Friday, August 29, 2008

VALL Celebrates 20 years!

Members of the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries are getting set for a new VALL season which launches (and lunches) on Friday, September 19th. But did you know that this year marks the 20th Anniversary for VALL?

According to our wonderful incoming President Wilma MacFarlane, and according to our VALL history page, it was February 1988 that seeds for VALL were set. So, this year we've decided to make it an anniversary year, and are looking to do some special things around the time of our Christmas social.

There's also a very cool story about a related email exchange between Wilma and the Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein; but I'll let Wilma tell it.... at the VALL meeting on September 19th. How's that for a teaser?

I'll also blog about it after the VALL meeting. Right now, we're rallying the troops! Give me a V! give me a A! .... you get the idea. :)


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vancouver Sun Covers the Legal Web

A hat tip to Garry Wise because I didn't notice it earlier, but this past Monday the Vancouver Sun published a very flattering article on the influence of the legal web. See: The Internet has become indispensible to the legal world.

Sun writer Ian Mulgrew had some nice words to say about a ton of different websites that many VLLB readers frequent on a daily basis; and even included a mention to Stem's Feels like a bit of validation for the hard work many of us put into these resources!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Active Collections

To carry on with one of the thoughts I had on Slaw last week, I'm intrigued by the concept of building active collections. That is, rather than building content collections with static items, that a new (additional) form of collection development can exist that may be more suited to the dynamic nature of the web -- an idea I'd like to call an active collection.

Active collections would focus on the publication source rather than the individual content item. Be that an industry association, some other authorizing body, or an individual content publisher such as a blogger. Source authority would be king. And that through mixing the output of these authority sources, and then filtering down for keyword concepts, that we may offer a better mousetrap for surveying the modern web.

In recent years, I would argue, there has been a fundamental shift in the way we consume content. The process has become much less precise, with almost a serendipitous quality. When we consider the fact that web-publishing is so easy, and the quantity of commentary so great, our challenge is now two-fold. It's not enough to simply craft collections, we now must offer methodologies (productized & branded if possible) to cull through this vast commentary in an automated way. We need to do this not only for ourselves as Librarians and collection builders, but also for the clients we serve.

And the way we do this is to re-focus ourselves on Publisher and Author authority. We evaluate entities on the various metrics available defining reputation, including many of the traditional authority metrics that Librarians have always used.

In the past I've always used RSS as my tool of choice when describing the concepts of mixing and filtering; but obviously technologies change, and now I may just as well describe RSS as the tool of the moment. What's consistent is the idea of authority source outputs as a fundamental building block for collection development. RSS just happens to be the best current technology to access this entity publishing stream. Mix up the authorities into a giant cluster, and grind out to the desired level of subject specificity. Not that difficult of a concept really.

And to that, I would like to welcome feedback from my fellow blogging librarians and library science academics. What do you think? Can collection development become productized? Do we have something to offer the dynamic web, and that may help the average web user not be so overwhelmed?

Slaw No Longer Just Research

As Simon Fodden announced this morning (ok, well it's morning on the west coast...) Slaw has not only expanded in its number of core contributors recently, but we've also made the decision to increase our topic coverage beyond the realm of legal research and information sources.

The addition of the Three Dave's this past week was a bit of a new beginning for our group. Three years have passed and we're all looking to re-engage. It's not that legal research and the use of legal information isn't still important to us. And the fact that its something that all Slaw members have in common means that it will remain core to what we do... but, it was definitely time to recognize the slippery slope we've been heading down:

Slaw produces commentary on all things relevant to the legal industry with a uniquely Canadian spin.

Doesn't sound so bad. Does it?


Quickscribe Manual Updates for July

Quickscribe Legislative manual updates during July:
More BC Legislation changes updated within hours at!

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