Thursday, August 31, 2023

Implications of AI Policies for Libraries

The IFLA Journal has just published an article on AI policies across the globe: Implications and recommendations for libraries that analyzes how libraries might be affected by the artificial intelligence policies of the USA, UK, European Union, Canada, and China:

IFLA Journal home page

"As artificial intelligence revolutionizes library operations, it presents complex challenges, such as ethical dilemmas, data privacy concerns, and equitable access issues. The article highlights key themes in these policies, including ethics, transparency, the balance between innovation and regulation, and data privacy. It also identifies areas for improvement, such as the need for specific guidelines on mitigating biases in artificial intelligence systems and navigating data privacy issues. The article further provides practical recommendations for libraries to engage with these policies and develop best practices for artificial intelligence use. The study underscores the need for libraries to not only adapt to these policies but also actively engage with them, contributing to the development of more comprehensive and effective artificial intelligence governance."

The author is Leo S Lo, College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences, University of New Mexico.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Recent Library of Parliament Legislative Summaries

This past summer, the Library of Parliament in Ottawa published a number of legislative summaries of important federal bills.

Among them are:

  • Legislative Summary of Bill C-9: An Act to amend the Judges Act: "By replacing the existing complaints process regarding alleged misconduct with a new system, Bill C‑9 changes how complaints against federally appointed judges are handled. The existing process was established in 1971 under the Judges Act, which defines the criteria for removing a judge from office and prescribes certain other requirements; procedural elements of the complaints process are largely set out in Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) policy documents and by‑laws."
  • Legislative Summary of Bill C-228: An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985: "The bill amends the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to ensure that claims in relation to shortfalls in defined-benefit pension plans are paid in priority in the event that an employer becomes insolvent. It also amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 (PBSA) to provide for the tabling of an annual report regarding the solvency of pension plans regulated under that statute."
  • Legislative Summary of Bill S-4: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (COVID-19 response and other measures): "Bill S‑4 aims to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of the criminal justice system in response to the challenges posed by the COVID‑19 pandemic. According to the federal government, it will give courts increased flexibility in how they hold criminal proceedings and issue orders. In particular, the bill:

    - allows law enforcement officers to obtain warrants by telecommunication (i.e., 'telewarrants') in a wider range of circumstances;
    - clarifies and broadens the circumstances under which accused individuals, offenders and others involved in criminal proceedings may appear by audioconference or videoconference;
    - permits prospective jurors to appear by videoconference during the jury selection process and provides for jury selection via electronic or other automated means;
    - allows courts to compel the attendance of an accused or offender for fingerprinting or other identification measures in certain additional circumstances;
    - removes restrictions on the development of case management rules for accused individuals not represented by counsel (...)"

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Upcoming Webinar on Artificial Intelligence Prompt Engineering for Librarians

The Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, is hosting a webinar on September 19 entitled CLEARer Dialogues with AI: Unpacking Prompt Engineering for Librarians:

"As we navigate an era where generative artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping information discovery and interaction, it’s more crucial than ever for librarians to grasp the intricacies of AI-assisted interactions. In this webinar, we explore the importance of prompt engineering—a skill pivotal for optimizing AI interactions. This session offers unique insights into how librarians can leverage AI more effectively, enhancing their capacity to support research, instruction, and user engagement (...)"

"We’ll delve into the broader implications of AI and prompt engineering on future library practices, including potential changes in information literacy instruction, research assistance, and content curation."

The speaker will be  Leo S. Lo, Dean and Professor, College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences, University of New Mexico.


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Monday, August 28, 2023

Policy Options Article on Canadians' Confidence in the Judicial System

Policy Options, a publication of the research organization Institute for Research on Public Policy, has published an article on the possible reasons why Canadians' confidence in the country's judicial system might be growing a little shakier, though the overall situation is still quite good:

"Not surprisingly, Canadian citizens have expressed greater confidence than Americans in their respective supreme courts. The Canadian judiciary lacks the overt American partisanship in its appointment process, sparing it much of the acrimony that plagues the careers of U.S. justices."

"Furthermore, despite some general assessments of the ideological bent of Canadian judges, there is little evidence that the Canadian bench is politically or ideologically polarized in the same way that the U.S. Supreme Court is."

"Still, many features of Canada’s judicial system are far from satisfactory. The legal process has long been assessed (by the chief justice, no less) as being costly, inefficient and lengthy (...)"

"Could the combination of costs, inaccessibility and the influence of the headlines about courts south of the border culminate in a decline in support for Canadian courts?"

The article looks at differences in attitudes according to factors such as education, contact with the court system, gender, voting behaviour and general political value outlook.

On a quite positive note, the article does conclude:

"It’s not all bad news for Canada’s courts. When faced with the decision about whom they trust more on rights-based matters, Canadians appear to hold the courts in higher regard than the government."  

"Data from the Canadian Election study shows relative durability in support for the courts having the final say on matters concerning the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Consistently over time, 60 per cent or more declared a preference for the courts."

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Canadian Library Assessment Workshop Coming in October

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and Western Libraries are hosting the Canadian Library Assessment Workshop which will take place in in London, Ontario from October 23 – 25, 2023:

"The theme of this year’s event is assessment in a time of change, and it will focus on how assessment practices have evolved through a period of rapid, continuous change marked by numerous social disruptions, including the COVID-19 pandemic."

"This event will be of interest to all academic and research libraries engaged in assessment. You do not need to be an assessment professional to attend and we welcome new practitioners and colleagues from non-CARL libraries."

You can find the program on the conference website

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Library of Parliament Summary of Artificial Intelligence Research in Canada

I just came across a text from the Library of Parliament from March 2023 on The State of Artificial Intelligence Research in Canada.

The article looks at:

  • federal government support for AI research
  • legislation and frameworks for AI governance
  • the role of Parliament
  • policy areas that may be impacted by AI

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Article on Legal Needs Research in Canada

Lisa Moore, the director of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, has written an article on that argues for the need for more empirical research into Canadians' legal needs. This is research into people’s legal problem experiences, as well into their engagement with the formal and informal legal systems:

"To date there have been five national legal needs surveys in Canada. The first survey, almost 20 years ago, includes responses from more than 4,500 low- and moderate-income Canadians related to 15 legal problem categories and 76 specific problems (...)  Most recently–in 2021– Statistics Canada engaged the largest number of respondents of Canada’s national legal needs surveys, with a sample size of 21,720 adults across the 10 provinces."

"Each survey builds on the previous version, with new legal problem categories, more modern data collection methods (landline only, landline and cell phone and, recently, online and telephone) and problem types and questions that reflect shifting understandings of complex legal problems and access to justice. Nonetheless, this collection of surveys, spanning almost 20 years and following a similar legal needs research survey design, represents one of Canada’s most robust exercises in longitudinal socio-legal research. These surveys provide evidence of changes in Canada’s legal problems landscape over time and identify areas where justice gaps persist. 'You can’t improve what you don’t measure,' and if we are to achieve equal access to justice for all, it is necessary to have an evidence base from which to understand the extent of our justice problems and, further, research that provides detailed insights on our progress, or decline."



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Monday, August 21, 2023

British Columbia Law Institute Primers on Indigenous Law

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) has published two primers that provide information on the province's adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

They are:

  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act: "The 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act requires all laws in British Columbia to be brought into alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The BCLI has launched its Reconciling Crown Legal Frameworks Program to support the research and innovations required to implement this legislation. This is the first of a series of primers designed to provide information about some of the law reform issues related to this legislation."
  • Indigenous Laws: "Bringing BC laws into alignment with the UN Declaration requires an  understanding of Indigenous law. Crown governments, courts, lawyers, and members of the public will increasingly be expected to understand the content and meaning of Indigenous law as the Declaration Act is implemented.  ‘Indigenous laws’ are the principles and processes that Indigenous Peoples and communities use and have  always used to govern themselves. While it is often used interchangeably with ‘Aboriginal law’ (which is  Canadian law about Indigenous issues), it is distinct, and should be understood as deriving from  Indigenous Peoples’ societies and histories."

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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Law Library of Congress Report on Safety and Security of Artificial Intelligence Systems

The Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. has published a new report on the Safety and security of artificial intelligence systems:

"This report surveys the safety and security of artificial intelligence systems (AI systems) in five selected jurisdictions, namely Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (UK), and the European Union (EU)."

"The use of AI has increased exponentially and is permeating every aspect of our lives, from personal to professional. While it can be used in many positive ways to solve global challenges, there are also security risks to be considered, such as fundamental rights infringements, personal data security, and harmful uses. The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) has identified three dimensions to the relationship between cybersecurity and AI. First, there is the cybersecurity of AI, meaning a lack of robustness and the vulnerabilities of AI models and algorithms. Second, AI can also support cybersecurity when it is used as a tool or means to create advanced cybersecurity, such as by developing more effective security controls and by facilitating the efforts of law enforcement and other public authorities to respond to cybercrime. Lastly, there is the malicious use of AI, meaning when AI is used in a harmful, malicious, or adversarial way to create more sophisticated types of attacks. This report focuses on the first dimension."

"In order to ensure that AI systems are used to benefit society, jurisdictions around the world are looking into ways to regulate AI. Whereas the EU intends to adopt its legislative proposal for a specific Artificial Intelligence Act (draft AI Act) by the end of 2023 and the Canadian government introduced an Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) in June 2022, other surveyed jurisdictions have not yet advanced similar legislation. Both Australia and New Zealand do not currently have laws or proposed specific laws related to AI. However, a May 2023 discussion paper published by the Australian government seeks public feedback on possible policy and regulatory responses to AI, including the adoption of a risk-based approach similar to the EU draft AI Act. Likewise, the UK has not passed AI-specific legislation and does not intend to do so currently, but might at a later stage 'enhance regulatory powers, ensure regulatory coordination, or create new institutional architecture.' Currently, there are 18 legal frameworks containing over 50 pieces of legislation that touch upon AI in the UK."

 The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2 and a half million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

Over the years, it has published dozens of comparative law reports which are a treasure trove for legal research on a huge variety of issues.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:45 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Importance of Narrative on Library Websites

Library researcher Lorcan Dempsey, who used to work for the international library technology and research organization OCLC, has written about an emerging trend he calls the "narrative website":

He documents how some libraries have been using their websites to tell a story about how they provide services throughout the lifecycles of research, learning and civic engagement for their various users:

"A challenge for the library is that its identity and perceived value is still very much bound up with the collections-based library. Which in turn entails a rather static, external view of information."

"This gap in perception highlights the critical importance of storytelling about the library, its developing role and its positioning. The library's strategy, for example, is an important opportunity to tell stakeholders – staff, users, and funders – the library story. By story here, I am meaning a communicated awareness of what it sees as important to it, in terms of direction, understanding of user needs, inclusivness. In fact, this seems a rather important strategic emphasis. This is not straightforward, as traditional views of the library are very entrenched (...)"

"There is now an advantage in contextualising and describing more of what the library does, more actively motivating and promoting its services, and considering modern design and layout as part of storytelling intent, to draw in users. I have been interested to see signs of a shift towards this more integrated website narrative, mapping user needs and telling a more holistic story about what the library does and can do. We are seeing a trend to the narrative website."

 Dempsey highlights 3 institutions, one of which is the University of Ottawa Library.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Law Librarian Opinions About Dealing With Generative AI in Legal Research & Writing Classes

Hannah Rosborough, Instruction & Scholarly Communications Librarian at the Sir James Dunn Law Library, Dalhousie University (Halifax), has written an article for that looks at how the issues surrounding generative artificial intelligence are addressed in the law classroom:

"Many legal information professionals have valid concerns about how generative AI’s application in legal research may impact the integrity of the profession. Meanwhile, social media (e.g., LinkedIn and Twitter) is flooded with legal tech companies’ commentary on how it can be harnessed to streamline legal research, improving efficiency and productivity. I reached out to several colleagues to hear their thoughts and ideas on how to address this contentious topic in their legal research classrooms."

She has asked for opinions from:

  • Annette Demers, Reference Librarian at the Paul Martin Law Library, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
  • Marcelo Rodriguez, Assistant Librarian & Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian at the Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library, University of Arizona
  • Dominique Garingan, Sessional Instructor, University of Calgary Faculty of Law
  • Matthew Renaud, Law Librarian, E.K. Williams Law Library, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023

August 2023 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The August 2023 issue of In Session has been published. 

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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Monday, August 14, 2023

Canadian Federation of Library Associations Statement on Copyright Myths

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) has published a statement that takes issue with misinformation that targets the library community with regards to the fair dealing exceptions in Canadian copyright legislation.

Fair dealing is an exception allowed under the Copyright Act. It allows use of limited portions of a copyright protected work without permission or payment of copyright royalties for purposes such as  research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting.

As the CFLA writes:

"Libraries purchase access to content including books, periodicals, and data and pay publishers hundreds of millions of dollars each year to provide students with digital access to these works. Libraries and librarians support education in colleges and universities across Canada and they support authors through their purchases."

"That important message is being drowned out by the barrage of accusations from author groups and publisher organizations that libraries are threatening the economic viability of authors. Nothing could be further from the truth."

"Those hundreds of millions of dollars in access and subscription fees, paid by libraries, should be going to authors of the licensed works. Copyright is not part of that transaction and tweaking the Copyright Act won’t change the economic plight of Canadian authors."

"The Copyright Act primarily protects the rights of authors and other rights holders. Some of these  rightsholders are complaining about a  sliver of balance which offers limited rights to the users of the works. Long included in legislation, and affirmed by our highest court, that sliver reflects the public interest in copyright – so that people, individuals, students, can make use of a work for a very limited number of purposes, including research, criticism, review, parody, education, and news reporting."

"For more than a decade, the education sector and their libraries have been the target of unfounded claims of harming authors’ incomes — despite being among the largest purchasers of Canadian literary works. These attacks center around changes to the Copyright Act in 2012, which added the term 'education' to the list of allowable purposes for fair dealing. The attackers also oppose the right of post-secondary institutions to manage their copyright obligations without a contractual intermediary that forces students to pay for the right to photocopy course materials they never use and to pay twice for course materials they do."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm 0 comments

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Call for Proposals for Government Information Day(s) 2023

The Ontario Council of University Libraries - Government Information Community (OCUL-GIC) will be hosting this year’s virtual “Government Information Day(s), 2023” in December 2023.

It has sent out a call for presentation proposals and/or suggestions for speakers, from anyone interested in government information.  

Topics can be on any topic related to government information, from any jurisdiction, Canadian or international. The organizers are looking for lightning talks, presentations, panel discussions, workshops, training sessions, etc.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is October 16, 2023

The content from the 2022 event is available online for those who are interested.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Most Recent Issue of the Law Library Journal

The most recent issue of the Law Library Journal is available online. It is published by the American Association of Law Libraries.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Summer 2023 Newsletter

The non-profit Canadian Forum on Access to Justice (CFCJ) publishes a regular newsletter on access to justice issues.

The latest issue includes news about:

  • access to justice in rural areas
  • the recent World Justice Project that offers country-level analysis of access to justice issues
  • and more

The CFCJ is a national non-profit organization that works to advance civil justice reform through research and advocacy.


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Monday, August 07, 2023

British Columbia Law Institute Consultation Paper on Artificial Intelligence and Civil Liability

The British Columbia Law Institute, an organization that works on  law reform issues in that province, has issued a Consultation Paper on Artificial Intelligence and Civil Liability.

From the project overview:

"The goal of the Artificial Intelligence and Civil Liability Project is to determine how the rules of tort law need to adapt to respond to harm to persons and property caused by autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The project sets out to answer: Who is, or should be, liable for choices made by intelligent machines operating autonomously? What happens when a robot commits a tort?"

"AI systems are extensively used in all facets of society, including speech recognition, translation, machine vision, image recognition and analysis. They are used in medical diagnostics, law enforcement, financial systems, robotics, and the administration of justice, to name a few. These systems operate with varying degrees of autonomy, relying on machine learning to assess and react to new situations, bringing with them great benefits in efficiency and convenience."

"While the capabilities of AI do exceed those of humans in certain areas, they have been described as 'unpredictable by design': when an AI system makes a mistake, it generally does so in ways that differ from human error. This raises difficult legal and policy issues surrounding the liability for damage caused by AI errors, and how far liability should extend without stifling technological innovation."

"Conducted with the aid of an interdisciplinary expert committee, this project will generate recommendations for legislative reform in existing tort law to address difficult issues in applying tort principles of fault, causation, and foreseeability when AI systems make decisions that unintentionally cause harm to persons and property."

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Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Study on Copyright Anxiety in the Canadian Higher Education Sector

Amanda Wakaruk, Copyright and Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Alberta, is helping to lead a study on the topic of Copyright Anxiety in the Canadian Higher Education Sector.

To participate, people can access an online survey. The survey closes on August 11, 2023:

"The aim of this research is to explore levels of copyright anxiety across the Canadian higher education sector, and determine the extent to which copyright law inhibits innovative research and teaching practice. The research will compare Canadian responses with those in the United Kingdom to investigate the extent to which legal and cultural differences impact copyright anxiety as a phenomenon."

"By completing this 26-question survey, you are consenting to participate in this study. This should take about 5-10 minutes. At any time during the study you can withdraw by simply closing the form before submitting your responses.  Submission of this survey will indicate your consent."

The research is being conducted in collaboration with City University of London and the University of Oxford.

There is more information available on the project website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:17 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Blog Post on Copyright in Court Judgments

The blog of the International Association of Law Libraries has published an interesting post called Copyright in Court Judgments?

It looks at the copyright status of court judgments in a number of common law countries:

"At the High Court of Australia, we are often asked (usually by academics) about using the court’s judgments for various research purposes.  Even though these judgments are freely available on sites such as AustLII and JADE, academics often seek our permission before using them, because they believe the court holds the copyright over its judgments.  I was not sure if this was true, which caused me to research whether there is copyright in court judgments.  And if copyright applies, who holds the copyright?"

"The are no simple answers to these questions in Australia.  So, I decided to expand my research to other common law countries such the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada.  Below is my preliminary attempt at comparing how court judgments are treated by copyright laws in these various jurisdictions.  First though, let’s start with a bit of history."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:16 pm 0 comments