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!