Thursday, October 30, 2008

Internet Librarian 2008 Conference Presentations Now Online

Many of the presentations from the Internet Librarian conference that ended last week in Monterrey, California are starting to become available on the conference website:According to the conference overview, Internet Librarian is "the most comprehensive conference for library and information professionals interested in technology to discover the insights, strategies and practices that will allow us to tame the net, manage libraries and digital information, and enhance the information and learning experience of people in our communities":
"Web 2.0 tools and practices, web services, social media, and new platforms of social computing are enabling libraries and information professionals to interact with their clients and communities in new and exciting ways. New tools and processes have ignited creative integrated content mashups, specialized and personalized services for community segments, and exciting new techniques for dealing with voluminous information flows, including user-generated content. Our conference theme, Beyond 2.0: User-Focused Tools & Practices, captures leading-edge online initiatives and innovations in all types of information enterprises, tools and techniques for enhancing user-friendly digital information flows, information discovery and visualization methods for dealing with today’s information overload, building new communities and supporting online connections in engaging ways, and more (...)"

" Internet Librarian 2008 provides attendees with many chances to meet and hear from leading edge information professionals in all types of environments—leaders in the information industry who are integrating content and delighting their clients, organizing and managing digital content in creative ways, setting the context for excellence in information utilization in their organizations, revolutionizing the roles of info pros, building strong collaborative communities among their customers and colleagues, and using new technologies in creative and exciting ways."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

British Library Exhibition on 900 Years of Struggle for Rights and Freedoms

The British Library has a new exhibition called Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain's freedoms and rights.

It takes a look at the people, events and documents that played a major role in the 900-year history of the rise and consolidation of rights and freedoms in the British Isles and by extension throughout the former British Empire/Commonwealth.

The exhibition in the real world begins tomorrow, but there is also a major virtual world show with Facebook applications, news stories about the exhibition itself, videos, a curator's blog and "key icons" such as images and background on the Magna Carta, the 1689 Bill of Rights, the Rights of Man by Thomas Paine from 1791 and the 1942 Beveridge Report.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

United Nations Launches Online Audiovisual Library of International Law

The Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations this week launched the Audiovisual Library of International Law which is designed as a teaching and research tool in international law.

The collection consists of three pillars:
  • the Historic Archives contain documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945
  • the Lecture Series features a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems
  • the Research Library provides links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Canadian Government Launches Internal Wiki

As reported on the front page of today's Ottawa Citizen, the federal government has launched its own internal version of Wikipedia to which all federal public servants will be able to contribute:

"At the annual Government in Technology (GTEC) conference, taking place at the Westin Hotel in downtown Ottawa, federal officials took the wraps off the government's internal version of the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which it calls GCpedia."

"The service will allow federal employees to post, comment and edit articles placed on GCpedia by their peers (...) "

"For example, information about climate change policies could be posted and commented on by scientists and bureaucrats from National Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment Canada and Industry Canada. The concept may help break down walls between government departments that have traditionally been stingy when it comes to sharing information."

The pioneers in the federal government on Web 2.0 initiatives have been the people at Natural Resources Canada. The October 2008 issue of NetworkedGovernment, a publication for Canadian government executives, describes how NRCan has approached the implementation of Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, etc.

Earlier Library Boy posts about Web 2.0 in the Canadian government include:
  • Federal Library Community Forms Web 2.0 Interest Group (May 3, 2008): "We are proposing (...) to identify & publish a list of key resources on Web 2.0 specifically for federal libraries; to identify topics of interest in Web 2.0 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."
  • Government of Canada: The Web 2.0 Genie Is Finally Out of the Bottle (June 6, 2008): "A contribution today on the FLC/CBF listserv (Federal libraries community/Collectivité des bibliothèques) pointed to examples of implementation of social networking on government Web sites: ... 'A comprehensive system for online collaboration and social networking projects by government departments is in the works. The project involves systems that can provide social networking capabilities for around 250,000 people and will cover 58 government departments. Key technology for this initiative is being provided by Waterloo, Ont.-based OpenText...' ".
  • Federal Library Web 2.0 Interest Group News (June 23, 2008): "Federal government librarians in Canada recently created a Web 2.0 Interest Group (WIG) to explore ways of incorporating wikis, RSS, collaborative technologies, open source, etc. into their work. he WIG's first meeting took place June 9 here in Ottawa. Here is a summary."
  • More News From Federal Library Web 2.0 Interest Group (September 16, 2008): "In the summer, federal government librarians in Canada created a Web 2.0 Interest Group (WIG) to explore ways of incorporating collaborative technologies into their work.The most recent meeting was held yesterday at Library and Archives Canada.It was a great opportunity to see what work has been done on the Web 2.0 front. Here are a few of the projects mentioned at the roundtable that opened the meeting..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google Settles Lawsuit With U.S. Authors and Publishers

Google, the Authors Guild (representing thousands of U.S. writers) and the Association of American Publishers announced today that they have reached a settlement in a 3-year dispute over the search giant's book digitization and search project.

In 2005, the Guild sued Google, accusing it of massive copyright violation, claiming Google cannot make available books for commercial use without permission. The publishers group later launched its own lawsuit.

As part of the digitization effort, Google is scanning all or parts of the book collections of its institutional partners such as the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Oxford University. Google then makes snippets of those texts searchable on Google and sell ads on the Web pages.

Google has agreed to pay $125-million U.S. to the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Under the settlement, Google will create a Book Registry and provide payment to copyright holders through subscription fees and sales revenues.

The settlement will expand access to hard-to-find out-of-print books that are still copyright-protected; allow ordinary users ways to buy copyrighted works online; offer U.S. colleges, universities and other organizations subscriptions for online access to collections from prestigious libraries; and provide free, full-text, online viewing of millions of out-of-print books at designated computers in public and university libraries (U.S. only for now).

More information:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:59 pm 1 comments links to this post

Monday, October 27, 2008

Head of Sports Doping Inquiry Charles Dubin Passes Away

Charles Dubin, former Chief Justice of Ontario, has died. Dubin was 87.

He is best known to the general public as the head of the 1990 Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Drugs and Banned Practices Intended to Increase Athletic Performance or the Dubin Inquiry.

That inquiry was launched after Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in the 100m dash at the 1988 Olympics. Johnson had been taking a banned substance.

The CBC Archives have news clips covering the Dubin Inquiry.

Earlier Library Boy posts about doping include:
  • World Cup 2006 in Germany - The Law on Doping in Sports (May 26, 2006): "The World Cup of Soccer, perhaps the world's greatest sporting extravaganza with the exception of the Summer Olympic Games, is taking place this June in Germany. And where there's international sports, there's the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or 'doping'."
  • Australian Parliamentary Library Research Paper on Olympic Games (June 4, 2008): ""This paper provides brief background information for Australian Parliamentarians on the origins of the Olympics and a snapshot of the development of the Games since the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 (....) Among the political and social issues that are addressed are: amateurism, commercialism, doping, gender, race and political conflict."
  • Updated Research Guide on International Sports Law (July 28, 2008): "The GlobaLex collection at the New York University School of Law has just updated its International Sports Law research guide (...) There are sections on doping, women and sports, violence as well as suggested sports law bibliographies, databases and periodicals."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:09 pm 1 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 25, 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 October 1 to 15, 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 9:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, October 24, 2008

Federated Search Report and Tool Kit

This is a follow-up to the October 22, 2008 Library Boy entitled Implementing a Federated Search Product.

The British site FUMSI features a new article by Jill Hurst-Wahl called Introduction to Federated Search:
"Federated search - also known as metasearch or a distributed information retrieval system - provides one portal for searching information from multiple sources. Federated search software has become necessary because the task of searching multiple databases one by one has become too onerous due to the exponential increase in the number of databases. Organisations often lease databases from several providers, each with its own database structure and search methodology. Federated search software allows users to issue a single search; the software then runs it against each of the specified target databases, returning one list of results. Hosted by the vendor or by the subscribing organisation, it provides a simplified search process for the user and enhances information discovery. "
The article is an excerpt from a larger Federated Search Report and Tool Kit available for purchase online.

Hurst-Wahl teaches digitization at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and is the author of the Digitization 101 blog.

Earlier Library Boy posts about federated searching include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Implementing a Federated Search Product

The Nov. 2008 issue of the AALL Spectrum has an article entitled The Wise Researcher: One library’s experience implementing a federated search product.

The article, by Yumin Jiang and Georgia Briscoe of the University of Colorado, describes how the William A. Wise Law Library at that institution went about choosing a product that allows for searching across multiple specialty databases.

After comparing products on the market for things such as databases included, installation and maintenance, price, search options, and result sorting and display capabilities, the Wise Library opted for 360 Search, a product of Serials Solutions.

The authors caution readers that federated searching can present some drawbacks.

For example, the big commercial providers like Westlaw and Lexis do not allow federated search tools into their databases and some providers have not yet developed the code to allow the federated search tools to connect to them.

As well, the increased convenience may come at a cost: many of the advanced search features and limit options offered by individual databases are not available in federated searching. It has to simplify and "dumb things down" a little in order to grab material from different sources and aggregate the results.

But overall, the experience at Wise Library appears to have been positive.

In a sidebar, the authors offer a helpful summary of the 7 steps for implementing federated searching in your library:
  • Review the major federated search products available
  • Decide which databases to include in the search
  • Add descriptions and subject captions for each electronic
    resource included in the federated search
  • Help staff and users learn to use the federated search
  • Show off your new federated search whenever possible
  • Listen to the feedback
  • Stay vigilant
Here at the Supreme Court of Canada Library, we have installed SingleSearch, a federated search product provided by SirsiDynix.

We always present it as a preliminary discovery tool or first step to see which library catalogues, indexes and databases may contain promising material. We then recommend a deeper, or more complex, search in the more interesting looking individual databases.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:03 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Official Languages and the Canadian Parliament

The most recent edition of the Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada publications lists a revised edition of a Library of Parliament study called Official Languages and Parliament.

"The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of the range of official languages rights and obligations that directly relate to Parliament. It examines those provisions based on their legislative source. First, the paper considers the guarantees and obligations arising from the Constitution, by examining the relevant provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second, it analyzes the statutory provisions contained in the Official Languages Act. Third, the paper looks at some of the specific aspects of parliamentary procedure as they relate to official languages.."
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 12:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library of Parliament Publication on Trafficking of Humans

The most recent edition of the Weekly Checklist of Government of Canada publications lists a revised edition of a Library of Parliament study called Trafficking in Persons.

"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."

"The term 'trafficking in persons' essentially refers to the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of a person for the purposes of forced service. The traditional images of victims of trafficking are of women and children forced into the sex industry; but trafficked persons also include men, women and children exploited through farm, domestic, or other labour. In some countries, children may be forced into work as beggars or child soldiers."
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 12:16 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 20, 2008

Head of Commission on Indian Residential Schools Resigns

Justice Harry LaForme resigned today from his position as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to examine the legacy of decades of abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools.

In a letter to federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, LaForme mentioned political and bureaucratic interference as well as disagreements between himself and 2 other commissioners.

LaForme, a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, had been appointed in April as the chair of the Commission (see the Library Boy post of April 28, 2008 entitled Ontario Aboriginal Judge To Head Truth and Reconciliation Commission).

More background on Laforme's resignation:
  • Head of commission into Indian residential schools resigns (Globe and Mail): "In July, less than two months after it was struck, Justice LaForme expressed concerns that political or bureaucratic interference could compromise the commission, and he said those concerns were delaying the panel's startup. Justice LaForme also said the panel cannot allow itself to be 'shackled' by bureaucratic requirements, and that the commissioners, not government, must be able to decide how to spend their $58-million budget. At the time, Justice LaForme noted a potential for friction over the panel's independence. He said it came as 'a surprise' to discover the feds had created a secretariat as a government department staffed by civil servants reporting to the Minister of Indian Affairs, instead of allowing the commission to set up its own office."
  • Native commission head quits, citing 'incurable problem' (CanWest News Service): "[T]he former Ontario judge said in his letter of resignation to Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl that: 'The two commissioners are unprepared to accept that the structure of the commission requires that the TRC's course is to be charted and its objectives are to be shaped ultimately through the authority and leadership of its chair. Laforme added: 'the two have chosen to compete for control of the commission by insisting that it is to be run on the basis of simple majority rule'."
  • Chairman quits troubled residential school commission (CBC News): "He [LaForme] said the commissioners want to focus primarily on uncovering and documenting truth, while he also wants to have an emphasis on reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians."

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Law Commission of Ontario Recommendations on Division of Pensions on Marital Breakdown

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its recommendations in relation to the division of pensions on marital breakdown.
"Among the most important recommendations is that Ontario adopt as the primary settlement mechanism the Immediate Settlement Method (ISM). Where the spouse with the equalization obligation is a member of a pension plan and wishes to resort to his or her rights under the plan to satisfy the obligation, legislation would (if the recommendation were to be adopted) provide for a transfer out of the fund of the pension plan to the benefit of the other spouse (...) . However, in certain cases, the LCO believes that separating spouses should be able to opt for the Deferred Settlement Method (DSM). Under the DSM, the spouse to whom the equalization obligation was owed would become a quasi-member of the member spouse’s pension plan and would become entitled to receive his or her own pension from the plan when the member retired (or on the member’s normal retirement date where the member postpones retirement beyond that date). The LCO is recommending that this option generally be available only where the member is within ten years of his or her normal retirement date and both spouses agree to it; however, it would also be available where the member was more than ten years from the normal retirement date if both the spouses and the pension plan administrator agree."
The recommendations have been presented to the province's Attorney General for consideration of appropriate amendments to the Family Law Act.

The LCO had published a consultation paper on the issue in May 2008.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ireland Law Reform Commission Consultation on Advance Care Directives

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has published a consultation paper on Bioethics: Advance Care Directives:
"This Consultation Paper deals with the situation where a person consciously sets out their wishes about what should happen to them in the event of an accident (such as a serious car crash) or illness (such as stroke or the onset of Alzheimer's disease) that makes it impossible for them to communicate their wishes directly. The Commission is conscious that not many people do this, just as not as many people who should make a will or take out a pension actually do it. For those who have taken the trouble to plan what should happen to them in the future (which the Commission would, of course, encourage) it is possible that the person may decide to deal with a range of issues, including their property and health care, in a single document. This document may also include the appointment of a person – often a family member – to carry out their wishes."
The document deals with issues such as refusal of treatment, do not resuscitate orders, and powers of attorney. The document does not discuss euthanasia or assisted suicide.

In a comparative perspective, the document examines the legal situation in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Europe, and Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Zealand Law Commission Paper on Victim Compensation

The Law Commission of New Zealand has released a discussion paper on the compensation of crime victims.

It raises questions about what types of changes could be be made to the New Zealand system for compensating victims of crime.

It also includes a section comparing the compensation scheme in 2 Australian states, the United Kingdom and Ontario.

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

Leg@l.IT April 2008 Conference Papers Now Available

The speaker presentations made at the 2008 Leg@l.IT conference held in April in Montreal are now available online.

The conference dealt with the impacts of information technologies on the practice of law.

Issues covered included:
  • online privacy
  • transborder legal issues
  • collaborative technologies for lawyers and clients
  • cybercrime
  • e-discovery
  • blogs for lawyers
  • electronic contracts and consumer protection

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, October 16, 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 September 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 9:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day Against Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day 2008, an international call to action for bloggers to raise awareness on issues of poverty:
"Poverty is not only a pressing issue, it is a complex one. It's easy to think that there isn’t much an individual can do. Fortunately this isn’t the case at all. With activities ranging from advocacy and professional contribution to charity and financing, there is in fact many ways that we can act."
The idea is that bloggers sign up to blog about poverty reduction today.

This year's Blog Action Day has dozens of organizational sponsors and supporters, including the United Nations Millenium Campaign.

So here goes.

Canadian librarians might want to explore the following legal and social policy resources on poverty :


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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Justice Canada Releases New Table of Public Statutes

Justice Canada has published the most recent version of the Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers (current to August 31, 2008).

The Table lists all amendments to federal legislation, repealed Acts, coming into force information for legislation and any amendments, and responsible ministers.

It is an essential tool for updating federal statutes in Canada.

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

Monday, October 13, 2008

New International Study on Copyright Exceptions for Libraries

In an item posted on the weekend on the Canadian collaborative legal affairs blog slaw.ca, Lesley Ellen Harris draws attention to a new study published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) entitled Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives.

From the executive summary of the WIPO document:
"This study of copyright exceptions for libraries and archives provides an overview of the nature and diversity of statutory provisions in the copyright law of the 184 countries that are members of the World Intellectual Property Organization. For the first time, it gathers library exceptions from nearly all WIPO countries and provides an analytical survey of the law. The statutory exceptions for libraries primarily address such issues as reproduction of copyrighted works for purposes such as private research and study, preservation and replacement of materials, and document supply and interlibrary lending. Some countries have statutes on the 'making available' of copyrighted works. This study also encompasses library exceptions to the prohibition against circumvention of technological protection measures."

"Of the 184 countries in WIPO, the research for this project collected current and translated statutes from 149 countries. Of those countries, 128 of them have at least one statutory library exception, and most of the countries have multiple statutes addressing a variety of library issues. Twenty-one countries have no library exception in their copyright law. These basic statistics demonstrate the widespread prevalence of library exceptions, suggesting that they play an important role in the law and in facilitating library services. The fact that statutes tend to center on pursuits such as research and preservation also suggests that copyright law has an important role in the ability of citizens to have continuing access to the rich variety of materials held in libraries."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:48 pm 0 comments links to this post

Rise In Out-of-Court-Settlements Means Fewer Trials

The current issue of The Lawyers Weekly (Oct. 17, 2008 edition) features an article entitled Vanishing trials: Out-of-court settlements on the rise describing the widespread trend away from litigation and the effect this is having on the practice of law.

The article attributes the rapid rise in out-of-court settlements to factors such as:
  • cost and length of litigation
  • promotion of mediation by the court system itself
  • changes in what clients expect of lawyers
  • increased interest on the part of legal practitioners

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Preview of the U.S. Supreme Court 2008-2009 Term

Last week, the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., organized a panel discussion on the major issues the U.S. Supreme Court will be tackling in the 2008-2009 term:

"Issues include the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act; the FCC’s ban on broadcasting “dirty words”; and an unusual petition to reconsider the June 25 ruling that the rape of a child cannot by punished by death, in which the justices made a glaring factual error. (...)"

"The Judicial Issues Forum is a series of public discussions at Brookings on jurisprudence and the role of the courts. The Forum regularly hosts events that address the major legal and juridical debates and events of the day and weigh their potentially far-reaching implications."
[Source: Law Librarian Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, October 10, 2008

International Day Against Surveillance

Tomorrow is an international day of protest against surveillance, as David Canton explains on the collaborative legal blog slaw.ca.

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'."
  • 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."
  • Quebec Government Advisory Committee Report on Surveillance Technologies (May 12, 2008): "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: '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.'"

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

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Statistics Canada Study on Family Violence

Statistics Canada today released the eleventh annual Family Violence in Canada report produced by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics under the Federal Family Violence Initiative:

"This annual report provides the most current data on the nature and extent of family violence in Canada, as well as trends over time, as part of the ongoing initiative to inform policy makers and the public about family violence issues."

"Each year the report has a different focus. This year, for the first time, the focus chapter examines variations in spousal violence across the provinces and territories. The data used to examine spousal violence, the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) survey is more nationally representative than ever before. National coverage of the UCR2 survey reached 90% in 2006."

"In addition, the report also presents fact sheets, data tables and figures examining family violence against children and youth, family violence against seniors (aged 65 years and older), and family-related homicides. "

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

What Motivates Library Movers and Shakers?

Every year since 2002, Library Journal has recognized 50 innovative leaders in the library field, so-called Movers and Shakers.

In the Oct. 1, 2008 issue, Chrystie Hill & Meredith Farkas, themselves recognized in the past as Movers and Shakers, have written about what satisfies and what frustrates others who have been honoured like them:
"In January 2008, we set out to answer these questions with a survey of the 300 Movers & Shakers recognized between 2002 and 2007. Out of this group, 122 (41%) completed the survey, and between 30% and 48% of each M&S class was represented, providing a fairly accurate representation. We wanted to explore how they perceive their work within the profession, how they are bolstered by their institutions, and what they want from their careers. We found out that while, in general, Movers & Shakers have high job satisfaction, they also, too often, struggle to get the backing and time they need to keep creating positive change."
For more on Movers and Shakers, see the earlier Library Boy posts:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:03 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Fiftieth Anniversary of France's Conseil Constitutionnel

The Conseil constitutionnel, France's highest constitutional court, is turning 50.

It is a creation of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, which came into being on Oct. 4, 1958. The Conseil opened its doors in March 1959.

It judges electoral disputes and examines referrals from the National Assembly, Senate or executive branch about the constitutionality of laws and treaties.

The full website (in its French version) was recently totally redesigned.

Last October, Mrs. Library Boy and I were in Europe for three weeks and spent our last three days in Paris. On our very last day, we had lunch with Stéphane Cottin in a restaurant near the Conseil's offices a few streets away from the Comédie française theatre in central Paris. We connected via our respective blogs. I also think he is a regular reader of the collaborative Canadian legal blog slaw.ca.

Until July 2008, Stéphane was in charge of the registry and IT services at the Conseil. He now works in the Secrétariat général du gouvernement, a central administrative agency of the government under the authority of the French Prime Minister.

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

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ontario Introduces Apology Law

The Ontario government today announced that it is introducing apology legislation that would allow individuals and organizations, such as hospitals, to apologize for an accident or wrongdoing, without it being used as evidence of liability in a civil legal proceeding under provincial law.

It would apply to civil lawsuits, administrative proceedings and professional discipline matters. The intention is to remove barriers to settlement discussions.

Originally, the idea for such an act came from a private member's bill introduced in the Ontario legislature by Liberal David Orazietti in April 2008 (see the Library Boy post of May 21, 2008 entitled Ontario to Propose Apology Law).

British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, most Australian states and 30 U.S. states have similar laws on their books.

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

Monday, October 06, 2008

Federal Government Losing Crown Prosecutors Over Poor Pay

According to a front page article in today's Ottawa Citizen, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is having trouble retaining federal prosecutors because pay conditions in many regions are not competitive.

The article, Scores of federal prosecutors quit over poor pay, explains that many prosecutors are leaving to work for provincial Attorney General or private offices where salaries are better.

All of this is happening as the federal government's anti-crime initiatives are having the effect of increasing the caseload that federal prosecutors face.

Those lawyers prosecute organized crime, terrorism, drug, environmental, fisheries, tax and war crimes cases.

The head of a new union representing rank-and-file federal prosecutors and civil lawyers states in the article that the prosecution service has lost 50 lawyers in the past 2 years, out of total of 460.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Greatest Legal Movie Ever: To Kill A Mockingbird

I came across this in the August 2008 issue of the ABA Journal (American Bar Association): The 25 Greatest Legal Movies.

12 lawyers in the U.S. who are connected to the film business were asked for their thoughts on the greatest legal movies.

The film that came out on top: To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), starring Gregory Peck as a lawyer in a small Southern Depression-era town defending an innocent Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.

The vote tallies as well as a list of 25 other movies mentioned by the judges ("Honorable Mentions") are available on the ABA Journal website. Of course, the list is American (though all the films are very good).

Back on June 12, 2006, I wrote a post on Law and Literature/Law and Pop Culture Resources that points to many sites with material on the relationship between the law and literature, pop culture, film, etc.

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

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Globe and Mail Article on UK Review System for Wrongful Convictions

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published an article by justice correspondent Kirk Makin that looked at the Criminal Cases Review Commission in the United Kingdom.

The Commission is an independent public agency that has the power to investigate possible miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It can decide to refer convictions or criminal sentences to courts of appeal for review when the facts or evidence warrant.

Over the last 10 years, it has referred roughly 4% of the cases examined by its team of more than one hundred independent investigators and case managers to appeal courts for review because it believed there was a real possibility of a wrongful conviction.

Makin writes that half a dozen Canadian commissions of inquiry into wrongful convictions going back to the late 1980s have recommended that Canada create such an independent commission.

The latest commission of inquiry to do so was the Goudge Commission whose report was published earlier this week. It looked into the activities of a renegade Ontario pathologist whose incompetent work led to a number of miscarriages of justice (see the Library Boy posts of October 1, 2008 - Goudge Commission Report On Rogue Pathologist Who Sent Innocents To Jail - and October 2, 2008 - Ontario Government Responds to Goudge Report on Rogue Pathologist).

In Canada, at the federal level, there is a unit within Justice Canada that looks into allegations of wrongful conviction called the Criminal Convictions Review Group. The Group has a staff of 6 lawyers. The decision to refer any case to courts of appeal for review is in the hands of the Minister of Justice.

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

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ontario Government Responds to Goudge Report on Rogue Pathologist

This is a follow-up to yesterday's Library Boy post entitled Goudge Commission Report On Rogue Pathologist Who Sent Innocents To Jail.

In response to the Goudge Commission report into the activities of pathologist Charles Smith, whose botched reports and unsubstantiated testimony in court contributed to many wrongful convictions, the Ontario government has promised to introduce new legislation that would "strengthen the death investigation system, provide for greater oversight and accountability and improve coroner and pathology services in Ontario."

More fallout from the Goudge report:
  • Deeply flawed coroner's office condemned (Globe and Mail, Oct. 2, 2008): "A massive review of every case involving pathologist Charles Smith will take place in the wake of an inquiry report yesterday that exposed a 12-year litany of errors in the Ontario Chief Coroner's Office. Ontario also promised to compensate Dr. Smith's victims and ordered a probe of more than 200 so-called shaken-baby deaths dating back to 1981 out of concern that individuals may have been wrongly prosecuted or convicted."
  • Wrongfully convicted man sues former Ont. pathologist (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Oct. 2, 2008): "An Ontario man who spent 12 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted of killing his four-year-old niece has launched a $13-million lawsuit against the disgraced former chief pathologist whose testimony helped convict him."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Goudge Commission Report On Rogue Pathologist Who Sent Innocents To Jail

The Goudge Commission into the activities of renegade Ontario pathologist Dr. Charles Smith published its much anticipated report today.

In late April 2007, the chief coroner of Ontario published a report that concluded Smith, a former leading Ontario child pathologist, had botched at least 20 autopsies involving the deaths of children.

That announcement cast doubt on 13 criminal convictions based on Smith's testimony. Courts have since then reviewed a number of those wrongful convictions.

In the report, Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge:
  • found that Dr. Smith "actively misled" his superiors, "lacked basic knowledge about forensic pathology" and "made false and misleading statements" in court
  • heavily criticized top officials in the Ontario coroner's office who misled authorities and the public
  • recommended compensating those who have been wrongful charged or convicted because of pathology errors
  • recommended that only specially trained forensic pathologists be allowed to perform autopsies in cases of suspicious deaths
  • called for substantially increasing investments in the recruitment and training of forensic pathologists
  • suggested providing legal aid to defendants where the Crown relies on trial testimony from pathologists
  • and called for the review of some 142 cases of infant deaths originally thought to be from shaken-baby syndrome, including subsequent criminal convictions, in light of new medical research
See the Toronto Star's article Goudge calls for compensation for more background.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:05 pm 0 comments links to this post