Saturday, February 28, 2009

American and Canadian Law Librarians Share Instructional Materials

The American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) organizes an annual National Legal Research Teach-In (under the auspices of the AALL's Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Group, known in the library world for its famous penguin mascot). The event usually takes place in April of each year.

Contributions of instructional materials are sent in by law librarians from around the United States, including:
  • course syllabi
  • research guides
  • lecture notes
  • handouts
  • assignments
  • lesson plans
  • PowerPoint shows
  • basic instructional guides
  • examinations and guided quizzes
  • crossword puzzles and trivia quizzes
It is a good way of seeing what law librarians in the United States are doing.

The RIPS website has a list of material from previous years. The first teach-in was organized in 1993.

On a smaller scale, the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries Special Interest Group of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries is asking for Canadian law librarians to share their instructional materials for listing in the Group's section on the CALL website. An e-mail request has already been sent out via the CALL listserv.

The idea is to develop as comprehensive as possible a list or database of tutorials on Canadian and non-Canadian legal research topics. Law libraries would retain any copyright in their material and have the option of determining how it could be reused.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:46 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Supreme Court of Canada Statistics 1998-2008

The Supreme Court of Canada recently published a special edition of its Bulletin of Proceedings called Statistics 1998 to 2008.

The statistics are broken down into 5 categories:
  • Cases Filed: the number of complete applications for leave to appeal and notices of appeal as of right filed by litigants with the Court’s Registry each year
  • Applications for Leave Submitted: number of leave applications submitted to panels of the Court for decision, the number of leave applications granted and the percentage granted of the total submitted
  • Appeals Heard: number of appeals heard each year and the number of hearing days over the year
  • Appeal Judgments: the number of judgments rendered each year
  • Average Time Lapses: time lines in the life of a case at the Court

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:35 pm 0 comments

New Family Law Guide from Law Society of Saskatchewan

I am always on the lookout for research guides from other Canadian (and foreign) law libraries.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has just published a Family Law research guide. It lists key texts, journals, forms, encyclopedia and sources of case law.

The Law Society offers other research guides on its Library Services page.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:22 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Should Law Libraries Ged Rid of Their Print Reference Collections?

The March 2009 issue of the AALL Spectrum asks whether law libraries should keep their print reference collections.

In an article entitled Reference 2.0, author Paul Hellyer writes:

"Many patrons who are still willing to read a narrative text in print will demand greater convenience and currency when it comes to reference sources, making it harder for print reference sources to compete with their online counterparts. After all, why get up from your desk to check a print reference source when a more current online version is at your fingertips? (...) "

"Although it’s too soon to give up on print reference collections, law libraries can play a constructive role in the transition to online sources by creating online reference collections. An online reference collection is a Web page with links to online equivalents of sources that can be found (or were once found) in print reference collections. Creating an online reference collection can help steer patrons towards reliable sources, while highlighting the strengths of a library’s subscription databases."
The full issue is available on the website of the American Association of Law Libraries.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:47 pm 2 comments

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Law Library Directors: Law Reviews Should Stop Print, Go Fully Digital

Today, the Law Library Blog reprints the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, written by the directors of some of the major academic law libraries in the United States.

In the document, they call for the abandonment of print versions of law journals and the adoption of "stable, open, digital formats" for the dissemination of legal scholarship.

They also call on law libraries to stop acquiring print versions of law journals:
"The presumption of need for redundant printed journals adds costs to library budgets, takes up physical space in libraries pressed for space, and has a deleterious effect on the environment; if articles are uniformly available in stable digital formats, they can still be printed on demand. Some libraries may still choose to subscribe to certain journals in multiple formats if they are available. In general, however, we believe that, if law schools are willing to commit to stable and open digital storage for the journals they publish, there are no longer good reasons for individual libraries to rely on paper copies as the archival format. Agreed-upon stable, open, digital formats will ensure that legal scholarship will be preserved in the long-term."

"In a time of extreme pressures on law school budgets, moving to all electronic publication of law journals will also eliminate the substantial costs borne by law schools for printing and mailing print editions of their school’s journals, and the costs borne by their libraries to purchase, process and preserve print versions."

"Additionally, and potentially most importantly, a move toward digital files as the preferred format for legal scholarship will increase access to legal information and knowledge not only to those inside the legal academy and in practice, but to scholars in other disciplines and to international audiences, many of whom do not now have access either to print journals or to commercial databases."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:49 pm 0 comments

Association of American Publishers on Recent Google Book Project Settlement

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post entitled Google Book Scanning Project Settlement: More Reaction and Analysis.

The beSpacific blog draws attention to 2 further reactions to the copyright settlement between Google, U.S. publishers and the Authors Guild:
  • Publisher speculates about Amazon/Google e-book "duopoly" (Ars Technica, February 23, 2009): "Richard Sarnoff, chairman of the Association of American Publishers, speculated last week that the landmark Google Book Search settlement could create a duopoly in the electronic books market. Speaking at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy, Sarnoff noted that Amazon currently dominates the market for downloadable e-books. He said that the settlement "forces Google to become a provider of electronic books with a different business model" in direct competition with Amazon."
  • Richard Sarnoff: Reinventing Access to Books: The Landmark Settlement among Authors, Publishers, Libraries, and Google (Center for Technology Information Policy, Princeton University, February 19, 2009): "For all of the hysteria surrounding such digital media developments as piracy and ebooks, the primary implications for books of digital technology reside in two large buckets–discovery and consumption. As publishers, we must encourage the widest possible digital discovery for books while ensuring the best possible commercial prospects for the usage (or “consumption”) of those books across both print and electronic markets. When these two goals overlap, there is an interesting line-drawing exercise to be done, which can lead to pioneering new access and commercial models."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:39 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 23, 2009

Google Book Scanning Project Settlement: More Reaction and Analysis

Last fall, Google, the Authors Guild (representing thousands of U.S. writers) and the Association of American Publishers announced that they had reached a settlement in a 3-year dispute over the search giant's book digitization and search project.

In 2005, the Guild sued Google, accusing it of massive copyright violation, claiming Google cannot make available digitized copies of books for commercial use without permission. The publishers group later launched its own lawsuit.

The March 2009 issue of Cites & Insights (30 pages in PDF format) is devoted to summing up the debate about the settlement.

As well, National Public Radio in the United States posted an interview today with Robert Darnton, head librarian at Harvard University.

It is still not fully clear how the settlement will ultimately affect Canadian institutions.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

McGill University Web 2.You Conference Presentations

The library school, or School of Information Studies, at my alma mater McGill in Montreal recently held a one-day conference on Web 2.0 entitled Web 2.You.

Presentations (slides and video) are online.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:16 pm 0 comments

Law Library of Congress Publishes Comparative Children's Rights Guide

The Law Library of Congress in Washington recently published Children’s Rights: International and National Laws and Practices:
"For each nation, the study focuses on the domestic laws and policies that affect child health and social welfare, education and special needs, child labor and exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, and juvenile justice. Children’s Rights also lists which pertinent international treaties the nation has ratified and implemented."

"Children’s Rights will enable researchers, legislators, and academics to compare and contrast how children are treated among the different continents and which policies and laws have had the most profound impact on the younger generations."
The guide compares the the protection of children's rights in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, and the United Kingdom (England and Wales).

[Source: the UK academic site Intute]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:08 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Web 2.0 Security Threats

Uh oh. Just when you thought it was safe to share all that info ...

The most recent issue of Current Cites highlights a report from the Secure Enterprise 2.o Forum entitled Top Web 2.0 Security Threats.

From the Current Cites description:
This report highlights several security vulnerabilities created by Web 2.0 applications. These include more familiar threats such as phishing, insecure authentication procedures, and insufficient measures taken to prevent automatic account creation/link spamming. Two of the more interesting flaws included were information leakage and information integrity, neither of which is a technical flaw. Instead, they are risks created by the fact that more and more of us are doing things online. 'Information leakage' refers to the accidental exposure of sensitive corporate information: the number of employees over time, or turnover at the managerial level. The report notes that by simply surfing sites like LinkedIn, competitors can easily aggregate information to put together a corporate profile. 'Information integrity' refers to the spread of misinformation, either intentional or accidental. Erroneous information posted to Wikipedia is perhaps the first example that comes to mind, but in the corporate world this could include bad information posted to a company intranet, or a slow growth of online misinformation that sets off rumors about a company within its industry."
[Source: Current Cites]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:05 pm 1 comments

New Forensic Science Resources

I found 2 new forensic science/evidence resources via the UK academic site Intute, always a treasure-trove of useful knowledge:
  • Kruglick's forensic resource and criminal law search site: "This website, sponsored by the company Forensic Bioinformatics, provides a large collection of links to forensic science and criminal law websites including accident investigation, arson, crime scene investigation, ethics, finger prints, tyre prints and shoe prints, firearms and ballistics, forensic anthropology, forensic chemistry and toxicology, forensic DNA analysis, forensic entomology, forensic medicine and pathology, forensic odontology, forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry."
  • Crime and clues : the art and science of criminal investigation: "The Crime and Clues website provides a collection of forensic science articles from various authors and links to related websites, covering crime scene investigation, fingerprint evidence, physical evidence, photographs and drawings, digital evidence, testimonial evidence, behavioural evidence, death investigations, unsolved crimes, missing persons, expert witnesses and ethics."
There are more forensic science resources listed on Intute.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:47 pm 0 comments

Use of Instructional Videos by Dalhousie University Libraries

It is always interesting to see what instructional techniques other libraries have adopted.

Dalhousie University Libraries in Halifax, Nova Scotia provide some great examples of instructional videos to help library users. They show a great diversity of approaches.

They can be played as Flash or .wmv movies, or downloaded to an iPod. It is also possible to read the scripts in PDF format.

Law libraries are also experimenting with online tutorials in a variety of formats:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:26 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ten Web Design Tips for Libraries

I am always on the lookout for ideas on how to present library content and services, since I help with many of the pages for the library Intranet where I work.

In the February 15, 2009 issue of Library Journal, Brian Mathews has Ten essentials for any library site:
"Be aware of the message your library's web site sends. If the homepage is confusing, then patrons will undoubtedly perceive the library to be complex. If the site is filled with links and widgets, then users might feel overwhelmed or frustrated. If the design looks out-of-date, then patrons will likely feel that your library is also behind the times. Web design matters. So start thinking about your site as an ongoing personal experience and not just a URL."

"What is the next step for your web site? A new homepage, a complete redesign, a face-lift, or just some new features? When it comes to web development, there is always something new to try. Let's set aside the bells and whistles of current design trends and instead focus on elements that will update your web site's appearance, improve its functionality, and make a lasting positive impression on your patrons. Here are ten places to start."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:24 pm 1 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 January 16th to 31st, 2009 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 9:22 pm 0 comments

International Commission of Jurists Calls for Reforming Anti-Terror Laws

In a report released earlier this week, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) concluded that many measures introduced by governments to fight terrorism have been counter-productive and have undermined the rule of law.

The report, Assessing Damage, Urging Action, was written by the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, established by the ICJ. It looked at anti-terrorism laws and measures in 40 countries, including the UK and the United States.

The document warns of the danger that exceptional 'temporary' measures are becoming permanent features of law and practice, including in democratic societies:

"Terrorism sows terror, and many States have fallen into a trap set by the terrorists. Ignoring lessons from the past, they have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses, introducing an array of measures which undermine cherished values as well as the international legal framework carefully developed since the Second World War. These measures have resulted in human rights violations, including torture, enforced disappearances, secret and arbitrary detentions, and unfair trials. There has been little accountability for these abuses or justice for their victims. "

"The Panel addresses the consequences of pursuing counter-terrorism within a war paradigm, the increasing importance of intelligence, the use of preventive mechanisms and the role of the criminal justice system in counter-terrorism. Seven years after 9/11, and sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is time for the international community to re-group, take remedial action, and reassert core values and principles of international law. Those values and principles were intended to withstand crises, and they provide a robust and effective framework from within which to tackle terrorism. It is clear that the threat from terrorism is likely to be a long-term one, and solid long-term responses are now needed."

The ICJ is based in Geneva.

More background:
  • Anti-terror tactics 'weaken law' (BBC): "The panel of eminent lawyers and judges concluded that the framework of international law that existed before the 9/11 attacks on the US was robust and effective. But now, it said, it was being actively undermined by many states and liberal democracies like the US and the UK. The report remarks upon the extent to which undemocratic regimes with poor human rights records have referred to counter-terror practices of countries like the US to justify their own abusive policies."
  • International Panel Says 'War on Terror' Has Diluted Principles (Washington Post): "The Geneva-based panel's conclusion, released Monday, were echoed by a former British domestic intelligence chief, who said people in Britain felt as if they were living in a 'police state' because of the government's counterterrorism actions. "

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:27 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Comparative Guide to Family and Estates Law

Master's students at the Université de Paris X - Nanterre have produced a comparative guide that provides an overview of the legal situation in 70 countries on issues relating to:
  • nationality, adoption, marriage and divorce
  • estates
  • international private law
The guide is written in French.

[Source: Précisé, un blog pour l'Information juridique]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:26 pm 0 comments

Freedom to Read Week Coming Up

The next Freedom to Read Week in Canada takes place February 22-28, 2009.

The event is sponsored by the Freedom of Expression Committee, a committee of the Book and Periodical Council.

The website has material on book censorship in Canada, a calendar of events, information about contests marking the week, links to resources, and news.

The Freedom to Read Week also has a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:18 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

OCLC Online Training Resources for Library Leaders

Webjunction, an online training community for professional librarians, has created Library Management Competencies, a guide to electronic resources and courses for current and aspiring library leaders.

There are modules for:

  • Budget & Funding
  • Community Relations
  • Facilities
  • Laws, Policies & Procedures
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Personnel Management
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Staff Training & Development

For each theme, users can see a list of associated competencies, related courses as well as a guide to additional resources. Most course charge a small fee ($40 US or so).

WebJunction is supported by OCLC, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

On a related note, the University of Victoria in British Columbia now offers a Graduate Professional Certificate in Library Sector Leadership through their School of Public Administration. The program includes one on-campus course and four distance classes.

And of course, many people have heard of the Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute, an annual seminar event to promote leadership skills in the Canadian library profession.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:24 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 16, 2009

International Conference on Plain Language

The February 2009 issue of the Journal du Barreau, the monthly publication of the Quebec Bar Association, features an overview of the 3rd international plain language conference held by the organization known as Clarity in late November 2008. The event took place in Mexico City.

Many of the conference presentations are now available online.

According to the Journal du Barreau, there were many Canadian participants:
  • Université Laval law professor Lucie Lauzière explained how the consolidation of the statutes of Quebec is seen as an ongoing opportunity to clarify legal terminology. She also described the newly created Louis-Phillippe-Pigeon chair in legal and legislative drafting at the university
  • Geneviève Fortin, associate director of Educaloi, a non-profit legal education institution in Quebec, was also on hand to share the experiences of her organization
  • Nicole-Marie Fernbach, a linguist and translator, discussed the challenges of legal clarity in Canada's bilingual environment
  • Christine Mowatt outlined a number of Canadian plain language initiatives, such as British Columbia's small claims forms and the model jury instructions proposed in 2004 by the Canadian Judicial Council
  • Communications consultant Cheryl Stevens drew attention to how plain/clear legal language can be essential in ensuring respect for citizens' constitutional rights, for example at the moment of arrest.
[Source: Journal du Barreau]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:05 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sources of Law Reform Materials

I have often referred in past posts to reports and other research materials from law reform commissions, both in Canada and in foreign jurisdictions.

Kim Nayyer wrote a piece today on about the importance of these materials for legal researchers. She also provides a convenient list of links to the sites of Canadian law reform commissions.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:23 pm 0 comments

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Webcast of University of Toronto Roundtable on Creation of a National Securities Authority

At the end of January, the University of Toronto law faculty organized a panel discussion on the creation of a national securities regulator and the report of the federally-appointed Expert Panel on Securities Regulation.

The webcast of the roundtable discussion has been archived on the Faculty of Law's website:
"Last week, the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation, appointed by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty 10 months ago, released its final report. Citing the fact that Canada is the only developed country in the world that does not have an overarching regulatory body responsible for overseeing capital markets, the Report recommended the implementation of a single, national securities regulator. The new regulatory regime would be based on uniform objectives, guiding principles of regulatory conduct and a single securities Act."

"While Ontario and British Columbia support the creation of a single regulator, Alberta and Quebec remain opposed to the Report, arguing that the current passport system is sufficient and that a single body will intrude on the constitutional right and ability of individual jurisdictions to regulate their distinct capital markets. And with the Panel recommending the federal government take unilateral action to impose a new regulatory structure, following an opt-in transition period, some provinces are vowing to take the constitutional question to the Supreme Court."
Speakers included University of Toronto associate dean of law Anita Anand, law professor Jeffrey MacIntosh, business lawyer Jeremy D. Fraiberg (Toronto office of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP), and constitutional scholar Peter W. Hogg.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:25 pm 1 comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blawgosphere Comments on Darwin's 200th Birthday

As many readers know, today marks the bicentennial of the birth of English naturalist Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

The blawgosphere has not been silent, especially in the U.S.:
  • Book news on a Nixon tapes controversy, Darwin books, Sugrue review, and more (Legal History Blog, February 1st, 2009): "Two arresting new books, timed to co­incide with Darwin’s 200th birthday, make the case that his epochal achievement in Victorian England can best be under­stood in relation to events — involving neither tortoises nor finches — on the other side of the Atlantic. Both books confront the touchy subject of Darwin and race head on; both conclude that Darwin, despite the pernicious spread of 'social Darwinism' (the notion, popularized by Herbert Spencer, that human society progresses through the 'survival of the fittest'), was no racist. According to Benfey, Desmond and Moore 'set out to overturn the widespread view that Darwin was a 'tough-minded scientist' who unflinchingly followed the trail of empirical research until it led to the stunning and unavoidable theory of evolution. This narrative, they claim, is precisely backward. 'Darwin’s starting point,' they write, 'was the abolitionist belief in blood kinship, a ‘common descent’' of all human beings.' "
  • Books Examine The Origins of Darwin's Scientific Explorations and the Persistent Antipathy Toward Evolution (First Amendment Law Prof Blog, February 8, 2009): "As the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth approaches on February 12, the man and the controversy that continues to surround the teaching of evolution are examined in a number of new books."
  • Darwin's beautiful mind, still not fully appreciated (Jurisdynamics, February 9, 2009): "That serious scientists — let alone the American public — continue to debate The Origin and The Descent of Man testifies to the extent to which Darwin was able to accomplish four intellectual breakthroughs that evidently still elude some contemporary scientists ..."
  • Celebrate Darwin Day at the Univ. Library (CM Law Library Blog, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, February 11, 2009): offers links to works of Darwin online, resources on evolutionary theory, as well as material relating to the legal controversies in the US over the teaching of creationist doctrines
  • Origin Of The Specious: AU Attorney Comments On The Evolution Of Creationism (Americans United for Separation of Church and State, February 11, 2009): " 'The creationists won’t admit it, but the debate is over, and they lost,' writes Katskee [Americans United Assistant Legal Director Richard B. Katskee in a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece]. 'Every time creationism has been brought into public schools, the courts have found it unconstitutional. It doesn’t matter what label is used – ‘creation science,’ ‘intelligent design’ (ID), or ‘the theory of abrupt appearance’ – all are cut from the same unconstitutional cloth.' Katskee is eminently qualified to comment on this matter. He played a crucial role on the legal team that stopped the teaching of ID in Dover, Pa., public schools in 2005. Americans United and the ACLU brought that legal challenge on behalf of local parents, aided by the Philadelphia law firm of Pepper Hamilton. "
  • PBS - Nova Program - "Intelligent Design on Trial" (, February 11, 2009): "... PBS in Buffalo/Toronto broadcast last night a documentary called 'Intelligent Design on Trial.' The documentary can be viewed in clips at the foregoing link where there are also transcripts and extra video clips and links. The show was a documentary on the attempt by the Dover Area School Board (in rural Pennsylvania) in late 2004 to enforce a policy that its high school science classes be obliged to teach 'intelligent design' (ID) as an alternative theory to Darwin’s theory of evolution (...) The controversy culminated in a 6-week trial brought by concerned parents and other parties (...) In thoroughly decimating the expert evidence of the defendant School Board that ID was somehow a scientific theory, the court ruled that this intelligent design policy was largely religious creationism in a new guise and therefore 'unconstitutional pursuant to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution'."
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has produced a general overview of The Social and Legal Dimensions of the Evolution Debate in the U.S.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:38 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Georgetown Law Library Symposium on Blogs as Legal Scholarship

The Georgetown Law Library will hold a symposium on the Future of Today's Legal Scholarship on July 25, 2009 in Washington. It will debate how blogging has become an integral part of legal scholarship:
"The Future of Today's Legal Scholarship is a symposium that brings together academic bloggers, law librarians, and experts in preservation to tackle the bigger, more imperative challenges that will influence legal scholarship and democratic access to legal information for generations to come."

"We must determine how to prioritize, collect, archive, preserve, and ensure reliable long-term access to the burgeoning amount of legal scholarship being published through new, informal channels on the Web."
There will be 3 panels:
  • the future research value of today’s blogs
  • blog preservation: who does it, which blogs to collect, what technical, economic and social considerations to address?
  • the reliability of legal documents uploaded to blogs: what standards of authenticity of a document are there for preserving the value of blogs and documents found on blogs for future researchers?
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.» "
[Source: ALL-SIS Newsletter - Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:19 pm 0 comments

Leg@l.IT 3.0 Legal Technology Conference in Montreal

The Young Bar Association of Montreal, the Canadian Bar Association and others are organizing the Leg@l.IT 3.0 conference on April 20 and 21, 2009 at the Centre Mont-Royal in downtown Montreal.

It is a major conference about the impacts of information technologies on the practice of law.

Topics include:
  • Online marketing
  • Collaborative tools for jurists
  • Electronic litigation support
  • Digital records
  • Legal research tools
  • E-discovery
  • Copyright and licensing
Speaker presentations from the 2007 and 2008 editions of the event are available on the conference website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:21 pm 1 comments

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2007-2008 Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee

The 2007-2008 Annual Report of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was tabled in Parliament late last month.

The Report summarizes eight reviews completed by SIRC in 2007–2008, as well as six decisions rendered in complaints cases.

SIRC's role is to oversee and report on the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS):
"It is our hope that the declassified review summaries and complaints decisions that are published in our annual reports can help to inform ongoing public debate about the role of CSIS in protecting Canada’s national security."

"Readers of this year’s annual report will note that in two of SIRC’s decisions in complaints during 2007–08, SIRC recommended that CSIS amend its policy of destroying operational notes and, instead, retain those notes. These recommendations echoed our earlier recommendations and were aimed at ensuring that complainants and SIRC, as a quasi-judicial body, would have full access to all information relevant to matters brought before the Committee for a determination."

"We are pleased that the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Charkaoui vs. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2008 SCC 38, has brought clarity to this issue and that the court’s decision reflects SIRC’s oft-stated views on the matter. With the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms coming into play more often in matters of national security, and the advent of the newly created special advocate process, the guidance of the courts is both important and necessary if we, as a nation, are to find and preserve the right balance between national security and individual rights."

"SIRC strives to bring a fair and balanced perspective to our examinations of CSIS’s performance. Although the Committee recognizes the increasing complexity and challenges in CSIS’s work, we are always mindful of the high standards of accountability that are essential for the legitimacy of a security intelligence agency in a democratic society."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:33 pm 0 comments

Government of Canada Departmental Performance Reports

Last week, the federal government tabled in the House of Commons 91 Departmental Performance Reports on behalf of federal departments and agencies.

The annual Reports are part of the federal Estimates Process that includes government expenditure plans, the main and supplementary budget estimates, and Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs).

Every year, federal departments and agencies publish RPPs outlining their strategic goals. At the end of the fiscal year, Departmental Performance Reports look back on actual accomplishments and expenditures, to assess how well the agencies performed as measured against the objectives that were set out in the RPPs.

The 2007-2008
Departmental Performance Reports for the Supreme Court of Canada provide an outline of the institution's overall achievements:
  • Process cases without delay
  • Court modernization
  • Integrated approach for identifying, assessing and managing all risks
  • and more ...

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:00 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 09, 2009

Webcasts and Online Factums at the Supreme Court of Canada

This has already been noted by many (e.g. A New Day at the Supreme Court,; Supreme Court of Canada Hearings: Now Online in a Web-Browser Near You, Wise Law Blog; New at the Supreme Court of Canada: Webcasts and Electronic Factums, Bora Laskin Law Library Reference Services Weblog).

There are a number of changes at Canada's top court:
For complete details, people should refer to the full text of the Policy for Access to Supreme Court of Canada Court Records.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:24 pm 0 comments

Tech Trends Wrap-Up by Walt Crawford

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

Cites & Insights is described as "an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:07 pm 0 comments

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Articles from Law Library Journal on Database Design and Open Access Legal Scholarship

Volume 101, no. 1 of Law Library Journal is out. Law Library Journal is published by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

Two articles in particular attracted my attention:
  • Not Just Key Numbers and Keywords Anymore: How User Interface Design Affects Legal Research by Julie M. Jones, Head of Information Services & Lecturer in Law, Cornell University Law Library: "Legal research is one of the foundational skills for the practice of law. Yet law school graduates are frequently admitted to the bar without adequate competence in this area. Applying both information-foraging theory and current standards for optimal web design, Ms. Jones considers, through a heuristic analysis, whether the user interfaces of Westlaw and LexisNexis help or hinder the process of legal research and the development of effective research skills."
  • Legal Scholarship, Electronic Publishing, and Open Access: Transformation or Steadfast Stagnation? by Stephanie L. Plotin, Reference & Williams Institute Librarian, UCLA School of Law: "This article uses a social shaping of technology perspective, which studies the complex interactions between technology and the culture of a discipline, to investigate the evolution of legal scholarship in the digital age, and to determine how the open access movement has influenced various forms of legal scholarship, particularly law reviews, their online companions, and legal blogs."
The complete table of contents appears on the AALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:07 pm 0 comments

Friday, February 06, 2009

New e-Journal for Law Librarians

A new electronic journal has made its appearance on SSRN, the Social Science Research Network: Legal Information & Technology:
"This eJournal includes working papers, forthcoming articles, and recently published articles in all areas of legal information scholarship. Topics include (but are not limited to): 1) the impact of legal information on domestic, comparative, and international legal systems; 2) the treatment of legal information authorities and precedents (e.g., citation studies); 3) the examination of rules, practices, and commentary limiting or expanding applications of legal information (e.g., citation to unpublished opinions and to foreign law); 4) the study of economic, legal, political and social conditions limiting or extending access to legal information (e.g., trends in the legal publishing industry, intellectual property regimes, and open access initiatives); 5) the finding and use of legal information by academics to produce legal scholarship, by law students to learn the law, by attorneys in practice, and by judges and others decisionmakers to determine legal outcomes; 6) the history of legal information systems and technological advancements; 7) legal information system design and assessment; and 8) the relationship of substantive areas of law (such as information law, intellectual freedom, intellectual property, and national security law) and other academic disciplines (e.g., information science) to legal information. This includes the scholarship of law librarians, other legal scholars, and other academic disciplines.

The eJournal also includes working papers, forthcoming articles, recently published articles, and selected documents (such as White Papers, briefings, reports, course materials) on the practice of law librarianship. Submissions are welcome in all areas of law librarianship including: 1) administration, management, and leadership; 2) facility design and construction; 3) evaluating and marketing law library services; 4) all aspects of public, technical, and technology services; 5) collection development, including sample collection development policies and procedures; 6) electronic resource management and development including licensing, digitization, and institutional repositories; 7) research and reference services; and 8) legal research instruction teaching methods and substantial or innovative course materials."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:54 pm 0 comments

Thursday, February 05, 2009

House of Lords Report on Rise of Electronic Surveillance

This is a follow-up the February 4 post entitled Ottawa Citizen Series on Surveillance and Privacy.

The Constitution Committee of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom has just released a report called Surveillance: Citizens and the State:
"Some of the questions we sought to answer included:
  • Have increased surveillance and data collection by the state fundamentally altered the way it relates to its citizens?
  • What forms of surveillance and data collection might be considered constitutionally proper or improper? Is there a line that should not be crossed? How could it be identified?
  • What effect do public and private sector surveillance and data collection have on a citizen's liberty and privacy?
  • How have surveillance and data collection altered the nature of citizenship in the 21st century, especially in terms of citizens' relationship with the state?
  • Is the Data Protection Act 1998 sufficient to protect citizens? Is there a need for additional constitutional protection for citizens in relation to surveillance and the collection of data?"
Earlier Library Boy posts about surveillance include:
  • UK Fast Becoming Surveillance Society Says Info Commissioner (November 2, 2006): "Richard Thomas, the United Kingdom Information Commissioner, stated in a report released today that his country is sleep-walking into a surveillance society. This is due to the increasing accumulation of credit card, cell phone and loyalty card information, the monitoring of workers' computer activities, and the spread of closed circuit television surveillance. There are now 4.2 million closed circuit cameras in Britain and Britons are picked up 300 times a day on camera as they go about their regular private business."
  • International Surveillance and Privacy Survey from Queen's University (November 15, 2006): "Earlier this week, Queen's University researchers released the results of a survey of 9,000 people around the world about their experiences with surveillance and privacy: 'This is believed to be the first cross-cultural study of its kind that explores relationships between attitudes and experiences, and how much people trust corporations and governments to handle personal information, including the sharing of such information with third parties, the researcher says... the survey included nearly 50 questions on participant’s attitudes about issues like consumer surveillance, racial profiling at airports, national ID cards, media coverage of surveillance issues, workplace privacy, knowledge of privacy regulations, control over personal data and public trust in government'."
  • Suspect Nation Video on Rise of the Surveillance Society (November 28, 2006): "A documentary on widespread surveillance in the US and the UK by Henry Porter of the British paper The Observer has been posted to Google Video. Entitled Suspect Nation, it explores the potential misuse of the mountains of data collected about each of us through a proliferating number of technologies"
  • George Orwell's London Apartment Under 24-Hour Surveillance (April 4, 2007): "On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move."
  • French Privacy Watchdog Warns Against Surveillance Society (July 12, 2007): "In its most recent activities report, the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés or CNIL (the French national personal data protection and privacy commission) warns that the increased use of biometrics, surveillance cameras, and geolocalization technologies (to track employee movements via GPS systems in company cars or corporate mobile phones) may threaten privacy and civil liberties."
  • Quebec Government Advisory Committee Report on Surveillance Technologies (May 12, 2008): "The Science and Technology Ethics Committee (CEST) of the Quebec government recently released a report entitled In Search of Balance: An Ethical Look at New Surveillance and Monitoring Technologies for Security Purposes: 'Fundamental democratic values are at the heart of the ethical issues involved: Assessment of the effectiveness and reliability of NSMT, proportionality of response to insecurity, social acceptability, consent, respect for end purpose, and protection of personal information.'"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:28 pm 0 comments

A Day in the Life of the Law Library Photo Contest

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is calling on members to enter its A Day in the Life of the Law Library Community Photo Contest:
"During February 2009, AALL members will take a wide range of photographs of law librarians working, meeting, teaching, and doing all that law librarians do in a given day or week. We encourage you to be creative in finding snapshots that capture the essence of law librarianship and are visually attractive. Winners will be recognized on AALLNET, in an issue of AALL Spectrum, and during the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C."
Entries must be submitted by February 28, 2009.

Winning photos from last year's contest are on the AALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:10 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament Study on the International Criminal Court

The most recent edition of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian government publications lists a revised edition of the Library of Parliament document entitled The International Criminal Court: History and Role.

It provides an overview of the development of international criminal law, explains the roots of the Court and examines some of the criticisms that it has faced.

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:01 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ottawa Citizen Series on Surveillance and Privacy

The Ottawa Citizen newspaper has been running an in-depth series called Under Surveillance that examines the potential legal, social and cultural impacts of the use of technologies that allow for tracking citizens.

The content:

  • Part I: A very different world
    David Lyon is studying the ceiling in a Westboro coffee shop, searching for hidden cameras. A leading figure in the fast-growing field of surveillance studies, the Queen’s University sociologist is only too aware of the many ways we’re all being watched.
  • Part II: Devil in the details
    Last summer, the Laurentian Bank rejected a loan application for an all-terrain vehicle from a resident of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, an Algonquin community near Maniwaki. The man had an impeccable credit history. The problem was where he lived.
  • Part III: Social networking or social spying?
  • Like most young Canadians, Dan Trottier is on Facebook. With 140 million active members worldwide —more than 10 million in Canada alone — Facebook and other social networking sites are how friends today stay connected.
  • Part IV: Keeping tabs goes high-tech
    It looks like any other teddy bear. But the cuddly toy conceals a surprising secret. Hidden in its right eye is a tiny wireless pinhole camera, designed to capture damning images of dishonest or abusive nannies.
  • Part V: You’ve been targeted
    How would you feel if online ads, pitching deals on products and services aimed directly at your interests, popped up automatically whenever you surfed the Internet?
  • Surveillance-related Web sites


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:37 pm 0 comments

New Research Guide on Comparative Civil Procedure

The GlobaLex collection at New York University has added a new research guide entitled Comparative Civil Procedure: A Guide to Primary and Secondary Sources:

"The comparison of legal systems has for a long time been an essential branch of legal research and jurisprudence. It has become even more important and relevant in our era of globalization, an era in which there is no field of law that can base its knowledge exclusively on national ideas and rules of procedure (...)"

"The first part of this guide lists: general works of comparative civil procedure; basic books about the civil and common law systems; and encyclopedias and treatises covering several jurisdictions. The remainder of the guide is arranged by country. Depending upon the country, the sources listed may be in English or in the vernacular (or both in some cases). Under 'Primary Sources' are listed codes of civil procedure and civil procedure statutes and, for civil law jurisdictions, basic treatises and commentaries. Under 'Secondary Sources' are listed monographs, treatises and commentaries (for common law jurisdictions), which may also contain the text of civil procedure code sections and statutes. The section on 'Secondary Sources' also contains collected jurisprudence, as well as a few journals."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:27 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Research Grants

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) provides grants worth up to $4,900 to members who wish to do research on a topic of interest to those working in law libraries.

Applicants must be members of the association and the proposed research project must promote an understanding of legal information sources or law librarianship. Funding may be granted for research assistance, online costs, compensating time off, purchase of software, travel, clerical assistance, etc.

The deadline for applications is March 15th 2009. Application forms and all relevant details are provided on the site linked to in the first paragraph.

The CALL website also has links to:

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

Canadian Library Association on Facebook

The blog of the Ottawa chapter of CASLIS (Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services) has posted a list of Canadian Library Association Facebook groups.

These are "divisions, sections, chapters and interest groups [that] are making their presence known on Facebook".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:24 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 January 1st to 15th, 2009 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 12:21 pm 0 comments

Monday, February 02, 2009

New CanLII Beta Site for Canadian Legislation

CanLII (Canadian Legal Information Institute, the portal for free online access to Canadian law) has released a beta version of its legislative resources:

"The new legislative information system offers:

  • Point-in-time access;
  • Point-in-time searching;
  • Version comparison;
  • Weekly updates;
  • RSS Feeds;
  • Better noteup."
Right now, there is data for federal legislation and for laws of Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The databases for other provinces and territories will gradually be migrated to the new platform.

The new system comes with a help page explaining the new features.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:43 pm 0 comments