Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What Have Ottawa Law Librarians Been Up To Recently?

Earlier today, I attended a luncheon roundtable of the National Capital Association of Law Libraries here in Ottawa.

At the event, people had an opportunity to update colleagues about news and initiatives at their respective institutions. Here are some highlights:

1) the Canadian Police College has put its catalogue on the Internet and has started adding journal articles that cannot be found in any periodical indexes. This includes research articles from many police and law enforcement journals that would not be discoverable otherwise. Examples of material that may be hard to find elsewhere:

  • "To what extent can public law enforcement employers inquire into an employee's medical information after hiring?" Stone, Michael P. Busailah, Muna Salam, Anisa. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, vol. 5, no. 5, 2005
  • "Interviews and interrogations of public employees" Schmidt, Wayne W. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, vol. 4, no. 7, 2004
  • "RCMP approves taser use across Canada : new, less lethal weapon
    reduces possibility of injury to police and public = [La GRC approuve l'utilisation de l'arme Taser au pays : une nouvelle arme quasi léthale qui réduit le risque de blessures pour les policiers et le public]" Kerr, Joanna. Gazette : a Royal Canadian Mounted Police publication, vol. 64, no. 1
2) Justice Canada recently completed an evaluation of its service quality using te LibQual+ methodology adopted by other government libraries, including the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada. The survey was conducted in all regions of Canada. It will allow Justice Canada to compare itself with other government libraries. Justice Canada is also starting the immense task of reclassifying its collections using the KF Modified classification. It currently uses a system based on that of Los Angeles County Courthouse collection (from 1955!)

3) The Public Service Labour Relations Board is offering RSS feeds of all its tribunal decisions

4) The Judge Advocate General will be making a presentation on "military law" at the CALL 2008 conference in Saskatoon in late May (annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries)

5) unfortunately, a few law libraries in the federal government sector have recently suffered reorganizations or restructurings, including downsizings and moves to new physical locations that are ugly and noisy

6) as for the good old ship Supreme Court of Canada, things are chugging along quite nicely. Aside from our regular list of ongoing library projects, here are a few new items on the horizon:
  • we are creating a new information product: an online bibliography of journal articles on recent (2007), current and upcoming appeals heard before the Supreme Court of Canada. We anticipate making this list available on our website at some point in the future We are using the RefWorks bibliographic management tool for this
  • we are undertaking a major review of our collection development policy. Among other things, we will be looking at the various jurisdictions that we collect in print (do we really need the Idaho Code? does anyone care?). Our current policy from 2001 does not address the duplication of material in print, electronic and microform and our increased reliance on electronic sources does not really fit with the policy statement that materials in our collection are intended to be "maintained as permanent collections and preserved as a national asset". So, the review will try to identify subject areas that can be licensed from external vendors and those which necessitate access in permanent form. Since we are partners in many resource sharing agreements with local government libraries and with law society and courthouse librariers nationally, any changes to collection policies may impact our obligations under those agreements. Before doing anything, the Library will be consulting widely. As well, our use policy allows lawyers, law students and judges to make direct use of our extensive print collections, whereas our licensed electronic resources are off limits to external clients. Again, any change to our collection development policy (e.g. getting rid of our thousands of print volumes of U.S. codes, case reporters, encyclopedias, law digests etc.) can have an enormous impact on many of our current external "walk-in" users so they will also need to be heard from
  • electronic copies of factums filed by parties involved in Supreme Court of Canada appeals will soon be made available on the public website. Coverage will not be retrospective but from a point in 2008 forwards
  • on the Court Intranet we currently offer a "link resolver" tool (an A-to-Z list of periodicals available either in print here at the Library or via databases to which we have licensed access). For any given title, it tells a user whether it is available on our shelves or in any electronic collection to which we may have access. After a little tweaking, the A-to-Z list should go up on the public website by the summer. Outside users, of course, may not have access to the same databases that we do, but they will be able to see the various possible points of access for thousands of journals (in print on our shelves or via databases to which they may have access through their own institutions)


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:04 pm


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