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Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

EMLIP Meeting (22 January 2016)

Posted by JackieHanes on 1 February, 2016

I attended a meeting of the East Midlands Legal Information Professionals group on Friday 22 January. The meeting was held in the offices of Browne Jacobson, in a great location by the canal and courthouse in Nottingham. They also provide visitors with wondeful coffee and cookies on arrival – very welcome given the inclement weather.  Tom Laidlaw and Simon Gaunt of LexisNexis were in attendance to give a demonstration of their new product NewsDesk.

NewsDesk is a media analysis tool from MoreOver Technologies (recently acquired by LexisNexis). The NewsDesk service enables users to search news (free and subscription news content) and social media, and set up email and rss current awareness alerts. The technology powers the local news sections on the BBC website among other major clients. In legal practice, searches could include news about the firm, clients, competitor firms, and practice areas.  This is a key service development area for many law librarians in firms and industry at the moment.  The search interface was modern and intuitive – a world away from the Nexis interface. The target audience was obviously law firms, but it would be useful to any library offering research intelligence services to academics or departments.

After the meeting, LexisNexis treated us to a great pub lunch at the CanalHouse, which I imagine would be a lovely venue in the Summer …

Posted in Law, Service Delivery, Technology & Devices | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Visit to Coventry University Library (16 January 2013)

Posted by JackieHanes on 16 January, 2013

I visited Sue White, the law and official publications librarian, in the Lanchester Library at Coventry University, to discuss library inductions and reading lists.  I attended a CILIP event at the Lanchester Library shortly after it opened, and it was interesting to return a decade + later to see how it had fared/aged.   

The subject librarian team have a very different structure to us: the team is much larger, librarians are responsible for only 1 or 2 subjects,  and they are supported by a large team of library assistants.  However, they provide services to both taught-course and research users, and they are responsible for their enquiry service too.  Lanchester had enquiry desks on each of their three floors (science, social science and arts).  But these have been closed, and replaced by ‘roving library enquiry staff’ to limited success.  Sue is currently involved in a project to train students to act as roving library enquiry staff. 

The law collection is classified using Dewey, but shelved out-of-sequence.  The collection includes a large number of print journals and law reports, which Sue feels are at risk, because of space pressures in the library.  Sue is also the EDC librarian: although her enquiries are very low in number, the print resources are well used, but she feels they would be better used if inter-filed in the main collection.

Coventry University provide all undergraduate students with a copy of their course textbooks as part of their £9K course fees.  While library footfall continues to increase, levels of borrowing and shelving are noticably lower.  It’s not yet know how this will affect library provision in the future.

Coventry University have used the Talis Aspire reading list software for about 5 years.  Subject librarians initially create module reading lists and handover responsibility to academics.  I was disappointed to discover that Sue has also failed to make Talis Aspire work with the LexisLibrary and Westlaw law databases.  Workarounds include linking to journal title level, rather than article level; and linking to judgments on BAIILI, rather than authoritive law reports.  She is also unable to use Talis Aspire to help with editions checking, and has employed her library assistants to manually check reading lists on an annual basis.

As regards library inductions, Sue is far more embedded into the curriculum than me.  She delivers a library welcome lecture in the first week (1 x 200 students), and then sees all students in their seminar groups during the second week for a legal research practical session (10 x 20 students).   In later weeks, Sue delivers lectures on official publications (jointly with an academic), and Westlaw and LexisLibrary database training (jointly with a third party database trainer).  By way of contrast, I delivered a library welcome lecture in the second week  (1 x 400 students), but was unable to deliver practical sessions, and met with resistance from timetabling.  Coventry University also used Echo 360 technology to record library training events and make them available on Moodle.

Sue was interested to learn more about our subject pages (they do not have an equivalent on their library website), my legal research online tutorials, and our experiences with the JustCite legal search engine. 

Lunch was not on the agenda, but I did enjoy a very nice coffee and black-forest brownie …

Posted in Collection management, Law, Offical Publications, Subject Support | Leave a Comment »

EU Law Seminar (10 December 2012)

Posted by JackieHanes on 12 December, 2012

I attended a joint BIALL (British and Irish Association of Law Librarians) and CLIG (City Legal Information Group) seminar on EU (European Union) law held at Field Fisher Waterhouse in London on 10 December 2012.  Rather aptly, the course occured on the same day as the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2012

Maria Bell (EDC and Law Librarian at the London School of Economics) provided an overview of the formation, history and enlargement of the EU and its main institutions.  The European Council and the Council of Europe should not be confused.  The Treaty of Lisbon (2007) has renumbered the founding treaties again.   Directorates-General (DGs)are EU government departments. 

Maria also provided an overview of EU legislation.  Primary legislation are treaties; and secondary legislation are regulations, decisions and directives.  There are also non-legislative acts (non-binding recommendations).  Regulations and decisions apply directly; but directives require national implementation.  There is no easy way to trace national implementation of EU directives: Eur-Lex includes some National Execution Measures (MNEs), and N-Lex will link you to national legislaton websites (in national language).  The last resort is to see if the EU has started proceedings against member states in the ECJ for non-implementation of legislation.  Pre-Lex (from European Commission) and the Legislation Observatory (OEIL) (from European Parliament) enable you to trace draft EU legislation (similar to a UK bill tracker). 

David Percik (Library Manager BPP Waterloo, and formerly EU Librarian at the Law Society) provided an overview of the EU courts and case law.  The two major EU courts are:  Court of Justice (ECJ) (C-cases) and the General Court (T-cases) (formerly the Court of First Instance).  There is also an EU Civil Service Tribunal to adjudicate in internal employment disputes.  Do not confuse the European Court of Justice (ECJ) with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 

The ECJ will give preliminary rulings (advice to national courts on EU law), infringements (non-implementation of EU law by member states), and annulment / failure to act (judicial review of EU law). After application to the court, the most important stage is the written stage, whereas oral stages (hearings) are optional. The Advocate-General (AG) will give an advisory opinion, and the Judges give their judgment later.  Judgments are published on the ECJ website on the same day, but are not official until they are published in the European Court Reports (ECRs), often with a considerable time delay.  Although EU case law is available on Eur-Lex, David recommends Curia as a better source, because of enhanced search interface. 

Els Braedstreet (European Commission Publications Office) provided an introduction to the new Eur-Lex database (currently testing in beta-version).  Most significantly, the new Eur-Lex will bring together Eur-Lex and Pre-Lex, to give a single source for draft and in-force EU legislation.  The new Eur-Lex will include a new search engine, and enable a full customisable service.  It also makes use of web 2.0 technologies to provide updating services.  It looks to be a great improvement on the current database, and I can’t wait for it to go live.  Eur-Lex are actively seeking users to join their test-panel, and particular welcome interest from academics and students.  Email for further information and to join the test-panel.

The seminar provided a useful refresher to EU law, but I did not make any earth shattering discoveries, so perhaps I know more about EU law than I credit myself with? 

No fancy lunches to report on this time, although chocolate biscuits were provided with the refreshments. I had to satisfy myself with a toasted panini for lunch, as the cafe had sold out of the soup I so deperately craved to warm me up on a chilly December day.  Finally, a personal highlight was seeing of few of the capital city’s iconic sights for the first time, located conveniently close to our host venue: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Gherkin and the Shard. 

Tower of London

Posted in Law, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | 1 Comment »

Official Publications Seminar (7 November 2012)

Posted by JackieHanes on 16 November, 2012

I attended an Official Publications seminar on Wednesday 7 November 2012.  It was hosted by the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) and held at the National Archives in Kew.  A fabulous building, if a little out-of-the-way for travel.  Their cafe and restaurant is well worth a visit!  Our four speakers were all from the National Archives, and spoke about their roles in legislation, parliamentary and government publications, and collections policy.

Carol Tullo (Director of Information Policy and Services)

Introduction to the seminar and role of the National Archives in official publications policy and standards.  Discussed on the provenance, authority and legal status of official publications.  Focused on the role of crown copyright, and the strive for open-access, reliable and re-usable information.  New website replaces, as single source of government information, with departmental websites closing in next few years.

John Sheridan (Head of Legislation)

Introduction to the website.  Designed for public not legal users.  Can search and access via Google.  Links to most current version of legislation.  Can print via PDF with crown branding.  4 user personas were developed during design process: legal expert,  professional, citizen, and novice.   Problem of keeping legislation up-to-date.  Use collaborative model of expert participation (from legal publishers) to up-date legislation.  Use of  technology to help manage drafting and updating procedures, including commencement and extent. Expect to be up-to-date end 2013.

Helen Creeke (Official Publications Manager) 

General introduction to parliamentary (bills, house and command papers) and departmental papers.  Parliamentary papers available in PDF format via from may 2005 to date.  Printed copies can are published via TSO.  Publication of departmental papers not standardised.  Move to online-only publication via departmental website.  Perpetual access to online departmental papers not guaranteed – especially with move to close departmental websites.  National Archives has managed the UK Government WebArchive since 2005.  Periodic (quarterly) snapshot of selected government department websites and documents.  Standing Committee on Official Publications (SCOOP) conducting a survey of printed official publications under banner ‘Print Still Matters’.

Julia Stocken (Head of Information Management and Practice)

Outline of National Archives collection and selection policy.  Public Record Acts require preservation.  Only 5% of public records selected for archive.  Need to be of historical significance – much guidance!  Previously transferred after 30 years, now moving to 20 years. 

Handouts and full notes are available on request.

Posted in Law, Offical Publications | 1 Comment »

EMLIP Meeting – 9 August 2012

Posted by JackieHanes on 10 August, 2012

I attended an EMLIP meeting hosted by Nottingham Trent University.  We were a select group this time – due to some members acquiring last minute Olympics tickets!  The meeting was held in the Newton Building – a showpiece conference centre – with excellent lecture theatres and meeting rooms – and delicious biscuits to accompany the coffee.

We discussed the presentations given by Thomson Reuters at our previous meeting; and there was considerable interest in Solcara as a federated search engine.  Westlaw have gone quiet on a release date for their new interface – none of the group had heard from their reps, and were concerned as they prepared for new students and trainees. 

We discussed summer projects, and conversation also turned to Talis Aspire and Patron Driven Acquisition.  The Universities at Nottingham Trent and Derby have both implemented these initiatives, and had some words of advice and caution.  Talis Aspire: Nottingham Trent have experienced difficulty adding digitised materials to their reading lists.  They also feel Talis have prioritise development of ‘social media’ functionality over fixing known software bugs.  PDA: both librarians had been dissatisfied with the range of legal titles included in the collections – they had encountered both old editions and foreign jurisdictions – are were concerned that students might select inappropriate materials.

The group exchanged experiences of the BIALL Conference held in Belfast in June.  Generally experiences were positive, with some stand out speakers on financial law, US law and tender processes.  Some sessions were described as ‘very interesting but not practical’ – such as the ‘importance of case law’ session.  Finally, there was a general feeling that many sessions were ‘focus groups’, with the speakers gaining more than the delegates. 

Finally the group discussed the emergence of Isential Solutions, a new ‘library outsourcing’ company established by former managers at Integreon.  Isential have been targeting managing partners at law firms in the Midlands offering ‘library health checks’ and promisng to save ££££s on their library spend.  Naturally, law firm librarians are worried.

There was no official speaker at this meeting – so we had to buy our own lunch …!  We had very nice pizza at an Italian restaurant around the corner from City campus, made all the nicer for the glorious sun shining down on us.

Posted in Law, Meetings | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »