Monday, April 30, 2012

Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services

The April 2012 issue of Computers in Libraries features an article by Athena Hoeppner on The Ins and Outs of Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services. Hoeppner is the electronic resources librarian at the University of Central Florida:
"By now, we librarians are familiar with the single-line form, the consolidated index, which represents a very large portion of a library’s print and online collection. Our end users certainly are familiar with the idea of a single search across a comprehensive index that produces a large, relevancy-ranked results list. Even though most patrons would not recognize the term web-scale discovery (WSD), it is what they have come to expect. More and more libraries are stepping up to meet their users’ expectations by implementing WSD services. Librarians around the world are trying to learn what these services are and how they work, evaluating the services on the market, selecting and implementing a service, and then teaching colleagues and patrons all about it." (...)
"Based on my investigations, this article explains WSD concepts and terminology, shares findings from my interviews with major WSD vendors, and provides a template checklist, which librarians can use during their own exploration of these systems (...)"
"This article relies on definitions largely based on Jason Vaughn’s January 2011 issue of Library Technology Reports published by American Library Association’s TechSource and on vendor websites and presentations:
• Web-scale discovery.
A preharvested central index coupled with a richly featured discovery layer providing a single search across a library’s local, open access, and subscription collections
• Central index.
The collection of preharvested and processed metadata and full text that comprises the searchable content of a WSD service: Central indexes typically include full text and citations from publishers; full text and metadata from open source collections; full text, abstracting, and indexing from aggregators and subscription databases; and MARC from library catalogs; also called the base index, unified index, or foundation index.
• Discovery layer.
The user interface and search system for discovering, displaying, and interacting with the content in library systems, such as a WSD central index ..."
 Earlier Library Boy posts on WSD include:
  • Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011): "...another big theme that emerged at the conference is what is called 'web scale discovery' or WSD (...) Basically, WSD tools claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. Contrary to federated search, WSD tools are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections. Services such as Serials Solutions Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central or EBSCO Discovery pre-index material from subscription databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching. We briefly looked into WSD at my place of work but decided not to pursue things further for a few reasons. In particular, not all vendors of legal research materials play along and will allow their content and metadata to be harvested into a unified index. And these tend to be relatively expensive products."
  • OCLC Report on Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail (August 23, 2011): "The prominence of multidisciplinary research, the increase in the use of primary materials, and the desire to make new connections across disparate materials all would be advanced by the offering of single search to open up all the collections to the researcher (...) OCLC Research facilitated the working group of nine single search implementers through discussions about the opportunities for, and obstacles to, integrated access across an institution. They told their stories, categorized a list of issues, and created and answered a questionnaire looking for similarities and differences in their approaches. This brief report summarizes those discussions and highlights emerging practices in providing access to LAM [libraries, archives and museums] collections, with a particular emphasis on successful strategies in the quest for single search."
  • AALL Spectrum Article on Discovery Tools in Law Libraries (November 30, 2011): "The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), has an article on Discovery Layers in Law Libraries - A progress report on how our institutions are implementing this new technology (...) The author ... ran into some of the same problems we did at my place of work when we looked into discovery tools: 'Most concerning are the restrictive and expensive licensing policies of the largest legal information publishers [i.e. Westlaw and Lexis - my note],whose materials are by and large unrepresented in discovery layer systems because of these restrictions. What is the benefit of marketing such a tool to our students and faculty if their most vital sources of information are nowhere to be found in the system?' "
  • Evaluation of Single Search Implementation at North Carolina State University (January 10, 2012): "Academic libraries are turning increasingly to unified search solutions to simplify search and discovery of library resources. Unfortunately, very little research has been published on library user search behavior in single search box environments. This study examines how users search a large public university library using a prominent, single search box on the library website. The article examines two semesters of real-world data, totaling nearly 1.4 million transactions. Findings include that unified library search is about more than the catalog and articles, though these predominate. Additionally, a small number of the most popular search queries accounts for a disproportionate amount of the overall queries."

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Toronto Star Series on Police Who Lie

The Toronto Star recently published an investigative series on Police who lie:
"A coast-to-coast Toronto Star investigation found more than 120 police officers have been accused by judges of outright lying, misleading the court or fabricating evidence since 2005. Many of the officers have gone unpunished ..."
"There is so little oversight of the problem that in some jurisdictions police forces did not know judges found that their officers misled the court. Internal investigations into four cases — three in Peel, one in York — were started after the Star brought the courtroom misconduct to the departments’ attention. Compounding the lack of oversight is a lack of accountability to the public." (from the April 26 article "Police who lie: False testimony often goes unpunished")
Articles in the series include:










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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stratford Institute Report: Evaluation of Provincial and Territorial e-Government Initiatives

The Stratford Institute for Digital Media and Brainmaven Research have published a report entitled Becoming a Digital Nation: An Evaluation of Provincial and Territorial eGovernment Initiatives.

From the Executive Summary:
"This report, commissioned by the Stratford Institute for Digital Media to be presented at the Canada 3.0 2012 conference and prepared by Brainmaven Research, takes an in-depth look at one area of Canadians’ online lives: interaction with government, specifically at the provincial and territorial levels. Using a three-tiered evaluation framework developed through national stakeholder consultations and modeled from existing frameworks for evaluating eGovernment services, we explore how well average citizens are able to complete basic government services online, such as changing one’s address on a driver’s license; access government information online, such as researching available financing options for starting a business; and engage and interact with their government online, such as tweeting in response to an important civic issue posted on an official government Twitter feed."
"Based on a scoring framework that awards points as governments move from using the Internet as a static, one-way communication channel to an interactive, two-way communication channel to an integrated, citizen-centric, multi-channeled web interface, we rank the eGovernment initiatives of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories in the provision of online services and information as well as online engagement as measured through use of social media.Top performers in each category are: Québec for its provision of citizen-centric online services; Ontario for its provision of integrated online information; and Alberta for its effective use of social media to engage with citizens online (...) "
"Overall, our evaluation reveals that most provincial and territorial governments are moving towards incorporating available technology in their present provision of online services and information. In particular our provincial and territorial governments are creating a citizen-centric online environment, enabling online submissions and transactions for many basic personal and business-related services and taking advantage of technology to create an integrated experience for citizens through the use of deep-linked content that spans ministerial, departmental, and at times even governmental boundaries."
 However, in the Forward, Stratford Institute executive director Ian E. Wilson writes:
"More could be done to evaluate whether all current government publications are online and searchable. British Columbia is leading the way on an Open Government initiative seeking to follow national governments in opening government data bases for new public uses. In a knowledge economy, it is essential that we mobilize our knowledge resources, and governments hold vast amounts of authoritative information about our society, our land, our economy and our experience as Canadians. To the greatest extent possible, within the bounds of respect for individual privacy, this information needs to be opened to support innovation and new economic uses."
"Finally, I would note that it was difficult to evaluate progress in developing governments’ online presence. No jurisdiction has maintained its older versions of its websites online. These provide older information, essential for longitudinal studies of the economy and society trends, and also reflect how governments are fulfilling commitments to accountability and transparency. I assume each jurisdiction has enabled its library or archives to preserve the evolving website. Without this capability, websites are transitory, ghostlike things, vanishing into the ether, leaving no trace, and, certainly no accountability."
The Stratford Institute for Digital Media was established through a partnership of the University of Waterloo, the City of Stratford, Open Text Corporation, and the Canadian Digital Media Network.

[Source: Canadian Association of Research Libraries E-lert]

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Guardian (UK) Series on the "Battle for the Internet"

The UK newspaper The Guardian has published a wonderful series on the future of the Internet called Battle for the Internet:
"The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the internet. From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet"
Every day over a period of one week, the daily has tackled the major flashpoints relating to the future of cyberspace:
  • the new Cold War (state censorship)
  • militarization of cyberspace
  • the new walled gardens (app stores, social network sites like Facebook, surveillance bills)
  • the IP wars
  • 'civilizing' the web
  • the open resistance (hacktivists and open Internet proponents)
  • the end of privacy

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

European Court of Human Rights Launches Major Reform

The Council of Europe agreed last week at a conference in Brighton, England to introduce reforms at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to make the institution more efficient and deal with a huge backlog of tens of thousands of cases.

Close to 90 percent of the applications to the Strasbourg-based ECHR are declared inadmissible.

Budgets will be increased, time limits for applications will be reduced and, under a stricter interpretation of existing provisions, legal avenues within a member state will need to be fully exhausted before applying to the European court.

As well, member states will need to apply ECHR rulings to cases involving similar facts in order to avoid them ending up back at the ECHR. And all member states will need to officially ratify the Brighton declaration, which is expected to be complete by 2013.

The ECHR hears complaints from individuals living in any of the member states of the Council of Europe about violations of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Council of Europe is one of the continent's oldest political organizations, founded in 1949. It has 47 member countries.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Diversity Sought on Federal Court

In an interview in the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly, new Federal Court of Canada Chief Justice Paul Crampton explains that he wants greater cultural and gender diversity on the benches of the institution:
"Diversity remains unrealized at the Federal Court, which has no jurists of colour among its 34 judges (one is aboriginal). Eight, or 23.5 per cent, of the judges are women — ​below the federal government’s overall 27.5 per cent track record of appointing women to the Bench (...)".
“ 'Most of our recent recruits have been males, as we have seen some of our more senior female judges go to the Court of Appeal or retire, and so we need to achieve a better balance,' the chief justice acknowledged."

“ 'Obviously, it’s the [justice] minister’s decision who to appoint, but what we want to do is attract [and] encourage…qualified people from around the country to put their applications in, and to feel free to talk to us about what life at the court, and our work, is all about'. ”
The interview also touches upon other issues, such as overhauling the Federal Court’s rules to make them more efficient and user-friendly and evidence in national security cases.

The Federal Court decides legal disputes involving claims against the federal Crown, civil suits in federally-regulated areas (immigration, official languages, aeronautics, oceans and fisheries, intellectual property, etc.) and challenges to the decisions of federal tribunals.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Law Library Benchmarks 2012-13

Primary Research Group has published Law Library Benchmarks, 2012-13 Edition:
"This report closely examines trends for law libraries in materials spending, technology purchases, personnel and space allocation, web use and other issues. The study presents detailed data on spending on journals, books,newspapers and magazines, print reporter, eBooks, online databases and other information vehicles, as well as data on salaries and overall budget, in aggregate, and as a percentage change from prior years.  Data presented on the extent of materials spending accounted for by print resources and plans for both print resource and digital resource spending for the future."
"In addition to spending data the report examines law library plans in areas such as cloud computing, tablet computer and eBook readers, use of blogs and other social media, including extensive data on the extent of use of specific legal blogs by law librarians."
"The study also covers policies on cost recovery of online database expenses, giving detailed information on charge backs and the extent to which clients pay for online searches, with data for both external and internal clients of the library, as well as data on how the policies governing these charge backs have changed in recent years, or may change in the future."
The study is available from Primary Research Group or from major book distributors for $132.00.  A PDF edition is currently available and a print edition will be ready to ship on May 1, 2012.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ottawa Lawyers Organize Downtown Flash Mob to Celebrate Charter of Rights 30th Anniversary

Last Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the 1982 Constitution.

The occasion was marked across the country by events such as conferences, moot court competitions for high school students, and flash mobs:
"Lawyers and other members of the legal community in Ottawa celebrated by organizing a flash mob at noon on the busy Sparks Street at Metcalfe, right in front of the Federal Court and a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill. In front of dozens of curious tourists, media cameras, and civil servants on lunch break, legal professionals donned bright green t-shirts instead of their usual suits and danced their hearts out for their favourite constitutional document to a boombox playing the national anthem."
"The flash mob was choreographed by Alayna Miller, a lawyer at Sevigny Westdal LLP, as well as Vice Chair for the Ontario Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (OBA-YLD), and, more importantly, a member of the Ottawa dance company Ottawa Dance Fusion."
[From one of my favourite sites: Apt613, whose tagline is "Arts and culture blog by day, secret society to prevent the zombie apocalypse by night."]

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Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill S-8: The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act

The Library of Parliament last month released a legislative summary of Bill S-8: The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act:
"Bill S-8 is the second legislative initiative to address safe drinking water on reserves. Its predecessor, Bill S-11, was introduced in the Senate on 26 May  2010, and it was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples for examination on 14 December 2010. From 2 February to 9 March  2011, the committee held nine meetings on the proposed legislation. As a result of widespread concerns about the bill, the legislation did not proceed to third reading, in order to allow for further discussions between government officials and First Nations representatives on proposed changes. Bill S-11 subsequently died on the Order Paper when Parliament was dissolved on 26 March 2011."
"While Bill S-8 retains several of the features of former Bill S-11, particularly in areas to be covered by eventual federal regulations, the proposed legislation would address the application of those regulations as they relate to, among other things, source water; the liability of First Nations for non–band-owned water systems; the application to self-governing First Nations; and agreements with, and powers of, third parties. Non-derogation language is also included in the proposed legislation. Key differences between bills S-8 and S-11 are identified more precisely in section 2, Description and Analysis, in this document."
"The delivery of safe drinking water to on-reserve First Nations communities is critical to the health and safety of the communities’ residents. Access to safe, clean, potable water is also closely tied to the economic viability of individual communities. For more than a decade, research has indicated that many First Nations communities lack adequate access to safe drinking water. A 2001–2002 assessment found that the quality of almost three quarters of drinking water systems in First Nations’ communities were at significant risk. In recent years, with the intention of addressing on-reserve water quality issues, the federal government has implemented a number of initiatives, including plans to bring forward water standards legislation to fill the existing regulatory gap governing the provision of drinking water on reserves. Progress reports suggest that, since 2006, there has been a steady reduction in the number of high-risk community water systems and priority communities."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through the federal Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Government of Canada To Publish Only in Digital Format After 2014

The Government of Canada has announced that all publications published by its Publishing Program and publications provided by departments to the Depository Services Program for distribution to libraries serving the public will become exclusively electronic as of 2014.

This is raising some concerns as indicated by this text by Amanda Wakaruk, government information librarian at the University of Alberta [reprinted on the Free Government Information blog:
"For those of us on the privileged side of the digital divide, the main problem with the transition to digital is not format, it’s the absence of any comprehensive GOC [Government of Canada] policy on digital integrity, preservation, and long-term access. To make matters worse, the intellectual organization and capital of the GOC information landscape is increasingly fractured through policy decisions including, but not limited to, government cutbacks."
Another issue raised by Mark Lewis on Slaw.ca is the fact that Statistics Canada data indicates that roughly 20% of Canadian households do not have internet access at home.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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 April 1-15, 2012 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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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Follow All The Charter 30th Anniversary Activity on Twitter

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Twitter As Medium To Promote Awareness of Canadian Law

Colin Lachance, CEO of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII), posted today at Slaw. ca about Twitter, Facebook and the Rule of Law.

In the post, he explains how Twitter and Facebook are increasingly being used as tools to not only disseminate but also discuss Canadian legal decisions:
"... sudden changes or dramatic turns in legal understanding brought about by a court judgment will and frequently do attract significant attention in both venues. And it is this attention, whether triggered by a court’s own twitter account or the accounts of court observers that enhance awareness of the changes and facilitate the process for understanding 'new' law (...)"

"(...) one of the most dramatic examples in recent months came out of the Ontario Court of Appeal with the release of Jones v. Tsige and the introduction into the legal canon and popular vernacular of the 'tort of intrusion upon seclusion'. True understanding of the implications of this ruling will take analysis and further judicial consideration by subsequent courts faced with new actions, but a significant amount of discussion was triggered through Twitter alone within hours of the decision hitting the Ontario Courts website."

"The twitter-tracking site Topsy.com shows 81 separate tweets with links to the Ontario Courts presentation of the decision."

"Among those doing the tweeting were leading technology and privacy law academics and practitioners, alongside dozens of twittering lawyers, media and more, all with a collective 'follower' reach of over one hundred thousand individuals ... These tweets spawned, countless blogs which themselves included links back to the cases. All in all, Twitter likely had a significant hand in facilitating public awareness and understanding of an important development in the law."

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Canadian Association of Law Libraries - Reminder of Scholarship Deadlines

Applications for the Janine Miller Fellowship to attend the Law via the Internet Conference are due on April 18, and applications for funding from the Education Reserve Fund to support attendance at the New Law Librarians’ Institute are due on April 23.

Both of these are from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL).

Janine Miller was an integral part in the vision and development of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) and served as Project Manager from its inception and later as its Executive Director until her retirement in 2011.

To honour her considerable contribution to the success of this virtual law library, CanLII has established the Janine Miller Fellowship. Its purpose is to provide funding annually for one CALL member to attend the Law via the Internet Conference, an initiative of the Legal Information Institutes worldwide that constitute the Free Access to Law Movement. The next conference is in Ithaca, New York from October 7-9, 2012.

Applicants must be CALL members and:
  • The applicant's résumé, letter of application, and at least two letters of reference will form the basis of selection. In their letter of application, applicants should outline how attendance at the conference will benefit them in their current position and/or in their career as a law librarian.
  • The successful applicant will write a report of the conference for publication in the Canadian Law Library Review.
Applications should be sent to: Ann Marie Melvie, Chair, CALL/ACBD Scholarships and Awards Committee at amelvie AT sasklawcourts.ca

The New Law Librarians’ Institute will be held at the University of Western Ontario May 27 to June 1, 2012. CALL members can apply for funding from the Education Reserve Fund to support their attendance at the Institute. Members who wish to apply should do so on or before April 23, 2012.

Applications should also be submitted to Ann Marie Melvie.

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Law Day is Next Week - 30th Anniversary of the Canadian Charter

Tuesday, April 17, 2012, is Law Day, an annual event organized by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) which this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Law Day is marked by projects and activities taking place across the country. Activities include lectures and education sessions on the law for high school students and the public, mock trials, courthouse tours, and poster, photography, and essay contests aimed at elementary and high school students.

The March 2012 edition of the CBC magazine National was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Charter.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

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 16-31, 2012 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 7:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Demise of Legal Journal Indexes?

Over at Slaw.ca, John Papadopoulos has a post entitled Law Journal Indexes – Still Relevant? that argues for the continuing relevance of journal indexes that are vendor/source-neutral and based on strong controlled vocabularies:
"... the announcement a while ago from Sweet and Maxwell that their UK based service Current Legal Information (CLI) will be discontinued on April 30 comes as a disappointment if not necessarily as a huge surprise. The CLI included digests of new cases and a case citator, but it was most notable to law librarians for its Legal Journals Index the most complete online index of UK legal periodical materials. Hopefully the demise of the CLI is a not a sign of things to come, but I worry that it might be (...)

"So if the best article on my topic appears in a journal that is exclusive to Lexis, I wouldn't find it if I prefer using Hein. Indexes on the other hand are (in theory) source neutral – the ICLL indexes all relevant Canadian literature regardless of provider."

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Technologies for Creating Research Guides

Meredity Farkas has written a short overview of Research Guide Technologies for the Instructional Technologies Committee of the Association of College and Research Libraries.:
"Research guides (also known as subject guides, course guides, or pathfinders) provide targeted information on a particular topic to support student or faculty research in that area. Similar instructional tools have been around since before the birth of the web, but are now almost exclusively provided by libraries online as part of the library’s web presence. Research guide software enables librarians without web design skills to quickly and easily create and update web content. The technologies for creating research guides run the gamut from proprietary and open source software specifically designed for creating guides to open source and third-party-hosted applications that can be repurposed to create guides."
The text is about academic libraries, but the ideas can apply to any library.

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Monday, April 09, 2012

Lawyers Weekly Interview With Scholar Peter Hogg on Charter 30th Anniversary

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly features an interview with constitutional scholar Peter Hogg on the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
"On April 17, 1982, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed into law. Constitutional scholar Peter Hogg says the Charter has been been good for Canadians— ​but with the caveat that the courts now have a bigger role in policy making. Hogg spoke with Shannon Kari, senior editor of The Lawyers Weekly, at the Toronto office of Blake Cassels & Graydon, where he is scholar in residence"
In the same issue, Lorne Sossin, dean and professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, writes that the Greatest tests of Charter may still be in future.

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Refugee Act Amendment Bill

The Library of Parliament has published a legislative summary of Bill C-31: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Many of the proposed reforms are aimed at deterring human smuggling and what the government describes as abuse of Canada’s immigration and refugee system.

There would be mandatory detention for people who enter Canada as part of a smuggling operation.

The Minister of Immigration would also have the authority to designate "countries of origin" from which refugee claims are usually rejected for lack of foundation. Claimants from those countries would be removed more quickly and have fewer avenues of appeal.

It is possible to follow progress of the bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

2012 New Law Librarians' Institute Website & Registration Live

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will be holding its 2nd New Law Librarians’ institute from May 27-June 1, 2012 at the University of Western Ontario in London.

The New Law Librarians' Institute is an intensive, week-long program aimed at developing librarians' skills in the key competencies of law librarianship. The program will feature expert instruction from leading law librarians and law professors, small class size, a mix of lectures and practical sessions, hands on sessions, and valuable take-home materials.

It is for:
  • persons interested in pursuing a career in law librarianship
  • recent graduates of library education programs
  • mid-career librarians from other fields interested in starting anew in law libraries
Registration information is available on the CALL website. Deadline to receive registrations is May 4, 2012.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

March Reports from the Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan

The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan published three final reports in March 2012:
  • Renewing The Privacy Act: "The recommendations made in this report are relatively simple, and few in number. However, the Commission believes that they may be sufficient to renew The Privacy Act, making it more attractive to potential litigants as well as more effective. To make the Act a part of the regime for protection of privacy that is evolving in the province, it may be as important to reaffirm it as to reform it. Revision of the legislation may amount to a relaunching of the tort of invasion of privacy in the province."
  • Appeals from the Exercise of Statutory Powers of Decision: "Saskatchewan legislation often delegates authority to make decisions directly affecting the rights of individuals to boards, commissions and public officials. These statutory powers of decision are necessary tools for regulation of a wide range of public and private activities. They confer authority to grant licenses and permits, authorize disciplinary hearings by professional associations, grant permission to undertake regulated activities, resolve disputes with government agencies and enforce regulations (...) Most statutory powers of decision are subject to judicial review, an authority vested in the courts by common law rather than by statute. However, the scope of judicial review is uncertain. Most commentators on administrative law agree that judicial review is a complex and difficult branch of the law. Largely for this reason, legislators have supplemented judicial review with statutory rights to appeal from decisions made by tribunals and officials exercising statutory powers. Clearly stated appeal provisions can supersede judicial review, making resort to it unnecessary in most cases. The right of appeal from a decision must be expressly stated in the statute that creates the power of decision. This report is concerned with such rights of appeal (...) The Commission believes that administrative fairness requires that rights to appeal from statutory powers of decision should conform to consistent principles. The first goal of the Commission’s recommendations is principled consistency. The second is clarification of appeal rights. We believe that administrative law litigation can be simplified and reduced if these goals are implemented. A properly developed appeals system would make the difficulty and uncertainty of judicial review unnecessary in most cases. "
  • Administrative Penalties: "Administrative penalties are a mechanism for enforcing compliance with regulatory legislation. They are monetary penalties assessed and imposed by a regulator without recourse to a court or independent administrative tribunal. In most cases, administrative penalties are imposed on individuals and businesses that have been licensed to undertake regulated activities. Advocates of administrative penalties suggest that it is neither necessary nor appropriate to make regulation of licensees a matter for the courts. The delay and cost of court proceedings are avoided, and decisions are made by officials acquainted with the purposes of the regulations in issue, rather than by judges who lack such specific expertise. If they are to be an acceptable part of the regulatory framework, administrative penalties must be applied fairly and impartially. Because they are imposed without a hearing in a court, and usually without any other formal hearing, other procedural protections must be in place to ensure that the process for determination of the administrative penalty is fair, and is seen to be fair. The Law Reform Commission undertook an examination of administrative penalties to identify ways in which fairness could be ensured. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:29 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Lawyer Magazine Interview With Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Charron

The most recent issue of Canadian Lawyer magazine features a cover story plus interview with Louise Charron who recently retired as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

She describes her background as well as what happens behind the scenes at the Court:
"While the public tends to focus on the hearings where scarlet-robed judges listen to the arguments and pepper counsel for each party with questions, Charron says much of the work takes place well before the panel files into the courtroom. 'There really is a huge amount of preparation because when we do get to the hearing and we hear the argument and we walk out and the door closes, we are ready to decide the case'."

"Charron says the judges meet as soon as possible after the hearing. When she was first named to the SCC, the court had a practice of hearing from each judge according to their seniority. 'Initially, when I got here the court was still following a pretty set procedure where the most junior judge would speak first and then we would go in reverse order of seniority. . . . It put quite a burden on the junior judge but I thought it made a lot of sense as well because you could have your opportunity to give your views on a case'."

"Over time, the court adopted a less formal process and now begins its deliberation with an open discussion, says Charron. 'With a general discussion you have the benefit of hearing the people’s views . . . then we go back to each in turn [and] we give our views on how we think we would dispose of the case and why'."

"Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin then asks for volunteers to write the judgment but the judgments are only assigned to judges at the end of a two-week session. If there is going to be a dissenting opinion, the dissenting judges decide among themselves who will write it, but it is only written after the majority opinion is finalized, Charron points out."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:22 pm 0 comments links to this post

Survey on Canadian Law Library Trends

Nigel Holloway, one of the plenary speakers at the upcoming 2012 annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Toronto, is conducting a short (5-10 minute) survey to identify trends in Canadian law libraries.

He will present the findings at the meeting in May.

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

Monday, April 02, 2012

Getting the Most Out of Conferences

Next month, I will be attending the 2012 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Toronto.

Every time I head to another conference, I wonder whether I am doing things right to maximize the experience.

Today, on Slaw.ca, Allison C. Shields has a number of Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference Experience:
"To maximize your conference experience, apply my 'Before, During and After' strategy; instead of only focusing on the conference once you actually get there, begin your planning ahead of time and implement an after-conference strategy to make sure you get the most bang for your conference buck."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:20 pm 0 comments links to this post