Saturday, May 31, 2008

List of Law Libraries in Facebook

Duke Law Librarian Jennifer L. Behrens has put together a list of law libraries with a presence on the social network Facebook.

The list appears on the new Law Libraries and Librarians network on the Ning website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

YouTube Videos on Legal Information Institutes Worldwide

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University has posted 3 videos on YouTube about the many portals of free online legal information known as "LIIs" such as CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) or BAILII (British and Irish LII):
Interview material was recorded at the International Conference Law Via the Internet in Montreal, 2007.

[Source: BarclayBlog, Syracuse University School of Law]

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Friday, May 30, 2008

2007-2008 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Official Languages

On Thursday, Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages, tabled his annual report for 2007-2008 in Parliament.

His report is severely critical of federal government efforts to live up to its obligations under the Official Languages Act.

Fraser faults Ottawa for failing to show leadership and for its tardiness in coming up with a new Action Plan for Official Languages to replace the old one that expired in late March. The old plan had invested close to $800 million over 5 years to help official language minority communities develop health and educational institutions and to bolster public servant language training.

While it was not an issue covered in the report, Fraser did take advantage of his press conference to jump into the debate over Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bastarache's replacement. The bilingual New Brunswick judge is retiring next month. Fraser described as essential the naming of bilingual judges to the Supreme Court.

He also criticized the government's decision to scrap the Court Challenges Program. In the past, the Program had provided funding to minority language groups to prepare Charter challenges before the courts.

Last year, the Commissioner's office received 884 complaints, of which 72% were deemed admissible.

The institutions subject to the most admissible complaints were in order: Air Canada (in the lead), followed by Canada Post, Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency and National Defence. This is not surprising: by virtue of their mandate, they tend to have the most direct and regular contact with the public.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Amnesty International Report 2008

The international human rights NGO Amnesty International published its 2008 annual report earlier this week:

"Amnesty International's Report 2008, shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries."

"Amnesty International challenged governments to set a new paradigm for collective leadership based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (...) "

"The report highlights the following trends:

  • Targeting of civilians by armed groups and government forces with impunity;
  • Pervasive violence against women;
  • Promotion of torture and ill-treatment as acceptable modes of intelligence gathering;
  • Suppression of dissent and attacks on journalists and activists;
  • Lack of protection for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants;
  • Denial of economic and social rights; and
  • Evasion of corporate accountability for human rights abuses."
The report's section on Canada highlights a number of concerns, including aboriginal rights, civil liberties in the context of the "war on terror", women's rights, refugee rights, the use of Tasers, and the reversal of Canada's long-standing policy to always seek clemency for Canadians sentenced to death abroad.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:39 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada on Courtroom Modernization

The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court recently interviewed Louise Meagher, the Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada, about our Court Modernization Project.

The interview covers a number of points:
  • the arrival of "e-hearings": judges, counsel and the media will have electronic access to all filings and documents in the courtroom starting in the October 2008 session
  • the draft Policy for Access to Court Records fo the Court: this proviudes for the possibility of posting appeal factums on the Court's website (currently being circulated to stakeholders)
  • the possibility of webcasts and podcasts of oral arguments (under consideration)
  • the implementation of full-blown e-filing by 2009

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

2007-2008 Annual Report of Canada's Information Commissioner

Earlier this week, Robert Marleau, Information Commissioner of Canada, released his 2007-2008 annual report to Parliament.

This was Mr. Marleau's first full year in the position. The Information Commissioner is an independent federal official who reports directly to Parliament on access to information issues concerning federal institutions.

According to the backgrounder:

"This period was marked by considerable interest in the issue of access to government information and in the role of the Commissioner and his office in investigating complaints."

"The interest was partially spurred by changes to the Access to Information Act arising from the Federal Accountability Act, which included a significant increase in the number of institutions subject to the Act (70 to bring the total to more than 250). Another contributing factor was public debate about access to government information, sparked in particular by Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. There has also been ongoing, and welcome, scrutiny of the Commissioner’s effectiveness at using his influence as ombudsman to foster a culture of openness in government."

"The Commissioner and his office faced numerous challenges in the past year, not the least of which being a significant backlog of complaints waiting to be handled. The number of new complaints received increased by 80 percent from the previous year."
A statistical breakdown of last year's activities shows that 1,381 investigations of complaints into how various federal institutions handled access to information requests were completed.

The report also describes a few notable investigations including requests for information about Health Canada's Hospitals Injury Reporting database, the Afghanistan mission, Blackberry messages of the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, and operations of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Law librarians might also be interested in the report's section summarizing several key access to information court cases that were decided in 2007-2008.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

Federal Government Announces Selection Process for Next Supreme Court of Canada Justice

Yesterday, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced the selection process that will be used to to fill the recent vacancy at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Michel Bastarache is stepping down. His replacement must by tradition come from one of Canada's 4 Atlantic povinces.

For the selection process, the government has said it will follow this procedure:
  • the federal government will consult with the Attorneys General of the four Atlantic provinces as well as the legal community
  • a list of qualified candidates will be reviewed by a selection panel composed of five Members of Parliament, of which 3 will be Opposition members. The panel will forward a short list of 3 candidates to the Prime Minister
  • the nominee will appear at a public hearing in front of an ad hoc parliamentary committee for questioning
  • if all goes well, that nominee gets the job

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:20 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CALL 2008 Conference - New Product Announcements

Library conferences are where vendors often make new product announcements and the 2008 conference of the Canadian Law Libraries Association in Saskatoon is no exception.

Here are some of the new products or product enhancements law librarians can expect:
  • WestlaweCarswell is introducing KeyCite for Regulations as of this week: all regulations, Canadian or foreign, that have been referred to in any Canadian case since 1997 can now be noted up in KeyCite
  • WestlaweCarswell will also be introducing Words and Phrases (judicial interpretation of terms) as of this fall as a service in LawSource: coverage will be comprehensive as of 1977 and selective for the 1940s-mid-70s period. Words and Phrases will also be displayed in KeyCite results along with the usual judicial treatment and history of cases and references to secondary authorities
  • Carswell plans a major overhaul of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest: a 4th edition is in the works, with a full update of the 3rd edition to take place over the next 3 years. In the fall of 2008, 63 titles will be completely renewed. In the electronic version, the material will be organized into bigger scrowlable units
  • CCH Canadian Legislative Pulse will now have regulation tracking capability right on the home page alongside the statutes. Federal and provincial regulations will be searchable by title, reg number, and enacting legislation. Links to full text in the federal and/or provincial Gazettes are provided
  • Lexis-Nexis is making it easier to access international content on Quicklaw, including France's JurisClasseur and Halsbury's Laws of England
  • Quicklaw will also continue expanding its practice-specific portals. These portals (for IP, immigration, employment, family and, soon, criminal practice) offer e-access to top treatises, relevant Halsbury's Laws of Canada volumes, annotated Acts and practice guides and/or court rules, forms and precedents, case digests and benchmark classics like Sopinka on Evidence)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

CALL 2008 Conference - Vendor Liaison Committee

The Vendor Liaison Committee held its business meeting Sunday as part of the 2008 annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Saskatoon.

The major project of the Committee last year involved developing a code of good practices for loose-leaf publications.

Another major initiative was to create a Librarian-Vendor Relation - Best Practices list that also includes links to publishers' customer service policies all in one convenient location.

For next year's conference, the Committee is thinking of planning panel discussions on either electronic usage reports or on how to be an effective consumer or an effective vendor rep.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 26, 2008

CALL 2008 Conference - Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Meeting

The 2008 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries is underway in Saskatoon.

Yesterday morning, the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group or SIG (of which I am co-chair) held its business meeting.

Among the bits of member news, here are some of the major announcements:
  • the Supreme Court of Canada Library made its A-to-Z serials list available to the general public and it has also launched a review of its collection development policy (looking especially at possible changes to its foreign collections and the impact of any changes on academic and law society library partners)
  • the Nova Scotia Barristers Society Library in the past year has launched a new website, new resource lists, new quantum charts and is now working on producing new annotated rules of procedure. It is also proud of its training initiative that involves sending a librarian to travel to law offices around the province
  • the British Columbia Courthouse Library Society received funding to increase access to legal materials in public libraries and to create a portal to act as a unified point of access to the many sources of public legal education and information in British Columbia. As well, the Society has launched a series of legal research video tutorials

Over the next year, the SIG will freshen up its mandate and terms of reference, and explore ways of enhancing its web presence.

For the 2009 CALL conference in Halifax, the SIG will be looking at various programming possibilities. Possible topics that the co-chairs will look at (that is Susan Jones from the Nova Scotia Barristers Society and myself) include: self-represented litigants, specialized tribunals (e.g. mental health courts, aboriginal healing circles etc.), and/or courts in the movies and pop culture.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2008

I am off to the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries taking place in Saskatoon, May 25-28.

On Monday, I am moderating a panel on Access to Electronic Court Records and Privacy.

Speakers are:
I hope to find time to blog about the conference.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:14 am 0 comments links to this post

Searchable PDFs of English Reports Full Reprint (1220-1865)

The HeinOnline Weblog reports that the cases in the English Reports Full Reprint (1220-1865) collection on HeinOnline have been converted to searchable PDFs.


HeinOnline has even created a video tutorial on YouTube. The complete HeinOnline video collection on YouTube has 13 videos at last count.

It would have been nice to know. Yesterday, I had to retrieve a number of old British cases from our print collection of the English Reports. Didn't even know they were all on HeinOnline.

D'oh!

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:04 am 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 23, 2008

Library of Parliament Summaries on Food and Consumer Safety Bills

There are legislative summaries by the Library of Parliament for two consumer safety bills currently making their way through the federal legislature:
  • An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (Bill C-51): "The bill essentially overhauls the existing Food and Drugs Act by restructuring its format and replacing pages of existing text with new text that does not necessarily relate in any way to the existing text. In addition to technical and consequential amendments, and the inclusion of new definitions, new regulation-making powers, transitional provisions and consequential amendments, the bill: creates new offences relating to food, therapeutic products (a new term used in the bill that includes drugs) and cosmetics; requires licences for importing food and for interprovincial trade in food; makes amendments to therapeutic product licensing; expands the powers of inspectors; adds new 'Administration and Enforcement' measures, including mandatory recalls of therapeutic products and cosmetics; substantially increases the penalties relating to offences; and provides for the disclosure of confidential business information in certain circumstances."
  • Consumer Product Safety Act (Bill C-52): "This bill is designed to repeal and replace Part I of the Hazardous Products Act, creating a new system to regulate consumer products that pose, or might reasonably be expected to pose, a danger to human health and safety. Bill C-52: prohibits the sale of certain listed products and provides for testing and evaluation of consumer products; makes it mandatory for manufacturers, importers, and sellers of consumer products to report dangerous incidents associated with these products to the Minister of Health; obliges manufacturers, importers and sellers of consumer products to report product or labelling defects that result, or might reasonably be expected to result, in death or serious adverse effects on health, including serious injury, to the Minister of Health; requires manufacturers, importers and sellers of consumer products to report recalls of consumer products initiated by governments and government institutions in Canada or elsewhere to the Minister of Health; provides for the inspection and seizure of consumer products for the purpose of verifying compliance or non-compliance with the bill’s provisions; empowers the federal government to institute interim and permanent recalls of products that pose, or might reasonably be expected to pose, a danger to human health or safety; and establishes both criminal and administrative penalties for those who violate the CCPSA or orders made under it. "
It is possible to follow progress of the 2 bills via RSS feeds available on the following pages:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:18 pm 1 comments links to this post

Human Security Brief 2007 Shows Decline in Terrorism

The Human Security Report Project research team at Simon Fraser University’s School for International Studies in Vancouver released its Human Security Brief 2007 earlier this week.

"This Brief focuses on three main issues. First, it challenges the expert consensus that the threat of terrorism—especially Islamist terrorism—is increasing. It tracks a remarkable but largely unnoticed decline in the incidence of terrorism around the world, including a sharp decrease in deadly assaults perpetrated by al-Qaeda’s loosely knit Islamist global terror network. "

"Second, it analyzes the marked decline in the number and deadliness of armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa that has taken place since the end of the 1990s. It attributes this decline—and the parallel but longer-term fall in coups d’état in the region—to a significant increase in international initiatives directed towards stopping ongoing political violence and preventing it from restarting."

"Third, it updates the global trend data on armed conflicts, battle-deaths, coups d’état, and human rights abuses that were reported in the Human Security Report 2005 and Human Security Brief 2006. It finds that there has been little net change in recent years in the number of conflicts in which a government is one of the warring parties, but that other forms of political violence, including communal conflicts, have declined."

The Human Security Report Project’s mission is to undertake research on global and regional trends in political violence. It manages the Human Security Gateway, an online database of human security resources.

It is funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

For analysis of the 2007 Brief, see the BBC news story Is global terror threat falling?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Launches Online Book to Help With Compliance

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has launched a new online book to help businesses comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the federal private sector privacy law.

Entitled Leading by Example: Key Developments in the First Seven Years of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the book "is meant to share the insights we have gained since the Act’s inception by highlighting some of the leading case findings we’ve released on a number of important issues. The issues profiled in this report reflect current and growing concerns for businesses and their customers alike, such as the increasing surveillance phenomenon, trans-border data flows, the prevalence of data breaches, and the proliferation of using information collected for secondary marketing purposes."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:45 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Report of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities

15 months after its creation by the Quebec government, and after extensive public hearings in all regions of the province on the issue of how far society should go to accommodate requests for religious and cultural adjustments from individuals from minority groups, the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences finally released its report and recommendations.

The 2 commissioners, sociologist Gérard Bouchard and philosopher Charles Taylor, make 37 recommendations.

Among them, they suggest that the government prepare an official White Paper on secularism ("laïcité"), that it promote interculturalism and provide better funding to diversity programs, that it provide training to institutions about best practices in cultural adjustments so as to encourage the dejudicializing of the handling of accommodation requests, that it do more to integrate newcomers into a French-speaking majority society and that it offer better protection to those newcomers against all forms of discrimination.

When it comes to religious symbols, one of the flashpoints in the debate, the Commission recommends that all public officials who embody the authority and the neutrality of the state and its institutions, such as judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and the president and vice-president of the National Assembly of Québec be prohibited from wearing any (hijab, crucifix, etc.).

However, teachers, public servants, health professionals and all other government employees would be authorized to do so.

13 expert consultant reports are also available on the Commission website.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the reasonable accommodation debate in Quebec include:

  • Quebec Hearings on Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities Begin Next Month (August 15, 2007): "The Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences was created by the provincial government last spring after a number of incidents involving clashes or controversies between members of minority groups, in particular religious minorities, and the members of the highly secularized French-speaking majority that overthrew the restraints of its earlier conservative Catholic culture more than 40 years ago during the 'Quiet Revolution' of the 1960s. The Commission's consultation document is available online".
  • Policy Options Sept. 2007 Issue on Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities (September 11, 2007): "The Sept. 2007 issue of Policy Options, a journal of the Montreal think tank Institute for Research on Public Policy, contains a number of articles on the issue of reasonable accommodation of minorities, in particular religious minorities. The issue was published just as public hearings of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on state secularism, immigrant integation and relations between minorities and the French-speaking majority of the province get underway in Quebec."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting it Right: The Report of the Ontario Bar Association Justice Stakeholder Summit

The Ontario Bar Association recently released its report entitled Getting it Right: The Report of the Ontario Bar Association Justice Stakeholder Summit:
"The report comes out of the three-day Justice Stakeholder Summit held in June 2007. The Summit asked legal stakeholders to look at the problems and barriers in the system and to develop recommendations for ways that these could be addressed. Discussions focused on civil, criminal and family law."

"The resulting report details a variety of practical solutions to the very real problems that all those who participated face on a regular basis. The recommendations include:
  • Increasing the judicial complement to better reflect the growing population in Ontario
  • Better integration of justice services, such as in matters of domestic violence that may involve both criminal and family law issues
  • Providing better tools to educate the public about the justice system
  • Creating specialty courts to deal with drug offences, mental health patients and domestic violence"
Earlier Library Boy posts on reform to the justice system include:
  • Review of Ontario Civil Justice System (July 19, 2006): "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."
  • Canadian Civil Justice Reform Database (August 11, 2007): "The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at the University of Alberta has created what it calls a knowledgebase of civil justice reforms in Canada: 'The Inventory contains descriptions of reform initiatives from across the country, each described according to a standard format that includes information on the purpose, development, implementation, and evaluation of the reform'."
  • Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published (November 24, 2007): "Mr. Osborne carried out province-wide consultations, researched civil justice studies and reforms in other jurisdictions, and reviewed over 60 written submissions from legal associations, lawyers, members of the judiciary and the public. The summary report contains 81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and substantive law, including unrepresented litigants, small claims, trial management, appeals, technology, courtroom civility and proportionality."
  • Ontario Launches Review of Complex Criminal Cases (Febrruary 25, 2008): "Patrick LeSage, former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and Michael Code, a University of Toronto law professor, have been assigned by the Ontario government to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures."
  • Government May Consider Radical Reforms To Fix Broken Criminal Trial System (April 8, 2008): "At a recent University of Ottawa conference, University of Toronto law professor Michael Code warned that 'unprofessional conduct' by defence and Crown attorneys in large criminal cases has governments contemplating far-reaching reforms to make the trial process more efficient (...) some of the changes being debated behind the scenes include: '(...) expanding the power of judges to vigorously manage the seemingly endless pretrial motions; restricting the timing, procedure and form of disclosure; expanding legal aid officials’ ability to oversee and restrain the legal aid budgets of long criminal trials, and restructuring the legal aid tariff to economically reward brevity and efficiency and deter inefficiency; and adding jury alternates to ensure that long, arduous trials don’t end in mistrials because jury members have dropped out'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:06 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ontario to Propose Apology Law

After the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, it appears that Ontario is interested in debating an apology law.

Liberal David Orazietti has sponsored a bill (referred to the provincial legislature's Standing Committee on Social Policy after 2nd reading) that would allow an individual or organization to apologize for an accident or wrongdoing without it being considered an admission of liability admissible in a civil proceeding.

Earlier Library Boy posts about apology laws:
  • Apology Acts - Saying 'Sorry' Without Incurring Liability (November 19, 2006): "The province of Saskatchewan will amend its Evidence Act to allow individuals and corporations to offer a sincere apology as part of their dispute resolution process without fear of legal liability... the provincial Justice Minister is quoted as saying: 'Within legal parameters, I think individuals are very concerned about saying anything that might cause them some legal liabilities and we want to clarify that for people(...) We believe that this will allow matters of dispute between citizens to be resolved, in many cases without a lawsuit. Because sometimes it's not the financial compensation, it's the desire for restoration, for an apology, for an acknowledgment that somebody was hurt'."
  • Analysis and Critique of Apology Laws (January 14, 2007): "Marlynn Wei of the Yale Law School has just published an article in the Journal of Health Law, 2007 entitled 'Doctors, Apologies, and the Law: An Analysis and Critique of Apology Laws' (available for download via the Social Science Research Network) ..."
  • Pros and Cons of Apology Legislation (March 26, 2008): "The most recent edition of The Lawyers Weekly features the article 'Saying sorry: Apology legislation makes it a lot easier' by Ellen Desmond, past chair of the national section for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Canadian Bar Association, and sessional lecturer in dispute resolution at the University of New Brunswick’s faculty of law."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Adult and Youth Court Statistics

Statistics Canada today released 2 reports:
Among the major findings:
  • Cases in adult criminal courts are taking longer to complete. It took an average of 8 months to dispose of a case in adult court in 2006-2007 vs. 6 months 5 years earlier. Statistics Canada explains that much of the delay may be due to the rising proportion of cases involving multiple charges.
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of adult cases received a guilty disposition in 2006/2007. In a large majority of these cases (89%), the accused had pleaded guilty. The Criminal Code traffic offences category had the highest share of cases with a finding of guilt (79%). The lowest (53%) occurred in crimes against the person.
  • In 2006/2007, probation was the most frequently imposed sanction (43%) in adult cases having a guilty finding. Custody was imposed in 34% of cases, and a fine in 30%.
  • Fewer young people aged 12 to 17 have been appearing before a judge since the enactment of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) in April 2003, and fewer are being sent to custody. The case load is 26% lower than in 2002/2003, the year prior to the enactment of the new legislation.
  • A key objective of the YCJA was to decrease the use of custody. In 2006/2007, about 17% or 5,640 of all guilty cases resulted in a custodial sentence. This compares with 13,246 or 27% of all guilty cases in 2002/2003.

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

Supreme Court of Canada Journal Titles A-to-Z List

The Supreme Court of Canada Library has released its Journal Titles (A-Z) list. Access is via the Library's home page or via the catalogue.

Journal Titles (A-Z) is a combined list of the periodicals in the Library's print and licensed electronic resources collections, and of legal journals openly available on the Internet.

A title may exist in multiple alternate formats. The results for any specific periodical provide details about the period covered in each database or in our print collection. Access to the licensed electronic collections is only possible using your institution's authentication process.

This is what results look like for the McGill Law Journal.

The Supreme Court of Canada Library hopes the A-to-Z list will prove useful in helping outside clients discover where any particular periodical may be available.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 19, 2008

Real Life Library Job Titles

Wow. I didn't know there were so many different ways out there to describe us!

The beSpacific blog points to Real Job Titles for Library and Information Science Professionals, a compilation put together by writer Michelle Mach.

As she writes, "Job titles used to be fairly simple: Librarian, Cataloger, Director. The following job titles have been found in job listings in American Libraries, College and Research Libraries News, or have been sent to me by employed 'librarians'."

I noticed that my old title is not in the list. In an earlier job, I was a "Communications Librarian".

Do these titles mean anything to non-librarians? Or are we just trying to sound and look sophisticated? What does an Electronic Resources Access Specialist do anyway?

Jus' askin'

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

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quebec Government E-Gov Current Awareness Bulletin

If any readers speak French and are interested in e-government developments, they should think of subscribing to the Bulletin d'information e-Veille.

The monthly online publication is put together for the Quebec Ministry of Government Services by the CEFRIO research group and tackles issues relating to domestic and international trends in the deployment of online government services, IT security and governance, digital inclusion, online democracy, digital authentification, and "government 2.0" initiatives.

The most recent issue, dated March 2008, is about green e-government: how to reduce the environmental footprint of IT and government activities, and how to development green IT procurement policies.

[Source: CultureLibre.ca, a blog by Concordia University librarian Olivier Charbonneau]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Statistics Canada Report on Youth Crime

Interesting coincidence: on the same day last week that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act that required teenagers convicted of serious crimes to be sentenced as adults unless they could show a youth sentence was warranted, a new Statistics Canada report on youth crime was released:
"...property crime rates were down and the overall rate of youth crime was 6% lower than a decade earlier and 25% below the peak in 1991, according to a new [report] based on police-reported statistics."

"In 2006, nearly 180,000 young people were implicated in some violation of the Criminal Code, excluding traffic offences. This translates to a youth crime rate of 6,885 youth accused for every 100,000 young people in this age group."

"This study showed that the rate of violent crime among young people increased 12% in 10 years, and 30% since 1991. While property crime rates have declined over the course of the previous decade, these types of offences still accounted for about 4 in 10 youth crimes in 2006."

"Drug-related crimes among youth have also climbed dramatically. The rate of drug offences among youth in 2006 was nearly twice what it was 10 years earlier."
Youth homicide rates have risen 41 per cent since 1997. However, there are so few youth homicides every year that rates can fluctuate substantially.

In the Supreme Court of Canada ruling R. v. D.B. mentioned above, a 5-4 majority ruled that the reverse onus placed on young offenders to prove why they should not be sentenced as an adult runs counter to the principle that young people are less morally blameworthy for criminal conduct because of their lack of maturity.

The onus to prove that a youth should be given an adult sentence after having been found guilty of a serious violent offence should fall on the Crown, the Court ruled.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:26 pm 1 comments links to this post

Friday, May 16, 2008

Current State of Federalism Studies in Canada

Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) has released a study by 2 University of Ottawa scholars entitled The Current State of Federalism Studies in Canada (2000-2007): A Quantitative and Qualitative Review of the Scholarly Literature.

CPRN is a non-profit, charitable policy think tank based in Ottawa founded in 1994 by Judith Maxwell, the last Chair of the Economic Council of Canada.

The study tracks changes in how federalism is examined as an issue in Canada:
"The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Secession Reference, suggested that federalism is among the core shared values of Canadians along with democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law, and respect for minorities ... As such, it would be reasonable to expect that federalism would be a major and ongoing preoccupation and concern for those who, broadly defined, study Canadian politics and government. However, there is some debate about the extent to which, in fact, federalism remains the object of sustained and continuing scholarly attention. This paper seeks to add to this debate based on a review of recent scholarly literature on federalism published in Canada and the results of a series of interviews with scholars for whom federalism is a major concern."
From the conclusion:


"First, our research suggests that, while the total number of studies having something to do with federalism in Canada (defined broadly) is quite large (about 1200 between 2000 and 2007 published in academic journals, released by think tanks, published in edited collections, etc.), the number of studies that deal with federalism per se is quite small. In other words, there is a large and evolving literature in law, economics and particularly in political science where federalism is given at least some consideration. However, our qualitative and quantitative review of the recent literature on federalism in Canada suggests that federalism is, very often, a contextual or explanatory factor and not the principal object of study. Much less common are studies where federalism is the main focus of the research."

"Second, this study suggests that federalism studies in Canada continue to be tied to current events and contemporary issues. This focus on what is more or less immediate has several advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it suggests that students of Canadian federalism are engaged with the debates of the day and are, in a small way, willing and able to contribute to
framing, understanding and, in some cases, advancing the debate. However, this focus on the here and now may mean that scholars of Canadian federalism focus on the detail (e.g. How big is the fiscal imbalance?) or are, at least to some extent, captured by the particular framing that is dominant in the current debate (e.g. What does 'open federalism' mean?). This makes it more difficult to explore the more fundamental questions. In fact, this lack of attention to some of the more enduring questions that underline contemporary debates may make the short-term interventions of scholars less effective and compelling. A second disadvantage of this strong linkage to current events is that perennial issues (e.g. Why is Canada a federation?), issues that are just over the horizon (e.g. demographic change and fiscal arrangements) or issues that will, sooner or later, return to the agenda (e.g. What are the necessary conditions to allow for constitutional change?) may not get the attention they deserve."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008 Winners: Day in the Life of Law Libraries Photo Contest

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has posted the winning photos of its 2008 A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community Photo Contest:

"During the month of February, AALL members took a wide range of photographs of law librarians working, meeting, teaching, and doing all that law librarians do in a given day or week."
The AALL received submissions from more than 35 law libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Online Law Librarian Group

Jim Milles, the director of the law library at the University of Buffalo, has created the Law Libraries and Librarians group on the social network Ning. He launched it one week ago and 137 people have already signed up.

As Milles explains on his blog in a post entitled The right tool at the right time:

"[Ning is] a user-customizable platform that allows anyone to create MySpace or Facebook-like social networks, but without all the clutter and garbage that makes MySpace and Facebook so frustrating."

(...)

"I suspect that what has made this group go viral in its own small way is that it is serving the right need at the right time. Some of the members are active social networking users: bloggers, podcasters, and Twitterers; Skype, Gtalk, and ooVoo users; del.icio.us and wiki fans, and more. Many of the members appear to be law librarians who have been meaning to learn more about these tools, and perhaps had planned some exploration among their summer projects. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Launch of Canada Gazette Database 1841-1997

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched a new website called A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette:

"Often referred to as 'the official newspaper of the Government of Canada,' the Canada Gazette has been an important instrument in the Canadian democratic process for more than 160 years. It has served to inform Canadians of the operations of government and to involve them actively in the legislative process. With this site, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), in co-operation with the Canada Gazette Directorate, Public Works and Government of Services Canada, will make the Gazette available online, in its entirety, for the first time (...)"
Approximately 30% (almost 300,000 pages) of the total Canada Gazette content is now online. This includes:
  • Part I - 1983-1997
  • Part II - 1950-1976, 1983-1997
  • Part III - 1985-1997

And, of course, everything from 1998 onwards has been available online for some time now.

By the fall of 2008, LAC will be adding the earliest issues of the Gazette, from 1841 to 1950. By spring 2009, all issues of the Canada Gazette will be available online.

The database will allow keyword searching of all issues dating back to the very first one.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:56 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lawyers Weekly Profile of Blogger and Mesh Conference Founder Rob Hyndman

The May 16, 2008 edition of The Lawyers Weekly profiles Toronto lawyer Rob Hyndman in the article entitled Co-founder of Canada’s premier Web conference.

His blog won an award at the 2007 CLawBies, “Canadian Law Blog Awards” for best Canadian law blog.

He is the founder of the Mesh web conference, a huge annual gathering of Internet luminaries in Canada.

The next conference is May 21-22 in Toronto and features speakers such as Lane Merrifield, co-founder of children's virtual world Club Penguin; Ethan Kaplan, the head of technology at Warner Bros. Records; Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa; Mark Kingwell, a philosophy professor at the University of Toronto; and pop star David Usher.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:11 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, May 12, 2008

Quebec Government Advisory Committee Report on Surveillance Technologies

The Science and Technology Ethics Committee (CEST) of the Quebec government recently released a report entitled In Search of Balance: An Ethical Look at New Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies for Security Purposes:


"Mass surveillance can be considered a fact of modern society. Its significance is reflected in the variety of methods used to collect information. Among these methods, New Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies (NSMT), and particularly the way in which they are used, raise a number of ethical issues. In addition, the Commission de l’éthique de la science et de la technologie (CEST) has taken on the mandate of formulating an opinion on technology which could be used in mass surveillance for purposes of security: Biometric Systems, Video Surveillance and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)."

"In Search of Balance: An Ethical Look at New Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies for Security Purposes is the Commission’s fifth Position statement. A look at the notions of security, sense of insecurity, risk, and surveillance is followed by a technical and ethical overview or each NSMT under consideration. Fundamental democratic values are at the heart of the ethical issues involved: Assessment of the effectiveness and reliability of NSMT, proportionality of response to insecurity, social acceptability, consent, respect for end purpose, and protection of personal information."
Earlier Library Boy posts about surveillance include:
  • UK Fast Becoming Surveillance Society Says Info Commissioner (November 2, 2006): "Richard Thomas, the United Kingdom Information Commissioner, stated in a report released today that his country is sleep-walking into a surveillance society. This is due to the increasing accumulation of credit card, cell phone and loyalty card information, the monitoring of workers' computer activities, and the spread of closed circuit television surveillance. There are now 4.2 million closed circuit cameras in Britain and Britons are picked up 300 times a day on camera as they go about their regular private business."
  • International Surveillance and Privacy Survey from Queen's University (November 15, 2006): "Earlier this week, Queen's University researchers released the results of a survey of 9,000 people around the world about their experiences with surveillance and privacy: 'This is believed to be the first cross-cultural study of its kind that explores relationships between attitudes and experiences, and how much people trust corporations and governments to handle personal information, including the sharing of such information with third parties, the researcher says... the survey included nearly 50 questions on participant’s attitudes about issues like consumer surveillance, racial profiling at airports, national ID cards, media coverage of surveillance issues, workplace privacy, knowledge of privacy regulations, control over personal data and public trust in government'."
  • Suspect Nation Video on Rise of the Surveillance Society (November 28, 2006): "A documentary on widespread surveillance in the US and the UK by Henry Porter of the British paper The Observer has been posted to Google Video. Entitled Suspect Nation, it explores the potential misuse of the mountains of data collected about each of us through a proliferating number of technologies"
  • George Orwell's London Apartment Under 24-Hour Surveillance (April 4, 2007): "On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move."
  • French Privacy Watchdog Warns Against Surveillance Society (July 12, 2007): "In its most recent activities report, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés or CNIL (the French national personal data protection and privacy commission) warns that the increased use of biometrics, surveillance cameras, and geolocalization technologies (to track employee movements via GPS systems in company cars or corporate mobile phones) may threaten privacy and civil liberties."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

60th Anniversary of UN's International Law Commission

The International Law Commission is meeting in Geneva for its 60th session later this month and will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a special commemorative event.

The Commission was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 for the "promotion of the progressive development of international law and its codification."

The work of the Commission has led to the adoption of many important international treaties and principles such as the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998 and the codification of the Nuremberg principles.

All Commission documents, from 1949 to today, are available on the Commission website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:13 am 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 11, 2008

University of Toronto Symposium on Future of Administrative Justice

In January 2008, the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto hosted a symposium on the future of administrative justice that brought together academics, participants in the tribunal sector and government policy makers.

A 28-page report on the symposium has now been released.

A webcast and background documents from the symposium are also available.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:21 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Canadian Human Rights Commission Backgrounder on Hate Messages

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has published an overview of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act that deals with the spreading of hate messages.

The section has been in the spotlight recently because of controversy surrounding a number of human rights complaints, including those over the reprinting in Canada of the Danish Mohammed bomb cartoons and articles in MacLean's magazine about the "rise of Islam" that certain Canadian Moslem organizations objected to as being offensive and hateful. Civil libertarians have often criticized section 13 for threatening freedom of speech.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:53 pm 2 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of April 16th to 30th, 2008 is 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 loan to authorized libraries.
It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

RSS Feeds for U.S. Code Updates

The Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell University announced today that it is offering an experimental notification service for changes to the U.S. Code via RSS.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

CanLII Reaches Half a Million Cases

The Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), the source of free online Canadian legal information created by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, announced earlier this week that it has surpassed the 500,000 case mark in its database:
"When it was launched in the fall of 2000, CanLII contained less than 30,000 cases. Over the years, the content development went through various stages: first, recent cases from all appeal and superior courts, then from all courts, and so on. Recently, focus has been placed on the addition of important historical case law as well as administrative tribunals. All those efforts led us to our first half-million "
CanLII also draws attention to some interesting facts about itself:
  • Largest database: the Court of Québec database with over 135,000 cases;
  • Most cited decision: R. v. W.(D.), 1991 CanLII 93 (S.C.C.) with 2,500 citations;
  • Most visited database: Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:11 pm 0 comments links to this post

2008 Webby Awards for Internet Excellence

The Webby Awards for 2008 were announced this week in New York. They are handed out each year by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences which seeks to honour excellence on the Internet.

Academy members include musicians Beck and David Bowie, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, political columnist Arianna Huffington, "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, and Virgin Atlantic Chairman and Founder Richard Branson.

In the Law category, the winner was OUT-LAW.com, an IT/e-commerce news site of the UK law firm Pinsent Masons. There was also a People's Voice award going to the ABA Journal.

Special Achievement Awards were also handed out to political satirist Stephen Colbert, Obama videographer Will.i.am, music video and film maker Michel Gondry, and Web comedians Tim and Eric.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:11 am 0 comments links to this post

Library E-Book Survey

Primary Research Group has just published Library Use of E-books, 2008-09 Edition. The report is for purchase but a summary is available online.

It is based on a survey of 75 academic, public and special libraries in a number of countries.

Interesting facts:
  • The vast majority of surveyed libraries listed their e-books in their online library catalog
  • More than half of all patrons reported either extensive or significant use of e-reference books, and nearly a quarter of the college libraries in the sample reported that their patrons used e-books quite extensively
  • Business books were among the most popular e-books. Non-U.S. libraries reported even heavier use than did U.S. libraries
  • Librarians felt that their patrons were less skilled in using e-book collections than they were in using databases
  • Use of e-books in the hard sciences was particularly high
  • Libraries in the sample maintained a print version for a mean of 24% of the e-books in their e-book collections

The Supreme Court of Canada has some 1929 e-books provided through NetLibrary, a division of OCLC. MARC records for the e-books in our OPAC provide a direct link to each document.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:54 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Research Papers on Aboriginal Law

The Scow Institute, an institution based in Vancouver that works to further understanding between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians, has published a series of new papers in its research library:

  • Comparative Governance Structures Among Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
  • Elderlaw: Relationship and Relevance to the Needs of Aboriginal Elders
  • Matrimonial Property on Reserve in Canada
  • Intellectual Property and Aboriginal Peoples: Conflict or Compromise?
  • Aboriginal Courts in Canada

The Institute was founded in 2001 by retired Judge Alfred J. Scow, the first Aboriginal person called to the Bar and to the Bench in British Columbia.

[Source: British Columbia Courthouse Library Society]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:40 am 1 comments links to this post

Monday, May 05, 2008

Library of Parliament Study of Political Financing

Given the recent controversy surrounding the police raid of Conservative Party national headquarters over alleged illegal election ad spending, this recent publication caught my eye.

The Library of Parliament has published a study of political financing law in Canada. It was mentioned in the most recent Weekly Checklist of government publications.

It provides a general overview of the situation and covers sources of political financing, spending limits, regulation of political financing, limits on third party election advertising, and enforcement.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Media Reports Government Wants to Can Access to Information Database

The Toronto Star is reporting that the federal government is putting an end to the Coordination of Access to Information Requests System (CAIRS), an internal database of every request filed to all federal departments and agencies under the Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Alasdair Roberts, a Canadian professor at Syracuse University in New York, created a public version of CAIRS by requesting electronic records through ATIA requests and then posting monthly updates of the information. In 2006, CBC journalist David McKie created another publicly accessible website based on CAIRS data.

CAIRS was seen by lawyers, reporters, and government watchdog groups as a very useful resource. They could mine the information in the database, approach government departments and request copies of already released documents.

According to the May 2, 2008 Toronto Star article entitled Tories kill information registry:
"A spokesman for Treasury Board confirmed Friday that the system is being killed because 'extensive' consultations showed it was not valued by government departments."

(...)

"If departments and agencies are no longer required to update the CAIRS database with new requests, its value as an accountability tool will quickly diminish, critics said."

" 'This is terrible and I consider this to be yet one more step in making records less accessible,' said Michel Drapeau, a lawyer, frequent user and co-author of a standard reference work on access law." [Drapeau is co-author of Federal Access to Information Act and Privacy Legislation Annotated]

" 'To do this now after the CAIRS' usefulness has been proven over and over again is indicative of the extent to which government will go to stifle the access regime'."
Earlier Library Boy posts about CAIRS include:
  • Access to Information Database Updated to June 2005 (August 7, 2005): "Prof. Alasdair Roberts from Syracuse University has updated his Canadian access to information request database (...) According to Roberts, a former Queen's University scholar who has maintained the database since early 2002, this will be the last update. The page will not be maintained after August 31."
  • New Access to Information Database (April 15, 2006): "David McKie, an award-winning member of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's investigative reporting unit, has set up an access to information / freedom of information website that 'allows you to search a database of requests for information filed with departments and agencies of the Canadian government under Canada's Access to Information Act' (...) This website takes over from where Syracuse University professor Alasdair Roberts left off in August 2005."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Federal Library Community Forms Web 2.0 Interest Group

Interested federal government librarians in Canada are looking into the creation of a Web 2.0 Interest Group to explore ways of incorporating wikis, RSS, collaborative technologies, open source, etc. into their work.

An invitation to join was sent out this week by one of the manager's of the Industry Canada Library and Knowledge Centre.

The invitation reads in part:
"What we need to do as a federal library community is to draw together this shared interest in Web 2.0. This will enable us to hear about common areas of interest and then discuss issues and challenges presented and the lessons learned."

"So, what is Web 2.0? Tapscott and Andrews in their influential work Wikinomics distinguish Web 2.0 from what they call the old Web. 'While the old Web was about Web sites, clicks and eyeballs, the new Web is about communities, participation and peering.' Openness, peering and sharing are the action words of a new generation of knowledge workers. The key is audience engagement. As librarians, we would like more of that in our libraries. The promise for libraries is that our audiences that are now going to Amazon, Google and YouTube also come to the Library."

"So, this is an invitation to you to get involved. We are proposing:
  • to form an interest group next month
  • to identify & publish a list of key resources on Web 2.0 specifically for federal libraries
  • to identify topics of interest in Web2.0 for discussion, for example, wikis, RSS, collaborative technologies, open source, etc.
  • to identify departments engaged in Web 2.0 projects and
  • to show the results to the community this fall."
Federal government librarians should contact Industry Canada's Oryst Iwanycky [iwanycky DOT oryst AT ic.gc.ca].

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm 1 comments links to this post

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Top 100 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies in the UK has compiled a summary of the Top 100 Tools for Learning.

The list of tools was created based on the recommendations of learning professionals:
"Between January and March 2008 the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) invited learning professionals to share their Top 10 Tools for Learning – both for their own personal learning/productivity as well as for creating learning for others. 155 learning professionals contributed their Top 10 Tools (...) In total over 460 different tools were named, but from these Top 10 Tools lists we compiled a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning Spring 2008."
The Centre also provides an analysis of the tools selected.

[Source: Stephen's Lighthouse]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Library of Parliament Publication on Prostitution

Last week's issue of the Weekly Checklist mentions a new publication by the Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament entitled Prostitution in Canada: International Obligations, Federal Law, and Provincial and Municipal Jurisdiction.

From the conclusion:

"Each level of Canadian government attacks the problem in different ways, according to its priorities and powers. The end result is a broad network of prostitution-related measures that generally complement one another and work to resolve the problem at multiple levels. The federal government is striving to live up to its international obligations, and in large measure has succeeded through criminal law that punishes procurement, trafficking, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Nonetheless, trafficking in women and children remains a reality in Canada and a further battle for the government, which must also work to strengthen its social programs to provide protection and a viable future for the victims of such crimes."

"Beyond federal legislation, provinces and municipalities are also making full use of their powers to deal with prostitution. Although those powers provide strong means for dealing with various aspects of prostitution, they are not immune to challenge. A number of the measures in place have been criticized as unconstitutional, although only a few have actually been brought before the courts. The dilemma is that there are so many different approaches to dealing with prostitution, and the problem is so varied throughout the country, that there will always be a perception that federal law is inadequate to deal with the issue. At the same time, however, attempts by provincial and municipal jurisdictions to regulate prostitution locally will continue to cater to issue-specific areas or area-specific issues, and are thus unable to solve the problem on a broader scale."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:19 pm 0 comments links to this post