Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2012 Conference Details Now Available

Information about the 2012 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries is now online.

The conference takes place in Toronto from May 6 to May 9, 2012 at the the historic Fairmont Royal York.

The website includes details about the conference program, travel, accommodation, and social events.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:27 pm 1 comments

Monday, January 30, 2012

European Court of Human Rights 2011 Annual Report

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) based in Strasbourg has released its annual report for 2011. There are also some interesting statistical tables that come with the document.

Among the highlights:
  • In 2011, more than a third of the judgments delivered by the Court concerned four of the Council of Europe’s forty-seven member States: Turkey (174), Russia (133), Ukraine (105) and Greece (73). In 2011, the Court delivered 1,157 judgments
  • Since the reform of the Convention system on 1 November 1998, there has been a considerable increase in the Court’s caseload. Barely ten years after the reform, the Court delivered its 10,000th judgment. Its output is such that more than 91% of the Court’s judgments since its creation in 1959 have been delivered between 1998 and 2011
  • More than a third of the judgments in which the Court found a violation included a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, whether on account of the fairness or the length of the proceedings. 15% of violations found by the Court concern Article 3 (Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment). Lastly, more than 23% of violations found by the Court concern the right to life or the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention)

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:51 pm 0 comments

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of First Nations Financial Transparency Act

The Library of Parliament recently released its legislative summary of Bill C-27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act:
"The proposed legislation, which applies to over 600 First Nations communities defined as 'Indian bands' under the Indian Act, provides a legislative basis for the preparation and public disclosure of First Nations’ audited consolidated financial statements and of remuneration, including salaries and expenses, paid by a First Nation or any unincorporated entity that it controls to its elected officials. The bill also requires the publication of this information on a website maintained by or for the First Nation, and on the website of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Additional provisions of the legislation allow for the application of court remedies and administrative measures to enforce compliance with its requirements."


"Many First Nations leaders have expressed an opposing view of Bill C-27. Most have argued that the bill is unnecessary given current legal and policy-based financial reporting and disclosure requirements, and have called for an alternative approach to transparency and accountability that has the potential to strengthen the relationship between First Nations and the federal government (...)"

"The legislation has attracted emphatic support from some non-Aboriginal organizations. Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation welcomed the bill’s expanded disclosure requirements on band-owned entities, and stated that the bill 'will help band members separate the good apples from the bad ones and will help taxpayers understand how their money is being spent on reserves'."

"The Fraser Institute also released an article arguing that Bill C-27 may be compared to other financial reporting and disclosure laws in the private sector, and that '[w]hat such laws do, whether vis-à-vis business or First Nation governments, is require that shareholders and residents be given transparency and actual hard numbers'."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill in Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:43 pm 0 comments

Statistics Canada Report on Criminal Victimization in the Territories

Earlier this week, Statistics Canada published an article on Criminal victimization in the territories, 2009 in its journal Juristat.

Canada's Northern territories are Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Among the highlights:
  • In the provinces, both self-reported and police-reported data show that the vast majority of crimes in 2009 were non-violent in nature. The picture drawn from self-reported data in the territories, however, is slightly different. These data show that nearly half (46%) of all self-reported incidents in the territories in 2009 were violent
  • In 2009, 34% of residents of the three territories aged 15 and over reported to the General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization that they had been the victim of at least one criminal incident in the 12 months preceding the survey
  • Of the 38,000 self-reported incidents in the territories that were violent, assault was the most common crime reported. The remainder of reported incidents were crimes against the household (35%) or thefts of personal property (19%). In contrast, the vast majority (70%) of self-reported criminal incidents in the provinces were non-violent
  • About 1 in every 5 violent incidents in the territories was reported to have been committed by a current or former spouse or partner. Rates of spousal violence were highest for young adults aged 15 to 34, Aboriginal people and those living in a low income household
  • For non-spousal violent incidents in the territories, most victims (66%) said they knew the perpetrator, and 78% said the incident could be related to the offender's alcohol or drug use. A weapon was present in close to one-quarter (24%) of all non-spousal violent incidents, and more than one-third (36%) of violent incidents resulted in physical injury
  • More than 9 in 10 residents of the territories reported being satisfied with their personal safety. The majority of residents (88%) of the territories believed the police were doing an average or good job in ensuring the safety of citizens

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:36 pm 0 comments

Thursday, January 26, 2012

U.S. Judges Report Little Juror Misuse of Social Media

Despite anecdotal evidence of jurors misbehaving when using the Internet and social media (for instance, the recent article on Slaw.ca English Court Jails Juror Who Used Internet Search), a recent survey of members of the U.S. federal judiciary reveals that the problem appears less widespread than many assume.

The Federal Judicial Center was asked by a committee of the policy-making Judicial Conference of the United States to survey federal judges on the issue (response rate was 53%).

"The results, based on the responses of 508 responding judges, indicate that detected social media use by jurors is infrequent, and that most judges have taken steps to ensure jurors do not use social media in the courtroom. The most common strategy is incorporating social media use into jury instructions (...) Also common are the practice of reminding jurors on a regular basis not to use social media to communicate during trial or deliberations, explaining the reasons behind the ban on social media, and confiscating electronic devices in the courtroom. Judges admit that it is difficult to police jurors."

Only 30 of the 508 judges who responded reported instances of detected social media use by jurors during trials or deliberations.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the situation is similar in Canada.

Maybe all the fuss over Juror (Mis)Behavior in the Information Age is exaggerated. Of course, it is also possible that a lot of the illicit juror tweeting, Google searching, LinkedIn'ing and Facebooking may very well escape the attention of judges. Most judges find out about juror misuse of Net media from tattling by other jurors or lawyers (perhaps lawyers who feel they are losing the case?).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:49 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Research Project on Self-Represented Litigants

Julie Macfarlane, law professor at the University of Windsor, is conducting a research project that is collecting the personal stories of self represented litigants.

The goal is to provide justice system policymakers with information about the experiences, motivations, expectations and needs of self-represented litigants in both civil and family courts.

A Final Report will be written for each province and directed to the Provincial Attorney-General. In addition, a National Report highlighting the most important messages from the research will be presented to the Federal Minister of Justice, each Provincial Attorney-General, the Canadian Bar Association, the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Civil and Family Justice, the Directors of Provincial Legal Aid and other important decision-makers in justice reform."

Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Canadian Judicial Council Statement on Self-Represented Litigants (December 17, 2006): "Self-represented litigants are often unaware of the workings of the justice system and can feel overwhelmed by all the rules of procedure. The set of principles proposed by the Council should guide judges, court administrators, members of the Bar, legal aid organizations in assisting self-represented ligitants understand how the justice system works."
  • CALL 2007 Conference - Canadian Courthouse Library Survey (May 6, 2007): "Leaders of the Courthouse and Law Society Libraries SIG [of the Canadian Association of law Libraries] unveiled the results of a survey regarding public access (...) 27.6% of libraries have developed resources to assist members of the public in finding legal information or legal advice consisting of prepared printed brochures and research guides. These materials included electronic sources, pathfinders, online forms and Internet sites. 34.5% of the libraries indicated they were involved in access to justice projects with other organizations: training sessions for public librarians and university students, moot court tournaments for high schools or newspaper article series on public legal education ..."
  • CALL 2007 Conference - Public Access to Legal Information (May 7, 2007): "At the 2007 conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries being held in Ottawa until Wednesday, there was a session today on 'The Ultimate End User: the Public's Access to Law Libraries and Legal Information'. There were 3 presentations dealing with how law libraries and public libraries can respond to the growing number of self-represented litigants, as well with the generalized growth in the appetite of the public for legal information. "
  • Judges Struggling to Deal With Increased Number of Self-Represented Litigants (November 1, 2010): "This week's issue of The Lawyers Weekly includes the article Judges grapple with unrepresented litigants that quotes Judge François Rolland, chief justice of Quebec’s Superior Court, on the growing and disturbing trend towards self-represented litigants (...)"
  • Dealing With Self-Represented Litigants (August 22, 2011): "Precise statistics are hard to come by. Still, in a survey of lawyers attending the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Family Law Summit last June, Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala found that 80 per cent of the 167 respondents reported they were encountering SRLs more often."
[Source: Clicklaw Blog]


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:10 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Voting Patterns in 2011 on the Supreme Court of Canada

In the most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly, Cristin Schmitz examines the voting patterns and the written output of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2011 [some of the tables on the free web version of the paper are unavailable].

Overall, the analysis shows that Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote the most:
"The examination of the Supreme Court’s voting patterns and written output in 2011 reveals that the nine judges cranked out 64 judgments, but spoke with one voice in only 36 of them. In the other 28 cases, there were dissents or concurrences diverging from the majority’s reasoning."

"This means the court issued unanimous reasons in just 56 per cent of its judgments in 2011. That compares with 67 per cent in 2010."


"Although the chief justice has laboured at the court for nearly 23 years (11 years as top judge), she authored or co-wrote more unanimous and majority opinions than any of her colleagues in 2011, even taking into account that three of her judgments were brief oral rulings from the Bench. "

"The 68-year-old judge issued 12 unanimous and majority opinions in 2011 — ​including the blockbuster Insite ruling — ​and did so despite juggling administrative, representational, and other duties, including chairing the Canadian Judicial Council, the Canada Council and the National Judicial Institute."


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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Human Rights Watch Releases 2012 World Report

The international advocacy group Human Rights Watch has released its most recent annual report on the state of human rights in the world:
"This 22nd annual World Report summarizes human rights conditions in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide in 2011. It reflects extensive investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff has undertaken during the year, often in close partnership with domestic human rights activists."

"The introductory essay examines the Arab Spring, which has created an extraordinary opportunity for change. The global community has a responsibility to help the long suppressed people of the region seize control of their destiny from often-brutal authoritarian rulers. Standing firmly with people as they demand their legitimate rights is the best way to stop the bloodshed, while principled insistence on respect for rights is the best way to help these popular movements avoid intolerance, lawlessness, and summary revenge once in power."
The report does not only focus on the Middle East of course. There are a number of thematic essays as well as reports on countries from all continents.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:14 pm 0 comments

Sunday, January 22, 2012

AALL Webinar on Using Stories to Teach Legal Research

The American Association of Law Libraries is offering a webinar on February 22 (11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Central Time) on Developing and Using Stories to Teach Legal Research:
"In preliterate times, storytelling was the primary way of disseminating culturally relevant information and educating members of a society. Today, storytelling still serves as an effective communication technique in trial practice, business administration, and library science. While little used in law librarianship, storytelling has the potential to transform the way law librarians convey legal research techniques and legal information to law library patrons. This comprehensive webinar will introduce educational storytelling, and include a demonstration of a legal education story as well as methods for collecting, developing, and evaluating potential stories."
Speakers are Vanessa Christman, director of the El Dorado County Law Library (Lake Tahoe, California), and Beth Wrenn-Estes, lecturer in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:14 pm 0 comments

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Consultation Paper on Mandatory Sentences

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has published a Consultation Paper on Mandatory Sentences.

The Consultation Paper contains a detailed analysis of the development of the law in Ireland on mandatory sentences, as well as analysis of similar laws enacted in other jurisdictions such England and Wales, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.

The only completely mandatory sentence in Ireland is the life sentence for murder – judges have no discretion here and must impose a life sentence, and do not even have the power to suggest any specific minimum sentence.

The Commission also examined other presumptive mandatory sentences, such as those introduced in 1999 for certain drugs offences and in 2006 for certain firearms offences. The drugs offence law states that 10 years should be imposed where the street value is over €13,000, but also allows for a lesser sentence in exceptional circumstances. The Commission also examined other mandatory sentences law which require judges to impose higher or consecutive sentences where the convicted person is, for example, a repeat offender.

In its document, the Commission makes a number of recommendations, among which:
  • while the use of the entirely mandatory sentence may be applied to the offence of murder, it should be amended to provide that, on the date of sentencing, the court should be empowered to indicate or recommend that a minimum specific term should be served by the defendant, having regard to the particular circumstances of the offence and of the offender
  • the presumptive sentencing regime, as it applies in the case of certain drugs and firearms offences, should not be extended to any other offences but should be reviewed because, while it has succeeded in one objective, namely, an increased severity of sentences for certain drugs and firearms offences, it has not been established that it has achieved another general aim of the criminal justice system, namely reduced levels of criminality. The Commission notes that, in particular, the presumptive drugs offences regime has had the following results: a discriminatory system of sentencing where all cases are treated alike regardless of differences in the individual circumstances of the offenders; the adaptation of the illegal drugs industry to the sentencing regime by using expendable couriers to hold and transport drugs; that these relatively low-level offenders, rather than those at the top of the drugs industry, are being apprehended and dealt with under the presumptive regime; a high level of guilty pleas in order to avoid the presumptive minimum sentence; and a consequent bulge in the prison system comprising low-level drugs offenders

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:01 pm 0 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2012

UK City Councils To Offer Legal Advice in Libraries

The city councils of Birmingham and Westminster in the United Kingdom are teaming up with a videoconferencing firm to offer legal advice via webcam in public libraries:

"The plan is now to be in 100 locations within 12 months and 360 locations in 24 months (...) Services will in time be extended to cover non-legal issues such as debt problems."

"Users will access the service through a dedicated computer screen and webcam in a secure location in the library."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:10 pm 0 comments

United Nations Oral History Collection

The United Nations Oral History Collection has made available select transcripts and audio files of interviews with prominent players in the organization's often turbulent history.

Interviews were conducted by United Nations staff and Yale University researchers on events surrounding the founding of the Organization, the writing of the UN Charter, and various international crises.

One of the interviewees is Canada's former UN Ambassador Paul Heinbecker. He discusses his experiences on the Security Council.

There is an earlier Library Boy post related to the history of the UN from October 30, 2008 entitled United Nations Launches Online Audiovisual Library of International Law: "(...) the Historic Archives contain documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:54 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Listing of Law Reform Commissions on Legal Research & Writing Website

Ted Tjaden, author of the Irwin Law book Legal Research and Writing, created a companion website with loads of links to research-related resources.

He has added a new section of links on Law Reform Commission reports.

[Source: Slaw.ca]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:36 pm 0 comments

Library of Parliament Publication on Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada

The Library of Parliament recently made public its study of the Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada (dated 6 September 2011):

"The world’s first 'test-tube baby,' the result of fertilizing a human ovum in vitro and transferring the resulting embryo to a woman’s uterus, was born in England in 1978. This achievement followed decades of clinical and laboratory research. It also catalyzed interest in a new area of medical ethics as multiple technological advances, along with their implications for genetics, posed new ethical questions and responsibilities."

"This paper provides an overview of the many steps that have been taken in Canada to establish a legislative and regulatory framework for reproductive technologies and related research. This background includes a description of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, early attempts at legislation and a discussion of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, in force since 2004, including its list of prohibited activities. Finally, the constitutional challenge to the legislation that was brought by the Attorney General of Quebec and was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada is reviewed. This paper does not examine how activities related to assisted human reproduction may be regulated by the provinces."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:28 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of January 1-15, 2012 is now available on the Court website.

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

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

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:09 pm 0 comments

Monday, January 16, 2012

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill to Abolish Wheat Board Monopoly

The Library of Parliament recently made public its legislative summary of Bill C-18, the proposed Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act:
"The Canadian Wheat Board currently holds a monopoly on the export, and on the interprovincial transportation, buying and selling, of wheat and wheat products in Canada. It is the single-desk selling and price-pooling marketing board for all wheat and barley production from the Prairies and the Peace River basin ... that is destined for export markets or for domestic human consumption. The Board is funded entirely by producers (although the government does guarantee certain liabilities of the Board) and is not a Crown corporation. It is currently governed by a 15-member board of directors, five of whom are appointed by the Governor in Council and 10 of whom are elected directly by producers."
The proposed legislation foresees a transition to an open market for western Canadian wheat and barley.

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

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan Consultation Paper on Waiver of Legal Fees for the Needy

The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan recently released a consultation paper on Needy Person Certificates and Waiver of Fees:
"Access to the courts has been described as 'one of the foundational pillars protecting the rights and freedoms of our citizens. In BCGEU, Chief Justice Dickson stated: 'There cannot be a rule of law without access, otherwise the rule of law is replaced by a rule of men and women who decide who shall and who shall not have access to justice.' As the costs of litigation and other legal services rise, concern about financial barriers to access to justice is increasing. In 2006, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) stated that 'advocating for access to justice for poor people”
had become its “top priority.' (...)"

"There are no simple answers to the problem of access. Changes in procedures to assist unrepresented clients, improvements in legal aid programs, support for legal clinics such as Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City (CLASSIC), and encouragement of private lawyers who are willing to act pro bono are among the strategies that have been identified. This consultation paper discusses another piece of the search for solutions: waivers of fees for individuals who are unable to pay the cost of litigation."

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

International Association of Law Libraries 2011 Website Award

The 2011 Website Award of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) went to the Kenya Law Reports.

The winner was announced in December at an IALL meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Award seeks to recognise and promote free legal information websites that are authoritative, comprehensive, up-to-date, useful, and user-friendly.

Other nominees in 2011 included:
A list of winners from previous years can be found on the IALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:21 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on RFPs

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is hosting a webinar on Building an RFP: Deconstructing the Process on Thursday, January 19 (1:00 - 2:30 PM EST):

"Buying technology is a major commitment - of time, money and credibility. Making sure you get the system that fits the needs of its users is an immense challenge, not only because those needs are so diverse, but because they can be difficult to articulate. In addition, you may have a specific process in your organization that you need to follow. Creating a successful Request For Proposals (RFP) is truly an art. David Whelan (Law Society of Upper Canada) and Paul Berry (Ontario Legislature) have each successfully lead a team through a technology acquisition, but the methods followed were quite different."

"David will be describing two different paths that he follows to create his RFPs - one formal, and one informal - eliciting requirements, documenting them in a way that is meaningful to vendors and selectors, and which accurately reflects what the users want to DO with the technology."

"Paul's approach to writing the RFP flies in the face of convention. Rather than coaxing stakeholders to describe their needs in product-agnostic terms, Paul’s cross-disciplinary team analyzed forty-eight software offerings and defined requirements by documenting each member’s reasons for rejecting a given product. In a series of meetings which resembled the panel discussions of "Canada Reads", a short list emerged containing seven products that each team member was willing to live with."

"Learn how to balance inflated user expectations and sales hyperbole - and keep your sanity."

Cost and registration information can be found on the webinar web page.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:22 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Evaluation of Single Search Implementation at North Carolina State University

The journal College & Research Libraries has made available a pre-print entitled How Users Search the Library from a Single Search Box written by three librarians at North Carolina State University.

Increasingly, the trend in libraries is to experiment with the implementation of various forms of "federated search" (providing a portal for the simultaneous searching of information from multiple sources) or with "web-scale discovery" tools (tools that search through a centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections).

From the abstract:
"Academic libraries are turning increasingly to unified search solutions to simplify search and discovery of library resources. Unfortunately, very little research has been published on library user search behavior in single search box environments. This study examines how users search a large public university library using a prominent, single search box on the library website. The article examines two semesters of real-world data, totaling nearly 1.4 million transactions. Findings include that unified library search is about more than the catalog and articles, though these predominate. Additionally, a small number of the most popular search queries accounts for a disproportionate amount of the overall queries."
Earlier Library posts on single search include:
  • Implementing a Federated Search Product (October 22, 2008): "The Nov. 2008 issue of the AALL Spectrum has an article entitled The Wise Researcher: One library’s experience implementing a federated search product (...) The authors caution readers that federated searching can present some drawbacks. For example, the big commercial providers like Westlaw and Lexis do not allow federated search tools into their databases and some providers have not yet developed the code to allow the federated search tools to connect to them. As well, the increased convenience may come at a cost: many of the advanced search features and limit options offered by individual databases are not available in federated searching."
  • Federated Search Report and Tool Kit (October 24, 2008): "The British site FUMSI features a new article by Jill Hurst-Wahl called Introduction to Federated Search ... The article is an excerpt from a larger Federated Search Report and Tool Kit available for purchase online. "
  • Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011): "...another big theme that emerged at the conference is what is called 'web scale discovery' or WSD (...) Basically, WSD tools claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. Contrary to federated search, WSD tools are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections. Services such as Serials Solutions Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central or EBSCO Discovery pre-index material from subscription databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching. We briefly looked into WSD at my place of work but decided not to pursue things further for a few reasons. In particular, not all vendors of legal research materials play along and will allow their content and metadata to be harvested into a unified index. And these tend to be relatively expensive products."
  • OCLC Report on Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail (August 23, 2011): "The prominence of multidisciplinary research, the increase in the use of primary materials, and the desire to make new connections across disparate materials all would be advanced by the offering of single search to open up all the collections to the researcher (...) OCLC Research facilitated the working group of nine single search implementers through discussions about the opportunities for, and obstacles to, integrated access across an institution. They told their stories, categorized a list of issues, and created and answered a questionnaire looking for similarities and differences in their approaches. This brief report summarizes those discussions and highlights emerging practices in providing access to LAM [libraries, archives and museums] collections, with a particular emphasis on successful strategies in the quest for single search."
  • AALL Spectrum Article on Discovery Tools in Law Libraries (November 30, 2011): "The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), has an article on Discovery Layers in Law Libraries - A progress report on how our institutions are implementing this new technology (...) The author ... ran into some of the same problems we did at my place of work when we looked into discovery tools: 'Most concerning are the restrictive and expensive licensing policies of the largest legal information publishers [i.e. Westlaw and Lexis - my note],whose materials are by and large unrepresented in discovery layer systems because of these restrictions. What is the benefit of marketing such a tool to our students and faculty if their most vital sources of information are nowhere to be found in the system?' "

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

Information Technology and Libraries Changes to Open Access Format

The journal Information Technology and Libraries has announced that it will become an open-access, electronic-only publication, beginning with the March 2012 issue (volume 31, issue 1):
"This change will help ensure the long-term viability of the journal by making it more accessible, more current, more relevant, and more environmentally friendly. ITAL will continue to feature high-quality articles that have undergone a rigorous peer-review process, but it will also begin expanding content to include more case studies, commentary, and information about topics and trends of interest to the LITA community and beyond."
LITA is the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association.

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

Monday, January 09, 2012

IFLA 2012 Conference Call for Papers: The Surprising World of Government Libraries

The Government Libraries Section, the Government Information and Official Publications Section, the Law Libraries Section and the Library and Research Services for Parliaments Section of IFLA are jointly inviting proposals for papers to be presented at a two-hour programme at the next IFLA General Conference to be held on August 2012 in Helsinki, Finland.

IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

The theme of the programme will be "The Surprising World of Government Libraries: trends in survival and prospect of new services":
"Government Libraries are facing a transition period. Between some states looking for slash budgets due to the crisis and the ongoing revision of library services because of information technology’s advances, the role of librarians in this scenario must be addressed. This is a Call for Papers to solicit people to share their experiences and case studies that demonstrate how librarians can make a difference and manage complex situations within government structures, including the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary branches"
The deadline is February 10, 2012.

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

Saturday, January 07, 2012

2011 ABA Journal Blawg 100 Unveiled

The ABA Journal has published the results of the popular vote winners of its 5th Annual ABA Journal Blawg 100 contest.

There were 12 different categories. The Canadian group blog Slaw.ca (to which I occasionally contribute) was nominated in the Legal Technology category but did not win.

The ABA Journal is published by the American Bar Association.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:49 pm 1 comments

Top 10 International Drug Policy Stories of 2011

The British website openDemocracy publishes a regular feature called the Drug Policy Forum that takes a critical reformist look at stories about the "war on drugs" and criminal justice issues.

The most recent issue provides a round-up of some of the top international drug-related stories of 2011:
"2011 was a watershed year in drug policy all over the globe. The American and Canadian governments seemed to embrace status quo prohibition, while the citizens of both nations showed increasing support for reform laws, particularly with medical cannabis. Some countries in Europe moved towards legalization, while the Netherlands surprised everyone by taking steps to forbid access of coffee shops to foreigners. Meanwhile, things continue to spiral out of control in Latin America, leaving no country untouched by drug violence"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:48 pm 0 comments

Thursday, January 05, 2012

David Mao is the New Law Librarian of Congress

David Mao this week became the 23rd Law Librarian of Congress. The Law Library of Congress was established in Washington in 1832 by the United States Congress and is the world's largest law library.

Before joining the library, Mao worked for the Congressional Research Service. He also held positions at Georgetown University and the law firm Covington & Burling.

The Law Library of Congress blog In Custodia Legis published an interview Mr. Mao earlier this week:

"The Law Library issued its Strategic Plan for 2011–16, and, in the short term, I aim to continue the progress toward achieving the goals set out in that plan."

"One of the major goals of the Law Library is the formation of the One World Law Library (OWLL). This will bring authoritative and authenticated global legal and legislative information from the Law Library of Congress and external sources under one domain and provide access to these resources in a seamless way for the researcher (...)"

"One of the most interesting facts I’ve learned is that the Law Library holds the world’s most geographically comprehensive collections of foreign legal materials."

"The physical and digital collections contain the earliest and the latest publications and reflect the legislative histories of past, current and future jurisdictions. It’s rather astounding to think that, even if a nation hasn’t yet been officially formed, the Law Library will have all the materials necessary for someone to create the legislative history of that nation once it comes into being."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:33 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 CLawBies – Canadian Law Blog Awards

The 6th Annual Canadian Law Blog Awards (or CLawBies) were "handed out" on New Year's Eve:

"If this is your first encounter with the CLawBies, allow us to fill in the basics. We are looking for the best law blogs in Canada. Every December, we ask Canadian lawyers and legal professionals to nominate candidates via blog posts or Tweets — once again, encouraging contact and new relationships between nominators and nominees and strengthening the bonds within our unique community (...)"

"As usual, we also offer two caveats. The first is that the CLawBies are based on no fixed criteria, only our personal sense of what makes a blog essential, informative and engaging — another set of judges might reach different and equally reasonable conclusions. And secondly, please accept our standard advisory not to take the CLawBies (or any other blog awards) too seriously."
There are categories for:
  • Best Canadian Law Blog
  • Best Practitioner Blogs
  • Legal Culture Award
  • Non-Legal Audience Blog
  • Friend of the North Award (US / UK blog that discusses Canada from time to time)
  • EuroCan Connection Award
  • Legal News
  • Best Practice Management Blog
  • Law Library Blog
  • Legal Technology
  • Practice Group Blog
  • Best New Blogs
  • Best Law School/Law Professor Blog

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:05 pm 3 comments

Supreme Court of Canada: New Library Titles

The list of new library titles added to the Supreme Court of Canada collection for the period of December 16-31, 2011 is now available on the Court website.

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

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

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:02 pm 0 comments

Monday, January 02, 2012

US Supreme Court Chief Justice's Year-End Report on Judiciary

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts published his year-end report on the American federal judiciary on the weekend.

In the report, Roberts indirectly addresses the controversy over whether two justices on the Court should recuse themselves in an upcoming case on the constitutionality of a healthcare law:
"Some observers have recently questioned whether the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct for United States Judges should apply to the Supreme Court. I would like to use my annual report this year to address that issue, as well as some other related issues that have recently drawn public attention. The space constraints of the annual report prevent me from setting out a detailed dissertation on judicial ethics. And my judicial responsibilities preclude me from commenting on any ongoing debates about particular issues or the constitutionality of any enacted legislation or pending proposals. But I can provide some clarification on how the Justices address ethical issues and dispel some common misconceptions."
Among other things, Roberts describes the principles that govern judicial recusal.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:05 pm 0 comments

No Law-Related Terms in 37th Annual List of Banished Words

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Sault Ste.Marie, Michigan has published its 37th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

And the winners are:
  • amazing
  • baby bump
  • shared sacrifice
  • Occupy
  • blowback
  • man cave
  • the new normal
  • pet parent
  • win the future
  • trickeration
  • ginormous
  • thank you in advance
The complete archive of banished words is on the university website. The list started in 1976 and is based on submissions by the general public. LSSU receives well over 1,000 nominations annually through its website, lssu.edu/banished.

As one can see, none of this year's winners are law-related. However, in the past few years, law-related buzzwords have attracted the attention of language lovers / critics. Earlier Library Boy posts on that include:
  • American Dialect Society Words of the Year 2005: Legal Expressions 'Patent Troll', 'Extraordinary Rendition' Make List (January 11, 2006): "A few other law-related terms scored highly in the 'most euphemistic' category (hmmmm, I wonder why): 'internal nutrition: force-feeding a prisoner against his or her will' and 'extraordinary rendition: the surrendering of a suspect or detainee to another jurisdiction, especially overseas' (in order to be tortured by a friendly dictatorship with less regard for the niceties of courts and a legal defense)."
  • 'Plutoed' Voted Word of the Year by American Dialect Society (January 7, 2007): "In its 17th 'word of the year' contest, the American Dialect Society chose 'plutoed': 'To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet' (...) There were a number of law-related terms considered for this 2006 edition, including data Valdez: an accidental release of a large quantity of private or privileged information. Named after the 1989 oil spill by the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska; waterboarding (winner in the most euphemistic category): an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S. interrogators against terrorism detainees."
  • Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year (December 3, 2007): "Locavore refers to an environmentally conscious shopper who seeks out locally grown foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives (...) To tase is the only one that has any relation to legal issues."
  • Most Annoying and Overused Buzzwords (November 23, 2009): "There is an article in this week's edition of The Lawyers Weekly about all those irritating buzzwords that have invaded the professions, including the law. Among the phrases discussed in the article are: leverage, viral, disconnect and interface. And 'outside the box'. "


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:50 pm 0 comments