Monday, March 29, 2010

CALL's Mentorship Program 2010

CALL's Education Committee has just announced that it's now accepting applications for the 2010 CALL Mentorship Program:
"This program is for anyone who is a member of CALL, regardless of years in the profession or type of library. We aim to make matches between mentors and mentees based on self-selected mutual interests, whether it be experience and knowledge of courthouse libraries, knowledge management, academic legal librarianship, and many other categories. Each pairing will be notified of their match in time for CALL 2010 in Windsor, should you be attending and wish to meet your partner one-on-one. "
Anecdotally, we've heard great things about the CALL mentorship program. Karen at Library Technician Dialog wrote about the positive relationship she has with her CALL mentor, a senior library director who's given her excellent advice, direction, and encouragement over the past year.

For information on eligibility, the screening process, level of commitment expected, and other FAQs, visit the CALL Mentorship Program webpage.

Online applications for mentors and mentees are being accepted until April 26th, 2010.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CALL Survey: Law Libraries & Job Satisfaction

The results of the CALL/ACBD survey, If You Could Do It All Again: Job Satisfaction and Law Library Workers in Canada, have just been published. The results support what a lot of us know anecdotally - law library workers are a pretty satisfied group. In fact, almost 88% of respondents fell into the 'satisfied with their jobs' category.

Published in the latest Canadian Law Library Review (Volume 34, No. 5, Winter 2009), the survey addressed an area that has rarely been studied. While salary surveys within the law library field are done regularly, along with the job satisfaction of library workers in general, the survey's authors found that little study in fact had been done of job satisfaction within law libraries, specifically.

From the introduction:
"The authors' working theory was that such individuals do, for the most part, enjoy their jobs, but we wondered how they faced everyday problems in terms of staffing, space constraints, budgets, work pressures, and so on. We also wondered whether some types of law libraries might differ from others in how these problems manifest themselves."
The results didn't hold out a lot of surprises - after all, position turnover has been historically low compared to other professional groups, and law library types tend to be pretty quick to vocalize (both positively and negatively) among colleagues. However, there are some interesting findings that indicate age and type of law library do seem to play a role in certain areas of satisfaction.

Here are some of the highlights:

Most & Least Satisfying Aspects of the Job
  • Asked what the most satisfying aspects of their jobs were, respondents' top two answers were Autonomy/Freedom and Challenge/Work itself
  • The top two least satisfying aspects were Physical environment (i.e., office, library space) and salary.
Type of Library
  • Academic law library workers feel the time-crunch: 46.1% felt they did not have enough hours in the day to get everything done
  • Courthouse library workers were most likely to say they were satisfied or strongly satisfied that they were performing meaningful work
  • Government library workers were most likely to feel that co-workers have little concern for them as individuals
[Steve's comment: I was hard pressed to pull anything out of the findings that was overly negative regarding private law libraries. ]

  • Workers older than 61 were more likely than any other age range to feel their workload was fair
  • Workers under 30 were most likely to be dissatisfied with their level of compensation
The survey was circulated to CALL's listserv and to several regional law library associations (VALL included) in September 2008. The whole article is well worth the read (for those who don't receive it in print, CLLL is available on HeinOnline).

Congratulations to survey authors Nancy McCormack and Nicole Eva for their fine research and reporting!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Albert Legislative Assembly Website Tracks Bills Back to 1961

This via the ELLA Blog:

"Last year the (Alberta) Legislative Assembly agreed to include more archived bills on their website to compensate for bills being removed from the Quicklaw.

Micheline Gravel from the Legislative Assembly recently informed us they now have Alberta bills going back to 1961"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Digital Photo Collections Revisited

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about using low-cost facial recognition software for digital photo collections, and how this feature might be leveraged by Libraries & Archives.

Well, the topic obviously caught Kathy Bryce over at Andornot. She's got a full blown experiment in the works!

Kathy's been experimenting with exporting the photos & metadata out of Picasa into XML, and then parsing the data for import back into DB Textworks.

I'm glad to hear someone's taken the idea one step further, and that Kathy (and her clients) might get some value from it. Very cool! :)

Business Week Pulled from Quicklaw

According to LexisNexis Canada Business Week has been pulled from Quicklaw Services:
Pursuant to a decision by a third-party supplier to exclude Business Week and Business Week Online from all distributors, these titles are no longer available on the Quicklaw® service. We regret the removal of these titles and do not take such actions lightly. However, we wish to abide by the directions of our suppliers.
[via QL What's New]

Monday, March 15, 2010

PKM & Turning Down the Information Firehose

As some of you may know, I sometimes moonlight as a column editor for the ABA's Law Practice magazine. This month's column, written by David Hobbie, addresses a topic that I have a long standing fascination with: Personal Knowledge Management, or PKM.

Titled Personal Knowledge Management: Turning Down the Information Fire Hose, David offers a number of practical suggestions for lawyers to 'listen effectively' to their topics of interest online. He also discusses methods for creating a systematized approach to collecting, documenting and ultimately recalling those important pieces of information at a later date.

It's a good article, and hopefully will inspire readers to consider (or reconsider) their own personal approach to capturing what they're reading online. Plus, if Google truly is making us stupid, we're all going to need to invest in custom solutions. Before it's too late! :)

Many thanks to David for such an outstanding contribution.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Law Libraries Should Be Their OWN Department

Greg Lambert's got it right. The recent news of Morrison Foerster Moving Their Library into their Marketing Department makes little sense, and shows "the law library has fallen a great deal in stature under its existing leadership." Not simply at MoFo, but at a lot of firms.

Law library service, done well, should hit almost every aspect of a law firm; and while that includes Marketing, this relationship only represents the smallest fraction of what's possible.

Even more troubling, I find it disrespectful of the firm's work product. Legal research is the front end of creating a quality deliverable - and working directly with firm lawyers to support their creation of that product is absolutely essential. Remember: GIGO is a key principle when any knowledge worker is making important fast-paced decisions.

Having Librarians operate under another department's goals & objectives, means their primary purpose of supporting firm lawyers is undermined. Competitive intelligence is a fine service offering, but not at the expense of firm lawyers producing their highest quality of work mistake free.

Moving the library under the mandate of another department (Marketing, IT, ... doesn't matter) creates a huge hurdle to Librarians trying to deliver that service. I like innovative approaches, but this kind of restructuring shows a lack of understanding.

Ask some of the Research Lawyers and Associates who collaborate directly with librarians. What's the cost of a missed decision these days?

ILTA Conducting Legal KM Survey

ILTA’s Knowledge Management Peer Group is conducting its biennial knowledge management survey to probe trends, hot topics and development of KM in the legal industry. [HT to Ron Friedmann]

You can take the survey by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BC Law Watch Launches!

A very cool west coast project we've been working on with Dye & Durham, the BC Law Watch Blog is now in operation!

The concept behind the site is to identify a variety of local industry news from around B.C. The intended sources should range from local associations, to government agencies, the Law Society, Law Foundation and BC Courts, to name only a few. In fact, working with D&D we were able to create a list of more than 50 RSS feeds and watched webpages for BC legal organizations. All of which is to say, we hope will provide the infrastructure to track things in an appropriate manner.

The other interesting twist to this website, is that D&D will be blogging about some of the infrastructure issues that effect law firm business operations. For those who subscribe to their FYI Industry Updates, you'll know that D&D is very in tune with issues such as: court closures, changes in filing & service fees, or scheduled outages for services like BC Online and the CSO. That type of operational knowledge is unique in my experience, and something D&D is in a great position to share.

So congratulations to everyone at Dye & Durham! Yes, I know that 'now the hard work begins' ... but having worked in Vancouver firms for many years, I also know there's a need for this type of niche publishing; and, I believe you are in an excellent position to provide it!

WestlawNext & Law librarian Consultation

[link via Library Stuff]

Anne Ellis over on Legal Current recognizes the "the ways the librarian community helped in developing WestlawNext".

Friday, March 05, 2010

Colin Cameron on File Openings & Reducing Bad Debt

Colin Cameron has a good post up on how Firms can use file openings as triage, both for reducing bad debts and the amount of time firms invest in WIP & AR.

Colin makes a number of great points, including:
  • giving the Managing Partner the authority to say no when a new client presents a high credit risk;
  • implementing a credit limit system that manages client WIP & AR;
  • reducing the amount of time firms invest in AR & WIP from 5 to 4 months; and
  • the positive impact that can be had on quality of the firm’s clients over time.
You should also take a look at Colin's blog for previous topics on: MDPs in the BC Market, Getting Lawyers to Sell, and Firm Strategy in Tough Economic Times.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Aperture 3: Low Cost Facial Recognition for Libraries & Archives?

One of my first jobs in LIS was in the UVic Archives between 1989-93. I worked under then University Archivist Chris Petter on the historical photo collections; mostly moving slides & photos into acid free housing, and then describing the photos at hand.

While I'm not an Apple user, I did recently come across an interesting feature in the new version of Apple's Aperture 3 called 'Faces' that might have helped the photo identification process. Through proper training, the Faces feature can apply names to your personal photo collection.

For the photographers out there, this sounds like a fantastic feature. Just in terms of the raw volume of digital images that most create. But what about using this application for an Archival institutional collection? If it isn't being used in some capacity already, this would seem to be a low-cost & valuable tactic.

I'd be very interested if any Archivists come across this post and are willing to chime in with a comment from their daily experience. I'm presuming that facial recognition technology has traditionally been too costly for most Archival programmes. But I could be completely wrong.

Monday, March 01, 2010

CALL to Host Joint Study Institutue in June

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is set to host the 2010 Joint Study Institute this coming June 20-23, 2010 in Montreal. Last held in Canada in 2002, the JSI rotates between various law library associations including: AALL, BIALL, ALLA, and CALL.

The title of this year's JSI is Diversity, Culture and Contrasts: Canada's Legal Kaleidoscope, and will explore "Canada's legal system through sessions on constitutional and parliamentary law, aboriginal law, civil law, the courts and the judiciary, legal ethics."

For more information, check out this year's program and the conference materials published on the CALL website.

Quickscribe Manual Updates for February 2010