First day in to CALL 2005, and already my head is swimming with ideas. I helped to host the First Timers' breakfast this morning, which was host to over 20 people whose first time it was to the conference, and our delegates from other countries. I met quite a few people who are delighted to be here first time out. One good tip we learned was that, unless a session is specifically marked "closed" in the programme, everyone attending is welcome to a session.
Immediately after we slipped in to some of the Special Interest Group (or SIG) business meetings. I caught the end of the Private Law Libraries (PLL) SIG, where they managed to appoint a couple of co-chairs for next year. This is not an onerous job as the SIG does not have a lot of carry-over business one year to the next, and the main bit of business is to chair the annual meeting (such as this one) and organize a speaker at the annual conference. This year's topic is negotiating skills Tuesday afternoon featuring Denis Mahoney, partner at McInnes Cooper. Looks like he may be using the "Getting to Yes" model of negotiation (originated at Harvard Business School), something which we strive toward in my firm as well. The suggestion for next year's session is regarding training (presumably of law students--I only heard the last snippet of this).
Then it was off to the Vendors Liaison SIG. Wendy Reynolds and Mary Saulig from Toronto spoke to their involvement giving CCH feedback at a focus group yesterday. They invited other vendors to use CALL member librarians (and presumably other law librarians) as a resource for improving their products and getting feedback, both bad and good. Pat McNeill from LexisNexis Canada Inc. spoke to the question of the content of Factiva moving over, and he invites input from librarians as to what we would like to see happen in the transition. He has invited us to the booth to discuss this. Presumably if you weren't at the conference you can contact him or your sales rep if you have feedback in this regard. The consensus seems to be that we trust Pat and know he will do his best to smooth things over with this difficult transition period.
Finally, the new Knowledge Management SIG held its first organizational meeting, run by Phyllis Thornton and Jane Parkinson. Phyllis was unanimously appointed as the new chair. This group is co-sponsoring the session on Tuesday originally organized by the Electronic Information SIG, the topic being developing a taxonomy for business records classification. Today the new KM SIG developed an idea of how this group will share ideas, what level of interest everyone has with KM, and the types of topics we would like covered in the next year. It was felt it is time to embrace KM rather than waiting until we are pulled "kicking and screaming" towards it. Level of expertise in the room ranged from "gestation" to "advanced knowledge".
Some other things that have come to mind as I have spoken with colleagues. These are just little ideas not fully gelled yet:
- if we want students and new librarians to be involved, we need to lead the way. We need to extend a personal hand to contact them and not expect they find us on their own. If we want them to develop CALL (and other organizations) in a certain way, we have to lay the groundwork and pass along the memory of that groundwork to them. We can't just toss it up in the air and hope someone will catch it.
- lawyers are highly skilled wordsmiths. Whether students, practitioners, or judges, we have to take care with the wording we use, written and oral. Rather than focusing on the ideas we are conveying (oft times in quickly-spewed e-mail messages) they may be focused on our exact phraseology. Should you have used "at" "on" or "in"? It makes a great deal of difference to them, and so should it, as a result, to us. They may have a difficult time hearing the message if it is not relayed correctly. In the case of e-mail, best get to the point in the first couple of sentences.
- Wal-mart and other big box stores are starting to require their vendors mark products with RFID tags. Should we be requiring the same of our vendors, with CIP (generic bibliographic/catalogue info) included in the tags? We could load data from the RFID tags up to our catalogues by scanning, "tweak" the records for our own libraries, then re-load the corrected version back onto the tag. Sue Rigney from the Dept. of Justice in Brisbane says she walks around and scans the barcodes in each office each week to track location of the books. With RFID tags we could just walk around the halls to read this information. I'm waiting for the day when we can track it all on satellites! (And in case you asked, RFID = radio frequency identification - see RFID in Libraries.
That's it for now! I'm going back now to see the vendor demos. A little break and then the opening reception. I am starting to get hungrier what with little substantial food. I may need to grab a bite beforehand.....