Tuesday, September 21, 2010

End of Looseleaf Services?

A debate is currently occupying law librarians in the blogosphere about the future of looseleafs. Ruth Bird from the Bodleian Library at Oxford has described looseleafs as
"one of the legal publishing world’s more interesting phenomena of the last third of the 20th century."
Here at the Otago Law Library we encourage students to use looseleaf services for their frequency, their usefulness - and just because we pay so much for them we want people to use them. But do you think their time has come? Can online resources do what looseleaf services have attempted to do for the past 50 years but better?
If you want to follow this debate then check out posts from Ruth Bird, from Jason Eiseman at Yale and Joe from the Law Librarian's blog.
My take. I love the looseleaf services we provide here at Otago. But that may be due to familiarity of the print versions and the cluttered interface of some of the online services. I find I can use materials more intensely if in print.
Comments welcome

Intellectual Property Treaties and Laws

WIPO Lex is a one-stop search facility for national laws and treaties on intellectual property (IP) of WIPO, WTO and UN Members. It also features related information on those laws and treaties.
WIPO Lex currently features the complete IP legal texts for over 60 countries with substantial coverage for a further 100 legal systems.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WorldLII goes international

OK so it's last week's news but it's very good news.
From their press release:
The International Law Library contains over 80,000 searchable documents for free access. This includes over 25,000 decisions of International Courts and Tribunals, over 30,000 treaties and international agreements (including the League of Nations and UN Treaty Series), international law journals and law reform materials. These materials cannot be jointly searched elsewhere on the Internet. AustLII’s LawCite citator tracks where international cases, treaties and law journal articles have been cited.
Have a look.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

EndNote for NZLSG

More fun with mindmaps. This time, EndNote for NZLSG.
The NZLSG Otago style is modelled on the University of Queensland's AGLC2 style (before it morphed into AGLC3), and it follows their practice of using default EndNote reference types where possible, and using a single reference type for everything else; here, the NZLSG Citation reftype. It was tempting to call it the Too hard basket reftype because effectively that's what it is - a catch-all for all the quirky things that default EndNote can't handle - NZ cases (reported, unreported), NZ legislation etc.
It is possible to re-engineer EndNote to format a wider range of local legal material. Canterbury has done it, and it works. But it does limit your use of EndNote. And it doesn't make things easy. Neither does this style. At some point you need to grapple with the complexities of legal citation and the idiosyncracies of NZLSG.
And you'll be grappling with or without EndNote. The beauty of EndNote is that you only grapple with each citation once. And if you get it right, it should stay right throughout the research and writing process.
Anyway, here it is. A bit shaky, but starting to take shape.
And as always, if it doesn't make sense, just ask.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Khan Academy

Anyone with an interest in teaching and learning, social justice, technology, maths or science should have a look at the Khan Academy. Oh, and anyone with school-age kids.
Lots (1600 and growing) of short videos, low-tech so they load easily even on low-grade home computers. Each video is like a very charming talking blackboard - you hear, you see, you understand. Low-tech, low stress.
All of them created by one man, Salman Khan, who describes his work like this:
I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him. The concepts are conveyed as they are understood by me, not as they are written in a textbook developed by an educational bureaucracy. Viewers know that it is the labor of love of one somewhat quirky and determined man who has a passion for learning and teaching.

I don't usually like online learning packages much but here it's not the technology you take note of, it's the way it all makes sense.
And what an end: "With just a computer and a pen-tablet-mouse, one can educate the world!" Inspirational.

Friday, September 3, 2010

LexisNexis NZ database trials

We currently have trial access to two Australian databases.
CaseBase is a hybrid LINX/BriefCase product. Chiefly case law; plus a citation signal service (like CiteCase but with different symbols to indicate positive, negative, cautionary or neutral treatment by the court); plus articles. Great for Laws 498 students wanting to find Australian cases which cite Donselaar v Donselaar. Probably good for other things too. You'll find CaseBase via the Cases tab.
Halsbury's laws of Australia is like Halsbury's laws of England and our very own (Halsburyless) Laws of New Zealand. Find it via the Commentary tab, under International Commentary. Or if you're in LONZ, the cross-references to Halsbury's laws of Australia will take you where you want to go.
Worth a look, via the LexisNexis NZ homepage. Trial runs to the end of next week.