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 www.Quickscribe.bc.ca 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 www.bclegislation.ca, 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 (www.bclegislation.ca).

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 (www.bclegislation.ca).

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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 lawblogs.ca, 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 www.bclegislation.ca, 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 www.bclegislation.ca. 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 Goodreads.com. 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.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Quickscribe Manual Updates for February 2014

Five Quickscribe Manuals were updated in February 2014:

Don't forget to check out www.bclegislation.ca operated by Quickscribe, featuring free, daily updates to BC legislation!

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Service for Rural BC Lawyers

Courthouse Libraries BC has a new 'Book in a Box' service that will deliver print materials to CLBC members, regardless of whether their community has a branch location:
"We Come to You

Or at least, our books come to you.
Even if you don’t have a Courthouse Library in your community, you can still use our books. This new service is called Book in a Box. We send you books using Canada Post, and when they’re due, you mail them back to us—at no cost to you.  Just use the pre-paid postage slip included in the box. We’ve already tested it with real clients, and they found the process quick and easy."
It's hard to imagine a huge demand for this service, given that it targets lawyers in smaller communities. But there are also some related advantages:  1) smaller numbers keeps costs to a minimum, 2) access is enhanced for lawyers who might not engage the CLBC's services otherwise, and 3) boosting print circulation will help to maximize exposure of the collection.

Legal monographs may all eventually be digitized and distributed by easier means. That's a nice thought. As we all know, however, it's harder to make a business case for digitization when demand, and circulation on a per-item basis are limited.

So until that day comes, there's still an incentive for law libraries to optimize their print material circulation numbers. This kind of program is really no different than setting up satellite libraries within law firms in order to get books closer to their most frequent users.

It just makes sense.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Quickscribe Updates for November, 2013

Two Quickscribe Manuals were updated in November 2013. They are as follows:

Don't forget to check out www.bclegislation.ca (operated by Quickscribe Services Ltd.) which offers free, daily updates to BC legislation!

Friday, November 29, 2013

VALL Presentation Slides

Here are the slides from my VALL presentation yesterday. I spoke on the topic of law librarians, their acquisition of technology skills, and the impact on our professional image.

Many thanks to all my friends at VALL for the opportunity to speak. I was totally impressed by the responses to my many impromptu surveys during the session. I think maybe half the room knew what Github was, and was familiar with the forking of open source code.

That speaks volumes about the future of our profession!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Phil Bradley's New Book: Expert Internet Searching

The latest (4th) edition of Phil Bradley's book, Expert Internet Searching, as been released by facet publishing. (formerly titled The Advanced Internet Searcher’s Handbook

Most librarians will appreciate the subject line of the email I received: Is it all on Google? No! This is something many web users tend to forget. Drilling down into the right tools, what we used to call "the deep Web", can deliver far more quality materials than a cursory Google search.

Bradley has rewritten much of the book from scratch, and given that I've lost my copy of the previous edition, this might be the time to grab a new one. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quickscribe Manual Updates for July 2013

In July, three Quickscribe Manuals were updated:

Just a quick reminder that Quickscribe operates the site www.bclegislation.ca, featuring free, daily updates to BC legislation!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Newly Minted Author

Are you really a writer if you haven't written a book? That, of course, was my little internal self-doubt question I would hit myself with late at night. Even after years of writing articles, papers and blog posts, you'd think I'd have that part of my self-identity nailed down. 

It's not a justifiable self-critique, of course. At least not in the daylight. But perhaps ticking that check-box off my life list will let me sleep a little easier now. It's a milestone, and one I am very proud of.

Oh yes, my reason for rambling... Last night I posted our Stem news item announcing the forthcoming book Jordan Furlong and I have been working on for the past year. As you can see from reading Jordan's post from earlier today, he's equally as thrilled as I am.

For the particulars, please check out the Ark Group's bookshop summary, the executive summary & TOC, or the sample chapter that are now available.

Writing with a co-author wasn't as bad an experience as one might expect. It helps when your co-author is Jordan Furlong; but it also helps when you have a personal history of critiquing each other's work. Jordan knew my Columbo routine of 'just one more idea' going in. (Even when it meant yet another twist to our narrative.) To say I'm appreciative would be an understatement.

I would also like to add a note of thanks to my colleague Emma Durand-Wood, who is a big part of the idea generation process at Stem. Her ability to flesh out the intended message, or identify an inconsistency that Jordan or I wouldn't see, was invaluable to the writing process. We mentioned Emma by name in the acknowledgements for good reason.

And finally, I'd like to thank Terry Edwards and Matthew Kraemer from Pushor Mitchell for stepping up to be one of our book's case studies. We're proud to be working with such a great firm.

Book cover: