Where Daniella dares!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Not, I'm pleased to say, a post about Truth and Dare but another opportunity to lightly interrogate a new member of the BIALL Council. This time around the victim..volunteer is Daniella King past Chair of the Publications Committee and current BIALL President Elect.

First up, What is your background and how did you get into Law Librarianship?

Well - I do remember playing "libraries" as a child and having all my Ladybird books in title and subject order. Maybe I shouldn't admit such things but it shows I started young ! At University - I had originally intended to become a history teacher - but a chat to a nice lady from the Library Association (now CILIP) at a Careers Fair - made me see the error of my ways and I decided to follow the path of librarianship instead !

How would you describe yourself in three words?

I suppose the words chosen would depend on whether a friend or foe was describing me ! Words from the top of my head would be loyal, culture-loving and organized ! I hope that doesn't make me sound too boring.

You've done a lot of work for BIALL already, what do you find most rewarding and why did you stand for BIALL President Elect?

I have been on the Publication's Committee since 2002 - as Chair for the last three. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time - despite the missed lunch hours and having to work late on BIALL projects - and feel it has helped me both personally and professionally. As I was standing down from this - I wanted to make sure that I would still be involved in BIALL which I regard as a very important association. So when the opportunity to run for President Elect arose - I jumped at the chance.

So...BIALL President Elect... taking minutes, attending meetings and a nice Gold Badge?

Well - I do have a nice new gold badge but am still awaiting the tiara - maybe that has got lost in the post or maybe I just dreamt I was getting one of those ! I will definitely be attending lots of meetings I am sure. I won't be talking minutes though as that is ably done by the BIALL Secretary.

What are your priorities for the next year as BIALL Preseident Elect and Chair of the Strategy and Finance Committee?

I have two main priorities over the next year which involve finance and archives.
As a part of my official role as President Elect - I am also the Chair of the Strategy and Finance Committee. The function of this Committee is to advise the Council on strategic and financial issues effecting BIALL. We are an organization which exists for the benefits of our members and is financed by the subscription fees paid for by our members so it is important that we are seen to be accountable and am acting in the best interest of our members.I have also volunteered to look into the Archives. The BIALL archives are currently looked after by our Honourary Archivist Mary Blake who has been doing a brilliant job over the years. However, we do need to look long term and to find them a permanent home and also to look into the issues of electronic storage and hopefully making more of this archive available electronically via the BIALL website. This is a project which I have only just kicked off - so it's all very early days - so watch this space !

You're on a desert island, what BIALL Publication would you take with you and why?

As the former Chair of the Publication's Committee - my initial answer would be that there are so many to choose from that I am spoilt for choice !!! However - if you are putting a gun to my head for one answer I suppose I would have to say the BIALL Newsletter. Always full of interesting and relevant news and also features regarding prominent people in our profession.

If your life wasn't already busy enough what with being a Library and Information Manager and as President Elect of BIALL - You've just a launched a new venture with Sue Doe (Former BIALL Chair) called " Steps in the City " ..... tell us more!

Maybe I just have a fetish for badges ... as I now have my BIALL one and also my Tour Guiding Badge !
Yes it is true - Sue and I have just both successfully completed a course which is sponsored by the Corporation of London called the City Badge Course which means we are qualified to tour guide in the City of London.
We have absolutely no intentions of giving up the day job - but this is something to do in our free time. We put together various walking tours lasting between 1-2 hours which will introduce people to a specific area of London.
The only problem is that several people at work have heard about it - which has resulted in me now giving trips around "Legal London" for the Summer Students and Trainees and even a tour on "Licentious Lawyers of Old Westminster" for some of the Partners here. They have now told me it's in my job contract to provide them with fun tours - it must be in the very small print - as I can't see it !

It sounds suspiciously like a walking tour is going to involve some "walking" how many miles do you think you have clocked up so far?

Yes - walking is compulsory ! Even my Historical Pub Crawls involve some amount of walking but hopefully good fun will be had by one and all !

I bet you must have some really gruesome/interesting facts about London, care to share some with us?

Samuel Johnson once said :-
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford"
Although the quote is now over 200 years old - it is still very relevant today ! Whether it is the City, the West End or the outskirts - there is always some hidden gem of a building or a tale about someone famous who lived in a particular building. I am particularly fond of East London as that is where I was born and bred ... and where some of my ancestors have lived for at least 300 years. Researching these walks are always personally interesting and have resulted in me finding a few skeletons in the attic !

I understand you are looking for a new name for the venture, have you had any good suggestions yet?

So far - no suggestions as many people seem to like the name - but we are still hoping for some ideas and there is a bottle of champagne for the winner

Finally...what is your favourite meal?

Anyone who knows me will know the answer to this immediately - I didn't even had to think of it ! It has to be cheese ! I could quite happily eat cheese morning, noon and night ! Actually .... why am I spending time talking to the BIALL Blogger when I could be eating some lovely smelly camembert with crusty new bread .... bye !

Many thanks to Daniella for answering all the questions posed by the BIALL Blogger!

Posted by Tara Norcross at 16:17 0 comments  

Lexis Nexis v Westlaw Part 2

No sooner have you finished reading one article comparing the merits of Lexis Nexis Butterworths and Westlaw then along comes another one, rather like buses and hot sunny days. Anyway the latest comparison of Lexis Nexis Butterworths and Westlaw is in VIP Issue 56 , in it the author compares the North American products and provides some background information on the two companies.

It's interesting to see just how different the American products are from their UK counterparts, not just in terms of content but also in look and feel.

Posted by Tara Norcross at 13:20 0 comments  

The View from the Hill

Monday, 28 July 2008

Sue Hill fresh from the BIALL Conference has put Web 2.0 principles into practice by rolling out a Blog for Sue Hill Recruitment.

Called "The View from the Hill" the blog is a forum for discussing issues that affect Librarians across all sectors as well other more general issues that may be of interests to both Sue Hill clients and the wider information community.

The Blog looks great and it joins TFPL's blog, this is described as "a UK based knowledge management and records management blog for information professionals"

Posted by James Mullan at 11:59 0 comments  

The future for legal publishers?

Friday, 25 July 2008

The Law21 Blog has written a thought provoking post on the Future for Legal Publishers, which is well worth reading. In it they describe how changes to technology and the profits Legal Publishers make from selling traditional products will change the products they develop and who they sell them to.

Some of the issues currently faced by Legal Publishers or likely to be faced by Legal Publishers include:

  • "Textbook sales drop, as law schools encourage cash-strapped students to turn to faculty-run wikis as reliable, and eventually authoritative, statements of current law.
  • Law reporter series and caselaw databases fade into irrelevance, as court decisions become freely available and searchable on the web.
  • Legal newspapers’ print editions become unacceptably expensive and dated, and online versions struggle to find a business model that delivers familiar profit levels.
  • Legal magazines, restricted to longer features that subscribers won’t read online, remain chained to the print medium and face ever-higher production and distribution costs."

The other factors influencing Legal Publishing and mentioned in the article include;

  • Lawyer's knowledge demands changing
  • Laywer's not being the dominant market anymore (and neither are Law Librarians)
  • Blogs pointing the way to a "micro-publishing" future

Does the future look bleak or rosy for Legal Publishers? Like any commercial organisation Legal Publishers have to be responsive to changes within their own organisation as well as changes outside of their control, so developments in technology which mean sources that would traditionally be available only in Hardcopy are now available in a number of formats including free sources will undoubtedly have an impact on their strategy for the future.

Being aware of these developments and responding to these and customer requirements in an efficent and effective manner should ensure their survival, but there may be some casulaties along the way.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:14 0 comments  

Survey on the use of Web 2.0 in Higher Education

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Do you work in Higher Education and are currently using Web 2.0 tools for teaching, learning, support or administration purposes? Yes, well head on over to Survey Monkey to complete this survey.

From the introduction to the Survey:

"This survey is being undertaken on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience for all the UK funding agencies. The survey’s specific remit is to report on the changing use of Web 2.0 technologies for teaching, learning, support and administration purposes in higher education. This survey is being undertaken in five countries to help inform an international comparison. The survey has 4 pages and should take about 20 minutes if you have use of Web 2.0 examples to share"

Posted by James Mullan at 16:58 0 comments  

Lexis Nexis v Westlaw the results are in!

Stanford Law School have published a research paper which outlines the results of a survey of American Law Librarians, from the introduction to the survey:

"As costs for research tools, both online and paper, continue to increase, librarians are
often faced with the difficult decision of what materials can and should be canceled, and
what new acquisitions can be made.

The survey, titled "LexisNexis vs. Westlaw," was designed to answer a few of our key
questions: which database could be canceled?, what some of the effects might be from
cancellation?, and what low cost or free legal research alternatives are available and

VIP which is produced by Freepint also recently published an article by Diane Raper (Academic Services Liasion Librarian for Law at the University of Canterbury) comparing Lexis Nexis Butterworths and Westlaw, which may be of interest to BIALL Members.

Posted by James Mullan at 13:10 0 comments  

Libraries of the future

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) has launched a new site which looks at the future of Libraries in the academic sector. From the site:

"In an information world in which Google apparently offers us everything, what place is there for the traditional, and even the digital, library? In a library environment which is increasingly moving to the delivery of online rather than print resources, what of the academic library’s traditional place at the heart of campus life?"

If you want to get involved with the discussion about how Libraries will look in the future, there are any number of ways for you to do so from joining the Social Networking Group to attending the JISC Annual Conference.

Posted by James Mullan at 16:13 0 comments  

Your starter for 10

Friday, 4 July 2008

Jackie Fishleigh new BIALL President faces 10 questions from the BIALL Blogger, do post a response or question directly to Jackie by adding a comment. A nice and easy question first off...

(1) What is your background and how did you get into Law Librarianship?

JF - As a teenager I had a a passion for languages and went on to major in German with Italian and Russian subsidiaries at Birmingham University. This tied in nicely with my Wanderlust (oops I've slipped into German..!) because I got to spend a wonderful year studying in Munich. When it came to careers I took a "Cascaid" aptitude test (still going - I've checked google!) and Library and Information work came top along with journalism and the diplomatic service. I took up a library assistant post in the law library at Birmingham University (convenient or what!) My first manager was Mary Blake, a founder of BIALL back in 1969 and still current BIALL archivist. I started looking into post-graduate courses and was very taken with the brochure sent by Newcastle Polytechnic, even though it was a long way from home - I'm from Surrey. Going Up North was one of the best decisions I ever made because I had a ball in the North East (a region I still love) and emerged with a distinction and later converted this to a Masters, as Newcastle was one of the first polys to get approval for awarding MAs. My qualifications led me straight into the prestigious City law firm Slaughter and May,...

(2) Why did you decide to put yourself forward for the post of BIALL President and is it living up to expectations?

JF - I have been involved with BIALL for many years as a member, Vice-Chair and then Chair of the fore-runner to the Awards and Bursaries Committee. I have also been elected twice to Council and was elected Vice-Chair of BIALL last year. I was elected (unopposed) as President in April. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to be President and devised a path to get there. I am passionate about BIALL and think it is one of the most dynamic and inclusive professional associations in the UK and Ireland. I feel that with my enthusiasm, experience and commitment I am well placed to lead it. A Belbin test (which looks at roles in teams) showed me to be a natural Chair and Completer Finisher!

...now it gets tougher...

(3) How would you describe yourself in three words?

JF - Friendly, constructive, resilient

(4) You've just completed a 5k for the charity Cancer Research, what was your motivation behind this and will you be doing anymore?

JF - It was in memory of my friend and BIALL Council Member Zosia Carson who died of a rare and agressive form of cancer last December. I visited Zosia in University College Hospital last November and she was incredibly excited that her chemotherapy nurse was doing the New York marathon. BIALL had already made donation and held the Cheese and Wine Party to raise money for the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher, Surrey where she died. But hospices are when everything has failed and Zosia was such a positive person I wanted to do something to support research to prevent cancers in the first place. I also thought it would do me good to "get fit". It worked! I loved training at the gym and lost half a stone. Yes I am going to try and beat my Epsom Downs time (42 minutes) on the treadmill this Wednesday! In due course I may do a 10K but hopefully somewhere flat!!

(5) A new BIALL president and a new BIALL year, what are your priorities for the forthcoming year and for your term as President?

JF - Well I'd like to point out that BIALL is not just about me and what I think! We have over 800 members and it's everybody's association. The structure has been rather hierarchical in the past and I'd like to try and flatten it a bit so that ideas are generated more easily from the grassroots, via the Committees. We will have a Brainstorming at the combined Strategy and Finance/Council meeting in October, where I hope we can examine our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You can't beat a good old SWOT analysis now and again! Any ideas are welcome. Obviously as President I will lead this debate but I want to make it as open as possible. Already we have some promising ideas emerging (we had a Council meeting last Friday which I chaired).

(6) The BIALL Conference in Dublin finished just over 3 weeks ago, for anyone who didn't attend, what 3 reasons would you give for attending the Manchester Conference in 2009?

JF - It is a marvellous opportunity to increase one's professional awareness and broaden one's horizons. I didn't attend the Conference for a few years and then returned in 2004 when it was held in Edinburgh. It was like breathing in oxygen...
Networking - obviously. LIS workers are the best networkers around and do it even better face-to-face over a drink!

Manchester itself! Somebody told me recently that it was now the UK's "Second City". Obviously with my roots in Birmingham (I was born in Warwickshire) I still see Brum in this role but... it is certainly a fantastic city. Our venue for the Conference is the brand new University Place, which is one of the most exciting developments in the conference world. On a personal note my brother has a PhD, my boyfriend a degree and my uncle was a lecturer - all at Manchester University! Manchester was the setting for possibly the best ever TV comedy drama "Cold Feet" with James Nesbitt and Helen Baxendale.

(7) Given that the BIALL Conference was held in Ireland, how well do you feel that BIALL represents the regions outside of London?

JF - This is a tough one and close to my heart. As you can see I have lived in different parts of the UK and have a great affection for many regions. I love Ireland, Scotland... and Wales obviously. And have visited all within the past year! I sometimes feel the regions outside London are neglected. The Professional Development Committee have tried to address this and some popular courses such as Legal Reference Materials and Training the Trainer are being held in the regions. Unfortunately other recent events held in Edinburgh and York have not been so well attended. It is vital that any regional events are easily accessible by transport and that member from the regions help organise them and act as local liaison and better still if regional members join the Committee. If local members can host events this keeps down overheads.

(8) BIALL, possibly the worst sounding abbreviation in the history of abbreviations, are there any plans to change the name of our association?

JF - Yes, it's cumbersome and perhaps dated but well recognised within our sector. Both the name and the logo are in the mix for discussion at the Brainstorming in October!

(9) I'm an "ordinary" BIALL member, why should I become involved with the work BIALL does?

JF - It's a very efficient way of increasing your professional awareness and a fantastic opportunity to network. Networking can sometimes be viewed as a fairly shallow activity. Not so in BIALL where lifelong friendships are made...

(10) A nice easy one to finish with, what is your favourite colour and why?

JF - That's easy - fuchsia! which is actually "on trend" this season (yes, I watch "Mary, Queen of Shops"...) I wore one of my fuchsia blouses to the House of Lords St Patrick's Day reception which I attended on behalf of BIALL with Jennefer and Angela (See p. 10 of CILIP Update May issue). The ribbon on my Race for Life medal is fuchsia and it's sitting on my desk as I write...also fuschia is an exuberant colour and I like a bit of exuberance now and then!

Thanks to Jackie for very kindly answering our questions. Hopefully we will see Jackie pounding the streets of London in search of another PB very soon!

Posted by James Mullan at 17:12 0 comments