Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a cover up...

The modern version of the traditional physical book is now an eReader, whether that's a Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, or any other random bit of kit you might be using.

Perhaps these eReaders are perhaps just a bit too jarringly modern looking for you? Too shiny, too plasticky, to grey/black/white?

Wouldn't it be nice if it looked like a proper, classic old book?

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How about with a cute puppy book?

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Maybe something a bit simpler?

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Fancy something a bit more...retro?

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Or do you prefer the look of comic book art?

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So many choices - what one shall it be?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book a gift

Since I like a good browse on Etsy, and I come across some interesting stuff there, I thought it was time for another librariany gift selection. For this series of posts, I am focussing entirely on the book itself. That means items made out of books, accessories for modern books (the Kindle, iPad, Nook etc), clothes and jewellery that involve books, decorative book-related items, book quotes, and "other", which is a whole world of random...

So, lets start with the physical book , shall we?

Book sculptures/folding is very popular on Etsy, so you can find plenty of "Christmas tree" shaped foldings, and even some shaped ones, like barrels, or pinch-waisted shapes. Even a pretty, sewn clamshell:

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The most impressive book sculptures I've seen though are these - very complex looking, and done to order:

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If you want to go all out for an insanely good book sculpture, you could invest in this sort of thing:

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Or if you want a slightly more affordable version, how about a photograph of a sculpture?

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Perhaps you prefer your books to be more "arty"? How about another style of book sculpture (that seems to be a bit more like "the horrific nightmare of a librarian after discovering a flood in their library" to me)?

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Or how about your own fairytale within a book?

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Books can be functional too - stacking your books on a floating "book shelf" would be good fun...until you got a schlumpy one that just wanted to do a slide off the side.

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Although perhaps yours books are a tad on the small side to be needing a big bookshelf all for themselves anyway?
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If you like to keep a book around that looks like a serious read, purely to impress visitors, then it could at least also be useful and charge your phone for you too:

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And where better to hide Important Things (and, of course, hip flasks) than in a books safe?
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Or do you like your books to be a bit more portable?
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And here endeth the first post of book gifts...more to come soon!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Librarian of all trades…


Master of none! 

I’m haunted, you know. Haunted, by RSS feeds, from sites that I monitor, taunting me with their unread status. And for the bulk of them, the magical “mark all as read” button doesn't work, as I need to go through them all and check if there’s anything relevant for work….and work covers a LOT of topics!

Some of the legal topics I need to be aware of for work reasons (for Scottish, English, Welsh, Irish and European jurisdictions, where appropriate):

banking, finance, environment and pollution, construction, tax, corporate rescue and insolvency, planning, commercial litigation, employment, planning, and intellectual property.

And all their many, many sub-areas!

Library topics I need to be aware of for professional reasons:

UK law libraries, Scottish law libraries, international law libraries, UK public libraries, UK academic libraries, Scottish public libraries, Scottish academic libraries.

Add all these areas together, and throw in varying sources that constantly churn info out, from Government sites, to newspapers and blog, and I'm always running just to stay still. You know it’s bad, when you look at your feed reader and catch yourself thinking “oh, there’s ONLY 200 unread items, that’s good!”

But then I get an enquiry, and come back to the feeds an hour later, to find it’s now 300 unread items. And another enquiry means it creeps up further…and by Monday, with the 2 days of the weekend meaning I’m leaving it untended, it’s often 800-900 unread items.

And I’m going on holiday now…when I come back, after a total of 10 days away from my feed reader, will it have snowballed out of control? I know I’ll be faced by Greader with that horrible taunt: “1,000+ items” in the bold that means unread. Mean, mean Greader!

Although, on the good side, I am pretty well informed and quite aware of the basics of almost anything to do with libraries, and commercial law in the UK...to the extent where I sometimes think that information is pushing other, more important stuff out of my head. Like the lyrics of 1980s pop songs.

Altogether now: Ah-gah-DOO-DOO-DOO, push pineapple, shake a tree....

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Keeping (t)ABS on England


It’s all change at the moment in Englandshire law firms, and what happens in England no longer stays in England. Alternative Business Structures (ABS) are all the rage, and after a gradual run up period where firms could register interest in the conversion to ABS status (with mainly personal injury firms (PI) and smaller firms doing so, some large businesses such as BT and the Co-operative group being an exception), now they’re actually real – the first three groups to be approved as ABS’ were announced on the 28th March 2012.

Mid tier and larger firms in England seems to be adopting a “wait and see approach”, watching how the smaller, more adaptable firms (and also therefore possibly those who are more hungry for a cash-injection) fare before committing themselves to any tie-ups with investors. The existing large bodies like the Co-operative Group are big enough, and well funded enough to push on and expand their existing legal services in their own direction.

The reaction to this business option in England is likely to be a good predictor of the impact of the Legal Services (Scotland)Act 2010 in Scottish law firms. The Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 will allow 49% non-solicitor ownership of law firms in Scotland when brought fully into force. The regulations involved in the implementation of the 2010 Act are being drafted at the moment, and will be consulted on in two lots, in the Spring and Autumn of 2012.

The recently concluded Scottish Government consultation on ABS in Scotland found that most respondents favoured the inclusion of accountants as “regulated professionals” (those who are authorised alongside solicitors to own the majority, 51% share of the company), which raises the prospect of law firms co-owned by solicitors and accountants. It’s yet to be decided what the actual professions authorised to have ownership of a law firm alongside solicitors will be.

And what sort of changes are likely for cross border Scots/English law firms? Will it be more beneficial to become an ABS under one regime than the other? And how do law firms traditionally owned by, in effect, their staff, change to a culture where they're partially owned by, and accountable to, external funders?

So, to see what a future Scottish law firm could look like, for the next year, we can watch to see how English firms deal with it…

Popcorn, anyone?
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