Friday, September 29, 2006

CNET on the Best Search Engines (hint:Librarians!)

CNET Staff Writer Elinor Mills has given Librarians some of the best press they'll likely receive all year. Thanks Elinor!

Read: Most reliable search tool could be your librarian

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Welcome Readers of The Shifted Librarian!

A BIG thank-you to Jenny Levine, aka The Shifted Librarian, like she needs an intro! :), for mentioning my Legal RSS top-10 post.

As you can imagine, this blog is getting a pretty big traffic boost today. Please take a look around, and if you like the conversation, consider taking this blog's feed!

thanks again Jenny,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms

I've haven't posted a top-10 style list before, but there's a first for everything, right? :-) So... (drum roll, please) ... here are my top 10 uses for RSS Feeds in a law firm setting.

Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms

1) Current Awareness - Surfing your favourite websites, newspapers & blogs is a waste of time. Smart firms & lawyers need to automate web content to come to them via RSS. These personalized collections can then be customized (through mixing and filtering) to only deliver the content that matches a lawyers' interests.

2) RSS for Firm Marketing - From blogs, to press releases, to firm newsletters and publications -- adding an additional delivery channel using RSS feeds is not a huge investment. And speaking from experience, those clients that do use it, will tell you how much they love it!

3) Vanity Feeds - Every time one of your lawyers, or the firm, gets mentioned in the news media or blogosphere, someone should be notified by RSS. Your firm's ability to use RSS could be the difference between finding out immediately or days later.

4) Internal Research Collections - Your library catalogue should offer an RSS feed for newly added materials that match your Lawyer's research interests. Same thing goes for internal KM & research collections. In the future, I expect Internal RSS will be as important to law firms as RSS is to bloggers today.

5) Client Press - Do your clients have their press releases RSS-enabled? Are you tracking your clients in the news media? What do you know about their latest products, disputes, and business initiatives? Knowing more about your client's business is always good for firm business.

6) Feeding on Marketing Content for KM - Do your firm members have blogs? contribute to an industry discussion forum? wikis? Are you feeding those public internet contributions back into your internal KM repositories? Something to think about.

7) Case Law & Legislative Changes - The importance of RSS notification for new & changing legislation cannot be underestimated. Nor can receiving the newest judgement just minutes after it has been published on a Court's website. In the future, searches on those websites will, via RSS, enable us to receive exactly the legislation and topical cases we desire. I also expect these applications may be coming sooner than most firms are anticipating.

8) Aggregated Tagging - Do your lawyers tag with a tool like or Furl? (If they don't now, they might in the future, read on...) Tagging is the new 'favourites' or 'bookmarking' for online reading. Rather than creating a browser-based bookmark, these 'gems' are classified & kept in an online web collection, which just happens to be RSS-enabled! Does it not make sense to take those feeds, from multiple firm members, and aggregate them behind the firewall into a searchable repository? The line between public web-vs-behind the firewall collections is blurring. In the future, your KM efforts should be capturing firm members' public web contributions, and RSS technology will be right in the middle of that.

9) RSS Republishing - RSS helps to move web content to where it needs to be. We can automate the republication of any firm content -- from story headlines to full-text of publications -- to anywhere on a law firm's Intranet or public website. RSS is a very powerful website maintenance tool.

10) Feed Mixing & Filtering for Subject Collections - RSS should be easy for the end user, and starting from scratch building a personal feed collection doesn't always make sense. One new task I see for Law Librarians will be to create, remix and filter groups of feeds for different subjects. Creating & offering these pre-fab feed widgets that your lawyers can plug into their Aggregator could be a very valuable tool.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jordan Furlong Guest Blogging on Slaw

Be sure to keep a watch on Slaw this week! Jordan Furlong, Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Bar Association's National, will be guest blogging.

His first post, Innovation and the 21st-century lawyer, is up today!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Linkedin Librarians?

Over the past couple of weeks I've been revisiting my LinkedIn membership and thinking about this website's potential uses. One such thought is this -- Librarians could benefit from this tool through increased networking opportunities, better mapping of our social relationships, and (similar to blogging) increased professional exposure. Read on...

For those unfamiliar, LinkedIn is an online social networking website targeted towards professional and business users. Similar to Facebook or MySpace, tools which are aimed at high school or University students, LinkedIn allows members to establish connections with their preferred social contacts. You are also able to see your contact's contacts, making your visible 'network' expand each time you add a connection. Members are also given facility to create an online CV to establish who they are, with the choice to add as much (or as little) as they want to their personal profile.

So here's my thinking... Every online trend has a window of opportunity. Obviously some are going to fizzle, while others become ingrained in our day-to-day online experience. Social networking is now, IMO, entering that phase of opportunity. And LinkedIn, with a user base of over 7 million, looks ready to make such an impact.

I can see many benefits to establishing a Librarian's social network. For example, Can you imagine job hunting in another city, and knowing every contact your current colleagues have in that city? I know some established Librarians do this (very well) without a social networking website, but the greater benefit here is to the community as a whole. This type of tool could help continuity between generations, especially helping younger Librarians. Knowing who can help you when you're just starting out can be difficult -- reference requests, job hunting, etc. -- are all difficult tasks without connections. What if established Librarians mapped and shared their connections with younger members of their Library community? Social Networking could be a great tool for supporting the collegial nature of our profession.

I also see social networking websites as an opportunity for increased exposure to our profession. As a group, Librarians were very quick to pick-up professional blogging. Do you think we gained from it? I do. There's more than a little evidence from other blogging professionals that express an altered perception or a hidden appreciation for our profession. And those that know we're in the mix, also know that we're not sitting on the sidelines waiting for our card catalogues to come back in style. Facts are, if you deal with any Librarian online, you come away with a greater understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of our work.

So I have to wonder... Will we be on the front end of the social networking curve too? I certainly hope so.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Linkout - Jack Vinson

This Friday's linkout goes to Jack Vinson and his blog Knowledge Jolt with Jack.

Jack is one of my most trusted sources for Knowledge Management information outside the legal industry. Not only does he regularly link up to quality sources, but when he does, he usually offers a bit of his own personal commentary. That's important to me.

I think anyone who reads a blog regularly must eventually trust that author's voice. Simply put, I trust Jack's. He run his own consulting practice, Knowledge Jolt, Inc., based out of Chicago. He's also adjunct faculty at the Center for Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University, and active with the KM Chicago group. All great credentials. But most of all, I value Knowledge Jolt for the new directions I've been sent in. For example, I wouldn't have discovered Luis Suarez (another great KM blogger) without KJwJ. The on blog coversation isn't bad either.

Finally, if you're touring the site, be sure to check out his list of book reviews. He rates them from one to five cups of coffee. As he describes, "based on how many cups I might drink talking to you about the book". How can you not like a guy who measures value with caffeinated beverages? RSS subscription here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

VALL September Meeting

The first VALL meeting of the year is set for September 21st. Mandy Ostick, Virtual Librarian at the BCCLS, and Joanne Lecky, Reference Librarian at BHT are going to presenting on 'What You Can Do With RSS Feeds'. Lots of practical tips, workplace implementation ideas, and perhaps a war story or two about the BCCLS RSS initiative. Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Emma Wood's Free Pint Article

One of my VALL peers, Emma Wood, is the author of this month's FreePint feature article, titled Emulating Web Tools to Become Indispensable to Your Users.

Congratulations Emma [Freepint, what is that? 78k subscribers? wow!], and thanks for letting me contribute. Have I mentioned lately that you really should be blogging? :-)

Topix - Better than I remember...

Be sure to check out the changes over at Topix. The targeted news search engine has expanded, archiving stories for a full year, and now including a graphical search timeline.

One of their recent blog posts, titled 'Biggest Index, Most Sources, Best News Search – Our Dial Goes to 11', describes the changes. Admittedly, I haven't used Topix for a while, but this is a far cry better than what I remember. The design, interface, and application of RSS are also excellent.

And you have to think they're doing something right when the 500-lb gorilla launches an archive search of their own, just a few days later.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Drupal 5.0.0 is Coming Soon

Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder & maintainer, says the 4.x code has been frozen, and we can expect Drupal 5.0.0 in a few months (at least 2).

Good news, and the new features mentioned will be welcome additions.

Linkout Fridays

I was asked by a friend recently to start sharing more of the blogs that I'm reading. I thought I had been, but after looking back at my recent posting history, I could probably do so a bit more. I'm not sure I can commit to an every Friday thing, but for now I'm going to try and highlight a blog (or blogs) that have recently entered my aggregator, and let you know why I'm enjoying them. This Friday, I'll start with a double. [no pun intended]

First up, Tom Boone & Joshua Brauer's Library Laws (Are Meant to Be Broken) blog. They built it on drupal. Isn't that enough? :-) I'm also into the open source and LAMP stack software themes, and how they apply to Libraries and information delivery. Add in commentary on Web 2.0, development trends, tagging, the moodle/drupal integration, and a bit of KM, and is it any wonder these guys fast tracked to my blogroll? I only wish this one came out more often (same could be said of this blog, no worries guys!).

And the second linkout goes to Melissa Kluger's Precedent: The New Rules of Law and Style. Completely off my beat eh? Yup, and Fashionista (the resident fashion critic) would skewer me for wearing a sports jacket, but this blog is way too cool to not get noticed. One of the few fun blogs I subscribe to, but well worth the time, and keep an eye out for Melissa's litigator / reporter side too. Plus, it's Canadian! The blog design could use a bit of work, but hey, I'm a techie... Keep it up Melissa!