Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where Do You Find the Time for Social Media?

I often get asked how I find the time to blog (well, when I do blog!), interact on Twitter, keep up with Facebook, learn about podcasting, attend any number of community-based social media group meetups, and read books to boot. My answers have varied over the years, but Clay Shirky, author of the recently released book Here Comes Everybody (which I have yet to read), has the best answer in this video.

Where will you find the time?

Thanks to Wayne MacPhail for the tip.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Where I've Been, and Where I'm Going

Have you missed me? The best-laid plans sometimes get put aside for real life. I had a fantastic time at the Computers in Libraries conference, took lots of notes but alas had little bandwidth to post at the time. So, no live blogging. I do have photos to still post to Flickr, and notes to post from the sessions I attended.

The best part of CIL2008 for me was the people! I got to catch up with folks I met last time, as well as got to meet other on-line friends in person for the first time. There is a terrific group of young, energetic library folk who are or are becoming the leaders in the social media/social networking/Web 2.0 space, and it is fantastic to be able to talk with them in person as a group and one-on-one.

Since that time I have been busy with real live work. It surprises me that, before I have even put myself out there publicly I have had work already. And I also have a lot of terrific, supportive colleagues contacting me with ideas and invitations. I feel like so many are looking out for me, and keeping me in the loop. I am so grateful for all of your good wishes and inspiration!

Photo: Meredith Farkas and Connie Crosby by eclectic librarian.

I hope to have a separate website up and running soon that will explain a little more about what it is I am doing in this self-employed consulting gig. I am not specifically doing freelance library work, but instead focusing on social media projects in their various forms. Some of it is teaching, some of it is monitoring the social media space, and some of it is helping people get set up on the web with their own web presence. A lot of my time is spent trying out the various tools, pushing my knowledge of how they work so I can help others sort out what works best for your purposes.

For anyone wondering, I am still in downtown Toronto and am close at hand to meet for coffee, lunch, or other meetings. You can easily reach me at conniecrosby@gmail.com

Anyway, check back here again soon since I have a number of pending blog posts!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Connie at Computers in Libraries

I have travelled to Arlington, Virginia to check out the Computers in Libraries conference. I left booking this to the last minute because I was busy, but then realized I would be mad at myself if I didn't attend. Last year I found it incredible: lots of new ideas in sessions, but more importantly so many smart, savvy people who I met. It didn't hurt that I hung out in "bloggers alley" at the back of the conference (where the power for laptops was) and got to know many of the other library bloggers. As a group we formed some friendships that, fueled by keeping in touch via Twitter, have remained steadfast. So, I hated to miss the convergence of so many friends. Also new friends who I have since met through the social web. And potential new friends who I don't know exist yet.

So, really, I came here for the people and the ideas. Last year was such a great kick in the pants for me! Meeting so many people created opportunities I could not have dreamed of, which in turn played a role in my leaving my library to set up shop myself. Wow. You never know where opportunity will knock.

Over the next few days I hope to liveblog some sessions and, if I have time, post some general impressions and ideas as they come to me. I hope you will come back to read more! If you are extremely keen, you can read the Twitter stream I have set up just for the conference @ConnieAtCIL. Be warned it will be mostly teasing my friends, back channel chat during sessions, and booking lunch with twenty people at the time. Likely only of interest to others attending the conference with me. :-P

So, lessons learned:
- people and their ideas coming together create new ideas
- if you open yourself up to new people and new ideas, you can invite new opportunities
- if you visit this blog again over the next few days, you may even see this process in action
- if you read my twitter feed, you will probably get too much information.


Photo by DymphieH via Flickr (I met her today!). Used under Creative Commons attribution license.

Using RSS to track new Canadian case law from CanLII - an Instructional Video

I agree with Steve Matthews' assessment over on Slaw: Dominic Jaar has done some nice working creating an instructional screencast to show us how to create an RSS feed from a CanLII search (using Feedity) to track new decisions. It is one thing to have someone tell you about this; it is far more helpful to have someone actually show you.

Bibliography of Online Canadian Federal Government Databases - 4th edition

Great catch by Michel-Adrien Sheppard over at the Library Boy blog:

an updated list of the Canadian Federal Government databases available on the Internet, via the Weekly Checklist. They count 488 publicly accessible databases now available. Some require registration.

--> are you reading Library Boy?? If you are a legal researcher or law librarian, you should be!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Alana Taylor asks: Do you know what Flickr and Twitter are?

This video brings home the point that most people are oblivious to the social networking tools I use. In this video, NYU journalism student Alana Taylor took it to the streets asking students and other passersby whether they use Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.

Link to video courtesy of Rob Clark via Twitter.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Canadian Case Law System "BestCase" Launches Today

It may be April Fool's, but this is no joke: Canada's fourth online case law system, BestCase from Canada Law Book, officially launches today.

Late last year Canada Law Book met with law librarians across the country to introduce the idea and get feedback. They were keen to create a system that is cost effective, easy to use, and meets the needs of their customers. Law firms have recently been beta-testing the system, and today it opens up to everyone. I haven't seen it myself, but Simon Chester has, and he wrote about it yesterday on Slaw.ca in BestCase Born Today. From the sounds of it, Canada Law Book has succeeded in meeting their goals.

I know some of my colleagues were not happy when Canada Law Book and LexisNexis announced their parting of ways. Having yet one more place to conduct research is frustrating. But, let's flip that frustration on its end: for years we have grumbled that the other big publishers have the industry sewn up, and have things priced too high. But, we felt it necessary to purchase products from both so felt there was no choice.

Now we finally have one more case law system. Hurray!--that introduces more competition for the others. This will hopefully make the others look at their pricing.

And while librarians will probably object that to do thorough research we now need to search in all four places, in practicality lawyers and students doing the research are going to start to choose. Which are their favourite two systems? Which two will give the most coverage? If one becomes a clear favourite, that is going to put pressure on the others. Already a lot of people are jumping to CanLII first to start their initial research. How will this new Canada Law Book twist affect things?

So, my attitude is wait-and-see. This will likely not be the final stop in our national case law journey. And, if they get favourable feedback, who knows what Canada Law Book will do next? Having alternatives is a good thing. No kidding.

Have you tried the new BestCase? I would love to hear your feedback here--I encourage you to post your comments!