Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Bungee Blogging!

Thanks to all those who have already provided me with support and feedback for this blog. I advertised this venture on CALL and TALL's listservs late yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of kind comments, words of encouragement, and advice. I was given some good ideas and hope to implement them shortly. I hope to respond to everyone soon.

It is interesting to see this project through others' eyes. To me this is less about journaling, and more an extension of my listserv postings. Looks like I may have done the law librarian equivalent of bungee jumping. I suppose it helps to not be afraid of making a fool of myself in front of my colleagues. The worst thing that could happen is that others give it a try. What next--stand up comedy at CALL 2004? Extreme legislative research? Kowabunga!!

FCC Copyright decision re: music file downloading

I was somewhat surprised at the outcome of today's Federal Court of Canada decision In the Matter of BMG Canada Inc. et al v. Jane Doe et al, 2004 FC 488. The decision regards individuals using P2P (peer to peer) file sharing software to store sound files containing music. Copyright wasn't infringed, according to paragraphs 26 and 27, because there was no evidence sound recordings were distributed or reproductions authorized. The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision CCH Canada Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13 was cited. The Hon. Mr. Justice von Finckenstein states: "I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service." Until recently we trod a fine line having photocopiers available in libraries, and we are now used as a copyright law analogy. Things seem to be swinging slightly back in favour of the individual users after being heavily on the side of the creators for the last few years.

Also at issue in the decision were the privacy rights of the individuals doing the music downloading--whether their ISPs would be forced to identify them. I'm comforted to know the FCC looked at this critically, carefully considered the intentions of PIPEDA, and decided, even if they needed to be identified for the purposes of this case, those names would be kept confidential in the court records. In the end it was not necessary for these individuals to be identified.

**Please remember I am a law librarian, not a lawyer. These are my personal opinions and should be construed neither as interpretation of the law nor as legal advice. So there!**

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Good website example

My colleagues found this excellent website example, where they have used DB-Textworks Webpublisher for at least the catalogue: Drug Info Clearinghouse. I quite agree with them. The layout is clear, very readable. I love the colours which includes my favourite (blue) and the orange for punch. We're just working on our own library-based intranet, and might incorporate some of the ideas we see here.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Back from R 'n' R

I took a few days off to relax. Usually there are a million thoughts buzzing around in this brain of mine. It's difficult to slow things down and clear those thoughts. I truly realized I was on vacation, therefore, when I was having a quiet cup of tea and looked out across a clear blue sky. My mind was as clear as the sky. I couldn't recall all the buzz from the previous week, couldn't remember what the latest driving issue at work was, and deliberately tried not to recall it all. That was a real treat, and I have vowed to take a little break again soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Learning to Blog

This thing is starting to come together. I started with the free application available from I could post the pages on my own server or, as I have done here, keep it all on their free server, . Gotta be careful not to call it "blogstop"!

Blogger allowed me to pick a template and then tweak the HTML to get what I want. I made the font a little smaller so you won't get so annoyed reading my verbose, lengthy paragraphs. I capitalized my name at the topic since it looked funny to me without caps. I'm no e.e. cummings, I guess. I have now learned to add headings into the posts to better distinguish them. Finally, I just set myself up with a Hotmail account so I can post a non-work-related e-mail address on this site ("ConnieBlog"!) and created an "E-mail" section to the right. For colleagues who happen to know my work e-mail address, you can still use that instead if you prefer.

My tentative future plans are to upgrade my Blogger account to have additional blogs for other aspects of my life, such as for my book club. The upgrade comes at nominal cost. A bigger upgrade would get rid of the ads at the top, but I don't mind these so much since I'm getting free benefit from them so far.
Privacy on the brain!

I have been thinking a lot about privacy legislation lately, especially the federal legislation PIPEDA.

Last week I took a practical course put on by the Professional Learning Centre at the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto called Compliance with Canadian Federal Privacy Legislation. I found this to be a good, practical workshop. Particularly useful are instructor David Hopkins' checklists and example charts and documents included in the course materials. Next course is Friday, November 5, 2004.

I was poking around on the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario's website and found this great assessment tool:
IPC - Privacy Diagnostic Tool (PDT) Workbook. While it is not specific to PIPEDA or the Ontario legislation FIPPA, it does seem to cover their principles. It describes specific principles, and then has some quick "yes/no" questions which one responds to. Available both in a paper and an electronic format.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The January 2004 issue of Canadian Lawyer, pages 19 to 23, includes a report card on law schools. I found it interesting that, for four of the top five schools, the library was cited as a key factor in the schools' strengths. Those schools are:
University of Calgary (ranked #1)
Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) (#2)
University of Toronto (#3)
McGill University (#5)

For the other, University of Victoria (#4), the emphasis on legal research, including the full-year legal research and writing course, was given commendation.

Monday, March 22, 2004

After a few years concerned with the physical aspects of our library, especially with regard to consolidating satellite libraries with the main library, and planning new space contiguous to the old, I can finally put that project to rest and get on with other things. I now find myself consumed with all things "webby" and theoretical.

Looking for a library website model, I came across Egypt's fabulous Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The magnitude of this website astounds me. So many facilities, services, and projects. It is no wonder they have chosen to go with different banners for different sections. The home page is my favourite, however, with the towering library windows and the high-tech globe in the cool blue. My library co-workers know how much I love blue websites.

Website aside, I would very much like to see the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in person some day. It is meant to be the rebuilding of the Ancient Library of Alexandrina. Too bad this website doesn't provide more photos of the new building, or a history of the old. I found this separate site with info on both the old and the new libraries: I will have to go back and read about it later--looks very interesting.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Coming up on April 14th Practising Law Institute will be conducting its annual law library management course in New York. See: The Law Library 2004: Skills, Strategies & Solutions . This year it will be available by live webcast. I am fortunate to have signed up to attend live and in person with some colleagues.
When I first heard about blogs, I was skeptical. Who cares about reading someone else's diary online? However, blogs seem to have really caught on in both areas of librarianship and law. After reading up on the topic, I felt since I am a bold and daring law librarian, it behooves me to give it a whirl!

This particular blog has been set up with my fellow law librarians in mind. If this is successful, I may start others.