Thursday, April 09, 2015

Will CALL Lower Student Membership Fees?

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries has had reduced membership fees for students for quite some time, offering the same 30% reduction that the Association gives its retired members. At the upcoming conference in Moncton, there will be a special resolution at the AGM to take those reductions further. Members will be voting to lower student dues to a nominal flat fee of $15.00, plus the appropriate taxes.

The Student SIG, Membership Committee, and the CALL Executive should all be commended for bringing such a simple change forward. Students are not only the base of future membership, but a group that often brings much more than their membership fees to the table. This is a group that (when tapped) offers volunteer time, energy and fresh ideas.

At $15, membership would effectively be free for students; with the nominal fee being just enough of a deterrent for students who might "join for the sake of joining." The student who is exploring his or her range of career possibilities, and has even the smallest interest in law librarianship, would see the financial barrier to entry as minimal.

This seems like a smart move. I hope it goes through.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Newly Added Annotations in Quickscribe 2.0

For several years now, we've been posting a monthly summary of updated Quickscribe hardcopy manuals here on VLLB. Since Quickscribe's services are always evolving, we're going to change things up too.

From now on, we'll be bringing you a monthly summary of which legal experts have contributed annotations in Quickscribe 2.0, the company's online legislation service.

Here's a look at which BC laws and bills got new annotations within Quickscribe Online 2.0 in March:
  • Supreme Court Civil Rules (B.C. Reg. 168/2009) by Erik Magraken, MacIsaac & Company LLP
  • [2015 Bill 24] Societies Act, Society Act by Margaret Mason, Bull Housser & Tupper LLP 
  • Employment Standards Act by Daniel Sorensen, Sorensen Smith LLP
  • Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act and the Health Professions Act by Guy Brown, Harper Grey LLP 
  • [2015 Bill 3] Building Act by Michael Hargreaves, Stewart McDannold Stuart LLP
  • WESA and the Supreme Court Civil Rules (B.C. Reg. 168/2009) by Stan Rule, Sabey Rule LLP
  • Family Law Act by John-Paul Boyd, Canadian Research Institute For Law And The Family
  • Strata Property Act  by Mary Brunton, Reed Pope Law Corporation
  • Property Law Act by Peter Roberts, Lawson Lundell LLP
Annotations are a subscriber benefit; if you'd like to try out Quickscribe 2.0, you can sign up for a free trial online. Or click on an expert's name in the list above for a bio and sample annotations.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Quickscribe Manual Updates for January 2015

Just one Quickscribe Manual update for this month: the Forest Legislation Manual.

Don't forget: free daily updates to BC statutes and regulations are available at,  courtesy of Quickscribe.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Free Upcoming Webinar: Research, Track and Share Annotated Legislation with Quickscribe 2.0

Our friend Mike Pasta, of Quickcribe Services Ltd over in Victoria, will be presenting a free seminar for Courthouse Libraries BC next Wednesday, January 15th: Research, Track and Share Annotated Legislation Using Quickscribe 2.0.

In the webinar, Mike will explain how to use Quickscribe Online 2.0 for annotating, setting up alerts, tracking and finding point-in-time versions of BC statutes and regulations. The lunch-hour webinar qualifies for one hour of Law Society-approved CPD, so let your lawyer colleagues know (90% of surveyed previous attendees said they'd recommend it to a colleague). Get your free webinar ticket ASAP!

Quickscribe Online is available for free at CLBC branches and many BC law firms. Read more about the expert annotations the service includes in this VLLB post from a couple months ago.

On a related note, Mike shares with us that there were several Quickscribe manual updates last month:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#Clawbies2014 Nomination Roundup

The Canadian Law Blog Awards started here on the Vancouver Law Librarian Blog way back in 2006, and even though they've got their own domain now (, we always like to come back to this space in mid-December to share a roundup of nominations to date. There's still one week left to get your blogged, tweeted or emailed nominations in, so keep 'em coming!

Blogged nominations:

  • Sarah Roussel-Lewis on behalf of the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library (FamilyLLB, Wise Law, The Court)
  • Russell Alexander at Family LLB (Avoid a Claim, David Whelan, Ontario Condo Law Blog)
  • Paul Daly at Administrative Law Matters (Double Aspect, Colin Lachance, Bora Laskin Law Library)
  • Yosie Saint-Cyr at First Reference Talks (Labour Pains, Youth and Work, Global Workplace Insider)
  • Yves Faguy at the National Magazine Blog ( À bon droit, Double Aspect, CanLII Connects)
  •  Leonid Sirota at Double Aspect (Administrative Law Matters, À bon droit, Michael Spratt)
  • ABlawg (CanLII Connects, Administrative Law Matters, Susan on the Soapbox, IFLS Blog & Slaw)
  • JP Boyd on Family Law (ABlawg, CanLII Connects, The Stream, barbara findlay, Lawdiva, Fertility Law Canada)
  • Lisa Silver at IdeaBlawg (CanLII Connects)
  • Karim Renno at À bon droit (CanLII Connecte, Double Aspect, Administrative Law Matters + runners up National Magazine Blog, SOQUIJ, Barry Sookman, Yves Boisvert, Letters Bloggatory)
  • Laura Easton at Davis (Legal Feeds Blog, ABlawg)
Selected tweeted nominations:

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for November 2014

Just one Quickscribe Manual update to mention this month: the BC Labour Legislation manual was updated in November.

Get daily updates to BC stats and regs at, a free service offered by Quickscribe.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Clawbies Season Now Underway!

December 1st is a crazy but fun day for us at Stem... it's Clawbies kickoff day! The 9th annual Canadian Law Blog Awards recognize our country's best and brightest legal bloggers, and this year's launch post has a special Canuck twist... head on over to to read more :)

Which law or law-related blogs can't you do your job without? Which ones consistently make you hit "share"? Which ones merit a fist pump when you spot a new post? We want to hear about them all. Hope to see your nominations soon!

P.S. We'll be tracking the tweeted and blogged nominations as they roll in... check back here mid-December for a roundup.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Quickscribe 2.0 Features Expert Annotations

Better late than never - that's how we feel about mentioning Quickscribe 2.0, the new and revamped version of its popular online BC legislation platform, which officially debuted in mid-August.

The system has been redesigned with the theme of "Annotate. Collaborate. Inform." and in our view, the most noteworthy addition is the expert annotations. Look for nearly 20 BC lawyers' annotations to cases in their respective areas of expertise; you may recognize JP Boyd and Erik Magraken's names from their popular blogs.

JP Boyd, Quickscribe 2.0's family law annotator, highlights a few of the major benefits of the new system:
"the new version will make a very useful addition to the family law lawyer's tool box. First, Quickscribe is likely the only way you're going to get your hands on a complete electronic copy of the Family Law Act without having to jump between parts. Second, the case law is developing at such a rapid pace, that you need a way of faster way keeping up with developments than waiting for the next practice manual or white book; users' ability to make public annotations could give us an extraordinarily useful resource. Third, a number amendments have already been made to the act, and more are in the pipeline, that we need to keep on top of — it's reasonable to assume that still more amendments will be made in the months and years ahead as further wrinkles in the new act are discovered."

To try out the new system for free, visit and click "Free Trial".

Friday, October 03, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for September 2014

One Quickscribe Manual update to share this month: the BC Forest Legislation Manual. A quick reminder, too, that free daily updates to BC legislation can be found at, operated by Quickscribe.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Need to brush up on your legislative research skills?

Unless you do legislative research on a regular basis, it's easy to get a little rusty. But here's your chance to refresh your skills with tips and strategies from the pros, Tracy McLean and Alex McNeur of Courthouse Libraries BC.

A free legislation research skills refresher for VALL members will be held at the downtown location of Courthouse Libraries BC on Tuesday, October 21st from 9:30 to 10:30am. Registration is free but an RSVP is required to reserve your space. See the VALL website for more details! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CBA's Legal Futures Report: Opportunities for Law Librarians?

Almost missed posting about this, but remembered in the nick of time...

CALL is organizing a Twitter discussion on the CBA Legal Futures report and its opportunities for law librarians. CBA Past-President Fred Headon will participate in the chat as well.

The chat takes place tomorrow from 12-1pm EST (that's 9-10am PST). Follow the hashtag #CALLFuture or use it in your tweets to participate in the chat.

We're looking forward to seeing what librarians across the country have to say about the Legal Futures report and its potential for library staff and services.

hat tip: Library Boy

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for July 2014

Just one Quickscribe manual to share this month:
Don't forget, daily updates to provincial statutes and regulations are always available at Quickscribe's BC Legislation Portal (

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Did you miss this year's CALL conference?

If you weren't able to attend this year's CALL conference in Winnipeg (which by all accounts was a big success), the session summaries from the 2014 CALL/ACDB conference are now up - hat tip to Michel-Adrian Sheppard for pointing us to them.

Learn about what Greg Lambert of 3 Geeks and a Law Blog calls the "three foot radius of the law library" (hint: it surrounds you whenever you go!) and get tips on getting published, moving up the management ladder, legal research instruction, and read summaries of many other interesting-sounding sessions.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for June 2014

Quickscribe updated three of its legislation manuals this month:
As always, you can find daily updates to statutes and regulations at Quickscribe's BC Legislation Portal (

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Canadian Law Journals and Reviews Online

As part of a recent research project we did at Stem, we were looking for open access Canadian law journals and reviews. We came up with this list of publications that are partly or fully accessible for free online, and thought we'd share it here. If you have additions, please feel free to leave a comment and we'll update our list.

(Update July 4th 2014: we'll be posting occasional updates to this list.)


Queens Law Journal
Free PDF

Indigenous Law Journal (U of T)
Free PDF

APPEAL: Review of Current Law & Law Reform (UVic)
Free PDF

Manitoba Law Journal
Free PDF

Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies
Free PDF

Western Journal of Legal Studies (University of Western Ontario)
Free PDF

Osgoode Hall Law Journal
Free PDF (current issue only)

Constitutional Forum
(U of A)
Free PDF

Canadian Journal of Comparative and Contemporary Law (Thompson Rivers University)
(Forthcoming -- site says it will be open access)

Canadian Journal of Human Rights (U of M)
Free PDF


Alberta Law Review (U of A and U of C)
Abstracts only

UBC Law Review
Abstracts only

University of Toronto Law Journal
Abstracts and first-page previews only

Canadian Journal of Women & the Law
Abstracts only

Journal of Arbitration & Mediation (Dalhousie, University of Sherbrooke, and the Canadian Arbitration Congress)
Abstracts only

Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence (University of Western Ontario)
Abstracts only

McGill Law Journal
Selected PDF abstracts


Saskatchewan Law Review
Table of contents only

Revue juridique Thémis (U of Montreal)
Table of contents only

Windsor Law Review
Table of contents only

Health Law Journal (U of A)
Table of contents only

Health Law Review (U of A)
Table of contents only

Review of Constitutional Studies (U of A)
Table of contents only

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

New Law Library Blog: Legal Sourcery

As I perused the latest additions on, I came across a new law library blog out of the Law Society of Saskatchewan called Legal Sourcery. (clever name!)

Published by library staff at the LSS, the author bio page notes Reché McKeague as the site's feature blogger; along with the site's team of staff bloggers: Ken Fox, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Alan Kilpatrick, Kelly Laycock and Sarah Roussel-Lewis.

This blog has been updated frequently and has a nice mix of resources and commentary; and judging by its first few months of operation, looks to be a nice addition for those of us who follow law library blogs.

It's also nice to see this effort gain some traction with their target audience of Saskatchewan lawyers. They recently surpassed 10K page views in just a few months of operation, so the word must be getting out...

Congratulations to the crew over at Legal Sourcery. Please keep up the good work!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Quickscribe Updates for May 2014

There were six Quickscribe Manuals updated in May 2014.

This is just a quick reminder of the free, daily updates of BC legislation that can be found at, operated by Quickscribe.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for April 2014

Two Quickscribe Manuals were updated this month.

Just a reminder to check out It features free, daily updates of BC legislation and is operated by Quickscribe.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Speed-reading App is a Fraud?

Like so many things that go viral online, the truth is far more complex than the buzz itself. In the spotlight today is the Spritz speed reading app, which I recently came across in this post.

The story made sense: that eye motion was wasted effort, and we could consume more content if we maximized our intake efficiency. Stationary focus, plus some visual queues to improve word recognition.

But even while reading the article, it felt off. Many years ago (20 now, in fact) I did my undergrad in Psych & Linguistics. I couldn't recall anything specific as to why I was feeling skeptical about the upper limits of speed reading, but I figured it was somewhere in that past.

Thankfully, today I came across this piece by NBC news reporter Devin Coldewey. (And I now see there are other similar pieces being written.)  The truth, is that this method of reading isn't new; and historically, it doesn't have a great track record.

The method is called "rapid serial visual presentation," or RSVP, and has been around for more than 40 years. The problem is that with longer pieces of writing, this method of intake shows very poor comprehension by readers. Essentially, we can't jack up our rate of word identification, and still maintain the same level of understanding.

I have no doubt that reading efficiency can be improved. As an example, the article linked above also points to the power of skimming as a speed reading technique. But the idea of reading at 500 or 1000 words a minute? Consuming and understanding every single word over a sustained period, such as with reading a novel?

I'm not buying it. Neither, it seems, are the experts.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Now on Goodreads

Just a short note to say that I now have my author profile established on Jordan Furlong and I both had our accounts approved earlier this week.

We've also uploaded a profile for our book, "", published by The Ark Group last summer.

If you're already on Goodreads and happen to own a copy of our book, we would greatly appreciate your support via a positive rating or review. And if you don't own a copy, please consider adding us to your future reading list by clicking on the "want to read" button.