Friday, January 28, 2005

Pam Clancy, 2004 VALL Honoured Member

On December 16th, 2004, the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries added three new honoured members to the association - Anne Beresford, Anne Rector, and Pam Clancy. Throughout their careers, this group has maintained the highest of standards for contribution and leadership in the VALL community, and are indeed worthy to follow in the footsteps of previous honoured members Marjorie Keddy, Tom Shorthouse, Catherine Kerr, and Astrid Kenning.

To quote Diana Inselberg, from her tribute to Marjorie Keddy - VALL's first honoured member, "By making you a Life Member we are not only honouring your great contribution to our community but are also ensuring that you do not leave us entirely." (VALL Review, December 1991) This sentiment holds true today for all of our newest honoured members - these ties are important - to you, to us, and to the historical record of VALL.

After the meeting in December, I asked each of the new honoured members to answer some biographical questions, to which (I hoped) might allow us to record a small portion of their personal history. The following is a brief biography of Pam Clancy, who among her many accomplishments, was the first ever President of VALL. My goal for the future, is to publish some sort of biography for each of VALL's honoured members. We'll see how I do. :-)

Pam Clancy, VALL Honoured Member (December, 2004)

Pam Clancy was born in Victoria, BC. When asked where she grew up, Pam's response is quickly qualified by an appropriate "Not yet". So... Pam Clancy was 'raised ' at various locations throughout the Province, living in 'Victoria, Abbotsford, Vancouver (again), Vernon, Kamloops, and Vancouver (third time!)'. Travelling around BC as a youth obviously suited Pam. To this day, she still has the 'travel bug' and travelling continues to play an important role in her life.

Pam received her MLS from McGill University in 1967, and proceeded to begin her career as a cataloguer, then reference librarian, at the University of British Columbia. From there, she moved on to work at the Alberta Ministry of Municipal Affairs in Edmonton as the Departmental Librarian from 1975 - 1979.

In 1979, Pam and her family moved to Nanaimo and started what she describes as her 'working-mum phase' which included school, sports, her parish, and a number of self-interest volunteering efforts. When the time came to pick up her career, and faced with the possibility of being the best educated muffin seller in Nanaimo, Pam created her own opportunity and (lucky for us) started her foray into Law Libraries. In 1982 she landed a job as a part-time library clerk at Nanaimo courthouse Library (part of BCCLS) learning her craft. As Pam describes, "I asked the lawyers and the odd Judge to let me learn legal reference by practicing on them". When she later moved back to Vancouver and began Freelancing (1984 - 1987), she found the process in Vancouver to be little more than a "finishing school" to the challenges she had faced back in Nanaimo.

In 1987, Pam moved over to the law firm of Campney & Murphy, where she worked as the Firm Librarian for 8 years until 1995. Pam finished her career, during the period from 1995 to 2002, working at the Legal Resource Centre of the Legal Services Society of British Columbia. Included in these time periods, she became one of the founding members of the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries, as well as the first President of the Association. Pam's contribution to Associations beyond VALL were also numerous, and included: CLA, 1973-2002; CASLIS, 1975-79, 1983-87; CALL 1982-2002; and BCLA 1995-2003.

Pam remained an active member of VALL until 2003, a year after she had retired; and at the December 2004 lunch was introduced to the Association as a new Honoured Member. When asked if there was an accomplishment that she was most proud of, her response was:
"Because library people in general, and especially law library folk, are generous in assisting each other, I have received an amazing amount of help, information and support from my colleagues. At some point I became a sort of mentor or library crone to a few beginners. Then it was a real pleasure to teach the legal bibliography course at UBC for a few years and similar short course at Langara's library technician program."This was very true of Pam. My first introduction to her in 2000, was when she asked me to Moderate and Co-present at a VALL workshop on Intranets. Being new to VALL, I was nervous to say the least. I'm not sure I would have gotten through without a few 'Pam Clancy pep-talks'. Needless to say, I did get through, and Pam can take credit for yet another mentoring moment. Her teaching both formally at UBC & Langara, as well as her informal guidance to those of us just getting our footing, will be remembered as a significant part of her legacy.

Pam and her husband Ron, also a newly retired librarian, are now embracing their love of travel. The retired life has also given them more time to hike, to garden, and attend choral concerts. So it would seem, just like in her working life, there's no slowing down Pam.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Google Video Search

Via Tara Calishain over at Research Buzz:

"Google has quietly added a video search to their labs. The labs are at , the video search is at . And as always, the interface is simple; a query box and that's about it."

You had to know this was coming. There isn't any actual video yet, but we have to peek. It's not a far out prediction to say this will become the one of Google's top search tools in the near future.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Smithsonian's Song Catalog - Now That's a For-Profit Alternative!

OK folk music fans, the Smithsonian Folkways song collection is finally to be sold online via the MSN Music Store for 99 cents apiece, and when the agreement with Microsoft expires, the Smithsonian hopes to begin its own music download service, with more extensive text and documentation features (whew, I was worried...).

Why am I telling you this? Well, I think this is another nice example of Libraries acting in an entrepreneurial way. The Google/Libraries thing is another example. The Smithsonian is leveraging one of its valuable assets, and at the same time, supporting the long term preservation of that collection. Good on 'em.

When you're content rich and funding poor, like so many Libraries, this type of initiative just makes sense. The Libraries and Library Societies we support may not be The Smithsonian (insert the 'echo' effect here) sonian, sonian, soniaaaaan... :-), but that is just a question of scale. Brainstorming new services (or looking at old services in new ways) are always key to innovation. Finding a new distribution / marketing partnership never hurts either.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Publisher Acquires Consulting Co?

This headline could have read 'We Liked Your Clients So Much, We Bought the Company!".

Hildebrandt International, the legal consulting powerhouse, and the Thomson Corporation "announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Thomson will acquire Hildebrandt".

I may be way off the mark here, but isn't there something wrong with buying a Consulting company that potentially recommends your products? Kind of like buying a newspaper to integrate your products into various story lines? ... Oh ok, who am I kidding, you don't have to buy the company to do that - I mean, they were eating bucket loads of Doritos on Survivor...

I just hope their clients aren't expecting an unbiased third party opinion to help them make decisions. IMHO, Software Co's can acquire Publishers, and vice versa; but either acquiring a Consulting Co. screams conflict of interest.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The National Digital Library of Canada

I'm going to throw my support behind Michael Geist's latest idea - that it is Time for Canada to Create National Digital Library. Although I think the logistics of building such a collection and enforcing depository requirements, rather than Copyright issues, are the biggest challenges to the concept.

If you haven't read Michael's latest article in the Toronto Star, he's proposing a national digital library which would contain 'a digitally scanned copy of every book, government report, and legal decision ever published in Canada'.

While I'm not sure that LAC doesn't already have this collection mandate (based on content rather than technology/media), the project as a concept has a lot of merit. I like the idea of a national digital format collection for public domain materials published in Canada, and if you can Googlize it (with all the related media hype), all the better! It also has the potential to save some of the Library collections that are crumbling away on acidic paper.

I'm convinced Libraries and Librarians need to try new things to stay relevant, and putting ourselves in the middle of a highly visible and press friendly project could do nothing but good. It's quite possible the LAC is already on top of this (and I'm sorry if I'm out to lunch and they've had this type of project underway for the past 3 years... ), but it's the marketing that counts and our profile as a profession could certainly benefit from our participation.

I'd love to see Librarians in the middle of this type of initiative. I'd like it even better if a Librarian had come up with it. :-)

Friday, January 07, 2005

Google Zeitgeist 2004

Google has published another annual compilation of the most frequently searched phrases. It's mostly pop culture, but always worth a quick peek.

Check out the 2004 Zeitgeist:

and also, the 2004 International Zeitgiest:

which includes Canadian terms:

BTW, Happy New year to everyone! The great snow storm of 2004 has arrived in Vancouver. For those of you in the East, you'll recognize it as April. ;-) Having lived in Ontario for 4 years, I now appreciate the weather back home here, but would kill for the snow removal service you receive. Oh well, it's all a trade off, isn't it?