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Showing posts from 2009

I don't know why they don't make this more visible...

....I mean, the Scottish Courts logo doesn't look at all like a rude hand signal, oh no, not at all.Of course, the logo / image used on their site is a far nicer "lion with paws full of arcane stuff", so maybe the "bird" version is an outdated one.
I may have blogged about this before, I may not, who knows, I'm currently functioning (or not) in a sleep deprived daze.
Is it the weekend yet?
Can I go home now?

If all else fails, call the Doctor!

"Knock knock? Who's there? The Doctor? Doctor who? You just said it!"
Yup, that pretty much summed up the height of wit and humour in my early childhood...have you heard the one about the two fish in a tank?
Anyway, that minor flashback was triggered by reading this story, about a school library using a lifesize, working (well, apart from the kinda odd internal dimensions and time-travel aspects) replica of Dr Whos Tardis. It certainly makes it a bit more fun than my school library was - it's great when departments can work together to make the unexpected happen :)

SLLG Christmas Networking Meeting

Yay, it's almost time for the festive grumbling-about-suppliers and muttering-about-budgets SLLG Christmas meeting! And the musical speed-networking chairs game! No Scottish law librarian Christmas is complete without it!
It's that time of year again. This year's Christmas networking meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th December at 4pm in the SSC Library. Christine Wilcox has kindly offered to be host again and the meeting will be sponsored by Avizandum.We will be sticking to our usual "speed networking" format followed by the ever-popular "mulled wine and mince pies" format. If you would like to come please let me know and if you have any suggestions for discussion topics, even better.
If you're a member of the Scottish Law Librarians Group, I hope to see you there. And *ssshhh*...I may even bring along some teeth-melting tablet too...
Also, while typing the title to this post, I created what I believe to be a new type of meeting: "newtworking&q…

I'm looking for a book on television. It's a blue book.

You! yes, you! Do you want to be a librarian? Well, if you love books, and people, and peopley-books, you too could work in one of those spiffing library places, where you can "bring books and people together".

(Even law firm libraries get a mention, at 2.38) And those kids with the Childrens Librarian don't really look overly impressed. They will never reach the pinnacle of being.... A LIBRARIAN!
Via @carlychats

The Supreme Court website – what’s the point of it again?

Something @infobunny was trying to find out this morning...she was looking for what she believed to be the 2 cases decided so far. Where would they be? Well, any sane person would think "Ah, the Decided Cases section, that's where they'll be". But no, sanity does not prevail here! Obviously, where you should be looking for decided cases is in the News and Publications section, where you'll find a link to a topic called Judgments. Here, you'll find a case. Just one case. The other is mysterious, and not to be accessed by the likes of us. It may be real, it may not. There's no way of confirming that from the mish-mash of the website. Although @johnhalton has suggested that the delay in judgments going where they're meant to be is due to the fact that it takes a while to transcribe from the vellum onto computer...
And of course, why would anyone want to be able to pick up an RSS feed of any important areas, like, ohhh, News? Judgements? Anything? Silly me…

My Library Route

So, I've previously blogged my Library Roots, and added it to the wiki of the Library Routes project (and if you haven't done yours yet, get adding - it's fascinating!).

I thought I'd now add info on my Library Route, i.e. how I ended up doing what I do today.
Well...it all started off a bit randomly. I'd qualified, and now I needed a job. I was scouring the CILIP Gazette job section, and the library recruitment agencies, and the local authority job sites here in Edinburgh, hoping to find something, anything, that would let me work! But it's not easy, even in the Capital of the country, to find a job when you don't have any official experience. So really, after a couple of months, and with the savings going down fast, I needed a job.
I saw a post for a part-time library assistant at a private members society library within the Scottish courts complex at Parliament Square. I had no idea what a librarian would do in a court library, but I got the job, and soon …

The trauma of training

*Warning - extreme and pointed sarcasm may be used in this post. Those with weak hearts and constitutions may want to stop reading now*
Dear people-who-have-agreed-to-attend-the-training-with-a-supplier-that-we've-set-up-for-your-benefit, I am very, very sorry. I obviously forgot a few things.
I forgot:
That I am your personal diary secretary, and I myself should have reminded you that you had agreed to attend this training.That you are incapable of leaving your seat without my specific instruction to point you towards a training room, and therefore cannot make your own way to your training.That the frequent pop up reminders on your computer of your imminent training session are only for you to ignore. Every time they pop up. For an hour beforehand. Every 10 minutes.That you can only tell me that you're not attending the session once I have had to come looking for you and ask you personally.That you cannot write an email or pick up the phone to spend 20 seconds telling me you will…

Steampunking Austen

So, I finished Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters a few days ago. I have to say, I enjoyed this even more than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters has a society that was much more altered from the original (I imagine, not having read it), and which was much more steampunk, and humorous, than I expected. Lots of boats, pirates, monsters, strange chants, various animal attacks, experiments, underground cities, and trained mutant lobsters. With some old-fashioned morality and "proper" behaviour thrown in.And of course, there's various mysterious sub-plots, the solution only revealed at the end, which hints about pop up throughout the book. I don't want to say much more, so I don't ruin the fun of discovering the contents. I'd definitely recommend giving this one a go!

The sea monsters, the sea monsters!

You know, I'm really, really enjoying Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I know even less about the actual story of this than I did about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I really son't think it matters. I seriously doubt that homicidal sea creatures, massive domed submarine living quarters, mysterious island-dwelling, mountain-worshipping semi-humans, and regular battles with sealife featured in the original book!And you know what? I don't care! On its own, this is a fun, and funny book! I have no idea how the in depth conversations on who feels what for who fit into the original, and whether polite society included women who had been stolen form their native lands in burlap sacks, and forced to be wives to seafaring adventurers were in there (I have a sneaking suspicion not...), but to read about two ladies maintaining the niceties of conversation while being attacked in a canoe by the Fang-Beast certainly amused me! About half-way through now...oh, who will win …

I PROMISE I'm not stalking her!

It just so happens that Woodsiegirl has been blogging lots of things recently that catch my attention, and interest! So, I'm copying her Q and A!Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?Depends where I am when reading. Usually, it's on the bus to / from work, or in bed, neither of which are snacking hot-spots for me. If I'm spending a few hours on the couch reading, then yup, usually crisps....but those crisp-smeared hands never touch the book until they've been cleaned!Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?No writing in books! I have enough trouble removing the underlined passages in books at work (which at least tend to be historic, and in pencil...current users know I'd gut them if they inked up the library books!). I didn't write in books while studying either - I remember things better if I've written them myself, so I'd write notes on lined paper instead.How do you keep your …

Why do I do this?

By "this", I mean the whole librarian thaaaaang.
Woodsiegirl recently blogged on why she became a librarian, and after conversations in the comments section, I thought I'd join in with my own blog post on the topic.
As I said on Woodsiegirl's blog, I am one of those odd people who always wanted to be a librarian. My Mum and careers adviser both said it was a daft idea as 1) there'd be no jobs as computers would be doing everything by then (careers advisor) and 2) there's no money in it (Mums advice, herself a lifelong librarian). I actually was surrounded by librarians: Mum worked in libraries her whole career from the local branch library (when I say local, I mean local: 100 yards from my parents house) to the secondary school I went to (although years before I went there). My Aunt worked alongside my Mum for a while before emigrating, and has worked various shifts as cover in the local library since coming back home. So, I kinda grew up in libraries: I would …

Seamonster time!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters arrived on Thursday, so I shall be launching into that at some point soon. Have read the first few pages, and am already enjoying it: the final message of a man mauled by a tiger shark, written on a beach with a bit of driftwood while his face is held in place...that's my sorta Regency romance! :)
Oh, and Quirk Books (the publisher) posted a comment on an earlier post, and say they're announcing the third in this series of mashups at the end of the month...will be keen to see what they have in store next!

Mr Darcy, you disappoint me!

Well, I finished "Mr Darcy, Vampyre" a few days ago, and I have to say, my initial impressions of it didn't improve much.*Spoilers below*I'm no writer myself, or book critic, but I really didn't think much of this. It seemed a bit of an awkward attempt to shoehorn in phrases that would have suited at the time when Pride and Prejudice was written, but don't quite sit properly in with the rest of the writing.There are a LOT of sections where everything's rushed through with very basic description, eg. they unexpectedly have to cross the Alps, by mule, after an escape from a mob, wearing only what they had on. This would take a fair chunk of time, and be difficult, but what you get is a page and a half of "we went past glaciers...in a valley..up steep slopes, oh, it's really pretty' etc, with no information on timescale or how they made it over. When they get to the other side there's a bit about Elizabeth looking so wild and dirty that if D…

A new recession indicator in law firms?

Missing books.You know the Library bought them. You know they were on the shelf. Now they're missing. And they ain't been signed out on the system. But someone out there has them.
So...first, you do a shelf check in the areas surrounding where it should be. People have a tendancy to see a gap in the approximate area where the book they borrowed came from, and just shove it back in there. Apparently, an alphabetical system of spine letters, and shelf edge guides stating the topic books in that area cover is too taxing on the brain. Obviously employment law books are just as at home nestled in with planning law as they would be with their other employment law book friends.
Then...you do the desk check of the likely culprits, all of whom deny ever having seen any book at all, let alone that specific one, or god forbid, that they actually used it. Sometimes they'll even deny knowledge of its existence, and demand that it be passed to them when it's found, as I've let them do…

Darcy's here...and he's a vampyre

I received my copy of Mr Darcy, Vampyre on Wednesday, so made a start on it last night. So far, I'm not overly impressed: the writer seems to rush through things, hardly any description of what's going on, more "he said, she said, they did", but I don't know if that's just because they're trying to hurry to get to the vampire bit, or if this is how it's going to be throughout. And there's all sorts of tortured expressions being displayed for fleeting moments, and brooding. I hate brooding, I do.
Also, there's a LOT of familiarity assumed with Pride and Prejudice - it starts pretty soon after Pride and Prejudice finishes, so you're assumed to know all the characters and names that are thrown in. I'm glad I had read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies not too long ago, so who most people were came back to me, and those characters are left behind by the end of the first chapter, but I did slow me down a fair bit: racking my memory to work out …

Hmmm: should I join my public library now?

So I can borrow an energy meter!I've said before that I'm not a member of my local public library, because as a working adult with good computer skills and a computer / internet access at home, no need to read specific books for pleasure (I buy what catches my eye from charity shops, then give them back to resell when I've read them) or research (I'm not studying anything at the moment) , I don't see what they can really offer me just now. And I don't know whether, for their statistics, it's better to have an adult registered that doesn't use them, or not be registered and therefore not appear on their radar at all....anyone know?
Anyhoo, regardless of the lack of my lovely presence (!), Edinburgh City Libraries are definitely doing well - catching the headlines, in a time when their budget is also under the same pressure as everyone elses finances! And of course, they have a presence on pretty much anywhere online you can think of looking: Youtube, Faceb…

Remembering we have a different legal system

The lovely Scots Law News blog has pointed out a few teensy issues on the website of the new UK Supreme Court.
I particularly like the thought of judges being tried in their very own court...wonder if there's specific crimes for judges? Other than the usual crossdressing (only a fashion crime) and frequenting "saunas" (sometimes a crime, depending on the activity indulged in...).
Any suggestions for judge-specific crimes?

Edinburgh International Book Festival - Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer

So, on Monday afternoon, it was time for the now-annual Scottish Law Librarians Group jaunt to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Every year, the Committee try and decide on an event that's as relevant to the members as possible (law related, Scottish issues, publishers with a Scottish interest), and at as convenient a time as possible...and that we can get enough tickets for. As you can imagine, that's not always an easy trick, but I think we did well this year, and even managed to get a day when the mud was minimal, despite the signs warning us about it!
The event chosen was Michael Mansfield. The info's gone from the site now, but it was:
Michael Mansfield Mon 31/08/2009 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM From Ruth Ellis to Jean Charles de Menezes, Bloody Sunday to the Marchioness disaster, Michael Mansfield has taken on many of the most difficult cases of our times. The Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer recalls a career defending the innocent (and sometimes the guilty), infuriatin…

Customer service - a dying art?

Or really, any sort of service at all, since offering a 'free' issue of a newsletter for assessment doesn't really make me a customer, since I've not bought a product yet....
Ah, the joys of LexisNexis! They must be getting desperate for business indeed, if their new tactics are anything to go by.
I was called up a few weeks ago by a woman. I don't know who, she never gave her name. She asked me if I would like a free sample issue of their relaunched "Tolley's Employment Law Newsletter". As thats an area we cover, I said yes, but also that it was hugely unlikely we'd take out a subscription of any sort. She said that was fine, but went on to make a HUGE point of the fact that, I HAD to reply to the email she would be sending me within 30 days. I had no idea what the email content would be, it would be made clear in the email, but I HAD to reply to it. I said no problem, and calendared it in as I was talking to her. She had me spell out my email addr…

My next purchases...

"Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" (pre-ordered), and "Mr Darcy, Vamprye" (currently en route).

These are the only way I'm ever going to be able to cope with these type of classic books! Monsters! Vampires! Yay!

I shall post a review once I've read 'em :)

West librarian email update

Information Overlord kindly pointed me towards Wests reply to the staggeringly badly thought out "Librarian name" marketing email.
Wisely, they've put their hands up and confessed to being *rses, and apologised. A good response, but why did a massive (I believe, I'm not overinformed on the US legal information suppliers marekt) company whose focus is on supplying information to legal and information professionals, ever think that it would be ok to insult the best informed sector of their users?
And who authorised that email going out? Did they look at it and go "Yup, that's just the tone we want to set!"
Apparently, it "won't happen again". I'm just surprised that it happened at all.

How to insult your users

Well, West (the American parent of our UK Westlaw) seem just about ready to start giving classes in "simultaneously patronising and insulting some of your core users".
Sarah Glassmeyer posted this screenshot to Twitpic of a West email to its users.
Shall I explain why I find this to be hugely insulting? Well.... do West understand who the biggest users / on site trainers / troubleshooters / BUYERS of its products are? Have they ever actually met a librarian, or do they still think all librarians wear half-moon glasses / twinsets / pearls / sensible shoes / their hair in buns? I suppose we should be grateful they didn't throw in a clipart library matron, or something about keeping te noise down too. And do they really think it's a good idea to imply that knowing a colleagues name in another department, who's there to do expert research work to save that fee earner valuable time, is beneath the dignity of a fee earner?
Sigh.
*Written by the librarian who has short hai…

So I'm a bit stubborn...

I was pointed a while ago to this discussion on JISCmail a while ago, which I'm not a member of, so I couldn't respond to the discussion about library blogs (and to be honest, I couldn't be bothered joining to explain why the UK Library Bloggers wiki came from, and why it is as it is -it's all done in my free time).
The point I took from it was that the UK Library Bloggers wiki wasn't regarded as comprehensive, and was seen to be inconsistent. As it's always a work in progress, I took that on board...and spent 30+ hours over the last few months going through each of the 800+ liblogs listed on the Hotstuff 2.0 list discussed in the JISCmail thread, and determining which were in the UK, and if they were missing from the liblogger list.
From that, I found 37 new liblogs (and a lot which I would classify as dead, as they haven't had any posts in 2009, so I ignored), some of which were debateable whether they fell into the liblog definition (automated library new…

Fancy a change of career?

Fed up with lending books (librarians), interpreting the law in them (lawyers), or just feeling a burning desire to get more fun out of working with books?
This could be the job for you:
The Job:The Children’s Bookshop in Edinburgh is expanding and opening a new bookshop for grown-up fiction and non-fiction. The manager will need to develop core stock, as well as undertake daily stock replenishment and new stock ordering. She or he will also be responsible for event organisation, cashing up, maintaining the customer mailing list, customer orders and managing any additional staff. The manager will contribute to overall business development. Work days will be Tuesday-Saturday.
The person:The candidate will have a proven track record in bookselling as well as experience of managing staff and budgets. Good IT skills and excellent interpersonal skills are a must. She or he must be self-motivated, but also work well in a team with other staff and with The Children’s Bookshop. Reliability is v…

I love the smell of musty books in the morning...

Ohhh, there's just nothing like the scent of old, mouldering books to make you feel at home in a library, so when you're feeling lost while sitting at your desk, paging through the latest electronic information source, why not blast a spray of this around, and think back to happy times spent researching obscure points, buried in ancient texts...

Other varieties available...maybe ;)

Open University course for librarians

As mentioned in CILIP Gazette...or Update (my memory sucks!) the Open University has launched a new course for "information professionals": "The Evolving Information Professional: challenges in a digital world" is an online course,. available to begin studying at any time.

The blurb says:

This course is for information professionals – librarians, archivists, information and knowledge managers – looking to keep up to date with modern technologies, sources of information and today’s users.It is for those in the profession who wish to stay relevant in this fast-changing world of information, find out how other information services are facing the challenge and consider ways of proving their worth in the Google age. Among all the issues that the course covers, you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the possible consequences for your service of a new generation of ‘Homo zappien’ users, try out games developed for library users and archivists and consider the impl…

Lawyers are smart...aren't they?

I mean, they've all gone through many years of expensive education, designed to weed out those who're not able to perform to the high levels demanded in the competitive world of the law. In the case of Advocates, Solicitor-Advocates and Barristers, after their initial degree qualification there's even more training involved, again, accepting only the best minds to this higher level of education.

And then, once they're out practising in the Big Bad World, they have to be able to assess information presented to them, the accuracy of that information, identify opportunities and threats, and figure out what's really a sensible conclusion to many issues.

So...with all that education, knowledge, experience and business skill, just how the hell did this proposal get any further than a 4am late-night-cheese-snack-induced nightmare?!?

The Executive Committees of Inner Temple and Middle Temple have agreed to commission a feasibility study to investigate the potential benefits o…

Badgers v. Solicitors

I think in this case, the badgers win...

Apparently they're asking for a solution for their badger problem. I do happen to know that, although it's illegal to move a badger without a proper licence, or "interfere" with it and its sett, if a young badger does happen to move in somewhere inconvenient (say...under a joiners workshop), and try and establish its home there, that a period of full-volume dance music / cheesy local radio, played through speakers in that workshop while in the course of using it for the established business seems to be a good encouragement to those wandering young badgers to move along to a more serene location to establish themselves in... ;)

Pride and Prejudice...and Zombies

I'm not one for Regency romances, or any book where the "plucky" heroine has to struggle womanfully against the suffocating strictures of the moral code of her day (in a ladylike, delicate manner), so Jane Austen books have never appealed to me...but if you throw in something a bit different, like zombies, I perk up! So, when I read there was a new book coming out, a mashup of Pride and Prejudice, with zombies, I pre-ordered straight away!

I've enjoyed reading this (despite some editing / proof reading errors: e.g. I know for a fact that the English countryside has at no point been the native home of chipmunks, and the concept of "coy ponds" instead of "koi ponds" in a Japanese parkland setting was a bit jarring), and the addition of zombies definitely made it more entertaining: no walk in the English countryside, or carriage ride to London was safe from violent zombie attacks. And no young lady of refinement is considered to be accomplished unle…

CILIP Council open session, Wednesday 29th April

So, tomorrow's a big day - CILIP Council are experimenting with an open session to discuss how CILIP could / should be using Web 2.0 tools to interact with and support its membership.

If (like me) you can't be there in person, you can take part via Twitter (although I'm not sure how this is going to be integrated into the session), and the presentations of Phil Bradley and Brian Kelly are either already available in draft form, or will (I think) be made available after the session.

CILIP Council blog post here.

Twitter hash tag is #CILIP2 (#CILIP2.0 tag has been abandoned as the 'point' disrupts some applications)

CaseCheck expands coverage

CaseCheck issued this press release a few days ago, and it's a great service, so I thought it was worth popping on here:
CaseCheck Launches UK-wide Service – Free Access to over 5000 legal case summaries and moreScotland’s leading online legal information provider, CaseCheck, has linked up with Law Brief Publishing. This collaboration with the English legal publisher will give users free access to a database of more than 5,000 case summaries. The resource is popular with the Scottish legal community and has ambitious plans for the rest of the UK and beyond. The free web-based resource now covers all major areas of law across the UK and EU, and includes expert opinions covering a wide variety of specialist subjects. Visit www.casecheck.co.uk to find out more.CaseCheck is the brainchild of legal geek, Stephen Moore, who gave up practicing law for a career in legal information technology. Moore combines his work as a technology consultant with a number of leading law firms, with dev…

UK Library blogger wiki update

So, a month or so ago* I did a trawl through all the institutional / professional group blogs on the UK Library Blogs wiki, checked that the ones I'd found before were still there, added any new ones I'd found, and added a new area on entries, for account information on those groups or professionals with Twitter accounts listed on their blog.

I'm trying to do the personal blogs soon too, but with more work, less time to do it in, and my own life getting a bit busy, don't hold your breath for that to happen in the next few days! :)

As always, if you're not on there (and that's quite likely, the Magical Interweb is a big place, with many nooks and crannies hiding things), contact me either via the 'contact owner' option on the wiki front page, or via the email cunningly disguised in the right hand sidebar here, and I'll add you as soon as I can :)


*Oh, looks like it was a bit more than a month, more like two! Time flies!

Dear Bloglines...

....I love you, really, I do.

I know, I know: I may have become slightly disillusioned late last year, and threatened to leave you for Greader, or Netvibes, or NewsGator, or any of the other feed readers I tried out when you were having "personal issues" and trying to "find yourself".

But I stayed with your original version, I didn't desert you for that fickle Beta, I liked you just the way you were. And I didn't get on with those others like I do with you.

And I thought you appreciated that. You bucked up your ideas, sorted yourself out, and I thought we were happy together.
Until this week.

My dear, why do you now think I want you to import every post, from every feed I take, dating back to 2007, all marked as new and unread?

I mean, it's nice that you want me to have comprehensive information, but really, it would have been better just to stick with what I asked you to do, which was supply me with the feeds, and make them go away once I'd read them. It…

Playing catch-up

Ok, going on holiday for a month sounded like a fabulous plan, but the reality is, you get the best part of a months work backlogged for when you come back, and spend all your time trying to get that done while also keeping on top of the current stuff.

I'm aiming high - by the end of this week, the mail pile should be gone....hopefully.

In the meantime, a link to a story the lovely Hedgehog Librarian sent me while I was off bungee jumping in New Zealand...

The Digital Repository of the National Library of Scotland (which has its very own lovely blog here) has made a choice of technical partner for its ongoing project of creating a Digital Repository of many of the important documents from their massive (and always increasing!) collection.

Also, I just realised that the NLS also has a Flickr account, uploading lots of interesting photos from their photograph collections. A great way to be able to see some of the things you wouldn't always expect a library to have. After all, librar…

The blogging bard

It's a busy time for Rabbie Burns. As the National Year of Homecoming is centred around the 250th anniversary of his birth, he's got a lot of people looking closely at him and his work. So, he's been reanimated, and popped up on Twitter, tweeting poems, line by line. After the initial news reports, NTS actually posted the essential information needed for following him on Twitter: his username - ayrshirebard. They might however want to note that Twitter updates to your phone haven't been possible in the UK for many months.

And now, the revived poet has also taken to blogging!

Robert Burns' Letters will be posting the letters of the bard, on the anniversary of the day they were actually written. He's currently in full love-letter flow, writing to his 'Clarinda'. The content of 91 letters will be being posted, concluding in 2010, when it is hoped the National Trust for Scotland will be able to open the doors of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Funds are s…