Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Google Group for Blawgers

Via Alex Scoble & also the Law Firm IT blog, a new google group for blawgers is now available! Good stuff.

PLEI Launches New BC Legal Website Search Tool

[Link via BCCLS What's New!]

With what looks to be created using Google's API, "The British Columbia Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) working group has introduced a specialized Internet search tool to help you find information about the law in British Columbia. You can now access this tool through the LawLINK website. "

Direct link to the Advanced Search Form.

The PLEI tool conducts a google search, limited to the following BC Legal sites:

An excellent new tool!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New UBC SLAIS Peer Mentorship Program

From the online flyer:

"The Peer Mentorship program is designed to help MLIS incoming students make a smooth transition to the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS), the University of British Columbia, and the city of Vancouver. Incoming students who wish to participate in the program will be paired with a continuing student based on the availability of volunteers. The peer mentorship program offers a unique opportunity for incoming students to learn more about student life at SLAIS and for all participants to make a valuable social contact in both their personal and professional lives."

This program is run by the BCLA/CLA Student Chapter, and was started for the incoming class of Fall 2005.

Update 09/20/05: I signed up, and have exchanged a few emails with my new mentee! It's very exciting to meet new enthusiastic professionals... I'm really looking forward to this!

New Cyberlaw Prof Blog

Picked up via BoleyBlogs...

An interesting new blog by Lydia Loren, called LC CyberBlog! Ok, the name's killing me - 'cyber' is so mid-90's, and LC ... well... some Library culture things are just ingrained. BUT, the blog is pretty impressive, and looks to have a very 'real' voice (I also like the limited legalese).

Welcome Lydia, and best of luck!

Time for UK Librarians to jump on the Blog-wagon?

In a new post (full text pdf), Scott Vine is making a similar call to UK law librarians that Connie and I made to our Canadian colleagues back in February. Scott presents a nice overview of blogging and blog styles, and covers some of the benefits to being a blogger.

Connie Crosby, Steven Cohen & Jenny Levine are all quoted in the article. And my favourite quote (via the Shifted Librarian herself):

“If you find yourself writing email rants that you send off to a select group of people, you could be a blogger. If you’re always sending links to people, you could be a blogger. And if you’re at all opinionated about a specific topic, you could be a blogger”.

(don't insert 'redneck' for blogger, it only get's confusing ;-> )

BTW, the Information Overlord is also a blog I highly recommend (rss feed here).

Library Wikis

Around for a few years now, Wikis are finally being embraced by smaller groups outside of the technology's biggest success Wikipedia. A couple of important uses that I foresee are Associations or professional group collaboration (in cases below, Library group collaboration), and second, behind-the-firewall corporate content collections (eg. procedure manuals, or best practice collections).

Here are two excellent examples of Library Wikis I've come across recently:

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki

Introduction: "Welcome to Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki. This wiki was created to be a one-stop-shop for great ideas for librarians. All over the world, librarians are developing successful programs and doing innovative things with technology that no one outside of their library knows about. There are lots of great blogs out there sharing information about the profession, but there is no one place where all of this information is collected and organized."


Introduction: "LISWiki was established to give the library community a chance to explore the usefulness of Wikis. It is not intended to replace or detract from the Wikipedia library and information science articles (or those in the printed LIS encyclopedias for that matter), but exist as a niche encyclopedia covering library-related issues."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Linkblog (Mine!)

I've been thinking about creating a linkblog for a while. No commentary, just links I like. And now I have one, with a nice little feed to boot.

I'm not a big fan of providing no opinions when I blog, especially here. And there's just too much out there that I want to keep track of, or show my support. Scoble & Cohen have one, so I'm not inventing anything new here. It just seemed like a great way to track and share my reading sources.

Historical Alberta Law Collection

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kicking Off the New 2005/06 VALL Year!

I've agreed to speak at the September kick-off lunch meeting for VALL (formal announcement coming soon). My co-panel speakers are recent VALL Past-President Joanne Lecky from BHT, and current SLA WCC president Christina Zeller, from the BCSC.

The topic? - Blogs & RSS feeds. ... Why are you looking at your feed reader like that? Did you expect something different? ;-)

Update (09/02): Registration Form has been posted.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Law Libraries Blog Button

Law Libraries button added! What a great initiative. Thanks Bonnie!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Roy Tennant on Google & Keeping a Librarians Perspective

I'm a big Roy Tennant fan. Beyond his Current Cites work (which just past the 15 year mark!), Roy's voice is just so even handed when it comes to digital collections, and just being a modern Librarian.

Published yesterday, Google, the Naked Emperor is Roy's most recent article from Library Journal's Digital Libraries. I was already aware of these critiques of Google, but for me, the more important aspect of the article is Roy's perspective. We must, as professional Librarians, give Google our most critical eye.

Just as Lawyers will offer their legal opinion on changing legislation and not let the day's Government go unquestioned, it is a Librarian's professional responsibility to offer no less. There should be no Librarians in the Google fanclub. Period. It's like being a Doctor and voicing support for a pharmaceutical co., or being one of those '1 in 4 Dentists that recommend Crest'. It's just that wrong.

BTW, Google's backlink command is still very troublesome. And given that Yahoo just announced the size of their database has surpassed Google (& regardless of any dispute), perhaps the tides are turning. I know I would appreciate, and I don't think I'm alone, a two horse race again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Summer Project - We've Been RSS'ified!

My big news ... As of this morning, my law firm here in Canada announced the launch of RSS feeds for our firm publications. This is a project I've wanted to implement for a while (If you read this blog regularly, please roll your eyes in unison). Once started, it took about a month in total.

For those interested, I've blogged about a few of the details over at Slaw.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Google News Finally Does RSS

Google's News is now available via RSS. I'll echo Steven Cohen's comments - "It's about time."

You can take one of the pre-fab topical feeds, or create a custom search feed of your own (the later being the target of most's desire).

Monday, August 08, 2005

Rumours of Classification's Death Greatly Exaggerated

In a recent article from ComputerWorld, Geoff Barrall, the CEO and founder of Trusted Data Corp., questions the future need of file systems or any type of nested file-folder structure. Essentially, his argument is based upon the benefits of new indexing technologies (ie. Google Desktop) being vastly superior - to the point of never needing to group like documents again! (source: LISNews)

To me, this sounds terribly familiar, much like the constant comparison & debate between enterprise search (and DMS systems) versus the classified & browsable collection approach. I have to admit, I have no clue as to why we should compare, or debate for that matter. That's because I'm a shades-of-grey kinda guy. :-), or perhaps a bit more wholistic in my viewpoint.

When it comes to providing access to retrievable information or content, we're almost always better off making both options available. Classification without Search is great for browsing, but not so great when we are looking for a specific resource. By the same argument, Search without Classification is horrible when you only vaguely know what you're looking for... Guess what? Not all research behaviour is based upon the same level of required specificity.

The other significant oversight here, is that a classified directory structure can have meaning beyond its file contents - the collection itself can be the target of an inquiry. Whether it's the Microsoft programmers needing to segregate system OS files, or on our home computer where we keep our vacation pictures in C:\pictures\vacation05\, the loss of document groupings (...and being forced to go back and re-tag & group them into dynamic search folders...) would not be a technological evolution.

Are we going to see the death of file systems? I hope not. And if we do, I'm thinking it might be because the 'vision' of some is a little too black and white.