Thursday, October 31, 2013

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Access to Justice Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) has been publishing a monthly newsletter about Access to Justice since early 2013.

This month's newsletter features an item about a recent discussion on "The Cost of Evidence" at the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, a profile of one of the members of the CFCJ student research team, "stories from the road" (participation of CFCJ members in events and activities in different parts of Canada), and announcements about upcoming events.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2012-13 Annual Report on Federal Privacy Act

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart tabled her annual report on the Privacy Act in Parliament this week. This is her final report before the end of her mandate.

The Privacy Act sets out the rules for privacy protection in the federal public sector.

Among the highlights of the report:
  • her office selected the Canada Revenue Agency for an audit which found weaknesses in key privacy and security practices that led to taxpayer information not being protected as it should, with thousands of files being accessed inappropriately for years without detection
  • the report notes new all-time highs for both privacy complaints about federal organizations submitted by Canadians and data breaches reported by departments and agencies. The report adds that data breach reporting within the federal government is voluntary so it’s unclear whether this is an actual increase in breaches or due to more diligent reporting
  • the report offers details on investigations into privacy practices of Correctional Services Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It also offers details on privacy aspects of border security initiatives 

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Supreme Court of Canada Hearings Calendar for November 2013

The Supreme Court of Canada has published its calendar of appeal hearings for November 2013.

To find out more about any particular case, the Court's website has a section that allows users to find docket information, case summaries as well as factums from the parties. All you need to do is click on a case name.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

CBC Radio Interview about Link Rot in Court Decisions

The most recent episode of the CBC Radio show Spark includes an interview with Harvard Law School researcher Kendra Albert who co-authored an article about link rot in US Supreme Court decisions.

The article Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations appeared a few weeks ago on the site of the Social Science Research Network.

Link rot refers to broken URLs or to URLs that direct to a site hosted by the original publishing organization but whose corresponding document has been removed or relocated without any information about where to find it.

In the case of the URLs in US Supreme Court decisions, the authors found a link rot rate of 50%.

The Spark researchers checked URLs in Supreme Court of Canada decisions and found many broken links to texts from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Law Society of Alberta and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, among others.

One of the proposed solutions is something called launched by a collective of law libraries, most from the US, including the Harvard Law School Library:
" is a service, currently in beta, that allows users to create citation links that will never break."

"When a user creates a link, archives a copy of the referenced content, and generates a link to an unalterable hosted instance of the site. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, if the link is later published by a journal using the service, the archived version will always be available through the link."

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Open Access & Legal Scholarship

Last week, Tim Knight wrote a brief piece about Open Access & Legal Scholarship on Off the Shelf, the blog of the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

The article offers a short explanation of what constitutes open access legal scholarship and provides links to Open Access & Legal Scholarship: Select Bibliography and to a Law Library Open Access page created by the Osgoode Hall Law Library.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Upcoming Canadian Library Association Webinars

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is organizing two professional development webinars in the near future that are related to service evaluation:
  • Meaningful Measures: Why Size Doesn't Matter, November 12, 2013 at 2PM Eastern: "Libraries and other information-intensive organizations must identify, manage and communicate measures that matter to their stakeholders, and that demonstrate that the information services are making a difference - the 'right' difference."
  • Service Lifecycle Management:Pruning Gives Other Services Room to Grow, January 21, 2014 at 2PM Eastern: "To keep a healthy portfolio of services and programs all organizations, including information management functions and libraries, need to 'prune' or divest those offerings no longer producing the desired results to make room for new programs & services. Information intensive organizations, from records management to knowledge management functions, have a long history of adding without deleting new services, resulting in too many offerings, too much staff stress and too little focus on what's really important for clients."
For both events, the presenter is Rebecca Jones. Jones is a principal with Dysart & Jones,  where she focuses on facilitating clients’ planning processes, problem-solving, and project management. Rebecca is known for having long advocated the application of business savvy to information services and knowledge management. She teaches continuing education and professional development courses with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Australian Court To Recruit Retired Judge as Blogger

The British daily The Guardian reports that the Supreme Court in the Australian state of Victoria wants to bring the justice system closer to citizens by making its website more interactive and hiring a retired judge to blog about cases:
"[Victorian Chief Justice Marilyn] Warren said the court’s new interactive website would become a hub for the court’s communication with the public, who would be able to comment on the website, watch video on demand, debate in online forums, and download judgments and summaries."

"She said employing a retired judge to blog the courts represented a 'historic shift away from traditional judicial reluctance to explain or defend judicial decisions that are made in accordance with the rule of law'."

"Warren added that other experts, including academics and journalists, would also be invited to blog for the court."
Warren's speech can be found on the court's website.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Law Library of Congress Comparison of Regulations Concerning the Private Possession of Big Cats

The Law Library of Congress has produced a report that compares the Regulations Concerning the Private Possession of Big Cats:
"This analysis compares and contrasts the different legal approaches taken by twenty-one countries and the European Union in regulating the private possession of big cats. All the countries surveyed are members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This analysis describes the legal provisions regarding keeping big cats in captivity, the requirements for licenses, and permission for breeding of big cats."
Canada is one of the countries included in the report.

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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Recently Released Research Reports from Justice Canada

The most recent issue of the Weekly Checklist of Canadian Government Publications refers to a number of research reports released recently by Justice Canada:

  • Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: "Over the past three decades, the Canadian criminal law on sexual assault and other sexual offences has changed quite significantly through both the courts and parliament. It is now recognized that males, both as children and as adults, can be victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault. The majority of victims of sexual assault are female and there is a significant body of research from many disciplines examining the criminal and civil justice system responses, impacts, treatment, etc. The body of research on male victims is much more limited likely due to the smaller numbers and challenges recruiting representative samples. This research study examines the experiences of male survivors of both child sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual assault (ASA). In Canada, statistics come from police-reported and self-reported data. The police-reported data for 2010 show that males accounted for 12% of sexual assault victims (...) In nearly half (47%) of police-reported sexual assaults against male victims in 2008, the accused was someone known to the victim (e.g., friend, acquaintance, or current/former dating partner), but was not a family member. In 2009, the self-reported sexual assault victimization rate for males was half the rate for females (15 vs. 34 per 1,000) (...) and it is estimated that the majority of sexual assaults against males and females (88%) are not reported to police ...  "
  • Understanding the Similarities and Differences Between Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Mental Health Disorders: "The full range of outcomes due to prenatal alcohol exposure is called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD includes three medical diagnoses: FAS, partial FAS and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder. The prevalence of full FAS in the United States is estimated to be 2-7 per 1,000 and that of all the diagnoses under FASD to be 2-5 per 100 (May et al. 2009). However, the prevalence of people with FASD in the criminal justice system (CJS) appears to be disproportionately higher, with estimates of 10% to 23% of youth and adult in correctional facilities (...) The effects of significant prenatal exposure to alcohol are life-long and can increase susceptibility to criminal activity, victimization, and mental health problems for youth and adults. In the CJS there is an over-representation of people with FASD, individuals with mental health disorders, and those with both FASD and mental health disorders (...) Many individuals, who are not necessarily known to have FASD, have mental health disorders which may contribute to their difficulties in the legal system and trouble with the law. Examples of these disorders are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Personality Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, and Substance Use Disorders. According to the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) (2010), in the past fifteen years there has been a considerable increase in the number of both male and female offenders with mental health problems presenting to the system and requiring mental health care. This discussion paper examines the similarities and differences between individuals having a diagnosis of FASD and those having a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. First, the diagnostic process for FASD and for mental health disorders is described. In order to understand the implications of these diagnoses, the behaviours that result from FASD need to be understood. What is less well understood is the overlap between FASD and mental health disorders, that is, the high proportion of those with FASD who also have a mental health disorder and the unknown number of individuals with mental health disorders who may have an undiagnosed FASD. In addition to the primary disability, the FASD or mental health disorder, the interaction with genetics and post-natal environmental factors confounds the diagnostic profile"
  • Vulnerable Adult Witnesses - The Perceptions and Experiences of Crown Prosecutors and Victim Services Providers in the Use of Testimonial Support Provisions: "This is an exploratory study examining the perceptions and experiences of Crown prosecutors and victim services providers of the testimonial support provisions for vulnerable adult witnesses found in s.486 of the Criminal Code. The purpose of the research is to gain a clearer understanding of how the provisions on testimonial accommodations are being used in Canada to assist vulnerable adult witnesses in providing their testimony. These provisions were expanded and clarified in January 2006 with Bill C-2, which also included a five year parliamentary review. Little is known about how testimonial aids are being used to assist vulnerable adult witnesses in providing their testimony. This research is intended to address this gap. The study consisted of a series of semi-structured interviews with crown prosecutors and victim services providers from jurisdictions across Canada. Eighteen Crowns were interviewed from eight different jurisdictions, and eleven victim services providers were interviewed from five different jurisdictions. Their locations included large and mid-sized urban centres and small communities in rural and remote areas (...) The types of disabilities of witnesses reported by respondents vary considerably and include persons with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, brain injury, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Down syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder. For other adult witnesses, the Crown must establish that the accommodation is necessary to obtain a full and candid account from the witness. Applications were made most frequently where there were charges related to sexual assault and domestic violence."
  • Testimonial Support for Vulnerable Adults (Bill C-2) - Case Law Review (2009-2012): "Bill C-2, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Protection of Children and Other Vulnerable Persons) and the Canada Evidence Act received Royal Assent on July 21, 2005. The bill included amendments to facilitate witness testimony, which came into force on January 2, 2006. These amendments were intended to provide greater clarity and consistency for the use of testimonial aids and other measures for victims and witnesses under the age of eighteen years, and also made testimonial aids and other measures available to vulnerable adult witnesses for the first time. Testimonial aids include allowing a witness to testify behind a screen, outside the courtroom by closed-circuit television, and to be accompanied by a support person during their testimony (...) Since Bill C-2 came into effect, what does case law reveal about the new law and how has Canadian legal literature dealt with these legal reforms? It deals most comprehensively with provisions relating to child witnesses, but also considers accommodations for adult vulnerable witnesses."

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Famous Trials Website

Douglas O. Linder at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, has created the Famous Trials website that offers selected documents including testimony, judgments and commentary on many famous trials.

Many are American, but they are also non-US trials in the collection.

In a section called Goals and Purposes, Linder writes:
"My original purpose in creating the Famous Trials site was a very modest one. I wanted to post a variety of background materials for students enrolled in my Famous Trials Seminar. There is no single text that works for such a seminar, and requiring my students to purchase, say, fourteen books about fourteen trials seemed out of the question. Soon, however, I discovered through e-mails that there was a wider audience for such materials."  
"My purpose shifted over time. Now, I see my principal audience as high school, college, and law school instructors and students. Sure, I also hope the site will serve as a useful starting point for the serious scholar working on a major book or paper on one of the trials covered on the site. But the site does not pretend to be archival in the traditional sense. Most of the trial transcripts for the thirty-plus trials on the site run into the thousands of pages. Without grants and without significant university resources, there is simply no way that I can scan such voluminous materials and post them in complete form on the site. In fact, such a massive posting of materials would run counter to my basic goal of providing a clear, concise, and reasonably balanced understanding of the trials. Transcripts can be overwhelming. I've tried to present some of the most important and compelling testimony, and leave out materials that are less significant--and often mind-numbingly repetitive (...)  "
"A few critics have also complained about my choice of trials, suggesting that my trial selection ought to be 'more focused."' One critic noted that my trials ranged from ancient times (Socrates) to very modern times (Simpson), and included trials from both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific and from various types of courts.  Other critics have complained that their favorite trial (say, the Manuel Noriega trial) has been inexcusably omitted while some other frivolous and inconsequential trial (say, the Chicago Black Sox trial) has been included.  To such critics I can only say, 'I'm not getting paid a penny for this--I put up the trials that I, with all of my idiosyncrasies, find interesting or compelling in some way'." (...)

"Yes, the Famous Trials site is not everybody's cup of tea, but I'm comfortable in the knowledge that it has stimulated many people to think more seriously about both our legal system and the nature of justice."  
Earlier Library Boy posts about legal history materials include:


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Sunday, October 20, 2013

November 1st Deadline to Submit Proposals for 2014 Conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

Members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) now have until November 1, 2013 to submit program ideas for the 2014 CALL Annual Conference. The original deadline was October 18 but has been extended.

The conference will take place May 25 – 28, 2014 at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Free Legal Research: Google Scholar Shortcuts

The Courthouse Libraries BC blog The Stream published a post a few days ago called Legal Research Hack: Google Scholar Shortcuts that demonstrates "a handful of cool things lawyers can do to maximize Google’s more studious cousin."

It shows how to find:
  • where a case has been treated and where it appears in scholarly articles
  • full-text scholarly articles on a topic
  • how to create an alert if an article or case is cited
Earlier Library Boy posts about free legal research sources include:

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Free Sources of Legal Current Awareness

This is a follow-up to the October 5, 2013 Library Boy post entitled University of Windsor Custom Search Engines on Policing. That post looked at a number of free law-related meta search portals.

Yesterday on, Catherine Sanders Reach listed a number of useful free sources of legal analysis on current topics. These include such sites as:
She also refers to blogs and the Social Science Research Network that were covered in the Oct. 5th post.


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Legal Information Pioneer Lexum's 20th Birthday

Lexum, the company that designed and developed the free legal information site CanLII, turns 20 this month.

It began operations in 1993 by publishing the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada online.

It since then has developed, designed and hosted websites for numerous Canadian and foreign legal institutions.

The anniversary page has a timeline that shows the evolution of Lexum over the past two decades.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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 October1-15, 2013 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library lends materials from all but the most recent New Library Titles list in accordance with its Interlibrary Loan Policy."

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

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Upcoming Canadian Association of Law Libraries Webinar on Free Content for Current Awareness Services

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) will host a webinar entitled Staying Alert: The 411 on Free Subscription Based Content on October 23, 2013 from, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT.

The speakers will be Martha Murphy, Head Librarian at the Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library, and Kay Samuels, library manager at WeirFoulds LLP:
"Are you looking for some new sources to add to your existing current awareness service? Are you planning on a new media monitoring strategy for your library? Does your firm require daily updates on news, legislation, case decisions, and journal table of contents? Are you tired of the complaints from staff of the 10 article limit on some news sites? Then you will be interested in hearing how current awareness services are rolled out in a private law firm library and a government law library serving multiple tribunals."
"The Law Library plays a critical role in tracking and disseminating news, legislation, case law, securities and research. There is a proliferation of sources from legal and media monitoring vendors to blogs and wikis. Library staff can filter and customize content in a number of ways to best suit our clients and disseminate using SharePoint Corporate Intranets, Library webpages, wikis, emails and newsletters."
The webinar costs only $45.20 for members and $67.80 for non-members. A recording will be available to registered participants. There is an online registration form on the CALL website.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Alberta Law Reform Institute Final Report on Estate Administration

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has released its Final Report on Estate Administration:
"In our Final Report on Estate Administration, ALRI makes a number of recommendations for reform (…) "
The objective of these reforms is to create clear, rational and accessible legislation that will provide guidance to estate representatives who are responsible for administering an estate."
"In keeping with this objective, our report starts by providing a clear description of the role of the estate representative, beneficiaries and the court. The estate representative ensures the timely, efficient, and effective transfer of the estate property to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries monitor the estate administration process. Generally, where a court is involved, it is at the front-end of the process. The court confirms who has authority to administer an estate and who requires notice. It does not, except where there are disputes, approve the plan for distributing the assets of the estate. In order to carry out the role of the estate representative, certain qualities must be demonstrated."
"To avoid any confusion as to what is expected of an estate representative, our report expressly states the core duties of this position. Particularly important in the context where a layperson is acting as estate representative, this report expands on these core duties by providing a detailed task list (…)"
"Finally, this report emphasizes the importance of communication to the estate administration process. Effective communication between the estate representative, the beneficiaries, and creditors is the key to a beneficiary-driven rather than a court-driven process. For this reason, it is a core duty of the estate representative and at the heart of many of the activities on the detailed task list." 
 The report also examines the legislative framework on the issue in other Canadian provinces, Australia and the United States.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Australian Law Reform Commission Issues Paper on Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era

The Australian Law Reform Commission has released an Issues Paper on Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era.

The Commission is looking for public input to help it develop draft recommendations for reform to be released in a Discussion Paper due at the end of February 2014.

The Commission has been asked by the Australian Attorney General to look at ways the law might prevent or redress serious invasions of privacy.

The scope section of the Issues Paper states:
"The ALRC should make recommendations regarding:  
  1. Innovative ways in which law may reduce serious invasions of privacy in the digital era.
  2. The necessity of balancing the value of privacy with other fundamental values including freedom of expression and open justice.
  3. The detailed legal design of a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy, including not limited to:
    a. legal thresholds
    b. the effect of the implied freedom of political communication
    c. jurisdiction
    d. fault elements
    e. proof of damages
    f. defences
    g. exemptions
    h. whether there should be a maximum award of damages
    i. whether there should be a limitation period
    j. whether the cause of action should be restricted to natural and living persons
    k. whether any common law causes of action should be abolished
    l. access to justice
    m. the availability of other court ordered remedies.
  4. The nature and appropriateness of any other legal remedies for redress for serious invasions of privacy. "

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

September 2013 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The September 2013 issue of Connected is available online. The bulletin covers news about the impact of new social media on courts. Most of the items are about the United States, but there is occasional coverage of other jurisdictions.

In this issue:
  • Justice Department officials' anonymous online
  • Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals gives Facebook 'like' first amendment protection
  • NCSC compiles list of courts with mobile applications
  • Connecticut shares new human trafficking poster on Twitter
The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers.

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Monday, October 07, 2013

October 2013 Issue of Journal du Barreau

The October 2013 issue of the Journal du Barreau is available on the website of the Quebec Bar Association.

Among the highlights are articles on the reform of the Quebec Code of Civil Procedure, journalists who cover court houses, and a new portal for searching for wills and power of attorney documents.

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Sunday, October 06, 2013

LexisNexis White Paper on Future of Law in Canada

Legal publisher LexisNexis Canada has published a paper on the Future of Law in Canada that outlines 4 possible scenarios for the future of the Canadian legal system by the year 2020:
"To guide us along the journey of describing the future, we utilized an important — and novel — component of our strategic toolkit: scenario planning. Rather than try to predict a single future, we believe that scenario planning has great potential for use in this “transitional period” to simulate and rehearse multiple possible futures that could have profound implications, and highlight previously undiscovered areas of connection and intersection."

"The results of our 2013 scenario planning exercise demonstrate a provocative and engaging exploration of the future of the Canadian legal system through 2020, as you will read in the following pages. This report is crucial reading for anyone interested in creatively considering the multiple, divergent ways in which our world could evolve. The sparks of insight inspiring these narratives — along with their implications for our legal system as a whole — were generated through the invaluable collaboration of many stakeholder representatives, external experts, and LexisNexis staff."
The scenarios are:
  • Controlled evolution: Familiar and known stakeholders retain a full span of control over the evolution of the Canadian legal space. While there is increased focus on the cost and efficiency of legal services, the overall system adapts using proven technology and processes. Even with the cost constraints, the law societies work successfully with the court system to improve the affordable access to justice. For corporate clients, their increasing sophistication and bargaining power are keeping law firms on their toes, and the winning service providers create a lean and flexible work environment that attracts top talent and delivers the best value to the marketplace.
  • Open season: Globalization and new technologies have opened the door to unexpected competitors that disrupt the legal system. Leveraging law society regulations that allow third-party legal services, professional services firms previously offering accounting and consulting services now offer legal services as part of their end-to-end offer, while tech-savvy boutique law firms are delivering legal services in novel, low-cost ways. Clients are reaping the benefits of more choice and better access while law societies, the judiciary and law schools reorganize to better address the new entrants. Traditional firms have made drastic changes to survive. The winners take risks and create innovative practice models that change the way lawyers value themselves and their firms. 
  • Patchwork reform: To address the public outcry for affordable access to justice, governments from across Canada intervene in the regulation of the legal system. Public funding has modernized the court system and increased legal aid, and the new regulations triggered the launch of a broad range of lower-cost legal services enabled by innovative and efficient uses of technology. While the law societies have lost some independence, the legal community consensus is that government reforms and funding have helped inform the public and demystify legal services. The winning law firms have restructured to better service more market segments, and offer more flexible career choices. Clients benefit from the structured choices and prices available in this more controlled environment. 
  • Breakaway: By creatively embracing technology, the Canadian legal system is better, faster and cheaper. New government regulations have encouraged corporate ownership and governance of law firms and the consumer-oriented Canadian Legal Bill of Rights continues to attract tech-savvy entrants who bring the best practices in digital innovation to Canada. In addition to smaller niche players, large non-legal service providers enter the market with unprecedented scale and efficiency. Traditional law firms have been hit the hardest. Many lawyers have had to specialize, and competition for the best talent is intense. The winners operate as decentralized, virtual teams working closely with non-legal business partners to find growth opportunities.

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New Zealand Law Commission Issues Paper on Legal Framework for Burial and Cremation

The Law Commission of New Zealand has published an Issues Paper called The Legal Framework for Burial and Cremation in New Zealand: A First Principles Review to encourage public feedback for a consultation on the topic:
"Until confronted with death, few of us are likely to give much thought to how the law affects how we farewell a loved one and deal with their remains. When faced with this necessity, we often lack the energy or time to consider the ways in which these laws influence the choices available to us with respect to mourning, burial, cremation and memorialisation."

"New Zealand’s foundational burial statute was passed in 1882. Māori had also established tikanga, or customary laws and practices, to ensure their dead were treated with respect and that the mana of the deceased and their connections to whenua (land), tūpuna (ancestors) and whānau were reinforced. Evidence of similar values and impulses can be found in the many historic cemeteries established by European settlers during the 19th century and the memorials to the dead erected within them. These cemeteries are important repositories of our heritage and yet today their preservation often depends on the efforts of volunteers."

"This review provides us with the first opportunity in our country’s history to assess holistically whether the law is meeting our needs and expectations when it comes to how we approach death and the services and options available to us for the care and final disposition of human remains. The terms of reference for the review extend well beyond the matters currently provided for in the Burial and Cremation Act 1964. The Act’s framework has remained fundamentally unchanged for over a century. In that time Parliament has enacted numerous statutes that impact on our burial law and the management of cemeteries. Foremost among these are the Coroners Act 2006, the Historic Places Act 1993, the Reserves Act 1977, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Resource Management Act 1991."

"Our cultural landscape has also changed dramatically. These changes can lead to new tensions and may require innovative approaches in order to accommodate the range of public and private interests. For example, our society places particular emphasis on personal autonomy and the right to self- determination, but alongside this there is a growing acknowledgment of the place of tikanga Māori and the importance of connections to places and people. Irrespective of their ethnic origins and ancestry many New Zealanders share these values and are looking for ways to affirm their own connections to the land when they die."
The Issues Paper asks questions such as:
  • Is it possible for a person’s body to be buried on private land? 
  • Or for mourners to arrange the burial or cremation of a loved one without any professional assistance? 
  • Are all those providing funeral and cremation services accountable to a professional standards body? 
  • Are families obliged to follow any instructions we might leave about what we wish to happen to our bodies after death? 
  • And what happens if a serious disagreement arises among the bereaved about the final arrangements?
There was a related Library Boy dated May 23, 2001 entitled New Zealand Law Commission Paper on Death and Cremation Certification.

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Saturday, October 05, 2013

September 2013 Issue of Information Technology and Libraries

The most recent issue of the journal Information Technology and Libraries is available. Since March 2012, it has been an open-access, electronic-only publication.

 Contents include:
  • Searchable Signatures: Context and the Struggle for Recognition: "Social networking sites made possible through Web 2.0 allow for unique user-generated tags called 'searchable signatures.'  These tags move beyond the descriptive and act as means for users to assert online individual and group identities.  A study of searchable signatures on the Instagram application demonstrates that these types of tags are valuable not only because they allow for both individuals and groups to engage in what social theorist Axel Honneth calls the struggle for recognition, but also because they provide contextual use data and sociohistorical information so important to the understanding of digital objects.  This article explores how searchable signatures might be used by both patrons and staff in library environments."
  • Digital Native Academic Librarians, Technology Skills, and Their Relationship with Technology: "A new generation of academic librarians, who are a part of the Millennial Generation born between 1982 and 2001 are now of the age to either be in graduate school or embarking on their careers. This paper, as part of a larger study examining Millennial academic librarians, their career selection, their attitudes, and their technology skills, looks specifically at the technology skills and attitudes towards technology among a group of young librarians and library school students.  The author initially wanted to learn if the increasingly high tech nature of academic librarianship attracted Millennials to the career, but results showed that they had a much more complex relationship with technology than the author assumed."
  • An Evaluation of Finding Aid Accessibility for Screen Readers: "Since the passage of the American Disabilities Act in 1990 and the coincident growth of the Internet, academic libraries have worked to provide electronic resources and services that are accessible to all patrons. Special collections are increasingly being added to these web-based library resources, and they must meet the same accessibility standards. The recent popularity surge of Web 2.0 technology, social media sites, and mobile devices has brought greater awareness about the challenges faced by those who use assistive technology for visual disabilities. This study examines the screen-reader accessibility of online special collections finding aids at 68 public US colleges and universities in the Association of Research Libraries."
  • A Comparative Analysis on the Effect of the Chosen ILSes on Systems and Technical Services Staffing Models: "This analysis compares how the traditional integrated library system (ILS) and the next-generation ILS may impact system and technical services staffing models at academic libraries. The method used in this analysis is to select two categories of ILSs—two well-established traditional ILSs and three leading next-generation ILSs—and compare them by focusing on two aspects: (1) software architecture and (2) workflows and functionality. The results of the analysis suggest that the next-generation ILS could have substantial implications for library systems and technical staffing models in particular, suggesting that library staffing models could be redesigned and key librarian and staff positions redefined to meet the opportunities and challenges brought on by the next-generation ILS."
  • Usability Test Results for Encore in an Academic Library: "This case study gives the results a usability study for the discovery tool Encore Synergy, an Innovative Interfaces product, launched at Appalachian State University Belk Library & Information Commons in January 2013.  Nine of the thirteen participants in the study rated the discovery tool as more user friendly, according to a SUS (Standard Usability Scale) score, than the library’s tabbed search layout, which separated the articles and catalog search.  All of the study’s participants were in favor of switching the interface to the new 'one box' search. Several glitches in the implementation were noted and reported to the vendor.  The study results have helped develop Belk library training materials and curricula.  The study will also serve as a benchmark for further usability testing of Encore and Appalachian State Library’s website. This article will be of interest to libraries using Encore Discovery Service, investigating discovery tools, or performing usability studies of other discovery services."
Information Technology and Libraries is published by LITA, the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:45 pm 0 comments

University of Windsor Custom Search Engines on Policing

University of Windsor law librarian Annette Demers wrote earlier this week on about 2 new custom or meta-search engines developed at her institution that search policing materials.

One searches policing journals, magazines, reviews, reports and news feeds, the other searches police review board decisions from across Canada.

The University of Windsor had already developed a custom search engine for military law journals.

Other free law-related meta search portals include:
  •'s Canadian Law Blogs Search Engine
  • Justia BlawgSearch searches across U.S. (and some non-American) law-related blogs
  • the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada's Government and Legislative Libraries Online Publications Portal searches through hundreds of thousands of provincial, territorial and federal government publications and legislative materials dating back in some cases to the mid-1990s
  • Cornell Law Library's Legal Research Engine helps users find research guides on U.S. legal topics from authoritative sources. Authoritative as in Harvard Law, Georgetown, Cornell, Duke, New York University, etc.- it is going through a technical update at the moment
  • IGO Search Engine and NGO Web Search from Indiana University Libraries in Bloomington find information from intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) such as the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, and related organizations and from hundreds of major non-governmental sites
  • DRAGNET from New York Law School simultaneously searches dozens of U.S. and international sites containing governmental and legal information, from Amnesty International to the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII)
  • American publisher bepress recently launched the Digital Commons Network that "brings together scholarship from hundreds of universities and colleges, providing open access to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work" [About page]. One of the subsets is the Law Network, which already has more than 160,000 articles from some 200 institutions
  • And many of us know of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). The SSRN Abstract Database has abstracts on over 500,000 scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers and an Electronic Paper Collection currently containing over 415,000 downloadable full text documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. One of the SSRN subdivisions is the Legal Scholarship Network (which has lots of Canadian content).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:57 pm 0 comments

Thursday, October 03, 2013

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and Law Librarians

Toronto law librarian Katie Thomas has written about MOOCs (massive open online courses) and law librarians over at On Firmer Ground, a blog for law firm librarians.

She explains what MOOCs are, where to find them, what they could offer as professional development opportunities and whether any exist that might be of interest to law librarians.

On Firmer Ground is a joint project of the Special Libraries Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries and the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:06 pm 0 comments

British Columbia Law Institute Report on Assisted Living

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law (CCEL) have jointly issued a Report on Assisted Living in British Columbia containing 50 recommendations for reform of the legal and regulatory framework for assisted living in B.C.:
"The Assisted Living Reform Project Committee that developed the recommendations in the report included representatives from residents’ and tenants’ advocacy organizations, private providers of assisted living, BC Housing, a regional health authority, the Office of the Ombudsperson, as well as distinguished lawyers practising in the elder law field."
"Assisted living is a form of rental housing where meals, light housekeeping, and certain personal care services are provided to residents in addition to accommodation. It is intended for seniors and persons with disabilities who require some personal services, but not 24-­‐hour care."
"While the number of assisted living dwelling units in B.C. has increased greatly over the past decade, the respective rights and obligations of residents and operators of assisted living facilities remain uncertain in many areas. The BCLI / CCEL report contains reform recommendations to address these deficiencies in the existing framework, which were also identified and criticized in the Ombudsperson’s comprehensive report on seniors’ care in B.C. issued in 2012." [from the press release]

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:04 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

CLA Government Library Network Continuing Professional Development Survey

The CLA Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network, part of the Canadian Library Association, is asking members of the Canadian library and information manager community to fill out its 2013 Continuing Professional Development Survey.

As it explains:
"The results of this survey will help us plan, develop, and deliver professional development activities in 2014 on topics that meet your learning needs." 
"We encourage you to complete the survey by October 31, 2013."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:53 pm 0 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 September 16-30, 2013 is now available on the Court website.

The web page explains: "The Supreme Court of Canada Library lends materials from all but the most recent New Library Titles list in accordance with its Interlibrary Loan Policy."

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

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:47 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

More on the Library and Archives Canada-Canadiana Project to Digitize 60 Million Pages of Canadian Heritage

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the non-profit library consortium had signed a 10-year contract with Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to help digitize 60 million pages of primary-source documents.

News of the deal sparked controversy as it appeared to many observers that would be granted a 10-year exclusive license to sell access to the materials that are part of the LAC's public collections.

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist today wrote that "newly obtained documents under the Access to Information Act raise troubling questions about public access and promises of exclusivity made by the LAC."

Earlier Library Boy posts on the project include:

  • Library Associations Support and Archives Canada Digitization Project (June 17, 2013): "The fear seems to be that would be granted a 10-year exclusive license to sell access to many of the materials that are part of Canada's heritage. The Canadian Library Association (CLA) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) have come out in support of the project and provided more detail about what it involves. What they describe leaves a very different, much more positive impression about the project."
  • Roundup of Coverage on Library and Archives Canada Heritage Digitization Plan (June 21, 2013): "There are 2 places to get an overview of what the discussion - pro and con - is all about: The American site Infodocket has compiled a Roundup of Press and Public Statements: Library and Archives Canada Heritage Digitization Plan. The CLA Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network, part of the Canadian Library Association, has published a page on Coverage of Library and Archives Canada/ Heritage Project with press coverage, commentary, statements from library and other associations and Hansard excerpts."
  • Questions on Library and Archives Canada Héritage Digitization Project (July 28, 2013): "Ariel Katz, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, last week outlined Some Questions on the Héritage Project on his blog:  'From a legal perspective, the decision to grant a 10-year exclusive right to monetize the collections raises a few interesting questions: (a) can LAC monetize its collections; or (b) can LAC enter into an agreement with third parties for that purpose; and (c) can it do it by granting an exclusive right? The short answer, in my view, is: (a) LAC does not have the power to monetize its collections; (b) LAC can allow (or indeed cannot prevent), others from providing services based on its collections and monetize those services; but (c) LAC cannot grant an exclusive right to monetize the collections'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:15 pm 0 comments