Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Speaker's Wiki

Courtesy of Rob Hyndman, I discovered the The Speaker's Wiki. The idea apparently came out of Blogher: speakers offer themselves up as alternatives to the usual list of speakers we see over and over again at the various conferences and seminars. Speakers can post bios and related information. What a great resource! Should you be listed??

Around the Blog - October 11, 2005 in Paris

There is an upcoming blogging conference in Paris limited to 200 participants and geered toward business: Around the blog. They are still looking for speakers, if you happen to be in France at the time.

TALL Silver Jubilee Photos

I just noticed that photos from the TALL Jubilee party are now available from the TALL News & Events page. Or go to them directly in PDF here.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Blog University

In case you haven't heard about it, there is an upcoming Blog University coming on Sunday, September 18th.

The stellar faculty:

Blake Carver
Steven M. Cohen
Jane Dysart
Amanda Etches-Johnson
Sabrina I. Pacifici
Aaron Schmidt
Michael Stephens
Jill S. Stover

Is it time for UK Librarians to jump on the Blog-wagon?

Scott Vine, in his blog Information Overlord, has posted the article Is it time for UK Librarians to jump on the Blog-wagon. You may need to scroll down a bit to see it. There are a number of quotes from me as well as Jenny Levine and Steven Cohen. He interviewed me last year for the article.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Out of the Jungle - with Guest Blogger Simon Fodden

I think I have been remiss about pointing out the new U.S. legal research blog Out of the Jungle headed up by Jim Milles of ublaw phoenix blog fame. Out of the Jungle was created simultaneously (and coincidentally) with our own Slaw.

Slaw founder Simon Fodden, who is Professor Emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School and who also has the personal blog Xanada, is Guest Blogger over at Out of the Jungle this week. He will be lending a Canadian perspective.

Out of the Jungle has a number of guest bloggers lined up. I'm delighted to be among them--my stint as guest blogger will be October 3 - 7. I have been asked to talk about legal research in Canadian law firms.

Thinking About the World Being Flattened

No, not a Hurricane Katrina reference. Although that incipid Katrina and the Waves song "Walking on Sunshine" seems to be stuck in my brain today....

No, I am referring to the book The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedland. I mentioned it in my May 2005 blog post Where Were You When You Realized the World Is Flat? (Or Have You?).

I recently finished reading this book. The first portion discusses at length the 10 factors that have contributed to the "flattening" of the world. Then it talks about the effects of flattening on the U.S. In Friedland's estimation, they are falling behind with education and taking advantage of the technologies in the workplace. For those of us not in the U.S., this part can be a little boring as many of us have perhaps already surmised this is happening. Then it goes on to discuss the effects of flattening on the third world, and does an excellent job (I think) of discussing the recent rise of terrorism. This book was written late 2004 and early 2005, and yet it manages to explain what has happened since then.

It is a book about technology and world politics. Moreover, it is an amazing look at how the advances in supply chain management have enormously affected the globe "while we were sleeping".

Much like Malcolm Gladwell's books The Tipping Point and Blink , and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel , this book has been buzzing around in my head and has really given me something to think about. It is definitely a must-read.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Upcoming Events - Toronto Association of Law Libraries

From our new fearless leader:

Hi everyone! With fall rapidly approaching, the Executive is ready to launch our programming for 2005-06. Please keep the following dates open:

Monday, September 26 - Our first luncheon of the season will feature guest speaker Rebecca Jones. She will be speaking on the competencies of librarians, and the new demands placed upon us as the information universe changes. As the Director of the Professional Learning Centre at the University of Toronto, Rebecca can offer insights into the training of new librarians as well as the professional development opportunities available to those of us already in the workforce. Arts and Letters Club, 12:00 - 2:00. Non-members welcome.

October - US legal research with Robin Penslar. Date and details to be finalized, but hold Oct. 17 and 27th.

Thursday, November 3 - "Influence without authority" with Ulla de Stricker. Get your priorities on the agenda of peers and superiors! Arts and Letters Club, 12:00 - 2:00. Non-members welcome.

Thursday, December 1 - TALL Season Social. Join us for our annual celebration at the Albany Club. Details are forthcoming.

If you're interested in serving on a committee, please contact the committee chair or a member of the Executive. Special Interest Groups are also now available to members - start yours by sending Jennifer Lee a description of the group, with the signatures of five members supporting its creation.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Wendy Reynolds
Ontario Securities Commission
22nd floor, 20 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON M5H 3S8
(416) 593-2303 ph
(416) 593-3661 fax

The registration form for the luncheon on September 26th will soon be available from the TALL Website , or feel free to contact me directly for a copy. It has been cleverly entitled CSI : Information professional “The evidence tells the truth”.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Recent Blog Tool Comparison

Susannah Gardner compares blogging applications in her article Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool? over at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism's Online Journalism Review. Very helpful summary/discussion for those of us thinking of making a switch. I even learned a thing or two about Blogger, my current application, that I didn't know. There is also a companion blog software comparison chart.

Things a Blogging Librarian Must Do

I have blogs on the brain! Well, what else is new?

I found this great list from Michael Stevens in his Tame the Web: Technology & Libraries blog: Ten Things a Blogging Librarian Must Do (an exercise in common sense).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ontario Ministry of Labour URL Change

The Ontario Ministry of Labour was apparently having difficulty with their website address. They have now changed their URL to Pay Equity Commission and Office of the Employer Advisor have temporarily changed sites also--see the Ministry of Labour entry page for current URLs.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Lessons Learned at a Foo Fighters Concert; or, I Want to be Like David Grohl When I Grow Up

Saturday night I had the distinct pleasure of attending my second Foo Fighters concert. Now, before I gush I must point out that, while I'm obviously a fan, this is not my all-time favourite band or anything. Rather, I find they put on an excellent show live and I find David Grohl to be admirable for the various reasons outlined below.

Here, now, are the lessons I learned at a recent Foo Fighters concert:

  • Do what you love
    The Foos' music ranges from romantic ballad to boppy pop to (no other way to express it) kick-ass rock. David Grohl puts 200% into every song. The man screams his lungs out for 5 songs straight, and then can still control his voice for the melody of the love song. And he doesn't bother with posing or trying to look cool. He just is cool because he is passionate about his work. And it doesn't seem to matter whether he has an audience of a few hundred or several thousand, he still makes the same terrific effort.

  • Don't let setbacks discourage you
    Once upon a time, David Grohl was the drummer for Nirvana. Unless you were not living in the Western world at the time, you probably know the fate of Nirvana: a group that grew to surprisingly impressive popularity in 1992 with its hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit." They were the leading "grunge" band which changed the direction of popular music. But lead singer Kurt Cobain was a troubled fellow and took his own life in April 1994. This threw many teens and Generation Xers, still in their twenties, into despair. I've never seen it discussed, but one can only imagine what fellow bandmate Grohl went through after this. Still, he picked himself up and continued on, creating the new band Foo Fighters soon after. This really makes any of the small things I have complained about in my own career look pretty insignificant, I must say.

  • Continue to learn new skills
    Grohl went from being the drummer in a band (pretty intense stuff in itself) to being the lead in Foo Fighters, doing the lead singing and playing guitar. He may have had this inclination beforehand, but certainly has hit his stride in these areas since leaving Nirvana.

  • Work hard
    David Grohl doesn't fall back on his talent or looks which, to be honest, he could. He obviously works hard to be this good, and continues to improve with each album, video, and show.

  • Remain humble and don't forget your roots
    At one point in the evening, he said to us with true wonder in his voice: "Look at me, I'm a drummer who is singing and playing guitar!" He obviously hasn't forgotten how he got here.

  • Give your fans (clients) what they want
    The band Sloan was the opening band for the western Canada leg of the Foo's tour. Another Canadian band, the Constantines, were slated for Toronto. Desperate Foo/Sloan fans petitioned the Foos to add Sloan to the bill. With no news going into the concert, we assumed it was not to be. Much to our surprise, this unannounced band took the stage after the Constantines--it was, of course, Sloan. What is that customer service motto? "Under promise and over deliver". That is exactly what they did.

  • Raise others up
    While Grohl is obviously the driving force behind the Foos, he still took the time to spotlight his "best friend" Taylor Hawkins. Stating that "Taylor plays guitar and sings, too", Grohl took over drumming from Hawkins to give his friend a chance to shine up front.

  • Thank those who helped you
    Lots of appreciation was given for the opening bands, for long-standing fans, and for new fans, too. Oh, and "for the ladies in the audience" to whom a song was of course dedicated.

  • Have fun in what you do
    Grohl bantered playfully with the audience. He played a Van Halen riff, and then confessed that he didn't know how to play the whole song but just liked how it sounded following one of his own songs. You could just tell he was having fun.

  • Think big
    "This is the biggest audience we've ever played to where we've been headlining. Usually we play to the same crowd of only 2,000 people whenever we come here." It may have taken ten years, but persistence has paid off and they finally made it to Molson Amphitheatre.

In conclusion, I want to be just like David Grohl, working hard but loving every minute of what I do. And having fun doing it. Yeah, that would be cool.

If you haven't already done so, you must check out the Foo Fighters website--it's one of the best sites I've ever seen for anything. Great graphics, interactivity, and organization. All the information a fan could want is here. Under "The Story" take a look especially at "Timeline" and "Dictionary". Very creative. And here are: Foo Fighter Toronto August 13, 2005 photos.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Have You Googled Your Students Lately?

Ah, August and articling student hiring is in the air!

The Ontario law firms have just finished our hiring of the 2006-2007 articling students (those just going into their final year of law school who will be "apprenticing" with us for 10 months after their bar admissions course...or so I believe, what with all the changes in this programme lately. But I digress...) And our 2005-2006 group of students are just about set to arrive.

It is no secret that students look to the firm websites for background information and a sense of firm culture. But what about the other way around...are firms researching the students online? With a wee bit of Googling and Yahoo!ing I was able to pull up substantial info on at least a couple students. All of it was interesting and beyond what we had been spoon-fed by the internal communications machine. None of it overly negative.

With my own proliferation on the web and past posting follies firmly in mind, I wonder about the rising incidence of teen and pre-teen blogs. At what point will these stop being cute, and start affecting students in hiring situations? And just how do you go about getting rid of old cached webpages? Finally, when will we see the rise of "planted" biographical information on the web? I mean, I've seen at least one person "adjust" his own Wikipedia bio in mocking jest.

Just a wee bit of food for thought...

Starting Out from CBA

The Canadian Bar Association has a wealth of guides for lawyers starting out and opening their own practices from their page Starting Out. Some of these titles would be of interest to others as well:

  • Welcome to Reality: A New Lawyer’s Guide to Success
    Chapter 1 – How to Make Friends With Your Files
    Chapter 2 – Technology: Use It or Lose Out
    Chapter 3 – Let’s Get Personal About Practice Management
    Chapter 4 – Working With Your Assistant
    Chapter 5 – Communicating With Your Clients
    Chapter 6 – Money Matters
    Chapter 7 – Time Management

  • Packing My Own ‘Chute
    Part I – The Decision
    Part II – Setting Up The Home Office
    Part III – In Search of the Perfect Laptop
    Part IV – Getting Focused: Developing a strategic plan and achieving work-life balance
    Part V – Chutzpah (Working the Room)
    Part VI – After the Conference
    Part VII – The Crash

  • What You Didn’t Learn in Law School: Top Tips for New Lawyers

  • Keep Your Head Above Water

  • Technologies for the Solo, Home, and Mobile Office: Networking and Data Protection

  • Technologies for Solo, Home, and Mobile Lawyers

  • Taking Care of Business

  • Independence Day: Starting Your Own Law Firm

  • Let It Go: Why Lawyers Need to Take Vacations

  • Association Compensation and Advancement: There is a Better Way

  • The Differentiation Equation
    (How to make your firm stand out from the crowd)

  • Mind Your Own Business! Manage Your Law Practice Like a Corporation

  • Time Well Spent
    (How to use your non-chargeable hours wisely)

  • Limited Liability Partnerships

  • Revitalization: A Key to Planning Successful Firm and Solo Practice Transitions

  • Flying Solo - A CBA Guide to Solo Law Practice in Canada

New Blog: Legal Marketing Canada

I just discovered the new blog Legal Marketing Canada from Vancouver boutique marketing and advertising firm Skunkworks Creative Group. Aimed at lawyers and law firm marketers.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Canadian Blogosphere Defined

I just came across this description on Wikipedia: Canadian Blogosphere. Focus is mostly on the political blogosphere, but it certainly helps put what I do into some perspective. Links to lots of blogs I wasn't aware of before.

How to Podcast

The Hobson and Holtz Report has a 60 minute podcast of a presentation made August 4th on podcasting. For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. I haven't listened to it yet, but looks like some great topic coverage!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

FIS Alumni Welcome New Class of Students

In this morning's FIS Alumni News Update, there was an invitation from the Faculty of Information Studies Alumni Association (FISAA) at the University of Toronto for alumni to attend a reception to welcome students. FIS is increasingly connecting with alumni and employers to make the programme relevant to the real world. I have found attending events such as this one to both benefit the students and to energize me with regard to the future of librarianship. If you are a FIS alumnus, I encourage you to attend. If you aren't, I equally encourage you to check out what your own alma mater is doing.

If you are interested in welcoming a new class of FIS students to the Faculty of Information Studies on Thursday, September 8th, at 7 p.m., contact for details and to RSVP.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

AO2005: The Innovation Summit - Stanford University July 19-21

Video archives are available for this recent conference: AO2005: The Innovation Summit held at Stanford a couple of weeks ago. I watched the beginning of the very last session, Tapping Into the Blogosphere. Quality of the video is middling, but content is excellent. I wish they would tell us how long these videos are, and perhaps give us a chance to jump around (fast forward) in them. Regardless, definitely worth exploring.

New Podcast Use - Quizzes!

I haven't listened to any of these yet, but is giving me some ideas for some creative library instruction/marketing. When I first arrived in my firm, trivia quizzes were a huge hit. I'm thinking this might be a fun way to revive an old favourite.

Inter Alia - law news

I had a nice little surprise this week-- Friday I was given the honour of "blawg of the day" on the Inter Alia blog. This blog offers a weekly newsletter if you prefer reading e-mail.

Where's the Music in Podcasting?

I am intrigued by podcasting and have wanted to try it out myself. I am also a fan of radio via the Internet. The death of my little radio at work coincided with the birth of CBC Radio livestreaming. Truth be told, I'm also fond of Groove Salad, an ambient music station with no commercials or conversation from volunteer-run Soma FM broadcasting from San Francisco.

So, wouldn't it be cool to have some of my favourite music in a podcast format so I could download it to my MP3 player, so I needn't be tied to my computer to hear it?

USA Today has published an excellent article on this very topic: Storm clouds gather over podcasting. It explains that music is not yet allowed in podcasts:

Since podcasts are recordings, they can be played at any time. Listeners can pause, fast-forward or rewind them. And since podcasts are posted online, listeners can download programs from radio stations and independent broadcasters from all over the world.

The podcasts can also be hacked and pirated. An enterprising listener could pull songs out of a podcast and turn them into music files or CDs.

That's why many record companies say the technology is promising but problematic. For example, OK Go and several other emerging bands with EMI have their own podcasts. But EMI is not ready to approve a blanket podcasting license.


Record and radio companies have struck a blanket licensing agreement for streaming based on traditional radio licenses. No such agreement exists for podcasting.

So, until such time as agreements change for radio stations, podcasting will remain the domain of talk programs and instructional dialogues. Now I know why.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Law Student Approach to Legal Research & Selling Law Library Services to Students

Okay, I promise not to overly cross-pollinate work between here and Slaw. However, this article is brilliant and everyone should read it: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse: A Law Student's Perspective on Developing Legal Information Literacy by Pamela Seguin, reprinted from CALL's Canadian Law Library Review and kindly posted by Nick Pengelley.

As the title states, this article discusses the ways in which law students learn to research. The importance of law librarians and the law library are discussed. An excerpt:

I believe that law librarians are a highly important, but under-utilized resource. The reality is that most students would not know a law librarian if one knocked them over the head with the Income Tax Act. Many students have no idea that law librarians usually have a law degree or specialized expertise in legal research.

It behooves us, as law librarians, to let students know our qualifications and how we can help in their research and in their careers. The trick is how to do that. Seguin discusses this in the context of the academic law librarian, but not specifically in the students' workplace such as law firm.

In law firms, law librarians are part of the articling student orientation process to varying degrees. This is really our first point of contact with students and, if they learn nothing else, they should be given the first inkling of how we can play an important role in their lives.

The next trick will be to remind them of this later in the process, especially as they become associates and partners. Recently in our firm, as our articling students left for the summer, we sent out a reminder to lawyers from the library that we are available to help with research. Now, this would seem obvious; however, it is amazing how many people jumped on the opportunity to bring us work. And billable client work at that (which is a bonus). Perhaps people who are already so busy need to be reminded now and then that we are willing and available to help.

Anyway, do read the article. I'm sure you will find other discussion that speaks to you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lawyers Weekly Has New Website

Lexis Nexis have relaunched The Lawyers Weekly website. I'm not sure when this happened, but seems to me I saw a notice recently about it.

It is quite a nice layout, and now they have an archives of selected (front page) articles. The archives currently goes back to January 2005, and has articles file by date and topic. It is also searchable.