Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Alberta Queen's Printer Launches RSS Feeds

Vancouver Law Librarian reproduces a notice from the Calgary Law Library Listserv to the effect that Alberta Queen's Printer has launched RSS feeds for legislative updates.

Information is available on the Queen's Printer website. People can choose to track legislation updates from all government sources or from individual ministries.

Let's hope this mode of information dissemination spreads to the 13 other jurisdictions in Canada (federal government, provinces plus territories).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Technologies That Should Be On Everyone's Radar Screen

The Virtual Chase points to a Business Week article called The CEO's Tech Toolbox.

It discusses some of the tech trends on the horizon that many of the people we work for need to know about, including "next-generation collaboration tools", podcasting, seamless wireless, "mesh networks", RFID, real-time theft-notification services, and even "prediction markets" (glorified betting pools to predict outcomes in the marketplace).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 25, 2005

"Better Understanding Your Users" Web Forum

I just got around to exploring the web conference entitled Better Understanding Your Users that began last week.

Between July 18 and 31, 2005, the Chemistry, Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics, and Sci-Tech divisions of SLA are sponsoring an interactive web conference that features some 19 sessions, many of which were originally presented at the SLA Annual Meeting, in early June in Toronto.

Each poster presentation includes a discussion forum moderated by the author/presenter.

Discussions for the 1st week are closed now but people can still register for week 2 (free easy registration required to participate).

Many of the discussion themes are obviously science-related but there are quite a number that are of general interest:

  • Better understanding users in a research setting
  • What undergraduates do when they write research papers
  • Creating a seamless information delivery experience at Ford Motor
  • Creating the How to Get it Guide at NASA's GSFC Library
  • Use Subject Specific Blogs and RSS Feeds to Keep Up-to-date
  • Web Log Analysis and Resulting Improvements
  • Instruction: a Key to Understanding Scientists' User Behavior

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Return on Investment of Libraries

Last week, there were some questions on the discussion list of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries about ROI (return on investment) of libraries.

A contributor from the Law Library at the University of British Columbia wrote today to the list about a webpage of resources on library ROI compiled by the American Library Association Office for Research and Statistics.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Marketing Treasures July 2005 Issue

The July issue of Marketing Treasures, the free library marketing newsletter, has been published.

Contents include:
  • Brochure Makeovers Improve The Perception Of Value
  • What Is The Difference Between Marketing And Promotion?
  • Promoting Law Firm Libraries
  • The Return on Investment (ROI) Of Libraries
  • Managing Your Professional Image

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 23, 2005

20 Technology Skills Every Librarian Should Have

Ah, the irony of it all. Just after posting that too much techno-dependency is driving us all to distraction and frying our brains...

Anyway, The Shifted Librarian writes that we should all take a look at a list of top techno skills every educator should have, substituting the word "librarian" for "educator".

The skills are:
  1. Word Processing Skills
  2. Spreadsheets Skills
  3. Database Skills
  4. Electronic Presentation Skills
  5. Web Navigation Skills
  6. Web Site Design Skills
  7. E-Mail Management Skills
  8. Digital Cameras
  9. Computer Network Knowledge Applicable to your School System
  10. File Management & Windows Explorer Skills
  11. Downloading Software From the Web (Knowledge including eBooks)
  12. Installing Computer Software onto a Computer System
  13. WebCT or Blackboard Teaching Skills (Shifted Librarian links this to distance learning support skills)
  14. Videoconferencing skills
  15. Computer-Related Storage Devices (Knowledge: disks, CDs, USB drives, zip disks, DVDs, etc.)
  16. Scanner Knowledge
  17. Knowledge of PDAs
  18. Deep Web Knowledge
  19. Educational Copyright Knowledge
  20. Computer Security Knowledge

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Technology is Destroying Focus

We were talking about this in the office Friday.

An article in CNET entitled Driven to distraction by technology describes how the constant interruptions from e-mail and other communications tools are preventing people from concentrating and doing any creative work.

The article begins quite bluntly by stating:

"The typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction. The problem is that it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for our brains to get into a really creative state".

I'm sure we all have stories about days when we get absolutely no valuable work done because of the constant disruptions caused by too many e-mail or IM or Crackberry messages, many of them totally useless or superfluous.

The article describes how people are trying to either unplug, control how often they are interrupted or use (yet more!) new technologies to schedule and handle communications.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Case Western Launches Global Security Website

The beSpacific blog reports that Case Western Reserve University School of Law has launched a website for its Institute for Global Security, Law and Policy.

"Security and counter-terrorism present distinct new policy and legal issues. Satisfactorily addressing these issues requires a broad approach taking into account the vast legal, financial, political, social, religious, and cultural roots and ramifications inherent in this area. The Institute for Global Security Law and Policy at Case School of Law offers a uniquely comprehensive hub for addressing these issues through a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary approach that also blends theory with practical applications. "

The site includes news, commentary as well as links to the websites of various institutes on the topics of international security and counter-terrorism. Many of the links to other sites appear to be biased towards the conservative side of the U.S. political spectrum but many are neutral or have a critical perspective towards American policy.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Best Law Firm Websites

In late April, I referred to an LLRX article dealing with 10 Things to Help Your Website Not Stink.

Well, some law firms do get it right. The Internet Marketing Attorney has written a review of the websites of the 250 largest US law firms and also looked at 25 international (non-U.S.) law firm websites.

The evaluation criteria were: design, content, usability, interactivity and "intangibles".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Economic/Financial Research Portal

I'm always interested in trying out new business research tools and the Resourceshelf Resource of the Week is something called Eco5.com which works by "carefully selecting free research resources and making these directly accessible via a simple menu structure".

The site is international in scope and offers a wide variety of material: economic facts and figures (GDP, exchange rates, interest rates, employment income/personal consumption, trade), country studies, glossaries, links to financial institutions and to "repositories of working papers".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

American Association of Law Libraries Conference Materials

The annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries in San Antonio, Texas ends tomorrow.

For those of us who could not attend, it is possible to download all the session documents.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:12 pm 1 comments links to this post

Clusty Blog/RSS Metasearch Tool

Over at SearchEngineWatch, Gary Price profiles the Clusty blog search tool.

Clusty, owned by Vivisimo, dynamically clusters search results into subject or topical categories for easier browsing.

The blog search tool it has developed aggregates and clusters results from several well-known blog engines:
  • Blogdigger
  • Daypop
  • Feedster
  • Technorati
  • Blogpulse
  • IceRocket

Well, of course I went ahead and tried a metasearch for, what else, "Library Boy".

Interesting results: the topical clusters are along the left. "Grateful Dead" was one of the categories (???) but that mystery soon cleared up when I discovered that one of the major Deadhead blogs is written by SLC Library Boy (SLC = Salt Lake City). No relation.

I was pleased to see how many people had linked to me and I had a good laugh when I saw how many young women had crushes on cute guys they refer to as "Library Boy" (usually along the lines of "Ohmygosh. Library Boy smiled at me today..." or the occasionally raunchier posting). NO, I am not any of those Library Boys.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

What Keeps the Info Security People Awake at Night

Found the reference to this one on the beSpacific site.

The online edition of the Wall Street Journal has a July 18 article entitled Where the Dangers Are - The threats to information security that keep the experts up at night -- and what businesses and consumers can do to protect themselves.

It takes the reader through a veritable rogues gallery of Net nasties. I knew about worms and viruses and hackers and phishers but I added a few more words to my information security vocabulary: botnets, malware writers, blackouts, and something known as "border gateway protocol" that could allow hijackers to reroute Internet traffic and "crash the Net".

The article describes the various possible forms of attack against the Internet infrastructure and users' computers, as well as the techniques security people are thinking up to try to prevent bad things from happening.

An eye-opener.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Recent Articles on Teaching Legal Research

The most recent issue of the Canadian Law Library Review (vol. 30, no. 2, summer 2005 - print subscription) has 2 articles dealing with the teaching of legal research skills.

Pamela Seguin, member of the 2005 Osgoode Hall Law School graduating class, shares her thoughts and comments about legal research in the article "Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse: A Law Student's Perspective on Developing Legal Information Literacy" (pp.80-83).

Seguin argues for offering in-depth legal research courses as part of the upper-year curriculum in conjunction with substantive writing projects. Unfortunately, she writes that most advanced research courses are elective and students consider them as being directed towards people interested in academia.

Interestingly, Seguin comments on the under-utilization of law librarians in law schools and argues for ensuring that the library is organized as a comfortable and welcoming social space, which includes "flexible food and drink policies, comfortable seating, and adequate lighting."

In her article "Making Something Out of Nothing: Using the Essay to Teach Legal Research" (pp.76-78), Queen's University Law Reference Librarian Nancy McCormack describes the approach taken at her institution to get around the weaknesses of the traditional "egg hunt" assignment (where students answer a series of questions that require them to hunt through different kinds of legal literature).

At Queen's, the legal research skills courses are for first year students and are taught by the librarians.

Lectures all begin with concrete fact situations or with a question dealing with how case law is generated throughout the life of an action: at the interlocutroty dispute stage, at the end of trial, upon appeal etc. Lectures tackle the court and tribunal systems, the different kinds of authority (binding vs. persuasive), citation etc.

For the final lecture, a library assignment is handed out requiring first year students to choose a legal issue from a class like torts or contracts and write a paper comparing how the print versions of the Canadian Abridgment and the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest deal with that issue, starting off with the index.

"Students are introduced to new sources and they are made to think like researchers, like indexers and like librarians at the same time."

According to the author, the results obtained reveal that students learn more this way and they use the newly acquired research and analytical skills later on during the term when asked to write their first substantive class assignments.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

American Law Libraries Centennial

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), the sister of our Canadian Association of Law Libraries, is celebrating its one hundredth birthday this year.

The July issue of the Association's journal, the AALL Spectrum, has 2 articles on the topic that are worth a read:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, July 14, 2005

All Harry Potter, All The Time

If you're a total Harry Potter nut (of if your kids are total Harry Potter fanatics), you can now get complete Harry Potter news coverage from top fan and official sources, updated automatically throughout the day. Make sure to try the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator RSS feed.

On a related note, the Scotsman newspaper has reported that new research by the UK Federation of Children's Book Groups shows that Harry Potter books have had a major impact on literacy and reading habits.

Key findings of the study based on surveys of 1,000 UK children:

  • 41% said the Harry Potter books have made reading cool
  • 39% said they would miss their favourite television programme to read the new book
  • 66% said most of their friends have read Harry Potter
  • 70% of teachers say that Harry Potter books are talked about in the playground

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Are Your PDFs Spying On You?

That's the question asked on the LawLibTech blog.

The post discusses a number of new technologies that allow distributors of PDF content to monitor who downloads a document and control whether the recipient can copy, print, or forward it.

Not all of them are bad. But, as the author writes, "you should be aware that content providers may have more information about how you're using their content than you might have thought".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Could Copyright Reform Make Googling Illegal?

The Globe and Mail's Jack Kapica is asking the question because Bill C-60 to amend the Copyright Act could make it illegal for anyone to provide copyrighted information through "information-location tools".

The question is being raised by Ottawa copyright lawyer Howard Knopf, of the law firm of Macera & Jarzyna Moffat & Co.

According to Knopf, the draft language "suggests that the reproduction and caching activity done by Google (...) and similar essential research tools would be illegal in Canada. It could be read by a court as a 'deeming' provision, which was hopefully not the intention (...) it could turn search and archive engine providers into enforcers for alleged copyright owners, some of whom will surely use their notice powers for abusive purposes. Or it may be a wedge for yet another instance of a tariff to be collected by an aggressive copyright collective."

One hopes that this is nothing more than exaggerated worrying. No doubt, this issue will be settled as the Bill winds its way through Parliament but the fact that this can even be raised is a good indication of the complexities of digital copyright issues.

In another story about copyright and search tools, the New York Times is reporting that the non-profit Internet Archive is being sued. [See also the Law.com article on the issue Law Firm Accused of Internet Hacking]

The Internet Archive stores snapshots of websites taken at different times and makes them available through the Wayback Machine search tool. By viewing old cached copies of Internet websites, you can prove what used to be shown on a particular Web page. So, for example, a party could determine when an infringer started selling goods in violation of trade-mark, for example.

In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Philadelphia, a company is claiming that access to its old Web pages stored in the Internet Archive's database was unauthorized and illegal under 2 U.S. statutes, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The plaintiff is alleging a variety of causes of action, including copyright infringement, conspiracy, trespass, and intrusion.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Anti-Spyware Coalition Releases Definition of Spyware

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (University of Ottawa Law School) is reporting that the Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC), an international coalition of technology companies and consumer groups, has released a uniform definition of "spyware" and accompanying glossary for public comment.

The Coalition defines spyware technologies as those that "impair users’ control over material changes that affect their user experience, privacy, or system security; use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers; or collection, use, and distribution of their personal or otherwise sensitive information."

It is hoped that a consensus over the definition of the phenomenon will speed up the development of regulations and technological countermeasures to combat the problem.

See the background article from IDG News Service.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Free Pint Index 1997-2005

The complete thematic index to all the articles published in the well-known UK-based Free Pint info newsletter since issue no. 1 in 1997 has been updated and is available on the Free Pint website.

The range of topics covered in Free Pint is amazing, covering everything from resources on Aboriginal Australia to XML.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library Now Provides Decisions

Thanks to Connie Crosby for this one.

The Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library has added decisions to its website from the following administrative tribunals:
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT)
  • Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)
  • Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)
  • Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (PEHT)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 11, 2005

Best Library Practices Wiki Site

Librarian Meredith Farkas, who is behind the blog Information Wants To Be Free, has launched a collaborative site or wiki called Library Success where people can share their best practices on a range of topics.

According to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia definition, a wiki "is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content. The term Wiki also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website."

As Meredith writes:

"All over the world, librarians are developing successful programs and doing innovative things with technology that no one outside of their library knows about. There are lots of great blogs out there sharing information about the profession, but there is no one place where all of this information is collected and organized. "

"If you've done something at your library that you consider a success, please write about it in the wiki or provide a link to outside coverage. If you have materials that would be helpful to other librarians, add them to the wiki."

"And if you know of a librarian or a library that is doing something great, feel free to include information about it or links to it. Basically, if you know of anything that might be useful to other librarians (including useful websites), this is the place to put it."

Here for example is the section on collaborative tools (blogs, RSS, wikis).

People can contribute in the following categories (which further break down into subcategories):
  • Technology
  • Programming
  • Working Together
  • Management and Leadership
  • Selling Your Library
  • Reference Services and Information Literacy
  • Readers' Advisory
  • Services to Specific Groups
  • Professional
The potential for this kind of pooling of professional knowledge, tips, and materials can be enormous. It will be interesting to watch the site grow.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Students Hate Books ...

The Library at Stanford Law School has compiled some revealing survey material about the research habits of students there and the title of the study just about says it all: "Book Lovers Beware: A Survey of Online Research Habits of Stanford Law Students".

From the conclusion:

"An amusing anecdote sheds some light on today's student and his/her research mind-set. Last year, early in the Legal Research & Writing course, the librarians divided each class into groups of four and each group was given the same task: find the statute of limitations for fraud in California. "

"The law school classrooms are equipped with wireless connectivity and students are required to come to class with a laptop and WiFi card. To complete the assignment, one group was asked to use LEXIS; another group was told to use WESTLAW; the third group was told to use free Internet resources, and the fourth group was sent to the library."

"The librarians assumed that the fourth group would use the print edition of the California codes or a paper treatise; instead, the fourth group made a beeline for the library computers, and 'Googled' their way to the answer."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Memorial Service for Amnesty International Founder Peter Benenson

The founder of Amnesty International, British lawyer Peter Benenson, passed away on 25 February 2005 at age 84.

Last Thursday, July 7, former prisoners of conscience like ex-Czech President Vaclav Havel and supporters of human rights from around the world gathered to celebrate his life and accomplishments in a memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, the very spot where Benenson conceived of the idea for the global human rights movement more than 40 years ago.

The ceremony was held mere hours after the terrorist bombings in London, amid the wails of police and emergency vehicle sirens.

A video of the ceremony is available on Amnesty International's website.

Speaking at the service, Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan said Benenson's legacy is crucial in facing the challenges of today, such as the prevalence of violence against women and the threat to the ban on torture from powerful governments under the pretext of fighting terror.

She said: "Today, thanks to the outrageous movement Peter began, there are human rights laws, treaties that ban torture, recognize the equality of women and the rights of children. And most importantly, a dynamic movement of women and men around the world committed to a vision in which every person will enjoy all human rights."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Government Releases Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Consultation Paper

Just before the Canada Day weekend, the Finance Department released a consultation paper that outlines proposed changes to Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime.

The current law is up for a mandatory 5-year review by the Canadian Parliament. Under the current legislation, financial institutions, insurers, real estate agents and casinos must report any suspicious financial transactions as well as ALL completed transactions over $10,000 CDN.

The key measures proposed in the discussion paper include:
  • expanding client identification, due diligence and record-keeping requirements
  • expanding the reporting of suspicious attempted transactions and information sharing to detect terrorist financing through charities
  • adding "politically exposed persons" such as politicians, judges, military leaders, senior civil servants and senior executives of Crown corporations to the list of categories to monitor
  • improving compliance monitoring and enforcement
  • strengthening FINTRAC’s (the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) ability to provide intelligence
  • expanding the kind of information that the Canada Revenue Agency can share about registered charities with law enforcement agencies
  • requiring real estate developers and payday loan centres to file suspicious transaction reports

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Pension Regulation Consultation

The Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) has released a consultation paper titled Proposed funding principles for a model pension law.

There is also a 2-page Q&A document available.

The paper is part of an effort by CAPSA to identify the best practices in pension regulation in all Canadian jurisdictions, with the ultimate goal of harmonizing pension legislation.

Submissions will be received until November 30, 2005.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, July 08, 2005

Terrorism Resources

To help understand roots, patterns, possible solutions...

  • Inventory And Assessment Of Databases Relevant For Social Science Research On Terrorism (Library of Congress): "These websites are maintained primarily by U.S. government agencies, non-U.S. research centers, and international organizations. An appendix to this report provides an extensive list of additional resources that provide commentary and analysis of terrorism events and trends. These resources are derived from the U.S. government, libraries, international agencies, government and private non-U.S. agencies and institutes, and academic-based domestic organizations"
  • MIPT Terrorism Bibliography: searchable bibliography of references to terrorism which has been compiled by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (U.S.). It includes books, journal articles, pamphlets and government publications
  • Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004 (National Counterterrorism Center via the Federation of American Scientists)
  • Terrorism Bibliography from the U.S. Air University Library: coverage of terrorism history, terrorism organizations, financing terror, methods used, roots of terror, state-sponsored terrorism, targets, current trends, legal issues and human rights
  • Asymmetric Warfare Bibliography (Air University Library): Asymmetric warfare includes "threats outside the range of conventional warfare and difficult to respond to in kind (e.g., a suicide bomber)"
  • Suicide Terrorism Bibliography (Air University Library)
  • Annotated Bibliography of Government Documents Related to the Threat of Terrorism & the Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Oklahoma Department of Libraries): intended to serve as a means of access to information produced by the United States Government concerning the events of September 11, includes chapters on global terrorism, national security of the United States, terrorist groups, Middle east politics, U.S. foreign policy interventions
  • Terrorism/Crime Studies (Library of Congress): includes studies on psychology of terrorist recruits and links of terrorism to drug trafficking
  • The September 11 Sourcebooks (National Security Archives, George Washington University): the "Archive’s mission is to put on the record the primary source documentation that can enrich the policy debate, improve journalism, educate policymakers, and ensure that we don’t reinvent the wheel or repeat the mistakes of the past"; includes declassified documents about US and Russian policy in Afghanistan during the period leading up to the creation of al-Qaeda
  • Findlaw "Breaking Docs" - War on Terrorism: provides access to the full-text and full-image of primary legal documents: documents of the U.S. National 9-11 Commission, of the CDC, CIA, FBI, NORAD, NATO, Congressional committees, Congressional Research Service, federal departments (Justice, FAA, State); links to documents on al-Qaeda, financial markets, homeland security, airport security, and terrorism
  • Scientific Response to Terrorism (UK Parliament): Section eight discusses "Security, Openness and the Media"
  • Canadian Intelligence Resource Centre: selection of official and unofficial resources on Canadian intelligence matters ranging from common press articles to declassified government documents

And lest we forget that the fight against terrorism can and does often easily go overboard:

  • Opportunism Watch: Repression in the Name of Anti-Terrorism (Human Rights Watch): "(M)any countries around the globe cynically attempted to take advantage of this struggle [against terrorism] to intensify their own crackdowns on political opponents, separatists and religious groups, or to suggest they should be immune from criticism of their human rights practices. In other places, leaders exploited the situation to advance unnecessarily restrictive or punitive policies against refugees, asylum-seekers, and other foreigners"
  • Human Rights Dissolving at the Borders? Counter-terrorism and Criminal Law in the EU (Amnesty International): full text of a report published by Amnesty International in May 2005 arguing that European efforts to combat terrorism undermine civil liberties and human rights
  • Statewatch Observatory: links to full text documents relating to changes in civil rights worldwide in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including legislation, directives, anti-terrorist measures and government proposals
  • Special Report - Guantanamo Bay (The Guardian): archive of material on the U.S, prison camp where foreign terrorist suspects are detained indefinitely

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Legal Systems Can't Stop Cybercrime

This is a follow-up to the July 5 posting on Phishing.

According to the McAfee Virtual Criminology Report, by anti-virus software company McAfee, the nature of the Internet changed dramatically at the turn of the millenium, when cybercrime ceased to be a recreational activity and started to become big business.

The anonymity and global connectivity of the Internet have reduced the risk of capture. As well, the criminal acts tend to attack a large number of victims at once, making the cybercrime more difficult to prosecute.

The report identifies an uneven international patchwork of legislation. "Disagreement over what constitutes a crime; inadequate, uneven, or absent authorities for governments to investigate and prosecute cybercrime; and paper-based procedures for international co-operation have at times hampered international co-operation on cybercrime."

The report predicts increasing criminal activity involving cellphones, Voice over Internet (VoIP) telephones, wireless networks, phishing and identity theft.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:06 pm 1 comments links to this post

The Rights of Journalists

New York Times reporter Judith Miller has accepted going to jail rather than reveal one of her confidential sources.

Here are some resources on the subject of the protection of reporters' rights.
  • Committee to Protect Journalists - nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to monitor abuses against the press and promote press freedom around the world
  • Reporters Without Borders - global organization that defends journalists and other media contributors and professionals who have been imprisoned or persecuted for doing their work, lncludes news and reports, as well as an annual news roundup featuring statistics and narratives about jailed, wounded, and murdered journalists
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press - U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal assistance to journalists in trouble, includes news on legal actions involving freedom of the press and white papers, also guides to help U.S. reporters on issues like accessing legal and public records, medical privacy, photographers and privacy rights, gag orders
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression - one of the principal activities of CJFE is the management of the world's only freedom of expression clearinghouse, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Spyware Making People Change Web Habits

The Pew Internet and American Life Project is reporting that the fear of spyware is making Internet users change their online behaviour.

Spyware denotes computer programs that secretly plant themselves on people’s computers and then monitor users’ online behavior or hijack their browsers.

The report is based on a phone survey conducted in the United States. Some of the findings include:
  • 81% of Internet users say they have stopped opening e-mail attachments unless they are sure these documents are safe
  • 48% say they have stopped visiting particular sites that they fear might deposit unwanted programs on their computers
  • 25% say they have stopped P2P file-sharing to avoid getting unwanted software programs on their computers
  • 18% say they have started using a different Web browser to avoid software intrusions

News reports:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Phishing Resources

For the past little while at work, many of us have been the target of "phishing" attacks whereby scammers recreate entire websites that look like legitimate businesses such as banks, E-Bay or Paypal.

The scammers send an e-mail message requesting the recipient send personal information such as an account number or password with the excuse that there was a computer malfunction and that the business wants to make sure you are who you claim to be.

Last week, I was able to see from the code that one attacker passing himself off as a bank actually originated from a school in the UK. I notified the bank in question as well as the police and the bank has informed me that the site was shut down.

Here are a few resources on "phishing":

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:28 pm 1 comments links to this post

Monday, July 04, 2005

Privacy Breach Resources

In recent months, there has been a huge number of reports of database security breaches by identity thieves.

The growing consciousness of the problem has given rise to a debate over the need for laws mandating companies to report breaches in the security of personal information in their possession.

At the moment, Canada does not have any such law but the issue has become hot in the United States:
  • Last week, Senator Arlen Specter (Repub.-Pennsylvania) and Senator Patrick Leahy (Dem.-Vermont) introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2005
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures has a list of state legislation (in effect or under consideration) requiring notification of consumers when the security of computerized systems containing personal information has been breached
  • The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has also listed state initiatives in the areas of security freeze laws (which allow consumers to prevent identity theft by freezing their credit reports from access) and breach notification laws
  • The beSpacific blog has an extensive ID theft archive

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 03, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court: Grokster File-Sharing Ruling Resources

Last week, in a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) unanimously ruled that two file sharing services, Grokster and Streamcast, can be sued for actively encouraging or "inducing" copyright infringement by their users.

Interestingly, writing in the Toronto Star, University of Ottawa law prof Michael Geist commented that "the decision may actually provide helpful guidance to other file sharing services on how they can survive in the current legal climate. In seeking to define the meaning of 'active inducement', the court ruled that liability would require a demonstration of 'purposeful, culpable expression and conduct.' Moreover, it concluded that there would be no liability for knowledge of potential or actual infringement; no liability for product support or technical updates, and no liability for failure to take affirmative steps to prevent infringement."

Two major resource collections have been set up about the case:
  • the U.S. Copyright Office has created Supreme Court Rules in MGM v. Grokster : links to the SCOTUS decision and concurrences and to briefs filed by various parties in support of the petitioners or of the file-sharing software firms
  • the Electronic Frontier Foundation has set up MGM v. Grokster : links to the decision, statements from various parties, briefs filed at different stages

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

July 2005 Issue of Info Career Trends Newsletter: Salaries

The current issue's focus in on how to get paid what you are worth.

Among the articles are:

  • The Second Time's the Charm: Moving On From Your First Professional Position
  • How to Get What You Are Worth
  • Know Your Worth: Are Librarians "Highly-Paid Clerks?"

The issue also links to online resources on librarian salaries, including The Librarian's Taboo: Negotiating Salaries from the American Association of Law Libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Library Association Post-Conference Resource Centre

The Canadian Library Association just launched its preliminary post-conference resource centre from the 60th Annual CLA Conference held in Calgary, Alberta between June 15 and 18, 2005.

The Resource Centre contains presentations and handouts from some of the speakers who presented in Calgary. Additional presentations will be added as they are received. The CLA will also soon be making the keynote speeches available in streamed video format.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:35 pm 0 comments links to this post