Tuesday, March 03, 2015

March 2015 Issue of In Session: Canadian Association of Law Libraries' e-Newsletter

The March 2015 issue of In Session is available online.

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

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Monday, March 02, 2015

SLA Webinar on Strategies for Showing Your Value

The international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) is hosting a free "Partner Talk" webinar on March 26th from 2-3PM Eastern time that will tackle 5 Strategies for Showing Your Value to the C-Suite:
"Modern information professionals need to be agile, proactive and visible in the enterprise. This SLA PartnerTalk will help you show how critical your work is to your organization’s bottom line. Learn to—

1. Demonstrate how you can add value in ways they might not expect;
2. Understand your customers and how best to communicate with them;
3. Make the best use of your time;
4. Present your work with confidence; and
5. Help your organization’s executives manage information overload."

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice February 2015 Access to Justice Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) has been publishing a monthly newsletter about Access to Justice since early 2013.

The latest issue of the newsletter includes:
  • a post on the need for high-quality research for the implementation of effective civil justice services and programs
  • a profile of a Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Research Assistant
  • announcements

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February 2015 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The February 2015 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts.

Most of the items are about the United States, but there is occasional coverage of other jurisdiction.

The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Call for Nominations for Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is seeking nominations for the Denis Marshall Memorial Award for Excellence in Law Librarianship:
"This award is an honour bestowed upon a current member of CALL/ACBD who has provided outstanding service to the Association AND/OR enhanced the profession of law librarianship in the recent past. The specific contributions  must reflect the qualities embodied by Denis Marshall:
  • a continued commitment to excellence in law librarianship;
  • a strong service ethic;
  •   a commitment to continuous learning;
  • a significant contribution to the scholarship of the library profession;
  • mentoring and encouraging those who seek a profession in law librarianship;
  • the pursuit of innovation and/or innovative solutions;
  • and/or a contribution to leadership in the law library profession."
Nominees' names must be submitted in writing to the Chair, Scholarships and Awards Committee. The name of the nominated person must be accompanied by two signed letters from colleagues in support of the nominee, with three additional names of CALL members supporting the nomination. Documentation supporting the accomplishment(s)/achievement(s) of the nominee along with the rationale or justification must be included in the submission.

This is a confidential process, so the nominee should not be made aware that they are being nominated.

Nominations should be sent in by April 1st.

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Center for Research Libraries Webinar on New Model License for E-Resources

The Chicago-based Center for Research Libraries (CRL) will host a webinar on Coming to Terms: Behind the New Liblicense Model License on Wednesday March 4, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Central Time.

Ann Okerson, a CRL senior advisor, will discuss the recent rewrite of the Liblicense Model License. The Model License provides guidance for libraries and other institutions seeking to license digital resources for their researchers. The new model license agreement provides both a template that can be used by librarians in negotiating particular licensing agreements and serves as a statement by the library community of what it considers acceptable policy and practice for licensing digital information.

Okerson will be joined by Ivy Anderson, California Digital Library; and Tracy Thompson, Executive Director, NELLCO (an international consortium of law libraries of which my place of work is a member).

The CRL is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roundup of SLA Twitter Chat on Building Your Brand

Earlier this month, the international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) held a "Twitter Chat" to discuss how to build a  "brand".

The conversation on Twitter covered topics such as taglines, personal websites, the difference between professional & personal brands, and the relative benefits of various social media in developing a brand.

The SLA has now published the contents of the event on the Storify website.

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NISO White Paper on The Future of Library Resource Discovery

The National Information Standards Organization has published a white paper The Future of Library Resource Discovery, written by library technology author Marshall Breeding.

The paper provides an overview of current resource discovery tools, and describes how these technologies, methodologies, and products may be able to adapt to potential future change.

These tools allow users to search all of a library's offerings (databases, catalogue, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions) through a single interface and via a preharvested central index, AKA a single search interface on steroids.

Earlier Library Boy posts on resource discovery include:
  • Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011): "...another big theme that emerged at the conference is what is called 'web scale discovery' or WSD (...) Basically, WSD tools claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. Contrary to federated search, WSD tools are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections. Services such as Serials Solutions Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central or EBSCO Discovery pre-index material from subscription databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching. We briefly looked into WSD at my place of work but decided not to pursue things further for a few reasons. In particular, not all vendors of legal research materials play along and will allow their content and metadata to be harvested into a unified index. And these tend to be relatively expensive products."
  • OCLC Report on Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail (August 23, 2011): "The prominence of multidisciplinary research, the increase in the use of primary materials, and the desire to make new connections across disparate materials all would be advanced by the offering of single search to open up all the collections to the researcher (...) OCLC Research facilitated the working group of nine single search implementers through discussions about the opportunities for, and obstacles to, integrated access across an institution. They told their stories, categorized a list of issues, and created and answered a questionnaire looking for similarities and differences in their approaches. This brief report summarizes those discussions and highlights emerging practices in providing access to LAM [libraries, archives and museums] collections, with a particular emphasis on successful strategies in the quest for single search."
  • AALL Spectrum Article on Discovery Tools in Law Libraries (November 30, 2011): "The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), has an article on Discovery Layers in Law Libraries - A progress report on how our institutions are implementing this new technology (...) The author ... ran into some of the same problems we did at my place of work when we looked into discovery tools: 'Most concerning are the restrictive and expensive licensing policies of the largest legal information publishers [i.e. Westlaw and Lexis - my note], whose materials are by and large unrepresented in discovery layer systems because of these restrictions. What is the benefit of marketing such a tool to our students and faculty if their most vital sources of information are nowhere to be found in the system?' "
  • Evaluation of Single Search Implementation at North Carolina State University (January 10, 2012): "Academic libraries are turning increasingly to unified search solutions to simplify search and discovery of library resources. Unfortunately, very little research has been published on library user search behavior in single search box environments. This study examines how users search a large public university library using a prominent, single search box on the library website. The article examines two semesters of real-world data, totaling nearly 1.4 million transactions. Findings include that unified library search is about more than the catalog and articles, though these predominate. Additionally, a small number of the most popular search queries accounts for a disproportionate amount of the overall queries."
  • Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services (April 30, 2012): "The April 2012 issue of Computers in Libraries features an article by Athena Hoeppner on The Ins and Outs of Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services. Hoeppner is the electronic resources librarian at the University of Central Florida: (...) Librarians around the world are trying to learn what these services are and how they work, evaluating the services on the market, selecting and implementing a service, and then teaching colleagues and patrons all about it. (...) Based on my investigations, this article explains WSD concepts and terminology, shares findings from my interviews with major WSD vendors, and provides a template checklist, which librarians can use during their own exploration of these systems (...)"
  • UK Report on Web-Scale Resource Discovery Tools (December 19, 2013): "The information research organization UKSG, in cooperation with Loughborough University and Birmingham City University, has published a study that assesses the Impact of library discovery technologies in academic libraries. These technologies are also called web-scale discovery tools."

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Alberta Law Reform Institute Publishes Report for Discussion on Non-Profit Corporations

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has just published Report for Discussion 26 – Non-Profit Corporations:
"Non-profit organizations and regulators are often working within limited means. The balance between requirements and the ability to comply is crucial, so that human and financial resources can be dedicated to the objectives of the organization and to the appropriate role of the regulator. The first step in achieving such balance is not only to get input from non-profits themselves, but also from those who interact with these organizations, including corporate authorities, granting agencies and legal advisers."

"To this end, the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has worked in collaboration with representatives of various types of stakeholders to develop a better understanding of the issues each respectively deal with. As part of this consultation process, ALRI now releases a Report for Discussion.  (...)"

"Given its importance, the sector needs to be supported by a governance framework that is clear and enabling. The current provincial corporate legislation does not do this well. Rather, it is characterized by gaps, inconsistencies and outdated concepts. The scope of ALRI’s project is to reform the primary non-profit corporate legislation in Alberta, the Societies Act and Part 9 of the Companies Act. The challenge, however, is to develop a corporate legal framework that will meet the needs of this diverse sector."
The Report also looks at reform attempts in other Canadian jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan, Ontario, British Columbia and the federal sector.

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How to Read a Judgment

Melanie Davidson from the British JustCite blog has a series of tips today for reading a judgment most effectively:
"For law students and practitioners, reading a judgment is nothing new. It is something ingrained in you from the moment you immerse yourself in the world of law."

"The problem is that as a law student, you are not alwways taught how to read the judgment in the most effective way. I remember on one too many occasions slaving over a judgment, including the notorious Factortame, only to realise afterwards that in fact the approach I took of reading every line with a fine-tooth comb was rather unnecessary."

"Through trial and error, of which there has been much, I have devised a set of tips that I now follow when facing this task. This guidance has proven effective at streamlining the time spent on legal research, focussing my mind on the bits I really need to know rather than the "fluff". They are suitable for anyone who comes into contact with, or has an interest in, case law and is looking for a way to expedite the process of reading it."
The tips are:
  • Avoid discussion of the facts
  • Skirt around counsels' arguments
  • Look out for an overview of the decision at the beginning of the judgment
  • Be eagle-eyed for evidence of the decision from the judges' tone and use of language
  • If time is of the essence, ensure you read the conclusions of the judges at the end of their decision
  • Read the dissenting opinions as these often provide another insight into the legal issue in dispute


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Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter 2015 Issue of SCCLL News (American Association of Law Libraries)

The State, Court and County Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries has just published the Winter 2015 issue of its news bulletin SCCLL News.

It includes a number of pieces on how law libraries in the United States are trying to provide services to the general public and to self-represented litigants:
  • "William D. Block Memorial Law Library and Center for Self-Representation Helps Launch Illinois JusticeCorps"
  • "A Lone Star Legislative Blueprint: Lubbock County Law Library Initiated Proposal Gains Momentum" - this is an article about Texas law librarians who helped draft legislation to ensure the proper funding of county law libraries open to court personnel, lawyers and the public

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Canadian Bar Association Announces Winners of its 2015 Awards

The Canadian Bar Association announced the names of the winners of its 2015 awards on Friday.

Law librarians will be interested in noting that Professor Stephen Waddams was awarded the 2015 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for outstanding contributions to the law or legal scholarship in Canada.

I an sure we have all had occasion to peruse his well-known works The Law of Contracts and The Law of Damages.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

American Association of Law Libraries Webinars on Web Design

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is offering two webinars on web design:
  • User-Friendly Library Websites: Site Navigation & Design (March 19, 2015, 11AM - noon Central Time): "In so many ways, the library’s website IS the library, and it deserves to be designed with care. The job of a website whether internal or external, is to help people accomplish tasks, without being overwhelmed or distracted by a glut of information.  This is the first of two webinar sessions covering user-friendly websites. In this session, attendees will walk through multiple law library websites with an eye for web design principles and best practices. Attendees will be challenged to think critically about site navigation and begin to design with fresh eyes."
  • User-Friendly Library Websites: Writing Content for the Web (April 30, 2015, 11AM - noon Central Time): "Libraries are treasure chests overflowing with useful and valuable information.  The job of a website whether internal or external, is to help people accomplish tasks, without being overwhelmed or distracted by a glut of information.  This is the second of two webinar sessions covering user-friendly websites. In this session, attendees will learn about writing content for the web, how human behavior affects usability, and how to write content that aligns with the website’s purpose."
The speaker is Aaron Schmidt, principal at Influx Library User Experience Consulting. The cost is free to AALL members and $60 (US) per session for non-AALL members.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Public Safety Canada 2014 Report on Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls

In the most recent Weekly Checklist of federal government publications,  a research report on the trafficking of aboriginal women and girls is listed.

It was authored in 2014 by Red Willow Consulting Inc. for Public Safety Canada:
"Interviews were conducted between October 2013 and February 2014 with front-line support agencies, service organizations, subject matter experts and police agencies. The research questions focused on how Aboriginal women and girls are being trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, with a focus on how gangs or kinship relationships contribute to the trafficking situation."

"This research did confirm that the trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls by family members has been reported as occurring in parts of Canada. Subject matter experts are divided on the frequency or, sometimes even the occurrence, of this type of trafficking within their sphere of expertise (be it geographical or with a particular client population). Gangs have also reportedly been involved in the trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls. These gangs are generally less sophisticated street gangs or groups of co-offenders who may constitute a criminal-type organization. Women and girls tend to be recruited by various methods, including coercion through 'love' and domestic violence, which means at times women are not aware they are being trafficked."

"The socio-economic determinants of sexual exploitation and trafficking tend to result from factors such as the legacy of physical and sexual abuse experienced in the residential school system, dispossession of identity and culture via the Indian Act, violence, racism and the marginalization of Aboriginal women resulting in loss of culture, low self-esteem, poverty, and in a heightened vulnerability to being trafficked. Addictions among the victims of trafficking appears to be widespread, and are often the result of either being introduced to drugs as a method of control or are used to escape the harsh realities of being exploited."

"Participants in this study have offered potential ways of reducing the harm of trafficking Aboriginal women and girls that include using coordinated local, regional and national approaches to address not only the root causes of vulnerability to trafficking, but also provide better coordination among police, Aboriginal organizations, NGOs and the government."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

New UK Insurance Act Implements Recommendations of Joint English/Scottish Law Commission Report

I often wonder whether law reform commission reports ever have any real impact. From time to time, an example comes along that shows that it is indeed the case that a report influences actual legislation.

Last week, the Insurance Act 2015 received Royal Assent in the United Kingdom.

The Act implements a series of reforms recommended by the English and the Scottish Law Commissions to modernize and simplify insurance contract law across the UK. This includes changes to matters relating to disclosure and misrepresentation, warranties and remedies for fraudulent claims.

The joint project by both law commissions was ambitious in scope and has had an important impact:
"The project began in January 2006. The teams working on the project at the two Commissions issued a scoping paper, inviting views on which areas of insurance contract law were in need of reform. In the light of the responses received, the teams published a paper setting out their decisions on the scope of the project. The first consultation, in 2007, covered pre-contract issues in consumer and business insurance. The size of the project led the Commissioners to design a phased programme of work (separating pre-contract consumer and business issues)."

"Our first report on Consumer Insurance Law was laid before Parliament in December 2009 and the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill was introduced in the House of Lords under the Special Bills Procedure in May 2011. The Bill was a priority for us in 2011. The Bill, now the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012, came into force on 6 April 2013."

"The Law Commissions' second joint consultation covering post contractual issues: damages for late payment, remedies for fraudulent claims, insurable interest and policies and premiums in marine insurance, closed in March 2012. Our third consultation on disclosure in business insurance and warranties was published on 26 June 2012. That consultation closed in September 2012. The results of these consultations fed into the second report and draft Bill, published on 17 July 2014. This covers disclosure in business insurance, warranties, remedies for fraudulent claims, and late payment."

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

March 15 Deadline for Applications for James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship Fund

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until March 15, 2015 to apply to the James D. Lang Memorial Scholarship fund.

The scholarship is designed to support attendance at a continuing education program, be it a workshop, certificate program or other similar activity deemed appropriate by the CALL Scholarships and Awards Committee.

Here is a testimonial from a recent recipient, Mary-Jo Mustoe, Librarian at the R. Boak Burns Law Library at the Welland County Law Association in Welland, Ontario:
"I’ve been aware of the James D. Lang Scholarship for many years, but it never occurred to me to apply. This year I was seriously thinking of expanding my educational opportunities outside of the usual library conferences and I found a really interesting course offered by the iSchool Institute. The James D. Lang Scholarship enabled me to attend the two-day course - Defining New Metrics for Library Success. This course opened a whole new dimension of learning and analytics and has added a new skill to my daily work in the law library."
This scholarship fund was established in memory of James D. Lang, a long- time employee of Canadian publisher Carswell and member of CALL.

More details are available on the CALL website.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

UN Launches Database of Cases by Expert Committees on Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Office has launched a major public online database that contains all the case law issued by the UN human rights expert committees known as the Treaty Bodies.

The Treaty Bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. There are 10 of them including the Committee against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The database was developed using data from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at the Utrecht University School of Law. Cases are indexed by various categories, including State, date, subject and keywords, which can all be used as search criteria.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

American Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Surveys

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) will be holding a webinar on February 26, 2015 (11AM-noon Central time) on the topic of Surveys: When to Use Them and Why:
"Surveys are important to gauge effectiveness, plan for the future, assign resources and can help avoid many organizational pitfalls. Do you need to know how many of your law students use iPads?  What new resources would your firm’s lawyers find most useful? A simple survey should be able to find answers to these questions quickly, but writing the right questions and finding the right tool for even short surveys can be a challenge.  In this webinar, you’ll learn about all things survey: when to use surveys, how to plan surveys, designing questions, comparing survey tools and even submitting surveys to the IRB (Institutional Review Board). "
The speaker will be Debbie Ginsberg, Educational Technology Librarian at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Constitutional Law

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a webinar on February 12 (this Thursday) on constitutional law:
"Questions / topics to be covered will include:

- How is constitutional law taught in law school?
- More specifically, the following concepts will be discussed:
  • Division of powers in the Constitution Act, 1867
  • The "Peace, Order and Good Government" Clause ("POGG" powers)
  • Doctrine of paramountcy
  • Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including discussion of the basic rights and freedoms and section 1 "reasonable limits" on those rights and freedoms
- Research tips for researching constitutional law
- Creating your own research guides and pathfinders for researching constitutional law"

"Attendees interested in doing so are encouraged to read in advance of the webinar the decision in R v Big M Drug Mart Ltd, [1985] 1 SCR 295 (the famous 'Sunday shopping' decision). As part of this webinar, the instructor will 'simulate' a first-year constitutional law class using the Socratic method in discussion of this case."
It is part of CALL's 2014-2015 series of webinars on substantive law.

The speaker is Ted Tjaden, national litigation precedents lawyer in Gowlings’ Toronto office. He is the author of Legal Research and Writing, 3rd ed (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010).

The webinar will take place from 1 to 2:30PM Eastern Time.

CALL/ACBD Member: $40 + $5.20 HST    = $45.20
Non-member: $60 + $7.80 HST    = $67.80

It is possible to register online.

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