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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2023

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians

This year's BIALL Annual Conference, held in the always interesting and very lively city of Belfast, was a great success in almost every respect. Except perhaps the numbers, with the attendee count, at 199, being down substantially on pre-pandemic conferences, part of what seems like a steady decline since the heady days of 293 delegates (Manchester 2017) and 295 (Dublin 2016).

It's difficult to know why this should be the case, but could it be that some members simply don't want to go? Perhaps they think it has nothing to offer them, and that they would be simply wasting their time? We don't think that is the case, and to try to prove this we have put together a piece that outlines eight reasons why you should indeed go to the Conference, some serious and some fun – which pretty much sums up the event itself actually – which begins on page 154.

One of the reasons we've given for attending the Conference is the opportunity to meet people from across the profession, and indeed across the world. People like Yemisi Dina, for example, the President of CALL/ACBD (the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/ Association Canadienne des Bibliothèques de Droit), who was present at Belfast and enjoyed her time there very much. Yemisi has, in fact, had quite a globetrotting career, as you will discover in our interview with her on page 121, where she discusses her time working in Nigeria, The Bahamas and now Canada, as well as talking us through the main challenges she believes law librarians face right now, both in Canada and the rest of the world.

A challenge that is peculiar to law librarians working with historic collections is looked at on page 127, where Dunstan Speight, Librarian of Lincoln's Inn, and Carolyn Rampling, Assistant Librarian, talk us through the Inn's project to digitise Library manuscripts and documents from its archives. It's a fascinating piece, dealing as it does with documents that are as much as 800 years old and ensuring that these are now available for all to see.

Jas Breslin

Mike Breslin

On page 135 David Percik, Information Resources Manager at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, writes about a very different way of presenting information, recounting how the IALS Library has planned and curated a series of book displays focussed on historically disadvantaged groups. If you're a little bit bored of all the digital stuff, then this one's definitely for you – it features real shelves!

Meanwhile, on page 140 Claire Laybats, Professional Services Development Manager for CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) talks us through the apprenticeships that are now available to budding librarians, a very interesting insight into how the way people come into the profession is now changing.

One thing new apprentices will probably have to learn about at some time is taxonomies, which, argues Alice Laird and Katy Snell of Howard Kennedy on page 144, are still very important even in this age of AI – incidentally, this piece also wins the award for best headline of this issue: ‘Death and taxonomies’.

Sticking with AI, on page 150 Jordan Murphy, the Chair of the City Legal Information Group, reports from a presentation that Jake Hearn, the assistant librarian at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple and an esteemed member of the LIM Editorial Board, gave to CLIG in April, in which he reprised his well-received LIM article from Summer 2022, while also bringing the information bang up to date.


Turning to our regulars, in this month's Subject Resource Guide Niamh Hanratty of Bird & Bird delves into the always fascinating world of patents, explaining how they can be properly identified; how to determine their status and also how the litigation history of a patent is investigated. It's an interesting piece with, as always with the articles in this series, plenty of information on where to turn to do the job properly or to find out more about the subject.

Meanwhile, on page 172, TRG Screen's Global Director of Marketing, Roel Mels, talks us through ResearchMonitor, a tool that allows legal information professionals and lawyers to keep track of and manage their subscriptions.

Talking of keeping track of things, in a new International Perspectives section of the journal we look at the many issues that have arisen due to the explosion in the use of wearable devices, such as fitness monitors, particularly when it comes to privacy. In this exhaustively researched piece, which starts on page 179, academics Varda Mone and Fayazullaeva Shakhlo go into great detail on this very pertinent issue. There is also a piece from Qudri Ali Abu Bakar (page 189), in which he discusses the restriction of access to legal information in his home country of Malaysia, while also outlining some alternative ways of gaining full access to federal and state law.

Closer to home, we review the latest edition of what has undoubtably become a classic work in the field of law, Tomorrow's Lawyers by Richard Susskind. But with so many changes in the profession since the last edition in 2017, is this book still as useful and interesting as it once was? Turn to page 195 to find out.

Next up is our trawl through the LIM archives, a time travelling jaunt to 1993 which takes in lawyer-eating dinosaurs, a hired kilt scandal and why there was no 21st of August on Kwajalein Atoll. Now if that doesn't get you turning the pages to 197 we don't know what will!

Finally, we round out the Autumn issue with Current Awareness, which starts on page 200 – our thanks to Katherine Read and Heather Memess for doing such a sterling job in pulling all this invaluable information together.


There are others we would like to thank, too, not least the LIM proof-readers. We would also like to thank our other colleagues on the LIM Editorial Board, as well as our contacts at Cambridge University Press, Craig Baxter and Jamie Davidson.

We would also like to acknowledge the work of all our contributors, who have provided some excellent copy this month in what is – we think you will agree – a truly eclectic issue. Think you can do the same? Well, we're always happy to take on new writers, or to entertain fresh ideas. So, if there is something you would like to see in these pages then please get in touch. Even better, what about having your own work published in the journal? It will do wonders for your professional profile and look great on your CV. If you're interested, then please email us on , we'd love to hear from you.