Organizing and Participating in the “Open Access to Legal Knowledge in Africa” Workshop in Uganda

By Heather Casey

uganda2This past December, I had the privilege of traveling to Kampala, Uganda and assisting with a workshop on Open Access to legal knowledge in Africa. It was for law librarians in Anglophone Africa. The workshop was organized through the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), in cooperation with the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL). It was sponsored by IFLA, IALL, and HeinOnline.

I was one of several organizers – with me were Mark Engsberg (Emory University), Joe Hinger (St. John’s University), Caroline Ilako (Markerere University), Sonia Poulin (Alberta Law Libraries), and Bård Tuseth (University of Oslo). Over the course of several months, we worked to bring together a group of African law librarians that came from the following countries: Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and South Africa.

Our goals for the workshop were to empower participants to utilize the potential of open access legal sources in legal research. The workshop offered a method to build a network of law librarians across Africa in order to share knowledge and assist each other in solving practical legal research questions. Participation provided an overview of open access legal sources worldwide, the practical skills required to benefit from them, and an opportunity to establish contact with colleagues from different countries.

uganda1One essential component of the workshop was for every participant to give a presentation. Most were 5 minutes long and organizers spoke from 15 minutes to 45 minutes on various topics with Q&A sessions afterward. Our reasons behind having every participant give a presentation were several; first, it encouraged each participant to plan for the workshop and guaranteed active participation. Second, each participant shared information on the legal research environment in their jurisdiction, which allowed for other participants to learn more about jurisdictions outside their own. It also assisted with networking, as each presentation allowed participants to better acquaint themselves with one another. Getting up in front of their peers gave each participant a chance to exercise skills in public speaking that they may not have otherwise used over the course of the two-day workshop.

We also had three breakout sessions where participants were gathered into small groups to foster discussion. Organizers joined in at each group table to act as facilitators for the small group discussions. After 45 minutes to an hour of discussion, the entire workshop group would come together and people from each group would relay their group’s findings.

As organizers, we wanted to ensure that participants would continue to contribute to a network for African Law Librarians. To that end, we established several online forums after the workshop for participants and organizers to engage in virtual and practical collaboration with international colleagues. The forums included:

So far the email chain and WhatsApp groups have been very vibrant. Participants continue to reach out to one another to discuss resources and let one another know what is happening in their jurisdictions. The website has been good for exchanging slides from the workshop and members have discussed what they would like to further do with the website.

We are excited to see this group continue in its efforts to further the goals of the workshop and look forward to further collaboration with members of the workshop. The experience was unforgettable and one I personally was truly honored and humbled to take part in. It was also very enjoyable to visit Uganda and learn more about the vibrant culture there. I look forward to visiting again.

#IFLA2015 Daily: Final Update from Cape Town

IFLA2By: Marisol Floren and Sally Holterhoff

The role of the libraries in providing access to legal information in Africa was the focus of the first session of the Law Libraries Standing Committee (SC) on Tuesday: Access to Legal Information and Legislative Data in Africa: the Role of Libraries and Librarians. This session was organized in collaboration with two other sections: Library and Research Services for Parliaments and the Regional Office for Africa. The session was chaired by Margo Jeske, from the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and Victoria Okojie from Nigeria.

Four speakers presented papers:

Speakers highlighted for some of the countries the enactment of laws or the creation of institutions to encourage building local capacity to collect, publish and keep legal information up-to-date. Across the countries the speakers enunciated similar challenges to sustain technical and physical capacity to publish the law; barriers are not only financial and technical but also institutional, changes in government organizations, for example. Kenya Law was presented as a model to be followed. Speakers discussed the role that libraries can play as collectors and providers of legal information and services, especially public libraries; several examples were given in the United States. One hundred and fifty librarians attended this first session.

On Tuesday evening the Law Libraries SC held its second business meeting chaired by Sonia Poulin (filling in for Claire Germain who was unable to attend). During this second business meeting the SC reviewed the events of the week and heard the reports of the members that attended relevant business or professional meetings. Sally Holterhoff and Marisol Floren reported on a meeting they had Sunday with Patrice Landry and Frederick Zarndt from IFLA’s Committee on Standards regarding the possibility of developing a standard on authentication of online legal materials. Sonia Poulin, Elizabeth Naumczyk and Marisol Floren, as new incoming officers, attended two leadership forums and a training session on IFLA about its operation and strategic plans, which provided guidelines for the operation of the sections. The topics of next year’s programs in Ohio were defined and program coordinators and teams were assigned. Two main areas of interest for next year’s programs were (a) digital privacy including the issues raised by “the right to be forgotten;” and (b) outreach by law librarians to public libraries to increase access to legal materials, improving access to justice for the public. The section has agreed to be involved with a 2016 IFLA pre-conference in Toronto on managing human resources in the library context.

Today is the last Law Library SC session, on the Future of Law Libraries. This session will be chaired by Sonia Poulin, from Alberta Law Libraries and Information Services, Canada. Speakers are Kirsty MacPhee from Tottle Partners, Australia; Carole Aippersbach (Alberta Legal Information Society, Canada); Allen Guerra Bustamante (Library of Congress Chile); Ali Irhamni and Joko Santoso (National Library of Indonesia), Yani Nurhadyani (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia); and Denisse Espinace y Carolina Salas (Library of Congress Chile).

This is our last report…later today we both begin our long journeys back to the U.S., tired but very inspired and full of new ideas and information from our 2015 IFLA experience. All papers from IFLA sessions are posted in IFLA Law Library and please watch for a full report from us in the fall issue of the FCIL Newsletter.

#IFLA2015 Daily: More News from IFLA Cape Town

Ifla3By Carole Hinchcliff

IFLA Opening Session

The IFLA conference opening session was a big, bright, colourful and inspiring welcome to Africa. We were treated to a variety of entertainment, including storytelling, songs by the Children’s Choir and songs by leading South African singer, Vicki Sampson. This whetted our appetite for Tuesday evening’s cultural evening.

Programs

Many papers from the programs at the IFLA conference are freely available and can be found at the IFLA web site’s repository at http://library.ifla.org/. You can get a taste of the variety of program offerings by perusing the repository.

Law Libraries Standing Committee Reception

A highlight of the conference for law librarians was the annual reception. This year’s event was hosted by the organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) and was held at the new Cape Town law office of Bowman Gilfillan on Monday evening. We were joined by law librarians from the other offices of Bowman Gilfillan and other local law librarians and enjoyed good wine and food provided by South African legal publisher, Juta as we toured the new library and enjoyed the spectacular harbour views from the library’s balcony. It was an evening of laughter and friendship and the IFLA guests took advantage of the opportunity to have informal conversations about South African legal research sources and local sightseeing recommendations. A heartfelt thank you to Charmaine Bertram and our South African law librarian colleagues for being such gracious hosts.

IFLA Poster Sessions

A section of the exhibit hall was devoted to a display of over one hundred and thirty posters. From noon – 2 pm on two days of the conference, the poster authors were available to discuss their posters. An impressive poster was the one describing The African Law Library (ALL) a web site offering a variety of documents from different African jurisdictions. The ALL is a member of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM). John Miller, Senior Librarian and Shella Hurree – Online Librarian spoke enthusiastically about their work in progress in increasing the amount of free legal information from all African jurisdictions. Review the ALL to see if this merits inclusion in your research guides.

Sally Holterhoff’s poster succinctly set out Valparaiso Law Library’s revamped legal research program for JD students. Sally entertained a variety of questions about the program and their process of continuous improvement to teach legal research problem solving concepts – the process of finding and appropriately applying legal information to address legal issues.

#IFLA2015 Daily: Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa

By: Marisol FlorIFLA2en and Sally Holterhoff

As is the tradition in IFLA the day before the opening of the official program on Sunday, the different officers and members of Sections and Special Interest Groups convene to discuss issues related to their programs and activities. The Law Libraries Standing Committee held on Saturday the first of the two business meetings that will take place during the conference. We are looking forward to two programs organized by the Standing Committee on the topics of: (a) Access to Legal Information and Legislative Data in Africa: The Role of Libraries and Librarians; and (b) the Future of Law Libraries: Tales of Existence and Transformation. The first session will take place on Tuesday, August 18, and the second session on Thursday August 20.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Law Libraries Standing Committee.  Sinikka Sipila, IFLA President, and Donna Scheeder, President Elect, attended the meeting. They discussed the work that is being developed by the Law Libraries Section on access and authentication of legal information and outlined the meeting that will discuss IFLA’s strategic plan that will model the UN SDGs.

One of the highlights of this year IFLA conference is the impact of the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development and the recently approved United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs articulate that: “…access to information, knowledge and technologies are critical for the eradication of the major development challenges…the strengthening of democracy; and the promotion of social justice and cohesion …” This great accomplishment demonstrates IFLA’s advocacy  to influence the United Nations (UN) for the inclusion of libraries within their post 2015 development agenda.

Because Claire Germain, Chair of the Standing Committee, was not able to attend the Conference, the meeting was chaired by Pascal Sanz (National Library of France) and Sonia Poulin (Alberta Law Libraries, Canada). During the business meeting the Standing Committee elected new incoming officers and recognized the worked done by the outgoing members of the Standing Committee. New officers of the Standing Committee: Chair (Sonia Poulin), Secretary (Elizabeth Naumczyk, International Criminal Court) and Information Coordinator  (Marisol Floren, United States). Some possible topics for next year program were discussed as well; this discussion will continue during the following days and the second business meeting to be held on Tuesday.

Another important event of the day was the meeting of the USA Caucus. Members of the US delegation are working in different IFLA’s Committees especially on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE), and Copyright and Other Legal Matters (CLM).  They are developing a joint program on Tuesday on The Ethics of Access: Exploring Copyright, Licensing and Privacy in the Digital Environment. The organizing committee for IFLA 2016 to be held in Ohio reported on the events that will take place next year. One of the new features for next year is the Scholarship Program which will sponsor librarians from the United States and worldwide to attend IFLA in Ohio in 2016. ALA will be coordinating this program, targeted to the new generation of librarians. The application form will be online and the call out is programed for the end of September.

Report from IFLA in Lyon

By Anne Burnett

Several AALL and FCIL-SIS members were among the nearly 4000 attendees at the 80th IFLA World Library Information Congress, held in Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014, with a theme of “Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge.” This was my first time attending IFLA, and I had the honor of doing so as Representative from AALL to IFLA.

Sally Holterhoff and her poster on authentication and advocacy by law librarians in the United States.

Sally Holterhoff and her poster on authentication and advocacy by law librarians in the United States.

The biggest conference-wide news was the highly-anticipated launch of the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development, which outlines the need for access to information to be recognized in the United Nations post-2015 development framework and calls upon member states of the United Nations to acknowledge that access to information, and the skills to use it effectively, are required for sustainable development. IFLA is encouraging organizations and institutions to sign onto the Declaration, which is currently under review by AALL’s leadership.

Claire Germain presided as Chair over the two meetings of the Standing Committee for the IFLA Law Libraries Section. The Standing Committee and observers discussed issues relevant for the diverse group of law libraries represented and planned the Section’s activities for the coming year. A Working Group comprised of Sally Holterhoff and Marisol Floren provided the Section with an update on their Report on Access to Digital Legal Information, which assesses the official status, open access and authentication of legal gazettes. The report now covers all of Latin America and the Caribbean and work continues to assess gazettes worldwide.

Members of the Law Libraries Section collaborated with other sections to present two well-received programs at this year’s conference:

1) How Safe is the Law? Authentication of Official Gazettes: A Worldwide Report with an introduction by Sally Holterhoff and presentations about authentication of the EU e-Official Journal (Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights), the French Digital Official Journal (Didier François, Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information), and the Federal Register (Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register, National Archives & Records Administration); and

2) Access to Law at the Digital Cross Roads: Innovative Solutions to Complex Challenges, with multiple speakers presenting on topics ranging from building a digital repository for Myanmar’s Parliament to collaborative digitization of French heritage legal collections to designing a service-oriented architecture for automatic mark-up of documents in the Chilean Congress.

Materials for these programs are accessible in the WLIC program.

Sally Holterhoff also shared information about AALL’s advocacy efforts with a poster titled “Keeping the Law Safe: Librarians Advocating for Digital Authentication in the United States.” Visitors to

the poster were interested not only in the specific issue of authentication but also in the role American law librarians play in advocacy efforts and the support they receive from AALL.

The Law Libraries Section enjoyed a presentation and reception at the Bibliothèque Municpale de Lyon, where we learned about the fascinating (and somewhat grisly) special collection of materials belonging to early 20th century French criminologist, physician and forensics expert, Alexandre Lacassagne.

Many law librarians and parliamentary librarians from diverse jurisdictions expressed interest in the FCIL Schaffer Grant and in the FCIL-SIS Clearinghouse for Internships and International Personnel Exchanges. These colleagues were pleased to have the information and flyers provided by the FCIL-SIS for these programs.

The IFLA World Library Information Congress will meet in Cape Town, South Africa in August, 2015, and the Law Libraries Section will once again be an active presence. Keep 2016 in mind as well: the Congress will meet much closer to home in Columbus, Ohio.

From the program on authentication of legal gazettes worldwide, left to right: Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register; Didier François, French Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information; Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights; and Sally Holterhoff, Valparaiso University Law School and former President of the American Association of Law Libraries.

From the program on authentication of legal gazettes worldwide, left to right: Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register; Didier François, French Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information; Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights; and Sally Holterhoff, Valparaiso University Law School and former President of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development

By Marylin Raisch

Lyon DeclarationThe IFLA World Library and Information Congress, currently meeting in Lyon, France, 15-22 August 2014, has released a declaration on access to information which boldly and appropriately situates this important goal in the context of human rights, sustainable development, and the kind of transparency and accountability that makes for good governance. The document is intended to marshal libraries and human rights organizations into a united front with civil society in to advocate everyone’s ability to access, use, understand and share information as part of the United Nations post-2015 development agenda.

At a time when the value of libraries (and other cultural institutions) faces a set of challenging questions, this declaration articulates our answers in what I, and I hope other librarians, see as their best answers to these questions, particularly in article 4, which states as follows:

  1. Information intermediaries such as libraries, archives, civil society organisations (CSOs), community leaders and the media have the skills and resources to help governments, institutions and individuals communicate, organize, structure and understand data that is critical to development. …

The document goes on to list how information is undoubtedly the basis for everything that makes human development possible: information and communication technologies (ICTs in the language of the document) are part of human health, economy, cultural heritage and identity, civil and political rights and freedoms, and it is a precondition for reducing inequalities in how people are treated as well as the current states of poverty and declining infrastructure.

Because this document says everything I believe we would want to say and says it well, I am encouraged by the number of signatory organizations so far: 134, including the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries.

As the Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Special Interest Section, I would urge all of us to urge our parent organization, the American Association of Law Libraries, to sign on immediately, as the IFLA meeting completes its 80th annual congress. Look for a link to the declaration on the IFLA Home Page in the highlights section to the right. It certainly seems that they are living up to this year’s big theme of Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge. By doing our part to keep knowledge linked to the rule of law, so should we.