Sunday, January 31, 2010

Canadian Lawyers Launch 'Judicial Red Cross' for Haiti

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly is reporting that Canadian lawyers and law firms are mobilizing to bring relief to Canadians and Haitians affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Bar associations are helping with pro bono work for Canadians trying to sponsor loved ones caught in Haiti and are sending financial aid to help rebuild the Caribbean country's justice system.

As well, the Quebec chapter of the non-governmental organization Lawyers Without Borders wants to organize what it calls a "judicial Red Cross" in Haiti:
"This would be a transitional system of emergency 'justice shelters,' operating out of tents, that can be quickly deployed in the country’s desolate communities while giving the nation’s formal system of justice a chance to be rebuilt. Conceived by former Quebec Court of Appeal Justice Louise Otis, in collaboration with Concordia University professor Eric Reiter, the so-called frontline justice system is anchored by trained local jurists who give legal information and advice, and local judges who issue emergency safeguard orders and mediate disputes between parties (...)"

"Drawn from initiatives around the world, particularly those emanating from the United Nations 'Brahimi Report' (which reviewed procedures and goals of U.N. peace operations in the wake of experiences in Kosovo and East Timor), the front-line justice system envisioned by Otis and Reiter is an emergency hybrid justice system that attempts to quickly create an institution to assess and administer the immediate emergency justice needs of the local population by local jurists and magistrates. The centerpiece is the creation of so-called justice shelters, which are centrally located tents that can be put up overnight. Its mandate is broad and includes civil, family and administrative as well as criminal matters. It is not a transitional justice program but rather a step-by-step judicial restorative process that tries to rebuild the justice system, points out Reiter, who added that its work should be done within two years."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 29, 2010

Westlaw and Lexis To Launch New Search Interfaces

I am sure everyone by now has heard about initiatives by both Westlaw and Lexis to revamp their search technology (as described earlier this week in The New York Times).

A few lucky people have been given a sneak preview. Here are some overviews:
  • Exclusive: Inside the New Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg Platforms (ABA Journal, January 24, 2010): "There’s a battle about to break out on your computer screen. On the third floor of West’s sprawling corporate headquarters outside Minneapolis, a veritable army of professionals has been working for nearly five years to create a revamped Westlaw. They are changing everything from the interface users see on their PC screens to all the technology that makes it work behind the scenes. Known as WestlawNext, the new platform will debut February 1. On its own suburban campus near Dayton, Ohio, LexisNexis—the other half of the duopoly that has ruled online legal research for almost 40 years (some call it “Wexis”)—is planning its own revamped platform. Referred to internally as New Lexis, it is slated to roll out publicly later this year on a date yet to be determined."
  • The Future of Westlaw - A First Glimpse (Simon Chester, slaw.ca, January 28, 2010): "Yesterday, two members of Slaw were given an in-depth look at the most profound re-engineering of a legal research system since the migration to the Web. In Thomson Reuters’ impressive Eagan facility we had a briefing on the new Westlaw – to be launched at New York LegalTech next Monday under the name WestlawNext. "
  • A First Look at WestlawNext (Robert Ambrogi's Lawsites, January 26, 2010): "This is no mere cosmetic redesign. WestlawNext completely changes the search interface and the search engine behind it. In fact, the change is so dramatic that West has given its new search engine its own name: WestSearch. This new search engine does not just look at the terms you enter, a West executive said. Rather, it tries to identify the issue of law based on the terms you searched."
  • Westlaw Next (Betsy McKenzie, Out of the Jungle, January 26, 2010): "The final analysis is that users come to Westlaw for legal research for two primary types of tasks: 1) known document retrieval and 2) exploratory issue-based research. The first needs to be made as simple as possible. The second is the real heart of the matter. Westlaw researchers did a masterful job of breaking down the process of online research and then analyzing where their product either added extra difficulties or could improve."
  • The Non-Disclosure Agreements Have Expired: Amateur Fluff Being Replaced by Informed Commentary on WestlawNext by Legal Information Professionals (Law Librarian Blog, January 29, 2010): "While some may have been miffed about having to sign a confidentiality agreement with West to get a sneak peak at WestlawNext earlier this week in Eagan while West gave the ABA Journal and the New York Times 'exclusive' interviews, the NDAs signed by legal information professionals have expired. The blogosphere is now being populated with detailed, useful, informed commentary and analysis instead of most of what has been published so far."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Program of 2010 Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is holding its next annual conference May 9-12, 2010 in Windsor, Ontario.

The conference program is now available online.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

American Library Association Establishes Haiti Relief Fund

This is a follow-up to the January 23, 2010 post entitled News About Haiti from International Federation of Library Associations.

The American Library Association has created a Haiti Library Relief Fund:
"The massive earthquake near the capital of Port-au-Prince in Haiti on January 12 and the loss and upheaval of life has touched everyone around the world. Unfortunately, natural disasters do not spare cultural institutions such as libraries and archives, or their staff." (...)

"Libraries and other cultural institutions are critical resources for the recovery of people around the world in the aftermath of a humanitarian crisis."

"This website provides information on how you can donate to help libraries and archives recover, as well as reports on damage to cultural institutions in Haiti, how to volunteer you expertise, and additional efforts of ALA and other organizations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:19 pm 0 comments links to this post

2010 Legal Trends Watch from Gowlings Law Firm

The Canadian law firm Gowlings has published its Gowlings Trendwatch:
"The videos and articles posted here feature our professionals with forecasts on important upcoming legal developments. Each of our contributors examines a trend that Canadian and/or international businesses are likely to face over the coming months."

"Videos and related documents on legal trends in a range of industries will be posted regularly, so visit often to see our latest forecasts."
The developments include the harmonized sales tax controversy, mergers and acquisitions activity, advertising law, class actions, trade talks with the European Union and corruption.

[Source: Vancouver Law Librarian Blog]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:09 pm 0 comments links to this post

Finding U.S. Congressional Documents on FDsys

On LLRX.com, Peggy Gavin has published The Government Domain - Congressional Documents on FDsys: Advanced Techniques.

The article discusses advanced search techniques for finding U.S. congressional information on the FDsys system.

Fdsys is the new content management and delivery system for the Government Printing Office (GPO). It is intended to replace the well-known GPO Access site as a source of U.S. official publications.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada Judges' Track Record in 2009

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly provides a snapshot of the quantitative output of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009:
"Looking at the opinions the individual judges wrote last year (as distinct from judgments they simply signed on to without comment) Chief Justice McLachlin and Justice Charron were the most solid majoritarians in the sense that they did the least concurring and dissenting, both wrote a total of nine majority or unanimous opinions, and Justice Charron wrote more unanimous judgments than anyone else — five."

"Justice Charron and Justice Morris Fish spoke most often for the court on criminal law — although Justice Fish could also be dubbed 'The Great Dissenter' since he authored in addition nine dissents — more than twice as many as any of his colleagues."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:24 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Human Rights Watch 2010 Annual Report

Human Rights Watch recently released its World Report 2010:

"This 20th annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2009 by Human Rights Watch staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in question."

"Every government is at times tempted to violate human rights, but the global human rights movement has made sure that abuse carries a price. Still, some governments cannot resist trying to minimize that price by attacking human rights defenders, organizations, and institutions. The aim is to silence the messenger, to deflect pressure, to lessen the cost of committing human rights violations."

"These efforts have yet to succeed, but the campaign is dangerous. Human Rights Watch calls on governmental supporters of human rights to help defend the defenders by identifying and countering these reactionary efforts. A strong defense of human rights depends on the vitality of the human rights movement now under assault. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:36 pm 0 comments links to this post

Access 2010 Library Tech Conference in Manitoba

The 2010 Access Conference will take place October 13-16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The conference likes to refer to itself as "Canada’s Premier Library Technology Conference."

It is sponsored by the ETIG (Emerging Technology Interest Group) of the Canadian Library Association.

You can have a look at what happened at earlier Access conferences on the website of last year's event at the University of Prince Edward Island.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 25, 2010

University of Montreal Site on Legal Rights and Responsabilities Online

If you read French, the University of Montreal's Centre de recherche en droit public (Public Law Research Centre) offers an interesting site on legal aspects of life online.

The "Guide des droits sur Internet" (Internet rights guide) answers questions on topics ranging from online libel to the potential risks of videoconferencing and a whole variety of other issues in between.

[Source: Culturelibre.ca]

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Applications for Research Grants from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) have until March 15, 2010 to apply for a research grant of up to $2,000 in 2010.

The grant supports members doing research on law library-related topics.

Funding may be granted for research assistance, online costs, compensating time off, purchase of software, travel, clerical assistance, etc. CALL members may apply jointly for the grant and previous applicants who were not awarded funding are welcome to reapply.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 23, 2010

News About Haiti from International Federation of Library Associations

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has up-to-date news about the situation of libraries in Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit the country earlier this month:
"The Bibliothèque Nationale d'Haïti has sustained heavy damage from the earthquake, but has not collapsed. Historic preservation architects will eventually examine the state of the building, but of course only after the most essential structures (hospitals, sanitation, etc.) are first dealt with."

"St Gonzague's patrimonial Library is completely destroyed (...)"

"The Library of St. Martial–which possess manuscripts from the 17th through 19th century–has also sustained heavy structural damage and will require rescue intervention. The Library of the University Quisqueya was also severely damaged by the earthquake."
The article also describes the immediate bibliographic needs for Haitian university libraries.

Don't forget to donate to Haitian earthquake relief.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Compilation of Library-Related Conferences

Marian Dworaczek from the University of Saskatchewan has been compiling a list of library-related conferences for a number of years. Coverage is international. It is extensive.

Here is the most recent update.

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

Leg@l IT 4.0 Conference Program in Montreal

The Leg@l IT 4.0 conference will be taking place in Montreal on April 26 & 27, 2010.

It bills itself as "the most important conference in Canada on the impact of information technologies and their potential for law".

The conference program is now available online. Topics covered include cybercrime, e-discovery, IT in courtrooms, knowledge management, cloud computing, and more.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 21, 2010

United Nations Report on State of the World’s Indigenous People

The UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples has just published a report on the State of the World’s Indigenous People:

"Most indicators of well-being show that indigenous peoples suffer disproportinately compared to non-indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples face systemic discrimination and exclusion from political and economic power; they continue to be over-represented among the poorest, the illiterate, the destitute; they are displaced by wars and environmental disasters; indigenous peoples are dispossessed of their ancestral lands and deprived of their resources for survival, both physical and cultural; they are even robbed of their very right to life (...) "

"Although the state of the world's indigenous peoples is alarming, there is some cause for optimism. The international community increasingly recognizes indigenous peoples' human rights, most prominently evidenced by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous peoples themselves continue to organize for the promotion of their rights. They are the stewards of some of the world's most biologically diverse areas and their traditional knowledge about the biodibversity of these areas is invaluable. As the effects of climate change are becoming clearer, it is increaslingly evident that indigenous peoples must play a central role in developing adaptation and mitigation efforts to this global challenge."
The report is divided into chapters on poverty, culture, environment, education, health, human rights and emerging issues.

[Source: UN Pulse, United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ghosts of Tech Trends Past and Future

In the most recent issue of his Cites & Insights, Walt Crawford sums up and comments on the Tech Trends, Trends and Forecasts provided by a variety of library and non-library people.

Crawford's take on tech predictions is always fun because he is one of the few writers who evaluates how accurate past predictions have been and writes with a dry sense of humour:

"It’s as predictable as the Winter Solstice: the ongoing trickle of articles on trends turns into a flood around the turn of each year, coupled with a healthy rush of forecasts—and a much smaller freshet of ‘fessing up, as forecasters let us know how things worked out (...) "

"Let’s look at a few of the many trend statements for 2010. We’ll also look at the flipside of trendiness: Deathspotting—assertions that X or Y is (or is about to be) obsolete or defunct. I was originally planning to include some of the 'top 10 for 2009' stories, but enough is enough—and, especially at the end of a decade, there are too many of the things to even think about (...)

First, let’s look back at some of last year’s trends, forecasts and predictions..."

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of January 1 to 15, 2010 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 2:35 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Federal Conservatives and Canadian Judicial Appointments

The January 22, 2010 issue of The Lawyers Weekly takes a look at judicial appointments under the federal Conservatives.

Highlights:
  • the Conservatives will have appointed one-third of the country’s federal judges by the time they celebrate their fourth anniversary in office this month
  • in 2009 alone the Conservatives made 116 judicial appointments
  • only 460 lawyers applied for the federal Bench across Canada in 2008-2009 compared to 552 lawyers the year before — a decline of 17 percent
  • more than half of the country’s 17 Judicial Advisory Committees that vet candidates were defunct because the government has yet to appoint new members

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

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Launches Consultation on Online Tracking

Canada's Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart wants to consult Canadian citizens about online consumer tracking:
"In the practice of online consumer tracking, data about the browsing habits of individuals is collected through digital markers such as cookies. Additional data may be gathered using other technologies, such as deep packet inspection and the global positioning systems (GPS) common in many mobile communications devices."

"Individuals themselves, moreover, volunteer significant amounts of personal information, especially through their participation in social networking sites (...)"

"Proponents say that online consumer tracking, profiling and targeting supports free Internet content, allows people to receive more relevant advertising and discount offers, and promotes the development of useful services ... "

"Critics, however, warn that people may be unaware that their personal information is being collected, and do not understand how it is used. They also argue that, even when the information is anonymous, it can sometimes be combined with other information to identify individuals."
Interested people can send written submissions until March 15, 2010. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is also seeking to recruit people to participate in formal discussion panels in Toronto in April and Montreal in May.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yet Another Item About Top Tech Trends for 2010

Paula J. Hane, the editor of Newsbreaks from the info industry publisher Information Today, has written a two-part Review of the Year 2009 and Trends Watch:
  • Review of the Year 2009 and Trends Watch—Part 1 (Janaury 4, 2010): "Other trends I mentioned that have carried through the year include increased interest in the mobile web, enterprise social networking, open source solutions, book digitization, ebook readers, etc. In fact, the trends I said I'd be watching in 2009 have all proven to be important drivers during the year.
  • Review of the Year 2009 and Trends Watch—Part 2 (January 7, 2010): "... I cover the trends I'll be watching in 2010 that I expect to have an impact on libraries and the information industry. I also present a wrap-up with links to some of the most interesting coverage from other commentators and analysts.

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Library of Parliament Explanation of the Coming Into Force of Federal Legislation

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications features a very useful explanation of the Coming Into Force of Federal Legislation (dated May 15, 2009).

Every reference librarian knows how frequently our users have trouble figuring out when a particular Act or section of an Act comes into force, so this text by the Library of Parliament is very handy:
"Once a bill has been adopted by the Senate and the House of Commons, and has been given Royal Assent by the Governor General, it becomes an Act of Parliament and, as such, part of the Laws of Canada. An Act, however, is not binding unless it has commenced. There is a distinction between the enactment of an Act and its commencement. The former relates to the time it receives Royal Assent, and the latter to the time when it becomes binding and capable of producing legal effects."

"The Constitution of Canada is silent as to the commencement of an Act of Parliament. Pursuant to the common law rule, inherited from the United Kingdom, an Act is deemed to have commenced on the first day of the session in which it was enacted. That rule was, however, changed in the United Kingdom in 1793, and all Canadian jurisdictions now have statutory provisions prescribing rules applicable for the commencement of legislation. The purpose of this text is to provide an overview of these rules for the legislation enacted by the Parliament of Canada."

"Rules pertaining to the commencement of federal legislation originate from multiple sources. While the Canada Interpretation Act provides for default and general rules, an Act may itself provide for its own coming into force mechanism. Acts of Parliament may come into force on Royal Assent, on a day fixed by the Act itself, or by order of the Governor in Council. Before studying the rules pertaining to each mechanism, this paper will review provisions that authorize preliminary proceedings pursuant to an Act, but before its coming into force."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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

More Top Tech Trends for 2010

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post entitled Live Discussion on Top Tech Trends at American Library Association.

The Education Institute, a continuing education program created by Canadian library associations, is presenting an audio conference on January 26, 2010 on Ten Trends & Technologies for 2010.

The presenter is Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in Illinois. Professor Stephens also writes a popular blog on libraries and technology: Tame the Web.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:55 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Library of Parliament Studies on Senate Reform

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications features 2 documents on the reform of the Canada's federal Senate, something we all know will be on the top of the government's agenda once Parliament returns from its current prorogation:
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 2:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Live Discussion on Top Tech Trends at American Library Association

LITA (Library and Information Technology Association), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is broadcasting a live discussion of the Top Tech Trends in the library world tomorrow from 10:30 AM to 12 noon EST.

It is part of the ALA 2010 Midwinter Meeting being held in Boston.

There is a list of earlier items about top tech trends on the LITA Blog.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:17 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nasty Virus Attacks Through Social Networking Sites Like Facebook

Be careful about what you click on.

According to the 2010 Threat Predictions Report by McAfee, cybercriminals are targeting social networking:
"Facebook, Twitter, and third-party applications on these sites are rapidly changing the criminal toolkit, giving cybercriminals new technologies to work with and hot spots of activity that can be exploited. Users will become more vulnerable to attacks that blindly distribute rogue apps across their networks, and cybercriminals will take advantage of friends trusting friends to get users to click on links they might otherwise treat cautiously. The use of abbreviated URLs on sites like Twitter make it even easier for cybercriminals to mask and direct users to malicious Web sites."
I have had the unfortunate experience of being a victim of a computer virus caught on Facebook. A little while ago, my home computer was infected by a nasty virus downloaded by clicking on a link (probably an ad or an app or even a link to another legitimate looking site suggested by a Facebook friend). I know it had to be from Facebook because that is the only place I logged onto the evening of the infection.

I had to call a computer technician to come disinfect my machine.

Here is the nasty part, according to Mr. Computer Techie: many new viruses mascarade as anti-virus programs.

The virus I caught surreptitiously downloaded a program ("Security Center") to my machine that immediately attacked and disabled my real anti-virus program (!!!), neutralized other applications like my web browser, and then claimed to have discovered more than 50 instances of viruses, malware, Trojan programs and other stuff affecting. It even looked a lot like my normal but now useless anti-virus software.

Of course, a message appeared on my screen asking me to "activate" the program to delete the rogue material, for a price: first register online, using a credit card!

Confusing and a proof that criminal minds are sometimes wickedly brilliant!

Of course, I immediately unplugged everything, turned off the computer and called a technician.

[Source: beSpacific]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:40 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Ontario E-Discovery Rules of Civil Procedure in Effect

Dominic Jaar reports on Slaw.ca on the coming into effect of new Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure that include many changes in the rules relating to electronic discovery:

"With the arrival of 2010, the new Rules of Civil Procedure came into effect in Ontario, as announced on the website of the Ministry of the Attorney General. Rules were substantially reformed in an effort to achieve Honourable Coulter A. Osborne’s goal to 'make the civil justice system more accessible and affordable.' The reforms include changes to Summary Judgment, Mediation, Third Party Claim, Discovery, and dozens of other rules. Of particular interest to Slaw readers, the changes related to discovery represent a positive step towards control over the time and expense associated with civil proceedings in this new era of e-discovery."
In 2007, the Honourable Coulter Osborne, a former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario, released a report that proposed recommendations to improve Ontario's civil justice system.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

  • Review of Ontario Civil Justice System (July 19, 2006): "Former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario Coulter Osborne has been asked to study a range of issues, including the growing number of unrepresented litigants as well as ways to decrease delays and costs (...) This coincided with a policy forum [of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice] called 'Into the Future' that examined topics such as how to deal with the proliferation of expert evidence, and the increasingly complex discovery and trial processes. "
  • Ontario Civil Justice Reform Project Report Published (November 27, 2007): "The summary report contains 81 recommendations touching on 18 areas of procedural and substantive law, including unrepresented litigants, small claims, trial management, appeals, technology, courtroom civility and proportionality."
  • Ontario Attorney General on Major Justice Reforms (April 30, 2008): "[Attorney General Chris] Bentley told The Laywyer's Weekly he is working on some of Osborne's recommendations, such as the suggestion to 'increase the Small Claims Court’s monetary jurisdiction from $10,000 to $15,000, with a further increase to $25,000 within two years...', and limiting discovery."

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice at the University of Alberta has created what it calls an inventory of civil justice reforms in Canada. It contains descriptions of reform initiatives from across the country, each described according to a standard format that includes information on the purpose, development, implementation, and evaluation of the reform.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Should Judges Join Facebook?

In yesterday's Montreal Gazette, an article about whether Canadian judges should be on the popular social networking site Facebook:

"Amid escalating debate in the U.S. about judicial antics online, the Canadian Judicial Council has turned its attention to whether there should be some ground rules for judges who want to join Facebook and other social networking sites (...)"

"While there are no known cases of Canadian judges on Facebook, participation in the U.S. has reached a level that prompted the Florida judicial ethics committee to issue an edict last month that judges and lawyers should not be Facebook 'friends,' to avoid appearance of conflict in the event they end up in the same courtroom (...)"

"There also has been a handful of publicized cases of judges landing in hot water for their behaviour online, most recently the resignation this month of Georgia judge Ernest Woods following revelations of his Facebook conversations with a woman who was a defendant in a case before his court, which included a promise to lend her money."

"In New York, a judge accused of being a Facebook addict was transferred in October to another jurisdiction. News reports, quoting courthouse insiders, said he was constantly updating his status and even snapped and posted a photo of his crowded courtroom in session."

The Canadian Judicial Council has not yet drafted rules for Canadian judges but is monitoring the situation south of the border.

The Council is made up of 39 members and is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin.

Council membership consists of the chief justices, associate chief justices, and some senior judges from provincial and federal superior courts across the country.

The federal Parliament created the Council in 1971 to promote efficiency, uniformity, and accountability, and to improve the quality of judicial service in all superior courts of Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Chief Justice of Canada Reflects on 10 Years in Office

In an interview in the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly , Canada's Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin reflected on her first ten years as the top judge of the country and discussed which issues she thought would be prominent in upcoming years:

"Asked to highlight one or two judgments she worked on which give her personal satisfaction as a jurist, she identifies the ground-breaking per curiam commercial law ruling in BCE Inc. v. 1976 Debentureholders, 2008 SCC 69, and R. v. Grant, 2009 SCC 32, the criminal law trilogy she and Justice Louise Charron laboured on for the best part of a year to reconfigure the analytical framework for the exclusion of evidence under the Charter."
The article emphasizes the efforts made undcer McLachlin to provide "judgments that offer, and promote, clarity, certainty and predictability in the law":

"According to court statistics, from 2000 to 2008, overall 74 percent of the McLachlin Court’s judgments were 'unanimous' in the result (but not necessarily without concurring opinions). This is about the same as the 72 percent unanimity rate for the Lamer Court from 1991 to 1999. "

"Notably, however, the Supreme Court’s concurring judgments (which the Bar generally detest for muddying the jurisprudential waters) dropped by nearly one-third during the past decade, according to previously unpublished court statistics obtained by The Lawyers Weekly. "

"Thus 19 percent of the Lamer Court’s unanimous judgments had one or more concurring opinions, as compared to 13 percent for the McLachlin Court—a 32-percent drop, the data reveal. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:14 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 11, 2010

Library 2.0 Gang January Podcast: Towards A New Decade

The Library 2.0 Gang is a regular monthly round-table podcast hosted by Richard Wallis of the British library technology company Talis.

The most recent episode looks ahead to the new decade:
"The Gang for this month, Carl Grant, Marshall Breeding and Frances Haugen, convened as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, to review the game changing influences on our world over the last ten years and then attempt to predict what we will see in the next ten."
Grant is the President of Ex Libris North America. Breeding is the Director for Innovative Technologies and Research for the Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt University. Haugen is a graduate student at Harvard University and used to work on Google Books as a product manager.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Law Library of Congress Now on YouTube

The Law Library of Congress has started making content available on YouTube (Law and the Library) and iTunes. In iTunes, search for Library of Congress and then select the "Law and the Library" iTunesU series.

Law and the Library is a series of debates and discussions on a wide variety of contemporary legal issues.

Earlier Library Boy posts on YouTube and legal information include:
  • YouTube as a Legal Information Tool (January 14, 2007): "The Parisian daily Le Monde reported last week that lawyers representing an individual being detained by U.S. authorities at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp have produced a video posted on YouTube."
  • More on YouTube as Legal Information Tool (March 30, 2007): "This Wednesday, Slate.com published an article entitled The YouTube Defense - Human rights go viral that analyzes the impact and potential of non-traditional means such as web 2.0 technologies as legal tools: (...) 'Critics pooh-pooh the importance of all of this by pointing to the fact that civil rights advocates have traditionally had a friend in the press. But they're missing the point: YouTube goes where the mainstream media can't or won't go. It's visceral. It's story first, message second. And it gives advocates instant access to an audience in a way that press releases and op-eds never ca' .The Slate article also describes an online video created by a former Marine who paid two friends $800 to waterboard him in his basement."
  • European Commission Launches Eutube (July 2, 2007): "The European Commission has just launched eutube, the YouTube space for news and announcements about European Union policies."
  • Fighting Crime With YouTube (February 26, 2008): "Last week, the British Broadcasting Corporation published a story about how police officials in the UK have been monitoring the video sharing site YouTube for evidence of crimes. The story, entitled Judge YouTube, describes a number of incidents where videos posted to the site have led to arrests. In many cases, perpetrators of illegal acts filmed themselves and then posted material to the Internet, perhaps as a way of showing off."
  • University Law Lectures on YouTube (March 31, 2008): "The YouTube video sharing portal has created a special section with videos from higher education establishments worldwide."
  • Official European Union Website Gets Makeover (September 22, 2009): "Europa – the European Union’s official website - has just had a makeover (...) the layout has been simplified and the site has been divided into 6 main themes: ... Take Part! (online debates, blogs, YouTube videos)"
  • UK Law Reports Get Their Own YouTube Channel (October 28, 2009): "Videos include interviews with the Law Report editors, a history of the ICLR, a video on the process of how a case goes from trial to official report, and a brief introduction to case law research using both online databases and hard copy reference works."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Library Day in the Life Project Round 4

American librarian Bobbi L. Newman started the idea of blogging about A Day in the life of a Librarian and the idea then morphed into the Library Day in the Life project wiki.

The project asked librarians to share stories about what a "typical" workday encompasses. There are hundreds of contributions so far.

The next round, Round 4, will begin on January 25, 2010.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 09, 2010

U.S. Legislative Info Service THOMAS Turns Fifteen

This week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of THOMAS, the legislative information service of the American Congress.

The site has added many new features recently, including:
  • a widget to save or share a permanent link via bookmarks, email, or social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook
  • a new RSS feed for bills that have passed both the House and Senate and have been sent to the White House for the President's signature
  • a tip of the week on using the system
  • more visible access to official Government Printing Office (GPO) PDF versions of bills
THOMAS is maintained by the Library of Congress and can be used to track bills and activities on the floor of the two houses of the American Congress and in committees.

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

Tweet Voted American Dialect Society Word of 2009

Yesterday, the American Dialect Society declared 'tweet' to be the word of the year for 2009. 'Google' was voted word of the decade:
" 'Both words are, in the end, products of the Information Age, where every person has the ability to satisfy curiosity and to broadcast to a select following, both via the Internet', Barrett said [Grant Barrett, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society]. 'I really thought blog would take the honors in the word of the decade category, but more people google than blog, don’t they? Plus, many people think 'blog' just sounds ugly. Maybe Google’s trademark lawyers would have preferred it, anyway'."

"Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as 'vocabulary item'—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year."
Runner-up words or expressions related to law include "war on terror", and "death panel".

This is the 20th annual vote by the association dedicated to the study of the English language in North America. Its membership includes linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • American Dialect Society Words of the Year 2005: Legal Expressions 'Patent Troll', 'Extraordinary Rendition' Make List (January 11, 2006): "The overall winner for 2005 is 'truthiness', popularized by a satirical fake news show on the Comedy Central television channel. It refers to the 'quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true' (...) One of the runner-ups [in the group 'most useful'] was 'patent troll', 'a person or business, especially a lawyer, who applies for or owns a patent with no intention of developing the product but with every intention of launching lawsuits against patent infringers.' A few other law-related terms scored highly in the 'most euphemistic' category (...): 'internal nutrition: force-feeding a prisoner against his or her will' and 'extraordinary rendition: the surrendering of a suspect or detainee to another jurisdiction, especially overseas' ..."
  • 'Plutoed' Voted Word of the Year by American Dialect Society (January 7, 2007): "'To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet' (...) There were a number of law-related terms considered for this 2006 edition, including 'data Valdez', an accidental release of a large quantity of private or privileged information. Named after the 1989 oil spill by the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska; and 'waterboarding' (winner in the most euphemistic category): an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S. interrogators against terrorism detainees. "
  • 'Subprime' Voted American Dialect Society Word of the Year (January 5, 2008): "Yesterday, the American Dialect Society voted to choose 'subprime' as its word of the year for 2007. The word describes a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment."
  • 'Bailout' Declared Word of the Year in 2008 - No Legal Expressions Make the List (January 12, 2009)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:11 pm 1 comments links to this post

Friday, January 08, 2010

Nova Scotia Law Reform Commission Report on Contaminated Sites

The Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia recently released its report on Contaminated Sites in Nova Scotia:
"Fears of uncertain liability discourage landowners and developers from cleaning up contaminated sites. The lack of contaminated site clean-up means a risk of significant adverse consequences to human health and quality of life, as well as to environmental well-being. This also has economic costs, as potentially useful land lies underused or not used at all. In January 2008, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia requested that the Law Reform Commission examine a number of issues pertaining to contaminated sites in Nova Scotia."
The report presents numerous recommendations relating to who should and should not bear regulatory liability for contaminated sites, how to determine the relative liability of responsible parties, and how to report on and maintain proper records of contamination and remedial actions taken.

The report also examines the legislative and regulatory picture in other Canadian jurisdictions.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:57 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Travel Grant

Applications are being accepted for the Eunice Beeson Memorial Bursary to assist with travel expenses and allow more members to attend the May 2010 Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) Conference in Windsor, Ontario.

The deadline is March 31, 2010. All CALL members can apply. The Bursary is to help defray travel and accommodation costs.

As the CALL website explains:
"The following people shall be given priority in the distribution of funds:

1. Applicants with conference responsibilities;
2. Applicants attending their first conference;
3. Applicants who are on the next year's CPC;
4. Diana M. Priestly Memorial Scholarship winner; and
5. Voting members of the Association."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of December 16th to 31st, 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 7:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 07, 2010

More 2010 Info Trends

Are you already suffering from New Year's information trends overload?

Well tough, here's another instalment:

  • Trends for 2010: Information Sharing (UK information industry newsletter FUMSI, December 2009): "There is no doubt that the shockwaves following the financial collapse of some of the best known banks and financial institutions made 2009 a difficult year for nearly every enterprise on the planet. Indeed, there are few people who have a living memory of a worst recession. This has been a particular concern for the information sector, where cutting back on research, knowledge management and library skills look like easy 'soft' targets for efficiency.And so, with that in mind, instead of dwelling on the year just gone, I thought I'd have a gaze into my crystal ball and optimistically see what I think 2010 will hold for those of us who publish and 'share' information for a living."
  • Looking Forward: Legal Technology in 2010 (Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast, January 5, 2010): "In part two of this two-part series on legal technology trends, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell peer into the crystal ball to find the key trends and storylines to expect in legal technology in 2010. Will the economy keep a lid on significant developments? What role will Internet and mobile technologies play? What should lawyers, law firms and other legal organizations be putting into their strategic technology plans? In addition, Dennis and Tom make predictions about technology in general and legal technology in particular. "
  • Get Ready for the "Next Evolution" in Very Expensive Legal Research Services (Law Librarian Blog, January 5, 2010): "Greg Lambert offers his 10 projections for 2010 on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog including rumored ones that have become a swirling maelstrom lately, namely, Westlaw and Lexis launching revamped legal research interfaces. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:47 pm 0 comments links to this post

Beverley McLachlin: Ten Years as Canada's Chief Justice

Ten years ago today, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin was appointed Chief Justice of Canada.

She was first appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on March 30, 1989. After serving 11 years as a puisne judge, she became the first woman ever to hold the office of Chief Justice.
  • McLachlin Court turns ten (The Lawyers Weekly, Dec. 25, 2009 issue): "Retired Supreme Court Justice Jack Major, who left the court in 2005, suggests that her successful efforts to reach out to the public might be the defining accomplishment of her first decade as chief justice. 'I think that she has presented the best public face of the Supreme Court to the public of any of the chief justices of my time,' he says. 'And I would say of all time, because the court’s judges were more and more isolated the further you go back in the court’s history. She is very conscious of going to law schools, Bar conventions, and actively participating and being available to groups and to people. That’s been a very big plus.' The Supreme Court’s public relations have dramatically improved since its first female chief justice took over the reins with an avowed goal of making the court accessible to all Canadians."
  • Ten years as top judge and she's still losing sleep (Globe and Mail, January 7, 2010): "In just three more years, Chief Justice McLachlin will have served longer than all 15 previous chief justices in the 135-year history of the Supreme Court. And, with nine years left before her mandatory retirement date, she could set a record that will be extremely difficult to equal. 'Whatever happens, happens,' she said. 'It has been a great privilege, one I could never have imagined in my wildest imaginings when I started out in law.' Equally unimaginable, four of the nine seats on the court are occupied by women – a development that has given the Supreme Court a unique status on the world stage. "
  • Charter issues fine tuned: McLachlin (National Post, January 7, 2010): "Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who took over a court 10 years ago that was under siege from the political right, says the critics who accused the bench of overstepping its power seem to have gone away because their anxiety over the Charter of Rights has subsided. Justice McLachlin, who today marks one decade leading the Supreme Court of Canada, told Canwest News Service she expects the most pressing legal issues facing the court in the coming years will be where to draw the line on anti-terrorism initiatives and how to deal with the nation's growing diversity as minorities challenge 'established social order'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:26 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Statistics Canada Report on Multiple Victimization in Canada

Statistics Canada today released a report entitled Multiple Victimization in Canada, 2004.

According to the report, a large proportion of all victimization incidents are experienced by a relatively small number of victims who experienced multiple incidents.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2004, persons who reported having been the victim of more than one violent crime during the past year represented 2% of the population, but had experienced 60% of all violent crimes.
  • Among those Canadians who reported having been victims of a crime in the 12 months preceding the survey, 38% said they had been victimized more than once. Of those, half were victimized twice while the other half were victimized three or more times.
  • In 2004, young people, Aboriginals, single people, those involved in a large number of evening activities and who consumed alcohol more often were proportionally more likely to have reported being a victim of more than one violent crime.
  • People who rented their home, lived in urban areas and resided in neighbourhoods with a higher proportion of single-parent families were more likely to be victims of a property crime more than once.
The report was based on the General Social Survey on Victimization.

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

Law and the Olympics

Blogosaurus Lex, the blog from the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta, had a post in December on Law and the Olympics.

It refers to a number of resources, including:

Earlier Library Boy posts about the Olympic Games include:
  • International Sports Law Guide (February 17, 2006): "Written by a librarian at Georgetown University, this new International Sports Law guide published on the GlobaLex website looks at key institutions governing international sports and provides information and links to federations governing individual sports at an international level, bodies associated with the Olympic Games and the Court of Arbitration for Sport."
  • Update on Olympic Games Trade-marks Bill (June 5, 2007): "The bill gives the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Organizing Committee) considerable powers to prevent the use of Olympic marks by businesses or individuals seeking to profit from an unauthorized association with the 2010 Games."
  • New Internet Research Guide for Olympic Studies (April 2, 2008): "Intute, a British university consortium that offers free online service access to evaluated web resources for education and research, has just published a new subject booklet entitled 'Internet resources for Olympic studies'. The booklet describes resources relating to associations, the history of the Olympic Games, past and future Games, athletes, sports research, event management, and legal issues (arbitration of sports disputes, disability sports, gender equity and doping)."
  • Australian Parliamentary Library Research Paper on Olympic Games (June 4, 2008): "Among the political and social issues that are addressed are: amateurism, commercialism, doping, gender, race and political conflict."

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

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Networking With the LinkedIn Events Application

The LinkedIn social networking tool has a LinkedIn Events application that lets you see what conferences and events members of your personal network of contacts are attending.

LinkedIn Events also makes it possible for you to search for conferences by city and keyword, promote a conference across your LinkedIn network, and invite others to attend.

When you log into your LinkedIn account, the application for LinkedIn Events can be added by going to the More menu in the horizontal navigation at the top of the home page.

There are tons of library and law-related events already on the system.

[Source: Real Lawyers Have Blogs]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:25 pm 1 comments links to this post

Canadian Authors Launch Petition Against Google Book Settlement

A group of Canadian authors has launched an online petition to protest the proposed settlement intended to put an end to a class action copyright lawsuit by U.S.-based author and publisher groups over Google's plans to make and sell digital copies of millions of books.

In November 2009, the settlement was amended so that it would now apply only to books registered with the U.S. Copyright office or published in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

The Book Rights Registry board, the entity that will be responsible for paying authors and publishers from revenues earned by the digitization project, would also be required to search for copyright holders who have not yet come forward and to hold revenue on their behalf. Much of the controversy about the original deal focused on what many critics see as Google's monopoly on so-called “orphan works” — out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but whose writers' whereabouts are unknown.

The Canadian authors supporting the petition believe the amendments do go far enough and that the basic idea behind the settlement is flawed:
"New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and India – all countries with English-language presses similar to Canada’s — have been exempted from the settlement because they protested vigorously against it.. We wish to protest just as loudly. The Governments of France and Germany protested that illegal digitization of books amounted to theft of a cultural heritage. We agree, and believe that Canada’s heritage of Cultural nationalism should be applied to the Google settlement. All of continental Europe is now exempt, and so should Canada be."

"We believe that Canadian Copyrights should be subject to Canadian courts, as well as to the Berne Convention. We believe that Canadians should not lose control over their works because they fail to sign up in a registry in another country; and, further, that the opt-out (rather than the time-honoured opt-in) clause serves to co-opt many copyright holders who do not have the the time or inclination to study this complicated settlement."
Earlier Library Boy posts about the dispute include:
[Source: Un blog pour l'information juridique]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Ten Librarian Blogs To Read in 2010

The LISNews site has come up with its most recent annual list of 10 librarian blogs to read.
"Each year we've attempted to gather a group of librarians whose writing helps increase our understanding of the profession and it's place in our rapidly changing world. Again this year we tried to choose 10 writers who cover very different aspects of our profession, 10 sites that inform, educate and maybe amuse. By following these blogs I think you'll find something new to read, and a place to gain better understanding of a part of librarianship that's outside of your normal area."
The list for 2010:
  1. Academic Librarian
  2. Awful Library Books
  3. The Best Of PubLib
  4. Disruptive Library Technology Jester
  5. Everybody's Libraries
  6. The Library History Buff
  7. Library Garden
  8. The Merry Librarian
  9. The 'M' Word - Marketing Libraries
  10. Walt at Random
The post also links to the lists for the years 2006 through 2009.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tools To Compare Results From Different Search Engines

We don't like to admit it, but we all have a favourite search engine we use all the time, despite the fact that numerous studies show that the results from different search engines can be vastly different.

The site Search Engine Land recently published an article on 4 Comparison Search Tools You May Not Know About … But Should.

The article examines search tools that display results from different search engines side-by-side. It can be quite an eye opener to realize that not all search engines are the same. A good reminder to try more than one.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the uniqueness of search engines and their results include:
  • Dogpile Metasearch Displays Results Overlap (March 16, 2005): "By comparing results side-by-side, it quickly becomes apparent that each search engine has its own unique view of the web. If you rely on a single source for search results, you're often missing a significant chunk of the web..."
  • Search Engine Overlap Even Smaller Than Assumed (August 9, 2005): "The implications of these findings are significant for both searchers and marketers. Searchers relying on a single search engine are missing a vast swath of web content that they could easily find simply by trying their queries on other engines... Effectively, for more than two-thirds of all queries, each search engine is likely to give you completely different results."
  • Search Engine Overlap Growing Smaller (June 4, 2007): "A new study has just come out to remind people why it is important not to put all their search eggs in one basket and use more than one Internet search engine."
[Source: Internet News]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:54 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 CLawBies – Canadian Law Blog Awards

The 2009 CLawBies, or Canadian Law Blog Awards, are out.

The goal is to serve as a showcase of Canadian legal blogging and to promote a sense of community.

The award for Best Canadian Law Blog went to slaw.ca (to which I am a regular contributor).

There are also blog categories for best practitioner, legal culture, non-legal audience, friends of the North (Americans who pay attention to Canadian issues), EuroCan connection (Europeans who highlight Canadian blogs), practice management, law librarian, legal technology, best new blog, and law professor.

The award for best law librarian blog went to
Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:10 pm 0 comments links to this post