Member Blog

Supreme Court of Canada Judgments website

From Rosalie Fox, Director, Library, Supreme Court of Canada:

In cooperation with LexUM, the Supreme Court of Canada is pleased to announce that all the Supreme Court decisions which were published in the Supreme Court Reports dating back to 1948 are now available on the SCC Judgments website. All published judgments since 1876 from cases which were appealed to the SCC from the British Columbia Court of Appeal have been added to the database, courtesy of CanLII and the Law Foundation of BC. Appeals from the Ontario Court of Appeal, also dating back to 1876, were added to the SCC database last year.

The free availability of judgments dating back to 1948 on the web is one way the Supreme Court of Canada is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Canada's full judicial independence from the United Kingdom.

Following the adoption of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which underscored the equality of the Dominion legislatures with that of the United Kingdom, Canada amended the Supreme Court Act in 1933, and again in 1949, first ending appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in criminal matters, and subsequently in civil matters.

Managing email

VALL members should find Allison Wolf's article "Email survival tips for the busy professional" very useful. She refers to a short article on the Harvard Business website on "How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It" by David Silverman; Mr Silverman also wrote a helpful article on "4 Tips for Writing Better Email".

Creating your library's business plan

Book coverJan Wallace of UBC's David Lam Management Library has alerted VALL to a new book in the UBC library system: Creating your library’s business plan : a how-to-do-it manual with samples on CD-ROM by Joy H.P. Harriman. Jan gave a talk to VALL members on this subject several years ago.

The book can be borrowed from UBC; full information is at The book includes "more than 20 sample plans from academic, public, medical, and special libraries worldwide" as well as "templates, worksheets, case studies, and samples from a wide variety of libraries".

If you're interested in learning more on the subject of making a business case, this is the topic of this year's CALL pre-conference workshop on Saturday, May 23, 2009. 

Results of a Survey on Library Budgets

Louise Hamel of the Judges' Library, Ontario Courts surveyed Canadian law libraries on their budget perspective. Here is her summary of the survey results:

87 individuals responded to the survey. From some of the comments it may still be too early to say what the impact will be on law libraries.

1. Have you been informed of or do you expect a budget cut?

  • 15% still did not know
  • 30% indicated an impact for this fiscal
  • 15% indicated an impact for next fiscal
  • 12% both fiscals would be impacted
  • 29% indicated status quo

It appears from the comments that there is uncertainty over all. Only one commented on the annual impact of price increases as a budget cut.

2. What percentage of cut is expected?

The impact in this fiscal: 67% indicated that they were looking at up to 10% budget reduction, with various other responses for cuts greater than 10%; 11% indicated they still did not know.

The impact for next fiscal: 54% indicated cuts up to 10%; 35% indicated they had not been advised.

CANLII announces new point-in-time legislation

CanLII has announced that its new legislation publishing system (providing access to historical versions of statutes and regulations) is now live. Currently this new system covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and the Federal jurisdiction. The other provinces and territories will be added by the end of the summer 2009.

Benefits of the new system include:

  • Versions of statutes and regulations reflect real changes;
  • Legislative updates are carried out on a weekly basis;
  • Users can search a legislative text as it was legally binding on a particular date in the past. Historical coverage is approximately five years;
  • Users can compare two different versions of a particular document;
  • Users can noteup statutes’ sections;
  • RSS feeds are available to inform users about legislative changes of a particular statute or database.

AALL's Tools for Success in Today's Economy

AALLnet has put together a wiki on "Tools for Success in Today's Economy" at The wiki includes a number of resources in the following areas:

  • Career Tools (e.g. salary negotiation, networking, finding a job)
  • Financial Tools (e.g. budgeting, negotiation)
  • Management Tools (e.g. conflict resolution, hiring staff)
  • Public Relations Tools

Court of Appeal for Ontario introduces RSS feed for decisions

From Louise Hamel of the Ontario Judges' library:

The Court of Appeal for Ontario launced today an RSS feed for when:

  • Decisions are added to the decisions page
  • Case lists are available
  • Leave to appeal notifications are posted
  • Non-publication orders and in-camera hearings are announced

Additional feeds are under development and in the future you will be able to subscribe to separate feeds for each service. You can check out this new service at It is now a menu option for the side panel.

Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records

Via Rosalie Fox, Director, Supreme Court of Canada Library:

The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada has announced in a Notice to the Profession that its Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records takes effect on February 9, 2009.

With the introduction of this policy, the Court will provide more case information on its web site. In addition to the schedules, docket information, party information and case summaries currently available, the Court will provide webcasts of appeal hearings and will post appeal factums filed on or after February 9, 2009.


Courtroom proceedings will be webcast live unless the case is subject to a publication ban. An archive of webcasts will be maintained on the website. There are restrictions on the use of webcasts. If you want permission to use a webcast, you must submit an online Request to Use Supreme Court of Canada Photographs, Videos or Webcasts.

"How to foster mutually-beneficial librarian-vendor partnerships"

The February 2009 issue of the AALL Spectrum contains an article on "How to foster mutually-beneficial librarian-vendor partnerships". The article discusses how librarians can get the most out of their relationship with vendors.

One paragraph that may be of particular interest to librarians at the moment (given the current economic climate) is:

Communicate Transparently about Constraints — If you have budgetary constraints, project management challenges, [...], or any other predictable issues that might put the brakes on your purchasing, you should discuss these early and clearly. Your vendor will likely need to report back to management on progress, the sales cycle, and so forth. If you put your representative in an informed position, even if the news is negative in the short term, he or she will respect you for it and will appreciate your candor.

(Thanks to Emma Wood for pointing out this article.)

Recovering the Costs of Legal Research

The CLE course materials for Legal Research — 2008 have a section on "Recovering the Costs of Legal Research" by Timothy Outerbridge.
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