Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vacation Policy in Effect

My vacation policy is now in effect. A big two week'er to Pender Island!!!

Will be back on July 18th to resume with more opinionated rants (and maybe some pictures?...). I wish I had something fascinating to say before I leave, but blogging before a long weekend (in Canada it starts tomorrow!) can just lead to silliness. ... Go hassle Rick Mercer while I'm gone. :-)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Gnomedex - Microsoft Goes RSS!

Word is filtering out from Gnomedex in Seattle WA this weekend (picked up via local Vancouver tech guru Darren Barefoot) that Microsoft's new Longhorn OS & IE 7.o will have deep ties into RSS, embedding and enabling your subscriptions for any of your application software.

Take a look at Barefoot's notes on Keynote Speaker Dean Hachamovitch, the General Manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team. Looks like MS is buying in big time. Going to help convert the masses? You bet. You couldn't get a bigger predictor for future mainstream acceptance. Too bad it's going to take until Christmas next year to see the new Microsoft.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Nunavut Lawyers - A Dime A Dozen!

So was Paul Okalik (Premier of Canada's northern territory of Nunavut) thinking ... Finally, a guy can get some help around here! or... Oh man, there goes the neighbourhood! Lawyers are a dime a dozen these days. Read on. :-)

An interesting story that I picked up via the USask LL Blog: the first graduating class from the Akitsiraq Law School, Canada's first Inuit law program, has multiplied the number of lawyers from one (Okalik) to an even dozen! Talk about being pioneers! And if a couple of the new graduates get along, they could even form the first law firm.

The law school is a joint project by the University of Victoria in western Canada and the Nunavut Arctic College. A brief description from the Akitsiraq Law School website:

"Inuit students are able to earn a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Victoria through the academic program offered in Iqaluit, Nunavut using the facilities of Nunavut Arctic College. Courses are taught by University of Victoria faculty members and law professors from other Canadian universities with assistance from local members of the legal profession. Graduates of this program will have exactly the same credentials to practice law as students graduating from southern law schools."

Congratulations to all the new graduates! Not everyone gets an opportunity in life to be a true pioneer. I know the Governor General of Canada never showed up to my graduation. :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

RSS Feeds for DMS Software?

I'm just wondering ... Does anyone have an idea on how long it's going to be before DMS Software will be able to provide RSS feeds for their database search results? That is, I want to be able to search the DMS system, and click on a button that will create a dynamic RSS feed for that search.

With regard to legal KM, I can imagine a ton of applications.... how about, say, every time a Lease was created for a firm client in the Aerospace industry, your in-house team was notified via RSS. Or, every time a new precedent is added related to Privacy law, or ???!!! ... If you do this for a living, you know how powerful a tool this could be.

Now the only question is how long it takes before the DMS Vendors make it a standard feature.

Friday, June 17, 2005

UBC SLAIS 2005 Academic Awards

Picked up via Christina Zeller's message on the SLA WCC Listserv, UBC SLAIS has announced it's 2005 Academic Award recipients.

The 2005 Winners are:

Enid Dearing/Alan Woodland Book Prize - Heather De Forest
Willard Ireland Prize - Bart Ballaux
Stanley and Rose Arkley Memorial Prize - Jennifer Waters
Beverley Maureen Becker Memorial Prize - Christopher Koth
Friends of the Richmond Archives Prize in Archival Studies - Rachel Mills
Marian Harlow Prize in Librarianship - Jeffrey Voon
C.K. Morison Memorial Prize - Joseph Geary
Archives Association of British Columbia Mary Ann Pylypchuk Memorial - Ann Forman
Neal Harlow Prize - Heather De Forest
Brock Family Award - Adele Torrance
SLAIS Award for Cataloguing - Lindsay Ure
Gordon New Memorial Prize - Katherine Miller
Ken Haycock Award in Library and Information Studies - Richard Matiachuk
C. William Fraser Prize - Hilary Bloom
Harold Naugler Memorial Prize - Heather Daly
Roy Stokes Medal in Archival Studies - Shaunna Moore
Ruth Cameron Medal for Librarianship - Christopher Koth

Congratulations to everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Information Overload's Bad Definition

Steven Cohen believes that IO is a myth.

Cohen's 'myth' concept seems to stem from people being overwhelmed by personal choices, and unable to meet their own unreasonable expectations. The solution: Cull your reading selections, match the time you have available with the most important sources, unplug a bit, and you'll reduce the possibility of IO even existing. Fair enough, and a good strategy.

The standard meaning or definition of IO is usually along the lines of "the state of having too much information to make a decision or remained informed about a topic". I don't buy it. Do we really think that it's human nature to be paralyzed by information? Well, most of the Librarians in the room don't. If we're running along these lines, then Cohen's right - it's a myth.

The problem for me, is that I believe that IO does exist, and it usually occurs when people have no clue how to match their interests with appropriate information sources. For example, I want to be informed about web technology trends in non-law libraries, so I read Cohen's blog. I could load up on sources similar to what he reads, but that's not core to what I do, and not a good use of my time. But what if I made a bad call, and did exactly that? To me, that's IO and it's such an easy mistake to make. Is it a correctable 'choice'? Yes, but it still exists.

My take, and perhaps simply a difference in definition, is that IO is the negotiation between information want & need, and being in a personal state of over-delivering on the 'wants'. If we have the opportunity to consume any information we want, most surely we will make bad choices (kid in the candy store & all...). Cohen is correct in stating that IO is not a passive process (or a state of the world, as the media might have us believe), but the vast majority of people cannot work backwards from their own gluttony of content choices.

Defining one's interests, evaluating sources, and selecting an appropriate number of sources are all vital; but learned skills that few people do well. If you define IO my way, honestly, I don't think it could possibly be a myth.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

'All Librarians' Need an RSS Reader

Don't have time to create blog? You know, I understand, we're all pretty busy. Regular lurker on your listservs? That's ok too. Wikis? Social Bookmarking or Tagging? PHP? Python? MySQL? No?

Well, guess what? We're not all coders, and I can't track 'historical legislation' out of a wet paper bag. We all have 'our thing', and can only push our streams of knowledge in so many directions. That's my philosophy anyway.

Don't have an RSS reader? Whoh Nelly. Hold up. Really? Not even a Bloglines or a Newsgator account? Ok, this is where I draw the line - RSS is not an optional technology for Librarians. Personally, I would argue that it is the single most important web technology since we switched from Gopher to the World Wide Web. As a profession, we simply cannot be late to adopt and integrate this technology into our daily lives.

[If you want to get up to speed on RSS, I'd highly recommend Cindy Chick's RSS Tutorial ... right hand side, half way down]

Why is RSS so important? First of all, RSS is so much more than blogs. Check out these publishers who are now offering feeds: CBC, CNN, the Economist,, HBS Working Knowledge, to name only a minute few. How long is it going to be before every information source you need can be aggregated into your reader? Not long at all, I'd say. Maybe 2 years?

The samples above are also just the beginning, and the expected incantations. Think about the possibilities when we tie in search result feeds like Yahoo News, or as a completely off the wall example - my local classifieds newspaper/website - has a standing RSS feed to show me if anyone advertises a saltwater aquarium out in the Fraser Valley (used my phone number prefix!!). RSS is infinitely customizable, regardless of how narrow the topic.

Another important point - RSS is by far the best solution yet for IO (information overload). Like all professions, we have to sift through a ton of resources. We can't hold ourselves out as the information professionals when we don't have our own needs met. If we universally adopt now, in the future, we can be showing others how to create personalized feed collections. It fits right in with our expertise as content evaluators and collection builders. Think about it.

Blogs were only the first online product to adopt the RSS standard. Most website CMS Software now have RSS built in, and the search engines should be on board shortly. The pace of adoption, web wise, is the only factor left.

Perhaps I'm preaching to the converted here, but every Librarian out there (& Library Tech's too!) - stop now, and get thee to an RSS aggregator! If you don't have one, you're overdue.

& my fine is bad library puns. ;-)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

"The Shucha List" of Law Library Blogs

A big thank-you to Bonnie Shucha - of Wisblawg fame - who has compiled a wonderful list of 52 (and counting...) professional blogs targeted toward the legal community.

The Shucha List (... as in... you have a law library blog? Oh well then, you really should have it listed on the Shucha list... email Bonnie...) does not include personal blogs, or general blogs on librarianship.

Also of note, Bonnie is a Co-Chair of the AALL CS-SIS Blawgs Committee - another important group tracking the use of blogs in our profession. Definitely worth a look.