Monday, October 30, 2006

How do you learn to research law (for library staff)?

The article I discussed in my last post spurred on a question from one of its readers, a student out of B.C. looking to learn how to do legal research. She has started a library techniques diploma but is wondering where to go next, if there are any courses on legal research or what else to do. I have suggested she speak with her instructors about courses or people in the field closer to her geographic location she might meet with.

I have just thought I should mention the fantastic Legal Research on the Web course being taught next spring by Clare Mauro out of the Professional Learning Centre at FIS to her.

Any other suggestions out there??


CCH eMonthly - Law Librarians Debate Student Research Skills

Back in July, The Lawyers Weekly published an article I wrote unfortunately entitled Students still unprepared for legal research (July 21, 2006, page 14). I had great feedback on the article, with the exception of a couple of students who objected to the title. In my defense, I will say I did not select the title; the editor chose something provocative to "sell" the article.

This article has now been updated and published in the CCH Law Student eMonthly (October 2006). See:
Law Librarians Debate Student Research Skills. I had more space to include additional quotes from my colleagues Laurel Murdoch, Joan Rataic-Lang, Shaunna Mireau and Neil Campbell. John Eaton is also mentioned specifically. Do have a read!

CCH Canadian is looking for material for future issues of this publication. If you have something to contribute, do contact them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Response to Blogger Buzz: The Blogger Outages (a novel)

Since Blogger Buzz, the official blog from Blogger, has an explanation and apology of sorts posted in Blogger Buzz: The Blogger Outages (a novel) but they don't accept comments (only links to the post) I am writing my feedback here.

I am delighted to see this message, and glad to get some background story. This is exactly what we need to see on an ongoing basis from Blogger to keep people like me calm.

Here is why:

- Earlier this week I expressed my frustration to other bloggers who I saw in person, especially regarding no explanation coming from Blogger about the problems. The consensus was that Blogger isn't a good tool and that I should switch. This also confirmed the suspicions of those who weren't already using Blogger.

- I am in the process of looking for a blogging tool for a group of professional colleagues, their first foray into blogging. They have a fair bit of clout and the first experience is important. They will influence potential blogging by untold hundreds of our colleagues to follow. Since I didn't know what was going on with Blogger, would I want to choose it and risk giving them a bad user experience right from the start? I think not!

- I have been sort of itching to try other blog software. Just because I like to learn new things. Gee, with all that is going on, maybe now would be a good time to explore my options?

Multiply these types of issues with those of hundreds of thousands - nay, millions! - of bloggers out there using Blogger, and you might have a problem.

But I digress. I have only been half-watching the Beta Blogger information coming out. My feeling is that I didn't want to risk changing everything over to Beta if it is not ready for prime time, so to speak. But the new blog post points out:

We foresaw the need for the long-term solution, well, a long time ago. Long enough ago that it’s almost done, and you can use it as the new version of Blogger in beta. If you can switch to it (see requirements) you really should. The new version of Blogger is better in almost* every way, including reliability. (It’s worth pointing out that none of this past week’s trouble affected the new version of Blogger or its blogs.)

Okay, well, I had no idea that life would be sucky if I didn't switch over, and that the new system would be unaffected. Why didn't you SAY so? Heh. Thus the importance of saying things in everyday language in blog posts instead of officialgooglespeak in emails (if there was one--can't remember now).

So, finally, a few more suggestions for Blogger if they have managed to stay awake and read this far:

- open up the comments on your blogs so we don't have to post these gripes on our own blogs and leave these bad impressions of Blogger with our individual blog readers.

- have a link from the front page of Blogger to the status page so we can easily find it. Blogger news on that page has status info that is stale - a year old! That looks really bad.

- keep on posting about what is really happening. Are you more frustrated than we are? Gee, I had no idea because you weren't telling us.

Thank you for this post. Hang in there, and keep it up!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Access 2006 - Audio Now Available

Thanks to a link from OLITA, I learned that the Access 2006 conference held in Ottawa earlier this month has now posted audio from the sessions. See: Speakers and Podcasts

Don't know what Access is? I didn't either until I heard about it recently from an attendee. Here is the description:

The conference is an eclectic group of technically savvy people who get together every year to share fresh challenges, projects and solutions related to advances in information and library communities.

It is a single stream conference with limited attendance, which provides ample opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.

Common touchstones at the conference include:

- customized web applications and search interfaces
- open source software
- national and provincial consortiae initiatives
- information policy
- digital media
- library catalogue innovations
- end user searching behaviours
- metadata

It is Canadian based and seems to have had conferences since 1997. Sounds right up my alley! I hope to spend some more time exploring the site and listening to the sessions.

Alumni Tea - University of Toronto Faculty of Information Studies

There is an alumni tea at FIS to celebrate the November grads coming up on November 15, 2006 starting at 4:00 pm. These go to about 5:00 pm or so.

There aren't a lot details, but they are here: Faculty of Information Studies.

I've been to a few alumni teas. It is an informal way to meet with students, faculty, and fellow alumni working in other types of libraries. I always learn something, and meet new people! I only wish they were longer....usually I'm one of the last to leave. Heh.

I've put it into my calendar; hopefully nothing urgent comes up before then!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

IL 2006: Flickr & Libaries

The Internet Librarian has certainly had lots of "live" coverage! A "shout out" to those bloggers who kindly covered the Flickr + Libraries session:

Sarah Houghton-Jan, otherwise known as LibrarianInBlack, has some great coverage of the "Flickr + Libraries" presentation at Internet Librarian. See IL 2006: Flickr & Libaries. She has some other great write-ups as well.

Nichole has some of the key links from the presentation over at Nichole's Auxiliary Storage

Tag: IL2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Global Neighborhoods - A Visit to Skype in Estonia

Shel Israel, co-author of Naked Conversations, is researching a new book entitled Global Neighborhoods. Currently he is travelling about Europe meeting with people and blogging about it in Naked Conversations (the blog). It's an interesting read. In particular, I found his interview in Estonia with Sten Tamkivi, COO of Skype, a particularly good read.

I expect this book will be kind of Naked Conversations meets The World is Flat. Stay tuned...

Any LLRX Column Ideas?

I'm in the process of brainstorming topics for my LLRX column. The focus is professional subjects for law librarians, which is actually a pretty broad focus. Some of the subjects covered thus far:

- blogging
- podcasting
- knowledge management
- change management
- flickr

I welcome suggestions for future columns! You are welcome to either post a comment here, or email me at .


Conference Attendance Will Never Be the Same...

As I was trying to post earlier:

I now have proof that my co-worker Kay is, in fact, attending the Internet Librarian conference and not *ahem* just golfing. I found a photo of her obtaining an autograph from keynote speaker J.A. Jance on the Info Today blog. Gave us a little thrill back here in the office!

What with all the "new media" coverage of conferences these days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sneak away from sessions. Heh.

Tag: IL2006

I've Got Dem Blogger Blues

*Rant on*

Dagnabbit! Blogger has been bothersome today. It wouldn't let me post a particularly long post (and now it is vanished) plus I couldn't look at some other blogs hosted on Blog*spot. I was reading through some of the Blogger forums; it seems there have been periodic server problems and a number of people are frustrated. I usually don't find it too bad other than an occasional glitch that is soon corrected. The Blogger Status page, which can be difficult to pull up in the heat of the moment since there isn't any quick link to it from the main website, doesn't help much. Last post was Oct. 21st saying they were having server problems which would be fixed soon. Gah.

I dunno...blogs are supposed to facilitate communication, and corporations can use them to keep their customers in the loop when something isn't quite working. The shoemaker's children have no shoes in this case....Blogger doesn't seem to *quite* get that they should be communicating this stuff to us a little more effectively. Meanwhile, they burble on about other stuff in Blogger Buzz which *is* easy to find. Okay, well, when Blogger isn't working, even that blog is difficult to access.

*Rant off*

Monday, October 23, 2006

Internet Librarian 2006

Are you, like me, sitting at home wishing you could be in Monterey at the Internet Librarian conference? Well, now you can play along remotely! Just check the following links periodically, and you too can feel like you are really there. Well, maybe not. But at least you can sort of know what is going on:

Advanced players: sign up for the RSS feeds on the respective sites with your RSS reader.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flickr is the Web Photo Tool Preferred by Superheroes and Librarians

I had great fun putting together this month's column for I interviewed the intrepid Libraryman i.e. Michael Porter and asked him about librarians and Flickr. The article is called Flickr is the Web Photo Tool Preferred by Superheroes and Librarians.

We talked a fair bit about the features of Flickr, but not quite so much about the uses of it. I've come across a few related items that help fill the gap:

Two Trainers Trade Technology Trading Tips

Hot from the Internet Librarian International conference, Rob Coers and Michael Stephens have posted their presentation
Two Trainers Trade Technology Trading Tips (PowerPoint, approx. 76 slides). Say that 5 times fast! Heh. I had a quick read through, and highly recommend it, especially for those of you looking to teach Web 2.0 applications.

Some things I got from it:

- teach to the top 70%, not the bottom 20% if you want to drive things forward
- get people to try setting up their own blogs, RSS feeds in Bloglines, create their own IM identity in the training sessions
- create a Web 2.0 interest group in your organization to allow people to get together to compare notes and "play"

Some great things here. This is just my interpetation from the slides...I have not looked around to see if anyone has blogged the session.


tag: ILI2006 - Second Library Library Blog

If you are interested in exploring Second Life, you might want to read the blog, otherwise known as Second Life Library 2.0. This is the new home for the Second Life library enthusiasts. I profess to having tried Second Life, but found it difficult and time-consuming to get started. I am sure once you know what you are doing and have established an identity/character/home it would be much easier. Learning how to do the animation was a pretty steep learning curve for me.

That being said, this blog is interesting. Perhaps I will be inspired to go back at some point. I never did make it over to the mythical library island while I was there.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Are You Blogging This?

Fun video about Web 2.0 by David Lee King. I found this link thanks to Tom Boone over at Library Laws.

Are you blogging this?

Conference Criticisms from Jim Milles

I was just reading Jim Milles' comments PPME Wrapup and Criticisms over on his blog Buffalo Wings and Toasted Ravioli. Aside from being jealous that he actually was AT the Podcast and Portable Media Expo, I note his criticisms:

Most people like to hang out with people they know. Podcasters doing business-money-technology podcasts have a lot to talk with each other about, and a lot to gain from cross-promotion. Other podcasters doing storytelling shows, or couple-casts, or online diaries, rants, and the like–the more “general interest” shows, often on pop culture topics–also have a lot in common. It’s harder for niche podcasters to join those conversations.

He goes on to draw a parallel to other large conferences he has been to:

The problem with conferences–every conference I’ve ever attended–is this: the organizers, the insiders, the old boy/girl network, need to constantly remember to make newer participants feel welcome and help them become contributors to the conference and its activities.

Some good words of caution! I know my own natural tendency is to be shy, especially in situations where I don't know others. It is difficult for the new person to make that leap.

Especially at a time where law library managers are crying that they cannot find good people to come up through the ranks to fill the positions of retirees, we should be greeting newcomers with open arms! Well, it shouldn't just be at this time, but encouraging people newly interested in our field is definitely in our own interest. And I personally love meeting new people and hearing new ideas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Governor General Michaelle Jean a Blogger?

Shel Israel, one of the authors of Naked Conversations, has written a post about Government Blogging in which he mentions he was in Canada and had Canada's Governor General Michaelle Jean blogging!

I had a quick look at the GG website, and indeed found a new site called Citizen Voices: Breaking Down Solitudes on the domain. There is blogging, forums, news, and even chat with the GG herself! I hope to spend a little more time later checking the site, and perhaps even submitting an encouraging word or two.

Oct. 13/06 update: I have now posted a longer write-up over on here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Are Your Verticals? Musings on Writing My Budget Report

Okay, so I am in budget report-writing mode at the moment. Most of the other law firm managers I know are either finished and waiting to hear if they have had theirs approved, or are like me still working away to get the beast tamed. I must say, the first year I worked on my budget the thing seemed almost insurmountable. But, having done this for several years now I am more comfortable with the uncomfortableness of it all. I try to just dig in and get the thing over with instead of throwing myself into existential angst over a few dollars.

So that sets the mood. I am working away and then suddenly get this call from an online information product sales person. I agree to a quick web demo another day, when the budget will hopefully be done. But at the close of our conversation, his last question throws me: "What are your verticals?"

Um, I'm close to responding "Hunter Douglas" but quickly realize this is industry speak for, well, what industries I am interested in. Not which types of blinds I have. D'oh!

Anyway, this reminds me that when I write this budget thing, if I want to see any sort of approval of new products or initiatives, I had better strip out all of that publisher and library jargon and write in plain English.

Imagine writing something like: "We request additional funds to pursue a new electronic initiative with better coverage of previously neglected verticals." Oh my! Sounds almost obscene.

Okay, back I go to my numbers!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Podcamp Toronto has a day and a home

Podcamp Toronto, the podcasting "un-conference" I spoke about in my last post, is now set for Saturday and Sunday, February 24 and 25, 2007 at Ryerson University. It is free to participate, but you have to make a contribution (that is the concept of these "camp" things). The list of topics is growing, as is the list of participants. I've added my name in, and am thinking about how I might contribute. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know!


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


podcamptoronto a.k.a. North podcamp is now being organized! Tentatively sometime in February '07, um, somewhere in Toronto. Yeah!