Friday, May 04, 2018

Exciting Enhancements to Quickscribe Online

Quickscribe is constantly improving and expanding their services, and today we're excited to note that two new contributors have joined the Quickscribe Online expert annotations team:
  •  Laura Johnston of the Community Legal Assistance Society
  •  Philippa Estall of the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC
These additions reflect a growing number of authoritative organizations that are now contributing to Quickscribe Online. These partnerships are more than a boon to subscribers; because the experts' annotations are published publicly, their contributions help facilitate their organizations' mandate to provide clarity on cases and legislative changes. Some of these organizations include:
  • BC Human Rights Tribunal
  • BC Oil & Gas Commission
  • Public Guardian Trustee of BC
  • Community Legal Assistance Society (CLASBC)
Watch for more partnerships to be announced soon! Here are some of the annotations were added to QS Online in April:
  • Katherine Hardie, British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal – Human Rights Code
  • Laura Johnston, Community Legal Assistance Society – Mental Health Act
  • Anita Mathur, BC Oil & Gas Commission - Oil and Gas Activities Act
Learn more about Quickscribe Online and the valuable role it can play in your provincial legislative research here - better yet, sign up for a free trial to see the service in action!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

RSS Keeps Plunking Along

David Whelan has a very good post up that revisits the current usage and role of RSS feed readers.

I think he's got it right when he says that RSS isn't dead; it's simply sitting within the underlying nuts-and-bolts of the internet.

I hadn't considered my own views on RSS technology in quite some time. So I had a recently had a loooong look back and pulled out my Top 10 Uses of RSS Feeds in Law Firms, just to compare. (That post is now unbelievably 12 years old!)

This list was written for tech savvy law librarians as much as anyone. And, interestingly, not nearly as much has changed when it comes to higher-end usage of RSS feeds as I would have expected. Almost all of those top-10 items are still 'doable' today. Some of the marketing items, perhaps, could (and have been) abused by spammers; but in terms of watching the web in an informative way, all of the current awareness aspects still stand.

For any information professional today, I still advise becoming a feed reader super user. Why? Well, as David points out, it's not good enough to rely on a pre-packaged news app or social media for monitoring. As a power user, you just can't fine tune those tools to extract the specialized alerts that you need to do your job. For law librarians, specifically, it's your job to know about things first and to help your lawyers become informed about their areas of expertise as efficiently as possible. RSS can deliver that functionality like few internet technologies; so it's foolish to not become better acquainted.

RSS feeds are still widely available on the majority of websites. Because of WordPress' dominance in the CMS market, simply tacking /feed/ onto the URL for a website homepage or category sub-page will often yield a monitorable feed. I say that because there continues to be far more feeds available today than most people acknowledge.

RSS technology never took off the way many early adopters anticipated. As an older web technology, it wasn't uncommon to hear the critics say, "it never became simple enough for the common user."

That's an excuse, of course. It's an excuse for why RSS Reader usage never took off. It's an excuse for why Google chose to extract itself from an unprofitable business line (Google Reader). And it's an excuse for why some publishers choose not to allow their resources to be 'monitored' by RSS for fear of scraping.

BUT... it's not an excuse for law librarians and other information professionals. Technical competence is part of the training/skillset. When no one else in your organization is willing to jump into the nuts and bolts understanding a technology, or willing to invest in themselves to find ways to strategically monitor critical information, that's the role you want. That's the role you jump into.

I still believe that using an RSS reader can be helpful. Is it for everyone? No. But either is a scalpel.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Quickscribe Annotations for March 2018

Here are the latest updates to Quickscribe Online - the following legislation received new annotations in March:
  • Medicare Protection Act (annotations by Kimberly Jakeman, Harper Grey LLP)
  • Partnership Act, Legal Services Society Act (annotations by Melanie Harmer, McMillan LLP)
  • Human Rights Code (annotations by Katherine Hardie, British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal)
Quickscribe's team of 25+ expert annotators is made up of local lawyers with in-depth knowledge of provincial legislation across practice areas and industries. Haven't tried Quickscribe's online service yet? Sign up for a free trial today.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Quickscribe Annotations for February 2018

Below are the BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe in February.
Quickscribe also recently welcomed a new contributor – Max Faille, a partner at Gowling WLG's Vancouver office practicing in Indigenous law, public law and general litigation. Max will contribute annotations on Aboriginal Law.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Quickscribe Annotations for January 2018

Below are the BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe in January 2018.
  • Margaret Mason - Norton Rose Fullbright LLP - Societies Act
  • Eileen Vanderburgh - Alexander Holburn + Lang LLP,  – Privacy Act
  • Murray Campbell, Lawson Lundell LLP – Pension Benefit Standards Regulation 71/2015, Pension Benefit Standards Act
  • Melanie Harmer, McMillan LLP - Crime Victim Assistance Act, Adoption Act
  • Debby Cumberford - Business Corporations Act
  • Anita Mathur - BC Oil & Gas Commission  - Emergency Management Regulation 217/2017
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Year... New VALL Website!

I'm pleased to relay the VALL twitter account's announcement of the association's newly launched website!
Feel free to surf on over, or peek at this screen cap below:


Many thanks to my colleague-in-crime, Joni Sherman, VALL's webmaster. Joni liaised back and forth with the VALL Executive reviewing various association websites, narrowing template choices, and then ultimately converting page-after-page of web content from the old Drupal site into WordPress.

We'll be looking into adding new plugins and features in the future; but for now it was enough to get a good portion of the legacy content over and launch the site.

Cheers to you, Joni! We made a great team!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Quickscribe Annotations for December 2017

Below are the BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe in December 2017.
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations for November and Cool New Hansard Feature

Only one new annotation reference from Quickscribe in November:
Another interesting item from Quickscribe is the recently added Hansard access from within their online platform, as noted in the recent VALL Review:  
New Hansard Feature on Quickscribe Online 2.0

Quickscribe recently added a new Hansard component to the Quickscribe Online 2.0 platform.
The concept behind this feature is to provide legal professionals with insight on the government intent behind the legislation and lessen the ambiguity for how a law is to be applied. 

Relevant Hansard references are conveniently accessible directly from the section level, making it easy for you to determine statutory intent. Each Hansard reference also includes links to the original debate on the official Hansard website and users are encouraged to follow these links for additional research. 

While not all laws on Quickscribe have Hansard included at this time, you can expect to see dozens more added over the course of the next few months. 

Most readers of this blog are familiar with Quickscribe for BC Legislation; but if you haven't yet explored it, I would encourage you to contact Mike Pasta. There is also a free trial available.

Friday, November 24, 2017

New website for practicePRO.ca

Long one of Canada's best resources for legal practice management and claims prevention, LAWPRO's practicePRO.ca website has a great new look.  


Friday, November 03, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations for October 2017

Below are the latest BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe for October 2017.
  • Robin Longe, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP - Renewable Projects Regulation 370/2002, Mines Act, Mineral Tenure Act
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations for September 2017

Below are the latest BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe for September 2017.
  • Eileen Vanderburgh, Alexander Holburn + Lang LLP - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Bill Buholzer, Young Anderson Barristers and Solicitors – Local Government Act
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Access to Justice BC Launches New Website

Very pleased to announce that Access to Justice BC has launched a brand new website!



Many thanks to the A2JBC volunteers that helped the process; and especially the project leadership provided by Jane Morley, Q.C. and Jennifer Muller!

Quickscribe Annotations for August 2017

Below are the latest BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe for August.
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations for June & July 2017

Below are the latest BC legislative annotations from Quickscribe for June and July (just released).

June 2017:
 July 2017:
  • Eileen Vanderburgh, Alexander Holburn + Lang LLP, Personal Information Protection Act
  • OnPoint Legal Research Corporation, Human Rights Code, Securities Act, Local Government Act, Limitation Act, Chartered Professionals Accountants Act, Motor Vehicle Act Regulation 26/58, Fraudulent Conveyance Act
  • Richard Bereti, Harper Grey LLP Environmental Management Act
  • Margaret Mason, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP – Societies Act
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there is a free trial.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Small Decisions Adding Up

As the publisher of Slaw, I get to see a lot of great commentary. I also get to see the statistics behind the website, and I don't mind sharing with you that local colleague Sarah Sutherland of CanLII has a fantastically successful post on her hands!

Her recent piece on Quantifying the Value of Legal Information had as much traffic in its first day as some Slaw posts see over the course of a month. Those are big numbers coming from a website that had 2M+ visits last year.

Sarah's calculation of revenue improvements aside, the premise behind her post is an argument I've been making for years: that small, incremental improvements inside of law firms should be the backbone of law firm administrators.

If you can steer-the-ship to a 1% improvement of efficiency, mid-to-large sized firms can see a serious impact on the firm's profits.  Simply put: Firms make better decisions by having better information in front of them. Some of that information can be external, which is why I liked the case strategy aspect of Loom Analytics; but firms that really know their business model are be able to carve up their internal data collections too.

Good internal information has always been key. Knowing about the firm's settlements in certain areas of practice; or about historical pricing of the firm's services (and its competitors); or as Sarah suggests,
 "things like getting an expert opinion, which is of course what the firm’s clients are already doing, looking at prior history and extrapolating, or conducting research in secondary sources of information and the primary law. This can increase confidence in predicting the outcomes of matters, thereby allowing the firm to make better recommendations. "
Law firms with substantial practice expertise are also in a position to align their accounting data with any of the above factors. This all, of course, is Knowledge Management or "KM".

There will always be individuals inside firms that will question the value of these efforts, but when your job is (as is most firm administrators) to create internal value beyond the artwork on the walls, it's these processes of quantifying the firm's experience that trumps other administrative priorities.

And not just for bigger firms. Small firms (think contingency fees) can profit at an even higher rate when "winning" a decision increases the engagement value.

So is having better legal information valuable? Of course it is.  Sarah Sutherland just happened to put some numbers behind this kind of thinking.

Quickscribe Annotations for May, 2017

Below are the latest Quickscribe additions for new annotations to BC legislation.
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there's a free trial.

Primer on Saskatchewan Legislative Research

It's nice to see law librarian super-blogger Alan Kirkpatrick contributing to VALL Review! In the most recent edition, Alan wrote a short primer on Saskatchewan legislative research, which he's reproduced in full over on his Library Canuck blog.

These seven topics are covered:
  • Court Rules
  • Provincial Point-In-Time Research
  • Legislative Assembly Website
  • Legislative materials
  • Continuing Legal Education
  • Law Society of Saskatchewan Library
  • Additional Resources
Yes, this is a great excuse to visit Alan's blog & put it on your reading list.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Libraries as Friction Points

David Whelan has an inspiring post up this week, titled, Gatekeeper to a Thousand Gates.

The focus of David's discussion isn't necessarily on Law Libraries, though it's a lesson that anyone providing information to a targeted community would do well to listen to. In a fairly detailed example of the digital book sign-out process at his local public library, David describes the delicate balance that libraries must maintain between enabling access to information vs. putting up unintended additional barriers.

In the context of providing 'free' access (or communally paid for access) to licensed content, I think David has it right. Libraries focus on creating an ecosystem that's easy to use, but often end up putting up barriers; and I would add, the publishers themselves don't always make it easy for libraries to act as gatekeepers for paid services.

There is also a bit of an optics issue here. While public libraries often give the impression that the information they deliver is "free access", and publishers certainly do see this kind of access as competition, taking away from their paid product, these types of services are hardly free.

David's concept of "friction points" alone identifies the user's time investment as a soft cost to accessibility. Libraries can try to reduce this friction, but it's hard to imagine a situation where the library service is actually easier than purchasing the product. Which leads me to this question: Has it ever been easier? Is signing up for a library card and wait-listing for a popular piece of fiction any easier than going to the bookstore?

Don't get me wrong, Libraries can reduce the friction to digital borrowing services, as David describes. We can. I suspect we can get much closer using digital tools than we ever could with paper media. But I don't think we can directly compete with publishers. To be honest, I don't think publishers are motivated to make it easier for libraries (but that's a discussion for another day).

For me, really, all library services need to do is get close. If libraries can offer a reasonable alternative, especially when the original material or service doesn't have ROI for a user or group, then close is good enough.

(Horse shoes, hand grenades & library services? ;)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations Update for April 2017

Below are the latest Quickscribe additions for new annotations to BC legislation.

Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there's a free trial

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Quickscribe Annotations Update for March 2017

Over the course of the month of March, Quickscribe 2.0 received a number of new annotations for BC legislation. Here are the most recent additions:
  • Bill BuholzerYoung Anderson Barristers and Solicitors – Local Government Act
  • Richard BeretiHarper Grey LLP Environmental Management Act
  • OnPoint Legal Research Corporation , Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, Crime Victim Assistance Act, Strata Property Act, Supreme Court Civil Rules Reg. 168/2009, Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation 447/83
  • Margaret MasonNorton Rose Fulbright LLP – Societies Act
  • Eileen VanderburghAlexander Holburn + Lang LLP, Privacy Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Quickscribe 2.0 is an easy and effective way to research, track and collaborate on BC legislation. If you haven't explored, there's a free trial