Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Report on Digital Collections and Weeding Print Journals from Library Collections

ITHAKA S+R, the research arm of the not-for-profit organization ITHAKA that helps the academic community on issues of digital preservation, has issued a new report entitled What to Withdraw? Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization (PDF):

"The large-scale digitization of print journal collections has led to most access needs being met via digital surrogates. Numerous libraries would therefore like to reassign the space occupied by print collections towards higher-value uses. To aid their planning, this report addresses two key questions: which types of print journals can libraries withdraw responsibly today, and how can that set of materials be expanded to allow libraries the maximum possible flexibility?"

"For those journals where print no longer serves an important access role, preservation is the format’s principal remaining role. The study therefore undertakes a system-wide analysis of the purpose of retaining print for preservation purposes, looking at the needs of all libraries and their users collectively. "

"This analysis finds several rationales for retaining some copies of the print version: the need to fix scanning errors; insufficient reliability of the digital provider; inadequate preservation of the digitized versions; the presence of significant quantities of important non-textual material that may be poorly represented in digital form; and campus political considerations. The appropriate disposition of print copies of a given journal should vary depending on the characteristics of the print original and its digitized version in each of these categories. "

"Because many of the rationales for retaining print are likely to decline over the course of time, this report introduces time horizons for print preservation. Librarians have often discussed preservation responsibilities as if it were possible to undertake perpetual commitments, but specified time commitments coupled with regular reassessment of priorities and responsibilities permit better decisionmaking. The model we propose therefore examines the minimum period of time that access will be needed to at least one copy of the print original."

ITHAKA's most well-known digital service is probably the trusted digital journal archive JSTOR.

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Update to Research Guide on French Law

Stéphane Cottin (special envoy of the Secretary General of the French government) and Jérôme Rabenou of the Conseil constitutionnel (Constitutional Council of France) have updated their guide entitled Researching French Law on the GlobaLex site.

GlobaLex is an online collection of research resources at the Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law.

The guide describes the structure of the French legal system, types of legislation, the court system and sources of case law. It also provides a bibliography of major English texts, some help with citation, and a list of discussion lists, blogs and various other legal websites.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 28, 2009

Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector

The Berlin-based NGO Transparency International recently released its Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector:

"The massive scale of global corruption resulting from bribery, price-fixing cartels and undue influence on public policy is costing billions and obstructing the path towards sustainable economic growth, according to a new report released today by Transparency International (TI)."

"The Global Corruption Report 2009: Corruption and the Private Sector (GCR) shows how corrupt practices constitute a destructive force that undermines fair competition, stifles economic growth and ultimately undercuts a business’s own existence. In the last two years alone, companies have had to pay billions in fines due to corrupt practices. The cost extends to low staff morale and a loss of trust among customers as well as prospective business partners. "

(...)

"The report documents many cases of managers, majority shareholders and other actors inside corporations who abuse their entrusted power for personal gain, to the detriment of owners, investors, employees and society at large. In developing and transition countries alone, companies colluding with corrupt politicians and government officials, have supplied bribes estimated at up to US $40 billion annually, according to the GCR."
The document is complemented by 46 in-depth country reports, including reports on the United States and many European countries.

Earlier Library Boy posts on corruption include:

  • Political Corruption Resources (April 8, 2005): "Canada has been rocked by recent devastating testimony at the Gomery Commission hearings about alleged corruption in the administration of federal government advertising/sponsorship budgets. Many resources exist out there to track the phenomenon of political corruption on the international scale. "
  • Global Corruption Report 2006 (February 4, 2006): "Transparency International, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to combating corruption across the world, has just released its Global Corruption Report 2006. The major focus of this year's report is the impact of corruption in the healthcare sector in developing countries."
  • 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (November 8, 2006): "The international NGO Transparency International just released its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index, 'a composite index that draws on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world (...) It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption'."
  • International Report on Judicial Corruption (June 8, 2007): "The international organization Transparency International recently released its Global Corruption Report 2007. This year's report takes a close look at judicial corruption around the world. Judicial corruption can involve outright bribery or political interference in the judicial process (...) 'TI’s latest global survey of attitudes towards corruption reveals that in more than twenty-five countries, at least one in ten households had to pay a bribe to get access to justice. In a further twenty countries, more than three in ten households reported that bribery was involved in securing access to justice or a 'fair' outcome in court. In Albania, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan and Venezuela, the figure was even higher'."
  • Global Corruption Barometer 2007 Reveals Major Problems Worldwide With Police and Judiciary (December 7, 2007): "In its fifth edition, the Global Corruption Barometer 2007 summarizes citizens’ perceptions and experiences of corruption and bribery in 60 countries around the world (...) 'This report details how bribery affects the courts – judges and other judicial personnel accept bribes to delay or accelerate cases, to allow or deny an appeal, or to decide a case in a certain way. The Global Corruption Report 2007 also includes data from a 2002 survey showing, for instance, that 96 per cent of respondents in Pakistan who had contact with the lower courts encountered corrupt practices, while in Russia, an estimated US $210 million in bribes is thought to be paid in courts each year'. "
  • 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (September 29, 2008): "Last week, the government ethics watchdog group Transparency International released its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, a survey of perceptions of public sector corruption in some 180 states (...) The cleanest countries for the 2008 survey were Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand. Canada came in 9th."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Google Scholar Full of Holes?

In a recent issue of Library Journal, Dr. Peter Jacso from the University of Hawaii analyzes many of the problems he has identified using Google Scholar, in particular when it comes to citation analysis:
"A free tool, Google Scholar has become the most convenient resource to find a few good scholarly papers—often in free full-text format—on even the most esoteric topics. For topical keyword searches, GS is most valuable. But it cannot be used to analyze the publishing performance and impact of researchers."
Problems include what Jacso calls:
  • phantom authors
  • inflated numbers
  • bad metadata
Earlier Library Boy posts about Google Scholar and other federated search tools include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:31 pm 0 comments links to this post

PubMed Central Canada Arriving Soon

Researchers needing high quality medical information might be interested in the imminent launch of PubMed Central Canada (PMC):
"PMC Canada will help accelerate the creation of knowledge and facilitate its use by providing a freely accessible, Canada-based archive of peer-reviewed health science literature."

"PMC Canada is the result of a three-way partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Research Council's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It will be part of the larger PubMed Central International network, which currently includes the U.S. PubMed Central and UK PubMed Central (...)"

"The first phase of PMC Canada will be launched during Open Access Week - October 19-23, 2009. It will include a manuscript submission system to enable CIHR researchers to deposit articles that are accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals."


[Source: CARL E-Lerts - Canadian Association of Research Libraries]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, September 25, 2009

Where to Find U.S. Court Documents

My colleagues and I occasionally need to find U.S. court documents and case information

The WisBlawg (University of Wisconsin Law Library) has put together a list of services and databases to find that kind of material.

It includes the big names such as Westlaw and Lexis as well as specialized services like PACER, FreeCourtDockets, RECAP and Justia Federal District Court Filings and Dockets.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tenth Annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

Justice Canada has announced the names of the winners of the tenth annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Awards, which are sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association and the Department of Justice Canada, celebrate outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of the Canadian justice system.

Awards are given for French or English stories in two categories: broadcast and print media.

The winners in the broadcast category:
  • Global TV Calgary (reporter Mia Sosiak, photographers George Glen and Bruce Aalhus, and editor Joe McDaid) for a November 2008 series "Court of Hope" on Calgary’s Drug Treatment Court
  • CBC Radio national news reporter Karen Pauls, CBC TV national reporter Marisa Dragani and national TV producer Jason Ho received a certificate of merit for their reports "Not Criminally Responsible" about the trial of Vince Li, the man accused of killing and beheading a man on a Greyhound bus.

The winners in the print category:

  • Peter McKnight of the Vancouver Sun for articles on the responsibility of the media in reporting on crime, and the trend towards "governing through crime".
  • Brian Myles of Le Devoir received a certificate of merit for his December 2008 series of articles entitled "Dix ans de médiation au Québec" on the tenth anniversary of civil mediation in Quebec.
Winners receive a bronze statuette that is based on the Justicia statue that stands outside the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:47 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Picking Winners: Study on Why Proportional Representation Has Failed in Canada

The Canada West Foundation, a think tank based in Calgary, Alberta, has just published Picking Winners, a study of the failure of five recent attempts to introduce proportional representation electoral reforms at the provincial level:

"(...) British Columbia launched one of the most innovative exercises in citizen participation in Canadian history when it created the Citizens’ Assembly for Electoral Reform with a mandate to 'assess all possible models for electing MLAs, including preferential ballots, proportional representation, and our current electoral system.' The BC government then put its money where its mouth was and held two referendums to see if the people of BC were in favour of the Assembly’s recommendation to switch to a system of proportional representation. "

"Significant reform efforts have also taken place in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. All of these efforts failed. For whatever reason, change was stymied."

"Legislators in BC, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI are still elected using the first-past-the-post method. What happened in each of these five jurisdictions is the topic of this report."

An earlier Library Boy post from January 3, 2006 listed some Electoral Law Resources on the Internet:

"Here are some of the top Canadian and foreign web resources on the topic of elections, electoral law and electoral reform."
[Source: Reports Canada]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:32 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Google Book Scanning Court Hearing Postponed

Things have been moving very quickly in recent days in the Google Book Search settlement.

The settlement is intended to end class action lawsuits launched by American publisher and author organizations that accused the search behemoth of copyright infringement for unauthorized mass scanning of millions of books, many of them out of print yet still covered by copyright.

Parties involved in the case today asked a U.S. federal judge in New York to postpone an October hearing while they work out a new deal.

This move comes days after the U.S. Department of Justice made public its criticism of the original settlement.

The site ResourceShelf has compiled a press review of the most recent developments today.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Google Book project controversy include:

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

Official European Union Website Gets Makeover

Europa – the European Union’s official website - has just had a makeover.

The major idea was to separate laws and other technical material from more general information.

As well, the layout has been simplified and the site has been divided into 6 main themes:
  • About the EU (history, structure, institutions)
  • Policies and Activities (policy areas, grants, tenders)
  • Your Life in the EU (work, study, consumer rights, health, rights of residence)
  • Take Part! (online debates, blogs, YouTube videos)
  • Documentation Centre
  • Media Centre
A navigation menu reflecting those 6 themes appears on all pages to make it easier to move around the site's more than 6 million pages of information, information available in all 20 (twenty) official languages of the EU, from Bulgarian to Swedish.

There is a tutorial on how to use the new site.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 21, 2009

American Library Association Celebrates Banned Books Week

The American Libraries Association (ALA) website has posted lots of interesting material in anticipation of the upcoming Banned Books Week in the United States.

It takes place September 26−October 3, 2009 and "celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

The Banned Books section of the ALA website contains resources for suggested activities (displays, films, etc.) as well as an annotated list of Banned and/or Challenged Books in the 20th century.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Other Library Boy posts on the issue of challenged books and censorship include:
  • Censorship in Canada - Freedom to Read Week (February 25, 2005): "When I was very young, my father would sometimes shock me with accounts of the books that authorities had tried to censor when he was young. It sounded like this could never happen to my generation, or if it did, it could only occur in dictatorial states, or in the more unenlightened Good Ol' Boy parts of the USA. Unfortunately, the reality is that censorship occurs here too, even today..."
  • Challenged Books in the US and Canada (March 16, 2006): "One of the resources produced by the sponsors of the [freedom to read] week is a list that provides information on more than 100 books that have been challenged in Canada in the past few years. Most challenges have to do with sex, homosexuality, religion or race."
  • Banned Books Week - USA 2006 (September 13, 2006): "To Kill a Mockingbird. Of Mice and Men. The Great Gatsby. 1984. It's hard to imagine a world without these extraordinary literary classics, but every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove great books from libraries and schools. In fact, according to the American Library Association, 42 of 100 books recognized by the Radcliffe Publishing Course as the best novels of the 20th century have been challenged or banned."
  • Freedom to Read Week Next Month (January 24, 2007): "Freedom to Read Week will be taking place once again all across Canada from February 25th to March 3, 2007."
  • Survey of Challenged Books in Canadian Libraries (February 24, 2008): "In advance of Freedom to Read Week, February 24 to March 1, 2008, the Canadian Library Association has released the results of its 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries (...) 'Many of the books and DVDs were challenged by parents and grandparents who found the materials to be age-inappropriate, sexually explicit, violent, racist, or questioned family values. Included in the 2007 challenges were Masterpiece Theatre’s DVD of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, citing a 'childbirth depiction', and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman for religious viewpoints'."
Canada's next Freedom to Read Week takes place February 21-27, 2010.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:38 pm 1 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tool to Monitor Policies Affecting International Trade

The Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), an anti-protectionist academic think-tank based in London, has created Global Trade Alert:
"Global Trade Alert provides real-time information on state measures taken during the current global downturn that are likely to affect foreign commerce. It goes beyond other monitoring initiatives by identifying the trading partners likely to be harmed by these measures."
It is possible to slice and dice the information by trade partner affected, country implementing a measure, affected economic sector, type of measure (import ban, export subsidy, sanitary measure, etc.), coming into force date, duration.

Among the funders/sponsors of the CEPR are 2 Canadian organizations: the International Development Research Centre, a Crown Corporation in Ottawa, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a think tank in Waterloo, Ontario founded in 2002 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion).

[Source: beSpacific]

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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Canadian Copyright Consultation Wrap-Up

On his blog, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has posted a final summary of what people have been saying in the online discussion that is part of the Canadian government's copyright consultation:
"Throughout the copyright consultation, I've been assisted by University of Ottawa student Frances Munn, who has been tracking the discussion in the online forum (...) While submissions will still be accepted until midnight tonight, the discussion forum is now closed. The forum attracted over 2,000 comments with a summary posted below."
The consultation asked 5 questions:
  1. How do Canada’s copyright laws affect you? How should existing laws be modernized?
  2. Based on Canadian values and interests, how should copyright changes be made in order to withstand the test of time?
  3. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
  4. What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster competition and investment in Canada?
  5. What kinds of changes would best position Canada as a leader in the global, digital economy?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:05 pm 0 comments links to this post

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 1st to 15th, 2009 is now available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library 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 4:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nova Scotia Introduces Apology Law

Nova Scotia's new Apology Act, that will come into force on October 1st, 2009, would allow individuals and organizations to apologize for an accident or negative occurrence, without it being used as evidence of liability in a civil legal proceeding under provincial law.

The legislation is especially significant for health care and hospital workers who will now be able to express remorse to families without putting themselves in legal jeopardy.

There are six other provinces that have apology legislation: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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."
  • Ontario Introduces Apology Law (October 7, 2008): "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."

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ireland Law Reform Commission Report on Advance Care Directives

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland today published its Report on Bioethics: Advance Care Directives.

The report makes 42 specific recommendations on the topic and includes a draft Mental Capacity (Advance Care Directives) Bill 2009 to implement these recommendations.

An advance care directive (sometimes called a "living will") sets out a person’s instructions that certain specified medical treatment that might be considered in the future is not to be carried out or continued.

It touches upon issues such as refusal of life-sustaining treatment, "do not resuscitate" orders, and powers of attorney or health proxies.

The report stresses that assisted suicide and euthanasia would remain unlawful under Ireland's criminal law on homicide.

The report also looks at the situation in other jurisdictions such as the United States, the United Kingdom and various Council of Europe states.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fifth Annual Canadian Right To Know Week

The fifth annual Canadian Right to Know Week will take place from September 28th to October 2nd.

The goal is to raise awareness of individuals’ right to access government information and to promote access to information as a fundamental human right.

The website offers a calendar of events across Canada organized by NGOs or access to information commissions as well as resources such as a list of high profile access to information cases.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:53 pm 1 comments links to this post

Monday, September 14, 2009

Google Book Search Bibliography

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., former assistant dean of the University Libraries at the University of Houston and currently publisher of Digital Scholarship (known to me in particular for its Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography) has just published an Google Book Search Bibliography (version 5):
"This bibliography presents selected English-language articles and other works that are useful in understanding Google Book Search. It primarily focuses on the evolution of Google Book Search and the legal, library, and social issues associated with it. Where possible, links are provided to works that are freely available on the Internet, including e-prints in disciplinary archives and institutional repositories. Note that e-prints and published articles may not be identical."

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Commissioner of Official Languages Publication on Recent Language Rights Decisions

The Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, released a study of the most important decisions on language rights in recent years, as part of a round table on the subject organized last week by the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law for the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act:
"This report summarizes and analyzes the principal decisions on language rights rendered by the courts in the 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 fiscal years. While not exhaustive, it is intended as a reference tool for people directly or indirectly interested in these rights."

"The cases considered in this report illustrate a variety of areas affected by language rights. Judgments have dealt with topics such as minority-language education rights, the use of the two official languages in proceedings of Parliament, language rights in the administration of justice and the right to communicate with and receive services from government institutions in the official language of choice."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Copyright Consultation Roundtable Summary

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist has provided a summary of the roundatables on copyright reform organized in recent weeks by the Canadian government.

He breaks down his summary into:
  • number of appearances by groups or individuals from specific industries (e.g. Music Industry, Copyright Collectives, etc.)
  • top issues or key messages

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:28 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Consultation Paper on Family Relationships

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland yesterday launched its Consultation Paper on Family Relationships.

The paper is part of the Commission’s Third Programme of Law Reform 2008-2014, and makes wide-ranging provisional recommendations, including the following:
  • instead of the current legal terms guardianship, custody and access, the law should use the terms parental responsibility, day-to-day care and contact. This would give a clearer indication of what is actually involved in this part of family law; and remove any misunderstanding that parents might have rights involving their children without corresponding responsibilities. It would also ensure that the terms used in Ireland wouldbe in line with those used in EU legislation, by the Council of Europe, and in other international instruments to which Ireland is a party;
  • there should be a statutory presumption that a non-marital father be granted an order for guardianship (parental responsibility) unless to do so would be contrary to the best interests of the child or would jeopardise the welfare of the child. The Commission also invites submissions on whether automatic guardianship (parental responsibility) for allfathers should be introduced;
  • the distinction between birth registration and the allocation of guardianship (parental responsibility) should remain. This would be accompanied by provisions to encourage greater joint registration of births;
  • the removal of the current two stage procedure for applying for access (contact) by members of the extended family. The Commission also invites submissions on whether the categories of persons who can apply for access (contact) should be expanded to include persons with a genuine (bona fide) interest;
  • persons other than parents should be able to apply for custody (day-to-day care) of the child where the parents are unwilling or unable to exercise their responsibilities
  • the Commission invites submissions on the inclusion of a specific requirement that the wishes of the child be considered in making a decision on an application for access(contact) by a member of the child’s extended family;
  • the Commission also invites submissions on whether it would be appropriate to develop a procedure to extend guardianship (parental responsibility) to a step-parent

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

DNA Fingerprinting Is 25 Years Old

Today marks the 25th anniversary of DNA fingerprinting.

The technique was discovered by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys at Leicester University (UK):
"Apart from identical twins, it is widely agreed that no two people have the same DNA fingerprint. As such a fingerprint from a sample at a crime scene can be compared to a suspect’s, and if there is a match, the evidence against them is very strong (...)"

"Professor Jeffreys’s discovery has not only benefited forensic science, but has enabled the tracking of historical migration of groups, and revealed family ties for children whose parentage is unknown."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:32 pm 0 comments links to this post

International Association of Law Libraries 2009 Website Award Contest

The International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) is seeking nominations for its annual website award contest:
"With this Award, the Association seeks to recognise and promote free legal information websites that are authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date, useful, and user-friendly. The selection panel will make its decision based on these criteria. The websites nominated may be those designed specifically for researchers, information professionals or librarians, in a national or international context (...)"

"Please send (1) the names and web addresses of your recommended websites and (2) your comments by the closing date of 14 September 2009 via E-mail or mail to:
Ligita Gjortlere
Riga Graduate School of Law
Strelnieku 4K-2
Riga LV-1010
LATVIA"
The winner will be announced at the 28th Annual Course in International Law Librarianship in Istanbul (Turkey), 11th - 15th October, 2009.

A list of previous winners is posted on the IALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

40 Years of the Official Languages Act

This is an update to the September 7, 2009 post entitled 40th Anniversary of Canada's Official Languages Act.

The legislation recognized the equal status of English and French in federal institutions and in Canadian society.

Justice Canada has some additional material on 40 Years of the Official Languages Act, including a history of amendments to the legislation, links to a A Brief History of the Evolution of Language Rights Before the Supreme Court of Canada as well as an article on the bilingual and bijural drafting of bills and legislative instruments.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:59 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How To Find Court Filings in the Google Book Settlement

The Justia website has compiled all the filings in the U.S. court case relating to the settlement between search giant Google and U.S. author and publisher organizations. The site also links to blog postings and news stories about the issue.

The settlement is intended to end class action lawsuits that charged Google with copyright infringement for unauthorized mass scanning of millions of books, many of them out of print yet still covered by copyright.

Today was the last day for comments about the settlement.

A New York City District Court will be holding hearings in October.

Access Copyright has devoted a section of its website to an explanation of the Google Settlement.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Google Book project controversy include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 07, 2009

40th Anniversary of Canada's Official Languages Act

Forty years today, on September 7, 1969, the Official Languages Act officially came into force.

The legislation recognized the equal status of English and French in federal institutions and in Canadian society.

All week long, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages will mark the occasion through meetings, discussions, and exhibitions.

More background:
  • Official Languages Act still needs work 40 years later (The Hill Times, August 31, 2009): "Bilingualism 'is at the core of what this country means' but Canadians don't have a sense of ownership of both official languages, says Graham Fraser, the Commissioner of Official Languages (...) 'I think the larger challenge is creating a situation where Canadians feel that both languages belong to them,' said Mr. Fraser, who wrote, Sorry, I don't speak French: Confronting the Canadian Crisis That Won't Go Away prior to being appointed the Official Languages Commissioner in 2006. 'The presence of the other language is something that is inherent in what Canada is about. ... This is what distinguishes us from other countries. This is as central an identifier for a Canadian event as the Canadian flag and the metric system'. "
  • Still bilingual after all these years - Thanks to the tireless work of a courageous crew, in the face of fierce criticism, the dream of language equality endured (Op-ed by Keith Spicer, Canada's first commissioner of official languages 1970-1977, Ottawa Citizen, Spetember 7, 2009): "Many Canadians, elected or public servants, played vital roles in making this reform work. As commissioner of official languages, I knew all the key players, and can testify that they acted with uncommon courage and commitment (...) Why mention courage? Because country-changing stakes drew passionate adversaries. Cynicism in French Canada, fury in parts of English-speaking Canada, and fear of marginalization among 'ethnic' groups made linguistic justice a lightning rod for discontent (...) I saw two strategic goals: 1) anchor the credibility of the Official Languages Act, and make its reforms irreversible; 2) establish the commissioner's job as undeniably non-partisan. I told my colleagues that by achieving both, we should aim to make bilingualism 'boring' -- no longer a constant melodrama, but a normal part of Canada's 'woodwork'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, September 05, 2009

New Research Guide on Indigenous Peoples International Law

The GlobaLex collection at the New York University School of Law recently published a Research Guide on Indigenous Peoples International Law written by Chris Dykes, reference/research librarian at the University of Houston Law Center’s O’Quinn Law Library:
"This research guide is designed to provide a foundation for researching indigenous international law by covering the definition of 'indigenous peoples', a brief history, key terms and issues, regional and international organizations including the United Nations, international documentation such as treaties, selected books and articles, online sources, and research guides."

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

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Google Book Search Settlement Deadline

Tomorrow marks the deadline for comments on the proposed settlement between Google and U.S. publisher and author organizations over the search giant's project to digitize millions of books.

The settlement is intended to end class action lawsuits that charged Google with copyright infringement for unauthorized mass scanning.

Interested parties have been invited to make comments to a New York judge by tomorrow. In early October, that judge will consider whether or not to approve the settlement.

In recent days, the number of comments and analyses about the deal has increased dramatically. Here are a few:
  • Google's plan for world's biggest online library: philanthropy or act of piracy? (The Guardian, August 30, 2009): "Several opponents have recently emerged (...) First, they have questioned whether the primary responsibility for digitally archiving the world's books should be allowed to fall to a commercial company (...) The second, related criticism is that Google's scanning of books is actually illegal. This allegation has led to Google becoming mired in a legal battle whose scope and complexity makes the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case in Bleak House look straightforward."
  • Advocates: Google Books can bridge digital divide (CNET News, September 3, 2009): "A coalition of civil-rights and disability groups in favor of Google's book-scanning project held a press conference Thursday to marshal support for improving access to knowledge, the key benefit of Google's deal with authors and publishers to create a new kind of digital library. They fear that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain digital access to knowledge previously stored in libraries at expensive universities or rich communities could be hampered by the opposition to the settlement from some authors and privacy advocates."
  • Google's Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31, 2009): "I'm actually more optimistic than some of my colleagues who have criticized the settlement. Not that I'm counting on selfless public-spiritedness to motivate Google to invest the time and resources in getting this right. But I have the sense that a lot of the initial problems are due to Google's slightly clueless fumbling as it tried master a domain that turned out to be a lot more complex than the company first realized. It's clear that Google designed the system without giving much thought to the need for reliable metadata. In fact, Google's great achievement as a Web search engine was to demonstrate how easy it could be to locate useful information without attending to metadata or resorting to Yahoo-like schemes of classification. But books aren't simply vehicles for communicating information, and managing a vast library collection requires different skills, approaches, and data than those that enabled Google to dominate Web searching."
  • Keeping Google out of libraries (BBC News, September 2, 2009): "It is not that the settlement will give Google indemnity from prosecution should it be found to have scanned books that are in copyright without the copyright owner's position, nor even that it gives Google freedom to exploit scanned content commercially. It is, rather, that the settlement gives only Google these privileges, and places one company in a prime position to become the world's de facto librarian instead of encouraging open access, open standards and a plurality of services and service providers.Neither Google nor any other company should be entrusted with that responsibility, and nothing in the detail of the agreement or the funds that will be made available to authors as a consequence can change this."
  • Library associations submit supplemental filing, call for increased oversight of Google agreement (American Library Association Washington Office, September 2, 2009)

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Google Book project controversy include:

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

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New Point-in-Time Legislative Databases from CanLII

The free legal information portal CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute) announced today that it has added point-in-time legislation databases for Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
"Users of these provinces' consolidated Acts and regulations now have access to versions as they came into force since 2004 or so, as well as to current versions updated weekly from governments' websites."
CanLII now offers point-in-time legislation databases for the federal and all provincial governments and plans to add similar collections for the legislation of Canada's three Northern territories soon.

The databases make it possible to search a legislative text as it was legally binding on a particular date in the past, with historical coverage going back approximately five years.

It is also possible to compare two different versions of a particular document, note up statute and regulation sections and subscribe to RSS feeds to track legislative changes.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of August 16th to 30th, 2009 is now available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library 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 8:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New Report on Accountability of Canada's National Security Agencies

The Montreal-based think tank Institute for Research in Public Policy today published a study entitled Accountability in and for National Security.

According to the two authors, Reg Whitaker and Stuart Farson:
"In the post-9/11 environment, a familiar rhythm has returned to national security accountability: a security scandal leads to a specific inquiry, followed by a proposed reform agenda for an existing accountability regime that has been found wanting. The Maher Arar case is one recent example."

"Unfortunately, responses to scandals have resulted in an ad hoc, piecemeal and uncoordinated set of reforms. This has left a patchwork of accountability in which some agencies like CSIS work under close watch, some like the RCMP are under ineffective scrutiny, while other parts of the security and intelligence community like Foreign Affairs and Canada Border Services routinely go largely unexamined. A more integrated approach to accountability is imperative." [from the summary]
On the same topic, the most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian government documents lists the June 2009 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security: Review of the Findings and Recommendations Arising From the Iacobucci and O'Connor Inquiries.

Those 2 inquiries looked into the cases of Arab Canadians who were victims of faulty intelligence sharing practices by Canadian security agencies, that led to their being deported to Syria or Egypt where they were held without trial and mistreated or tortured.

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 9:22 pm 0 comments links to this post