Hannah Steeves, the Instruction & Reference Librarian at the Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University (Halifax), recently wrote an article on "Using Vinyl & Spotify to Understand Legal Information Online". It originally appeared on Slaw.ca on February 15, 2022.
Most legal research is done online through a combination of open and subscription databases. Legal information is available at our fingertips through Justice Laws, LEGISinfo, CanLII, Westlaw, Lexis, ProView, SOQUIJ, [insert your preferred database here], and the list goes on. The availability of electronic resources has radically changed—and will continue to change—the way legal professionals conduct research. However, despite my enthusiasm for the improved accessibility and retrievability, I think the lack of engagement that new legal researchers have with print resources creates comprehension issues. The disconnect between a source’s print and electronic formats reduces their understanding of the process used to create the document. Understanding this process helps us understand the organization of information and makes a researcher more efficient.
New legal researchers are often introduced directly to the electronic version of a source without fully understanding how it came to be. For example, a student might learn about legislation and be shown how to trace a legislative history using Justice Laws without ever interacting with the print, bound statutes. They are missing the benefits of seeing the tangible organization of annual, revised, and consolidated statutes. Another example is having a student use ProView without ever flipping through a physical binder and understanding how loose-leaf releases work. Although they know each source is unique, they all present approximately the same online.
Unfortunately, limited class time and COVID-19 have made it nearly impossible to get students into the library to conduct research with print sources. I try to grab print copies of case reporters, volumes of statutes, and loose-leafs to show students in person or on Zoom, but the effect is not the same as engaging with the print source directly. Instead, when I meet with students, I often see ~18 tabs open in their browsers with sites ranging from course materials, Google, CanLII, and their preferred subscription platform. They ask me, “Why does this have to be so complicated?” And they’re right! It does seem complicated, at first glance. If we had created these resources using our modern digital environment, they would be organized differently. Print established the rules, and the digital versions have been bound by them.
When I try to explain why the digital versions might seem unnecessarily complex, but that understanding how to use the print sources will improve their navigation of the digital versions, I use the following analogy.
First, assuming Spotify is the most common music app, I ask students whether they’re more likely to download/stream full albums or singles. Once they’ve answered, I explain that the point of this question is to determine that they understand that a single song is situated within an album—the album is a collection of songs.
Next, I ask if they know why artists produce albums. This one takes a bit of waiting, and in a classroom setting a music aficionado may bring up the concept album (and rightly so!), but usually there’s someone who knows that the standard album is a result of the time limitations set by vinyl, specifically the 33 rpm LP record. (Or maybe they Google it as I’m waiting for an answer—who am I to judge?) With a brief explanation, it becomes clear that vinyl restricted artists to around 44 minutes of playing time, and this explains the standard album format still used today.
The next step is to connect the persistence of the album through various eras of music. The album has survived the evolution of music distribution. Historically, it started with vinyl, but remained through transitions between audio cassette, the CD, through to the mp3. Today, although platforms like Spotify make it easy to release only singles, it is still commonplace to release albums, and we all understand how to navigate Spotify to download/stream singles and albums both. We understand how singles are situated within albums and how to use the information surrounding a single to identify coordinating information such as the artist and album. I try to link this back to citations for revised statutes or a case law reporter. Fortunately, I usually see some heads nod and, eventually, I even get a few students who ask to look at the print.
It’s not perfect, but my intention is to show the connection between tangible, physical forms of information and the digital adaptation. They can’t flip through hyperlinks, but hopefully understanding that the digital is trying to emulate the print’s pages, indexes, and volumes makes their navigation of the online version a bit easier to comprehend.
While access to legal journals in printed form is still desired, many have transitioned to a purely digital format. But what exactly does moving from print to digital entail? To better understand this process, I asked Susan Barker, retired law librarian from the University of Toronto and current acting editor of the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR), about her experience when the publication took the leap to online-only in 2015.
1. What were the motivations for CLLR to go purely digital?
When I came on board as editor in 2013, the decision to go digital had been tentatively made by the executive and I was tasked with making it happen. My conjecture is that the executive decided that the time was right to go digital. Our sister law library associations in the U.S. and U.K. had begun to create digital versions of their publications and it made sense for us to keep up. The journal was also in need of a redesign, so it made sense to piggyback the redesign with moving away from print.
2. What were the biggest challenges and opportunities?
Some of the biggest challenges I faced involved logistics and reinvention.
It was important to learn all there was about policies, the publication regime, and what impact the changeover would have on our constituency, our external subscribers, and our advertisers.
Also, the decision to go digital coincided with a change to a new management team. With gaps in information and changes to a number of processes, I had to make decisions without always having the knowledge I needed at hand.
Despite the challenges, there were more opportunities that came with this change.
Budgetary: Going digital meant that the CLLR went from costing thousands of dollars per year for printing and mailing to making a profit.
Exposure: Going digital made it possible for the CLLR to become open access. We now have a broader readership.
Look and feel: Going digital gave us the opportunity to upgrade the look. The cost of printing in colour would have been prohibitive, but these costs didn’t matter in the purely digital environment.
3. What helped you the most during that transition?
What helped me most during the transition was my experience, support from the executive, technology, and institutional knowledge.
Experience: I had already had experience in transitioning the TALL Quarterly to digital.
Support from the executive: The executive was supportive and generally hands off for the practical stuff – like the design, format etc. However, we always made sure we had their backing for major policy decisions, like platforms, and going open access.
Technology: Technology was there and easy to use – using InDesign, the ISSUU platform, and Adobe made the technical part of this transition very straightforward.
Institutional knowledge: There were many long-term members of the editorial board, including two former editors, who were able to advise me and fill me in on the logistics.
4. Do you have any other thoughts about that experience?
One thing that made it easier was that the changes were made incrementally and so we were able to make sure one thing worked before moving on to the next. Step 1 was the redesign in 2013. Then we moved to providing a PDF version while still producing in print. Then the print was discontinued and a PDF link was provided to members on our website and we set up access via ISSUU. The next step was to discontinue the print entirely. Once digital – we were able to go open access, no longer limit our readership to members and paid subscribers (although we only had a few of those) and to adopt a Creative Commons license. Finally, our partnership with CanLII made true open access possible.
While this is just one example of a journal going from print to digital, there are some important considerations Susan mentioned that I think can be applied to anyone who might still be contemplating moving online.
Whether you prefer the traditional print reading experience, or think print journals are old-fashioned, the reality is that digital formats come with growing possibilities and the journal experience will continue into an increasingly digital future.
By: Susannah Tredwell, Manager of Library Services at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and James Bachmann, Instructional Librarian, Law Library, University of British Columbia
Since 1988, when CALL/ACBD’s Copyright Committee was first set up, CALL/ACBD has advocated for its members' interests in the area of copyright.
While the primary focus of CALL/ACBD’s copyright advocacy over the last few years has been on Crown copyright and primary law, CALL/ACBD has also made submissions about such areas as fair dealing and licencing. CALL/ACBD sees this work as not only supporting the needs of its members but also as serving the interests of access to justice as a whole.
Continuing this work, on January 18, 2022 CALL/ACBD, along with Library Futures Institute, will act as an intervener in the Supreme Court of Canada case Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, et al. v. Entertainment Software Association, et al. Kim Nayyer, CALL/ACBD’s President, and Robert Janes of JFK Law will be representing CALL/ACBD and Library Futures.
This case addresses the question of how the concepts of “communication to the public by telecommunication” and “making available on demand” as used in the Copyright Act should be understood.
The outcome of this case has the potential to significantly impact various library activities, including controlled digital lending and possibly even the simple use of hyperlinks, particularly in light of the limited scope of current library and education exceptions in the Copyright Act.
CALL/ACBD's submitted that the court refrain from broadly construing the terms “making available” and “Communication to the Public by Telecommunication” and that s. 2.4(1.1) of the act ("Communication to the public by telecommunication") does not need to be understood as creating a new right.
You can find CALL/ACBD’s intervener's factum at https://www.scc-csc.ca/WebDocuments-DocumentsWeb/39418/FM050_Intervener_Canadian-Association-Law-Libraries-et-al.pdf. The other factums in this case are available at https://www.scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/info/af-ma-eng.aspx?cas=39418.
CALL/ACBD has acted as an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada on two other occasions.
In Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc., which looked at Crown copyright, CALL/ACBD submitted that “s. 12 Crown copyright does not extend to primary sources of law”.
In York University v. Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency ("Access Copyright"), CALL/ACBD submitted that the SCC “should resist the temptation to modify or clarify the existing fair dealing test” stating that the existing test “is a flexible multifactorial test that allows libraries (and other institutions) to tailor access and appropriate copying policies that consider all relevant circumstances.”
CALL/ACBD also made submissions to the 2018 review of the Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42: one general submission and one submission focussing on whether copyright subsisted in “primary law”. Kim Nayyer, then co-chair of the Copyright Committee, testified before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology regarding interlibrary loans, fair dealing, overriding licence provisions, and crown copyright.
From time to time, this blog will highlight initiatives, ideas, or activities coming from members, committees or special interest groups (SIGs).
Today: An Update About Web Tracking Tools, by Katie Thomas, Resource and Reference Librarian, Stikeman Elliott LLP (Toronto).
The CALL Knowledge Management SIG had a session on November 30th that looked at Web Tracking Tools.
There are a lot of website tracking tools out there so it helps to have a guide to get you started.
I based my presentation on the AALL Cool Tools (access only for attendees of American Association of Law Libraries 2021 conference) session where eight trackers were evaluated.
In our session I asked the participants to write down sites they would like to track and they were all different. So, there is a need!
First, what criteria should be used for evaluating?
It depends. Every workplace is different and different things needs to be monitored. However, there are three that stand out.
1. Ease of Use
What to Track?
Any number of things to track. Depends what you want to track! Here’s some that are popular:
Prices (book, software, flights, stocks)
Are they increasing / decreasing
Articles, preprints, legislation, case law, newspapers
When does a competitor post commentary on a specific case
Like Wayback, but you can customize for the websites you want
What do you want your tracker to do? Here are the popular features:
Summary of web tracking tools (using AALL Cool Tools session as a guide, July 2021)
CALL's Committee to Promote Research is looking for a new co-chair.
This is a great opportunity to expand your leadership skills and give back. New or experienced members are welcome to apply.
Contact Leslie.taylor AT queensu.ca or christine.brown AT ualberta.ca for more.
And since we are on the topic of research, the Committee invites members of CALL to apply for the CALL Research Grant. The application deadline is February 28, 2022.
The Research Grant was established in 1996 to provide members with financial assistance to carry out research in areas of interest to members and to the association.
Please refer to our Committee page for a copy of the application form and to view our collection of past research projects.
Le comité pour promouvoir la recherche de l'ACBD cherche quelqu'un qui voudrait servir comme co-président.e
Contactez Leslie.taylor @ queensu.ca ou christine.brown @ ualberta.ca pour de plus amples renseignements.
Et comme nous parlons justement de recherche, le comité invite les membres de l'association à présenter une demande pour obtenir une bourse de recherche de l'ACBD. La date d'échéance est le 28 février 2022.
La bourse de recherche de l’ACBD a été créée en 1996 afin d’offrir de l’aide financière aux membres pour effectuer des recherches sur des questions présentant un intérêt pour eux et pour l’Association.
Consultez la page du comité pour plus de détails et pour trouver le formulaire de demande de bourse (en anglais seulement).
We all have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to performing legal research. We sometimes share them with clients. And sometimes, we like to use those tricks to hunt down seemingly impossible to find material and wow them. Because nothing is “impossible” for law librarians.
The CALL blog has started a new regular series of research tips and tricks.
Please share your favourite or coolest strategies with Michel-Adrien Sheppard to have them published on the CALL blog.
Nous avons tous nos trucs favoris quand il s'agit de faire de la recherche juridique. Parfois, nous les partageons avec nos clients. Et parfois, nous aimons les épater en utilisant ces trucs et astuces pour mettre la main sur des informations apparemment impossibles à trouver. Car rien n’est « impossible » pour des bibliothécaires de droit.
Le blogue de l'ACBD a lancé une nouvelle série sur les trucs et astuces de recherche.
SVP partagez vos stratégies les plus intéressantes ou les plus « cool » avec Michel-Adrien Sheppard afin de les faire publier sur le blogue de CALL/ACBD.
Today: Finding Ministerial Orders by Susannah Tredwell, Manager of Library Services, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP in Vancouver (originally published November 24, 2021 on SlawTips.ca)
Ministerial Orders refer to orders “created under the authority granted to a minister under a statute or regulation that are made by a Minister” as opposed to Orders in Council which are issued by the Governor General of Canada or the Lieutenant Governor of a province.
For that reason it’s generally harder to find Ministerial Orders than Orders in Council, although this depends greatly on the province. Some provinces, such as British Columbia, make all their Ministerial Orders available in one place. For other jurisdictions you may have to look specifically at the Ministry’s website to find the order (e.g. Transport Canada provides its orders here: https://tc.canada.ca/en/ministerial-orders-interim-orders-directives-directions-response-letters.)
One thing to keep in mind is that, depending on the jurisdiction, the same number may be used for multiple Ministerial Orders. Drew Yewchuk gives an example in a blog post: “there is an M.O. 20/2020 from the Minister of Environment and Parks and an M.O. 20/2020 from the Minister of Justice.”
(And just to confuse the matter further, both Ministerial Orders and Orders in Council may also be regulations which involves another numbering system.)
Today: An update from the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Group, by Marnie Bailey, Manager, Knowledge Services, Fasken.
The Private Law Libraries Special Interest Group (PLL-SIG) has had two meetings in the last couple months, focusing on plans for 2022.
We have determined that quarterly meetings work best for members to stay connected with each other, and will have two in person meetings in 2022, and two online discussions. One of the in person meetings will be at the CALL conference, and one will be later in the year.
The PLL-SIG has also created a space on CALL’s Basecamp; current members of the PLL-SIG will receive an email shortly; if you are not a current member of the PLL-SIG, please contact CALL Head Office if you would like to be added to it.
Our Basecamp will host meeting minutes, working documents, discussions and more, and is a repository for all PLL-SIG members to use to work on projects and share ideas.
The PLL-SIG also has a Slack channel, with archived content of previous meetings.
If you have any questions about the PLL-SIG, please contact Marnie Bailey, chair, or attend one of our upcoming meetings.
You don’t need to be a member to attend, and you don’t have to work in a private law library either!
Whether you used to work in one or are just curious about how private law libraries work, ‘guests’ are always welcome!
Le texte français suit.
CALL's Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization Committee would like to draw your attention to the upcoming webinar organized by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL).
CARL Inclusion Perspectives Webinar Series: Third Panel Featuring Indigenous Library Colleagues
Date and Time: November 24, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Please note that this event is open to all (not just CARL institutions) and will be recorded and posted to the CARL YouTube account afterwards.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ (CARL) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group is pleased to announce the third in a series of planned webinars on inclusion perspectives, which will feature a panel of Indigenous library colleagues discussing their perspectives on the state of Canadian librarianship and how we can affect change.
This 1.5 hour moderated panel discussion will focus on progress on EDI initiatives to date and goals to strive for in the future. This will be a collaborative future-forward conversation, so please bring your own questions and/or proposed solutions.
In addition to being subject to the CARL Code of Conduct, CARL asks all participants, panelists and organizers to be respectful of what is being shared and in how they ask questions.
In the interest of accessibility, simultaneous translation and captions will be available throughout the session. Additional accommodation requests can also be emailed to Julie Morin, Program Officer at CARL (email@example.com).
Le comité de la diversité, de l'inclusion et de la décolonisation de l'ACBD aimerait attirer votre attention sur un webinaire qui sera offert bientôt par l'Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (ABRC).
Série de webinaires sur les perspectives d’inclusion de l’ABRC : Troisième panel mettant en vedette des collègues autochtones du secteur des bibliothèques
Date et heure : 24 novembre de 13 h à 14 h 30 HE
Veuillez noter que cet événement est ouvert à tous (pas seulement aux institutions membres de l’ABRC) et sera enregistré et affiché sur le compte YouTube de l’ABRC par la suite.
Le Groupe de travail sur l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion de l’Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada (ABRC) a le plaisir d’annoncer le troisième d’une série de webinaires sur les perspectives d’inclusion, mettant en vedette des collègues autochtones du secteur des bibliothèques qui discuteront de leurs perspectives sur l’état actuel de la bibliothéconomie au Canada et sur les manières de susciter le changement.
Ce panel d’une durée d’une heure et demie traitera des progrès quant aux initiatives actuelles d’équité, de diversité et d’inclusion et aux objectifs pour entrevoir l’avenir. La séance se veut un échange collaboratif tourné vers les solutions; n’hésitez pas à préparer vos questions et à proposer vos solutions.
En plus d’être soumis au Code de conduite de l’ABRC, l’ABRC demande aux membres de l’auditoire, panélistes et membres du comité organisateur de faire preuve de respect de ce qui est partagé et de la façon de poser des questions.
Today: Adapting the SALI Taxonomy to the Canadian Legal Environment, by Michael McAlpine , Manager, Information, Research & Knowledge at Siskinds (London, Ontario)
On September 28th, the Knowledge Management Special Interest Group of CALL met to discuss and learn about the Legal Matter Specification Standard developed by the SALI Alliance.
The SALI Alliance (Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry) is a non-profit organization open to all stakeholders in the legal community. Members include law firms, companies, legal service providers, legal industry associations and academic institutions. Founding sponsors are the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA).
Guest speaker Jim Hannigan spoke about the history of the taxonomy and the current uses of it in the legal industry. Michael McAlpine then discussed the work done by the SALI Canadian Working Group to adapt the taxonomy to the Canadian legal environment. There was a general discussion about the uses of the taxonomy and efforts to implement it in law firms.
First released in 2019, the SALI taxonomy was developed in order to provide a standard method for describing legal matters and associated documents. Version 2.0 was released at the end of 2020 and represented a significant expansion of the code set. Organizations and individuals around the globe continue to contribute to its development and growth.
The SALI taxonomy is extensible and can work in conjunction with other standards (eg, NAICS, UTBMS codes). SALI is an open, free and party neutral that can be used by law firms, vendors and others in the legal industry to ensure matters and documents are described consistently. SALI has been endorsed by several large law firms and by vendors such as Fastcase, NetDocuments and Reynen Court.
Some of the core attributes of the current standard are:
Other attributes that can be used to describe a matter or client include Industry, Legal Entity, Location, or Trial Type.
The KM SIG will next meet on November 30th to discuss website monitoring applications. If you would like an invitation, please contact Michael McAlpine.
Today: Scanning in Courthouse & Law Society Libraries, by Jenny Thornhill (MSc, MLIS, MSL), Law Librarian, Law Society of Newfoundland & Labrador
The pandemic has forced many libraries, my own included, to examine their service models and be creative in order to continue to provide services despite the lockdowns and other restrictions.
The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador Law Library (St. John’s, NL) is no different – back in 2020, we closed our doors to in-person services to our members and the public. We continued to offer what we call our remote services (contactless pickup, research and reference in texts and databases, and text scanning, including table of content scans).
Prior to the pandemic the public were permitted to access the print resources only and on-site only, so for the duration of the pandemic they have not been permitted to access the Law Library.
As things have improved, we have opened up to allow in-person access by appointment for our members only (excluding 3 lockdowns). However, we have remained closed to the public in order to comply with government guidelines for the number of persons in indoor spaces.
We traditionally get very few members of the public who actually need to access our legal resources. We find that the majority are in need of legal advice so we refer them to the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland & Labrador (PLIAN).
As part of our plan for the pandemic, we knew that limiting public access would be somewhat challenging, but we identified alternatives that would be accessible to the public, such as our online resources, to which staff could direct the public.
We already had a section on our website https://lsnl.ca/law-library/links-for-self-represented-litigants/ for SLR’s that had been reviewed by lawyers and approved as appropriate for the public to get answers and aid. This tool and PLIAN have been key resources for Library staff to provide reference services to the public.
Only twice during the pandemic did we get contacted by non-members who felt they really needed to have access to the library resources on-site.
The most recent of these was a member of the public who needed access to a specific text that only we carried in the city. This was a problem as we do not lend our resources to the public, we remain closed to on-site public access due to the current 4th wave, and we have never provided scanning on behalf of the public (they could come in and make copies for a fee, but we did not copy on their behalf and provide it to them via email).
This situation was resolved by referring her to the Interlibrary Loans department of her local library, but it left me wondering whether other libraries offered a text scanning service via e-mail to the public either as a result of the pandemic or had traditionally offered this service.
I send out a call through the CALL-L listserv and, as I have come to find with this great group, we got a lot of prompt responses.
The chart below is a summary of the results. I found that the majority of libraries who offered a scan service to the public had already been doing so prior to the pandemic, except for Alberta Law Libraries who had allowed the public to access this service during the lockdowns, but no longer.
This helped cement my decision that we would continue to keep our scan service available to our members only.
My thanks again to everyone who responded to this and my other questions over the last year and a half.
Courthouse/Law Libraries – Scanning for the public Summary of Responses
Do you offer a scan service from your texts?
If so, do you allow the public to access it during covid?
For the public, do you charge or is it free because of covid?
Hastings & Prince Edward Law Association
We do offer a scan service, but only to the lawyers, Crowns, Judiciary.
Yukon Public Law Library
Yes (pre-existing service)
No charge (cost covered by LSNL)
Nova Scotia Barristers Society
We do offer a scan service, but only to membership.
Welland County Law Association
scan service of textbooks to our membership at no charge
Law Society of P.E.I. Library
No charge (before or now)
Courthouse Libraries BC
Scanning from a text though, we would consider document delivery – do for members and public
No charge – was a charged service prior to pandemic, charges will resume shortly
Alberta Law Libraries - Calgary
scan for a fee for members of the law society
Public were offered during lockdown – now required to come in and scan
Free during lockdown – now onsite access only
Frontenac Law Association
Free for members
Not open to public
Law Society of NB
Scan service for members (10%); document delivery
Wellington Law Library
Supreme Court of Canada Law Library
Free for staff