How to work a room - additional resources

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

There are only three days left for BIALL Members to access the additional resources Rob Brown mentioned in the opening plenary session at the BIALL Conference.

If you have forgotten the access details for Rob's website drop me a line and I will pass them on.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:14 0 comments  

Chitty on Contracts...

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 now availble online*....crack open the shampoo! No more running around trying to find Volume 2, Volume 1 or the supplement, in fact anything to do with Chitty!

*Access is available through a range of subscription options and pricing plans

Posted by James Mullan at 13:26 0 comments  

To search or not to search

There was a lot of discussion during the Legal Information Groups' (LIG) publisher session about adding value by making publisher resources (content) available through "Enterprise search" or "federated search" but what do these terms really mean and why would you want to do it?

So for the unititiated (which includes me) some definitions;

Federated Search as defined by Wikipedia consists of "(1) transforming a query and broadcasting it to a group of disparate databases with the appropriate syntax, (2) merging the results collected from the databases, (3) presenting them in a succinct and unified format with minimal duplication, and (4) providing a means, performed either automatically or by the portal user, to sort the merged result set" clear as mud.

Essentially Federated search enables a user to search across a number of content sources without realising they are searching across a number of content sources. So in practice this would see your users retrieve Know How or publications created internally listed alongside resources available from publishers.

Enterprise Search is a term that is given to describe a number of techniques for searching across information held by the Enterprise (Law Firm, Academic Establishment) these techniques or processes include Federated Search, Crawling or Spidering and Indexing.

For organisations Federated Search and Enterprise Search could potentially offer huge benefits in terms of time saved by users when searching and retrieving resources. There is certainly huge demand for this functionality and I would hope that publishers would respond to this by either making their content available to Librarians directly or by making it available to Enterprise Search vendors like Autonomy, Recommind or Solcara.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:14 0 comments  

BIALL Conference additional resources

If you didn't attend the sessions where additional resources were mentioned or your notes look like they have fallen in a puddle (very likely) several of the speakers have put links on their websites/blogs to these;

Andrew Mills - Building a blog: Lessons and Challenges

Andrew has listed all the resources mentioned in his presentation plus the video he made using his phone. If you were sitting in one of the front rows let me know if you spot yourself.

Phil Bradley - Web 2.0, What, Where, When?

This is the version of Phil's presentation.

Sheila Webber - Information Literacy: marketing and educational views and some research

This is the version of Phil's presentation. Sheila has also added two posts to her blog about the BIALL Conference.

Posted by James Mullan at 12:50 0 comments  

Entering the mainstream

Friday, 22 June 2007

Blogs, wikis and Web 2.0 technology are getting more mainstream by the day. For example Computer Business Review report on new software developed by IBM Lotus that integrates Web 2.0 technology with more established desktop services currently being used in business and academia.

Blogs are being snapped up by big business in America, according to Forbes, and the BBC website is due to be overtaken by YouTube as the most visited site in the UK.

Web 2.0 as a force is clearly storming ahead, and following on from some of the inspirational talks given at the Sheffield Conference, we as information professionals have to make sure we can talk knowledgably about and be ready to implement what will be seen as the “latest” must-have technology. We may have known the tools have been around for a while and we may have previously tried to integrate collaborative tools in our work places in the past, but if you haven't already spoken up where you work then maybe now is the time to make your voice heard!

Posted by John Franssen at 17:12 0 comments  

Guy Holborn - BIALL/Wildy Law Librarian of the Year 2007

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The BIALL/Wildy Law Librarian of the Year for 2007 is Guy Holborn of Lincoln's Inn Library. The award was made by Roger Cook, Chair of BIALL, and John Sinkins, Managing Director of Wildy & Son Ltd, and was presented at the BIALL Annual Dinner held at Cutler's Hall, Sheffield, on 15 June 2007.

Many congratulations to Guy !

Posted by BIALL Blogger at 09:09 0 comments  

I came back inspired by the BIALL conference

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

For me the great thing about the BIALL conference is all the mini conversations you have in between the sessions and during the social events, finding out little snippets of information, meeting new people and catching up with people you already know.

I came back inspired to make more use of Web 2.0 tools (Phil Bradley's talk) - although the advice that you shouldn't listen to technical people is a mite controversial, and being bit of a techie myself I couldn't possibly agree! But I loved the bit about empowering librarians, and that technical people are there to serve their organisations, including their libraries. How many times have I seen decisions taken about library software made by the Head of IT when it is the library's tool? The IT role is to ensure that the software works within the IT environment and that it will integrate, but at the end of the day the library staff are the experts when it comes choosing their tools. Collaboration is the answer.

But going back to Web 2.0, there are some excellent tools there, but they need to be used judiciously and not just because they are there . The question should be "Is this adding value, or is it just a gimmick because it's possible?"

The publishers' forum was interesting, but I was promised fireworks and it didn't really happen. I thought the debate about federated searching could have gone a bit further. When you talk to lawyers about searching several resources at once their eyes positively light up. There seems some reluctance on the part of some vendors to allow by-passing of the search tools and functionality they provide, but if the lawyer doesn't know where to start then they are not going to using it in the first place or they would be faced with repeating the search several times. Federated searching should be a compliment to, not a replacement for, vendor's tools.

Librarians are hot!

I'm not talking about the weather which finally turned on Day 3 of the BIALL Conference but 3 different reports published in American which rank being a Librarian as one of the hottest jobs you can have.

  • Parade Magazine says being a Corporate Librarian is one of the hottest jobs College Graduates can get.
  • The U.S. News & World report says "Forget about that image of librarian as a mousy bookworm. Librarians these days must be high-tech information sleuths, helping researchers plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records. It's an underrated career. Most librarians love helping patrons dig up information and, in the process, learning new things. Librarians may also go on shopping sprees, deciding which books and online resources to buy. They even get to put on performances, like children's puppet shows, and run other programs, like book discussion groups for elders. On top of it all, librarians' work hours are reasonable, and the work environment, needless to say, is placid"....Placid....hmm...
  • ranks being a Librarian as one of the greatest possible career choices for 2007. Although they do say that Librarianship isn't an "obvious option"

Posted by James Mullan at 12:43 2 comments  

Too much rain..BIALL Conference Day 2

Monday, 18 June 2007

Although the theme of this years conference was "Too much information" most peoples impressions of Sheffield will be of too much rain. Fortunately the rain didn't affect the quality of the Parallel sessions on Day 2.

Law Wikis in Practice was an excellent introduction to the use of Wikis by Law Firms and other organisations with Martin Farley not only pointing out the main incentives for creating a Wiki but also some of the potential pitfalls/drawbacks.

I feel it would be rather inappropriate to talk about my own session so I wont but anyone who attended A new legal partnership: Collaboration in the design of a New Module is welcome to comment on it.

The final parallel session I attended on day two was Amanda McKenzies' talk on providing a current awareness service to Solicitors this was an interesting talk which made me think about the way our current system works and what could be improved.

I would have loved to have attended Kathryn Pearson's talk on the KM approach at Bird & Bird but was otherwise occupied with LIG's session. For more information Day two Neil Stewart has provided an excellent summary of the some of the other sessions.

The evening of Day 2 saw BIALL members enjoy an "evening of elegance" at Cutlers Hall with Family Law Journal and 7Side announced as the winners of the LJA and CRIA.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:50 2 comments  

Family Law Journal and 7Side are a cut above...

Family Law Journal and 7Side were announced as the winners of the Legal Journals Award (LJA) and Customer Relations Initiative Award (CRIA) respectively. The awards were presented at the BIALL Annual Dinner, which this year was held in Cutlers Hall Sheffield.

Posted by James Mullan at 12:45 0 comments  

Love and how to work a room...BIALL Conference Day 1

Thursday, 14 June 2007

...Love is many splendid things, love lifts us up where we is also a word used regularly in Sheffield and I think it is lovely when people say okay love, that alright love...I'm might start using it myself...

The first day of the Conference was a mixed bag, the first session was on "How to work a room" finally I have the necessary least in my head I do, all I need to do now is to put them into practice. The next session was on Enterprise Information Management and will be the subject I'm sure of further posts, as will the penultimate session of the day on which was called "New Libraries, New Futures".

The final session of the day was on blogging, which I know a thing or two about, Andrew Mills was excellent and has created a mini-site on the Impact blog for all the sources he talked about in his session. Neil Stewart at Library etc has also published an excellent summary of Day one.

Posted by James Mullan at 17:19 3 comments  

Library School Talks

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The PR and Promotions Committee recently recruited volunteers to talk to library school students about being a law librarian.

The first talk has already taken place at Loughborough University - a joint talk with an academic and a law librarian.

Feed back from this was very positive, with one student saying he'd only worked in one type of library (public) and it was really interesting to get a broader view of the profession and explore other avenues.

We are currently negotiating dates with two more universities - the response so far has been very encouraging.

We would like to thank everyone who has so far provided us with information and offered to do talks. If you would also like to volunteer to do a library school talk for BIALL then please contact either Vivian Grainge or Lisa Anderson .

Posted by BIALL Blogger at 10:14 0 comments  

Welcome to Sheffield - Part 2

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

With only one day to go before the annual conference it is time for part two of Welcome to Sheffield. In this post, shopping, food and the english language....taken with thanks from Maria Mawson's article in the May edition of the BIALL Newsletter:

If you feel you need to escape the conference for a while, or if you are staying for the weekend after the conference ends, I’ve chosen a few sights and activities that you might enjoy.

You won’t miss the Millennium Galleries, Winter Garden, Peace Gardens and the Town Hall if you are staying at the St Paul’s or the Novotel. Together, they provide a lovely stroll through the heart of the city. The Winter Garden is one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK, and the Peace Gardens contain the Goodwin Fountain, and the Holberry Cascades, commemorating the leader of the Sheffield Chartist Movement.

On Cheney Row, between the Peace Gardens and Town Hall, you can see an early example of consumer protection, a set of standard measures, one of the first in the UK to feature metric as well as imperial measures. The Town Hall was opened in 1897 by Queen Victoria, and is topped by a statue of Vulcan, god of fire. The front of the building features a sculptured frieze representing Sheffield industries.

If shopping is your thing, take a short ride on the Supertram to Meadowhall, “Land of Shoppertunity”! It’s one of the UK’s largest retail outlets, with over 270 stores, and a wide range of cafes and restaurants.

One of my favourite places to eat, drink and listen to music in Sheffield is Cubana. It isn’t far from the conference venue and hotels, and the food and atmosphere is fantastic. The bar was inspired by the film Buena Vista Social Club, and the group ate there recently before they played a concert at the City Hall.

The Botanical Gardens are ten minutes from the city centre by taxi or bus (number 60 from opposite the Cathedral) and are very close to the Rutland Hotel. The Gardens were originally opened in 1836, and have recently been restored. They include Grade II listed glass pavilions, and a Bear Pit, complete with bear!

If you’re staying until Sunday, Kelham Island Museum is well worth a visit. It is close to the city centre, and the collections provide an insight into Sheffield’s industrial heritage. The highlight for me is always the massive River Don Engine, the most powerful working steam engine in Europe. It runs several times during the day, and I always find it really moving, in a weird sort of way. The museum doesn’t open on Friday or Saturday, so don’t try to go then!

Another option for Sunday is a visit to Chatsworth House and Estate in Derbyshire, one of England's best loved historic houses. It’s a 30 minute drive from Sheffield and well worth a detour off the M1 on the way south, even if you only drive through the estate.

Finally, a few words of warning about language. Regardless of whether you are male or female, don’t be surprised or offended to be addressed as “luv” by shop assistants, taxi drivers etc, male and female alike. It isn’t intended to be patronising or familiar; it’s just the way it is here! Also, I notice that one of the accommodation options is the Beauchief Hotel. Be warned, when you get in your taxi, you need to ask for the “Bee-chiff” Hotel, not the “Bow-cheef”. Seriously, that’s how we pronounce it.

Posted by James Mullan at 16:32 0 comments  

BIALL response to the City Business Library consultation

Monday, 11 June 2007

BIALL have responded to the consultation on the future of City Business Library, to view a copy of the response please visit the BIALL website at:

Fiona Durrant

Sheffield news - small talk for the conference

Friday, 8 June 2007

Although nothing to do with the conference as such… some might be interested to know that Sheffield Utd’s bid to get back in the Premiership is being spearheaded by Sean Bean. The life-long Blades fan is leading a delegation, hopefully Sharpe style, to Parliament on Wednesday 13th June.

All being well, he should be able to hot foot it back to Sheffield in time for the pre-conference seminar on the EU legislative maze which might prove to be useful for any future legal battles.

I’m sure all BIALL members (apart from Sheffield Wednesday fans, West Ham fans and those who dislike Sheffield Utd / football) wish Sean all the very best.

Posted by John Franssen at 13:56 0 comments  

What does adding value really mean?

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

This is the question the BIALL Legal Information Group (LIG) will be asking a select group of publishers at the forthcoming BIALL Conference. Does adding value for subscribers mean:

  • Online management of invoices and account details?
  • Client administration of online databases?
  • Platinum/Gold/Titatnium support?
  • Integration of publisher products?
  • Making tools like RSS available for subscribers?
  • Using other social media like Blogs and Wikis?

LIG would love to know your thoughts about this subject in advance of the session so please do post a comment.

Posted by James Mullan at 15:15 0 comments  

Academic Law Librarians take note - one of your law students could earn you £1000

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Academic law librarians might be interested to know about this year's Society of Computers and Law (SCL) Student IT Law Essay Prize. The winning student will receive £1000, a placement with a top IT firm and attendance at the SCL Conference and new this year, their institution will also benefit from £1000, to be used to purchase library books to support IT law teaching and research.

The topic for the 2008 Essay is "Virtual Properties and Virtual Economies: How should activities with economic consequences in virtual worlds like 'Second Life' and 'Everquest' be dealt with by real-world legal systems?" The closing date for entries is Monday 31 March 2008. For more details, and all the rules, visit the SCL website.

So why not let your students know about the competition, and with a bit of luck, you could find £1000 winging your way.

Posted by Angela Donaldson at 11:31 0 comments