Creating your own perfect portal

This article isn't really about creating a Portal before you get excited and start packing your suitcases. The article which is in today's Independent looks at how users can "personalise" their homepages using Web 2.0 powered technology, essentially by dragging and dropping gadgets, flakes, modules or widgets on to homepages.

Customised Search Engines on Infolaw

Infolaw have created a number of customised search engines, all of which are available on their Website I haven't had much of a chance to look at the them but "Blawgle" a search of all the UK Legal Blogs catalogued in Lawfinder sounds promising.

Law Library Buzz

I stumbled across a new Blog resource today called Law Library Buzz it's got a very heavy U.S bias but essentially it draws together posts from Blogs into a single interface and then into "Bee Hives" the "Hives" are subject areas where you can view posts about similar subjects.

The great thing about this site is that you can subscribe to an RSS feed of new content and check out the Blogs that the content is being harvested from, I think this is sweet (sheesh)

Web 2.0 and traditional publishers

Will Web 2.0 revolutionise information providers or kill them? this is the question poised by Information World Review (IWR) in an article on their website. The article is a debate between "traditional" traditional information providers (including Sweet & Maxwell) and Web 2.0 technologists.

There are some interesting points raised here from the "traditional" publishers notably that the challenge to publishers is how they put their content into new and meaningful contexts. The main difference of opinion appears to be around the term "community" and how traditional publishers can use Web 2.0 technology to enhance the products and services they provide to users. I probably keep banging on about this but I see Web 2.0 as an opportunity for publishers to collaborate and involve their customers more in the development of their products, ultimately provding benefits for both sides...surely? Definitely worth reading.

Statute Law Database : Update status

If you didn't know already the DCA is in the process of loading missing materials to their website. There are approximately 35 Acts which are currently not on the SLD which the DCA have some "issues" with, the details of these are available here

*DCA = Department of Constitutional Affairs
*SLD = Statute Law Database
*CWHLA = Can we have less abbreviations?

UK Legal Publishers and RSS Feeds

The major UK Legal Publishers lack of RSS feeds has been highlighted today by two posts one by Lo-fi Librarian on her Blog I couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed here and I expect our Library Assistants would love to not to have to open countless envelopes (at the risk of a severe paper cuts) with often the same information enclosed.

Lo-fi Librarian has raised this in response to an excellent article by Connie Crosby on LLRX.com the article called "Using RSS Feeds for New Book Titles - Calling All Publishers" talks about the lack of RSS feeds in Canada until Connie started talking to Legal Publishers. It's interesting to see that in the UK the uptake of RSS has been quite slow, I posted on this very subject briefly a week or so ago but have done some additional trawling and have the following:

Informa - RSS Feed for News Releases and some product information

So not exactly an extensive list there, lots of publishers like Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press do offer feeds from there press offices, but I see no reason why they cant harness this technology for marketing purposes and protect our fragile environment - come on UK Publishers!

Seven Legal Technology trends for 2007

I do love LLRX.Com there is at least one article in every issue that catches my eye as a "need to read" This month Dennis Kennedy has written an article on specific "legal trends" that Lawyers and law firms must look for.

Surprise surprise we now have "Law 2.0" this joins the ranks of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0! In the article Dennis describes Law 2.0 as law firms and legal departments "taking advantage of great new technology opportunities to modernize the practice of law, improve client service", and move toward something that he calls "Law 2.0." Dennis concludes that "as a result, they will creative a competitive and technological gap between themselves and most other lawyers, firms and law departments."

Lets wait and see!

Resources for Podcasting

Lots of posts recently have been about Podcasting, this isn't something I'm currently involved in (I don't even own an iPod) but it's of interest to anyone working with Social Media and Web 2.0. Librarian in Black has posted about his Libray's first steps in podcasting, the guides look really useful and a great place to start if you are thinking about Podcasting.

The ALA have also produced a guide to Podcasting a summary of which is available here

Reed Elsevier sells book division

Reed Elsevier (the ultimate parent company of Lexis Nexis Butterworths) have announced that they are selling their Harcourt Education Divisional. According to reports, they are planning to use the proceeds of the sale to invest in their online products which include Lexis Nexis.

Update on the Times Law Reports

Lexis Nexis have reported that the Times is still experiencing some "serious technical difficulties" with feeds to aggregators of their content. The Times Law Reports are currently not available on the Lexis Nexis Global Platform but are available on the website of the Times.

This follows my post earlier this year.

Google loses copyright case

Lots of reports today on the news that Google has lost its court case against a group of Beligum newspapers who had asked Google to remove all links to Beligan newspapers from it's site.

One of the issues here is that Google is stretching the use of fair use by using what it is freely available and then dealing with the "consequences" if they arrive later. The ruling if confirmed could set a precedent for how search engines link to Copyrighted material.

The Hottest Law Librarians

Now then I'm certainly not a prude and wouldn't want to stand in the way of anything that promotes Librarians in general but I'm really not sure about the call for nominations for Americas Hottest Law Librarians

I wonder how they will declare the winner, alphabetical order?

The changing face of publishing

Yesterday's Media Guardian is reporting that with the uptake of Web 2.0 technology buying a copy of Heat or The Economist will soon be a thing of the past.

But it's not just the format or the way your daily ready is distributed that is going to change, the content that is included and associated with it will change as well, with more publishers looking at Podcasts, online videos and Wikis as a mean of communicating with their readers and discovering what their readers really want, all exciting stuff!

The European Union and RSS Feeds

Scott Vine at Information Overlord has posted that the European Commission has released RSS Feeds for the press releases it produces. As Scott says this is great news and bound to make a lot of people (including me) happy!

Sniffing armpits and stroking cats

Okay this is just bizzare, according to an article in the Guardian sniffing an armpit could reduce stress, strangely enough the scientist who conducted this research has been unable to identify exactly why this happens.

I think there is a gap in the market here for an aspiring business so much so I am planning to buy the domain name http://www.sniffmyarmpit.com Other ways to reduce stress include stroking a cats belly for 10 minutes or sleeping.

Welsh Journals Online

A new resource found by Peter Scott Welsh Journals Online will be a free resource providing access to all the major Welsh and Wales related journals. Unfortunately it's not being launched until 2008.

Online Legal Publishing : Part 1 (Good)

It's about time I sat down and posted the details of the presentation I gave at Online Information in November, so here we go 3 posts on the subject of Online Legal Publishing, neatly divided into the Good, The Bad and the downright ugly. This part....."The Good"

Most presentations these days about online publishing will mention Web 2.0, so this is where I will start, Web 2.0 is the term being used to describe the way new technologies are blurring the line between software and the Internet. For a much fuller description of Web 2.0 have a look at this article by Tim O'Reilly. I believe Web 2.0 and the rapid development of the internet will provide users with richer user experiences but only once they become truly usable. In the interim Legal publishers must harness some of the new technologies/publishing platforms.

These include new methods of providing current awareness services by harnessing technologies like RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summaries), Podcasts and Blogs. Several legal publishers are already demonstrating how RSS and Blogs can be used, Informa have RSS feeds for all the journals that are available in their I-Law product and Sweet and Maxwell have recently started providing exam revision podcasts for law students, these accompany the Nutshell Law Series) Cecile Park Publishing maintain several Blogs all of which are posted to on a regular basis, currently Lexis Nexis only provide an XML feed of "What's new"...in Canada.

Most of the trade journals like Legal Week and The Lawyer have had RSS feeds for a while and Legal Week has recently launched a Wiki. Free Legal Resources like the OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information) have also started adding RSS Feeds (RSS Feeds for UK Acts & SI’s) and the much anticipated and now launched Statute Law Database (SLD) will surely soon have RSS feeds.

So what does this all mean for Legal Publishers?

Well competition is increasing and I get the feeling legal publishers understand that the number of competitors isn't going to decrease it is going to increase. The problem for traditional publishers is that the "new" Web 2.0 savvy publishers wont have overheads, distribution, payroll or marketing costs to deal with because they will be web based and will either bloggers or companies that are using Web 2.0 technology.

This I believe is the main challenge that some legal publishers face, especially in niche areas, however there is a downside to this new competition and that is that the quality will not be as good as more traditional publishers. Ultimately this increase in competition can only be good for the end user.

Next...the bad

The Times Law Reports on Lexis Nexis Butterworths

Lexis Nexis Butterworths have announced that they are having some "issues" with access to the Times Law Reports on the Global Platform. This is because the Times is revamping their website it looks great, not that I am a huge reader of the times and I'm not going to be drawn into my political allegiances, but I'm not sure about the green.

To combat this LNB have a new site for the Times Law Reports available here.

Scholarly Communication in Turmoil

According to this article in Information Today the world of Scholary communication is having a bad time of it at the moment, the article represents the views of Sally Morris—former chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)—and Michael Mabe—chief executive of the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).

It's an article that will have you hooked because one of the first lines is "It is not clear how scholarly publishers will cope with change or if journals will even survive" The key issues are Open Access (OA) including copyright issues and new and faster communication methods (RSS, Blogs and Podcasts)

So what does the future hold, well surprise surprise it's "murky" but it looks like it is going to be an anxious time for everyone involved in this field, including Librarians who will atest to above inflation price rises for many years with budgets going in the opposite direction.

Trainees blogging

Such is the spread of Social Media that Law Firms are beginning to ask their trainees to blog for them, amongst everything else they are asked to do! This is an old story that was originally reported by Scott Vine here.

In case your wondering the Trainees at Watson Farley are still blogging here the trainees at Winckworth Sherwood are also blogging although I wouldn't call these links blogs in the traditional sense, Linklaters trainees are supposedly also blogging but I couldn't find where on the graduate recruitment pages and I call myself a law librarian!

33 reasons why Librarians are still extremely important

This article has been flying around the blogosphere this week so I thought I might as well bring it to peoples attention.

It's interesting that this article which talks a lot about the influence the internet is having and will continue to have and how we as Librarians can influence it has appeared in a week where I posted about Lexis-Nexis "fighting" open access

Hardcopy v Online

The latest issue of Freepint is out and it has an interesting article on the "battle" between Hardcopy and electronic versions of documents. The article author undertook some research (I think I may have even completed the survey) on the use of hardcopy versus electronic documents and this forms the basis of the article.

The author quite obviously prefers hardcopy to electronic documents which is fine, referring to the fact that "a hardcopy version of a document is constant and wil not suddenly change format overnight" All very true but electronic versions have their benefits ease of access (how many of us have lost that crucial note), the ability to forward items and work on documents with individuals. An interesting read, the full results of the survey will be presented at Information Online 2007.