Monday, December 14, 2009

Ask a Mac Expert - What to read in 2010

From the McMaster Daily News, they spoke to Titles Bookstore's Mark Lefebvre, Professor of English and Cultural Studies Lorraine York, and Associate University Librarian Vivian Lewis to find out what books they would recommend to the University community in the upcoming year. I have my friend Mitch Joel's book Six Pixels of Separation, all lined up, ready to read!

So, what are YOUR suggestions for 2010?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My Nominations for the Clawbies

If you have been reading the Canadian blawgosphere lately, you know it is time for CLawBies nominations!  The CLawBies, or the Canadian Law Blog Awards, are organized by Steve Matthews each year. 

I read a lot of Canadian law blogs, so it is a challenge to narrow it down to just three! After some thought, here are my picks this year:

1. The Stream - from the B.C. Courthouse Libraries - This is a relatively new blog, but is already influencing others. I also hear it mentioned behind closed doors by my law library colleagues. The folks at the B.C. Courthouse Libraries have set the new standard for design and engagement by a law library in Canada. Congratulations to Johanne Blenkin and her team--they are already winners in my books!  While you are on the site, do visit their whole website as it has a clean, fresh design:

2. All About Information - by Dan Michaluk - Dan does a great job of writing consistent quality blog posts. He manages to stay focused while keeping it personable. I know when I am looking for information to update myself on the state of social media and employment law in Canada, this is the first place I head.

3. Jason the Content Librarian - by Jason Eiseman - This is my pick for international law blog.  Jason is the Librarian for Emerging Technologies at Yale Law School Library. I like that he is posting on things relevant to me, does not have a strictly U.S. focus, and on a personal note was one of a group of law librarians including Meg Kribble, Bonnie Shucha (who are both excellent law bloggers in their own right who also deserve votes) and many others who made me feel at home as a speaker at this year's AALL conference.

Like almost everyone else who have blogged their picks, I can't help but mention others who are well deserving and should be included in any "top Canadian law blogs list" - Library Boy by Michel-Adrien Sheppard, Law is Cool by an ever-growing slate of law students, created by the inimitable Omar Ha-RedeyeThoughtful Legal Management by David Bilinsky, Canadian Privacy Law Blog by David Fraser, Michael Geist's blog which has a reach far, far outside the legal community in Canada,  and Halo Secretarial blog by Laurie Mapp who is a legal virtual assistant (or legal VA) and helps me stay on track in my day to day work. And so many others!

I also can't wait to see what Tim Knight at Osgoode Law Library does with the KF Modified Blog which I should talk about with its own blog post soon.

And on the international front, I consistently read Mary Abraham's blog Above and Beyond KM (last year's winner!) because she is always thoughtful, thought provoking, and lively in her writing on knowledge management.

I am delighted to see the new entries from the B.C. Courthouse Libraries and Tim Knight because, frankly, there are not a lot of law librarians blogging in Canada. And our range of organizations, job descriptions, and geographic locations can only give us a widely diverse perspective. I hope more will jump in to provide their thoughts to the biblioblawgosphere!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Agenda Interview: Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

If you missed her speaking at the Women's Law Association of Ontario's 90th anniversary gala last week, here is Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada in a recent interview with Steve Paikin of TV Ontario's The Agenda. It is an interesting look inside the SCC rarely seen. The video runs about 26 minutes.

Some of the things they discuss:
  • being the first woman to head the Supreme Court of Canada
  • how diversity on the Supreme Court is important
  • the life of a "Supreme"
  • cameras in the courtroom

Hat tip to Michel-Adrien Sheppard over at the Library Boy blog for the link.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming Soon: Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch!

See the website! Join the Facebook page! Check out the trailer! --

From About the Game:

Welcome to the home of Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch, the show that pits two teams of reference librarians against one another for bragging rights and prizes! Listen in to the live podcast and play along through our TalkShoe Interface, or listen to past shows in the Episode Guide! Watch this blog to see the game in progress as Command Central gives out questions and follow up information and librarians fight the clock to give the best reference in the quickest time! Don’t forget to watch the introduction video before each podcast to learn all about our contestants and to hear genuine librarian smack talk!
Champaign Public Library has challenged Urbana Free Library to start off the season!

Celebrity Librarian DeathMatch comes to us courtesy of Eric Sizemore and Jenny Veile. If you are on Twitter, follow them @libdeathmatch. Great work, folks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Looking forward to Ontario Library Association - Super Conference 2010

I have a newly-minted personal membership to Ontario Library Association. We used to carry an organizational membership when I worked in the law firm so we could access some of the great programming. But, this coming February will be my first opportunity to attend the annual OLA Super Conference. I've been watching the conference website for a few weeks, and today the preliminary conference program arrived in the mail.

I am a veteran conference-goer, but I suspect this will be a whole other experience. So, as a first-time Super Conference attendee, I'm wondering where to start. What should I be sure to see? What social events are must-attend? Should I volunteer myself to help with something?

I would love to hear from you, the veteran OLA Super Conference attendee, with any advice!

The OLA Super Conference runs February 24-27, 2010.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Beta Twitter Feature: Retweeting

Simon Fodden asked me about the new Twitter "retweet" feature which was recently opened up to a number of us on Twitter. It is currently in beta test. I thought sharing my response might be helpful.

What is retweeting?

But first, let me explain what "retweeting" is for those not familiar with Twitter:

Retweeting is forwarding/spreading a Twitter message (or "tweet") posted by someone to your other Twitter followers.

Quite often Twitter developers will take note of a convention that spreads throughout Twitter users and turn it into an official feature. The original way to spread a message sent out via Twitter (a ''retweet") is to put the abbreviation "RT" plus the person's ID with the "@" symbol in front so the person originating the tweet gets credit for the tweet and sees it automatically in their stream of replies. For example, Simon Fodden retweeting from the Twitter account:

The new retweet feature

We can still manually retweet as we have been doing, but now Twitter has added an automated feature they are calling "Retweet". It does a few different things than we are used to. It can be confusing at first. Hopefully this helps explain it:

  • The retweet feature replicates the entire original tweet, including the person's name, icon and source they sent the tweet from (e.g. Tweetdeck, web). So, if you retweet something a friend tweeted, everyone following your twitter stream will see your friend's icon instead of yours. This is the most confusing part of the new feature. For example, in the example below, my friend @pfanderson retweeted something from @sneakymonkey, and it is @sneakymonkey's icon that shows up. They also add "retweeted by" in the status line under the tweet:

  • currently we can't edit or add any information to the retweet. Previously we could edit the tweet down or add a comment as there was space with the 140 character limit.

  • there are some new lists of the retweets, from your right side menu ("retweets") - Under "Your tweets, retweeted" they show who has retweeted (see the icons under each retweet):

  • I don't see an RSS feed listed for the retweets yet.
Other new things from Twitter

Incidentally, Twitter is opening up a lot of new features and functionality these days. Lists are one I have also been playing with. They have also integrated Twitter with LinkedIn so we can push tweets to LinkedIn status messages, and I see there is now Twitter in Spanish and some new functionality (from what I can understand) with Twitter in French. It is worth following the Twitter blog to learn about all the new features coming down the pipe.

Do you have pointers or questions about the new retweeting feature?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals: Why I will be voting "Yes" to the SLA name change

I have remained fairly quiet about the proposed name change for the Special Libraries Association until now because I have been giving it some good thought, and watching the various conversations unfold. Change is not always easy, and it has amazed me how seriously people take the names and labels we apply to ourselves.

This is why I will be voting "Yes" to the name change. Take from it what you will:

  • I have always found "Special Libraries Association" to be problematic. The term "special library" is not clear, and people outside librarianship do not understand what it means. I always say "specialized library" to clarify, and still that is not completely accurate. Aren't all libraries specialized in some way? I also object to it being "libraries" instead of "librarians" because it is not our libraries that are members. And even so, SLA includes more than librarians, so that would not be accurate as well. And ever since the Symbionese Liberation Army, the abbreviation SLA has had negative connotations in my book. At any rate, I have been waiting a long time for the opportunity to move on to another name.
  • We all can come up with a name that we prefer for the Association, but the truth is everyone else will think his/her own idea is better. We are never going to come up with a perfect name that everyone adores. SLA is just too big an association for that, and our many members are just too diverse to all completely agree. This is not a bad thing in my books--the diversity is what helps us to see things from other perspectives and makes us strong as an organization, and helps feed me as a member.
  • In today's world, one cannot just make up a name and go with it. There has to be availability as far as business name, trademark and domain name. And it has to work on a global level, not just in the U.S. As we know, easier said than done! I always find naming things (blogs, my company) the most difficult part of any new project, and adding this layer of obstacles makes it near impossible to come up with an original name. I am impressed that the SLA Alignment initiative took it even a step further and ran focus groups, and tested the names they came up with against the market, and found a clear winner.
  • The research SLA did with marketing/branding experts Fleishman-Hillard was pretty intense. For the record, I was part of one of the focus groups here in Toronto. I learned a lot about attitudes towards librarians from the others (non-librarians) who also took part. It became even clearer to me on that day that a change is needed.
  • It is time to open up the possibilities for ourselves. While I love being a librarian, and will always consider myself one, the name of my occupation can cut two ways. There is a lot of respect for libraries, but we are often seen as the people in the back quietly making things run. And yet, my skills are so varied I can be involved in many aspects of an organization to help it run more smoothly: library, information management, knowledge management, and records management to name a few. Why restrict ourselves to library? Where are the librarians who are CIOs?
  • A lot of money, time and effort has gone into this name change proposal. If we do not seize the moment and change it now, it is unlikely a chance will come around for a very long time, if at all. I highly doubt SLA Executive Boards in the near future are going to want to risk yet more rejection if we do not accept this name.
  • The proposed new name, Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals (ASKP), is one I can live with. Actually, I really like it. But the key is that we have to be able to live with it, even if we don't love it. The term "strategic" places me right where I want to be, leading projects and organizations in their goals and objectives, and helping them in their accomplishments. I tend to talk about "information professionals" rather than "librarians" (because my profession includes more than librarians) or "knowledge professionals" but the truth is those in IT have sewn up the term "information" so it is difficult for us to differentiate ourselves if we use that term. If we get into semantics, I see "knowledge" as building on and going a step further than "information" so this is a positive difference. While all members certainly don't work in knowledge management, we are all smart knowledge workers (as originally defined by Peter Drucker) in our own right. So, this is appropriate. And we are all professionals. This is an association of ambitious, smart people who approach their work in a professional manner. And many of us consider our work to be not just a nine-to-five job, but a vocation.
The more I think about it, the more I see this name change as a positive change. I have heard so much negative feedback, I thought it was time to put in a positive voice.

For additional information, visit the SLA Name Change Info Center. If you are on Facebook and are also thinking about voting for the new name, join me on the page YES to Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals. The vote begins Monday, November 16 and ends on December 9th.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Women's Law Association of Ontario: 90th Anniversary Gala

I am doing work with the Women's Law Association of Ontario, and helping to spread the word about their upcoming 90th Anniversary Gala at the Royal York Hotel on Thursday, November 26. They have an exciting evening planned, with The Right Honourable Madam Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin giving the keynote talk. Everyone is welcome: members and non-members; men and women. A link to the registration form is below.

The Women's Law Association of Ontario is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing issues and causes relevant to women in the legal profession through education and awareness programs.

Women's Law Association of Ontario Logo

Friday, October 02, 2009

Law Librarian Podcast: Social Media and Law Libraries

Today's episode of the Law Librarian podcast will be recorded at 3 pm ET or 12 noon PT on Blogtalkradio. Our topic today will be social media and law libraries. Join us live (listen via the website --headphones recommended at the office) and call in with questions, or listen to the recording later. I will be participating in this episode. Richard Leiter hosts with his new co-host Marcia Dority Baker.

Incidentally, I was away during the last recording on September 3rd but have had a listen. The focus of the episode--"What's Real in the Real World?"--was on resources used in law firm libraries, and the discussion between academic and private law librarians regarding what is needed for legal research training for law students piqued my interest.

[also posted to]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Adoption of Web 2.0 by Libraries: Pivot Points of Change

It's fine to learn all you can about the new technologies, but the challenge is figuring out how to practically implement them into your work, and how to adapt to the change. I like this presentation by Buffy Hamilton, High School Media Specialist at Creekview High School in Canton, GA she will be giving this week to the Georgia Public Library All-Staff Meeting.

I like that this is a fresh look at the technology, helping to make it accessible. She comforts us by letting us know that we do not have to change everything, but gives ideas on how to gradually change up what we are doing.

See also her blog post Pivot Points for Change and her wiki-licious resources page to accompany the presentation.

Updated: and this is the blog post she says started it all. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Introducing Canadian Book Review Annual Online

On my Crosby Group blog Connection I have just announced a new client initiative, working with The Dundurn Group to get word out about the newly launched Canadian Book Review Annual Online. I am excited about this project, since this well-respected publication was last published in paper format back in 2006. For the full press release and instructions on how to take advantage of the 30 day free trial on Monday, please see my full blog post.

I had a chance to take an advance look at the preview, and am impressed. There is the choice of a one-box search, or an advanced search screen that I find intuitive while allowing for complex Boolean searches. I like that results can be sorted by any field such as author, publisher or date just by clicking on the heading name. Book reviews are helpful and succinct. One can click on publisher name, author name, and tags (informal key words indicating things such as format and subject) to find more of the same.

The free trial is only for the next month, so I encourage you to sign up and try it out, whether you are in a library or not. This is a great Canadian resource we should all be familiar with!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Law Librarian Talk Show: Resources Used in Law Firms

I'm back from a fabulous vacation where I had a chance to recharge my batteries, and am now in the process of catching up. One thing I missed was participating in the latest episode of The Law Librarian talk show/podcast on BlogTalk Radio. The latest episode recorded on Friday--What's Real in the Real World?--focusses on resources used in law firm libraries. I haven't listened to the full episode yet, but encourage you to have a listen and add your comments to the show's Facebook page or host Richard Leiter's blog, The Life of Books.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Libraries of the Future

I'm heading out for a couple weeks' vacation. I have *so many things* lined up for this blog, but alas it will have to wait. In the meantime, here is an interesting video (running just over 9 minutes) about what the future of libraries will be, put together by JISC in the UK. Which side do you fall on--will we have librarians in the future?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Best Canadian Law Firm Website

Yes, I have had my head down working. Yes, I am still alive and kicking. So many things to tell you dear readers about! Here is a quick one for now--from Mitch Kowalski at the Financial Post's Legal Post blog:

Jordan Furlong, editor of the Canadian Bar Association's magazine, The National, has rounded up a group of writers who focus on innovative legal practices and tasked them with selecting the top websites by a Canadian law firm.

I am honoured to be one of the judges.
Sites will be judged in the following categories:

1. Big Firm (national/multi-jurisdictional)
2. Small Firm/Solo
3. British Columbia (national firms excluded from the provincial/regional categories)
4. Prairies
5. Ontario
6. Quebec
7. Atlantic Provinces
8. Blogs (not the best law blog, but the law firm websites that have the best blog(s) or use blogging the best)
9. Multi-Media (best use of podcasts, videos, etc.)
10. Student/Recruiting

If you would like your firm's blog to be considered by Mitch, send it to by tonight at 11:59 p.m ET (i.e. before midnight!)

Oh, did I mention? I'm also a judge. Hmmm, perhaps I should mention this over on my company blog as well.

Let the best websites win! Winners will be announced in the fall.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

15 Key Observations by Bob Pearson

Tonight I am attending Third Tuesday Toronto with speaker Bob Pearson, President of the Social Media Business Council (formerly Blog Council); also formerly of Dell.

15 Key Observations about big business and social media

1. Customers are co-shaping your reputation every day.

2. Customers assume leaders will identify issues before they happen.

They have set up a "hot issues" team to try to anticipate.

3. The customer does not care where you want them to go.

We go where we find what we need. Our networks, therefore, are liquid.

4. Less than 1% of a customer's time is spent purchasing a product.

5. E-commerce will become e-community.

Customers don't want to go two places to get what they want. Sears,
Wal-mart and Dell are doing work in this area.

6. How people consume content is changing.

YouTube has become the second largest search engine. Customers go
where they want to.

7. The media world isn't changing -- it has changed.

Traditional media such as New York Times that are content producers
are find. Next successful are bloggers.

8. There isn't a destination for a customer.

If your clients are signed up for your email they may no longer be
coming to your website.

9. Syndication of content is more important than traffic to your site.

Micro-communities, video, etc. Customer-driven preference;
participation is a choice.

10. 10-20% of your customer base in a given year.

The majority are searching online, asking peers, or doing nothing when
they have a problem. Better to empower them to help each other.

11. Customers want to do three things to help each other.

12. Don't measure trust internally if you are living it.

Employees help each other.

13. We judge people by how they interact with us.

We need to speak the customer's language. How many languages can we

Put ratings and reviews right in front of customers. Be open and honest.

14. Preparing for yesterday is ineffective.

Old models and habits hold back innovation. They look and smell nice,
but hold you back.

15. Ethical behaviour is a key part of maintaining trust.

We should never support fake blog posts. Important we keep our ethics

In conclusion: "Companies that cling to the past may not realize it,
but they will lose relevance."

From the Q&A:

Websites are a great place to store your content that is syndicated,
but most people will not be coming to your site.

Virtual worlds still have a place but are not yet ready. Shopping mall
or tech support worlds would be useful.

If you get real feedback, some will be positive and some will be

Companies are mostly using old tech support models. Need to change --
companies like Comcast are heading the way.

Social media monitoring: you can see what is being said about your
brand. There could be 30 to 40 times the discussion of your brand in
social networks than you are seeing in Google.

Getting legal counsel on board: bring them in early as part of the
team. Pick one or two to be your social media experts. Same with IT:
they will set up roadblocks at first. Pick one or two to work with you.

Most people are not talking to their customers each day. Start with
free resources such as Google Alerts or NetVibes to monitor what their
clients are saying and what their competitors are doing. He's usually
working 20 steps ahead of this, but important to get clients starting

Customer service and social media is a journey -- we are 10-12 years
out from finding a good way to approach this. The Social Media
Business Council
is important in this respect, it allows members to
share notes and see what works, what does not work.

Search screens in mobile devices: first third of the screen is
important; bottom two thirds is not.

Inside the Council there is a private group where they share
privately. Info is shared publicly at
and on the blog

If you are interested in community building, don't look at what
companies are doing, look instead at what Facebook is doing.

Note: Moblogged (live-blogged via mobile) from my iPhone with cleanup and links added afterward. Any errors or ommissions are my responsibility and not that of the speaker.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day & the Story of the Six String Nation Guitar

It's that time of year when we kick back and appreciate how lucky we are to be in Canada.

Not quite two weeks ago I was in Kingston, Ontario with friends attending Podcasters Across Borders, an annual conference for (you guessed it) podcasters. Each year we come from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and further afield in Canada, U.S. and even Brazil to converge, catch up and learn. We always expect to be inspired, but on the Friday evening before things had even really had a chance to start, we were caught off guard by a very moving, emotional keynote address.

Jowi Taylor of the Six String Nation project spoke to us about the creation of a very special guitar, the Voyageur. It is made from 63 artefacts of Canadian culture and history, including Pierre Trudeau's canoe paddle, Paul Henderson's hockey stick, Maurice "Rocket" Richard's first Stanley Cup ring, L.M. Montgomery's house in Cavendish, and copper from the Library of Parliament among many, many others. The guitar has been in the hands of many people including me and my friends, if you look closely at these photos by Alexa Clark above, and has been played by many famous Canadians since 2006 including Stephen Fearing, Colin James, Hawksley Workman, Feist and many others. If you watched today's Canada Day festivities on CBC, you would have hopefully seen Shane Yellowbird playing it (see photo below):

People have been learning about the Six String Nation project through word of mouth. During his talk we learned that Jowi Taylor has financed the project himself without sponsorship, which has been a fantastic labour of love that has unfortunately left him in debt. Many of us were moved by the collaborative, patriotic spirit of the project and made personal contributions.

A book has now been released to talk about the story of the guitar. It also includes stories of the pieces incorporated into the guitar, and portraits of people with the guitar. This project is bringing together and helping to define our nation in many ways. I encourage you to watch the intro video below, explore the other videos on YouTube telling the moving stories of how the pieces were gathered, and check out the website. If you are lucky to have the Voyageur visit your community, I encourage you to see it live and perhaps even try it out. It is going to be at Harbourfront in Toronto, for example, July 24-26, 2009. The schedule calendar is on the front of the website.

Photo credits (from top to bottom):

Podcasters Across Borders & Six String National guitar photo montage by LexnGer, made available under a Creative Commons license.

Shane Yellowbird at Canada Day celebrations July 1, 2009 in Ottawa playing the Voyageur, photo courtesy Six String Nation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Connie Crosby's Top 6 Ways to Find Out What's Going On

And It's A Wrap
Originally uploaded by LexnGer
My friend and colleague Wendy Reynolds recently asked me to write about how I keep up. The answer really comes in three parts:
(1) How do I find out about groups and events?
(2) What groups do I belong to or meet with?
(3) What events are coming up?

Let me tackle the first one in this post. Here are my top 6 ways I find out what's going on:
  1. Twitter - often the people I follow are in the same groups as I am, or have similar interests. They talk about upcoming events and groups they are part of. My curiosity leads me to check out what they are talking about. Sometimes I hear about them attending events while they are there, in which case I am disappointed I have missed out. That motivates me to pay more attention, and possibly join in with the next event put on by that group.

  2. Facebook - one thing Facebook is very good at is allowing people to organize events. The people who organize events often send messages out to their friends or members of groups to invite them. I also get invited to various groups via Facebook. I have these notifications set up to be sent to my email so I don't have to constantly log onto Facebook. That being said, I check into Facebook periodically to see what events others are signing up for in case there is something of interest. The more groups you join, or the more friends you connect with, the more likely you are to hear about events. To me this is one of the most powerful things about Facebook.

  3. - A number of groups use Meetup to organize meetings. I make sure to sign up as a member of each group I am interested in. Organizers use the system to send notices about upcoming messages to the members. Periodically I am also notified about new groups falling within my area of interest, as defined by me in my profile. I also periodically check to see what groups my friends are signed up for. I used to mine, a similar site, for events, but find not as many groups using it these days. And to be honest, I find since Yahoo took it over I have difficulty signing into the site to use it.

  4. Email discussion lists - listserves, group lists, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups - yes, email lists are still thriving. I am signed up for a number in Toronto for various associations and interest groups, most of which I read in daily summary mode, and watch them for events of interest.

  5. Get involved - I am involved in a lot of different groups, both formal (associations) and informal (communities of interest). That means frequently I have an "inside track" on events coming up. As well, I am sometimes contacted by people in other groups putting on events looking for advice or, more likely, wanting to spread the word.

  6. Check with someone who knows what is going on - about once a week my friend Eden Spodek and I touch base and talk about upcoming events and meetings we are going to. Once in a while one of us will know about something the other doesn't (usually she is more in the know than I am). It's not something we plan on doing, but it just seems to happen when we start talking. Our interests are similar but we largely work in different industries, so do hear about different things.

    People seem to use my blog in this way, too. I try to let people know about things they might be interested in, thinking about whether most people interested are on Facebook, Twitter, or a listserv. I'm a bit slow at getting upcoming events onto this blog. Last month I posted about upcoming Toronto events that were of interest to me, and probably should continue doing something like that which would also address number 3) above.
Note each of these informs the other. Quite often I hear about one event several times over in all different methods. To the point where I don't have to look to find, it almost seems to come by osmosis.

You may be surprised to see I do not check blogs or monitor RSS feeds for upcoming events. Do you? How do you find out what is going on?

Photo credit: BookCamp wrap-up, Saturday June 6, 2009 And It's A Wrap
Originally uploaded by LexnGer. Photo used under Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

SLA Toronto presents... Best of the Web

I will be moderating the upcoming SLA Toronto session, a tour of four librarians' top research websites. It should be a fun evening--I hope you will join us!

SLA Toronto presents ….

Best of the Web

Join friends and colleagues for an interesting and informative evening!
Speakers from a variety of special libraries will show the top 10-20 sites in their area of research.


Robert Fabbro: Ontario College of Art and Design
Valerie Hatten: Ontario Science Centre
Daniel Lee: Navigator Ltd.
Frank Van Kalmthout: Archives of Ontario

Moderator: Connie Crosby

Date: Wednesday June 24, 2009


University of Toronto, Faculty of Information
Room 728
140 St. George St.


5:30-6:00: Registration and networking. A light dinner will be available.

6:00-7:15: Presentations


Members: $20.00
Non-members: $30.00
Retired/Unemployed: $10.00
Students: Free

Click here for Registration information
Registration deadline is June 22, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

50 Best Blogs for Law Librarians

The folks at Online University Lowdown have put together their listing of the 50 Best Blogs for Law Librarians. Some fantastic blogs! I wanted to point out those of a few friends that have been included:

And of course there are many friends behind the other blogs mentioned, too. Congratulations, everyone, for the mention!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Toronto Events You Should Know About

I run around to a lot of great events. Sometimes I mention them on Twitter or Facebook, but if you don't happen to be following me at the time I post, you probably miss them. There are SO MANY amazing events happening in this great city, it is easy to miss some good ones. Here are some of the upcoming happenings I am aware of (click on the event name for the details):

Science Rendezvous
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Amazing event throughout the city of Toronto and beyond. Something for all ages. Sounds like a lot of fun! From the website:
Over 600 volunteers and leaders in science and technology, representing award-winning Canadian institutions and organizations across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) open their doors, offering an engaging experience and look into the fascinating accomplishments of world-class research and activities. From the serious to the fun and quirky, free events and lab tours take place on campuses across the region and in a variety of outdoor and indoor venues, engaging adults, families and children in a day of fun and exploration.
(Hat tip to JP)

Toronto Girl Geek Dinner
May 12, 2009
6:30 p.m. at the Pilot
Registration is required on
This month's meeting is focussing on job search and career strategy. It's filling up fast! Don't delay getting your name on the list.

May 15, 2009
8 pm - ??
at the Mod Club
Every year a group of keen cyclists ride from Toronto to Montreal in the Friends for Life Rally in support of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA). The cyclists have to raise a minimum $2,200 each to participate. Many of my friends have taken part over the years, and I have been proud to give them support (I haven't ridden it myself--yet). This year a group of avid participants have gotten together to create a fundraising party called SpinTO. It will bring some of the outrageous fun they experience on the road to the dance floor, and I can't wait! Consider joining us--register now. They are also looking for event sponsors.

Knowledge Ontario Ideas Forum
May 21, 2009
8:30 - 4:oo pm
Knowledge Ontario is looking to use feedback from this day to plan out its next 3 years. I will be attending and helping with the live Twitter coverage. More details to follow--you will want to follow along online! Please also feel free to join us online in advance to talk about libraries and how we can look to the future to deliver information services to people in Ontario.

Regent Park School of Music 2009 fundraiser

Monday, May 25, 2009
Boiler House, Distillery District
Featuring the RPSM Choir and the Barenaked Ladies
(Hat tip to kurtv)

Knowledge Workers Toronto

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
at the Verity Club
Subject: Creating Space for Knowledge in Organizations
Speaker: Rivadávia (Riva) C. Drummond de Alvarenga Neto - Professor at Fundação Dom Cabral, a Brazilian business school ranked the 16th best business school in the world and the best one in Latin America according to the Financial Times Executive Education ranking 2008.
Space is limited, please register to attend.
May 7th update: Verity Club has been booked; there will be a $15 charge for this meeting due to location. Thank you.

BookCamp Toronto

Saturday, June 6, 2009
9 am - 5 pm
at the iSchool at University of Toronto
Canada's first unconference about the book and publishing industry.
Registration is free, but please register to attend.

Net Change Week

Monday, June 8 - Friday, June 12, 2009
This is a week of events dedicated to exploring the connection between social change and social technology. A number of events have been scheduled. Earlier this week I attended a brainstorming meeting of some of Toronto's social networking leaders to come up with additional ideas for the week. I look forward to seeing what comes of that.

What events have I missed that you are looking forward to??

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Women’s Law Association of Ontario - Alternative Careers in Law

The Women's Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) and the Law Society of Upper Canada will be presenting a program on alternative careers in law the evening of May 6th. From the program:
Not sure if your hard-earned law degree gives you what you need? Ready for a career change or just interested in learning about the hidden opportunities in and outside of law? Join us for our 3rd Annual panel of successful and influential women lawyers who have found their niche.

The panel looks outstanding:
Ritu Bhasin - Director of Student & Associate Programmes - Stikeman Elliott LLP

Mayo Moran, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Dorothy Quann, Vice president, General Counsel and Secretary - Xerox Canada Ltd.

Anna Kinastowski, City Solicitor, City of Toronto

For more details, see the registration form.

Reposted from

Monday, April 20, 2009

LegalIT 3.0: Achieving the Paper LESS (TM) Office

Liveblogged at the Legal IT 3.0 conference in Montreal. Any error or omissions are my responsibility, not that of the presenters. Target audience are lawyers in firms and counsel in organizations.

Ross L. Kodner

His CLE materials are available on the Microlaw website.

He doesn't actually think we will be able to achieve paperless offices in our lifetime. What he is going to talk about an approach for dealing with paper. Reduce how much time you are spending looking for paper documents, touch documents less often.

Do you scan everything or almost everything as it comes into your organization? If you haven't, since you have been practicing law, your case files are likely fragmented in many different places. You probably have not seen entire case file all in one place. Document management system, contact system, email, case file system, billing system--information is in many different places. This is dangerous. You should have the ability to see all of your client file information in one place.

If you are going to build a complete case file, it is much easier in electronic than paper form. Currently everyone prints all the emails and put them in the paper files. This is time consuming and expensive. It also does not make sense to take an electronic item that is fully searchable with complete metadata to print it out in an inefficient format (paper). Can take up to 30 minutes to get it into the file by the time you print and file.

If you are going to scan paper that comes in, who decides what is going to be scanned?

File naming conventions
  • need to be consistent
  • need to be logical
  • e.g. date, doctype, entity type, subject
  • you should be able at a glance to tell what is in a file
Scanning does not always mean OCR
  • scanning in the past was synonymous with having the computer recognizing text
  • unless a good, clean document you are going to have garbage scanned in - often faster to type something in than clean up a poor scanned document
  • scanning is often into PDF
  • make sure you know how to scan so that the PDFs are searchable
  • WHO is doing the scanning?? How do they know what to scan, how to scan it, how to name the files, and where to file them? Often scanning can mean more problems than they are worth. You are better to have individual assistants do the scanning rather than having centralized scanning. You will know what you have where. Get smaller scanners for the desks, use the large central scanning for the big cases.
Where do all the documents go? Think of your server as a giant file cabinet. You store the matter files in the equivalent of a brown expandable file, and the different types of files in the equivalent of the manila file folder. Your individual documents are inside this file.

WorldDox - good for small- to mid-size firms

Sam Coppola
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

A lot of his practice is in the film industry.

As younger people come in, the non-equity partners do want to do things the same way as others do.

Before - large firm use of paper:
  • 39,000 lbs of paper (19.5 tons or 200 tons CO2 gases) in Montreal office
  • recycled 162,250 lbs of paper in Montreal
  • 57,000,000 sheets of paper annually - half the average of use of paper by most law firms (average is 0.5 ton per lawyer or 5 tons of CO2 gases)
After - use of paper increased!

Stikeman Elliott recently announced themselves as carbon neutral. They achieved this by buying carbon credits. Coppola believes to truly be carbon neutral, we need to find ways of reducing what we use such as reusing paper.

Quebec law - paper is still required in An Act to Establish a Legal Framework for Information Technology - he can't serve someone electronically yet.

Adapting in a big firm
  • set a date - set aside all the old paper
  • get a tablet PC, write your notes into it - becomes a visual image of your notes - has more integrity
  • digital dictaphone
  • a second screen for his computer
  • client meetings: have the tablet PC, take the digital notes. If you have wifi, connect to your own network, automatically upload to the system - take only your computer, only use paper. That will also set an example for your client.
Paperless meeting room
  • e.g. Estonian ministers started meeting without paper in 2008
Document management systems
  • Document input
  • Document processing
  • Indexing & verification
  • Storage & management
Digital dictation
  • readily adapts to traditional lawyer workflow
  • transcription may not be necessary
Billing & Accounting
  • his accounting department still insists on printing a pre-bill and the actual bill to get his signature; he could sign electronically with his tablet
  • accounting assistant needs to be able to work on multiple documents at once, therefore need more than one screen - "multi-screens"
  • they are still sending paper reminders about bills - send by email instead. You will have to follow up with clients still.
Originals still count! Some types of documents should still be in paper
  • corporate formation documents, minutes of meetings
  • birth certificates
  • stocks, bonds
  • etc.
Signed documents
  • paper preferred, electronic secondary
  • CD or DVD format becomes easier
  • every time you create an electronic document, you have to ensure the integrity of the document - you could still be called to court about the process of transferring documents into digital format. You may need to answer to the process.
Not using paper document, "lose control of the paper"
  • you ideally want to be the one in control of the document and updating it - can be a big edge
  • if you do your document in Word, send it out in PDF so they have to come back to you to make changes so you can see what is being changed.
"Less we can!"

LegalIT 3.0: 90+ Legal Tech Tips in 90 Minutes

Liveblogged at Legal IT 3.0 in Montreal. Some of these tips are excellent time-saving tips, others are tongue-in-cheek. I didn't catch all of them! But here are the ones I did---

Ross L. Kodner

Metadata removal - Metadata Assistant from Payne Group

Google Chrome browser

Ultimate Gear Management Clothing - carry all of your gadgets! Fill all the pockets before going through airport security

NeatReceipts - scanner plugs into PC $230 US - the software takes the receipt and recognized the information on the receipt, categorizes it, puts it into a spreadsheet that can be exported as a Quickbooks format - extremely accurate

Remote-Controlled Golf Ball - fool the people you are golfing with

Electronic charging stations for all your gadgets

Disposing of old PC systems - beware packed with confidential client information - how can you eradicate this information - "electronic shredders" delete the data - he recommends the Red Dragon Jet Torch Kits

iPhone - he thinks the keyboard has to improve before widespread adoption by lawyers

Virtual law practices - - your staff can be anywhere, acts as your receptionist - focussed on tips for everything useful in your life and business - worth someone 10 minutes every day in your office to monitor for tips you can use.

Document management & email management - Worldox - how much substantive content is buried in your email folder? This product is good for a firm 250 lawyers or smaller. There are other products for larger firms

Virtual Legal Assistants - LegalTypist and Virtual Paralegal Services - e.g. call in and dictate; send electronic email - trained North American legal paralegals & assistants. Typically charged by word (1-3 cents per word) [Connie's note: check out Canadian legal paralegal Halo Secretarial]

Ross Ipsa Loquietur
- his own blog - send large attachments for free, secure - comes from you, far more secure than open Internet email
- an alternative to - run the programs on your office system from home

Crosley USB Turntable - transfer your album tracks to your iPod via USB

Netbooks - small laptops (9 or 10-inch screens) e.g. Lenova Ideapad - runs Windows XP home edition - incredible amount of computer power for tiny amount of money - sweet spot is around $400. Easier for travel; turn on and turn off much faster.

Long-lasting keyboards -

Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay

He gave a number of Firefox and Twitter tips, and also:

- personal research assistant inside your browser - add commentary to sources

KeyPass Portable
- secure password manager
- proposed minimum technology skills base for lawyers

Simply File

Inbox Zero - tricks for reducing your email from the people at 43 Folders

Yubnub - social command line for the web - he is sing it with CanLII, for example - uses with RSS such as with Canlii - post a feed to a website - PDF search engine

PDF Hammer
- edit PDF documents online

OmniFormat - "a free document conversion utility which allows dynamic conversion and image manipulation of over 75 file formats including HTML, DOC, XLS, WPD, PDF, JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG, PCX, PPT, PS, TXT, Photo CD, FAX and MPEG" - change files from any format to any other format

Evernote - capture hand-written notes, place notes onto web pages.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Legal IT 3.0 Conference - Montreal April 20 & 21, 2009

I will be speaking at the upcoming Legal IT 3.0 conference in Montreal. I will be part of a panel with Steve Matthews and Kevin O’Keefe discussing how lawyers and law firms can go beyond having a website to build a better web presence.

For more information, please see my Crosby Group Connection blog post, or better yet visit the Legal IT website directly.

If you can make it, I hope to see you there.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Third Tuesday Toronto: Talk by Mathew Ingram of the Globe & Mail

Third Tuesday Toronto: Mathew Ingram of the Globe & Mail

Mathew Ingram is a former columnist, reporter and blogger. He is @mathewi on Twitter. He is now the communities editor for the Globe & Mail.

This is a repeat of the session he did at Podcamp Toronto but will give us lots of opportunity to ask questions.

What is the Globe & Mail doing in social media?

Public Policy Wiki:

The idea for the wiki already existed when he started, but became his project when he started. A way to let people tell them their thinking about important policies such as with regard to the federal budget and Canadian involvement in Afghanistan. They are now looking at the environment.

The LA Times Wikitorial was a bad wiki experience in newspapers - people started defacing the site, gave a bad reputation to wikis in news circles.

The Globe & Mail took a chance and still went ahead with their wiki.

Cover It Live
- a Toronto-based company (formerly Altcaster) live-blogging tool - the way of doing the same things they do with a news story but in a more interactive way. Pulls in photos, tweets from Twitter, comments, etc. in addition to the newspaper's own coverage. During one discussion they had the former head of digital for Rogers take part; it would have taken a lot of effort to book him in advance.

Twitter - growing number of their writers and staff are on Twitter. Do you get someone to tweet under the company name, or do they tweet under their own names, or do you do both? They have some automated feeds (e.g. Globe technology feed), but they also have personal Twitter feeds. The reason why people like Twitter, it is the personal connection. If you make it too "corporate" you are missing out on what makes it powerful. It is also possible to track "flash crowds" on Twitter i.e. can track fast-moving opinions e.g. Motrin Moms fiasco. Tools such as Tweetdeck help to track.

Why are they doing it?

Newspapers have always been social, but conversations always take place elsewhere. Social networking tools are helping to connect them to the conversations.

Connecting with readers can benefit the readers and also the Globe. Frequently what they pick are often different than what people pick themselves to talk about. They can also get direct feedback from readers; if they can find people who are touched by a story and have information for them, they can get a better story. It becomes a win-win situation.

What have they learned?

Wikis are easy to start. Policy wiki runs on Tikiwiki, an easy to use tool. The hard part is the "gardening", keeping it going, getting people to respond and feel comfortable in sharing things there and doing things there. These tools are not hard to use, but hard to keep going.

He didn't think people would care that much about the federal budget, but they had people create 35-40 policy proposals. That surprised him. They asked for input by a certain time (a time limit), it was topical, and they set the goal of sending the 2 best policy proposals to the government.

By contrast, they had very few participants, however, for Afghanistan and the current environment issue. There isn't a tangible goal or end. He believes they didn't get a lot of vandalism because a lot of people didn't know it was there. They also purposely set it up as a very serious discussion. The vast majority have been well thought-out contributions.

Cover It Live - some people want to experience the news in a different way. Some people with a live event are okay with a bit more chaos than the typical, organized news story. It feels like they are more part of the news story. Some people hate it, they see too many people's comments, they just want to see the reporters' takes.

Twitter - people like to connect with people. Just a corporate entity - smaller number of people following it. They are trying to find a happy media between corporate and personalities.

What is coming?

They are going to try everything, regardless how silly the name sounds. Allows them to understand what their readers are using and how they are using.

They have a new Globe & Mail beta iPhone app.

More writers using Twitter.

Why not think about a story about a blog? Blogs give you a better sense that journalism is a process, doesn't really stop.

Q & A

Q: As the paper of record, how does the Globe & Mail archive all of this stuff?
A: It doesn't right now. The idea of "paper of record" is an anachronism, from a time when there was no other way to find information.

Q: How do you tell people what the value is of things like Twitter?
A: There are a lot of people who are ambivalent or actively hostile. Twitter sounds inconsequential and very hard to get past that. People are used to something important sounding important. He finds someone else who is new to it, the lightbulb has gone on, and have them talk about why they are doing it. Frequently when you first learn why it is useful, you are the best salesman. Since it is his job to promote it, more difficult for him to promote it than someone who spontaneously talks about it. There is nothing that is going to reach people if they don't see the value. He suggests they try it, and if they don't find value, stop using it. Not everyone needs to use Twitter.

Q: What are the risks of putting your information out their e.g. privacy
A: Those are important things to be concerned about, privacy is an important issue. We have lost a lot of privacy. These tools are turning everything into a small town, both in good and bad ways. People pull together and help each other out, but also you get everyone knowing each others' business, pettiness, gossip. Everyone is going to find their own place on the spectrum maintaining their privacy.

Q: In the future, are hospitals, schools, newspapers going to go away?
A: Hospitals and schools are not going to go away. Newspapers will fit in somewhere even if not as prominent as they have been, just the way fewer people now go to theatre.

Q: Was there any thought in making the leap to the communities editor role?
A: There was some trepidation about the risk, but mostly he was excited. He fairly quickly got past the fear of being visible online by writing a column online for 5 years with comments from readers. He's now beyond the point where negative comments irritates him, and he can see the jewels from someone who makes an intelligent comment. He hopes to get everyone at the Globe & Mail to that point, where they can see the value among the noise.

Q: You are a journalist, not a regular blogger. How do you manage that risk?
A: There is no existing law that says who is liable if someone makes a comment online. He argues it is the Globe & Mail's duty to get sued so that law can be developed in this area. There is a little law in the U.S., but there isn't much knowledge of what would happen.

Q: Have you ever had negative comments on a story about a company that was also a big advertiser?
A: Companies do get concerned about negative comments on the story. They explain that is how the Internet works. The Globe has gotten good over the years of separating the journalism side from the advertiser side; however, may becoming more difficult with online.

Q: What do you do to attract more interesting comments on the stories?
A: The number one thing people suggested when he started that the comments needed to improve, that the trolls and garbage had to be dealt with.

One problem is a tools problem - their publishing system is older and doesn't necessarily do what they would like it to do; they need to add tools so that people can vote and elevate the good comments. They want to incorporate a reputation management tool so that people who do not identify themselves are at the bottom; people who jump through certain hoops get elevated and receive incentives for writing better quality comments. Currently they are doing the equivalent of giving them a blank wall and a spray can. He is actually surprised at the number of thoughtful comments that do get posted. The other problem is an attitudinal problem.

When they close down the comments to a discussion, so people just tend to move the conversation. They need to find a better way to explain why they close comments, and to keep the conversation on the site. The need to deal with it better.

Q. How do you decide when to cut your losses and move on to the next thing?
A. They haven't given up on anything yet. The Policy Wiki isn't super busy, but if it became a ghost town they would shut it down or turn it into something that would bring people. He doesn't see how Twitter is ever going to fail unless people move on to something else.

When he says "do everything" he does not necessarily mean use every tool every time. They have to think about what the tool does, what they want to achieve, then try it out. They may use it differently next time.

Q: How are the number of people reading online changed compared to reading the print newspaper?
A: Online readers have definitely increased. They have roughly the same number of people who just read online as who just read in print. There is a growing number who read both. He doesn't expect in his lifetime to see no printed version of the Globe.

Q: What about internal use - is social media being used internally to collaborate on stories?
A: Not really in a great way or terribly effective way. They have a wiki-type-thing (MS Sharepoint) and they are trying to do it, but not working that well since people don't know it is there, don't care, don't feel comfortable with it. They are battling the same types of issues internally as they are externally. He is trying to evangelise inside the Globe as well as outside, trying to show people why these things are valuable.

Q: Are you watching what conversations are taking place about your stories?
A: Yes, if they watch the traffic and keep stories on the page longer. Do they report the stories differently? Not always, but possibly. He remembers the comments affecting how they covered a story when someone pointed out they only covered one side of the story. The reporter added another interview to get another perspective. She could have seen the commenters just as trolls, but she used it as valuable feedback. Another example just after they launched the comments, someone in the comments gave an essential piece of information for a story that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten.

Q: When you first started at The Globe, your job wasn't well defined. How do you know you have been successful?
A: He still has a job. A job is the new bonus. He doesn't know how to measure whether what they are doing has an effect yet or not. Does his posting a link from Twitter affect readership--would they have found the story anyway? How does he know he has any affect at all? Their biggest story to date, he couldn't find any large site that he can give credit to. He thinks it was due to Twitter and blogs, but he can't prove it.

They are trying to measure engagement. How do you measure that? Time spent on a page, clickthrough, feedback? You measure all of those things.

Q: Would people be able to engage reporters online to make comments to articles?
A: He can't think of any example specifically, but if you are part of the conversation, you will be part of what they take into account when writing a story. If you are putting a spin on something, you will probably rate lower in the mix.

Q: How does the speed of things affect the old style of journalism?
A: He feels things are actually now better. Two benefits of how we are doing it now:
  • it is a lot easier to find things and do investigation now. Now everyone is online, so it is easier to find key people
  • news should be much more of a process; stories develop, get updated, new information comes to light. You are not pretending the story is whole and shaped in a certain way and will never change.
Closing thoughts

People have been hinting at what the benefits for The Globe or any company. They have customers (readers), reaching those people is good. There are going to be things they don't want to hear, but the process is good for them and for companies in general.

Live-blogged at Third Tuesday Toronto. Any inaccuracies or omissions are solely my error made during my note-taking and should not reflect on the speaker. Thanks to the Berkeley Church Heritage Event centre for the free wifi so I could liveblog this!

March 25 update: Rannie Turingan, who also took my current bio photo on this blog, took outstanding photos from the evening. See them on his website including this one of me in action liveblogging this post!

Ada Lovelace Day 2009: Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson

I decided to take part in the first Ada Lovelace Day by writing about someone who we rarely (if ever) hear about in the blawgosphere, but who had done work in librarianship, information, intellectual property and technology law and is a fellow Canadian: Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson.

Back when I was doing my Master of Library Science at the University of Toronto, my library management professor John Wilkinson told me if I was interested in law librarianship, I should meet his daughter. It turns out that Dr. Margaret Ann Wilkinson had both a library and a law degree in addition to her PhD, and had just started teaching for both the library and law faculties at the University of Western Ontario.

Now a full-time professor at Western Law, she is currently Director of the Area of Concentration in Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law. Dr. Wilkinson still teaches LIS 9868 Ownership and Governance of Information at FIMS (Western's Faculty of Information & Media Studies) and is listed as a PhD supervisor for FIMS. She is also an Adjunct Professor at The Richard Ivey School of Business.

Dr. Wilkinson writes in a number of areas concerning IP law including copyright, privacy and personal data protection. She wrote Chapter 12 "Filtering the Flow from the Fountains of Knowledge: Access and Copyright in Education and Libraries" in Irwin Law's groundbreaking work In the Public Interest, edited by Michael Geist. She has also written on ethics, professionalism, and librarianship.

Looking through her list of publications, I also smile at “Genie in the Bottle: Intellectual Property and the Flow of Information," Canadian Law Libraries 28: 206-211 which she wrote in 2003 following her talk at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2003 annual conference at the invitation of the program committee I worked on. Our theme had to do with wine bottles (we were holding the conference in Niagara, after all) and she gracefully worked with the unusual title we pinned on her session.

Students who have taken courses with Dr. Wilkinson speak very highly of her. She has been an important part of two important faculties, and has had an influence on many library and law students over a number of years. Thank you to Dr. Wilkinson!

What is Ada Lovelace Day?

From the Ada Lovelace Day website:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants. The list of tech-related careers is endless.

Recent research by psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones. That’s a relatively simple problem to begin to address. If women need female role models, let’s come together to highlight the women in technology that we look up to. Let’s create new role models and make sure that whenever the question “Who are the leading women in tech?” is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues.

To see a list of all Ada Lovelace Day 2009 blog posts worldwide, see:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Information Management Fundamentals - March 27, 2009

Great news for those wishing to take some or all of the courses in the Information Management Certificate I just wrote about.

To take any of the courses in the Practitioner's Toolkit courses or the Manager's Toolkit Courses, you need to have at least one of the two introductory IM courses as a prerequisite. The Professional Learning Centre have added another class of the Information Management Fundamentals course this coming Friday, March 27th. Don't miss it! Even if you just want to take courses ad-hoc without doing the full certificate, you need this course first.

Connie Crosby's 7 Reasons for Taking an Information Management Certificate

Last month I wrote about starting on the new Information Management Certificate from the Professional Learning Centre (the PLC) at the iSchool at Toronto. Since that time, I have completed the two introductory courses with Deirdre Grimes and Ivan Welsh, including handing in the assignments, and just finished attending the Information Management Analyses course with Janet de Guzman and have to work on the assignment.

What keeps coming up is the question, "Why?". Why am I taking this program? Didn't I already learn information management in library school? How is it that I am consulting in information management, and yet need to take courses? All excellent questions!

Here, then, are my top 7 reasons for taking this program:

  1. Information management is a relatively new discipline. When I embarked on my Master of Library Science (MLS) degree twenty years ago, it was not on the radar of any library science program. While many of the skills of librarians are transferable to information management (or IM), we do not necessarily have formal training in this area.
  2. I am more studied in Knowledge Management. Much of my reading and learning has been in the area of Knowledge Management (or KM). Often times KM embraces IM, or IM embraces KM, depending on the organization. I learned from Deirdre Grimes that they are two separate disciplines that have developed in parallel. As I learn more about IM, I see a lot of overlap between the two. But, there are a lot of differences as well.
  3. I want to supplement my practical experience. I have practical experience in IM, including many of the projects I work on for clients, but I do not have formal training in this area. Most people working in this area do not. What the program is offering me is a methodical look through each of the areas encompassed by IM, so I can learn about areas I have not yet experienced. I am also broadening my understanding and pulling together ideas that I already know, as well as finding out about practical tools for use in my work.
  4. Learning from the other participants. We come from a range of organizations and disciplines, and can all learn from one another. It is not just librarians taking this program, but records managers, those in IT and, yes, some consultants. We come from government, non-profits, and businesses. The course, much like an MBA program, is set up so that we all get to discuss our experiences and learn from one another. This technique helps to bring the curriculum to life.
  5. Timing of the program is flexible. I can jump in and finish up the whole program by the end of June, or I can do the courses as I have time. The whole set is being taught again in the fall, and again both in the spring and fall next year. I am playing it by ear and signing up for the courses as I feel it will best fit in with my client work.
  6. The instructors. The instructors come from a range of industries, so I get the benefit of hearing from another point of view. These people are expert practitioners in their areas, so they are putting this information to practical use themselves and bringing their extensive experience to the program.
  7. I am applying what I learn immediately. I have been able to take the assignments and adapt them to work I am already doing, thereby learning directly from the course and giving the immediate benefit to my clients. I wish a lot of what I am learning I already knew when I was library manager.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 currently unavailable

The Canadian law blog is currently unavailable. Those of us on the admin side are aware of the problem, and are working to resolve it.

Thank you to readers and contributors alike for your patience. We hope to have the site up as soon as possible.


Update 10:30 am: The site is back up. We are still investigating the cause of the problem.