text searchable periodicals (especially legal periodicals) with PDF version available for those fresh-from-the-photocopier printouts. This has made a lot of materials available to us on a just-in-time basis, so we have found a subscription to be well worthwhile.

World Treaty Index

Picked this tip up from the Intlaw listserv today: World Treaty Index from the Human Rights Education And Research Network . It is a test database so far.

I tested it by subject search. The subjects are coded, so you have to look at the table first to determine what subject you want from the list. For example, for treaties on legal subjects, select "9legal". If you fill in more than one search field, such as subject and party, both search conditions must be met (i.e. it treats it like a Boolean "and"). It is an InMagic DBText WebPublisher database which is what we use in my office. I found the word wheels to be a little slow at responding (a common WebPublisher problem or problem with the server?) . In the results, click on the treaty number for more details. As far as I can tell, links to the full text of treaties is not given although best bet for source is given. It does not appear to be comprehensive, but definitely has cites to a lot of treaties that otherwise might be inaccessible.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Something's Fishy: New Uses for DNA Evidence

I confess! Despite the heading, this has nothing to do with law or libraries, but I thought it was interesting. University of Guelph is looking for old mounted salmon so they can use the DNA to determine if salmon in Argentina's Patagonia region might have originated in Canada: "U of G casting a net for old Atlantic salmon". Being a U of G alumni, I am posting it here to help out in case anyone has old salmon cluttering up the attic.

Lessons learned:
- DNA testing ain't just for people;
- being a pack rat is not always a bad thing.

Big City Mayors Caucus

The mayors of Canada's twenty-two largest cities are meeting today in Edmonton to discuss strategy for municipalities with regard to the upcoming Federal election. Here is the Press Release from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Lessons learned - Ontario regulations

A regulation comes into force the day it is filed at the Regulations Office, unless otherwise stated in the regulation; however, regulations are not generally available to the public until published on e-Laws (a new section called Regulations as Filed)possibly a day or two later, or in the Ontario Gazette, possibly weeks later.

We contacted the Regulations Office to obtain a reg that had been filed that might affect one of our clients, but could not obtain a copy. At best they would let us into their office to view the regulation. We then contacted a ministry responsible for drafting the regulation; once we found the 'right' person, we were able to obtain a copy.

Lessons learned:
- even if a reg is in force and affects you, you may not be able to access it immediately;
- never give up;
- all you need to do is find the one 'right' person to help you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

New blogging features

Blogger, the service I have used to create this blog, has had some recent improvements to the features available at the basic (i.e. free) level. I haven't had much time to review what is available, but among the improvements: more templates available, so I would have more choice in the blog page design; postings as separate pages so that individual pages can be bookmarked; and the ability to allow others to add comments to my messages. When I have more energy I will look into making these changes. Stay tuned!

Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 has Royal Assent

More changes on the privacy front: Ontario's new Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, received Royal Assent on May 20, 2004. It is contained in Schedule A to Health Information Protection Act, 2004, S.O. 2004, c. 3 (Bill 31). The bulk of it comes into force later in the year.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Back to real life...

I arrived back home last night from the CALL Conference (Canadian Association of Law Libraries) in Quebec City. I carried my laptop all the way there with the hopes of blogging each evening about the things I was learning at the conference, but once again was disappointed. I spent an hour on the phone with the Internet supplier for the hotel trying to get my Ethernet connection to work. No luck. The Internet room at the conference was also busy whenever I checked, and I didn't really want to miss any of the conference for this purpose.

So, sorry to those who were not there and who have been checking back here!

That being said, it was a pleasure to meet people from across the country, and always a surprise to meet someone who had read this blog at some point. If nothing else, this proved to be a good discussion point.

I missed a good part of the session on blogging and RSS, but did see the last half hour which proved helpful. I also learned a number of things from talking with the speaker afterward. Once I dig out my notes will post useful info here about blogging.

Aside from going to CALL looking to learn the practical lessons, I also went seeking some answers about my own direction. I feel I have attained--or almost attained--a number of goals I set out for myself after completing library school ten years ago. This perhaps sounds a bit cold and clinical. I never articulated specific goals at that time, but did some similar thinking and soul searching e.g. what do I want to do with my life now? I am a believer in serendipity and seeing where life takes me, but also I like to work hard toward specific goals and keep myself open to possibilities. It is the specific goals I need. Whether I get to the goal is actually besides the point; it is the journey toward that goal that is important. I have no specific conclusions yet, but was fortunate to have the opportunity to explore a few different ideas. Stay tuned. 8-)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Quicklaw changes

It is very worthwhile reading the announcements section for Quicklaw, either on their website or on the Quicklaw news screens. Some recent tidbits:

  • "Enhanced Document Delivery - New Feature on Quicklaw(TM)" (May 11, 2004) - apparently as of tomorrow, the Web Browser Interface will allow e-mail, printing, and saving of multiple documents from search results. Read the announcement for the details--sounds very useful.
  • "QuickCITE(TM) Case Citator Enhancements (QC)"(April 2, 2004) - Ten new "History of Case" terms have been added to the citator. See this announcement for the full list. The scope screen in QC has the definitions of the new terms.

  • Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    Federal Depository Program issue

    Summary of this urgent issue from the Ontario Library Association including sample letter for letter-writing campaign.

    Making Yourself Understood

    In light of my recent goof with someone's name on a listserv, this is a timely article pointed out to me: "Making Yourself Understood". From the Conference Board website (didn't know they had publicly available articles on their site!). Actually, this article should be good since it covers all kinds of business writing, from e-mail to business plans. I look forward to reading it.

    the [non]billable hour

    A few people have asked me which blogs I read. At some point I will probably include a proper list on my page. For now, I want to point out the best law firm-related blog I have found: the [non]billable hour. Matthew Homann, attorney and mediator, has just set up a small law office. Most of his postings regard marketing the law firm and are commentary on ideas posted in a number of blogs he monitors. Some great, fresh ideas. Really worth a read if you work in a law firm.

    Designing and Maintaining Law Library Web Sites

    Article from AALL, "Designing and Maintaining Law Library Web Sites: Some Practical Considerations" by Kent Milunovich (in PDF). This article is a couple of years old; some of the points are already outdated, but essentially a good checklist of items to include on a law library web page. He has included some things I hadn't thought of adding to ours. I laughed at the part stating we should update our site on a monthly or quarterly basis. My goal is to feed info to our site continuously throughout the day in the course of our work. In the world of RSS immediacy is everything.

    Okay, I think this is my last posting for tonight. Do I get to docket my time surfing work-related topics? 8-)

    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    AALL Universal Citation Guide

    AALL has anUniversal Citation Guide available in PDF format from their website. Complements the Blue Book of citation. Worth adding to our catalogue, I think.

    Succession Planning

    Presentation from CALL 2003 by Yasmin Khan and Vicki Whitmell: "Succession Planning Strategies for Law Libraries". Some important suggestions here in a number of areas; I am currently looking at the suggestions regarding associations.

    End of an Era

    Announcement today from LexisNexis Canada: President and CEO Hugh Lawford and Chief Technology Office Dick von Briesen, co-founders of Quicklaw, will be retiring July 15th. Current COO of LexisNexis Canada, Michael Pilmer, will succeed Hugh Lawford as President and CEO.

    Truly the end of an era. Quicklaw was the original electronic service for the legal community in Canada. It will be interesting to see what tribute will be paid them at the upcoming CALL conference--it feels that this announcement came just in time for this.

    Monday, May 10, 2004

    Access to U.S. government info

    A study of U.S. federal government websites shows that most of the databases removed from in the name of post-9/11 security did not jeopardize security and should be returned to the web. Article on Findlaw with the details: "Study Examines Govt. Web Sites Security". I couldn't see mention that the databases would be reinstated; will be interesting to see whether they are.

    Saturday, May 08, 2004

    The Word Spy

    The Word Spy is a cool website I just discovered. It tracks latest buzzwords and new words in the media. Definitions are provided, as is a "top 100" list. For example, I have heard the phrase "jump the shark" lately on late-night talk shoes, but wasn't sure what it was about. This defines the phrase, gives examples, and traces origin of the term. Something about Fonzie on "Happy Days", but I'll let you look up the specifics....

    The site does have an e-mail list that sends out new words 4 or 5 times a week, and looks like it has an RSS feed. This might be something interesting (and sometimes relevant) to feed onto an intranet. Good "stickiness" factor. Hey, I wonder if they have that term listed yet?


    Friday, May 07, 2004

    The Tipping Point

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell is a very interesting read. Gladwell shows how adding up a number of specific little things can cause an idea or trend to flourish. He makes a comparison with the way epidemics get started. He identifies certain types of people who are key to the spread: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. If you pitch just these people with your idea, and they like it enough, your idea will spread to the rest of the population.

    I was reading this book the same week we launched our intranet, and was happy to see how we had unconsciously implemented some of the strategies he mentions for spreading an idea. I used other little ideas to "tweak" our marketing campaign. Most notably, you want to make an idea or a product "sticky" so that people return to it again and again.

    That is the on-going challenge with running an intranet or website, so I could really see how that directly applies. Our unplanned use of a mascot "Wiglet" for our intranet Wig seemed to have a really stickiness factor, so we are planning to incorporate it increasingly in our site. It is not a coincidence that, on successful intranets, the most-visited pages are those that seem to have little to do with work: joke of the day, chat room where people sell their items, or menus in the cafeteria, an example we saw in a law firm in NYC. These are not bad things--these are the things that get people hooked into checking that first page every day.

    If you get a chance, I do recommend this book. It is very readable, has great examples, and since it is not aimed at a certain group, allows the reader to take from it what we want.

    Tuesday, May 04, 2004

    Librarian Activist

    Check out This website is by McGill library school student Danielle Dennie and tracks libraries in the news with a political view. Professionally laid out with short records for fast scanning.

    Monday, May 03, 2004

    My evil little fantasy

    I've been having an evil little fantasy the last couple of weeks: what if we had no books in our library? I know, I know: we just can't do it in the Canadian legal system, and our clients would become distraught. But I can't help but think: no book order messes to straighten out; no paper subscriptions to monitor; no cataloguing problems to sort through; a lot less mail to open; no loose leaf filing.

    Today I added another point to the list: no missing books to track down. We've spent the past week on our annual "book recall" campaign, trying to account for all signed out books, and locate missing ones. It's a lot of work. I can't help but think about how much time we would free up if we went all electronic. Time would be spent directly with our clients, teaching lawyers, students and staff how to use the products, rather than spending all our time in the background maintaining materials. Heck, we might even be able to convince someone else to do all the infrastructure work for us if we're particularly charming.

    I must admit it was a couple of the law firm libraries in New York that got me thinking this way. At first I was horrified to learn the books on the shelves were just for decoration. Why, you couldn't even reach some of the volumes because they were impossibly placed in a tall stairwell. But since returning, I've been thinking about all the clean desks and offices I saw on the tours, and can't help but wonder about the quality of my own work life without books.

    Okay, okay, perhaps it's not realistic to think about this. But perhaps we can work to somehow reduce the burden of books, paper parts, loose leaf filings, not to mention current awareness materials being routed. I've just got to think of a way. A librarian's gotta dream....