Monday, July 31, 2006

Risks of Metadata Factsheet from Privacy Commisioner

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has posted a factsheet that looks at the risks associated with metadata and how to minimize them.

The hidden information embedded in computer files - and that accompanies those files when they are transmitted as e-mail attachments, on a floppy disk, or a CD-ROM - can include the tracking of changes made, comments, one's name, initials, and email address, file properties and summary information (such as file size, file location, and the date/time the file was created, modified, and accessed), names of previous document authors, document revisions and versions, and hidden text.

As the factsheet explains:

"The ability to view other people’s comments and suggested changes to a document, using the Track Changes feature [in office productivity applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, or Corel WordPerfect]is central to collaborating with co-workers on a project. However, changes that are not accepted still remain with the document, even though they are not readily visible (they can be displayed by turning on the 'Show markup view') and could be inadvertently exposed to unauthorized individuals whenever the document is shared..."

This can have a negative financial, regulatory and/or competitive impact.

The text suggests a number of ways to reduce the risk.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Web 2.0 Implications for Libraries

There is an article entitled Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries in the June 2006 issue of the online review Webology.

Abstract:

"This article posits a definition and theory for 'Library 2.0'. It suggests that recent thinking describing the changing Web as 'Web 2.0' will have substantial implications for libraries, and recognizes that while these implications keep very close to the history and mission of libraries, they still necessitate a new paradigm for librarianship. The paper applies the theory and definition to the practice of librarianship, specifically addressing how Web 2.0 technologies such as synchronous messaging and streaming media, blogs, wikis, social networks, tagging, RSS feeds, and mashups might intimate changes in how libraries provide access to their collections and user support for that access".

Earlier Library Boy posts on Web 2.o:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Protecting Judicial and Legal Officials

According to the London Free Press article Death threats raise alarm (July 27, 2006), the "Canadian Human Rights Commission has stepped up security for staff working on hate crimes in the wake of death threats from an American white supremacy leader".

The death threats were made against Commission staff, Federal Court of Canada Justice Konrad W. von Finckenstein and an Ottawa lawyer.

On a related note, in the United States, the BJA Clearinghouse, a component of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, has published a document entitled Protecting Judicial Officials: Implementing an Effective Threat Management Process.

"This report presents 10 basic elements for the successful implementation of a threat management process. These are the golden rules that demonstrate how the judiciary can identify, assess, investigate, and manage risks of violence to judicial officials. The judiciary needs to incorporate an effective threat management process for defusing the risk of violence before it erupts."

In Canada, it appears that threats of physical violence more often target lawyers than judges and court officials/employees.

Karen N. Brown, a criminology PhD at Simon Fraser University, is one of the very few researchers in Canada who is studying this topic. Her work shows - no surprises here - that family and matrimonial lawyers are at the highest risk of being threatened. Her M.A. thesis is called An Exploratory Analysis of Violence and Threats Against Lawyers (2003).

In an article in 2005 in The Peak, a Simon Fraser student newspaper, Brown explained why Canadian judges are less frequently the object of threats and assaults: "the vast majority of the public would usually blame the lawyer as the person responsible if any problems were to arise. Brown also pointed out a judge would be harder to threaten or physically attack inside the courtroom. She noted that judges in court are positioned higher up and further away, are equipped with a panic button, have a sheriff close by, their own private chambers, separate exits, and are not listed in the phone book."

The Canadian Bar Association has become increasingly concerned about lawyer safety and has put the issue on its agenda in the past 2 or 3 years. At its 2005 annual conference, the Association widely disseminated a Personal Security Handbook for lawyers (produced by the Ontario Bar Association).

Earlier Library Boy posts on threats to the judiciary:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, July 28, 2006

New Report on Private Policing in Canada

The Law Commission of Canada, a federal advisory body, just released a new report entitled In Search of Security: The Future of Policing in Canada that discusses the rise of private security and police forces in Canada.

"Canada — and, indeed, much of the world — is in the midst of a transformation in how policing services are delivered and understood. Today, it is more accurate to suggest that policing is carried out by a complex mix of public police and private security. In many cases these networks of policing are overlapping, complimentary and mutually supportive. This new era of pluralized policing raises questions concerning the existing legal and regulatory environment and whether it continues to be relevant. This Report provides an opportunity to reflect on these important issues."

The multi-year study found that private security guards vastly outnumber public police officers. In other words, private police forces increasingly constitute the face of policing in Canada and elsewhere. These private police guard and monitor office buildings, gated communities, and festivals, as well as huge shopping malls, those semi-private, semi-public spaces that are privately owned yet used on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

On the reverse side, there is also increasing commodification of public policing as the regular police now often sell their services directly to the private sector (for example, providing security at professional sports events for payment).

The Law Commission study examines the legal and regulatory framework of this new, complex mix of private and public policing. In particular, it addresses the concerns regarding the extent to which actions of private security are authorized and constrained by law (or not).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:06 am 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Peacekeeping Resources

Since the topic of an international peacekeeping mission to Southern Lebanon is on the table, it may be useful to look at some of the major peacekeeping resources out there, especially those that include a legal dimension.

I have not included government resources from Canada (there are numerous National Defence handbooks, peacekeeping training materials, and military and international humanitarian law guides developed for Canadian Forces personnel) because Canada has announced it will not provide any troops for any eventual Lebanon intervention force.
  • Legal periodical databases: in LegalTrac, use the subject heading "peacekeeping forces"; in Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, use the subject "United Nations peacekeeping forces"; in Index to Legal Periodicals (Wilson) use the descriptor "United Nations peacekeeping forces"
  • United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations: provides an overview of past and current UN peacekeeping missions, as well as information on how UN missions are set up under international law and how they are managed (financing, reporting mechanisms etc.)
  • Handbook on United Nations Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations: "As peacekeeping has evolved, particularly since the late 1980s, a growing number of United Nations peacekeeping operations have become multidimensional in nature, composed of a range of components, including military, civilian police, political affairs, rule of law, human rights, humanitarian, reconstruction, public information and gender. There are also a number of areas, such as mission support and security and safety of personnel, that remain essential to peacekeeping regardless of a particular mission’s mandate. This Handbook (...) is intended to serve as an introduction to the different components of multidimensional peacekeeping operations (...) it is intended to provide field personnel who are new to the United Nations, or who are being deployed to one of our multidimensional peacekeeping operations for the first time, with general background on the responsibilities of each component of our operations and how these fit together to form the whole"
  • United Nations Peacekeeping Best Practices Section: the Section assists in the planning, conduct, management and support of peacekeeping operations by learning from experience through a range of activities such as knowledge management and the development of best practices. The Library is a collection of documents published by the Section, other UN bodies and external organizations relating to peacekeeping operations. The Library serves as a centralized repository for literature relating to all aspects of peacekeeping operations
  • Peace-keeping Operations : a bibliography: This bibliography, prepared by the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library, contains only English-language monographs published between 1945 and 2002. French language resources on this topic may be found in the section "Maintien de la paix", Les Nations Unies : une bibliographie des ressources en français
  • United Nations Documentation: Research Guide - Peacekeeping: UN Research Guide prepared by the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library to help track down Security Council and UN General Assembly documents setting up peacekeeping operations
  • Responsibility to Protect Bibliography: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his report to the 2000 General Assembly, challenged the international community to try to forge consensus, once and for all around the questions of when armed intervention is justified to protect civilians, under whose authority, and how. The independent International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty was established by the Government of Canada in September 2000 to respond to that challenge. The Commission's report, The Responsibility to Protect, was formally presented to Secretary-General and the United Nations community in 2001. The report contains an extensive bibliography on issues such as humanitarian intervention, conflict prevention, the legal aspects of the use of force, the operational aspects of peace-keeping, peace support and peace enforcement actions, as well as country cases
  • Peacekeeping and Related Operations - University of New Brunswick: this is an extensive resource guide that points to bibliographies, reference sources, organizations and government documents from many different countries
  • Peacekeeping Web Links - United States Institute of Peace: it is an independent U.S. federal institution devoted to stuyding peace issues. The site links to many organizations, official UN mission sites, official reports on how to strengthen peacekeeping efforts, peace agreements, truth and reconciliation commissions, electronic journals, online reports, policy briefs, occasional papers, working papers and other research papers pertaining to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations
  • ReliefWeb - Policy & Issues by Keyword - Peace-Keeping: ReliefWeb describes itself as the world’s leading on-line gateway to information on humanitarian emergencies and disasters. ReliefWeb is administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  • International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative: the Initiative is a research and information project founded in 2002 at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at the Harvard School of Public Health. Its focus is the protection of civilians in conflict situations, particularly in view of the increasing targeting of civilians, the evolution of current methods of warfare, and the fragmentation of states in conflict areas
  • UN Peacekeeping - Global Policy Forum: this New York-based website includes an overview of international peacekeeping trends, news on current operations, commentary and analysis, lessons from past experience, and discussion of proposed reforms to peacekeeping missions
  • Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping - Peacekeeping Information Center: a non-partisan policy group that brings together the humanitarian, human rights, peace and security, think tank, and academic communities, the site links to issue briefs, reports, op-eds and other documents from a wide ideological range of contributors (everything from the conservative Heritage Foundation to Oxfam to the left-leaning Foreign Policy in Focus)
  • International Peace Academy Publications: the Academy is an independent, international institution dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of armed conflicts between and within states. It works closely with the United Nations, regional and other international organizations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations, as well as with parties to conflicts in selected cases
  • Peacekeeping - A Selected Bibliography: this bibliography was created by the U.S. Army War College Library. It is now in the fourth revised edition, and includes books, documents, periodical articles and Internet sites dated 2000 to the present
  • Peacekeeping Operations: this is a basic but extensive bibliography from the Swiss association UN Jobs (links go to the online book retailer Amazon)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:12 pm 0 comments links to this post

More on Wikis as Library Tools

More and more libraries are exploring the use of collaborative content creation tools like "wikis" to create subject guides or to maintain databases of reference questions. I know that we at the Supreme Court of Canada library want to see how, if at all, wikis can be integrated into our work.

Recently, there has been an increase in the amount written on the topic:

There is also a new report entitled Web 2.0 and Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software recently published by Michael Stephens (of Tame the Web blog fame)

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:18 pm 1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tools to Monitor Human Rights

This is a follow-up to the July 20, 2006 post about the Geneva-based Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems (HURIDOCS).

I found out today about a site called Human Rights Tools (referred to by the Law Librarian Blog).

Human Rights Tools was set up by former workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross, one of whom is now employed as a training officer with HURIDOCS.

The site is aimed at professionals monitoring human rights and offers resources and training manuals for investigating political, social and humanitarian conditions in countries, documenting the human rights situation, using international law, planning, finding jobs and training opportunities in the human rights field, etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Crime Stats 2005

According to Statistics Canada, the crime rate fell in 2005.

"Canada's national crime rate, based on incidents reported to police, fell 5% last year — despite increases in serious crimes such as homicide, attempted murder, serious assaults and robbery. Declines in non-violent offences such as counterfeiting, break-ins and auto thefts accounted for most of the decline in the crime rate, which fell in every province and territory".

"The national crime rate has been relatively stable since 1999, with last year's 5% decrease offsetting a 6% hike in 2003. The crime rate declined during the 1990s, after rising throughout most of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s".

Related post: Family Violence in Canada (July 17, 2006).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Version of OCLC NetLibrary

The Supreme Court of Canada library collection provides access to close to 2,000 e-books from OCLC's NetLibrary service. These are full-text versions of reference works and scholarly monographs.

Resourceshelf.com reported last week that NetLibrary 4.0, an update with an entirely new user interface, is coming in late July.

The new version should contain:

  • Automatic summarization
  • Search within search
  • Concept recommendations
  • Vastly improved search performance

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 24, 2006

Amnesty International Report on Internet Firms and Censorship in China

Last week, the human rights group Amnesty International released a new report documenting how Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google help the Chinese government suppress dissent as they seek market share in the lucrative Chinese market.

"This briefing provides an overview of the use of the Internet as a tool to deny freedom of expression in China, focusing on both the Chinese government’s suppression of dissent and on the role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google in collaborating with the authorities. The actions of these Internet companies are contrasted with their proclaimed values. The conclusion drawn is that they have, through their actions, directly and admittedly contradicted their values and stated policies. Amnesty International questions the principles that guide their decisions, and challenges the defences they use to justify their behaviour. In our view, these do not stand up to scrutiny. A series of recommendations are proposed to enable them to act in accordance with international human rights norms."

The May 29, 2006 post Amnesty International Launches Campaign Against Internet Censorship includes references to earlier posts on Internet censorship.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Profile of ex-Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour

I came across a publication entitled International Judicial Monitor (it warranted a mention last week in the beSpacific.com blog).

It is published by the American Society of International Law and the International Judicial Academy.

The July 2006 issue has a profile of Louise Arbour, who used to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada. Since leaving the Court, she has worked as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and is now the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Each issue (there have been 3 so far) includes a profile of a prominent figure in international law, as well as digests of cases of note, book reviews, commentary and an explanation of a major principle of international law.

One can subscribe to the newsletter by e-mail or via RSS feed.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Information Standards for Human Rights Violations Classification and Reporting

There is an interesting article in the most recent issue of Progressive Librarian about HURIDOCS, the Geneva-based Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems.

HURIDOCS focuses on providing training for information and human rights workers who require techniques for the collection, organization and classification, preservation, and management of human rights abuse information.

Tools include training materials for indexing and thesaurus building, standardized formats for the exchange of bibliographic information and metadata about human rights, proposed methodologies for monitoring and reporting abuses (standard ways of describing events, victims, acts, identities of perpetrators), etc.

An earlier Library Boy post covered a related topic: the use of computer databases and statistical analysis by the Human Rights Data Analysis Group to create objective "evidence-based" accounts of patterns of human rights violations (Computer Geeks Track Human Rights Abuses, Feb. 14, 2006).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review of Ontario Civil Justice System

The Ontario government announced a few weeks ago it is looking into ways to reform the civil justice system of the province to make it more accessible and affordable. Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Coulter Osborne has been asked to study a range of issues, including the growing number of unrepresented litigants as well as ways to decrease delays and costs.

In the spring, the Advocates' Society released a report on Streamlining the Ontario Civil Justice System. This coincided with a policy forum called Into the Future that examined topics such as how to deal with the proliferation of expert evidence, and the increasingly complex discovery and trial processes. The forum also looked at how Quebec and British Columbia have been trying to make their civil justice systems more efficient and better for all involved [The Civil Justice Reform Working Group in British Columbia has made a lot of material available online]

Some articles on the Advocates' Society March 2006 Policy Forum:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Updates to Library of Parliament Summaries

The Library of Parliament has recently updated 2 documents I have mentioned in the past:
  • Electoral reform initiatives in Canadian provinces, revised June 12, 2006: "Discussion about electoral reform in Canada is not new. Every time the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system returns a lopsided or distorted result, including the under-representation of women and minorities, there are renewed calls for reform. As a result, five provinces have recently undertaken studies to see whether reform of the electoral system might help to alleviate Canada’s 'democratic deficit'." First mentioned in the January 3, 2006 post Electoral Law Resources on the Internet
  • Bill C-2: The Federal Accountability Act, 21 April 2006, revised 23 June 2006: "Bill C-2, An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability (the Federal Accountability Act) was given first reading in the House of Commons on 11 April 2006. The bill makes a series of amendments to existing legislation and proposes two new Acts, in diverse areas that are generally linked to political accountability. The bill’s short title, the Federal Accountability Act, is the name under which it became known as part of the Conservative Party of Canada’s platform in the recent election campaign." Major changes made to this legislative summary since April are in bold. First mentioned in the July 1, 2006 post Recent Library of Parliament Publications on Access to Information
Other recent Library of Parliament publications include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cambridge Workshop on Economics of Information Security

In late June 2006, the University of Cambridge (UK) organized the Fifth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security.

The papers presented at the Workshop are available online. They cover everything from the impact of stock spam messages on financial markets to the economics of "digital forensics" (analyzing and processing digital evidence for investigating physical crimes) and the effects of privacy breaches on the market value of a firm.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

Family Violence in Canada

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (part of Statistics Canada) just released a new profile entitled Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2006.

Abstract:

"This is the ninth annual Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile report produced by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics under the Federal Family Violence Initiative. This annual report provides the most current data on the nature and extent of family violence in Canada, as well as trends over time, as part of the ongoing initiative to inform policy makers and the public about family violence issues."

"Each year the report has a different focus. This year, the focus is on examining, for the first time, the criminal history of persons charged with spousal violence over a 10-year timeframe (1995 to 2004). This is the first time the CCJS has examined spousal violence and repeat contact with the police, based on police-reported data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey. In addition, the report presents an analysis of family violence against children and youth, older adults (65+) and spouses. The report also includes results from the 2003 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Forthcoming Article - The Lag in Open Access Law Publishing

In the forthcoming issue of the Lewis & Clark Law Review, University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor Michael Madison has an article entitled The Idea of the Law Review : Scholarship, Prestige, and Open Access.

From the full text of the article:

"Some scientific journals and academic scientists have taken steps along the open access path. By and large, academic lawyers have not. Yet asking why law reviews haven’t yet joined their scientific counterparts (the nominal premise of this symposium) may put the proverbial cart before the horse. To ask about open access publishing for any scholarly domain is to ask about the very idea of scholarship in that domain. Open access for law reviews really invites a hard look at law reviews and legal scholarship in general. Instead of talking about the future of law review publishing, then, I want to talk a bit about its past. Law reviews and legal scholars have gotten along acceptably with the current system for well over a century. For them, the system has worked pretty well. The question isn’t so much why law reviews haven’t embraced change. The question for law reviews, as it might be for any scholarly institution, is why they should."

(... )

" 'Open Access' in this context really requires investigating 'The Idea of the Law Review.' There is a concept of 'the law review' that law professors have carried around in their heads, more or less consistently, for decades. I need to talk about what that is before I can talk about whether open access for law reviews is a good thing, why the reviews are reluctant to go down that path, and ultimately how to think about open access in general."

The article was presented in March 2006 at a Symposium on Open Access Publishing and the Future of Legal Scholarship at the Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland, Oregon). The entire event is available as a podcast.

All the articles coming out of the Symposium will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Lewis & Clark Law Review.

The Law School's Boley Library has prepared some background resources on open access publishing.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Series on History of Legal Information in Quebec

The monthly publication of the Quebec Bar Association, Le Journal du Barreau, started a series in its June 2006 issue on the history of legal information publishing in Quebec.

Over the next few months, the Journal will publish articles by authors, editors, distributors, researchers, judges and others on the topic.

There have been 2 articles so far:
  • Les enjeux de l'information juridique ("The issues of legal information", p. 9, June 2006 edition - N.B.: one has to download the entire issue) : this is an interview to set the scene. In it, University of Montreal law professor Daniel Poulin, director of LexUM, the legal information laboratory that pioneered free access to Supreme Court of Canada rulings, traces the evolution of legal information in Quebec over the past 30 years
  • Petite histoire de l'information juridique au Québec ("A brief history of legal information in Quebec", p. 9 of the July 2006 edition): this article recounts the history of legal information dissemination from 1892 to this day

What stands out from both articles is the central role of the provincial bar association, and later on of the public sector, in attempting to ensure access to legal information.

For many decades, the bar association financed, on its own, the printing and distribution of the major Quebec case reporters. With the proliferation of case law (and the multiplication of statutes and regulations) after the 60s, the Bar could no longer keep up.

What is unique about Quebec is perhaps the central role played by public sector organizations, such as provincial Crown corporation SOQUIJ (Société québécoise d'information juridique), created in 1976, and institutions such as the LexUM lab at the University of Montreal. In particular, SOQUIJ stands out for its role in integrating and homogenizing the data structure and presentation of rulings, digests, and commentary from a variety of sources.

In 2006, SOQUIJ won the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, July 14, 2006

Open Access Law Publishing

The blog beSpacific referred yesterday to a forthcoming journal article by Jessica Litman entitled Economics of Open-Access Law Publishing available through SSRN.

From the asbtract:

"As technology has spawned new methods of restricting access to works, and copyright law has enhanced copyright owners' rights to do so, the publishers of scholarly journals have begun to experiment with subscription models that charge for access by the article, the viewer, or the year... Recently, we've seen a number of high-profile experiments seeking to use one of a variety of forms of open access scholarly publishing to develop an alternative model..."

"Law journal publishing is one of the easiest cases for open access publishing..."

"In part I of the paper I give a brief sketch of the slow growth of open access publishing in legal research. In part II, I look at the conventional budget of a student-edited law journal, which excludes all of the costs involved in generating the first copy of any issue, and suggest that we cannot make an intelligent assessment of the economics of open access law publishing unless we account for input costs, like the first copy cost, that conventional analysis ignores. In part III, I develop a constructive first copy cost based on assumptions about the material included in a typical issue of the law journal, and draw inferences based on comparing the expenses involved in the first copy, and the entities who pay them, with the official law journal budget. In part IV, I examine the implications of my argument for open access law publishing. In part V, I argue that the conclusions that flow from my analysis apply to non-legal publishing as well."

I also came across a general background article on open access publishing in the most recent issue of FreePint, the British info industry newsletter.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:39 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lancaster House Audio Conference Series on Labour and Human Rights Law

Lancaster House, a Toronto-based publisher of textbooks, loose-leaf texts, and newsletters on labour and employment law, has published its schedule of audio conferences for the fall 2006 season.

Topics include:
  • Surveillance, Monitoring and Privacy Rights
  • Pros and Cons of Human Rights Reform in Ontario
  • Accommodating Disabilities
  • Company Rules, Supervisors’ Orders — and Insubordination
  • The Top 10 Questions concerning Discharge and Discipline
  • Attendance Management Programs (AMPs) and Last Chance Agreements (LCAs)
  • Medical Information: The Scope of Access, the Limits on Disclosure
  • Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: Testing, Treatment and Screening

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Legal Research Report on Immigrant Settlement

Yesterday, the Law Commission of Canada released a report entitled Unsettled: Legal and Policy Barriers for Newcomers to Canada.

From the foreward:

"Community Foundations of Canada and the Law Commission of Canada are very pleased to present Unsettled: Legal and Policy Barriers for Newcomers to Canada by Sarah Wayland."

"Few issues are as pressing for Canada today as immigration which accounts for more than half of our population growth and about three-quarters of our labour market growth. Yet today’s newcomers face significant barriers and they are not doing as well as their predecessors have done."

"Neither Community Foundations of Canada nor the Law Commission of Canada are experts on issues of immigrant settlement. Rather, they are two organizations with complementary missions that believe that all sectors in Canada – government, business, and the non-governmental and community sectors – need to put their heads together to figure out how to help immigrants not only settle but thrive. Community Foundations of Canada and the Law Commission of Canada have joined together to fund this research in order to gain a solid understanding of the key challenges faced by new Canadians."

"Much has been written about the challenges of immigration in Canada in recent years and this report and its companion literature review draw heavily on the existing body of research. This report’s particular contribution is its focus on the legal and policy barriers to the successful settlement of immigrants and refugees, and how these can be overcome."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

How To Follow The AALL 2006 Conference

The 2006 conference of the American Association of Law Libraries has been going on for the past few days in St.Louis, with close to 3,000 delegates in attendance.

Those of us who can't attend can still follow what has been going on:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The New Quicklaw Arrives at the Supreme Court

I reported on May 2, 2006 about the New Quicklaw Interface, still in development at the time.

In particular, I liked the tabular presentation of search results and the many filtering options available for organizing and limiting them.

This morning, we received training on the actual live product at the Supreme Court of Canada. The trainers told us that we are the first client in Canada to get our hands on the new launch version of Quicklaw. Over the past few months, various law firms and other commercial clients helped test the beta version of the new interface but what we saw this morning is "it".

Most of the features mentioned in my May posting are of course still there.

Additional features I didn't have the time to discuss back then include:
  • there are tabs for search templates in the following categories: general search (across all database sources), court cases, tribunal cases, legislation, commentary, journals, news
  • there is a quick "Find a Document" box near the top of the search page that allows for finding a case by name or by citation or for noting up a case. In addition, the new Quicklaw now allows for searching for the "v." in the style of cause so one can do a search on cases such as "R. v. [whatever name here]"
  • administrative tribunal decisions are being added to the Quickcite function (case citator)
  • as mentioned back in May, Quickcite (case citator) results are filterable by jurisdiction, treatment (negative, negative and cautionary, positive) or court level (either alphabetically or by hierarchical level), but also by date. And all the existing parallel citations of a case are provided
  • new operators are available: new commands include the "atleast" term frequency command (as in LexisNexis), "allcaps", "nocaps", "/seg" (in the same segment or field) and "/s" (within the same sentence)
  • an interesting difference between the old and the new Quicklaw is that one first had to choose a database in the old version and then perform the search. In the new version, one can type the search terms and connectors and then use a drop-down menu in a search template to determine in which databases or sources to launch the search
  • in the old version, the "modify search" command allowed the user to change a search but only within the same database. In the new version, one can transfer search terms to a new source or modify them and launch them in a new source
  • one can "Narrow a search" (searching within the search results list) more than once
  • search strings can be saved as "alerts" for automatic delivery at intervals the user can specify in categories such as case law, legislation, bills and commentary
  • the legislation search template has a versioning function: a user can see all the earlier versions of a statute section. N.B.: this does not yet go back very far (back to Jan. 1999 for most federal Acts, but it does go back to 1988 for various criminal law statutes such as the Canada Evidence Act)
  • if a client has a subscription to the News component, it is interesting to see how results are organized: results can be broken down into source categories such as magazines, newspapers, newswire services, newsletters, blogs and web-based publications

Overall, the new version appears much cleaner, lighter, easier on the eyes and much more customizable.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 10, 2006

West Point Bibliography on Terrorism

This is an update to the Library Boy July 3, 2006 post entitled Follow-Up to Anti-Terrorism News. At the end of that post, I provided a short list of reference resources on the topic of terrorism.

Today, ResourceShelf had a link to the massive Annotated Bibliography of Terrorism and Counterterrorism Research (200 pages) compiled in 2004 at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

It covers dozens of topics (ex.: "Defining Terrorism", "Ethnic Separatism", "Political Islam", "Religion and Conflict: Abortion Clinics", "State Terrorism" etc.) and many countries around the world.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

The 10 Biggest Security Risks You Don't Know About

Oh well, another day, more things to panic about...

The most recent issue of PC World magazine contains an article entitled The 10 Biggest Security Risks You Don't Know About.

It is about all the viruses, spyware and other risks that can hijack your computer, steal your data, and mess with your life.

Happy summer reading. Content:

If you want to follow the issue from a Canadian point of view, one good source is the Canadian Privacy Law Blog written by David T.S. Fraser in the Halifax office of McInnes Cooper. It contains many posts about data security and privacy breaches.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wikis in the Workplace

At the Supreme Court of Canada library, we have put the exploration of Web 2.0 tools (such as wikis and RSS feeds) in our 2006-2007 business plan.

Nothing fancy, nothing hard in stone, yet. Just exploring the ideas.

Recently, there have been a few interesting explanations of how to adopt wiki technology for team projects:

  • Wikis in the Workplace: How Wikis Can Help Manage Knowledge in Library Reference Services: this is from the latest issue of the electronic journal LIBRES, published by Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. The abstract reads: "This article explores how wikis can be used in library reference services to manage knowledge and why they should be used in this environment. The article begins with a description of wikis, then covers knowledge management and the systems that support knowledge management, specifically collaborative and conversational technologies. Next, the author discusses how wikis can be used as a knowledge management system and explores the organizational applications. Finally, a discussion follows on how wikis can be used to support knowledge management in library reference services with some examples of wikis as both private and public knowledge repositories and as collaborative workspaces".
  • What Is a Wiki (and How to Use One for Your Projects): this was published last week by the O'Reilly Network. "Somewhere, in a dimly lit classroom, a library bench, or in a home study, some lucky so-and-so is writing an essay from beginning to end with no notes. This splendid individual is able to craft entire sections without forgetting by the end what the section was intended to include at the beginning, and can weave a carefully paced argument with thoughts and references collected over a period of months, all perfectly recollected. Neither of your authors is this person. Instead, we need help, and that help comes in the shape of a wiki. A wiki is a website where every page can be edited in a web browser, by whomever happens to be reading it. It's so terrifically easy for people to jump in and revise pages that wikis are becoming known as the tool of choice for large, multiple-participant projects. This tutorial is about how to effectively use a wiki to keep notes and share ideas amongst a group of people, and how to organize that wiki to avoid lost thoughts and encourage serendipity".

And this Thursday, July 13, SirsiDynix is hosting a seminar on Wiki: The Ultimate Tool For Online Collaboration

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Canada Ahead of U.S. On Net Neutrality Issue?

It is nice to see Canadians leading the way on an issue of significance.

According to Kevin O'Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Canadian law bloggers have been much more aggressive in defending the concept of Net neutrality than their counterparts in that big Republic south of our borders.

Net neutrality generally means that media operators such as ISPs should not be allowed to introduce tiered pricing that favours their own content. The fear is that content creators that pay the ISPs will get the best access to users, whereas their competitors will get lower-quality or no access to users. CNN and the SunMedia chain will pay and get better distribution than smaller, alternative or non-profit sources, or even commercial sources that just happen to be less prosperous than the big monopoly conglomerates that have been gobbling up media properties left, right and centre.

Or an ISP could provide priority to a new service asociated with their media conglomerate owner, like VoIP, but block or offer lower-quality access to VoIP services provided by competitors.
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Bar Association Worried About ISP Surveillance

The Canadian Bar Association appears concerned that Internet service providers have been putting into place the technical capacity to monitor their customers' communications without proper authorization.

The Association has sent a public letter on the subject to the federal Minister of Justice.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist published a related post concerning amendments to the Bell Sympatico customer agreement that people fear opens the door to greater surveillance of users.

This is all linked to discussions about lawful access, the lawful interception of communications as well as search and seizure of information by law enforcement agencies.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, July 07, 2006

New Index to FreePint 1997-2006

The UK-based FreePint newsletter has been a major source of news and commentary about the information industry for a decade.

A complete index to all the articles it has published since 1997 is now available.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Freedom of Information Laws Around the World 2006

The international advocacy organization freedominfo.org just released its report Freedom of Information Around the World 2006: A Global Survey of Access to Government Records Laws.

The report provides an overview of access to information laws from dozens of countries.

The organization receives funding from the Open Society Institute in Budapest, the Ford Foundation, and the National Security Archive (NSA), a research institute and library located at George Washington University that collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The NSA hosts the group's Internet portal.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Aboriginal Documentary Heritage: Historical Collections of the Canadian Government.

Library and Archives Canada has an online exhibition entitled Aboriginal Documentary Heritage: Historical Collections of the Canadian Government that provides "first-hand information illustrating the complex and often contentious relationship between the Canadian government and Canada's Aboriginal people from the late 1700s to the mid-20th century".

"The website presents three thematic sections with essays and selected documents about the Red and Black Series (the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs' administrative records of Aboriginal people from 1872 to the 1950s), Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements, and Aboriginal Soldiers in the First World War. This phase of the project features searchable databases of digitized records from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs ... fonds. It includes records for the majority of the Red Series (documents dealing with Eastern Canadian locations ... ), and the entire 524 records that form the Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements in the collection of Library and Archives Canada (LAC)."

And don't forget to take a look at the LAC's extensive Resources for Aboriginal Research.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Justice Talking - Law-Themed Radio Program from NPR

National Public Radio in the United States has a regular show on legal issues entitled Justice Talking that can be heard via webcast or podcast.

Recent shows have tackled issues such as endangered species protection, identity theft, U.S. immigration reform, electoral reform and domestic spying.

Earlier Library Boy posts about legal podcasts include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:34 pm 0 comments links to this post

40th Anniversary of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act

The beSpacific blog mentioned yesterday that July 4th, 2006 was the 40th anniversary of the American Freedom of Information Act.

The post links to material from the National Security Archive, a research institute and library located at George Washington University that collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Act.

Archive material includes:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:04 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 03, 2006

Follow-Up to Anti-Terrorism News

This is a follow-up to an earlier post from June 29 entitled Anti-Terrorism News.

According to the JURIST legal news service, the British government is appealing a decision that terrorism suspects cannot be detained without charge under what are known as control orders in the United Kingdom.

Also in today's news, a committee of the British parliament has "warned that the 28-day limit for police to detain terror suspects without charge, mandated under the Terrorism Act 2006 may need to be extended".

Meanwhile, in Canada, various committees of Parliament are reviewing different aspects of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation. The Hill Times newspaper provides a good backgrounder on the issue.

Among the better resources out there on the subject of terrorism are:

  • Anti-Terrorism Law Resources: this site is maintained by Carter and Associates, leading experts in the area of charity and not-for-profit law in Canada
  • War on Terrorism Watch: this site was created by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and seeks to promote awareness of the numerous legislative initiatives taken by Western governments after the September 11, 2001 attacks and of their potential impact on rights and freedoms
  • International Terrorism: this is a list of websites selected by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa
  • Anti-Terrorism Act: this subsection of the Justice Canada website explains the parliamentary review of the Anti-Terrorism Act, and links to government reports to parliament on the application of the Act, as well as to other government web resources
  • A Research Guide to Cases and Materials on Terrorism : this guide, published on the GlobaLex website (New York University Law School), aims to "provide some assistance in planning research and in formulating issues to address -- to examine the range of issues and provide links, first to sources that are considered reliable and unbiased, then to specimen law cases and scholarly articles and, finally, to opinions and arguments not otherwise adumbrated which, even if they are in support of a particular agenda are coherent, plausible and forthright in their advocacy or apologia."
  • MIPT Terrorism Bibliography: a searchable bibliography of references to terrorism which has been compiled by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City. It includes books, journal articles, pamphlets and government publications
  • Special Coverage - War on Terrorism: this site is maintained by maintained by Findlaw and provides comprehensive, though US-centred, news, commentary, case law and official documents
  • Terrorism - Liberty: maintained by leading UK human rights group Liberty. It provides free access to their press releases, statements, briefings and full text reports on issues such as detention of terrorism suspects and anti-terrorism legislation
  • Human Rights Watch Work on Counterterrorism: contains news items as well as briefings from the well-known human rights lobby group

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

How People Get Duped by Phishing Attacks

The website InfoSecWriters released a study last week entitled Some Psychological Factors of Successful Phishing.

Phishing is a fraudulent email made to look like it comes from a legitimate source that attempts to get you to divulge personal data that can then be used for illegitimate purposes.

"The successful 'phishing' attack relies on the victim’s willingness to divulge sensitive personal data to a non-legitimate source in response to an email request or an invitation to a web site. This paper will look at some of the psychological mechanisms involved in these types of scams and what the future might hold."

Some of the psychological factors identified in the paper are:

  • Trust of authority
  • Textual and graphics presentation lacks traditional clues of validity
  • E-mail and web pages can look real
  • Clues to the fraudulent nature of phishing scams are often below the threshold of the average recipient
Earlier Library Boy postings about phishing include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Recent Library of Parliament Publications on Access to Information

I happen to be browsing through Blacked Out : Government Secrecy in the Information Age, a book by Syracuse University professor Alaisdair Roberts.

The book refers quite frequently to Canada's Access to Information Act, which has been the object of many proposals for reform in recent years.

The Library of Parliament has published a number of studies on the topic recently:
  • The Access to Information Act and Recent Proposals for Reform (February 6, 2006): "It is widely agreed that, after more than 20 years in operation, the Access to Information Act should be updated. The Conservative, New Democratic and Bloc Québécois parties all included access to information reform in their platforms for the 2006 election. The legislation is recognized as a critical element of the transparency and openness in government that is necessary to the proper functioning of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. Justice John Gomery, in the Phase 2 report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, Restoring Accountability, acknowledged the importance of the legislation, saying that 'an appropriate access to information regime is a key part of the transparency that is an essential element of modern public administration'. The Act has been reviewed many times since its inception, giving rise to a significant accumulation of reform proposals. This paper identifies the key points emerging from the major studies of the Act that have been conducted over the last two decades, and analyzes in some detail the most recent proposals concerning the legislation."
  • Access to Information Legislation in Canada and Four Other Countries (April 6, 2006): "This paper briefly considers the freedom of information statutes in place in four other jurisdictions: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. These countries were selected for comparison because they were identified in then-Justice Minister Irwin Cotler’s April 2005 document entitled A Comprehensive Framework for Access to Information Reform: A Discussion Paper as being those which might be most appropriately considered in preparing for reform of the ATIA. These countries’ access to information schemes are useful for the purpose of comparison with Canada’s because all four countries have Westminster-style parliamentary systems, and their access regimes have been developed at varying points during the ATIA’s 23-year history."
  • Bill C-2: The Federal Accountability Act - Legislative Summary (April 21, 2006): "Bill C-2, An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability (the Federal Accountability Act) was given first reading in the House of Commons on 11 April 2006. The bill makes a series of amendments to existing legislation and proposes two new Acts, in diverse areas that are generally linked to political accountability. (...) Amendments to the Access to Information Act extend its application to 15 Officers of Parliament, Crown corporations and foundations, and also establish new exemptions or exclusions relating to the added entities." [Note: the progress of Bill C-2 can be followed using the Library of Parliament's LEGISinfo service]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

Survey of Canadian Attitudes About Privacy

Yesterday, the federal Privacy Commissioner released a major survey of Canadians' attitudes towards the protection of privacy.

"The study reveals that most Canadians believe that neither the government nor businesses take their responsibility to protect their personal information very seriously. Only 14 per cent of Canadians believe that the federal government takes its responsibility to protect personal information very seriously and only 11 per cent are confident that businesses take this responsibility very seriously."

Among the other findings of the poll conducted by the Ekos Research firm:

  • Canadians are very concerned about the government’s transfer of individual personal information across borders, by outsourcing works to companies in the U.S.
  • Only 50 per cent of those polled say they have enough information to know the privacy implications of new technologies
  • Canadians want to be informed by companies about the privacy implications of products or services they buy

The full EKOS report entitled Revisiting the Privacy Landscape a Year Later can be found on the website of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner also tabled its annual report to Parliament in June. One of the main focuses of the report was the concern over the transfer of private information about Canadians to companies in other countries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Blog on Forced Migration Issues

One of the international law blogs that came to my attention recently is the Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog, a "service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, IDPs [internally displaced persons] and forced migration".

It is put together by librarian Elisa Mason, who has worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington and Geneva, as well as the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford (UK).

She has also created guides on forced migration resources including the Guide to Forced Migration Resources on the Web.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:39 pm 1 comments links to this post