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The Stream - Courthouse Libraries BC Blog
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Stay current with the latest news and views from Courthouse Libraries BC.
  • Help CLBC Help You: a 10-Minute Survey for BC Lawyers

    by Johanne Blenkin | Nov 09, 2016

    One thing is certain: the practice of law is changing.

    That's why Courthouse Libraries BC is asking you, the lawyers of BC, a few questions about your work, your information needs, and how change is affecting your practice.

    We are changing too, evolving as an institution to support BC lawyers now and for generations to come.

    Our watchword is "innovation" as we retool to meet lawyers’ new needs while witnessing the changing role of libraries.  (Tomorrow's libraries will exist because today's libraries are working very hard to build value beyond their traditional brand identity as institutions.)

    To this end, we ask you, the lawyers of BC, to give input about your own needs so we can design resources and services that anticipate them. A few minutes with this survey now will help us shape the Courthouse Libraries BC of tomorrow and identify:

    • new products, services and approaches to curating, sharing and connecting legal information
    • the main deliverables in our technological platform for supporting communities of legal practice
    • the precise knowledge management needs of tomorrow's legal profession

    Information you share will be anonymous, and we will report out on the big picture findings of the survey after it closes (November 25, 2016). BC lawyers who complete the survey or share the link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DPPB9DJ) with their Twitter followers using the hashtag #CLBClawyersurvey2016 will be given the chance to enter a draw for one of five $100 gift cards to Chapters/Indigo.

    Be part of the conversation. Have a say in the future of your law library. Help shape the resources we're building to support you. Please take and share the survey today.

  • Using a Wikipedia-Style Website to Serve Free Legal Information

    by Nathaniel Russell | Apr 15, 2015
    Yesterday Courthouse Libraries BC teamed up with the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch to announce by formal press release the addition of CBABC's Dial-A-Law scripts to Clicklaw Wikibooks. It's an exciting step for us, as the host of Clicklaw Wikibooks, since Dial-A-Law scripts are perhaps the longest-surviving example of the BC legal profession's dedication to helping the public with free legal information. The scripts cover over 130 legal topics, and have existed in various formats for over 30 years. Dial-A-Law started in 1983 with help from the BC Law Foundation and its scripts have been edited by volunteer lawyers ever since. For many years you phoned in to hear the scripts read out loud to you. This is still one way you can access them, in fact. And with the popularity of the Web, the scripts soon came online. Many of them have even been translated into Punjabi and Simplified Chinese.
    Yesterday's announcement is significant because now the scripts are even more accessible. Clicklaw Wikibooks are all about keeping legal information in a single spot so that editors and lawyers can update it—this is one of the benefits of a Wikipedia-style platform—but letting the end user choose whether to print, read online, or otherwise export the content in a way that meets their needs.
    Users can download whole contents, or only portions, of Clicklaw Wikibook in PDF or EPUB. They can order a printed book for cost, or they can of course read it online. The open-source nature of the Mediawiki publishing platform means it is a tool that is affordable to implement, but also well-supported by a community of developers who are all about open access and the democratization of information.
    Basically, Clicklaw Wikibooks is about smart, society-friendly use of technology, including print technology. 
    As our CEO, Johanne Blenkin, says in the release "many continue to rely on community libraries and printed materials, so keeping quality legal information in print is also important. Clicklaw Wikibooks is about helping content partners offer their up-to-date legal information in a range of digital and physical formats.”
    Dial-A-Law books will be printed and shipped to public libraries across BC.
    Dial-A-Law Clicklaw Wikibooks cover
    Cover image for Dial-A-Law on Clicklaw Wikibooks
    Visit Clicklaw Wikibooks
  • Courthouse Libraries BC Now Offering WestlawNext Canada

    by Alex McNeur | Feb 13, 2015

    Courthouse Libraries BC continues to be dedicated to keeping you current with legal information. So we're very pleased to announce that we have rolled out WestlawNext Canada throughout the province.  We've offered LawSource, CriminalSource and Criminal Spectrum in our libraries for quite some time, and WestlawNext is the new platform that combines these three resources in to one powerful finding tool. This is definitely a better version - a true upgrade.  The biggest difference is the breadth of one's search. In the older version, one had to select a particular database to search. Now you can run a plain language search (or with terms and connectors) across the entire WestlawNext platform. The results are organized in a terrific overview screen that allows you to quickly identify the content you need:

    As we've said before, one of our passions is ensuring that the most number of people get access to the greatest number of legal resources in the most cost effective way possible. With WestlawNext, we can offer comprehensive case law and legislation (with a simple note-up feature), the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, and leading texts with up-to-the-minute commentary and analysis.

    On Wednesday, March 4th we are hosting the webinar WestlawNext: New Look and Content! Join us from 12:30 to 1:30 during which Allison Bale of Thomson Reuters will help demonstrate some of what Westlaw now has to offer. Some of the features we plan to explore include using the many Texts and Annotations found in CriminalSource, ways of optimizing your search results, using Keycite alerts, and accessing pre-prepared legal memoranda.  Participants in this course may claim up to 1 hour of CPD credits. You can register for the webinar here.

    In the past, the library was not able to keep print copies of all the important criminal texts current in every location. Now, criminal practitioners will have access to the latest updates, no matter which library you use. CriminalSource now includes the texts that were once part of CriminalSpectrum, making for a pretty impressive collection:

    We've also created a short video to show you how easy it is to search leading Canadian criminal texts in CriminalSource.  Specifically, we use a particular scenario to find commentary and caselaw in Canadian Criminal Procedure by Salhany.


    We continue to adapt our services and collection to ensure you have the best legal information at your fingertips. With WestlawNext Canada, we're reaching more clients than ever before. 


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