Calgary Law Library Group

Archived Blog Posts from January - June 2014

30 Jun 2014 6:05 AM | Anonymous

JUNE 2014

The Looseleaf – Where’s the Value?

June 2, 2014   

Well, I finally did it!  In the library, we cancelled any loose-leaf subscription that were updated more than 3 times per year.  Ok, this decision is not going to send legal publishers into bankruptcy but it was our small way of saying, “WE AIN’T GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE !”

Reading about the Vancouver Courthouse Library’s  initiative to go digital because”technology is now transforming what it means to find and use legal information “and it’s push away from print law books “especially loose-leafs that have become untenable expensive” with “mandatory updates by publishers on an all or nothing proposition”,  got me revisiting the whole loose-leaf debate.

Louis Mirando’s post on Slaw on the Evolution of Legal Information Products, also got me thinking about “how everyone knows that in law it is necessary to be up-to-date” but “this means relying on insanely expensive loose-leaf texts that have been superceded by advances in information technology”.   Today, many loose-leaf subscriptions come with 8 -12 supplements per year at an average cost of $400 per supplement.  Do these loose-leaf texts “really need that many updates to keep it up-to-date”?  Do any of the updates, update the commentary?  The answer is often no.  An update is commonly a  new case thrown into the footnotes or a section of an act revised.  Where’s the value?  Loose-leafs texts  like any other secondary source are all about the commentary.   I can and will check a database for any new cases.

We have lots of bound books in the library that get updated as new editions every few years and no one balks about picking up one of these and relying on it, knowing that it is current to a specific time.  But as soon as they pick up a loose-text they think it is current to yesterday.  It’s a mind set.  Where’s the value?

MAY 2014

Primary Research Group Report on 2014 Law Library Benchmarks

May 26, 2014   

Summarized by Katherine Montgomery, Law Technology News.

Primary Research Group Inc. has published a detailed survey of 2013 law library spending plans and management practices. The company surveyed 60 Canadian and American law libraries of different sizes and types, including libraries in law firms, university law schools, courthouse and private companies. The survey findings are available in “Law Library Benchmarks, 2014 Edition.

Chief among the findings reported is that 37.5 percent of law libraries saw budget reductions in 2013, while less than a fifth had budget increases. This reflects a shift from the 2012-2013 survey, when more than 40 percent of libraries indicated overall budget growth during 2011.

On average, however, budget reductions were small: less than 5 percent of the overall budget. Courthouse libraries saw the largest cuts, with a mean of 7.25 percent. Most libraries polled expect little change in 2014—a budget expansion or reduction within 5 percent of the overall budget—with a small trend toward expansion.

More libraries anticipated cuts in their physical size: almost half of those surveyed expected that their physical space would decrease in the next three years, while just more than 40 percent expected their space to remain the same. Law firm libraries had the highest expectations of reduced space, with almost two-thirds anticipating reductions.

The range of spending on content and materials was vast: libraries polled spent between $200 and $1.8 million in 2013. University law libraries spent a mean of $778,232; courthouse libraries spent $472,457, and private company law libraries spent $2,726. Law firm spending reflected firm size, with a mean of $442,626 for firms with ten or fewer lawyers, and $828,429 for firms with more than 200 lawyers.

Budgets for all libraries were split almost exactly 50-50 between print and electronic resources, with courthouse libraries spending two-thirds of their budget on print and law firms spending almost 60 percent on electronic resources. More than half of libraries surveyed planned to increase their electronic holdings and reduce their print holdings in the next few years.

Libraries spent a mean of $320,931 on online databases in 2013, and on overage expect this to increase by about 3 percent in 2014. Two-thirds of participants used Westlaw “extensively,” with almost as many using Hein Online and Lexis either “frequently” or “extensively.”

Just under one-third of libraries had a social media presence on Facebook, by far the most popular social media site. Among these, the most active Facebook users were university libraries, two-thirds were active on Facebook. University libraries were also disproportionately active on Twitter: just under a quarter of all law libraries had a Twitter presence in 2013, but almost half of university law libraries tweeted.

Other topics in the survey include spending on salaries, print reporters, online and print directories, books, e-books, journals and other information resources, cost recovery, and more. The report breaks down data by both library type and institution size.

2014 CLLG Annual General Meeting

May 26, 2014   

The annual general meeting is being held at the deVille Cafe, Arts Central at 100 – 7th Ave SW on June 17th from 5 – 7 pm.  Come on out and see what the CLLG has been up to.

Cost is $10.  Includes appetizers, 1 drink ticket & all the conversation with your colleagues that you can handle!

RSVP to Jennifer Merchant at by Friday, June 13th .  Let her know if you have any food allergies.

See you there!

Alberta QP Stakeholder Engagement Session

May 20, 2014   

Gisele Abt, Manager with the Alberta Queen’s Printer has invited CLLG members to attend a stakeholder engagement session on May 29 from 10:30am to 1:30pm (light lunch included!) to find out about QP current products and services. “Come and help ensure your requirements for accessing Alberta laws and official government materials”. RSVP to  The session takes place at 2620 AMEC Place, 801-6th Ave in Calgary.

APRIL 2014

Law Students Arriving at Your Firm Without WestlawNext Canada Training

April 29, 2014   

Nadine Hoffman, librarian at the U of C Bennett Jones Law Library, reminded the CLLG membership, that law students on academic accounts will not have access to the new WestlawNext Canada until September 2014.  If your firm has already transitioned to the new WestlawNext Canada platform,  be prepared to provide them with the additional training they will need to be able to perform the legal research required of them.

New and Improved BC Laws Website

April 28, 2014   

Kim Nayyer’s post on Slaw highlights how BC is doing things right in terms of supporting the open law movement.  The BC Queen’s Printer’s subscription service, QP LegalEze, has been retired and its content integrated into the new BC Laws website making the website an extremely robust and free tool for BC legislative research.

Having worked in Vancouver for two years, I used the old BC Laws website constantly when doing legislative research and loved it.  Now that it includes a wealth of historical legislative material, I’m sure local legal researchers and law librarians are jumping for joy.  The tables of legislative changes and point-in-time  versions of provisions are great additions to current statutory content.  And having the homepage also act as a portal to other legislative material like the BC Gazette, Orders-in-Council, Hansard, and bills is another highly commendable feature of the website.

I feel BC is a trailblazer when it comes to making legal information publicly available.  On the litigation side, the government database Court Services Online allows members of the public to view docket information and order copies of court documents for a small fee.

I wish Alberta would follow BC’s example in making legislative information and court documents more open and user-friendly to the public.  While some legislative information is freely available, one must jump from website to website and I don’t feel like the information is collected, organized, or formatted in a user-friendly way.

Here’s hoping BC’s open law tendencies rub off on Alberta.

MARCH 2014

Take Screenshots in Chrome

March 19, 2014   

I stopped using my operating system’s built in screen capture tool a long time ago and started using Google Chrome’s Extension, Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate. You can capture the whole webpage or a portion of the page.  You can edit the screenshot, crop it, write on it, highlight  important information or blur sensitive data. After editing you can save the screenshot as an image, copy to the clipboard or  print the screenshot.  Here’s what the screenshot looks like with some of the features of Awesome Screenshot.

Is Google & Bing Searching For All of Your Search Terms?

March 17, 2014  

Not likely.  You cannot count on search engines searching for ALL of your search terms. To force Bing to search all terms use the  Boolean AND, or the prefix inbody:xxx.  In Google use Verbatim ( Under Search Tools- All Results) or intext:xxxx.


Looking Up Nominate Report Citations in the English Reports

February 24, 2014   

You’ve found a citation to an old English decision that is not available in Quicklaw or WestlawCanada.  What do you do now?

The English Reports (ER) are a reprint of nominate reports of judgments of the English courts from 1220 to 1866 and contain most of the nominate reports.  It’s likely your citation is from one of these nominate reports and may appear in the ER.  Here’s an overview of how to look up a citation in the ER.

Use the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations to look up the full name of your nominate report.  Click on the report title to see if it’s included in the ER and what volume(s).

  1. If you have access to the ER in print, simply choose the appropriate volume(s) and look up your case in the index at the back of the volume or in vols. 177-178 (index to cases).  This will tell you the exact page number on which your decision begins.
  2. The ER are also freely available online via CommonLII.  You can browse by year or case name and use Ctrl + F to find your decision.  If you subscribe to HeinOnline, the ER are also available in this database.

Where Did That Statute Go? Finding Repealed & Replaced Statutes on the New Federal Government Justice Laws Website

February 3, 2014   

On behalf of Nadine Hoffman, Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Librarian, University of Calgary

Older statutes can still be found on the new Justice Laws website, but you will need to a little bit of digging.  Being able to find federal legislation will be even more important, when the Government of Canada stops  making their publications available  in print as of April 14, 2014.  Publications will be available in electronic format only.

Below are screen shots of a search for the 1992 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  A search of the Consolidated Acts, finds the current version of the Act.  Clicking on “Previous Versions” eventually takes you to the “Archived version of the Act”.  Once the Act has been archived it is no longer available in a  convenient PDF format, but hey, it’s  still there and they even provide a Table of Contents of the Act! (Click on the screen shot to enlarge it, that way you can read it :))


Library Job Posting (Position has been filled)

January 28, 2014

Norton Rose Fulbright is looking for a research librarian for a 1 year term.  

Upcoming CLLG Session

January 23, 2014   

I follow the ABlawg blog,  the U of C’s Faculty of Law Blog.   I find their blog posts to be timely and relevant in my work as a law  librarian and personally.  We also have a lawyer in the office who has contributed to the blog.  On January 29, CLLG is hosting a lunchtime session on the “Impact of ABlawg“.  The guest speaker will be Professor Jennifer Koshan.   The event is being held at the Bankers Hall Auditorium, 315 – 8th Ave (Level P3) from 12-1:30pm.  Cost is $5 for members and $10 for non-members and you even get lunch!  Contact Eneida Tomani at to reserve your spot.


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