Thursday, August 25, 2022

OCLC Launches Redesigned WorldCat Catalogue

OCLC, an international library technology and research organization based in the United States, has launched a revamped WorldCat.

WorldCat helps people explore the collections of thousands of libraries worldwide in a single search. The tool is used by many librarians, in particular for the purposes of inter-library loans.

The redesign is optimized for mobile devices and highlights resources from institutions closest to the searcher.

More information can be found in the press release.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:13 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Congressional Research Service Explanation of the Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant

This is a follow-up to the August 16, 2022 blog post Congressional Research Reports on Protection of Classified Information about the seizure by the F.B.I. of top secret files at the Florida residence of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C. has published what it calls a Legal Sidebar on The Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant: A Legal Introduction:

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida (...) The warrant authorized government officials to seize all 'documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation' of three federal statutes ... In addition to the warrant itself and its attachments, the court unsealed other material related to the search, including the cover sheet to the warrant application and an inventory of property seized. Proceedings are underway to unseal a redacted version of the affidavit supporting the warrant, and former President Trump filed a motion asking the court, among other things, to appoint a special master to oversee the government’s handling of the seized material."

"This Sidebar describes the process for and implications of obtaining a search warrant. It then examines the criminal offenses identified in the Mar-a-Lago warrant. Finally, this Sidebar analyzes presidential authority to declassify documents and the role of declassification for the crimes at issue."

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Tuesday, August 23, 2022

August 2022 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The August 2022 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.

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Thursday, August 18, 2022 Article on Researching Foreign and International Current Events

Marcelo Rodríguez, the Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian at the University of Arizona Law School in Tucson, Arizona, has published a post on entitled Researching Foreign and International Current Events that describes how he created a monthly series on how to find relevant sources on rapidly evolving events in a foreign country or internationally:

"In this monthly series, I strive to give readers a summary with all the known and relevant information on what’s currently happening, some analysis from experts, and most importantly for the researchers, I also include at least three academic articles which help connect the situation on the ground to larger conversations and trends (...)"

"In this post, I will mention a few crucial steps that I take in order to come up with a successful research strategy. Similarly to what I do in my legal research classes, I’m not going to enumerate a list of websites and hope the researcher finds their way. If you do that, a lot of the time, they’re left with websites which are not updated, don’t work or with a list of broken links taking you nowhere. Therefore, I will talk briefly about the initial steps I take when building a research strategy that has worked for me and also the limitations to this type of research requests that we should all be aware of."

His series is called Through the FCIL Lens.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

How To Make Conferences Truly Inclusive

The journal PLoS Computational Biology recently published an article on Ten simple rules to host an inclusive conference:

"Conferences are spaces to meet and network within and across academic and technical fields, learn about new advances, and share our work. They can help define career paths and create long-lasting collaborations and opportunities. However, these opportunities are not equal for all. This article introduces 10 simple rules to host an inclusive conference based on the authors’ recent experience organizing the 2021 edition of the useR! statistical computing conference, which attracted a broad range of participants from academia, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector. Coming from different backgrounds, career stages, and even continents, we embraced the challenge of organizing a high-quality virtual conference in the context of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and making it a kind, inclusive, and accessible experience for as many people as possible. The rules result from our lessons learned before, during, and after the organization of the conference. They have been written mainly for potential organizers and selection committees of conferences and contain multiple practical tips to help a variety of events become more accessible and inclusive (...)"

"Rule 1 is about setting a vision of diversity and inclusion that should guide all the efforts and decision-making in the organization. Rule 2 focuses on how to create a safe and welcoming environment for all the attendees. Rule 3 highlights the importance of starting with an inclusive and diverse organizing team and provides tips on work dynamics. The design rules focus on weaving inclusion into the conference design process. In Rule 4, we introduce multiple ways to counteract bias in the conference program (keynotes, program committee, abstract selection, and thematic sessions). Rule 5 provides advice for designing an inclusive online component in virtual and hybrid conferences. Rule 6 focuses on accessibility practices to include people with disabilities. In Rule 7, we provide suggestions to account for linguistic diversity. Rule 8 offers tips for developing an inclusive communication strategy. In Rule 9, we address budgeting for inclusive practices and helping participants with affordable registration costs, scholarships, and other forms of financial support. Finally, Rule 10, the continuity rule, emphasizes the importance of self-assessment and advocates for making the conference part of a long-term commitment to inclusion and for passing the torch to future organizers."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:12 pm 0 comments

Article on the Death of the Intranet and How to Make It Relevant

The UK website Legal Geek has published an article entitled The intranet is dead!? Long live in the intranet!?

"The Covid pandemic threw into sharp focus how firms communicate with their employees and we started to embrace informal communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Yammer in earnest in our quest to remain connected through the enforced separations of the lockdowns. With this development in communication channels, businesses have been given the opportunity to reflect on whether they really need their more formal, stuffier intranets. Keeping your intranet fresh and well-maintained takes resource so it might be tempting to wonder whether you could leave the intranet throne empty ... and live without it. Especially where there is a time-consuming and potentially expensive move to a cloud-based system on the horizon for many firms. This piece sets out some questions to ponder if you are grappling with this conundrum."

It is written by  Jenni Tellyn, a consultant in the areas of knowledge management and legal tech strategy.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Congressional Research Reports on Protection of Classified Information

In the wake of last week's seizure by the F.B.I. of top secret files at the Florida residence of former U.S. President Donald Trump, the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C. has updated a few of its reports on the topic of classified information and presidential powers.

The New York Times also featured an article on August 14 entitled Presidential Power to Declassify Information, Explained (may require password): "Former President Donald Trump’s claim that he had declassified all of the documents that the FBI seized in the search of his Florida home last week — including those marked as top secret — has heightened interest in the scope of a president’s power to declassify information. On Friday, Trump’s office claimed that when he was president, he had a 'standing order' that materials 'removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them,' (...) Apart from whether there is any evidence that such an order actually existed, the notion has been greeted with disdain by national security legal specialists."

And Politico on August 15 published an article entitled Why Donald Trump’s declassification claim might not be that outlandish: "Nearly 20 years ago, Justice Department prosecutors wrestled with the vexing question of whether President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney could unilaterally authorize Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby to leak to select journalists the key findings of a then-highly-classified intelligence community-wide report on Iraq’s efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction (...) One problem for Trump is that he’s no longer president and his possession of tangible copies of apparently sensitive national security records implicated a host of potential legal concerns. And, as in Libby’s case, there are other charges that could be brought against Trump besides those dealing with classified information. But the episode from the aftermath of the Iraq invasion in 2003 highlights the difficulty in pursuing prosecutions of classified information in cases that have direct links to the Oval Office."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:50 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report on the Law of Partition and Sale

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission Report has published a report on The Law of Partition and Sale:

"Partition refers to the act of physically dividing the land between co-owners resulting in each owner owning a portion of the land outright. An order of sale requires that the co-owned land be sold and the proceeds of the sale be divided among the former co-owners (...)"

"Among other recommendations, the Commission recommends that the statute should broadly define the class of persons who may bring an application for partition or sale as joint tenants and tenants in common of an estate or interest in land but should exclude from the class certain co-owners. It is also recommended that the relevant sections of the Act be amended to expressly apply to estates and interests that are solely legal or equitable as well as to estates and interests that are both legal and equitable in nature. Additionally, the statutory law should provide clearer guidance on the information required in a notice of application for partition and sale and should be amended to reflect the societal shift resulting in a preference for orders of sale over partition. Finally, the Commission recommends that the terminology used in the Act should be modernized."

In compiling its report, the Commission examined the relevant laws of other provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:20 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Emerging Models for In-Person and Hybrid Conferences

Ithaka S+R, a U.S. research service that offers consulting services to libraries, scholarly societies, and universities, recently published a blog post about The Many Faces of Meetings - A Taxonomy of Emerging Models for In-Person and Hybrid Conferences:

"The pandemic has made it clear that virtual meetings are not only possible, but make conferences more accessible to a broader, and more diverse audience. At the same time, the pandemic has clarified the unique value that in-person meetings offer due to their capacity to leverage physical proximity to promote social engagement, networking, and serendipitous interaction that foster the generation of new ideas. As organizers begin to shift their focus away from the necessarily reactive thinking that has dominated conference planning over the past three years towards strategic thinking about the long-term lessons of pandemic era experimentation with conference formats and modalities, one core question is how to create conferences that combine the most valuable features of in-person and virtual meetings (...)"

"One early area of consensus: the future of scholarly meetings will feature in-person meetings. What is less clear is what those meetings will look like."

The blog post describes the organization's typology of meeting types that combine in-person gatherings and hybrid and virtual meetings:

  • Hub and Spoke
  • Distributed
  • Parallel
  • Multidisciplinary Topical Summits
  • Seminars
  • Fully Hybrid Model
  • Fully In-Person Meetings


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

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Library Initiatives to Change Terms Describing Indigenous People

The Conversation, a website that seeks to share news from the academic and research communities with the general public, published an article last week on how Libraries in the U.S. and Canada are changing how they refer to Indigenous Peoples:

"The two largest agencies responsible for the language we use to discover books in libraries in North America — the Library of Congress in the United States, and Library and Archives Canada — are changing how they refer to Indigenous Peoples."

"Recently, the Library of Congress announced that by September 2022 a project would be underway to revise terms that refer to Indigenous Peoples."

"Beginning in 2019, Library and Archives Canada made changes within Canadian subject headings, starting with replacing outdated terminology with 'Indigenous peoples' and 'First Nations,' and adding terms that specify Métis and other specific nations and peoples."

The article describes these and other initiatives to modernize the often awkward and outdated terminology, and touches on some of the limitations of these approaches.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:05 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 04, 2022

New Statistics Canada Article on Crime Statistics

The Statistics Canada publication Juristat published an article earlier this week on Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2021.

Among the highlights:

  • At 5,375 incidents per 100,000 population, the police-reported crime rate—which measures the volume of crime—increased 1% in 2021, following a 9% decrease in 2020. In 2021, the violent crime rate increased 5%, while the property crime rate decreased 1%. Following a large decrease in 2020, the property crime rate was the lowest it has been dating back to 1965.
  • Police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), remained stable, changing from 73.9 in 2020 to 73.7 in 2021. This follows a 7% drop in the CSI in 2020, the first after 5 years of increases. The stability in the overall CSI was the result of increases in violent crime and continued decreases in non-violent crime. The CSI measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada, and it has a base index value of 100 for 2006.
  • The Violent CSI rose 5% in 2021, and was higher than in 2019, prior to the pandemic. The increase was primarily driven by a relatively large rise in the rate of level 1 sexual assault (+18%). Various other violent crimes also increased in volume in 2021, however they had a more marginal impact on the CSI. The rise in level 1 sexual assault accounted for 40% of the increase in the Violent CSI. Overall, there were 34,242 police-reported sexual assaults (level 1, 2 and 3), representing 90 incidents per 100,000 population in 2021.
  • The Non-violent CSI—which includes, for example, property offences and drug offences—declined 3%, after a 9% drop in 2020. Much of this decline was due to lower rates of breaking and entering (-10%) and theft of $5,000 or under (-4%).
  • Nationally, there were 788 homicides, 29 more than the previous year. The national homicide rate increased 3% from 2.00 homicides per 100,000 population in 2020, to 2.06 homicides per 100,000 population in 2021. Police-reported 190 Indigenous victims of homicide, 18 fewer than in 2020. Despite the decrease, the rate of homicide for Indigenous peoples (9.17 per 100,000 population) was approximately 6 times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous people (1.55 per 100,000 population). The rate of homicide for individuals identified by police as persons of a group designated as racialized increased 34% in 2021 to 2.51 homicides per 100,000 population. This rate was higher than for victims identified as belonging to the rest of the population (1.81 homicides per 100,000 population).
  • The number of police-reported hate crimes increased 27% to 3,360 incidents in 2021. Compared with 2019, hate crimes have increased 72% over the last two years. More hate crimes targeting religion (+67%) (including Jewish, Muslim and Catholic) and sexual orientation (+64%) accounted for most of the national change, along with more incidents targeting race or ethnicity (+6%).

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Podcast Interview with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Mahmud Jamal

The most recent episode of Conversations with the President, a podcast by Canadian Bar Association President President Stephen Rotstein, is a feature interview with Supreme Court of Canada Justice Mahmud Jamal.

They discuss role models, pro bono legal volunteering, and mental health in the legal profession.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:04 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

English Law Commission Consultation Paper on Digital Assets

The Law Commission of England and Wales has released a consultation paper that looks at proposed changes relating to digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.

From the project description page:

"Digital assets are increasingly important in modern society. They are used for an expanding variety of purposes — including as valuable things in themselves, as a means of payment, or to represent or be linked to other things or rights — and in growing volumes. Electronic signatures, cryptography, smart contracts, distributed ledgers and associated technology broaden the ways in which digital assets can be created, accessed, used and transferred. Such technological development is set only to continue."

"Some digital assets (including crypto-tokens and cryptoassets) are treated as objects of property by market participants. Property and property rights are vital to modern social, economic and legal systems and should be recognised and protected as such. While the law of England and Wales is flexible enough to accommodate digital assets, our consultation paper argues that certain aspects of the law now need reform. This will ensure that digital assets benefit from consistent legal recognition and protection, in a way that acknowledges the nuanced features of those digital assets."

"Reforming the law to provide legal certainty would lay a strong foundation for the development and adoption of digital assets. It would also incentivise the use of English and Welsh law and the jurisdiction of England and Wales in transactions concerning digital assets."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:35 pm 0 comments

Monday, August 01, 2022

New IFLA Guidelines for Professional LIS Education Programmes

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has released the Guidelines for Professional Library and Information Science (LIS) Education Programmes (adopted in April 2022).

"The development of the Guidelines were informed by the published literature, existing national and international standards, expertise of the BSLISE [Building Strong Library and Information Science Education], and consultation with LIS education and professional stakeholders across the globe (...)"

"The Guidelines serve as a framework for developing LIS education programmes, which stakeholders can apply in planning, developing and assessing the quality of LIS education and identify the knowledge areas LIS professionals should have in order to practice and continue to develop. They have been created to be applicable at any level of higher education. These Guidelines will assist programmes as they continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of their community, as well as allow for greater degrees of mobility of LIS professionals across the globe."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:44 pm 0 comments

LawBytes Podcast on Recent Supreme Court of Canada Copyright Decision

In the most recent LawBytes podcast, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist talks with his colleague Jeremy de Beer about the July 15, 2022 Supreme Court of Canada decision Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Entertainment Software Association, 2022 SCC 30:

"The Supreme Court of Canada’s latest copyright decision – SOCAN v. Entertainment Software Association – affirms yet again that technological neutrality is a foundational element of the law and notably emphasizes that 'copyright law does not exist solely for the benefit of authors.' My colleague Jeremy de Beer was an active participant in the case, writing an expert opinion during the Copyright Board phase of the case which reflects the approach that the court ultimately adopted. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the evolution of music distribution online, this latest case and the court’s commitment to copyright balance, as well as what might come next in the seemingly never-ending battle over Canadian copyright law."

The  Canadian Association of Law Libraries was one of the interveners in the case.

The full decision is available online along with a plain language case summary prepared by the Court.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:25 pm 0 comments