Thursday, 25 June 2009
As part of the Legal Information Group's (LIG) work the committee is reviewing the BIALL Code of Good Practice for Law Publishers. The code was launched at the Harrogate conference in June 2005. It has therefore been running long enough for the Legal Information Group to have formed an opinion of its effectiveness.
LIG see two main difficulties with the Code in its current form. Firstly, on several occasions when publishers signed up to the Code, they sent a letter to LIG outlining the areas that they were not prepared to implement fully. This leads to a situation where different publishers have agreed to different standards, and could be confusing for BIALL members. Secondly, it is not clear what LIG or BIALL could do to attempt to enforce the Code if we decided that a publisher was in breach of its commitments.
The Legal Information Group plans to make a recommendation to Council in July 2009 that a different approach be taken to the Code in future. In advance of the recommendation, they would like to hear BIALL members views.
The basic concept is to shift the Code from a prescriptive document to an aspirational one, rewarding publishers for following its principles rather than criticising them for not doing so. Of course, this does not mean that LIG will stop representing the interests of BIALL members regarding specific complaints. LIG would like answers to the following questions, although any comments will be gratefully received and carefully considered:
- Should the principles of the Code be applied to other suppliers of legal information besides publishers? (eg Hammicks, Wildys)
- What principles would you like to be included in the Code?
- How should publishers’ performance in this context be assessed?
- How should publishers’ performance in this context be rewarded? (eg award at the BIALL conference, symbol for inclusion on publisher website)
Please send your comments to David Percik (Chair of LIG). The closing date for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 30th June.
The winners of the Halsbury’s Awards 2009 were announced on Thursday 18 June at the 40th British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Annual Conference held in Manchester.
The winners, in each category, were announced as follows;
Best Legal Information Services (Non-Commercial Sector):
The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Library
Best Legal Information Services (Commercial Sector):
Clarke Willmott LLP Information Services, Birmingham
Best Legal Information Services (Commercial Sector) - London Only:
CMS Cameron KcKenna LLP Knowledge & Information Services
The BIALL Website has more information and pictures from the award ceremony.
Elaine Billingslea Dockens has written an interesting article for LLRX.com which many BIALL members will be interested in. The article "Vendor Pitfalls in Negotiating Large Multi-Year Contracts - or How to Lose a Million Dollar Contract" looks at some of the mistakes Vendors of legal products make when the visit customers to negotiate contracts.
Some of the tips for vendors in the article include:
- Knowing your product
- Knowing your contact
- Knowing what is being negotiated
- Avoiding customer politics
This is an interesting and at times humourous look at the other side of the fence when it comes to negotiating licences and costs for legal products.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Visit the the redeveloped and redesigned website of the British & Irish Association of Law Librarians
The BIALL web committee have been working hard over the last year to bring you a site with an updated look and feel, a more intuitive site architecture, a better search function and more ways to get new content to you. You can:
- Sign up to RSS feeds or email updates to find out BIALL news, events and job listings
- View the BIALL Newsletter, Legal Information Management and other publications online
- Find out information about training courses and the BIALL conference
- Find out what Council and the committees are up to
- And more!
Day three of the conference started (somewhat blearily for certain members of the audience) with a very interesting and informative talk by Vanessa Gamet of Kings College discussing the Terrorism Act and Patriot Acts in the UK and US, and their impact on and responses from the librarian community.
This was followed by a very entertaining session on records management from Paul Duller of Tribal Group. This was a very interesting session that highlighted best (and worst!) practice in records management, and gave us all some good suggestions on records management both at a personal and organisational level. I'm sure after this session we were all keen to get back to our desks and start implementing some grass-roots records management policies!
After a quick break for tea we had Laurence Bebbingham from Nottingham University talking on the legal issues and dangers in using web 2.0 applications. This session provided a sober contrast to some of the earlier sessions on web 2.0 technologies, and was a good reminder to us all of the importance of keeping within the law, even on the web.
Neil Richards was up next talking up for KM. This was a good overview of technology and the specific applications for KM in law firms. Neil has a real feel for the legal market, and I think gave us all a much better understanding of what SharePoint can do for our firms. Unfortunately, the BIALL Blog didn't make it to the last session of the day - Jonathan Brewer from LexisNexis discussing new legal technologies. We were caught up downstairs with the seemingly endless raffle winners! For those who did make it, please let us know how it went!
This years conference was a great event, with lots of fantastic speakers, and I'm sure all of the attendees had a great time. Many thanks to all of the speakers for giving up their time to give us all such a great and informative conference.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Friday night at the BIALL Conference saw attendeess get all glammed up for a Black and White ball...with a hint of Ruby Red! The ball took place at the iconic Midland Hotel in Manchester. Dinner was followed by the presentation of two awards, the first the Legal Journals Award was won by the journal Estates Gazette.
Day two of the BIALL Conference started with two excellent Plenary Sessions. The first"The digital information supply chain: Impacts, effects, opportunities and challenges of the rapidly changing landscape in e-content delivery" looked at the move by publishers from print to electronic publishing formats. The presentation was delivered by James Gray from Ingram Digital. This was a really interesting session which looked at how the move from print to digital will affect Libraries and what Libraries can do to ensure they remain abreast of developments in digital publishing and what they can do to encourage suppliers of legal information to develop digital formats that are both accessible and intuitive to use.
The next session was an introduction to the new UK Supreme Court the court which opens officially in October 2009 "will continue the work currently undertaken by the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. This move will enhance the independence of the Law Lords and increase the transparency between the top levels of the UK judicial system and Parliament" This was a really interesting presentation, which also looked at the Library that will be at the heart of the new UK Supreme Court. Any BIALL members who wish to visit the new UK Supreme Court Library were invited to do so although you will need to arrange a visit in advance with the Librarian.
Following Lunch BIALL members were invited to attend the BIALL Annual General Meeting (AGM) the AGM. This is where reports from BIALL Committees are received and the Annual Reports are received and approved. There are also usually a number of votes that take place during this meeting including approval of the membership fee for the forhtcoming BIALL year.
The final two sessions of the day looked at The CLA Law Licence and Social Media. There will be a more detailed look at the Social Media session on the Running Librarian Blog shortly.
Friday, 19 June 2009
Yesterday was the first official day of the 2009 BIALL Conference. Unforutnately I didn't arrive in Manchester until mid-morning so missed the first two sessions of the dya but the remaining Day 1 sessions didn't dissapoint.
The first session I attended was Tony Simmonds talk entitled "KS and Tell - Web 2.0 at the College of Law" This was a really interesting look at how the College of Law was using Web 2.0 tools like Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking tools and Start Up Pages to make content available to their students. Tony also looked at some of the issues associated with using some of these tools and at some of the future developments for the College of Law.
The next session I attended was "Innovative involvement not embarrasing imitation: using technology to connect with students without treading on virtual toes" this was a talk given by Emily Allbon of City University looking at how Academic Law Librarians can connect with their students. This was an extremely interesting and funny talk which used an interactive tool called a "Personal Repsonse System". This is essentially a device that records your "answers" to questions posed by the speaker. This made the session very interactive and provide those attending with an opportunity to interact with Emily and learn more about how the tool could be used.
The final session of Day 1 was "Have your say" previously known as Members Forum. This as most members will known is a chance for members to "Have a say" about the running of BIALL and pose questions for any of the BIALL Committee Members and other official representatives who were attending. The session also showcased the *new* BIALL Website and the "How do I Wiki" which the PR Committee has just launched. Both were well received by BIALL Members. The website goes live on Monday and the Wiki is live now here
In the evening BIALL Members enjoyed a night at the Imperial War Museum North. The night included a "picture show" laid on by the museum, music from a Mardi Gras band and of course dinner and drinks! The Halsburys Awards for excellence were also presented. Day 2 promises to be just as informative and eventful.
Last night three organisations received Halsbury's Awards for excellence in law library provision. The Halsbury's Awards "recognise, celebrate and reward the dedicated performance and outstanding service given by legal information services, law libraries and those teams managing legal collections and resources."
This years awards went to
The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies - Best Legal Infomation Service (non-commercial)
Clarke Willmott - Best Commercial Legal Information Service (regional)
CMS Cameron McKenna - Best Commercial Legal Information Service (London)
These library services have all shown a proven dedication to providing the best possible service to their users. Congratulations to all of this years winners!
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
As reported on LIS-LAW earlier today the BIALL Web Committee (BWEB) has set-up a Twitter account for BWEB and Official BIALL representatives to keep members informed of interesting BIALL news.
The official BIALL account is available at http://twitter.com/biall_uk do follow the account if you want to get up to the minute updates from the BIALL Conference.
Alternatively you can search Twitter for the BIALL2009 Hashtag. Finally if you're going to Conference and are going to be Twittering, do let us know, we'd love to hear from you!
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
This year the academic librarians are arranging an Academic group meeting at the BIALL Conference. Details are as follows:
The place - University Place Conference Manchester Room 1.218 Manchester (of course!!)
The date and time - Friday 19 June 11.30 -12.30
This informal meeting will look at the issues that are facing Academic Law Librarians. These include the revised SLS Statement of Standards and other common themes including training students, liaison and collection management.
Interested in attending, then contact one of the following Ruth Bird, Bodleian Law Librarian at University of Oxford, Emily Allbon, Law Librarian and Head of Information Literacy, Maria Bell, Liaison Librarian, London School of Economics.
Monday, 15 June 2009
With only three days until the official start of the BIALL Conference 2009. The BIALL Blogger asked current President Jackie Fishleigh a few probing questions about the Conference and her stint as President.
BB - There are only three days until the the start of the Conference, what reasons would you give for attending?
- The programme which has been described as "excellent" by the editor of CILIP Update,Elspeth Hyams. Elspeth has seen a lot of Conference programmes in her time!
- The networking opportunity - where else can you meet and mingle with over 300 legal information professionals for 3 days?
- The social events - thanks to the generosity of our sponsors we have dinners at both Imperial War Museum North and the iconic Midland Hotel
BB - What one piece of advice would you give anyone attending the Conference for the first time?JF - Relax and enjoy it! Work hard and play hard in the best BIALL tradition. My first Conference was in York in 1991. I remember hearing the distant sound of law librarians whooping it up in the early hours from my study bedroom…
...in years to come you may be a Committee Chair, Conference committee organiser or even a speaker so make the most of having everything laid on for you!
BB - What session are you looking forward to most?
JF - Your session on Law Librarians and Social Networking obviously James!
BB - *shucks* - thanks Jackie!
BB - Have you been to Manchester before? If so what are the "must-see"sights?
JF - After the site visit in January I visited two attractions on the Oxford Road - one was the University of Manchester Museum which is practically opposite the Conference Centre - there was an interesting exhibition on Lindow Man. The other was a longer walk but still on the Oxford Road - the University's Whitworth Art Gallery.
The latter is very strong on textiles. I went to see "Putting on the Glitz" which showcases some fabulous art deco wallpapers. The Gallery is in a park and the wholefood café looked good!
BB - Aside from the Conference session themselves, what do you most look forward to at the BIALL Conference?
This probably sounds rather shallow but in these troubled times a laugh and a glass of wine with fellow legal information professionals ! Make that a large one...
BB - What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as BIALL President?
When you grilled me last year you asked me how I would describe myself in three adjectives. I think I said friendly, resilient and constructive. I was recently characterised by a member as "upbeat, energetic and fearless". So I think I have got a lot out of it in professional development terms and would recommend it to others as such.
But you are probably looking for something more concrete. Well…it was my idea to have a 40th birthday party for BIALL. Justis were keen to sponsor an event and I suggested it. Date for diary: Friday 11th September. Location: London. It won't be expensive.
BB - What have you enjoyed most?
JF - I had a fabulous time representing BIALL at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia! It was very exciting and an honour.
BB - Is there anything or anyone you're going to miss?
In these straightened times I will miss having my Conference fees paid for by BIALL!
BB - How do you think the legal information landscape has changed in the last year?
JF - Many of our members especially in law firms have been made redundant, have had pay cuts/shorter hours imposed or fear losing their jobs. This happened quite suddenly and I think we are all still reeling from it.
BB - What do you think are the biggest challenges affecting legal information professionals?
JF - To stay positive and flexible if still in work or to face the future for those who are job-hunting. I really hope for the latter group that it will be a case of one door closing and another opening...
Many thanks to Jackie for answering the BIALL Blogger's questions.
Friday, 12 June 2009
This is a rather worrying but not unexpected news story from the Times Higher Education Supplement which reports on how "40% of university libraries plan cuts to book and journal purchases next year"
According to the report the drop in the pound's value has had a "crippling effect" on the budgets of UK University Libraries, which are unfortunately experiencing huge increases in subscription costs for research journals from the US and Europe.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
In a weeks time the Pre-conference seminar at the BIALL Conference will take place and Membership Services Committee are very kindly organising a meal on the Wednesday night for anyone who is in Manchester for the pre-Conference seminar.
If you don't fancy heading out as part of a large group what are your other food options whilst in Manchester? well I asked our resident "mancunian" what some of the best places are to eat in Manchester;
Croma is a Pizza restaurant which is very central and apparently isn't too pricey
Yang Sing restaurant is apparently the most famous chinese restaurant in Manchester, this might mean it's a bit expensive though. The are many other Chinese restaurants in Manchester's Chinatown though if you fancy chinese.
The curry mile in Rusholme is just a short bus ride away from the university. This looks like a must for anyone staying an extra night who likes a curry.
Finally Dimitri's, is Greek style restaurant which might be a change from Pizza or Chinese!
Monday, 8 June 2009
In a surprise move Lawtel have announced in their Lawtel What's New May 2009 newsletter that they are rolling out a new version of Lawtel.
The existing Lawtel interface is certainly looking a bit tired and crowded so improving it can only be a good thing. It's interesting to see that approach Lawtel have taken though, it reminds me very much of another Commercial Database?!?
Friday, 5 June 2009
If anyone attending the BIALL Conference this year is arriving on Wednesday 17th and would like to meet up that evening for a meal, please let Hazel Eccleston know by next Wednesday (10th) lunchtime.
Hazel can be contacted on 0191 201 2048. Any suggestions for places to eat are also welcome via this blog or direct to Hazel.
The Keynote speaker at this year's BIALL Conference is David Snowden from Cognitive Edge. I asked David about his Keynote session and some of the challenges facing Librarians.
BB - David the theme for this years conference is "Locks and Keys", do you see safeguarding information but also making information more widely available including via Social sites the biggest challenge for information professionals?
DS -No, its important, but basically the world has shifted and current attempts to manage security are based on compliance and enforcement rather than "habits and rituals". Human beings are not machines, they are social creatures. The major challenge facing the IT or IM profession is to break away from the concept of a human being as an information processor, and realise that our brains evolved as pattern based intelligence that works from very partial datascans Too much of the IT profession has assumed that autism is a desirable universal human quality
...good security is (also) about social processes not about locks and keys. The way in which we capture data and the level of granulairity of that material is important, and social computing shifts us to finely grained material which is of itself less of a security problem
BB - How does it feel to be the Keynote speaker and what do you look forward to most when you speak at a Conference?
DS - Speaking is always fun, you learn from the audience reaction and its where I test out new ideas.
BB - Your session is called "Thinking and Acting new" what will you be covering in this session?
DS- I'll be bringing insights from the natural sciences (something that hasn't really happened for a hundred years to more) to near on the issues. In particular Complexity Theory (the science of uncertainty) and learning form the cognitive sciences. I will be talking about new narrative bnased approaches to capturing knowledge and information "in the field under fire" in the context of civil and criminal law as well as general advice
BB - Do Law Librarians need to change radically to keep up with the changes in social computing?
DS - Yes (but then again so do all other librarians)
BB - What do you see as the next big change that information professionals will have to adapt to?
DS - Each organisation will have a different one. There are few universal ones. However learning how to generate trusted networks, the symbiosis of human and machine search and providing new and radical ways to store what we know accross generations all come to mind.
BB - I've had a quick look at your blog and it looks like you're travelling around the UK quite a lot this summer. Is there anywhere in the UK you haven't been that you would love to visit?
DS - I've been most places, I don't get to Ireland enough and there are many places in Wales from my youth I want to revisit. Cape Wrath I want to walk. I spend more time overseas, and South Africa, Tasmania and New Zealand are where I spend leisure time
BB - Finally if you could attend one session at the Conference, what would it be and why?
DS - No idea - my own obviously! Otherwise I will look around on the day and ask. Written descriptions rarely capture the essnece of an event
Many thanks to David for answering the BIALL Bloggers questions.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Following a previous post on the proposed merger of the Middle and Inner Temple Libraries. BIALL President Elect Daniella King has prepared a document outlining some of BIALL's concerns about the proposed mergers. The full document is available on the BIALL Website, the key points from the document follow:
- If all the facilities were under one roof, would there be enough space to cater for the hundreds of visitors who come every year
- Middle Temple has 14 professional members of staff, while 9 are employed by Inner Temple. A merger will inevitably involve redundancies
- Both Libraries have significant although slightly different collections, where would these kept and how would they be organised,
- The demands on each Library are growing: the number of inquiries is demonstrably increasing. This would imply that they are both essential – wouldn’t closing one be seen as a retrograde move.
Both libraries are regarded as a crucial resource by their users and an integral part of the life and history of their Inns. Happy and successful libraries equate to happy and successful chambers.
BIALL feels that if any changes are introduced, this should be done for the right reason and not just in response to financial imperatives. It is of vital importance that this issue is fully consulted upon to ensure that the correct decision is made. BIALL is therefore encouraging members who use these facilities to contribute their feedback to this process and also encourage barristers, clerks and students to do the same.
Our main aims were to make sure the website is an essential tool and resource for current members and a rich information source for those interested in joining the law librarianship profession. We have also ensured that it is fully compatible with accessibility guidelines.
BWEB looks forward to getting your feedback at the Conference and post launch. In the meantime I'll keep counting the days until the launch...
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
With only 17 days to go until the start of the BIALL Conference. The BIALL Blogger got the lowdown from Nicola Franklin of Sue Hill Recruitment about her Conference Session and some of the weirdest things people have put on their CV's.
BB - Nicola your session is called Marketing Your Skills - Getting That Promotion : the Role of Web 2.0. How important is it for Law Librarians to use Web 2.0 tools?
NF - I think that the rise of interactivity, as opposed to static web content, is a great opportunity for Law Librarians to demonstrate their vital role both within their firms and to the wider legal community. The overload of information that is available to lawyers and the ease of searching the free web and finding (and relying on) un-validated information are both prime examples of where Law Librarian's skills could save precious time and also achieve a better quality result for their users.
Web 2.0 gives the chance for Law Librarians to be a part of the onversations happening online, whether through LinkedIn discussion groups, Twitter, legal blogs or other means. For example, a quick search comes up with over 80 UK based blogs by or about law and lawyers - that's a lot of conversations going on out there that librarians could be contributing to via comments or links from their own blogs. Being seen to have access to information, to have something to add to the discussion, to be contributing is a great way to build credibility and reputation.
BB - The job market isn't great at the moment because of the recession, but are Law Firms including experience or use of an understanding of Web 2.0 tools within their job adverts or requirements?
NF - While job descriptions this year haven't specifically mentioned Web 2.0 skills, they have called for things like "Development of "self-service", portal-based, knowledge products" or "Experience of web publishing and intranet content management", whereas other roles we
receive details for are more traditional and describe duties such as "maintenance of the Information Services web page and to the firm's Knowledge Base"
BB - If you were to recommend one Web 2.0 tool for Law Librarians to use, what would it be and why?
This really depends on where a particular firm is already with its utilisation of know how tools - a firm that has invested a lot in an all singing-all dancing Know How Portal, taxonomy, etc will have a very different platform and also skill/expectation base amongst users to work from, than one whis is still struggling to get the library catalogue up on the firm Intranet.
For personal use, I would say being involved in blogging (either with your own blog, or using an RSS reader to keep up to date with a range of other law librarians and lawyers blogs + adding comments to these) has to be the key tool to use - at the moment at least; who knows what new tools will come along in 6 months or a year or so?
BB - There are many misconceptions about how Web 2.0 are/could be used what is the worst one you've heard and what role do you think Law Librarians have in changing individuals attitudes to some of these tools?
NF - 'It's all just a fad; its OK for social use but has no place in business' is probably the worst. Wikis, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube - they are all being used seriously by many organisations, public and private sector - burying your head in the sand and hoping it will all go away is probably the worst thing law librarians could do - making sure you are relevant & involved is vital.
BB - Sue Hill is well advanced in its use of Web 2.0, you have a Blog and RSS Feeds for new jobs. Will we be seeing any more use of Web 2.0 tools by Sue Hill?
NF - LinkedIn is another tool we use a good deal - it is a great way of being involved in discussions as well as finding people to talk to who might know someone interested in a vacancy we have.
BB - I've got to ask the following questions, what's the weirdest thing you've ever read on a CV...
NF - well its quite a list...how about:
- Interests - 'I'm into the occult';
- 'I have my own house'
- 'my favourite colour is...'
- A full A4 page of personal statistics (height, weight, eye colour, national insurance number, etc)
- 'I have a wife, xxx, two children, yyy and zzz, and a dog called
...what's the weirdest thing someone has told you in an interview?
NF -I was once told by a man I was interviewing that the gap on his CV was due to time served "at her majesty's pleasure" because he had murdered his wife... That one had me reaching for the panic button under the desk!
BB - Finally what session are you most looking forward to?
I have to say I haven't had chance to really look through the rest of the programme as yet.
Many thanks to Nicola. I still haven't stopped laughing about "being into the occult" yet!
Monday, 1 June 2009
The Lawyers Weekly a weekly magazine which is published in Canada, has an interesting piece on Free v Paid online legal research tools. The piece asks "Can we (Lawyers) get by using only freely available research tools?"
The answer is pretty much no but the good news it that free online legal research tools continue to develop. Two of the tools highlighted in the article are the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and Lexum which provides free access to the The Supreme Court of Canada Decisions.