Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010-11 Reports on Plans and Priorities for Canadian Judiciary

Last week, the 2010-11 Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) were tabled in the House of Commons on behalf of 97 federal government departments and agencies. They are now on the website of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

These RPPs set out departmental/agency priorities, provide performance measurement indicators, and explain expected results.

Here are the RPPs for a number of federal judiciary institutions:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:00 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Paper on Hearsay Evidence

Earlier this week, the Law Reform Commission of Ireland released a consultation paper on hearsay evidence in civil and criminal cases:
"The law of evidence concerning hearsay refers to any testimony given by a witness about words spoken or a document generated out of court by another person who is not produced in court as a witness, where the testimony is presented to prove the truth of what is asserted in the words or document involved."

"A key principle in the law of evidence – which has primarily been developed by court decisions rather than legislation – is that, in general, to be admissible the evidence must be relevant. Another key principle is that, in general, evidence should be capable of being tested in court, especially by cross-examination. Hearsay evidence, which can often pass the relevance test, cannot usually be tested by cross-examination, and so the traditional approach of the law of evidence is that hearsay should not be admissible in evidence."

"A large number of exceptions allowing hearsay to be admitted in evidence have been developed over the years by the courts, and in legislation, because it has been accepted that excluding all hearsay would be unjust."
The Commission is submitting a number of proposals for consultation, including the following:
  • in civil cases, hearsay should in general be admissible in evidence, subject to certain conditions, notably the need to give advance notice, and a discretion by a court to exclude hearsay if it would be prejudicial or misleading;
  • in criminal cases, hearsay should continue in general to be inadmissible in evidence, subject to existing exceptions allowing hearsay to be admissible;
  • the rules on hearsay in civil and criminal cases should be set out in legislation.
The report provides some interesting historical background about the hearsay rule, and also looks at the divergent approaches adopted by courts in other jurisdictions, such as England, Scotland, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Releases Consultation Paper on Cloud Computing

The Officer of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a consultation paper on cloud computing. Members of the public have until April 15, 2010 to send in their comments.

Cloud computing "describes any system where information and/or applications are stored online, allowing access to be achieved by the user via a device."

For example, cloud computing includes:
  • storing photos online on Flickr
  • uploading videos to YouTube
  • using online applications such as Google’s Docs or Google Reader
  • Facebook or Twitter
  • using webmail like Gmail or Hotmail
  • backing up files online

The Privacy Commissioner is interested in issues such as who has jurisdiction over cloud computing, security, data intrusions, lawful access, processing and misuse of data, data permanence and data ownership.

The paper released is part of a public consultation process on the impacts of cloud computing.

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

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Launches Mentoring Program

The Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has launched its Mentoring Program:

"The mission of the mentoring program is to facilitate the creation, development and maintenance of mutually satisfactory mentoring relationships between new CALL members, or those CALL members pursuing new professional development opportunities, and their experienced colleagues (...)"

"The CALL Mentorship Program is an initiative intended to connect law library professionals pursuing new professional development with more experienced professionals. Mentees can come from any background in legal librarianship, or even straight from a library program at the university or college level. There is no maximum number of years in the profession for mentees - if you feel that you would like to grow as a professional in your job or your new tasks, and would benefit from the guidance and support of another professional, then being a mentee could be for you. Similarly, mentors can come from any of the areas of legal librarianship, with no set minimum number of years in the profession. As a guideline, however, we suggest five years experience."
The application period to become a mentor or a mentee will close April 26, 2010.

The CALL website has application forms for mentors and for mentees.

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Statistics Canada Report on Child and Youth Victims of Violent Crime

Statistics Canada has released a report on Child and Youth Victims of Police-reported Violent Crime, 2008:

"While they may be young, children and youth under the age of 18 fall victim to the same types of violence as adults including physical and sexual assault, robbery, criminal harassment and homicide. They can be victimized by a family member, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger while in their own home, in their neighbourhood or at school. Quantifying the incidence of violent victimization against children and youth continues to be a challenge. In Canada, detailed information about police-reported violent incidents committed against children and youth is collected through the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey. This report analyzes the nature and extent of police-reported violence committed against children and youth under the age of 18. It examines differences in victimization based on sex and age of victims, type of offence, prevalence across the provinces and territories, relationship to the perpetrator, weapon used and level of injury. It also presents information on trends over time."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Planning Great Library Training Sessions

The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum (Volume 14 No. 6 April 2010) features an article by Carol J. Schmitt called Public Relations: What Goes Around Comes Around - The cycle of success for great library training sessions.

It offers a number of useful tips on organizing training activities:
"Library training is a blessing and curse. While it gives librarians a chance to showcase their knowledge about services, products, and how the library can assist in meeting the organization’s needs, training also requires taking time out of everyone’s days and routines. It is the first thing everyone asks for and often the first thing that everyone tries to get out of (...) Here are some strategies to ensure that your training is more of a blessing than a curse."
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic of training include:
  • Coffee Talk Training Sessions at the Supreme Court of Canada Library (November 17, 2008): "Getting people to come to training sessions in legal research is never easy: law students, law clerks, lawyers, other personnel are always busy, they may not be working on your presentation topic and therefore see no reason to attend, or they would rather not be lectured to for 45 minutes. Solution: bribe them with free coffee!"
  • New AALL Research Instruction Blog (January 7, 2009): "RIPS, the Research Instruction and Patron Services interest group of the American Association of Law Libraries, recently launched a blog..."
  • Use of Instructional Videos by Dalhousie University Libraries (February 21, 2009): "Dalhousie University Libraries in Halifax, Nova Scotia provide some great examples of instructional videos to help library users. They show a great diversity of approaches."
  • Canadian Law Librarians Share Training Materials (November 10, 2009): "The Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries has updated its list of instructional materials compiled by members. This includes tutorials, research guides, handouts etc."
  • Legal Research Teach-In Toolkit from American Association of Law Libraries (March 22, 2010): "The Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (a sub-group of the American Association of Law Libraries) has released its 18th Annual National Legal Research Teach-In Kit. Every year, the Section solicits contributions from the law library community that other librarians can use to develop their own instructional activities at their institutions."

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Knowledge Wiki

The British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) has a How do I? wiki, a collection of common and unusual legal research questions.

It is possible to navigate via broad subjects or consult an A-to-Z list of topics.

The wiki, a creation of BIALL's PR and Promotions Committee, was officially launched at the association's Conference 2009. Its creators see it as a useful tool, especially for solo librarians and new people in the profession.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:50 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Canadian Law Librarians Join Coalition for Broader Copyright Fair Dealing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is one of the many Canadian organizations endorsing a letter calling on the Canadian government to adopt a flexible fair dealing policy in any upcoming copyright legislation.
Fair dealing is a recognized defense under copyright law that allows the use of copyright-protected content without permission of the copyright owner in certain circumstances, such as private study, research, criticism, review and news summary. However, other defences such as parody are excluded.
The signatories are asking that the enumerated categories be treated as illustrative of potentially fair dealings, rather than exclusive categories:

"The object of Canada’s Copyright Act is to balance the promotion of the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect with obtaining a just reward for the creators of those works. Fair dealing is copyright’s primary means of mediating conflicting interests of upstream and downstream creators, innovators, distributors and users, and fairness should be its focus. Yet fairness, under the current law, is only a subsidiary consideration to an artificial, almost arbitrary legal test of whether a dealing fits within certain privileged categories of dealings. Creators and innovators who do not fit within these categories are denied the benefits of both copyright’s access provisions and its economic incentives. Documentary filmmakers and contemporary artists need to 'quote' from the works of others without having to worry about fitting within an arbitrary category of dealing. Innovators designing consumer products and services need confidence that their commercial endeavours won’t be targeted by rightsholders Ordinary Canadians need the law to respect their ordinary day to day dealings with content: Personal Video Recorders, for example, should not violate the law. The simple and obvious means of addressing these shortcomings is to give fair dealing the flexibility to address them. "

"Transforming fair dealing from its present, artificially restricted form into a flexible tool focused on fairness for creators, innovators and users better advances copyright’s broad policy goals than the present law. On the one hand, flexible fair dealing would remove artificial barriers to certain forms of creativity and innovation, and so promote equality among creators. On the other hand, flexible fair dealing would also remove arbitrary barriers to fair access to content, promoting innovation among consumer service and device providers by facilitating fair time, space and format-shifting practices. Limiting such access to fair practices addresses creators’ need to limit the scope and reach of general-purpose access rights."

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nova Scotia Crowns Demand Better Security in Courthouses

According to an article in today's Canadian Occupational Safety, Crown attorneys in Nova Scotia want the provincial government to investigate security at the Halifax and Dartmouth courthouses.

They complain of incidents of violence against lawyers, witnesses and other people.

Court house security committees composed of lawyers, Crown attorneys, judges, Department of Justice officials and sheriffs made recommendations to the government in the spring of 2009 on how to improve courthouse safety.

Saying that the government has done nothing, the Crown Attorneys Association has decided to file an official complaint with the Department of Labour.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Newspaper Series on Threats to Montreal Crown Prosecutors (December 13, 2006): "The Montreal daily La Presse has a series of articles today about the security (or lack of security) for Crown prosecutors in Montreal and elsewhere in the province of Quebec. The intimidation tactics include being photographed inside the Courthouse by criminal gang members and their supporters, being followed in parking lots, and bomb threats." [note: links to La Presse articles no longer work but my post summarizes the series]
  • How Much Courthouse Security Is Enough? (August 28, 2007): "The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly (August 31, 2007 issue) has a feature article on the ongoing debate about security in Canadian courthouses, in particular those in the province of Quebec (...) at the bustling Palais de Justice [in Old Montreal], combative family law litigants and people accused of serious crimes face no security checks whatsoever when they show up for their trials. That irony sparked comment in Calgary following a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the Canadian Bar Association’s conference which highlighted abysmal security in courtrooms across Canada, including at all of Quebec’s 42 trial courthouses. Montreal’s Palais de Justice, home to 93 courtrooms and the second largest courthouse in North America (after Chicago), does not even have a metal detector to screen the 6,000 people who flock through its five doors each working day. "

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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Future of Queen's University Law Library in Doubt?

According to the Queens' Journal, the future of the law library at Kingston-based Queen's University is uncertain because of budget cuts.

Head Law Librarian Nancy McCormack is quoted in the most recent issue of the publication as saying:

" 'One of the threats is that we may lose more staff and become the library with the lowest number of personnel in Canada,' she said. 'I think there comes a point at which you can’t operate a library anymore … there’s this number below which you just can’t go because you can’t keep the doors open anymore.' "
16 library staff positions have been cut since 2004-05 and more cuts are expected.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Legal Research Teach-In Toolkit from American Association of Law Libraries

The Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (a sub-group of the American Association of Law Libraries) has released its 18th Annual National Legal Research Teach-In Kit.

Every year, the Section solicits contributions from the law library community that other librarians can use to develop their own instructional activities at their institutions. These materials are distributed several weeks prior to the U.S. National Library Week in April to anyone interested in legal research instruction.

There is also a list of kits from previous years.

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries does not sponsor an annual legal research teach-in but is has compiled a list of legal research tutorials and research guides from members.

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

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Public Prosecution Service of Canada Annual Report 2008-2009

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications features the 2008-2009 Annual Report of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the independent federal prosecution service created in 2006 with the coming into force of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, Part 3 of the Federal Accountability Act.

It is involved in drug prosecutions, national security and war crimes cases, as well as economic crime and regulatory prosecutions (fisheries, immigration, copyright, food and drugs, environment).

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 3:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Redesign of the U.S. Supreme Court Website

The U.S. Supreme Court has launched a new, completely redesigned website.

I had to search for decisions yesterday and found the new site much nicer and easier to figure out than the old one.

ResourceShelf has links to additional commentary.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics

Statistics Canada today released a report entitled Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics 2008/2009.

This report presents information on the operation of Canada's 13 legal aid plans. The report includes information on the legal aid plans, personnel resources, revenues and expenditures, as well as information concerning applications for legal aid.

It presents a broad analytical overview of legal aid in Canada and provides data tables and figures at both the provincial/territorial and national levels. Most of the information for the report is based on data collected from the Legal Aid Survey, conducted annually by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:25 pm 0 comments links to this post

UK Law Commission Report on the Illegality Defence

The Law Commission (UK) has published its final report on the so-called Illegality Defence:

"The illegality defence arises when the defendant in a private law action argues that the claimant should not be entitled to their normal rights or remedies because they have been involved in illegal conduct which is linked to the claim. If the courts accept the illegality defence, it often involves granting an unjustified windfall to the defendant, who may be equally implicated in the illegality. However, if the courts refuse, they may be seen to be helping a claimant who has behaved illegally."

"The courts have attempted to set out rules to govern this area. However, the rules are complex and confused. This is because of the breadth of circumstances in which the issue arises. It may arise in many different areas of law, including contract, tort, unjust enrichment, property rights or trusts law. It may involve a wide variety of illegal behaviour, from parking offences to serious crime. The conduct may be integrally linked to the claim (as where a contract is to carry out a crime); or it may be just one of many background facts (as where a speed limit is broken in the performance of a contract). The consequences may be borne by the wrongdoer personally, or by a third party (such as the wrongdoer’s creditors)."

"(...) Our final recommendations follow the provisional recommendations in our 2009 consultative report. The recent case law shows that the courts have become more open in explaining the policy reasons behind the illegality defence. Therefore, in most areas of law, we think that the illegality defence should be left to developments in the common law."

"However, for trusts law we think that there is a need for a short, targeted Bill. This report therefore includes a draft Bill to be laid before Parliament."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:14 pm 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Library Movers and Shakers 2010

Library Journal has published its list of Library Movers and Shakers for 2010:

"Now in its ninth year, LJ's Movers & Shakers spotlights librarians from all corners of the library world and several nations. Each year brings numerous nominations of those who work in the library field from colleagues, friends, bosses, and just plain admirers. We know there are thousands more Movers out there, making libraries better and taking them into the future."
Among this year's list of winners is a Canadian, Mary-Jo Romaniuk, Associate University Librarian, University of Alberta, Edmonton.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:41 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Social Media Use by Government and Courts

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library blog out of Annapolis, Maryland recently published Social Media Use by Government and Courts, "a short and selective list of articles, resources and sites that I have found helpful in explaining the use of social media by courts" in the United States.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:06 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 March 1st to 15th, 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 12:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 15, 2010

Final Report (1991-2009) of the Indian Specific Claims Commission

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Government Publications features the Final Report (1991-2009) of the Indian Specific Claims Commission.

The Commission was created in 1991 under the federal Inquiries Act. Its primary role was to provide an alternative to the courts for First Nations whose specific claims had been rejected by Canada.

Specific claims refer to grievances relating to Canada's obligations under historic treaties with First Nations or the way it managed First Nation funds or assets.

In such cases, a First Nation had the option to refer its claim to the Commission to conduct an independent review of the government's decision. The Commission made "non-binding" recommendations on the validity of rejected claims and on which compensation criteria should apply in the negotiation of a settlement where the claimant disagreed with Canada's determination of the applicable criteria.

In its annual reports to Parliament over the past ten years, the Commission repeated its recommendation that it should be replaced by an independent body with adjudicative powers. Such an independent body was created on October 16, 2008 when the Specific Claims Tribunal Act came into effect.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:38 pm 0 comments links to this post

Have Baby Boomers Destroyed Law Libraries?

You be the judge:

  • This Isn't Your Daddy's Law Library! - Time For a Law Library Revolution! (3 Geeks and a Law Blog, March 12, 2010): "I've had some 'off-line' conversations with other law librarians at big firms and there is a question that has been raised whether the people that have run the law libraries at firms over the past 15-20 years (basically the baby-boomers that are about to retire) have screwed the law library field (add in the law library associations to this, too). Whenever the law library gets progressive and starts promoting new ideas, those ideas get spun off into their own departments and the creative law librarians leave the library field to join these departments. Things like Knowledge Management, Competitive Intelligence, and even some Marketing and IT ideas that were created in the library now exist outside the library. So it seems that the general direction the law firm libraries have taken in the past 15-20 years is to get us back to what we were doing in the 1980's."
  • Carpe Diem Gen X and Y Law Librarians: You, Too, Shall Practice the Art of the Possible One Day (Law Librarian Blog, March 15, 2010): "I don't know if the general direction of law firm libraries is headed back to the 1980s -- I take Greg's word for that -- but if we boomers screwed up because innovations that started in law libraries has led to the creation of separate departments instead of remaining in law libraries, then what Greg is pointing to is a ages-old matter -- the art of the possible as practiced by each generation of law librarians (...) I'm satisfied knowing that many of these accomplishments started in the law library. The fact that they no longer are part of law library administration is substantially less important to me. It's the results that matter. As for credit for those results, if there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that it is an utter waste of time looking for someone to give you the credit you think you might deserve. Forget about it and just move on. Indeed it is time for Gen X and Y law librarians to prepare for seizing the moment, or at least to try to leave their mark on the profession. Good luck with that -- like the T-shirt slogan says, 'Youth and Skill are no Match for Age and Treachery.' Some might thing that 'age and treachery' refers to us boomer law librarians. It does not. It refers to the reality that law libraries don't have free reign over their own destiny. They exist in a broader institutional setting complete with limited resources, myopic perceptions and mixed motives. "

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

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Harvard School of Public Health Firearms Research Digest

The Harvard School of Public Health has launched a new firearms research database.

The Firearms Research Digest currently covers the period 2003-2008. Eventually, it will include material from 1988 to today. Coverage is international.
"It includes research published in academic journals in social science and economics, criminology, medicine, public health, and public policy. Articles were identified through a search of the following academic indexes: the social science indexes Academic Search Premier and EconLit; the educational literature database ERIC; the psychiatry/psychology index PsychInfo; the public health and medical index, MEDLINE; and the legal and public records LexisNexis database."

"Search results provide full bibliographic citation and a brief summary of findings."

"Not included here are materials from non-academic sources (including government, law enforcement, and advocacy groups); studies of a purely medical nature (e.g., treatment of gunshot wounds); studies of a purely historical or antiquarian nature (e.g., Civil War firearms)." [from the About Us page]
There is an advanced search page that allows for searching by keyword, title, author, topic (subject taxonomy), publication, and year range.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:52 pm 0 comments links to this post

Law Day 2010 - Thursday, April 15

Law Day is a national event held annually in April to celebrate the signing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Launched by the Canadian Bar Association and first held in Canada in 1983, the theme for Law Day 2010 is Access to Justice.

Activities are being organized in many regions of Canada, including lectures, mock trials, courthouse tours, open citizenship courts, and poster, photography and website design contests aimed at elementary and high school students.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:15 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is the Canadian Library Association Still Viable?

The executive of the Canadian Library Association (CLA) - not to be confused with the Canadian Association of Law Libraries - has published a message to all CLA members on the association website that discusses the chronic budget deficits of Canada's national library association and the strategic changes that will be proposed at the CLA's next annual meeting in Edmonton in June in order to deal with the situation.

Discussing a recent executive meeting held in late February, the message states:
"We worked from the premise that the association’s finances should be spent on serving its members, specifically, on investing in the priorities and programs that fulfill the CLA mission to 'build the Canadian library and information community and advance its information professionals.' It was agreed that, for this year and forward, we must create a budget that both serves the best interests of the members and indicates that CLA is re-defining itself."

"It was further agreed that the main focus of CLA's activities should be to advocate for issues of cross-sectoral interest and national importance. In order to achieve this goal, we recognized that both the organizational structure and the budget need to be realigned to support the mission; maintaining the status quo is not an option. We need to build on our existing strengths, and concentrate our human and financial resources on those areas which CLA, as a national broad-based association, is uniquely positioned to advance."
Elections for Executive positions and Division Executive positions are postponed until a decision is taken regarding the organization’s structure. Regular association activities will continue as much as possible until June 30, 2010.

Many law librarians are members of either the CACUL (university libraries) division or of the CASLIS (special libraries and information services) division of CLA.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:08 pm 0 comments links to this post

Australian Law Reform Commission Releases Final Report on Government Secrecy

The Australian Law Reform Commission today tabled its final report on Commonwealth secrecy laws in the Australian Parliament.

Entitled Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia, the report identified 506 secrecy provisions in 176 pieces of Commonwealth legislation, including 358 criminal secrecy offences. Many of the secrecy provisions were found to have a catch-all nature and to over-rely on criminal sanctions.

The Commission recommends that administrative and disciplinary frameworks should play the central role in ensuring that government information is handled appropriately. Criminal sanctions should only be imposed when disclosure of government information is likely to cause harm.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Law Librarians Can Prove Their Value Through Training

This is a follow-up to last week's post entitled Blog Series on How to Increase Your Value in Your Workplace (March 4, 2010).

I am putting together some material on how law librarians can demonstrate their value for CALL (Canadian Association of law Libraries).

So this caught my attention: the January/February 2010 Law Librarians newsletter put out by legal publisher Westlaw has published an article entitled Law Firm Economics and the Librarian—Bring Value Through Training. The lessons can apply beyond the context of private law firm libraries:
"Bring value through training. That was one message that came through loud and clear recently in 'Succeed in the New Law Firm Library Reality—Learn the Business Side of the Firm', a webinar hosted by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the informal group of law library managers of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) (...)
"So how can training attorneys help? Here are a few ways:
  • Training makes users more efficient and more cost-effective. They can do more work for more clients with more relevant results in the same amount of time, increasing productivity.
  • Training limits total use of online services and keeps costs down, which has an impact on future contract negotiations.
  • Training brings costs down for clients to whom they are passed along (much less common these days—clients often won't and sometimes can't pay)."
"Strauss [administrator at Wiley Rein, a Washington area law firm] stressed that this is an opportunity for librarians to 'take ownership' and that our ownership needs to be more visible and measurable. In particular, librarians can do the following:
  • Show how the time spent training is reflected in cost savings and reduced usage.
  • Talk to your more senior attorneys about the work product they are getting from your trainees. Is it better? If not, find out why not and work on improving your program.
  • Survey your users to see what's working and what isn't. Elicit feedback and, where appropriate, highlight success to your higher-ups.
  • If you aren't already doing a self-review of some kind or annual report on activities to promote library services, you should be."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Web 2.0 and Rumours: Even the US Supreme Court is Not Immune

The online legal publication Above the Law provides an interesting analysis of how erroneous rumours quickly spread last week that the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, was about to announce his retirement:

"Like many a promising legal career, the Roberts resignation rumor traces its origins to a 1L class at Georgetown University Law Center (...)

"Our criminal justice professor started our 9 am lecture with the news that roberts will be resigning tomorrow for health reasons — that he could not handle the administrative burdens of the job. He would not say how he knows — but halfway through our lecture on the credibility and reliability of informants he revealed that the Roberts rumor was made up to show how someone you ordinarily think is credible and reliable (ie a law professor) can disseminate inaccurate information."

Of course, all the students immediately text messaged, IM'ed, tweeted, or Facebooked all their friends and things just kind of snowballed.

Wow, as easy as that.

Or this (apologies to Gordon Lightfoot).

All this technology and we are still as gullible as ever.

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

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spicing Up Supreme Court of Canada Statistics

This is a follow up to the Library Boy post of February 28, 2010 entitled Supreme Court of Canada Statistics 1999-2009.

The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court today published Official (and Unofficial) Supreme Court Statistics, 1999-2009, a post by Ahsan Mirza.

The first section analyzes some of the numbers supplied by the Supreme Court.

The second half tries to break down some of the statistics by judge:

"Although the official Supreme Court statistics are interesting, they are silent on data associated with each judge. To 'spice up' this post on statistics, I decided to compile some data on decisions rendered in 2009 based on neutral citations (62 decisions from 2009 SCC 1 to 2009 SCC 62). "

"An obvious disclaimer is that one year’s worth of data is too small a sample size to derive any conclusions. These findings highlight only the promise that a more comprehensive statistical project could provide."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 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 February 16th to 28th, 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 12:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Innovative Job Hunting Strategy: Become A Supreme Court Blogger

On Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O'Keefe wrote earlier this week about Georgetown law student Mike Sacks's strategy for finding a job as a lawyer:
"The third-year writes First One @ One First, chronicling his attempt to be the first one in line to hear all major arguments before the Supreme Court [of the United States] this term (...)"

"Bigger than winning the prime spot in line, of course, is Mike's desire to leverage 'stunt journalism' into broader recognition for his writing portfolio on the blog. Alongside the photos snapped on his phone while waiting, he provides analysis of the cases and why they matter, interviews with the other attendees, and links to other relevant articles and blog posts on these cases."
His job search strategy may seem a little obsessive. But it certainly is original and he has my vote.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:26 am 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Blog Series on How to Increase Your Value in Your Workplace

The SLA Blog has started a series called Alignment Steps that contains advice on how librarians and information professionals can prove and increase their value in their workplace.

So far, the blog has published 3 posts:
  • Seek and Destroy Jargon (October 8, 2009): "Using language that people important to your career will understand is not 'dumbing down.' It is smartening up to the reality that we become our own worst enemies when we put barriers between ourselves and the people we serve. Look at your Web site, job description, and any materials used to market or inform people about your services. Find every word that would not be immediately understood by a person outside of the library profession. Replace it or explain it."
  • Compare Strategies (December 9, 2009): "Start by obtaining a copy of your organization’s latest strategic plan. Don’t settle for whatever is posted on your Web site; ask the appropriate office, department or executive if it is up to date or under revision (...) Now compare your organization’s strategic plan with that of your library or information center. (If you do not have your own strategic plan, this is where to start.) Are there disconnects? Does your strategy do the best possible job in supporting your organization’s priorities? What can you do now to change that? "
  • Align With Other Departments (March 3, 2010): "Set up meetings with other departments to learn more about their current and upcoming priorities and the information they will need to be successful (...) Tell them about the internal and external information resources that you can make available to them."
SLA, or Special Library Association, is an international organization of information professionals in over eighty countries worldwide. It has a very active Legal Division whose past chair is a Canadian law librarian.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:49 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Survey on North American Librarians' Use of Library-Related Blogs, Listservs, Conferences

Primary Research has published a new report entitled Survey of Academic Librarians: Use of Associations, Blogs, Listservs, Conferences, & Publications about Libraries:

"The study imparts highly specific data about academic librarian use of library oriented blogs, listservs, publications, association membership and attendance at library conferences. The report includes detail on the percentage of academic librarians who read print publications about libraries, or use library listservs and blogs, as well as the amount of time spent daily on these pursuits. It also includes data on library assocation membership and money spent on library conferences and related expenses. "

'The report’s results are based on a representative survey of 555 full time academic librarians in the United States and Canada."

One has to pay to order the full version of the report but ResourceShelf provides a summary of the findings:

  • Survey participants spent an average of 22.26 minutes per day (median of 10 minutes and maximum of 500 minutes) reading print publications pertaining to the librarian profession.
  • Librarians age 60 and over spent the most time reading print publications, averaging 31.41 minutes per day.
  • Librarians age 30 or less spent the most time reading library oriented blogs, averaging around 19 minutes per day.
  • Librarians in their current job for 10-20 years spent the most time reading library oriented listservs, averaging 23.12 minutes per day.
  • Approximately 72% of survey participants belong to a library professional association.
  • Canadian librarians spent over 60% more than US librarians ($2,419 & $1,484 respectively) on travel, meals and lodging associated with library conferences over the past two years.
  • Among all library departments, circulation and public services librarians spent the least on library conference fees over the past two years, averaging a mean cumulative two year total of just $142.

[Source: ResourceShelf]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:52 am 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Excellent Article on Neutral Citation in Canada

Ivan Mokanov, Deputy Director of the legal informatics lab LexUM at the Université de Montréal, has just written an article about neutral citation on VoxPopuLII, the blog sponsored by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School.

Neutral citation is "an industry-independent, open identifier assigned by courts to their decisions". In other words, the way of identifying a case no longer needs to be tied to the citation practices of a specific publisher or law reporter.

It has been widely adopted by Canadian courts and has had a significant impact on the development of case citators such as the freely available RefLex tool developed by CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

The Economist Special Report on Managing the Information Explosion

The British newsmagazine The Economist has just produced a special report called Data, data everywhere that takes a look at the challenges of sifting through the increasingly vast amounts of information that seem to be washing over all of us all the time.

[Source: Stephen's Lighthouse]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 01, 2010

Digital Library of the Caribbean Helps Save Haitian Heritage

The Miami Herald published a report last Saturday about the Digital Library of the Caribbean's efforts to protect some of Haiti's libraries, archives and personal collections that were damaged during the horrific earthquake that hit that country last month.

The Digital Library, based at Florida International University, was founded in 2004 and has been working with Haitian librarians and curators to digitize their collections.


"Within weeks, the group launched a campaign to rally international contributors, raise money and provide technical support for the recovery and protection of Haiti's cultural resources -- the already brittle rare books and documents scattered and dusted by the quake (...) "

"The group's Protecting Haitian Patrimony initiative includes assisting four institutions in Port-au-Prince:
• Archives Nationales d'Haïti, which houses civil and state records as well as those of the Office of the President and most government ministries.
• Bibliothèque haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit, founded in 1873 by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, holds documents chronicling the history of Haiti, French colonization, slavery and emancipation and 20th century records ..."

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:

[Source: ResourceShelf]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:53 pm 0 comments links to this post

New Zealand Law Commission Report on Invasion of Privacy

The Law Commission of New Zealand released a new report last week on Invasion of Privacy: Penalties and Remedies.

The report recommends the enactment of a new Surveillance Devices Act which would provide for criminal offences and a right of civil action in relation to the use of visual surveillance, interception and tracking devices.

The report also recommends some changes to the Harassment Act 1997 so that it applies more clearly to instances in which surveillance is used for the purpose of harassment; some new offences targeting voyeurism; and some changes to the law governing surveillance by private investigators. The report recommends that the tort of invasion of privacy should be left to develop at common law.

The Report targets only the most objectionable types of surveillance: it does not, for example, stop people filming in public, and does not attempt to limit the use of closed circuit television. There are also appropriate exceptions and defences to ensure that the new laws are not so tight that they harm other interests such as health and safety and the detection of crime.

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