Saturday, May 13, 2006

More CALL 2006 Conference Highlights

Here is a quick round-up of some of the meetings and workshops at last week's Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference in Edmonton.

Department of Justice and Attorney General Libraries Special Interest Group:

Justice Brian Burrows (Alta. Ct. of Queen’s Bench) touched on the issues of how to address judges and court protocol. On addressing judges, Justice Burrows explained that he felt that the tradition of using the honorific title “Justice” when talking to judges at work or even in a social setting was a bit of an anachronism.

He did acknowledge that most non-judges still felt awkward with the issue: clerks, assistants, court admin personnel, librarians, all have been trained to use the honorific and could probably not bring themselves to address a judge by their first name, even if that judge requested it.
During the Q&A, someone brought up the notion of “dignity of the court”. The rule about calling judges “Justice X” or “Justice Y”, it was argued, did have the positive benefit of ensuring that no lawyer or other person became too cozy with any judge, thus putting everyone on an equal and uniform footing in front of the courts.

To which Justice Burrows responded that he believed that the “dignity of the court” should not be seen as coming from naming conventions, even though many people still believed in them. Instead, according to him, it should originate in how judges treated all those who appeared in front of them. In that context, he preferred overlooking how non-experts may occasionally breach the rules of protocol as long as that did not interfere with the process(young offenders not removing their baseball caps, self-representing litigants forgetting to stand when adressing the court, others not familiar with the rules of court not knowing what to call the judge).

People attending the SIG meeting suggested the issue of how to address judges would be a good topic to repeat at CALL 2007 in Ottawa.

Committee to Promote Research:

Michael Lines, the 2005 CALL research grant recipient explained his Thesaurus of Canadian Civil Justice Terminology project. Simonne Clermont, the 2004 recipient, will complete her Bibliography of Common Law Materials Written in French in 2007 (tentative publication date). The Committee thought it would be a great idea to organize a session or panel at the 2007 CALL conference on new tools for the dissemination of research. This could include the use of blogs in and for legal scholarship (Harvard Law School just hosted a major conference on the topic), the emergence of open source repositories such as SSRN (Social Science Research Network), and other areas.

The Courthouse and Law Society Library SIG:

A number of ideas for CALL 2007 were kicked around and the consensus was that next year’s topic would be what kind of access the public should have to courthouse and law society libraries.

Librarian's Emergining Technology Survival Guide (Kenton Good and Geoff Harder, University of Alberta):

According to the 2 presenters, we are living once again in an era of revolution in information technologies. It is an amazing time of experimentation in what has been dubbed “social software”, that is tools that are participative in nature, decentralized in philosophy, and in “perpetual beta” (always evolving, always been improved upon).

The presentation was a quick and exciting tour of some of the new toys all the cool kids are playing with: blogs, RSS feeds, podcasting, tagging, folksonomies and social bookmarking, Firefox extensions, wikis, and book digitization megaprojects. The presenters argued that librarians need to explore ways to exploit the opportunities these new so-called Web 2.0 technologies provide to engage users. In any case, this is where many of our users “are at” so we had best figure out how to accompany them there and how to use the new tools to create services our users will respond to. Particularly useful were the many examples Kenton and Geoff presented of how libraries and publishers are already diving into this new world.

Monday’s plenary session:

Senator Tommy Banks was the speaker. He gave us an overview of his bill, S –202 - An Act to repeal legislation that has not come into force within ten years of receiving royal assent.

Public International Law session:

Denis LeMay of Université Laval held a workshop on how to conduct international legal research.

Potential for XML for Legal Information:

This session by Terry Butler from the University of Alberta was quite technical but the main idea was how XML could be used to provide structure to document collections in a way that would allow for better display and retrieval. One example from the legal field involved a project to digitize (and make searchable) the testimony of witnesses in front of environmental impact boards.

Second plenary session: 8Rs Canadian Library Human Resource Study:

As the description states: "The study draws its name from the eight core issues that the literature suggests are integral to human resource management in libraries: recruitment, retention, remuneration, reaccreditation, repatriation, rejuvenation, retirement and restructuring. The research team is currently gathering data through a series of surveys and focus groups from a number of different sources... This will allow the study to present a comprehensive view of the current and predicted needs of library institutions and library workers."

Alison Spivak from the University of Alberta went over some of the reasons why potential candidates were not hired: lack of leadership; managerial; business skills; not innovative; inability to respond to flexible changes and to handle high volume of work.

LibraryCo’s AdvoCHAT - Challenges and Training issues:

This chat reference service in Ontario is considered successful because it has a targeted audience and it is provided by legal librarian specialists. On average, they are receiving 2.5 questions per day although there are times when the librarian may be interacting with 2 or 3 lawyers at the same time.

Cool Things Presentation:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:25 am


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