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It all started with a phone call. A web developer I know was running a utility over links on corporate web sites. A corporate subsidiary was returning a bunch of really unusual links, lots of them. He asked what I thought was going on. When I logged into the WordPress dashboard for the site, it became clear. The site had been hacked. You couldn’t tell by just looking at the web site. It wasn’t defaced.…
Not to get all existential, but what does it mean when we say “legal research”? One of my favorite questions in the American Bar Association’s annual Legal Technology Survey Report was about how much time they spent conducting legal research. It gave a sense of about how much time (~20%) of a lawyer’s work focused on a function important to law libraries. But I have always felt that legal research doesn’t necessarily mean the same…
Books are dead. Blogging is dead. Bookstores are dead. Law reporters are dead. And yet. This is another blog post, nestled among many that look at information formats and delivery. There is a fashionable declarative to foretell death. It’s worth avoiding. There are at least two reasons for this, I think. If you’re a law library leader, they are two things to avoid. The first involves making positional statements gain political support or traction but…
I am a delayed follower of Critical Role, a live Dungeons and Dragons production. Delayed both in that I started following Campaign 2 and that I never watch it live (past my bedtime). But I’ve been fascinated with the paraphernalia they use: dice bags, rolling boxes, etc. I decided I would turn my hand to making a dice box as a present. There are plenty of really nice dice boxes you can purchase. I…
As part of the sandwich generation, I’m going to help my parents navigate changes to their internet and phone plans. Just like a library, an individual’s consumption of information changes over time. At first, my answers to their questions tend to be around finding a better version (read=price) of what they already had. Better equaling cheaper or broader coverage or some other feature. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized…
Have you ever dropped into a web site – could be a legal research database or some other online information resource – and wondered where you were? Obviously, on the internet. But was there any other information to give you context for how the page you were looking at fit into the bigger picture? I was thinking about that on our commuter train recently, when it became clear that “locomotive” has more than one meaning.…
I have given a presentation on lawyer use of technology and risks related to confidentiality for over 10 years, twice a year. The audience is lawyers new to Ontario and it’s amazing how consistent the questions and concerns are, year to year. In the past, I’ve posted about my presentation but I find the questions far more interesting to look at. The paper I’ve been handing out for the last 2 sessions is here.…
I was waiting for a paralegal licensee tour to arrive at the library’s front service desk. As the librarian and I were shooting the breeze, we talked about the anti-theft gates. The gates have a tracking mechanism and, it turns out, the librarian has been keeping a chart of foot traffic from the gates. For 10 years. And no-one has used it. The next morning, I had a request for our annual data benchmark update…
One of the interesting parts of running your own blog is seeing how it’s used. The only way to do that is with analytics. For a long time, I used Google Analytics and I’ve occasionally supplemented or supplanted it with Matomo (f/k/a Piwik). The recent Matomo Analytics for WordPress plugin and Google’s Site Kit plugin allow you to embed your analytics in your WordPress dashboard. If you are in a small law firm or law…
I have an overdue book at the public library. It’s a bit unusual since I’m usually pretty good about getting print books back, and also because I rarely borrow print books any more. Overdue fines are a traditional part of a library’s circulation model but as I thought about my fine, it got me thinking about how the purpose of fines may not exist in the same way any longer. Library policies like that may…