Friday, February 29, 2008

One in 100 Adult Americans Currently Behind Bars

According to a report released this week by the Pew Center on the States, one out of every 100 U.S. adults is currently in jail, with Blacks and Hispanics facing significantly higher incarceration rates than Whites.

"... current prison growth is not driven primarily by a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the population at large. Rather, it flows principally from a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular 'three-strikes' measures and other sentencing enhancements, keeping them there longer. Overlaying that picture in some states has been the habitual use of prison stays to punish those who break rules governing their probation or parole."
Over a 20-year period, the study found that prison expenditures have skyrocketed, as "inflation-adjusted general fund spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent".

More coverage:

For the sake of comparison, on November 21, 2007, I published a post entitled Canadian Rate of Incarceration Increases that described the findings of a Statistics Canada report covering 2005/2006:

"The rate moved from 107 to 110 prisoners per 100,000 population."

" 'Canada's incarceration rate tends to be higher than most western European countries, yet far lower than that of the United States. For instance, Sweden posted an incarceration rate of 82 and France a rate of 85 per 100,000 population in 2005/2006. By comparison, the incarceration rate in England and Wales was 148, and in the United States the adult rate stood at 738 (the United States excludes youth from its rate)'. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:07 pm 0 comments

Award for Excellence in Canadian Legal Publishing

Every year since 1998, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) has handed out the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

Nominations for this year's award are open until 31st March 2008. The award for 2008 will be presented at the CALL 2008 annual conference in late May in Saskatoon.
"This award was initiated as a means of acknowledging the work that is done by publishers to provide the Canadian legal profession with high quality materials for use in understanding and researching the law. It is hoped that this award serves both as a means to honour publishers who have produced excellent products and to encourage excellence in new publishing endeavours."
Previous recipients of the award:
  • 2006 Société québécoise d’information juridique [SOQUIJ], for its AZIMUT databases
  • 2005 Canadian Legal Information Institute [CanLII], for its Internet-based collection of primary sources of Canadian law
  • 2004 Éditions Yvon Blais, for its Common Law en poche series
  • 2003 Carswell, for its eCarswell platform
  • 2002 Irwin Law, for its Essentials of Canadian Law series
  • 2001 Canada Law Book, for multiple publications and in recognition of its longevity and lasting contribution to the Canadian legal landscape
  • 2000 Quicklaw Inc., for its American caselaw and legislation databases
  • 1999 Insight Press, for its InConference CD-ROM product

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:56 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Statistics Canada Report on Sexual Orientation and Victimization

Statistics Canada released a study earlier today entitled Sexual orientation and victimization, 2004 that shows that gays, lesbians and bisexuals reported experiencing higher rates of violent victimization including sexual assault, robbery and physical assault, than did their heterosexual counterparts.
"Factors such as being young, being single, being a student, earning a low income, living in an urban area, and engaging in 30 or more evening activities per month have all been shown to be related to higher rates of victimization ... Results from the 2004 GSS indicate that some factors that increase the risk of violent victimization are more common amongst gays, lesbians and bisexuals."

"When all factors were held constant, being gay, lesbian or bisexual significantly increased the odds of being a victim of a violent crime. Compared to heterosexuals, the odds of being victimized were nearly 2 times greater for gays and lesbians and 4.5 times greater for bisexuals."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:12 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Federal Budget 2008 on Security and Justice

Yesterday's federal budget contained a series of security and justice measures:

  • $400 million to encourage provinces and territories to recruit 2,500 new front-line police officers - this amount is non-recurrent. In other words, once the funds have been spent, provinces will have to find the cash to pay for new officers hired with the federal funds
  • $122 million over two years to help overhaul the federal corrections system. A report in December 2007 called for a modernization of the service, cracking down on narcotics in prisons as well as improving rehabilitation services
  • $32 million over two years for the new Public Prosecution Service of Canada that handles prosecutions under some 50 federal statutes
  • $60 million over two years to the National Crime Prevention Strategy which has a focus on youth gang- and drug-related crime
  • $43 million over the next two years to the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's electronic espionage service, for investments in information and communications technologies.
  • $75 million over two years for the Canada Border Services Agency to add officers at key locations
  • Introducing a higher-security electronic passport by 2011 and doubling the validity period of Canadian passports to 10 years when this electronic passport is launched
  • $14 million over two years to expand the joint Canada-United States NEXUS program for low-risk frequent travellers across the border
  • $26 million over two years to introduce the use of biometric data into visas issued to foreign nationals entering Canada
  • $15 million over two years to establish a permanent facility to enhance the security of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway region
Further coverage:
  • Passports get major overhaul (Toronto Star) : "Forty-two countries are already using electronic passports, including all of the other leading industrialized countries in the G-8. Officials said Canada is playing a game of catch-up in coming around to the 'new international standard'."
  • Large chunk of security measures aimed at foreigners (Globe and Mail): "The new, more secure passports will last twice as long - the government plans to double the validity period for the travel documents to 10 years. Another $6-million will go to provinces and territories working on enhanced drivers' licences. A large chunk of the remaining security-related items appear to be aimed directly at foreigners, such as a proposal that would increase Canada's capacity to collect intelligence abroad and demand biometric data such as fingerprints from many overseas visitors."
  • La loi, l'ordre et la sécurité restent des priorités conservatrices (Le Devoir - "Law, order and security remain Conservative priorities"): "Le taux de criminalité a beau diminuer au pays depuis des années, la loi et l'ordre continuent d'être des priorités pour les conservateurs. Le budget dévoilé hier consacre 630 millions de dollars sur deux ans à ce chapitre. Le gouvernement accorde aussi 145 millions sur deux ans pour renforcer la sécurité aux frontières. [Though the crime rate in Canada has been decreasing for years, law and order continue to be a priority for the Conservatives. Yesterday's budget will devote $630 million over two years to that sector. The government will also spend $145 million over two years to strengthen border security]"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:27 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fighting Crime With YouTube

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.

Incredibly idiotic, but certainly very helpful to police authorities:

"The person might just confess to the crime when asked by police, he says. But if they say the picture is not them, then officers can get voice analysis and facial mapping experts to prove it is, provided the images are of sufficient quality (...)"

"As well as a YouTube video police would still need further evidence, she says, either a confession or corroborating evidence, but it's a good start."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:36 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ontario Launches Review of Complex Criminal Cases

Patrick LeSage, former chief justice of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and Michael Code, a University of Toronto law professor, have been assigned by the Ontario government to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures.

Attorney General Chris Bentley denied today that the review has anything to do with last month's collapse of a massive corruption trial involving six Toronto police officers. The case was thrown out after judge ruled that the lengthy delays violated the accuseds' constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable time. At the heart of the matter was the absence of timely disclosure by the Crown of mountains of documents.

The Lesage-Code review will present recommendations on how very complex cases can be moved more quickly and effectively through the justice system:
"These solutions may include recommendations for:
  • New policies and procedures for Crown prosecutors
  • Opportunities for more effective practices by justice system participants
  • Maximizing the effective use of justice system resources
  • Specific federal legislative and procedural reforms that would be beneficial.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will conduct the review on an accelerated basis and meet regularly with the Attorney General, culminating in written recommendations. The review will draw upon focused discussions with Defence and Crown Counsel, the Judiciary, Legal Aid Ontario, police agencies and others involved in large, complex criminal cases."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:00 pm 0 comments

How Well Are Library Schools Preparing Graduates for Web 2.0?

The most recent issue of ARIADNE, a British journal for library and information professionals, is now available.

In it, there is an article entitled Web 2.0 in U.S. LIS Schools: Are They Missing the Boat? that argues that the current curriculum in library graduate-level programs in North American universities (including Canadian faculties despite the title) is not adequately preparing students to deal with the rapid changes in the information landscape known as Web 2.0 and Library 2.0:
"Several researchers have argued that libraries will be only one part of the information society, and not necessarily the most important one. Librarians will become a small part of the growing body of information workers, since responding to the challenges of information management will require knowledge and skills from disciplines traditionally considered peripheral to LIS. Furthermore, education for LIS should expand, beyond skills and technology, to include new cognitive, social and situational processes (...)"

"The KALIPER Report identified several trends that demonstrated active movement towards a change in the education of information professionals for libraries and other information environments. The first trend was the change that LIS underwent at the end of the twentieth century, from a library-focused model to an information-focused paradigm. Another trend referred to two related areas – increased user-centeredness and increased inter-disciplinarity. The third trend related to the increased investment by LIS programmes in Information and Communication Technology and its inclusion in their curricula (...)"

"This preliminary survey indicates that LIS schools in the United States are not adequately prepared for the rapid changes in Web technology and use. It seems that the LIS programmes have not yet internalised the importance of the new, changing and dynamic innovations that are taking place in their environment. These programmes do not offer full courses that deal with the new concept of Web 2.0, and only a few of them include several issues which are based on Web 2.0 in their courses."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:40 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Survey of Challenged Books in Canadian Libraries

In advance of Freedom to Read Week, February 24 to March 1, 2008, the Canadian Library Association has released the results of its 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries.
"Oliver Twist, The Golden Compass and Rolling Stone magazine were among the library materials challenged by Canadian library users in 2007, according to a new survey released today."

"The Canadian Library Association’s 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries identified 42 items challenged by patrons. Children’s books, mainstream films, graphic novels and popular magazines were all challenged, and a policy on Internet access was also disputed (...)"

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:32 pm 0 comments

Public Consultation on Canadian Human Rights Museum

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of February 12, 2008 entitled Legislation Introduced to Create Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

As part of the process to create a new federally funded museum in Winnipeg devoted to human rights issues, the Canadian government has launched a consultation on the proposed content of the institution which is open to members of the public. People have until March 15, 2008 to share their ideas and recommendations.
"Information gathered through this consultation will be used by the Minister’s Advisory Committee for the CMHR as the basis for its recommendations, which will be provided to the future Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to assist its decision-making on the content and programming of the museum."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm 0 comments

Overview of Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement

GlobaLex, an online research collection at the New York University School of Law, has just published an article entitled Legal Information Institutes and the Free Access to Law Movement.

Written by Graham Greenleaf, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales in Australia, it describes the origins and evolution of the growing international movement to make legal information freely accessible:
"Part I of this article surveys the group of free access providers of legal information known as ‘the Legal Information Institutes’ (‘LII’s) or ‘the Free Access to Law Movement’. It is not therefore about free access to law generally, but rather about a particular group of its providers who collaborate. Part II gives a brief description of each legal information institute, and references for further reading."
The article deals with a number of Canadian participants in the free access to law movement, including the LexUM lab at the University of Montreal (they publish the judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada on the Internet) and CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute).

Greenleaf himself is the co-director of AustLII, the Australasian Legal Information Institute.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:11 pm 0 comments

Friday, February 22, 2008

100th Anniversary of Law Library Journal

Law Library Journal, a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries, has made it to volume 100!

Throughout 2008, it will mark its centennial year with special features about its history.

The centennial feature in vol. 1 number 1 is entitled The Essential Law Library Journal by Frank Houdek, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, Illinois. Houdek was the editor of Law Library Journal, 1995–2007:
"As a kickoff to the celebration of the centennial volume of Law Library Journal, Professor Houdek presents a selective, annotated list of 'essential' readings culled from the preceding ninety-nine volumes of the Journal. The list represents pieces that anyone involved in law librarianship, whether a novice or someone experienced in the field, should read and absorb."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:21 pm 0 comments

Human Rights Watch Report on Business and Human Rights

Human Rights Watch and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law have just published a report entitled On the Margins of Profit: Rights at Risk in the Global Economy.

"Existing corporate social responsibility initiatives, many of which have emerged in response to specific controversies, typically cover only a limited set of rights and apply selectively to individual companies or industries or particular country contexts, such as conflict areas. There are no widely agreed overarching standards for all businesses, but instead many different standards that address select human rights, select companies or industries, or select countries or situations. The result is a messy and inconsistent patchwork of voluntary pledges that have limited application, generally do not fully align with international human rights norms, and in any case are frequently disregarded in practice (...) "

"This report (...) helps lay the factual foundation for such an approach by detailing the different ways in which business practices affect human rights. It presents examples drawn from more than 10 years of Human Rights Watch research that describe a wide variety of business-related abuses and obstacles to the justice sought by victims of these abuses."
Other Library Boy posts on business and human rights include:
  • Weekly Updates Available from Business and Human Rights Database (March 22, 2005): "Corporate profiles include news stories, items about investigations, lawsuits and enforcement actions, as well as official responses (...) The Centre has also just introduced a new feature, Weekly Updates, which are e-mail alerts with an interesting twist: companies are invited to respond to reports that criticise them, and the responses are included. This is to help keep the updates balanced and encourage companies to publicly address important labour and human rights concerns being raised by civil society organizations such as labour unions, development associations, Third World NGOs, and human rights organizations."
  • Amnesty International UK and USA's Human Rights, Trade and Investment Matters (June 28, 2006): "I picked up a reference to this document at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. The UK and USA branches of the international human rights NGO Amnesty International released a collection of articles last month that explore the connections between trade, investment and human rights, and consider the potential for integrating human rights into trade and investment agreements."
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Website Relaunched (June 15, 2007): "The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by human rights NGOs and various academic organizations, has just launched its re-designed website.The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that encourages companies to respect human rights by bringing reports about their conduct - positive & negative - to a global audience."
  • List of Documents Prepared by the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights (January 16, 2008): "A few years ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed a special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations. That person's job is to identify standards of corporate responsibility; develop materials for human rights impact assessments of the activities of corporations abroad; elaborate on the role of States in effectively regulating corporations when it comes to human rights; and compile a compendium of best practices of States and corporations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm 2 comments

Thursday, February 21, 2008

AALL 2008 Conference Blog

The next annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) takes place July 12-15 in Portland, Oregon.

Conference organizers have launched a website that incorporates a blog, social networking tools, video and more.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:09 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Statistics Canada Report on Gun Crime

Statistics Canada reported today that gun violence in Canada remained stable in 2006, but more young people are using weapons.

"Canadian police services reported just over 8,100 victims of violent gun crime, ranging from assault to robbery and homicide, accounting for 2.4% of all victims of violence. Handguns made up nearly two-thirds of all firearms used."


"Police-reported data showed that among young people, the use of guns in violent crime is increasing. The rate of youth aged 12 to 17 accused of a firearm-related offence has risen in three of the past four years, increasing 32% since 2002. The overall firearm-related crime rates for youth were driven primarily by robberies. "
There were 190 firearm-related homicides reported to Canadian police forces in 2006. The rate has remained more or less table over the past decade.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:30 pm 0 comments

New Paper on Collegial Decision-Making at the Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Andrew Green and Benjamin Alarie have posted a new paper on the Social Science Research Network entitled Should They All Just Get Along? Judicial Ideology, Collegiality, and Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada:

"Over the past 25 years, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada have not exhibited the divergent policy views along party lines that have been characteristic of the justices of the United States Supreme Court. This apparent lack of partisan polarization in Canada may at first give rise to smugness about the appointments process in Canada; after all, our process appears to have successfully sidestepped the politicization associated with the US nomination and confirmation system. However, before any claim that the Canadian appointments process is in fact superior can be made or defended, it is necessary to understand what these findings imply about the judicial decision-making process and quality of adjudication by our Court relative to the US Supreme Court. In this paper we argue that whether the relative nonpartisan nature of the Supreme Court in Canada is advantageous depends on a number of assumptions surrounding the nature of the appointments process, the characteristics of justices who are appointed in each system, and the decision-making processes used by the justices on each Court. "

"This paper discusses the relationship between two potential determinants of a justice's votes: her personal policy preferences and the extent and nature of cooperation between justices on the Court at a given time. To set the context Part II briefly outlines the main findings of some recent empirical research on the judicial voting behaviour on the Supreme Court of Canada and compares it to similar empirical studies of the US Supreme Court. Part III then sets out a framework for analyzing the difference in voting patterns based on the extent to which a judge votes in accordance with her policy preferences and the extent to which the justices of a multi-member court can be characterized as cooperative. Part IV uses this framework to assess the different patterns of voting on the Canadian and US Supreme Courts and discusses the important normative tradeoff between deliberation ('positive' cooperation) and logrolling ('negative' cooperation). Finally, Part V briefly discusses the connection of this normative tradeoff to the appointments process, and identifies some additional considerations to guide future theoretical and empirical research."
Earlier Library Boy posts about Green's and Alarie's analysis of Supreme Court of Canada decision-making include:
  • Do Supreme Court of Canada Justices Change their Policy Preferences After Their Appointment? (September 20, 2007): "The assumptions underlying the debate are that Prime Ministers can predict the voting of their appointees, that they appoint justices whose political preferences accord with their own and that these judges vote in a predictable pattern over time (...) We examine how the policy preferences of the justices on the Supreme Court of Canada between 1982 and 2004 shifted (if at all) during their time on the Court, focusing particular attention on the behaviour of the justices immediately following their appointment (...) Our results suggest that the policy preferences of justices shift over time and the analysis has implications both for the debate surrounding the Canadian appointments process and for models of judicial decision-making."
  • Follow-Up on Supreme Court of Canada Judges' Policy Preferences (October 15, 2007): "The net result of the empirical analysis is this: despite some notable exceptions, most particularly Justice L’Heureux-Dubé, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada do not, by and large, vote in ideologically predictable ways either in the short-term or on a long-term basis. In addition, their policy preferences are in a constant state of change; at any given time, some justices will be changing little, others will be moving in a more 'liberal' direction, and others will be tending towards a more 'conservative' approach. We show that justices who served from 1982-2004 do not appear to have been particularly ideologically driven, especially in comparison with their colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court"


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:16 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What Have Ottawa Law Librarians Been Up To Recently?

Earlier today, I attended a luncheon roundtable of the National Capital Association of Law Libraries here in Ottawa.

At the event, people had an opportunity to update colleagues about news and initiatives at their respective institutions. Here are some highlights:

1) the Canadian Police College has put its catalogue on the Internet and has started adding journal articles that cannot be found in any periodical indexes. This includes research articles from many police and law enforcement journals that would not be discoverable otherwise. Examples of material that may be hard to find elsewhere:

  • "To what extent can public law enforcement employers inquire into an employee's medical information after hiring?" Stone, Michael P. Busailah, Muna Salam, Anisa. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, vol. 5, no. 5, 2005
  • "Interviews and interrogations of public employees" Schmidt, Wayne W. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, vol. 4, no. 7, 2004
  • "RCMP approves taser use across Canada : new, less lethal weapon
    reduces possibility of injury to police and public = [La GRC approuve l'utilisation de l'arme Taser au pays : une nouvelle arme quasi léthale qui réduit le risque de blessures pour les policiers et le public]" Kerr, Joanna. Gazette : a Royal Canadian Mounted Police publication, vol. 64, no. 1
2) Justice Canada recently completed an evaluation of its service quality using te LibQual+ methodology adopted by other government libraries, including the Library of the Supreme Court of Canada. The survey was conducted in all regions of Canada. It will allow Justice Canada to compare itself with other government libraries. Justice Canada is also starting the immense task of reclassifying its collections using the KF Modified classification. It currently uses a system based on that of Los Angeles County Courthouse collection (from 1955!)

3) The Public Service Labour Relations Board is offering RSS feeds of all its tribunal decisions

4) The Judge Advocate General will be making a presentation on "military law" at the CALL 2008 conference in Saskatoon in late May (annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries)

5) unfortunately, a few law libraries in the federal government sector have recently suffered reorganizations or restructurings, including downsizings and moves to new physical locations that are ugly and noisy

6) as for the good old ship Supreme Court of Canada, things are chugging along quite nicely. Aside from our regular list of ongoing library projects, here are a few new items on the horizon:
  • we are creating a new information product: an online bibliography of journal articles on recent (2007), current and upcoming appeals heard before the Supreme Court of Canada. We anticipate making this list available on our website at some point in the future We are using the RefWorks bibliographic management tool for this
  • we are undertaking a major review of our collection development policy. Among other things, we will be looking at the various jurisdictions that we collect in print (do we really need the Idaho Code? does anyone care?). Our current policy from 2001 does not address the duplication of material in print, electronic and microform and our increased reliance on electronic sources does not really fit with the policy statement that materials in our collection are intended to be "maintained as permanent collections and preserved as a national asset". So, the review will try to identify subject areas that can be licensed from external vendors and those which necessitate access in permanent form. Since we are partners in many resource sharing agreements with local government libraries and with law society and courthouse librariers nationally, any changes to collection policies may impact our obligations under those agreements. Before doing anything, the Library will be consulting widely. As well, our use policy allows lawyers, law students and judges to make direct use of our extensive print collections, whereas our licensed electronic resources are off limits to external clients. Again, any change to our collection development policy (e.g. getting rid of our thousands of print volumes of U.S. codes, case reporters, encyclopedias, law digests etc.) can have an enormous impact on many of our current external "walk-in" users so they will also need to be heard from
  • electronic copies of factums filed by parties involved in Supreme Court of Canada appeals will soon be made available on the public website. Coverage will not be retrospective but from a point in 2008 forwards
  • on the Court Intranet we currently offer a "link resolver" tool (an A-to-Z list of periodicals available either in print here at the Library or via databases to which we have licensed access). For any given title, it tells a user whether it is available on our shelves or in any electronic collection to which we may have access. After a little tweaking, the A-to-Z list should go up on the public website by the summer. Outside users, of course, may not have access to the same databases that we do, but they will be able to see the various possible points of access for thousands of journals (in print on our shelves or via databases to which they may have access through their own institutions)


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:04 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finding Law Firm Newsletters With Lexology

The cooperative Canadian weblog has an item today describing Lexology, a free service for finding law firm publications.

The service allows subscribers to search by jurisdiction and topic and have results consolidated into a single newsfeed email per day.

Library Boy posts that have dealt with the topic of law firm newsletters include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:47 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 16, 2008

RSS Feeds from Law Library of Congress

The Law Library of Congress in Washington has started offering RSS feeds to a number of its information products, including the Global Legal Monitor that I have described before.

The Monitor regularly summarizes legal developments from around the world, with selections made based on official national legal publications, and various press sources.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:19 pm 0 comments

Responses to Draft Canadian Digital Information Strategy

This is a follow to the Library Boy post of October 31, 2007 entitled Canadian Digital Information Strategy Issued for Comments.

That post explained:
"Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has issued the Canadian Digital Information Strategy in draft form for comment. Comments are due by Nov 23, 2007."

"Over the past 2 years, LAC consulted with over 200 organizations: publishing and media producers, creators, rights bodies, academics, provincial and federal officials, and heritage institutions."
Responses from individuals and organizations have now been posted on the Library and Archives Canada website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:10 pm 0 comments

Ottawa Conference on Bicentenary of Slave Trade Abolition

The University of Ottawa is holding a commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade on March 14-16.

The international conference, entitled Routes to Freedom: Reflections on the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, features academics, historians, political economists, and international writers who will speak on the historic realities of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy.

Registration deadline is March 7, 2008.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the slave trade include:
  • UK Bicentennial of Abolition of the Slave Trade - But Canada Was First! (March 20, 2007): "The year 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the British legislation that banned the transatlantic trade in slaves. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed in the Westminster Parliament on 25 March 1807 (...) What is not well known, even in Canada, is that one of the first moves towards the abolition of the slave trade took place right here. The colony of Upper Canada, now the province of Ontario, was the pioneer in this movement. In 1793, colonial Governor John Graves Simcoe, the founder of York (later to become Toronto), passed An Act to prevent the further introduction of slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for servitude within this Province (...) The law freed slaves aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring slaves into Upper Canada, which became a safe haven for runaway slaves. Simcoe’s law also made Upper Canada the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to move toward the abolition of slavery."
  • More on Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Slave Trade (March 26, 2007): "The OpenDemocracy website has an interesting commentary on the history of the abolition struggle and on the repercussions of the transatlantic slave trade. It is entitled Slaves and slavery, 1807-2007: the past in the present, by Marika Sherwood, researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies."
  • Quiz on History of Slavery (March 30, 2007): "This week's Friday Brain-teaser from Xrefer on Peter Scott's Library Blog is about the history of slavery (...) Xrefer is a major provider of online reference resources."
  • Select Bibliography on the Transatlantic Slave Trade (August 30, 2007): "To mark the 200th anniversary of the passing of a law in the UK Parliament that banned the transatlantic slave trade, the National Library of Jamaica has published a select bibliography on the topic... The bibliography includes sections on books and abolitionist pamphlets; periodical articles; newspaper references; illustrations; manuscripts; prints; and audio-visual materials."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:55 pm 0 comments

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of February 1st to 15th, 2008 is available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loan to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:52 pm 0 comments

Friday, February 15, 2008

LISNews - 10 Non-Librarian Blogs Librarians Should Read in 2008

The library world news site LISNews has come up with a list of 10 Non-Librarian Blogs To Read in 2008:

"Our first attempt at recommending NON-Librarian blogs includes sites to make your life better, improve your finances, help you be a better marketer, and even one that lets you see other folks deepest darkest secrets. I've included the "honorable mention" list, and a few "see alsos" below. Our goal was to make a list of sites you can read to learn something new that doesn't entirely focus on libraries."
The list includes:
LISNews has also compiled a library-related top 10 blog list: The LISNews 10 Blogs To Read In 2008

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:39 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Statistics Canada Report on Victimization of Visible Minorities

Yesterday, Statistics Canada published a report entitled Visible Minorities and Victimization showing that Canadian-born visible minorities had rates of violent victimization in 2004 that were three times higher than visible minorities who were born abroad.

"The study, based on data from the 2004 General Social Survey, revealed some differences in rates among visible minorities when place of birth was taken into consideration (...)"

"The study showed that a number of factors could help explain these differences. For example, Canadian-born visible minorities are younger, more likely to be single and more likely to be low-income earners than their foreign-born counterparts. "

"Canadian-born visible minorities also participate in a higher number of evening activities. Previous studies have shown that these factors are related to a greater risk of victimization."

However, the study did show that, in general, visible minorities and people who were not visible minorities were at a similar risk of being victims of a violent crime. As well, the relationship between the victim and the offender was similar for both visible minority and non-visible minority victims, with slightly more than 50% of perpetrators in crimes involving both categories being people known to the victims.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 10:40 am 0 comments

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

US Trade Group Accuses Canada of Being Among 'Top Copyright Violators'

In a filing to the United States Trade Representative on Monday, the U.S.-based International Intellectual Property Alliance has called for Canada to be placed on the American government's Priority Watch List of copyright bad guys. This puts Canada in the same category as China and Russia that are frequent targets of U.S. criticism for intellectual property piracy.

The Alliance represents hundreds of U.S. firms producing and distributing copyrighted materials.

The group wants the U.S. government to establish stronger international anti-piracy norms, and more effective enforcement. That could include trade sanctions.

Further background:
  • U.S. groups chide China, Russia, Canada for piracy (Reuters, February 11, 2008): "U.S. business software companies lost an estimated $511 million in sales last year in Canada because of piracy, up from $494 million in 2006, the International Intellectual Property Alliance said. One-third of the business software used in Canada in 2007 was an illegal copy, down just 1 percentage point from the previous year, the group said. Also, 10 years after signing World Intellectual Property Organization treaties extending copyright protections to the Internet, Canada still has taken 'no meaningful steps toward modernizing its copyright law to meet the global minimum standards,' the group said."
  • Canada a top copyright violator, U.S. group says (CBC News, February 12, 2008): "A total of 51 countries were named as significant violators (...) Canadian copyright experts said the IIPA's recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt, since the organization has singled out a good number of countries that have trade dealings with the United States. 'It's little more than a lobbying exercise which lacks reliable and objective analysis,' said University of Ottawa internet law professor Michael Geist. 'With 51 countries, some of which are leaders in Europe and Asia, Canada is in very good company. It almost begs the question — who's the one that's really offside here?' "


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:58 pm 0 comments

February 2008 Hearings Scheduled at the Supreme Court of Canada

Here is a list of the appeals that the Supreme Court of Canada will be hearing in February.

Summaries of the cases and of the issues are included.

Hearings begin next week.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Canadian Library Association Copyright Advocacy Kit

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) has produced an information kit called Fair and Balanced Copyright for Canadians to help librarians lobby federal parliamentarians about the much awaited upcoming copyright reform legislation that many fear will not provide an adequate balance between corporate owners' rights and user rights.

The document describes the library community's major concerns about any new legislation and provides tips on how to organize meetings with politicians.

The CLA website has an entire section on copyright issues with "the latest information on Canadian copyright reform, regulations, bills to amend the Copyright Act, selected case law, and copyright position statements of the Canadian Library Association and other library/education associations."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:21 pm 0 comments

Legislation Introduced to Create Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian government has introduced a bill in the House of Commons to establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg.

The new museum, the brainchild of the late media tycoon Izzy Asper, will be a Crown Corporation like other national museums such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery of Canada.

The CMHR already has a website describing the project.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:05 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 11, 2008

How Accurate Are Tech Trend Predictions?

In the February 2008 issue of his Cites & Insights, Walt Crawford tries to provide a scorecard to measure the accuracy of various tech predictions for 2007. He also summarizes some of the newer predictions out there for 2008.

Crawford covers a range of infoworld bloggers, columnists and pundits from sources such as Wired News, Open Access News, Information Today, PC Magazine, Publishers Weekly, etc.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:38 pm 0 comments

Justice Canada Responds to Racism Allegations

This is a follow-up to the Library Boy post of February 6, 2008 entitled Justice Canada Accused of Being 'Rife With Racism' .

In that post, I referred to "testimony in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights to the effect that 'overt racism and intimidation' are driving away visible minorities at Justice Canada."

Canada's Deputy Minister of Justice John H. Sims wrote a letter to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper to respond. The letter is published in today's edition ("We do not tolerate racism at Justice"):
"The Department of Justice has a longstanding commitment to employment equity. We currently have a representative workforce that exceeds workforce availability for many areas."

"Within the department, the representation of visible minorities is at 11 per cent, which is above the current workforce availability of 10.4 per cent (...)"

"As an organization, we believe it is essential, indeed it is to our advantage, that our workforce truly reflect the diversity of the people we serve (...) "

"We continue to foster a fair and welcoming work environment and to pursue a broad array of concrete initiatives to keep us moving in the right direction."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:29 pm 0 comments

Friday, February 08, 2008

Council on Library and Information Resources Report on Large-Scale Digitization Projects

The Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington has just released a report entitled Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization - A White Paper:

"The paper describes four large-scale projects—Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project—and their digitization strategies. It then discusses a range of issues affecting the stewardship of the digital collections they create: selection, quality in content creation, technical infrastructure, and organizational infrastructure. The paper also attempts to foresee the likely impacts of large-scale digitization on book collections."
The report makes 13 recommendations:
  • Reassess Digitization Requirements for Archival Images
  • Develop a Feasible Quality Control Program
  • Seek Compromise to Balance Preservation and Access Requirements
  • Enhance Access to Digitized Content
  • Understand the Impact of Contractual Restriction on Preservation Responsibilities
  • Support Shared Print-Storage Initiatives
  • Promote the Use of the DLF/OCLC Registry of Digital Masters
  • Outline a Large-Scale Digitization Initiative Archiving Action Agenda
  • Devise Policies for Designating Digital Preservation Levels
  • Capture and Share Cost Information
  • Revisit Library Priorities and Strategies
  • Shift to an Agile and Open Planning Model
  • Reenvision Collection Development for Research Libraries

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:41 pm 0 comments

Monitoring of European Criminal Justice and Home Affairs

The European civil liberties organization Statewatch has launched the SEMDOC website (Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre on Justice and Home Affairs).

It provides access to news updates, reports from cases at the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice, analysis of EU treaties, case law and legislation on issues relating to migration, border control and visas in the EU; asylum and immigration policy; police cooperation and criminal law.

Some parts of the site require a subscription for access to full-text documents.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:30 pm 0 comments

Australian Parliamentary Library Report on Forcible Removal of Aboriginal Children

The Parliamentary Library in Australia has released a background note on the Bringing Them Home report of 1997:

"On 26 May 1997 the report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, entitled Bringing Them Home, was tabled in Parliament (...)"

"A key recommendation in the report was that reparation be made to Indigenous people affected by policies of forced removal. That reparation should include an acknowledgement of responsibility and apology from all Australian parliaments and other agencies which implemented policies of forcible removal as well as monetary compensation. "

"State and territory parliaments have apologised specifically to those affected by the policies of separation. Under the Howard Government the Commonwealth Parliament did not agree to a full apology but expressed ‘deep and sincere regret’ for unspecified past injustices as part of a Motion of Reconciliation on 26 August 1999."

"Since elected to Government in 2007 the Australian Labor Party has announced that it will honour its policy of an unreserved apology to the Stolen Generations but has rejected any suggestions to compensate victims."

"These two components of reparation, an apology and compensation, remain as the major ‘unfinished business’ of the Bringing Them Home report. This Background Note provides an overview of these issues within the context of the Bringing Them Home report, a chronology of the key developments in the debate, the text of state and territory apologies and links to further web resources."

For a comparison with the situation in Canada, see the Library Boy post of September 20, 2007 entitled Implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement:

"Former students who were subjected to abuse in Indian Residential Schools will be able to submit applications for compensation until September 2011. Aboriginal children were often grabbed away from their families to be shipped off to the boarding schools that tried to assimilate them. "

"There are an estimated 80,000 Canadian native people living today who are affected by the compensation deal. Many suffered physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse at the hands of teachers and supervisors."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:19 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Supreme Court of Canada Library: New Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of January 16th to 31st, 2008 is available on the Court website.

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

But, once the material goes into the general collection, after about a month, the works do become available for inter-library loan to authorized libraries.

It is possible to subscribe via e-mail to receive the list.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 11:11 am 0 comments

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Justice Canada Accused of Being 'Rife With Racism'

Today's edition of the Ottawa Citizen reports on recent testimony in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights to the effect that "overt racism and intimidation" are driving away visible minorities at Justice Canada.

The testimony came at a Feb. 4 hearing from Mark Persaud, a lawyer who left Justice in 2003. So far, committee proceedings on the issue of employment equity in the federal public service are available online for the meetings of November and December 2007.

According to the article in the Ottawa Citizen:

"The Public Service Commission recently revealed that the recruitment rate of visible minorities fell last year despite an increase in hiring overall. Visible minorities now make up 8.6 per cent of federal employees, below their workplace representation of 10.4 per cent, based on the 2001 census. "

"According to the Canada Public Service Agency, the representation of visible minorities in the public service has nearly doubled over the past decade. Between 2001 and 2006, their numbers expanded by almost 6,000, the agency says, bringing the total to more than 15,000 (...)"

"Justice officials say they're doing better than most departments. Visible minorities represent 10.6 per cent of the department's 4,500-member workforce, including 231 visible minority lawyers."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:43 am 0 comments

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Statistics Canada Report on Legal Aid

Today, Statistics Canada released a report entitled Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics, 2006/2007.

"This report presents information on the operation of 11 of Canada’s 13 legal aid plans. The report includes information on personnel resources, revenues and expenditures of legal aid plans, as well as information concerning applications for legal aid. It provides data tables 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."
  • Canada’s legal aid plans spent $658 million in 2006/2007, down 4% from the previous year (does not include Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island)
  • The plans received 761,000 applications for assistance, a 2% decrease from the previous year. A 5% drop in the number of applications for civil matters was responsible for this decline
  • About 472,000 applications were approved for full legal aid service
  • Cases involving criminal matters accounted for slightly more than half of direct legal aid expenditures. This proportion has climbed over the last five years, from 46% in 2002/2003
  • Governments, both provincial/territorial and federal, continue to be the major source of funding for legal aid plans (close to 90% of total revenues)
  • Just over 11,000 lawyers, from both the private sector and legal aid plans, provided legal aid assistance, a 9% decline from the previous year.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:56 pm 0 comments

Transformation of the Legal Status of Employees with Disabilities in Canada

Michael Lynk, law professor at the University of Western Ontario, has written Disability and Work: The Transformation of the Legal Status of Employees with Disabilities in Canada.

The article is available for free downloading on the website of the Social Science Research Network.

"The rise of the accommodation duty, and particularly the accommodation rights of employees with disabilities, has been the greatest single innovation within Canadian labour law over the past twenty years. High Law principles on disability accommodation have been developed through a series of Supreme Court of Canada rulings, and these principles have been applied through the voluminous Low Law decisions of labour arbitrators and human rights tribunals. This article examines the dismal employment status of employees with disabilities in Canada, traces the emergence of the Supreme Court of Canada rulings, and critically examines the caselaw on disability accommodation from labour arbitrators, human rights tribunals and the common law courts. Although Canadian labour law transplanted the accommodation duty from the early civil rights jurisprudence in the United States, recent Canadian law on disability accommodation has headed in a much different direction than its American progenitor. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:46 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 04, 2008

UN 2008 E-Government Survey

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat has just released its UN E-Government Survey 2008: From E-Government to Connected Governance.

The 246-page document evaluates the "e-government readiness" of United Nations member states.
"This year’s e-Government Survey 2008: From e-Government to Connected Governance presents an assessment of the new role of the government in enhancing public service delivery, while improving the efficiency and productivity of government processes and systems. It comprises two parts: Part I presents the findings of the UN e-Government Survey 2008 while the ‘how to’ approach connected governance is the focus of Part II of this year’s Survey."

"The results of the global survey indicate that governments are moving forward in egovernment development around the world. However, given the high demands placed by e-government on a multitude of foundational pillars which include prerequisites of infrastructure, appropriate policies, capacity development, ICT applications, and relevant content that need to be in place to fully implement e-government services, progress is slow. Only a few governments have made the necessary investment to move from egovernment applications per se to a more integrated connected governance stage (...)"

"In an attempt to keep current in examining emerging issues, Part II of the Survey therefore assesses the challenges in moving from e-government to connected governance. The Survey postulates that governments are increasingly looking towards e-government-as-a-whole concept which focuses on the provision of services at the front end supported by integration, consolidation and innovation in back-end processes and systems to achieve maximum cost savings and improved service delivery. The distinguishing characteristic of the whole-of-government approach is that government agencies and organizations share objectives across organizational boundaries, as opposed to working solely within an organization. "
Earlier Library Boy posts about e-government include:
  • International Conference on E-Government (August 3, 2006): "UNPAN, the United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance, recently held a conference in Budapest on the topic of E-Government."
  • Brown University 6th International Ranking of E-Government (August 4, 2006): "The Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in Rhode Island has just released its 6th annual ranking of e-government initiatives. Asian countries take three of the top five spots in the global e-government study. South Korea came in first, followed by Taiwan, Singapore, the United States, and Canada."
  • More E-Government Rankings from Brown University Study (August 6, 2006): "The Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, Rhode Island, have released their 7th annual e-government ranking for the United States. Researchers looked at more than 1,500 U.S. state government sites, plus 48 federal government legislative and executive sites and 13 federal court sites (...) According to the study, Texas and New Jersey are the best American states for e-government initiatives. The U.S. federal portal and the Department of Agriculture are the most highly rated federal sites."
  • UN Compendium of Innovative E-Government Practices (June 11, 2007): "The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat has just released a Compendium of Innovative E-Government Practices (...) The document describes a number of justice-related projects, such as: The Electronic Filing System (Federal Court of Australia) (...) The e-Government Code (Italy) (...) Real Time Crime Center (New York City Police Department)"
  • Governments Willing to Learn From the People on Web 2.0? (June 19, 2007): "The Law Librarian Blog, in a post entitled 'Government 2.0', draws attention to discussion in the UK of a new official report, The Power of Information, that calls on government institutions to actively engage with citizens who are out there using and inventing new interactive Web 2.0 tools."
  • Audit of UK Government Websites: Lots of Room for Improvement (July 28, 2007): "Earlier this month, the United Kingdom's National Audit Office, the equivalent of our Office of the Auditor General, published its report on English government websites. Entitled 'Government on the internet: progress in delivering information and services online', the report to the UK Parliament found that Internet users rated government websites reasonably well, but that the quality of those websites has improved only slightly since 2002."
  • Brown University 7th International Ranking of E-Government Initiatives (July 29, 2007): "The Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in Rhode Island has just released its 7th annual ranking of e-government initiatives. The findings are based on the analysis of 1,687 government websites in 198 different nations. The types of websites analysed included executive offices (president, prime minister, ruler, party leader, or royalty), legislatures, major courts, and major agencies and ministries."
  • European e-Government Awards 2007 (September 21, 2007): "The City of Amsterdam from The Netherlands, the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform of Norway, the City of Besançon from France and the Portal of the Federal Government of Germany each picked up one of the prestigious awards celebrating Europe’s most innovative public services. The prize for the 'Most Inspiring Good Practice' went to the State Police of Italy as a result of a public vote."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:31 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 03, 2008

More and More Blawgs Cited by Law Journals

On Friday, the Law Librarian Blog published Blawgs as Scholarship Up for Review, Again that links to other blog posts analyzing the apparent increase in the number of citations to law blogs by prestigious law journals.

According to some, this reflects the fact that blogs have become a more accepted form of legal scholarship in the academy, whereas others argue that blogs have little of intellectual substance to contribute to real scholarship.

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Harvard Blog and Legal Scholarship Conference Update (May 11, 2006): "In the past few years, blogs have begun to affect the delivery of legal education, the production and dissemination of legal scholarship, and the practice of law. We are delighted that over twenty of the nation’s leading law professor bloggers have agreed to join with us for the first scholarly conference on the impact of blogs on the legal academy."
  • More Law Journals Adding Blog Companions (April 20, 2007): "A number of law journals are now leveraging weblog technology to present information and commentary online. Some are offering online weblog 'digests' which supplement the traditional printed journal, while others are solely online. The common thread (...) is a desire for a more timely forum to comment on new developments in the journal's area of coverage"
  • Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship in an Online Age (July 24, 2007): "Paul Horwitz, a visiting professor at the Notre Dame Law School, has recently published a paper on the open access Social Science Research Network entitled 'Evaluate Me!': Conflicted Thoughts on Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship's New Age: «Bloggers, SSRN, and online law review supplements like this one have increasingly routed around and weakened, if not undermined, the traditional gatekeepers who certified legal scholars and their scholarship. Is this a good thing?» "
  • Is the Future of Legal Scholarship in the Blogosphere? (September 5, 2007): "That is the question asked in an article published last week in the Legal Times (...) «If you are looking for the future of legal scholarship, chances are that you may find it not in a treatise or the traditional law review but in a different form, profoundly influenced by the blogosphere (...) the legal blogosphere tends to be populated by midcareer professors who have tenure, are intimately familiar with traditional legal scholarship and see the Internet as a way to reach more readers in a less ritualized format». "
  • Should Legal Blogs Be Seen As Scholarship? (December 18, 2007): "That is the title of an article in the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly that canvasses the opinions of various Canadian legal scholars on just where blogs fit in. According to Bruce Archibald, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, blogs «are a source of ideas which would have to be acknowledged in a footnote if quoted. On the other hand, they are not peer reviewed and would not have the added cachet or weight of that status.» Philip Bryden, dean of law at the University of New Brunswick, acknowledges that blogs offer «timely publication and ease of accessibility», but adds, «During my tenure as dean ... none of my colleagues has brought their blogging activity into the scholarly assessment process at UNB, but that is not to say it will not happen in the future.» However, University of Calgary law school dean Alastair Lucas argues that blog contributions can be scholarship. The law school is creating a blog dealing with Alberta courts and tribunals and those contributions «will require theory development, synthesis, analysis and clear argumentation (...) We also expect that some blog pieces will be expanded into law review articles and the like.» "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:05 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Human Rights Watch 2008 Annual Report

The international NGO Human Rights Watch released its World Report 2008 this week. The report summarizes the human rights situation in more than 75 countries.
"The established democracies are accepting flawed and unfair elections for political expediency, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2008. By allowing autocrats to pose as democrats, without demanding they uphold the civil and political rights that make democracy meaningful, the United States, the European Union and other influential democracies risk undermining human rights worldwide (...)"

"Human Rights Watch has documented a number of elections manipulated through: outright fraud (Chad, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Uzbekistan); control of electoral machinery (Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Malaysia, Thailand, Zimbabwe); blocking or discouraging opposition candidates (Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Turkmenistan, Uganda); political violence (Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Lebanon); stifling the media and civil society (Russia, Tunisia); and undermining the rule of law (China, Pakistan). "

"Many of these tactics are illegal under domestic and international law, but rarely do outside powers call governments to account for it. Human Rights Watch said established democracies are often unwilling to do so for fear of losing access to resources or commercial opportunities, or because of the perceived requirements of fighting terrorism."

"Human Rights Watch said the United States and the European Union should insist governments do more than hold a vote, and demand they uphold rights guaranteed by international law, including a free media, freedom of assembly, and a secret ballot."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:23 pm 0 comments