Saturday, June 30, 2007

Aboriginal Rights Resources

Yesterday was the First Nations' National Day of Action whose aim was to draw attention to the situation of aboriginal peoples in Canada.

Here are a few of my favourite online resources for researching aboriginal legal issues:
  • Aboriginal Canadian Portal: a collaborative site put together by the federal government and various national aboriginal organizations, the portal offers links to resources about legislation, treaties and government programs
  • Historic Treaty Information Site (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): "The site contains historical research reports, images, maps, bibliographies and other resources pertaining to the more than 70 historic treaties negotiated between 1701 and 1923."
  • Library of Parliament Research Publications on Aboriginal Issues: includes research reports on fishing rights, the Kelowna Accord, self-government, aboriginal claims, aboriginal title, the Crown's fiduciary responsibility, band membership, traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights
  • Aboriginal Documentary Heritage (Library and Archives Canada): Library and Archives Canada online exhibition that provides documentation about the relationship between the Canadian government and Canada's Aboriginal people from the late 1700s to the mid-20th century. There is also an extensive collection of links to resources for research into aboriginal issues in Canada
  • JuriBistro TOPO - Autochtones (CAIJ - Centre d'accès à l'information juridique): for those who read French, this is a comprehensive knowledgebase on legal issues developed by the library and research staff of CAIJ, a library network associated with the Quebec Bar Association. The TOPO collection contains thousands of legal research questions and answers based on the 20,000 plus questions local CAIJ outlets receive annually from laywers across Quebec. The CAIJ network includes 38 courthouse libraries, 8 regional libraries, 3 resource libraries and 27 local service points. A typical Q&A file includes the applicable legislation, case law and top sources of commentary on the issue
  • Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada: website of the federal government department set up to resolve issues arising from the legacy of sexual, physical and cultural abuse in Indian residential schools.
  • Native Law Centre of Canada (University of Saskatchewan): includes a searchable database of factums, pleadings, and opinions on Native rights cases, and a catalogue of publications (case law reporters, legislative histories, etc.)
  • Canadian Native Law Cases (University of Saskatchewan): "The Canadian Native Law Cases were compiled and indexed by researchers at the Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan between 1980 and 1991. The 9 volume set contains all reported Canadian court decisionsas well as those that went to the Privy Council on appeal from Canada. There is also a selection of previously unreported cases. The period covered is 1763-1978."
  • Research Guide: Aboriginal Law (Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto): "While this guide primarily deals with Canada, there is also information on U.S. native law, as well as information on law in an international setting."
  • Select Bibliography - Aboriginal Law (Lederman Law Library, Queen's University, Kingston)
  • Law by Subject > Aboriginal Law (Legal Services Society of British Columbia): includes links to various resources, including continuing legal education material on issues in aboriginal law, such as: taxation, individual rights on reserve, division of marital property, use of oral history evidence, estates and wills

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

July 2007 Issue of Info Career Trends

The most recent issue of Info Careers Trends, a professional development e-mail newsletter for the library community, is now online.

The theme of the articles in this edition is career transition, moving onward and upward in library and/or information industry work.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 28, 2007

U.S. Federal Courts in Pilot Project to Post Digital Audio Recordings

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of March 19, 2007 entitled U.S. Judiciary To Make Court Proceeding Recordings Available Online.

Later this summer, three U.S. bankruptcy courts and two U.S. district courts will go ahead and make digital audio recordings of their proceedings publicly available online.

The audio files will become available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system through which subscribers can access to docket and case information from U.S. federal appeal, district, and bankruptcy courts.

The courts participating in what is a pilot project are:

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska

  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

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

Supreme Court of Canada Launches Portal for Self-Represented Litigants

The Supreme Court of Canada has just launched a portal for self-represented litigants, that is, people who want to represent themselves in front of the Court:

"This portal provides information and instructions on what is expected of you when you want to bring your own application for leave to appeal or when you have been named as a respondent on an application for leave to appeal. You will learn the process, step by step".
The portal comes with a glossary, references to rules of court, sample books for people to follow as well as complete checklists of needed documents.

It is divided into 2 sections:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Federal Study on Deaths in Custody Released

Earlier today, the Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers released a study into 82 deaths of inmates in federal prisons from 2001 to 2005.

The cases all involve deaths not from natural causes, including murders, suicides and accidents.

Mr. Sapers' role is that of an independent ombudsman for prisoners in the federal prison system.

In the report, Sapers states that many of the deaths could have been prevented by better risk assessments and preventive measures, as well as more timely responses by Correctional Service personnel.

Among the findings:

  • the federal prison system continues to ignore and fail to act on recommendation after recommendation in coroners' and medical examiners' reports into earlier deaths
  • staff frequently fail or refuse to perform first aid
  • there is a lack of emergency equipment such as defibrillators in some facilities
  • information about the risk of suicide or violence often remains unreported

The government has promised to address many of Sapers' findings and to work closely with him.

As Sapers writes:

"The Correctional Service has indicated a willingness to address many of the Deaths in Custody Study’s findings. The Office of the Correctional Investigator is now working with the Correctional Service in an attempt to ensure that existing procedures and requirements are adhered to. While the Correctional Investigator characterized CSC’s response to the study’s findings as 'encouraging', citing the Correctional Service’s commitments to improving the timeliness of its investigation process, enhancing mental health services and better responsiveness to incidents – he also noted his Office would be monitoring the actions of CSC for tangible signs of real progress in the coming months".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

Legal Guide for Podcasting in Canada

Creative Commons Canada published its Podcasting Legal Guide for Canada: Northern Rules For The Revolution this past weekend.

The document was released at the Podcasters Across Borders 2007 conference in Kingston, Ontario.

"The Canadian podcasting community is emerging as an important voice in Canada that deserves broad support and
attention. While accessible and easy-to-use technology has removed many technological barriers for would-be podcasters, the legal challenges can be daunting. Podcasting touches on several legal areas, including copyright, trade-mark, and personality rights, each of which brings its own complexities and uncertainties. Conventional broadcasters typically enjoy the benefit of internal legal resources, however, until now most individual podcasters have been forced to confront legal questions on their own".

"The arrival of the Podcasting Legal Guide for Canada addresses that dilemma. Andy Kaplan-Myrth, Kathleen Simmons, and Creative Commons Canada have come together to produce a first-rate legal guide that will undoubtedly become a 'must-read' for the Canadian podcasting community. The guide helpfully unpacks complicated legal issues, providing straightforward guidance on the use of text and music within podcasts. Moreover, by focusing exclusively on Canadian law, the guide will help to eliminate the tendency to confuse U.S. and Canadian approaches to the law associated with podcasting".
Toronto-based blawger Connie Crosby attended the conference and provided extensive commentary and description on her blog (posts dated June 23 and June 24, 2007).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Annual U.S. State Department Report on Human Trafficking

The State Department of the United States has been producing an annual report since the year 2000 called the Trafficking in Persons Report. It reports on foreign governments' efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons:

"The TIP Report is the most comprehensive worldwide report on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons. This Report covers the period April 2006 through March 2007. It includes those countries that have been determined to be countries of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking. The 2007 TIP Report represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of modern-day slavery and the broad range of actions being taken by governments around the world to confront and eliminate it (...)"

"The Department of State prepared this Report using information from U.S. embassies, foreign government officials, NGOs and international organizations, published reports, research trips to every region, and information submitted to tipreport@state.gov. This email address was established for NGOs and individuals to share information on government progress in addressing trafficking".

According to the country section on Canada:

"Canada is principally a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked mostly from Asia and Eastern Europe for sexual exploitation, but victims from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East also have been identified in Canada. Many trafficking victims are from Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, but some victims are trafficked from Romania, Hungary, and Russia. Asian victims are trafficked more frequently to Vancouver and Western Canada, while Eastern European and Latin American victims are more often trafficked to Toronto and Eastern Canada. A significant number of victims, particularly South Korean females, transit Canada before being trafficked into the United States. Some Canadian girls and women are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation".
Earlier Library Boy posts that touch on the topic of human trafficking include:
  • Criminal Intelligence Service 2006 Annual Report on Organized Crime (August 19, 2006): "The Service coordinates the criminal intelligence units of Canadian law enforcement agencies at the federal and provincial levels of government (...) Organized crime activities involve production and distribution of narcotics, firearms smuggling, vehicle theft, financial fraud, identity theft, counterfeiting, human trafficking and money laundering."
  • New Library of Parliament Publications (October 6, 2006): "Trafficking in Persons: 'The United Nations estimates that 700,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide – this is a fluid figure that is difficult to pin down (...) This paper will discuss the concept of trafficking in general terms and provide an overview of the legislative framework surrounding the issue at the international level and within the Canadian context. It will conclude with a discussion of potential gaps in Canadian legislation and policy with respect to trafficking in persons'."
  • New Library of Parliament Research Publications (February 18, 2007): "Human Trafficking: 'Trafficking in persons is not the same as migrant smuggling. The key distinction is that smuggled migrants are usually free once they arrive at their intended destination, whereas trafficking victims may be held against their will and subject to forced labour or prostitution (...) The 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report [U.S. State Department] also indicates that 'Canada is a source, transit, and destination country …' Some 800 people are trafficked into this country each year, while an additional 1,500 to 2,200 are trafficked through Canada to the United States'."
  • Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Immigration Bill (June 19, 2007): "The Bill proposes amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow immigration officers to refuse to authorize foreign nationals to work in Canada if they are judged to be at risk of exploitation or trafficking."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Keeping Up With Social Networking Tools

Toronto blawger Connie Crosby has put together a good summary of various social networking tools for the website LLRX.com.

Her article, entitled The Tao of Law Librarianship - Keeping Up With Social Networking Tools, describes how librarians are using tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning, and Twitter:

"You have been reading blogs, and perhaps even commenting on some. You have found an RSS feed reader (aggregator) and monitor your favorite news feeds and blogs on a regular basis. You might have even set up a wiki or two. The question is...is that all there is to Web 2.0?"

"Well, to be honest, you have only just scratched the surface of the new social network-ing tools. There are quite a number of web tools, applications, and "widgets" that com-prise the new social media, and new ones are being released daily. It is a challenge to keep up with them".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Overview of Selected Legal Digital Libraries

The website LLRX.com has just published an article entitled Overview of Selected Legal Digital Libraries whose purpose is to "review ten digital libraries from the legal field. The major characteristics of each library are summarized. Guidance is given for the user who would access the library. Finally, some of the differences between the ten libraries are presented".

The article covers collections such as the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, the British Academy Digital Library and the Cornell University Law Library.

Earlier Library Boy posts that deal with Canadian digital collections include:
  • "Cookbook" for Web-Based Government Information Collections (April 15, 2005): "Andrew Hubbertz, from the University of Saskatchewan Library, has written a 'cookbook' to help libraries build up local collections of web-based government information."
  • Digitization of Early Canadian Government Documents Continues (November 21, 2005): "The non-profit organization Canadiana.org has just received another grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage's Canadian Culture Online program to help it complete its Canada in the Making digitization project (...) Canadiana.org will be able to add a further 250,000 pages ... These will include selected Acts, Debates and Sessional papers from the Colonial period to Confederation, and from 1867 to 1900"
  • Allan Legere Digital Archive - 1st Serial Killer Convicted by DNA Typing (April 24, 2006): "The Gerard V. La Forest Law Library at the University of New Brunswick yesterday launched a digital archive of documents and images related to the crimes, capture and trial of Allan Joseph Legere (...) His trial in 1991 was the first in which the new science of DNA typing was used to obtain a criminal conviction in Canada and was therefore a landmark in Canadian legal history..."
  • Aboriginal Documentary Heritage: Historical Collections of the Canadian Government (July 5, 2006): "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'."
  • CALL 2007 Pre-Conference: Managing Digital Collections (May 5, 2007): "The 2007 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries begins this weekend in Ottawa and continues until Wednesday, May 9, 2007. Today, there was a pre-conference session on Creating and Managing a Digital Collection Project: From policy to technical requirements."
  • Preservation of Web-Based Government Documents in Canada (May 29, 2007): "The Canadian Association of Research Libraries recently released an April 2007 update of a report by Andrew Hubbertz entitled Collection and Preservation of Web-Based Provincial/Territorial Government Publications (...) The update provides a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction description of the current state of affairs relating to the collection and preservation of web-based government information in Canada."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:44 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 25, 2007

George Orwell and Plain Language in Law

Judith D. Fischer, University of Louisville - Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, has an article on the Social Science Research Network entitled Why George Orwell's Ideas About Language Still Matter for Lawyers.

The article deals with the use of clear language in legal writing but also analyses the use of deceit in legal and political discourse in the United States:

"The twin themes of Politics and the English Language (George Orwell's essay of 1946) are that writers should express themselves in plain English and that 'euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness' prevent or conceal clear thought. 'The fight against bad English is not frivolous,' he argued, because clear thought is necessary for cogent analysis (...)"

"This article examines Orwell's two themes in the context of legal language in the United States today. Part II shows that legal writers have reduced inflated language... On the other hand, Orwell's warnings about misleading and duplicitous governmental language have not been so well heeded. Part III shows that misleading language is common in today's laws and legal discourse".
Many of the ideas could apply to other countries such as Canada.

Related Library Boy posts that deal with plain language include:

  • Plain Language Resources for Law, Business, Government, and Life (August 9, 2005): "Clear language or plain language refers to jargon-free, understandable language. For the past 20 years or more, an international movement has been working to make the language used in law, health information, financial services, commerce and business more accessible. Plain language does NOT mean dumbed down or simplistic vocabulary."
  • Move Toward Plain Language in Canadian Court Decisions (November 7, 2005): "Saturday's Globe and Mail contains an article by Richard Blackwell entitled 'Doing the write thing: Judges used to put out decisions that were incomprehensible. Now they are sometimes even eloquent. The writing lessons didn't hurt'... As the article explains, the Supreme Court has been removing Latin words from its rulings and altering the format to make them easier to follow for people reading electronic versions on a website. The clear language push is also being promoted in Canada by such organizations as the National Judicial Institute and the Montreal-based Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, where new judges have their writing critiqued by English professors."
  • Plain Language Legal Writing (January 22, 2006): "The Canadian Bar Association's PracticeLink has just published its third in a series of articles on plain language in legal writing: Mastering Modern Legal Correspondence."
  • Myths About the Complexity of Legal Language (November 17, 2006): "The Social Science Research Network has published a forthcoming article on Some Myths about Legal Language by Professor Peter Tiersma of the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (...) Excerpts from the final section of the full-text: (...) 'Thus, the main obstacle to writing the law in plain English is that, unless the law itself is vastly simplified, it will require the use of so many words that there will be nothing plain about it. Most advocates of plain English recognize this problem. Although they continue to agitate for plainer language in legal documents, including statutes, they realize that many parts of the law are too complex to allow them to be fully and comprehensibly explained to ordinary citizens. They therefore advocate that those legal areas in which citizens have particular interest, like criminal law, be officially summarized and explained'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 24, 2007

List of Best Government Document Titles

The government document librarians over at the Free Government Information website consulted members on the govdoc-l listserv on what they thought were the best government document titles they had come across.

Among the more interesting, ambiguous or unintentionally funny examples:
  • Citizenship and the Strawberry Jam: FDA's Life Protection Series
  • Cooking up solutions: cleaning up with lasagna
  • Do you know oatmeal?
  • Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation : are we doing enough?
  • Everything you always wanted to know about shipping high-level nuclear wastes
  • Index of blank forms
  • Know your 8-inch Howitzer
  • L.U.S.T.LINE (leaking underground storage tanks)
  • PMS Blue Book (Program Management System)
  • State-of-the-art dummy selection
  • National Money Laundering Strategy
  • A winning combination: wild horses and prison inmates
  • "Who Are the Zombie Masters and What Do They Want?" (a Canadian document about health user fees)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Emerald Journal RSS Feeds

Emerald, a journal publisher, now provides RSS feeds for its approximately 180 individual titles, including many in the field of librarianship:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

Conference Presentations from SLA Legal Division

Some of the presentations of the Legal Division from the recent conference of the Special Libraries Association conference in Denver are now online:
  • Strategic Budgeting: Educate Your Management and Own Your Numbers
  • Legal Division Emerging Technologies Breakfast
  • CRM and Law Librarians
  • Web Tools for Legal Researchers
  • Unraveling the Mysteries of the Code [U.S. Code]
  • Recruitment, Retention & Retirement: The Future of Librarianship
  • 60 Gadgets in 60 Minutes - Overwhelmed with Gadgets

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Michigan Symposium on TV in the U.S. Supreme Court

First Impressions, an online companion to the Michigan Law Review, has just published an Online Symposium on Televising the Supreme Court:

"Senator Arlen Specter introduced S. 344, A bill to permit the televising of [United States] Supreme Court proceedings, on January 22, 2007. If enacted, the legislation will require the Supreme Court to televise its proceedings unless a majority of the Justices decide, on a case-by-case basis, that televising would violate the parties’ due process rights. An identical bill is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. A diverse panel of authors explores the implications of the prospective legislation and considers potential costs and benefits of televising the Court’s proceedings".
Earlier Library Boy postings on media access to the courts in Canada or abroad include:

  • Report on TV Cameras in Ontario Courtrooms (August 24, 2006): "A report released today by Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant recommends that cameras be allowed in some courts in the province. This would include TV cameras. The list of Courts would cover the Ontario Court of Appeal and lower courts where no witnesses would be examined (...) The full text of the report includes a useful bibliography on the issue of media and the court system."
  • UK Courts to Accept TV Cameras (November 14, 2006): "The British media is reporting that civil and criminal trials in the UK may soon be televised. According to the Nov. 13, 2006 Reuters article Courtroom TV could be a step nearer, '(P)roposals that could lead to television cameras being installed in courts could soon be set out by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, head of the judiciary. A five-week pilot was started in Nov 2004 in the Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice in London and the consultation process was completed in the summer of 2005'."
  • Report on Televising U.S. Supreme Court and Other Federal Court Proceedings (November 29, 2006): "The Federation of American Scientists has made available on its website a report by the Congressional Research Service entitled Televising Supreme Court and Other Federal Court Proceedings: Legislation and Issues (...) 'This report also discusses the arguments that have been presented by proponents and opponents of electronic media coverage of federal court proceedings, including the possible effect on judicial proceedings, separation of powers concerns, the purported educational value of such coverage, and possible security and privacy concerns. Finally, the report discuses the various options Congress may address as it considers legislation, including which courts should be covered, whether media coverage should be authorized or required, possible security and privacy safeguards, and the type of media coverage that would be permitted'."
  • Maryland Appeals Court to Webcast (December 1, 2006): "The Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, will provide live webcasts of its proceedings, 'hoping to be ready in time to broadcast arguments set for Dec. 4 in a high-profile case involving gay marriage,' according to an Associated Press agency story reprinted in the Houston Chronicle on Nov. 27, 2006. Maryland will thus join other U.S. states. The newspaper story explains that '(A)bout half of the appellate state courts (...) allow coverage of hearings on the Web or on cable channels'."
  • U.S. Judiciary To Make Court Proceeding Recordings Available Online (March 19, 2007): "The legal news site JURIST is reporting that the Judicial Conference of the United States has approved a pilot program to make free audio recordings of court proceedings available online."
  • Webcasting of Ontario Court Proceedings To Start Soon (May 27, 2007): "At the end of last week, the Ontario Attorney General's office announced it was going forward with certain recommendations of the Panel on Justice and the Media, including the live streaming of some proceedings of the Court of Appeal for Ontario..."

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

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles Added

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of June 1st to 15th, 2007 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loans to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New Library and Archives Canada Website Launched

The website of Library and Archives Canada has been redesigned.

According to the press release:

"LAC houses Canada's national collection of books, historical documents, government records, photos, films, maps, music and much more. The LAC website is one of the most popular federal government websites, with over one million visits per month".

"The goal of the new design is to provide Canadians with better access to LAC's rich and varied holdings. It has been created with the specific aim of making it easier for the public to find the information they need quickly and efficiently. At the same time, the design will allow LAC's many regular clients -- such as librarians, archivists and genealogical researchers -- to continue to use the collection effectively".

"The new design is also compliant with the recently released 'Common Look and Feel for the Internet 2.0' standards that govern the presentation of Government of Canada websites".
The Common Look and Feel Standards, which can be found on the site of the Treasury Board Secretariat, cover web page naming conventions on federal government websites, accessibility for people with disabilities, usability, web page formats (navigation, layout, banners, language, etc.), and e-mail address conventions.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Upcoming Free Library Webinars From SirsiDynix

The SirsiDynix Institute regularly offers free webinars:
"Attend online as the SirsiDynix Institute presents compelling speakers selected from among leaders in librarianship and information technology. In each biweekly Web conference, presenters will share their expertise and enhance your understanding of current topics important to librarians".
2 interesting events planned for the summer are:
  • Writing for the Library Profession (July 10, 2007): "From blog postings, to periodical and newsletter articles to website content and even to books library staff are increasingly being asked to write (...) This SirsiDynix Institute brings together two library leaders, authors, bloggers and journalists to share their secrets and tips. Both share the experience of putting together this year's bestselling Out Front with Stephen Abram. Judith Siess's latest book is The New OPL Sourcebook: A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries . Their blogs are among the most popular, Stephen's Lighthouse and OPL Plus (not just for OPLs anymore)."
  • Free your content! RSS for Libraries (August 7, 2007): "Paul [Pival —Distance Education Librarian, University of Calgary] and Meredith [Farkas —Distance Learning Librarian, Norwich University] will describe what RSS is and how to use it in a variety of ways in libraries: to make it easier for users to find out about your collections and programs, to push subject-related content to patrons, and to publish dynamic content on a variety of pages. There are many tools that make generating RSS feeds, subscribing to RSS feeds, displaying RSS feeds and mixing RSS feeds an incredibly simply proposition for those with little technical knowledge. In addition, they will show you how to use RSS to easily keep up with the topics you are interested in without having to visit multiple websites each day."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:04 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Issue of Global Legal Monitor (Law Library of Congress)

The May 2007 issue of the Global Legal Monitor is available on the site of the Law Library of Congress.

It is a publication of the Law Library of Congress that provides regular updates on legal developments from around the world. The current issue covers topics ranging from abortion to women.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Governments Willing to Learn From the People on Web 2.0?

The Law Librarian Blog, in a post entitled Government 2.0, draws attention to discussion in the UK of a new official report, The Power of Information, that calls on government institutions to actively engage with citizens who are out there using and inventing new interactive Web 2.0 tools.

The Law Librarian Blog quotes from an article in The Guardian that describes the vision:
"Imagine Government 2.0. Wisdom no longer flows from officialdom to the population, but is co-created with citizens. Civil servants contribute openly to Facebook groups on controversies of the day. Government websites have wiki areas where people can exchange tips about filing tax returns or claiming benefits. Databases of restaurant inspections, tide tables and postcodes are available for all to see and re-use in mashups of geography, time or events. Before launching a new online public service, the government checks to see whether a user community is already doing it better. In short, government learns to let go of the web".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary on Immigration Bill

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just released a legislative summary of Bill C-57: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow immigration officers to refuse to authorize foreign nationals to work in Canada if they are judged to be at risk of exploitation or trafficking.

It is possible to follow the progress of the Bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo site. LEGISinfo provides RSS feeds for updates about legislation in front of the federal parliament.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 18, 2007

SLA 2007 Conference Papers Online

Many of the conference papers presented at the recent SLA (Special Libraries Association) 2007 conference in Denver, Colorado, are now available online.

For further coverage of SLA conferences:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More on Google Privacy Controversy

This is a follow-up to last week's Library Boy post entitled Google at Bottom of International Privacy Ranking Study.

David Fraser, who writes the Canadian Privacy Law Blog, has a few comments on the issue. I only got around to reading his posts yesterday:
  • Google's uphill privacy battle: "I spoke with Briony Smith of IT Business about the recent Privacy International report that put Google at the bottom of their study on the privacy practices of online businesses. She also spoke with Phillipa Lawson and Richard Rosenberg [British Columbia Freedom of Information and Privacy Association]."
  • Google privacy counsel acknowledges policy 'is vague': "In a recent interview with the BBC, the global privacy counsel for Google has acknowledged their policy is vague and could be made more clear."

There are more links from the discussion at Techmeme.

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

RefWorld: UN Agency Launches Online Refugee Country of Origin Information Collection

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has announced the creation of an online tool for use by those who have to make decisions on the status of people who have fled their homes.

The tool is called Refworld:

"Refworld contains a vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks. The information has been carefully selected and compiled from UNHCR's global network of field offices, Governments, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and judicial bodies".

On the same issue, last month, the legal research site LLRX.com published a new research guide entitled Guide to International Refugee Law Resources on the Web:

"The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is now over 50 years old. What impact has this instrument had on resolving refugee problems and how effective has it been as the principal standard for the international protection of refugees? Although the total refugee and asylum-seeking population has dipped since the early 1990s, over 20 million 'persons of concern' can still be counted in the world today. Moreover, debates continue to rage as to the nature of the protection that refugees should be granted, the role of the international community, and the obligations of receiving countries towards refugees. This guide directs readers to some of the key texts and resources available on the Web that can help shed light on, and provide a context for, many of the issues currently being deliberated in the refugee law arena".
Earlier Library Boy posts dealing with refugee issues include:
  • "Forced Migration Online": An International Refugee Portal (October 27, 2005): "Forced Migration Online describes itself as 'a comprehensive web site that provides access to a diverse range of relevant information resources on forced migration' (...) The subject coverage includes: Causes of flight; Conditions in countries of origin (...); Responses to forced migration situations (e.g., emergency assistance, relief programmes, legal protection/asylum, resettlement, international humanitarian law, compensation, etc.); Experiences of forced migrants (e.g., adaptation, health, psychosocial issues, racism, etc.); Special groups (e.g., gender issues, children, indigenous peoples, etc.); Repatriation/return (e.g., post-war reconstruction, development/livelihood programmes, etc.)..."
  • Blog on Forced Migration Issues (July 1, 2006): "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'."
  • Background Material on Asylum Producing Countries (November 11, 2006): "ResourceShelf recently drew my attention to the Country of origin information service of the United Kingdom's Home Office: 'Country of Origin Information Service (COI Service) exists to provide accurate, objective, sourced and up-to-date information on asylum seekers' countries of origin, for use by ... officials involved in the asylum determination process'. Other sources of information about 'asylum-producing countries' include: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Country of Origin information (...); Country of Origin Research Documents (Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada) (...); National Documentation Packages (Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada) (...)"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Website Relaunched

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by human rights NGOs and various academic organizations, has just launched its re-designed website.

The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that encourages companies to respect human rights by bringing reports about their conduct - positive & negative - to a global audience.

Among the many features available on the site:

  • The Centre keeps track of the human rights record of over 3,600 corporations worldwide. For example, my corner grocery store only sells Chiquita bananas. Now, I love bananas, they are my favourite fruit but I was wondering whether Chiquita products were OK. So, I checked their human rights record: oh oh! - sorry, I don't think I want Colombian death squads mixed in with my shopping basket
  • "News" and "Feature of the week" on the homepage
  • A very deep archive of news & reports from a wide range of sources on over 160 sectors; 180 countries; 160 issues
  • Materials published come from NGOs, companies & business organisations, the UN, ILO & other intergovernmental organisations, governments & courts, policy experts & academics, social investment analysts
Earlier Library Boy posts about the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre include:
  • Weekly Updates Available from Business and Human Rights Database (March 22, 2005): "Corporate profiles include news stories, items about investigations, lawsuits and enforcement actions, as well as official responses (...) The Centre has also just introduced a new feature, Weekly Updates, which are e-mail alerts with an interesting twist: companies are invited to respond to reports that criticise them, and the responses are included. This is to help keep the updates balanced and encourage companies to publicly address important labour and human rights concerns being raised by civil society organizations such as labour unions, development associations, Third World NGOs, and human rights organizations."
  • Yahoo! and Human Rights Repression in China (September 22, 2005): "The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by Amnesty International and various academic and business organizations, has an update on the case that raises many legal issues. The update includes an article from the San Francisco Chronicle that discusses how foreign Internet firms can resist Chinese government pressures, an official response from Yahoo! on the incident, as well as critical commentaries by 3 human rights experts..."
  • Amnesty International UK and USA's Human Rights, Trade and Investment Matters (June 28, 2006): "I picked up a reference to this document at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. The UK and USA branches of the international human rights NGO Amnesty International released a collection of articles last month that explore the connections between trade, investment and human rights, and consider the potential for integrating human rights into trade and investment agreements."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 14, 2007

2006‑ 2007 Annual Report of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner

Earlier this week, the Minister of National Defence tabled the 2006‑ 2007 Annual Report of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner in the House of Commons.

The Establishment, or CSE, is Canada's national cryptologic agency working under the control of the Department of National Defence. Its code-breakers protect the Government of Canada's IT infrastructure from hostile attacks and provide foreign signals intelligence services. It also provides technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies.

The Commissioner, the Honourable Charles D. Gonthier, Q.C., is the official watchdog over the agency's activities, which include intercepting, decoding, and analyzing phone calls, e-mails and other electronic communications of Canada's international adversaries.

This is Gonthier's first annual report as Commissioner. He used to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the report, he states that the legal interpretation of the appropriate provisions of the National Defence Act that govern ministerial authorizations for private communications intercepts is unclear. This makes it difficult to determine whether the agency is always acting lawfully:

"I am able to report that, overall, the activities of CSE examined during this reporting period complied with the law, with one qualification. It concerned a condition of an information technology security ministerial authorization, which CSE has already undertaken to rectify. A report of CSE's assistance to the RCMP did not provide an assessment of the lawfulness of the activities reviewed, pending a re-examination by CSE of the legal issues raised".

"With respect to the review of CSE's signals intelligence collection activities conducted under ministerial authorization, I would highlight once again my disagreement with the Department of Justice's interpretation of the ministerial authorization provisions of the National Defence Act. When assessing the lawfulness of activities conducted under ministerial authorizations, I have agreed to use the Department of Justice's interpretation for the present pending amendments to the legislation, which I have already urged be made at the earliest opportunity".
Reviews currently underway include examinations of counter-terrorism activities, CSE support to the Canadian domestic counter-espionage and security agency CSIS, the protection of the private information about Canadians that is often collected inadvertently when the agency vacuums up intelligence information, and activities under various ministerial authorizations.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:41 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Federal Government Proposes Special Tribunal to Settle Aboriginal Claims

Yesterday, the federal government unveiled a series of proposals aimed at clearing up the backlog of aboriginal specific claims that are still unsettled.

Specific claims refer to aboriginal grievances that relate to a failure on the part of the federal government to uphold its lawful obligations under historic treaties or to government mismanagement of First Nation funds or other assets for which it is responsible under the Indian Act.

Called the Specific Claims Action Plan, the new government proposal would set up an independent tribunal to resolve existing disputes. The tribunal would be staffed by impartial judges with the authority to make final decisions on claims when negotiations fail.

Details of the proposed legislation will be be drafted by the First Nations, provincial and territorial governments and a bill should be presented in the House of Commons in the fall.

Since 1947, there have been numerous calls for an independent body to adjudicate specific claims. At the moment, there is a Commission that can assist First Nations and the government of Canada in mediating disputes over specific claims but there is no mechanism that binds the federal authorities when a disagreement persists. Many have described the federal government as witness, judge and jury in disputes in which it stands accused of having betrayed First Nations.

The proposal also calls for dedicated funding for settlements in the amount of $250 million a year for 10 years.

According to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1279 specific claims have been submitted to Canada since 1973. 489 of these claims have been concluded and 790 remain outstanding. Of the concluded claims, 282 were settled through negotiations and 207 were resolved through other means, such as an administrative remedy or file closure. There are currently 123 specific claims in negotiations across the country.

More background:
  • Land claims deal should ease tensions: Prentice (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation): "The federal government's proposed plan to improve the native land claims system and settle hundreds of long-standing disputes should help ensure an aboriginal national day of action later this month is peaceful, Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says (...) First Nations leaders say the day of action is designed to draw attention to outstanding land claims, and to the racism and poverty faced by their communities."
  • Prentice wants land claims tribunal ready by 2008 (CTV News): "Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says he hopes to have an independent native land claims tribunal, proposed yesterday by the Tories, up and running by early 2008 (...) First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine spoke shortly after Harper at the same press conference Tuesday and welcomed the government's announcement for change. 'Today is an historic day for First Nations people; today is a day of hope,' he said. 'The independent land claims body in this announcement today represents hope for First Nations people, who have fought for decades for the fair and just resolution of land claims'. The proposed reforms come after an extensive Senate committee report released this year, which suggested Ottawa spent at least $250 million annually to settle claims. Otherwise, the committee warned of escalating standoffs over disputed land."
  • Tribunal proposed to resolve land claims (Toronto Star): "A new process for awarding compensation where Ottawa has broken treaties follows last year's Senate committee report and the recent report of an inquiry into the shooting death of protester Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park. That report rapped Ottawa for failing to settle outstanding disputes with Indians."
  • Negotiation or Confrontation: It's Canada's Choice (Final Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples Special Study on the Federal Specific Claims Process, December 2006): "Until the 1950s, First Nations were prohibited by law from hiring lawyers to pursue these claims – many of which date back 70, 100 or 200 years. Since then impoverished Indian communities have had to fight the federal government in court or else persuade it to acknowledge the claim and negotiate a settlement. Currently, everything is done on Canada’s terms and the government is both defendant and judge. With few resources allocated to find solutions, it can often take twenty or more years from the time a First Nation comes forward with a claim to finally reaching a settlement. Despite the amazing hurdles, almost 300 claims have been settled. In every case where they have been settled, it has meant an immediate improvement in the lives of First Nations people (...) Close to 900 claims sit in the backlog. Things are getting worse rather than better. First Nations have been patient – incredibly patient – but their patience is wearing thin."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:41 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Annual Report on Applications to Review Miscarriages of Justice

In last week's Weekly Checklist of federal government publications, the 2006 annual report by Justice Canada on applications for ministerial review in cases of possible miscarriages of justice is listed:

"Under Canadian law, the Minister of Justice has the legal authority to review a criminal conviction on the basis that there may have been a miscarriage of justice (...)"

"If the Minister is satisfied that those matters provide a reasonable basis to conclude that a miscarriage of justice likely occurred, the Minister may grant the convicted person a remedy - a referral of the case to the court of appeal to be heard as a new appeal or a direction for a new trial. The Minister does not determine an applicant's guilt or innocence - he or she can merely return cases to the courts where those determinations may be made".

"Pursuant to section 696.5 of the Criminal Code, the Minister of Justice is required to submit an annual report to Parliament regarding applications for ministerial review (miscarriages of justice) within six months of the end of the fiscal year. This is the fourth annual report and it covers the period April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006. Under the regulations, the Minister's annual report must address the following matters:

  • the number of applications for ministerial review made to the Minister;
  • the number of applications that have been abandoned or that are incomplete;
  • the number of applications that are at the preliminary assessment stage;
  • the number of decisions that the Minister has made;
  • and any other information that the Minister considers appropriate".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bibliography on Library of Parliament Renovations

The historic Library of Parliament, an architectural treasure here in Ottawa, underwent major renovations from 2002 to 2006. The Supreme Court of Canada building where I work is next door.

Last week, the website of the Parliament of Canada posted a bibliography of materials telling the story of the work that was accomplished.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Library of Parliament renovations include:
  • Library of Parliament Renovations Finally Over (May 17, 2006): "The renovations started in 2002 and are part of the large-scale modernization project of the Parliamentary Precinct, which includes one of the finest collections of neo-Gothic buildings in the world. The Library of Parliament is a veritable architectural gem and is a well-known icon of the Precinct."
  • Renovated Library of Parliament Officially Reopens (May 31, 2006): "Yesterday, the 4-year upgrade to preserve and enhance the Library of Parliament building was officially completed. The project cost $136 million. A ceremony with the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons and the Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, was held to mark the end of the rehabilitation work."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:38 pm 2 comments links to this post

UN Compendium of Innovative E-Government Practices

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat has just released a Compendium of Innovative E-Government Practices:
"Given the complexity of e-Government operations, in an effort to make the path to e-Government clearer and more easily accessible, UNDESA has embarked on an ongoing initiative to compile cases of innovative e-government applications from all geographical regions of the world. This Compendium aims to promote knowledge sharing and exchange of proven e-government applications among countries to promote emulation and to reduce the costs involved in setting up completely new systems".

(...)

"The Compendium covers a wide range of innovative practices, such as the creation of a government portal, the provision of critical information on agriculture, the sharing of information on the human immunodeficiency virus and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), the finding of an innovative way to promote e-commerce in developing countries, the enhancement of public/private partnership and the facilitation of the interaction between government and its citizens".
The document describes a number of justice-related projects, such as:
  • The Electronic Filing System (Federal Court of Australia): "The Federal Court of Australia was the first court in Australia to introduce electronic filing. The Electronic Filing System (eFiling) is the public’s main electronic interface for lodging applications and supporting documentation to the court; eFiling also accepts credit card payments for filing fees. The primary intended audiences for eFiling are litigants in the Federal Court system and the legal profession."
  • The e-Government Code (Italy): "The effort to strengthen the use of ICT [information and communication technologies] in public services has acquired, in Italy, juridical validity thanks to the e-Government Code (eGC), which came into force on 1st January 2006. The eGC is part of an overall strategy that, in the words of the Prime Minister, 'is designed to transform the Public Administration from a handicap to a strength for our competitiveness in the world economy'. Essentially, the EGovernment Code aims to free Italians from numerous, out-of-date bureaucratic procedures. The eGC represents a unique code, which, unifying all the several existing statements, along with defining new ones, will work as a 'digital constitution' for all public operators in the field of ICT."
  • Real Time Crime Center (New York City Police Department): "When New York City detectives respond to a homicide, any piece of information can be critical to solving the crime. And not only do detectives rely on the information, they need it fast. Quickly providing police with essential data is the goal of the city’s new Real Time Crime Center. The $11 million Real Time Crime Center, which first opened in July 2005, conducts rapid analysis of homicides and shootings citywide in order to provide a real-time assessment of emerging crime, crime patterns and potential criminal suspects as well as an up-to-date picture of police resources and their availability throughout the city."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:19 pm 1 comments links to this post

Information Security Week in Quebec

At a press conference earlier today, the Quebec provincial government officially launched the Information Security and Personal Information Protection Week.

Partners include government departments and Crown corporations such as Hydro Québec and Loto Québec as well as private sector groups (Groupe Vidéotron, Mouvement Desjardins, National Bank, Groupe CGI, etc.).

All week long, there will be activities surrounding the issues of identity theft and protection of personal information on the Web.

For those who understand French, there will be online panel discussions on the blog of ISIQ, the Institut pour la sécurité de l'information (Information Security Institute), a public-private partnership.

As part of the launch, the government today released results of a survey of 1070 regular Internet users in Quebec aged 14 years and up conducted on its behalf by Léger Marketing between March 12 and 26, 2007:
  • A majority have the tools to protect their personal data: anti-virus software 89%, firewalls 74%, anti-spyware software 59%
  • 45% of respondents have been the target of Net attacks in one shape or another and 5% claim to have fallen victim to identity theft which, in 26% of cases caused damage to their reputation or financial damage (59% of theft cases)
  • 37% admit to sharing access to their computer (i.e. revealing their password) with family, friends, work colleagues and roommates
  • Finally, 61% recognize that information security is mostly their responsibility or a shared responsibility, vs. only 8% that see it as primarily a government duty

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles Added in May 2007

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of May 1st to 31st, 2007 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library does not lend materials from this list, which is provided for information only."

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loans to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:21 pm 0 comments links to this post

2006 Annual Report of the Canadian Transportation Agency Tackles Disability Issues and Travel Complaints

Last week, the Canadian Transportation Agency tabled its 2006 annual report in the Canadian Parliament.

Last year, the Agency made numerous rulings that should be of interest to legal researchers:

"The year also saw Air Canada, as a result of the Agency's complaint adjudication process, announce that it would enhance its reservation system to give persons with disabilities a greater variety of options when booking their travel online".

"Still with accessible transportation, the Agency developed the fifth in a series of Codes of Practice intended to remove accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities in air, rail and marine passenger terminals (...)"

"The Agency's 2006 Annual Report also contains a more detailed section on air travel complaints, the volume of which increased slightly over the previous year (...) Major air-related rulings by the Agency focused on air carrier liability related to the carriage of animals, mandatory check-in times at airports and airline surcharges for the transportation and handling of firearms..."
The Agency is a quasi-judicial tribunal which administers federal transportation legislation.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Google at Bottom of International Privacy Ranking Study

The NGO Privacy International has just published the results of a 6-month investigation into the privacy practices of companies such as Amazon, BBC, Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and Yahoo!

Entitled A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies.

The study placed Google at the bottom of the list of 20 firms studied:

"We are aware that the decision to place Google at the bottom of the ranking is likely to be controversial, but throughout our research we have found numerous deficiencies and hostilities in Google’s approach to privacy that go well beyond those of other organizations. While a number of companies share some of these negative elements, none comes close to achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy. This is in part due to the diversity and specificity of Google’s product range and the ability of the company to share extracted data between these tools, and in part it is due to Google’s market dominance and the sheer size of its user base. Google’s status in the ranking is also due to its aggressive use of invasive or potentially invasive technologies and techniques".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 08, 2007

International Report on Judicial Corruption

The international organization Transparency International recently released its Global Corruption Report 2007.

This year's report takes a close look at judicial corruption around the world. Judicial corruption can involve outright bribery or political interference in the judicial process.

"(A) corrupt judiciary erodes the international community’s ability to prosecute transnational crime and inhibits access to justice and redress for human rights violations. It undermines economic growth by damaging the trust of the investment community, and impedes efforts to reduce poverty (...)".

"TI’s latest global survey of attitudes towards corruption reveals that in more than twenty-five countries, at least one in ten households had to pay a bribe to get access to justice. In a further twenty countries, more than three in ten households reported that bribery was involved in securing access to justice or a 'fair' outcome in court. In Albania, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan and Venezuela, the figure was even higher".

Earlier Library Boy posts about corruption include:
  • Political Corruption Resources (April 8, 2005): "Canada has been rocked by recent devastating testimony at the Gomery Commission hearings about alleged corruption in the administration of federal government advertising/sponsorship budgets. Many resources exist out there to track the phenomenon of political corruption on the international scale."
  • Global Corruption Report 2006 (February 4, 2006): "Transparency International, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to combating corruption across the world, has just released its Global Corruption Report 2006. The major focus of this year's report is the impact of corruption in the healthcare sector in developing countries."
  • 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (November 8, 2006): "The international NGO Transparency International just released its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index, 'a composite index that draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world (...) It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption'."
  • Government Ethics Watchdog Site Voted World's Best Blog (November 14, 2006): "The U.S.-based Sunlight Foundation website has been voted the world's best blog by an international jury put together by Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcasting service. DW, as it is known, is the equivalent of Radio Canada International (...) The Sunlight Foundation was founded in early 2006 to help U.S. citizens harness the power of digital technology to 'help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy' according to the Foundation website."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:17 pm 1 comments links to this post

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Radio Show on Legal Wikis

A recent edition of the online radio show Lawyer 2 Lawyer, hosted by Law.com bloggers J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi, took a look at the expanding world of legal wikis:

"Are they helping or hurting the law? What does the future hold for Wikis? Are we reshaping years and years of facts through the click of a button? (... guests are:) Martin Farley, an Intellectual Property Law librarian at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, Tom Mighell, Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas and Daniel N. Lewis, entrepreneur and Vice President of Business Development and General Counsel of Wikia, Inc."
Ambrogi is the author of a recent article in Law Technology News entitled Legal Wikis Are Bound to Wow You.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quebec Justice Ministry Wins Technology Prize for Courtroom Modernization

Last week, the Quebec Ministry of Justice was the winner of an OCTAS award for its program of digital recordings of courthouse hearings.

OCTAS awards are handed our annually by the Fédération d'informatique du Québec, an information technology association.

The Ministry of Justice won in the category "Technological Innovation - Firms with more than 250 employees" for its SIIJ project, or Système intégré d'information de justice (Integrated Justice Information System).

In place since about one year ago, SIIJ offers, among other things, a digital recording system installed in 400 courtrooms in some 57 courthouses throughout the province. It has allowed for the creation of a central database of recordings of verbal arguments that are archived for 10 years.

The number of people involved is huge: some 400 judges and their judicial assistants, 400 court clerks, techies, etc.

As one of the largest courtroom digital modernization projects in North America, the interest and impact of SIIJ is obvious. For example, via the SIIJ network, a judge hearing a case in Sept-Iles who has to attend a conference in Montreal can access a high quality audio version of the hearing while in Montreal if he or she needs to.

There is a 2003 description of the principles behind the implementation of SIIJ on the website of the Ministry of Justice of Quebec.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Live Amnesty International Webcast on Internet Censorship

On Wednesday June 6 in London, UK, Amnesty International will be hosting an event on global internet censorship.

It is part of Amnesty's Irrepressible.info campaign that tackles the issues surrounding internet repression.

Who's doing it? How are they doing it? and how might ordinary citizens be able to get around it? Amnesty will bring together bloggers, writers, technologists, lawyers, journalists, and cyberdissidents.

It will be possible to watch the discussions live by webcast.

I referred to Amnesty's Irrepressible.info campaign in a May 29, 2006 post entitled Amnesty International Launches Campaign Against Internet Censorship.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Update on Olympic Games Trade-marks Bill

This is a follow-up to the May 31, 2007 post entitled New Library of Parliament Research Publications that mentioned Bill C-47: The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act (Library of Parliament backgrounder). The bill "gives the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Organizing Committee) considerable powers to prevent the use of Olympic marks by businesses or individuals seeking to profit from an unauthorized association with the 2010 Games."

The legislation has been fast-tracked through Parliament. This has some analysts, as well as some members of Parliament, worried. As University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has noted in posts on the issue, "most of the MPs engaged in the debate recognized that the bill grants the Vancouver Olympic Organizing committee (VANOC) enormous power that should be carefully analyzed and should not be permitted to chill free speech, parody, or other legitimate activities." (May 18, 2007 post)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

SLA 2007 Conference Blog

My boss is in Denver, Colorado this week attending the annual conference of SLA (aka Special Libraries Association as it once was known).

SLA tends to have an interesting conference blog and this year is no exception for those of us who are curious to follow what is happening there this week.

Am I jealous I didn't get to go to the Rockies? Nah. I'm not complaining. I get to go to the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries July 14-17.

In New Orleans.

Where I am sure most foreigners like me would rather be. Because of the contents of the conference, of course. Nothing at all to do with all the other stuff about the city.

The AALL conference blog is called The Second Line Blog. Second Line refers to a New Orleans jazz tradition.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 04, 2007

Search Engine Overlap Growing Smaller

A new study has just come out to remind people why it is important not to put all their search eggs in one basket and use more than one Internet search engine.

The search engine Dogpile, in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and Pennsylvania State University, compared the results on Google, Ask, Yahoo and Microsoft for a large number of random searches.

Dogpile had conducted a similar study in 2005, when it found that "84.9 percent of results on search engines were unique to one engine and not found on competitor sites," according to an article on the site Search Engine Land. In 2007, there is "further divergence and even less overlap: only 0.6 percent first page search results were the same across the engines".

Earlier Library Boy posts about the uniqueness of search engines and their results include:
  • Dogpile Metasearch Displays Results Overlap (March 16, 2005): "By comparing results side-by-side, it quickly becomes apparent that each search engine has its own unique view of the web. If you rely on a single source for search results, you're often missing a significant chunk of the web..."
  • Search Engine Overlap Even Smaller Than Assumed (August 9, 2005): "The implications of these findings are significant for both searchers and marketers. Searchers relying on a single search engine are missing a vast swath of web content that they could easily find simply by trying their queries on other engines... Effectively, for more than two-thirds of all queries, each search engine is likely to give you completely different results."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Using Wikipedia to Boost Traffic to Digital Collections

There are 2 recent items that explain how libraries can harness the power of Web 2.o applications like Wikipedia to extend the reach of their collections and capture the attention of users who do not think of libraries when it comes to searching for information:
  • The May/June 2007 issue of D-Lib Magazine has an article entitled Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections by 2 authors from the University of Washington Libraries. The articles describes "a project to integrate the UW Libraries Digital Collections into the information workflow of our students by inserting links into the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The idea for this project grew out of our reading of OCLC's 2005 report Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources which states that only 2% of college and university students begin searching for information at a library web site. It is, therefore, incumbent upon Librarians to look for new ways to reach out to our users where they begin their information search."
  • The Free Government Information blog reports on the case of the University of North Texas libraries that greatly increased the usage of their local digital document and photograph collections by adding relevant links to Wikipedia articles. They created links in 600 different Wikipedia articles back to the library material. They report 400,000 unique users who visited them by clicking through from Wikipedia.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:29 am 0 comments links to this post

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ipperwash Report on 1995 Shooting of Aboriginal Protestor Dudley George

Yesterday, Commissioner Sidney Linden released his long awaited report into the 1995 death of Dudley George, who was killed by a police sniper during an occupation of the Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario by local aboriginal protestors.

The protestors were unarmed and had occupied the park grounds in an attempt to force the federal government to give them back land seized during World War Two for military purposes. The Native protestors claimed the land had once contained a sacred burial ground.

Linden's inquiry blamed the government of former Ontario premier Mike Harris for its impatience in the dispute, and the Ontario provincial police for cultural insensitivity and racism, faulty intelligence and poor communications.

He also criticized the federal government for the initial expropriation and then for its repeated neglect and failure to give back the land as promised.

In his public remarks at the presentation of the report, Linden outlined the historical context and warned that Native frustration at the slow progress of land claims talks continues to grow in Canada.

The report makes numerous recommendations to improve how law enforcement and political authorities deal with Native protests and blockades and to facilitate the settling of aboriginal land and treaty claims. It also recommends that the federal government immediately return the former army camp, now a provincial park, to the affected Native people and offer an apology and compensation for the more than 60 years of foot-dragging.

For more information:
  • The Ipperwash Inquiry (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - CBC News In Depth report)
  • Ontario apologizes for Ipperwash (Globe and Mail, web page contains links to many other related stories): "The Ontario government has apologized for the events that led to Dudley George's death and pledged to move forward in honour of his memory. David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs, announced the formation of an Ipperwash response team to implement the recommendations of Commissioner Sidney Linden in his inquiry report released Thursday. Mr. Ramsay said this was a 'turning point' for the province, which will benefit all Ontarians."
  • Ipperwash warning: Heal native scars (Toronto Star, web page contains links to many other related stories): "Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice did not issue an apology, but said the government would move quickly to give land that used to be occupied by a military base in Ipperwash Provincial Park back to the Kettle and Stony Point people. The government took it in 1942 and the occupation of the park began in September 1995 to highlight the demand for the return of the base."

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