UoL Library Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘law’

EMLIP Meeting (Friday 12 April)

Posted by JackieHanes on 12 April, 2013

I attended the quarterly East Midlands Legal Information Professionals (EMLIP) meeting at Shoosmiths in Nottingham.  We had invited Simon Watson and Dexter Smith from JustCite to give an update and demonstration of their products.  I am a huge fan of JustCite, we are subscribers, and I have their API embedded in my law subject page, so I was not expecting to learn much from the demo.  How wrong was I …?!

JustCite have made a few useful innovations:- a ‘golden arrow’ highlights the most authoritative law report, and an ‘information icon’ links directly to the Cardiff Index. Also, citations are shown in context, displaying the relevant paragraph from the law report.  Dexter also explained that JustCite have a team of legal editors, who add all citation links by hand.  They are more selective than automated citation services, and only add those of legal significance.  

Justis (a full-text product we do not subscribe to) has acquired the full-text reported and unreported judgments of the civil (1951-) and criminal (1963-) divisions of the Court of Appeal.  Justis enables better keyword searching, and users with personal logins can create current awareness alerts.

Simon finished the talk by showing an early prototype of ‘JustCite for Word’, a legal citation checking service (similar to Lexis Check).  The service allows you to check the authority of cases, to standardise citation formats, and create tables of authority.  I think it would be a useful tool for academics updating teaching materials. Given the technology, I asked if JustCite would be able to develop their product to enable export of citation information from JustCite to RefWorks and EndNote (a subject dear to my heart).  Fingers crossed!

After the demonstration, the main business of the meeting was a discussion about training opportunities for law librarians.  I found myself talking about increased student contact time, innovative teaching methods in lectures, and massive open online courses (MOOCs).  There was also discussion about the use of technology to deliver training at a distance.

JustCite were kind enough to treat us to lunch at the Living Room, and what a treat it was!  Teriyaki chicken skewers with satay sauce, and steak frites with salad, all washed down with a chilled glass of white wine.  We were joined for lunch by the legend that is Mr Brian Marshall – who managed to fit us in between games of golf …! 

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EMLIP Meeting & Westlaw Update – 9 May 2012

Posted by JackieHanes on 10 May, 2012

I attended my first EMLIP (East Midlands Legal Information Professionals) meeting held at Freeth Cartwright in Nottingham.  The meeting attracted an unusually high turnout (including 4 academic law librarians) – perhaps drawn by the promise of lunch courtesy of Thomson Reuters?

The main event was a presentation from Santiago Alonso (Westlaw UK Product Manager) on the new Westlaw platform scheduled for release in Q2 (July) 2012.  Westlaw considers their main competitor to be Google – not LexisLibrary et al.  New features in Westlaw UK include:- word wheels (predictive typing) indexing case citations, case names, legislation titles, and the Sweet & Maxwell legal subject taxonomy; improved relevance ranking of results (currently displayed chronologically); ability to filter results by subject, date and content type; and unlimited number of results (currently limited to 4000). 

Westlaw UK are also introducing new products including:- an online legal encyclopaedia led by Daniel Greenberg (editor of Stroud’s judicial dictionary), of articles providing a statement of the law on a subject in England, Scotland and Wales; a release of 50 more Sweet & Maxwell e-book titles (pay per title – additional cost on subscription); and status checking software to review legal citations in word documents.  Westlaw UK are also looking at mobile optimisation, and are planning APIs that could be used in mobile technology or embedded into websites.  The (as yet unnamed) legal encyclopaedia is a particularly welcome addition to the product range.  Westlaw asked for name suggestions – with the most apt being Halsbury’s Laws of England!

Westlaw International (currently well-hidden in Westlaw UK) is likely to move to a new platform in the near future, but will remain part of the Westlaw Academic subscription.

Also presenting was Mosharaf Hossain (Knowledge Management Consultant) who demonstrated the Solcara Legal Search federated search engine.  Solcara is aimed at the legal practice market, and searches across all major legal subscription databases, external legal websites, intranets and document management systems.  A federated search enables the user to search multiple datasets from a single search.  Results are organised by dataset, and you can link directly to the primary resources.  You can also create collections of resources and share them within your organisation.  While second federated search engine is probably not a path we would follow at UoL, it is interesting to hear that Westlaw / Lexis et al can be interogated by a federate search engine – which makes me wonder why Summon and Primo are unable to interogate legal databases …?

Thomson Reuters (Westlaw & Solcara parent company) then left the EMLIP – retiring to the Rutland Square Hotel to arrange lunch.  EMLIP continued their meeting, welcoming new members including me, Caroline Ball (University of Derby), and Paul Keegan (Fraser Brown).  Members exchanged views of Lexis PSL as an alternative to PLC; and discussed policy and opinion on sharing personal information (e.g. photo and social media) on company intranets and websites.  I was particularly pleased to make contact with law librarians at DeMontford, Derby and Nottingham Trent Universities.

Lunch was a splendid hot-fork buffet with a choice of fish-pie, chicken curry and vegetable pasta; plus couscous salad, potato salad and bread rolls (carb overload?); and followed by a ‘mystery fruit brule tart’ and fruit salad.  I avoided the wine – it being rather warm in the conservatory, and me being quite thirsty (never a good mix)!  Thomson Reuters gave us a lovely goodie bag of pens, usb stick, post-it notes, stress ball, drinks bottle and chocolates.  My daughter was particularly taken with the ball, bottle and chocolates …

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Lexis Nexis Academic Reception – 28 March 2012

Posted by JackieHanes on 4 April, 2012

Caralyn Duigan (Lexis Nexis Account Manager) and Emily Stanley (Lexis Nexis Training Consultant) held a reception for academic staff at the School of Law (University of Leicester) on Wednesday 28 March 2012.  It was also a good opportunity for the new law librarian to meet the legal academics!

The reception was used to highlight new features on the LexisLibrary legal database:- Find a Legal Term (2500 legal terms now indexed), Halsbury’s Laws of England, Halsbury’s Annotations in Legislation, Case Search, and Journals Index Plus (now 100 full-text journals available).

Also discussed was the offer to send Lexis Nexis trainers into university to deliver LexisLibrary database training and certification sessions to students, and Halsbury’s Laws editors to deliver lecture on use of Halsbury’s Laws in legal research.  I have worked with Lexis Nexis trainers to very good effect in my previous role, and think it’s something we should consider here at UoL.

Of interest to librarians:- LexisLibrary aims to be compatible with EndNote (as well as RefWorks) by end 2012, it should be compatible with Serial Solutions, but is not compatible with Summon (although Lexis Nexis are receiving more and more requests for this).  The My Bookshelf list of popular resources on the LexisLibrary start page can be changed during the summer.

Excellent freebies including a nice lunch, pens, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, trolley-coin, and a laser-pen!

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Open Access Week: Federal Research Act

Posted by gazjjohnson on 22 October, 2009

Those following the developments in open access and scholarly research publication often look to the US and Australia, and to a lesser degree the Scandinavian countries, whom are generally a year or so ahead of the situation in the UK.  Interestingly in the States at the moment there is a bill, the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, which is looking to legislate the following:

“…require researchers with grants from certain federal agencies — those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually — to make their final peer-reviewed manuscripts openly available in digital repositories within six months.”

Okay, it does look like this is a successor to a similer defeated bill back in 2006; but since then both the political landscape and the open access movement has seen considerable developments.  Funders mandates are now very much a central theme now, where as in 2006 we were only seeing the first ones emerge.  Would we see a piece of legislation like this in the UK?  Probably not anytime soon given the run up to the general election in 2010; I find it unlikely that with the state of the economy anyone’s going to be able to bring scholarly research access up the political agenda.  I certainly don’t think the vast bulk of public are aware, or even overly concerned, that so much of their taxes goes to pay for access to research we’ve given away. 

Maybe this is something that OA advocates should be doing – reaching out to the general public and getting the OA debate out of the ivory towers and into the press and media?  Perhaps it’s a role for UKCoRR or the reformulated RSP?

Either way, the reception and progress of this bill is certainly one to watch with interest.

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I always feel like, someone’s watching me

Posted by gazjjohnson on 9 January, 2009

Item on the BBC news today – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7819230.stm

From March all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law have to keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year.

Interesting, though obviously civil liberty groups are up in arms; and considering all the recent failures in data security I’d be inclined to trust corporations to hold this data even less than the government.  What I want to know is – does this include my googlemail accounts via their service, or just those I send using my ISPs provided email client?

And what about all those emails we send to students on their home accounts?  Not like we send anything that sensitive but when you consider the range of subjects our students study are we going to end up with these being intercepted?

As a librarian professionally I’m not the least bit impressed by these regulations, and especially the way the government appears to be sneaking them under the radar.  But perhaps this is all another storm in a tea cup?

Posted in Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »