Wednesday, March 31, 2021

New Website and Archive for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that investigated abuses against Indigenous children at Indian residential schools, has a new website.

Located at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, the NCTR holds millions of records.

The records include:

  • TRC reports and publications;
  • Footage from TRC public events – apologies, expressions of reconciliation and dialogues on reconciliation;
  • Thousand of hours of statements from former students, their families, staff and those affected by the residential school system;
  • Donations of material objects, art, poems and music;
  • School admissions, school histories, administration records, photographs, maps, plans and drawings from the Government of Canada;
  • Student records, duplicate photographs, school newsletters, cemetery records and religious records from church entities.
These records are stored in the AtoM (Access to Memory) database, a web-based, open source app that offers international standards and access in a multilingual environment.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:30 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Library Associations Respond to Canadian Government Consultation on Copyright Term Extension

Yesterday, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations released a joint response to the Government of Canada’s Consultation Paper on copyright term extension

The response was also endorsed by the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) and the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL).

Under the new Canada US Mexico Trade Agreement, Canada has agreed to extend, by the end of 2022, its general copyright term of protection from 50 to 70 years after the life of the author.

The Consultation Paper outlined 5 options.

The associations' response favours Option 3:

"which would allow non-profit libraries, archives and museums (LAMs) to use out-of-commerce and orphan works subject to claims for equitable remuneration. Further, the library community recommends including legislative amendments to the definition of commercial availability in the Copyright Act (the Act) and limiting liability for libraries that are making these works available to the public. We also believe that the government should combine Option 3 with Option 5 (creating exceptions for the use of works 100 years after their creation by LAMs) to ensure the broadest public benefit without causing harm to copyright owners."

They also support the following ideas:

  • Amend Section 29 of the Copyright Act to make the list of purposes allowable under the fair dealing exception an illustrative list rather than an exhaustive one
  • Establish a scheme of limited liability for libraries, archives and museums for use of orphan and out-of-commerce works.
  • Amend the Copyright Act to make it clear that no exception to copyright can be waived or overridden by contract
  • Amend the Copyright Act  to make it clear that no exception to copyright can be waived or overridden by contract and that Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) can be circumvented for non-Infringing purposes.
  • Address the need to respect Indigenous Knowledges.
  • Find a solution to allow for digitization of unpublished works.
  • Assign a Creative Commons licence to all publicly available federal government publications.
  • Extend Options 3 and 5 to apply to educational institutions and other non-profit organizations.

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

Monday, March 29, 2021

Town Hall to Change Name of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is organizing a town hall to discuss a resolution to change the association's name.

The event will take place April 6 at 1PM ET:

"At our November 2020 Town Hall, a member suggested that our association name is misaligned with who our members are today and discussion ensued. Our association values input followed by action. With that, a name change of our association would require a special resolution at our AGM taking place on May 27, 2021."

"The purpose of this town hall is to discuss what we should call ourselves."

The 3 options up for discussion are:

  • Canadian Association of Legal Information Professionals / Association canadienne des professionnels de l'information juridique (CALIP/ACPIJ)
  • Canadian Legal Information Specialists Association / Association canadienne des spécialistes de l'information juridique (CLISA/ACSIJ)
  • Canadian Legal Information Specialists / Spécialistes de l'information juridique canadienne (CLIS-SIJC)


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:38 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Updated Globalex Research Guides on Foreign and International Law Topics

GlobaLex, a very good electronic collection created by the Hauser Global Law School Program at the New York University School of Law, has updated a number of its research guides;

  • Researching Scottish Legal History: "This research guide was created to assist with research on Scottish legal history. It is adapted from the author’s research guide created for the Georgetown Law Library. The guide covers the feudal period through 1901 and up to referenda on independence from 2014, as well as Scotland’s position on Brexit. Pre-eminent print and electronic resources are highlighted. Annotations are provided for some of these resources."
  • Introduction to Public International Law Research: "Public international law is composed of the laws, rules, and principles of general application that deal with the conduct of nation states and international organizations among themselves as well as the relationships between nation states and international organizations with persons, whether natural or juridical. Public international law is sometimes called the 'law of nations' or just simply 'international law.' It should not be confused with private international law, which is primarily concerned with the resolution of conflict of laws in the international setting, determining the law of which country is applicable to specific situations. In researching this field of law, the researcher must also be aware of comparative law, the study of differences and similarities between the laws of different countries. Comparative law is the study of the different legal systems in existence in the world, i.e. common law, civil law, socialist law, Islamic law, Hindu law and Chinese law. As there is no central international body that creates public international law, research in this field requires the use of a wide variety of sources (...) This guide is intended as an introduction to the topic and to help researchers find the most used sources and materials in the area with a primary focus on electronic research."
  • International Trademark Law – The Madrid System: "Registration of trademarks in multiple jurisdictions around the world is governed by two independent treaties—the Madrid Agreement (the Agreement) and the Madrid Protocol (the Protocol). Despite its name, the Protocol is a separate treaty and not a 'protocol' to the Agreement. Together, the Agreement and the Protocol are known as the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (the Madrid System). States party to the Agreement and/or the Protocol and organizations party to the Protocol are referred to collectively as Contracting Parties. Together, they constitute the Madrid Union, which is a Special Union under Article 19 of the Paris Convention. The Madrid System is a centrally administered system (by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO) for obtaining a bundle of trademark registrations in separate jurisdictions, creating in effect a basis for an 'international registration' of marks. This guide is intended to highlight the resources and important issues encountered in using the Madrid System for the international registration of marks."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:34 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

British Columbia Law Institute Report on Pension Division Between Separating Spouses

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) has published a report on Pension Division: A Review of Part 6 of the Family Law Act:

"When a spousal relationship breaks down, the separating spouses are often faced with trying emotional, financial, and legal issues. This report is concerned with one set of legal issues that may arise from the breakdown of a spousal relationship. These legal issues involve the division of a pension between the separating spouses."

"British Columbia has had pension-division legislation in force since July 1995. It has generally worked well, fulfilling its purpose to provide British Columbia with a comprehensive and detailed set of rules on pension division, largely sparing the courts from having to settle, in litigation, issues that call for specialized expertise. Part of the success of this legislation can be attributed to the fact that it has been regularly reviewed and improved, to keep pace with developments in family and pension law."

"The latest version of British Columbia’s pension-division legislation is found in part 6 of the Family Law Act. This legislation has been in force since March 2013. There have been some significant developments in family and pension law since that time. The time is ripe for another review of pension-division legislation."

"This report contains that review. It has found that the legislation is still working well in general. But specific areas can be improved. These improvements are set out in the report’s 25 recommendations for reform."

The recommendations deals with issues such as the death of a spouse; waiving survivor benefits after pension commencement; commuted value: disability benefits; locked-in retirement accounts and life income funds; private annuities; and administrative fees.

More details about the Pension Division Review Project are available on the BCLI website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:49 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 22, 2021

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Member Research Tips Turned Into E-Book

Susannah Tredwell, a member of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries who is the Manager of Library Services at DLA Piper Canada in Vancouver, has been a regular contributor to SlawTips for years.

SlawTips, published on the legal website, are intended to be small nuggets of useful information that can be about legal research, technology or writing.

CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, recently published a selection of Susannah's research tips in the form of an e-book.


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:40 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Measuring the Impact of Legal Research

Alisa Lazear published an article about Measuring the Impact of Legal Research on a few days ago.

In it, she discusses how various disciplines have developed meaningful ways to measure the impact of research and whether law needs its own domain-specific metrics:

"It can be a challenge to assess the many ways research makes an impact and filter it down into a single number. Beyond impact, you can also look at engagement, influence, content quality over time, author productivity… There are many programs and calculations to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. "

"But how helpful are they for legal researchers? (...)"

"What does 'impact' in law mean? For a legal researcher who wrote a paper that is cited in a high profile Supreme Court case, this one citation can be seen as a significant impact. Or perhaps it is the impact of a widely-viewed blog or Twitter account of a legal scholar. Or perhaps it is the impact of a law professor who is actively participating in legal work for the wider community."

"Without developing tools with an understanding of some of the unique aspects of legal publishing and what research impact means in law, legal researchers could be left to use measurements of impact that weren’t designed for them."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:43 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

REALM Project Literature Review on Survival of COVID-19 Virus on Library Materials

The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project has been testing how long the virus that causes COVID-19 remains detectable on various library surfaces and materials.

It recently published a systematic literature review of current research on how the virus spreads, its survival on materials and surfaces, and the effectiveness of various prevention and decontamination measures.

It has also published a series of toolkits to help libraries with reopening plans and protect public health.

REALM is a collaboration between OCLC, an international library services cooperative, the US government agency Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle, an R&D organization.

Further details and results from previous tests are available on the OCLC REALM Project website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:01 pm 0 comments

Monday, March 15, 2021

Report on Impact of Supreme Court of Canada Pintea v Johns Decision About Self-Represented Litigants

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has published a new report entitled Pintea v Johns: An Updated Commentary.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision Pintea v. Johns, 2017 SCC 23 recognized the many difficulties experienced by those with less knowledge and experience of the legal system. 

It also exhorting courts to apply the Canadian Judicial Council's Statement of Principles on Self-Represented Litigants and Accused Persons to ensure that self-represented litigants can meaningfully participate in court processes. 

In the report, Anjanee Naidu and Julie Macfarlane track the trends in decisions citing Pintea to see how it has been followed in Canadian courts.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:32 pm 0 comments

Law Commission of Ontario Report on Legal Issues and Government AI Development

 The Law Commission of Ontario has published a report from a workshop organized with the Ontario government on the topic of Legal Issues and Government AI Development:

"Government interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making (ADM) systems is growing rapidly. This is because AI and ADM have tremendous potential to transform government decision-making and public services (...)"

"(...) in the US, AI and ADM tools are currently being used to assist government operations 'across the full range of governance tasks', including:

  • Enforcing regulatory mandates centred on market efficiency, workplace safety, health care, and environmental protection;
  • Adjudicating government benefits, from disability benefits to intellectual property rights;Monitoring and analyzing risks to public health and safety;
  • Extracting useable information from the government’s massive data streams, from consumer complaints to weather patterns; and
  • Communicating with the public about its rights and obligations as welfare beneficiaries, taxpayers, asylum seekers, and business owners."

"However, along with great potential is great concern. Many government AI and ADM systems are criticized due to serious concerns about racial bias, lack of transparency and legal accountability, data issues and inadequate public engagement."

"In many instances, AI and/or ADM systems are being used to either make or assist government decisions that impact individual rights, interests and obligations. For example, AI and ADM systems are currently being used by many governments to determine government benefits, immigration eligibility, assess the risk of child abuse, identify individuals likely to be criminals and prioritize access to housing, to name a few examples. As a result, justice system stakeholders in Canada and elsewhere are analyzing the legal principles, statutory rules and constitutional requirements that arise when government decision-making is assisted by machines (...)"

"The need to address these issues prompted the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) and the Ontario Digital Service (ODS) to bring together Government of Ontario lawyers, policymakers, operational managers and technology experts with Law Commission counsel and advisors for an informal and collaborative discussion about artificial intelligence, automated decision-making and the law."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:22 pm 0 comments

Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 2021 Issue of In Session - E-Newsletter of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The March 2021 issue of In Session is available online. 

It is the monthly e-newsletter of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) and contains news from CALL committees and special interest groups, member updates and events.

In the current issue, there is news about:

  • the CALL 2021 Conference
  • the association's mentorship program
  • research grants
  • deadlines for CALL scholarships and awards
  • an April Zoom meeting about non-traditional jobs
  • another April meetup organized by the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Group on how to effectively communicate with lawyers, students, and staff
  • presentations from Government Information Day 2020 Program

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

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Singapore Academy of Law Report on Criminal Liability, Robotics and AI Systems

The Singapore Academy of Law's  Law Reform Committee (LRC) recently published a report on Criminal Liability, Robotics and AI Systems:

"Those systems are in turn being used – in commercial, military, consumer and other contexts – to enhance humans’ ability to carry out tasks, or to replace humans altogether. From self-driving cars and robotic carers, to autonomous weapons and automated financial trading systems, robotic and other data-driven AI systems are increasingly becoming the cornerstones of our economies and our daily lives. Increased automation promises significant societal benefits. Yet, as ever more processes are carried out without the involvement of a ‘human actor’, the focus turns to how those robots and other autonomous systems operate, how they ‘learn’, and the data on which they base their decisions to act (...)"

"Having considered current Singapore law, as well as legal and policy developments in other parts of the world, the LRC is now publishing a series of reports addressing discrete legal issues arising in an AI context."

"There is currently much work being undertaken at a national and international level in this field. Domestically, the Singapore Government has published the second edition of its Model AI Governance Framework and launched a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy to reap the benefits of systematic and extensive application of new technologies. The LRC hopes that its reports will complement and contribute to these efforts and help Singapore law – through legislation or ‘soft law’ – to develop in a way that fosters socially and economically beneficial development and use of robotic and AI-driven technologies."

"The series does not purport to offer comprehensive solutions to the many issues raised. The LRC hopes, however, that it will stimulate systematic thought and debate on these issues by policy makers, legislators, industry, the legal profession and the public."

Recent Library Boy posts on artificial intelligence include:

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

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Library of Congress Hispanic Division Country Guides

The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. runs a blog called 4 Corners of the World to highlight its international collections.

A recent post explains The Origins of the Hispanic Division Country Guides:

"The Library of Congress has published many research guides and finding aids over the years, both in physical and electronic formats. The current research guides aim to provide online access to materials that engage, inspire and inform Congress and the American people. In the Hispanic Division, we are responsible for managing reference services and recommending acquisitions related to the Caribbean, the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, as well as Spanish and Portuguese heritage communities in other areas like the U.S., the Spanish Philippines, the Marianas Islands, Portuguese Asia, and Spanish and Portuguese Africa – a big slice of the world. With these new online research guides, we saw an opportunity to focus attention on the regions we serve by developing country-specific guides."

Country guides cover legal resources. Here is the example of the guide for Mexico.


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

Monday, March 01, 2021

March/April 2021 Issue of AALL Spectrum

The March/April 2021 issue of AALL Spectrum is now available online.

It is a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Among the articles:

  • Using Social Styles in the Time of Social Distancing
  • Bridging the Gap Between Public Libraries & Law Libraries to Improve Access to Justice
  • Ask A Director (about how COVID-19 has impacted training)
  • On the Ground: Real-World Solutions (writing letters of recommendation)
  • COVID-19: How Did Your Staff Respond to the Pandemic?

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:01 pm 0 comments