Osgoode Librarian Tim Knight Awarded CALL Research Grant

The 2013 CALL/ACBD (Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit) Research Grant of $3,000 has been awarded to Tim Knight, Head, Technical Services in the Osgoode Library, and Sarah Sutherland, Manager, Content and Partnerships at CanLII, for their project Exploring the Linked Data Application of KF Modified Classification.  This project will “explore the development of KF Modified as a linked data classification scheme”  involving “analysis of the Library of Congress initiative; developing an appropriate data model for KF Modified; formulating the conversion process; coding the classification data as linked data.”

For readers who are not librarians, Linked Data describes a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and become more useful, using standard web technologies to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried. Linked Data is an important component of the new Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard for cataloguing library materials, officially implemented by the Library of Congress, other national libraries (including Library and Archives Canada) and the Osgoode Library in 2013.

The CALL/ACBD Research Grant was established in 1996 to provide members with financial assistance to carry out research in areas of interest to members and to the association.  Applicants must be a members of the Association and proposed projects must promote an understanding of legal information sources or law librarianship. Further information is available here.

Congratulations Tim and Sarah!

Sports injuries in the spotlight

Every first-year law student is taught the thin-skull principle, wherein the tortfeasor finds the victim as they find them, even if they have a pre-existing condition. I’ve been thinking about this over the past few weeks as I’ve been laid up at home recovering from a concussion and making the slow return to “normal” day-to-day life. Alas, I am unable to pursue damages for the injury (unless my kitten is hiding money in an off-shore account), but the eye-watering $765 million settlement by the NFL to concussion-addled former players has been a particularly prominent recent example of those who have.

Although this is my first (and hopefully last) concussion, as some professional sports have made it very abundantly obvious, once you get one you’re prone to future injuries, the healing process is frustrating and protracted, and the long-term damage is potentially severe and frightening. The interesting thing about the NFL settlement is the argument from the players that the league knew about the potential for long-term damage whilst keeping it hidden from them to ensure that they continued to play.

While this is undoubtedly true, one cannot help but wonder how it was possible, after the first injury (and certainly subsequent ones), that players did not notice that something was wrong. I suspect it ties into another age-old legal concept – willful blindness – in addition to the fact that, particularly for many players of a bygone era, the money simply was not there to the same extent that it is in the modern game. In order to support themselves, they needed to subject themselves to conditions that, for many of them, led to eventual brain damage and associated illnesses such as dementiachronic traumatic encephalopathy (which stems from repeated concussions and can only be definitively diagnosed post-mortem), and alzheimer’s. If you have two hours (and given the time of year, you probably don’t!), the PBS documentary League of Denial is an outstanding (if necessarily grim) summary of the problems with sports injuries in the NHL.

Unfortunately, while the legal implications are rife, the material that has been published on sports and brain injuries are not (essay idea, anybody?). There are a number of texts on concussions at York Libraries generally, with The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic cropping up as a particularly notable recent release. Our holdings on sports injuries are, perhaps not surprisingly, largely limited to works on waivers and liability. If you were to do this sort of research, your focus would have to be limited primarily to electronic resources. For instance (hint!), an article-only advanced search for concussion AND liability AND “sports injury” in HeinOnline yields 25 articles. A search using the same terms in CanLII yields 14 cases. It is also worth taking a look at both Halsbury’s Laws of Canada‘s volume on Athletics (available electronically on Quicklaw) and the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest’s volume on Sports (available electronically on Westlaw).

While it is true that the NFL is an American institution, one does have to wonder what will happen should players from the NHL ever decided to follow suit? Certainly there have been no shortage of careers curtailed or ended by these sorts of injuries, from high profile players such as Eric Lindros on down. While it is an area of the law that is relatively underdeveloped, with the sorts of windfalls that have come from the NFL settlement, it is likely that this is a beginning, rather than an end. As litigation surrounding smoking has proven, sometimes time really does tell.

Exam Stress – Going to the dogs?

It’s that time of year – the end-of-term paper-writing and exam crunch. And for many of you who are graduating this spring, you’ll barely have time to catch your breath before launching headlong into your bar ads. In a nutshell, it’s a crazy, busy, stressful whirlwind of all-nighters, bleary eyes, summary writing, coffee consumption, and all-around madness before you can come up for air in several weeks’ time.

Although you might have missed “Take Your Dog To Work” Day earlier this year, there are some law schools who are making this a part of exam time to offer respite from the stress of exams. George Mason University School of Law had “puppy day”, where students were able to pet, cuddle, and spend time with homeless and adoptable puppies from a shelter. Another example of law schools going to the dogs is Monty the Therapy Dog, who is available at set times at the Yale Law Library. A registered therapy dog, he can be reserved to spend time with groups of up to four students. Alas, since we do not have any cuddly pooches for you to project your stress on to, you might want to check out the Mayo Clinic’s stress relief tips.

Although it has been a number of years since my graduation from Osgoode in 2009, it is still a feeling that is instilled deep, deep into the psyche, so I am only all-too-aware of the punishing realities of what often feels like an interminable and impossibly stressful exam period. However, it is always helpful to remember that no matter what your classmates might tell you, they’re likely just as terrified/stressed out/confused as you are. It is also worth noting that no matter how convincingly authoritative they might sound about xy, or z   point of law, there is always the possibility of overcompensation. At the end of the day, you’re ultimately responsible to yourself – and part of that is the ability to take a deep breath, put your nose to the grindstone, and get to it. You’ll be fine.

And, if you need anything, even just somebody to lend an ear, we’re here for you. As they say, you get by with a little help from your friends.

Tim Knight Speaks on RDA at CALL Conference

Tim Knight, Head of Technical Services in the Osgoode Library, spoke on May 8 at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), currently being held here in Toronto at the Royal York. The topic of Tim’s presentation was “RDA: Coming to a Library Near You”. Tim’s partner in the program was Darren Furey, Technical Services Librarian at the Gerrard V. La Forest Law Library at the University of New Brunswick.

RDA (Resources Description and Access) is a new way to support resource discovery focusing on user tasks in the digital age. RDA, the new cataloguing guidelines have been developed, tested and are set to be implemented in March 2013. As we shift away from AACR2 preparation for training is underway and cataloguing records created using the new rules will start to appear in your library catalogues. F. Tim Knight and Darren J. Furey guide you through the changes you can expect to see including an overview of FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) the conceptual model that underlies the structure of RDA.

The PowerPoint slides and speaking notes of the presentation are now available.

Resource Description and Access: From AACR to RDA

Tim Knight is of Head of Technical Services in the Osgoode library and a leading figure in developing standards for the cataloguing and classification of legal materials in Canada. His article about the new cataloguing rules, “Resource Description and Access: From AACR to RDA“, was recently published in the Canadian Law Library Review.  The article is also available on York Space, York University’s institutional repsitory.

Abstract: The new cataloguing guidelines Resource Description and Access (RDA) have recently been released and are set to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.  An evaluation period led by the Library of Congress is currently underway and it is likely that the implementation of RDA will begin sometime in mid-2011.  This paper looks briefly at the origins of RDA, provides a high level overview of RDA and reviews some of the major differences that cataloguers and library users can expect to find between RDA and AACR2.

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Annual Conference in Windsor

Louis Mirando, Daniel Perlin and myself will be joining our colleagues in Windsor, Ontario this weekend for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/L’Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (CALL/ACBD) annual conference. Activities begin tomorrow morning with a pre-conference on U.S. Legal Research for the Canadian Law Librarian delivered by Clare D. Membiela and Eric Kennedy two law librarians from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing Michigan.

On Sunday a variety of committee business meetings will be held followed by the official opening of the Conference on Sunday evening. I’m looking forward to hearing Maude Barlow deliver the opening plenary session on Monday morning. Ms. Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and was recently the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Her talk is entitled We are Stewards of the Great Lakes: Law and Policy for Changing Times.

There are many informative sessions scheduled ranging from improving faculty/librarian relationships in academic law libraries, to the influence of Web 2.0 applications such as Twitter and blogging on courtroom proceedings, to strategies to consider for building lawyering skills through LRW programs. Osgoode Professor Sara Slin will be participating in a panel discussion on collective bargaining organized by Daniel Perlin who will also be moderating this session. See the full program for more information.

The CALL conference is a wonderful opportunity for Canadian law librarians to gather, share information and learn from each other in both formal and informal settings. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Windsor!

Oh, if you tweet you might be interested in following the conference on Twitter.

Texts Added to Quicklaw Databases

With the Febrary 2010 content release, the following titles – all published by LexisNexis Canada – have been added to the Quicklaw databases. As of February 7, they will also be available on the LexisNexis Academic service. As you can see from the list, a broad selection of classic titles is included, from texts (McGuiness on Corporations, Swan on Contracts) to encyclopedias (the complete Halsbury’s Laws of Canada) to looseleafs (Wilson on Children and the Law) to reference works (Federal Limitations Periods, Lexis Nexis Forms & Precedents).

  • Administrative Law in Canada (Blake)
  • Alberta Limitations Manual
  • BC Limitations Manual
  • Bottom Line
  • The Business in Transition: Making the Succession Plan Work (Bollefer and Malach)
  • Canada Business Corporations Act & Commentary (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin)
  • Canadian Business Corporations Law (McGuiness)
  • Canadian Franchise Law Handbook (So)
  • Canadian Law Symposium Index
  • Canadian Tort Law, 8th ed (Linden and Feldthusen)
  • Canadian Contract Law (Swan)Class Actions Law and Practice (Eizenga, Peerless, Wright and Callaghan)
  • Commercial Insolvency in Canada (McElcheran)
  • Counselling Corporations and Advising Businesses (Iacovelli and Lan)
  • Drafting Trusts and Will Trusts in Canada (Kessler and Hunter)
  • Federal Limitation Periods
  • Feeney’s Canadian Law of Wills (MacKenzie)
  • General Principles of Canadian Insurance Law (Billingsly)
  • Halsbury’s Laws of Canada (complete collection)
  • Hughes and Woodley on Patents, 2nd ed.
  • Hughes on Copyright and Industrial Design, 2nd ed.
  • Hughes on Trade-Marks, 2nd ed.
  • Hughes: Canadian Federal Courts Practice, 2005/2006 ed.
  • Immigration Law and Practice, 2nd ed. (Waldman)
  • Impaired Driving in Canada (Kenkel)
  • Index to Canadian Legal Literature
  • The Law of Collective Bargaining (Rayner)
  • The Law of Limitations (Mew)
  • The Law of Search and Seizure in Canada, 7th ed. (Fontana and Keeshan)
  • LexisNexis Canada Solicitor Forms & Precedents
  • Liability Insurance Law in Canada (Hilliker)
  • McLachlin & Taylor: British Columbia Practice (Irvine)
  • Modern Constitutionalism: Identity, Equality and Democracy (Magnet)
  • Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules (Thompson)
  • Ontario Courtroom Procedure (Archibald, Killeen and Morton)
  • Ontario Family Law Practice, 2008 ed. (Steinberg, Perkins, Lenkinski and James)
  • Palmer & Snyder: Collective Agreement Arbitration in Canada (Snyder ed)
  • The Practitioner’s Criminal Code, 2008 ed. (Gold)
  • Practitioner’s Criminal Precedents (Gold)
  • Real Estate Practice in Ontario (Donahue, Quinn & Grandilli)
  • Sentencing, 6th ed. (Ruby, Copeland, Davies, Doucette and Litkowski)
  • Sopinka: The Law of Evidence in Canada (Bryant, Lederman, Fuerst)
  • Traité général de preuve et de procédure pénales, 10e éd.
  • Wilson on Children and the Law (Wilson)