Wednesday, January 31, 2024

2023 Corruption Perceptions Index

The government ethics watchdog group Transparency International has released its 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a survey of perceptions of corruption in hundreds of countries across the globe.

180 countries and territories are ranked by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The scores range from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

More than two-thirds of the countries and territories fell below 50. Most countries have either declined or made no progress in the last decade. 

Rising authoritarianism and the undermining of independent accountability mechanisms and independent justice systems are to blame according to the NGO:

"Justice and the effective rule of law are essential for preventing and stopping corruption at  both the national and international levels. Both are cornerstones of democracy and  embody notions of fairness and accountability. Impunity for corruption – where people who abuse their power do not face consequences for the harm they cause – is the essence of  injustice and failure of the rule of law." 

"There has been a global decline in justice and the rule of law since 2016.  The rise of authoritarianism in some countries contributes to this trend, and even in democratic contexts, the mechanisms that keep governments in check have weakened. Governments across the political spectrum have undermined justice systems, restricted civic freedoms  and relied on non-democratic strategies to address recent challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Against this backdrop, this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) shows that only 28 of the 180 countries measured by this index have improved their corruption levels over the last twelve years, and 34 countries have significantly worsened. Despite progress made across the planet in criminalising corruption and establishing specialised institutions to address it, corruption levels remain stagnant globally."

The least corrupt countries in descending order according to the Index are Denmark, Finland , New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland.

At the other end of the listing, the most corrupt countries are estimated to be Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, North Korea, and Nicaragua.

The Index aggregates data from several different sources to gather perceptions among businesspeople and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector. 

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Statistics Canada Report on Firearms and Violent Crime

A new Statistics Canada article in the publication Juristat looks at the prevalence of firearm-related violent crime in Canada

Recent trends in firearm-related violent crime are presented at the national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area levels as well as for urban and rural regions:

"Firearm-related violent crime represents a small proportion of crimes in Canada, among both police-reported crime and crimes reported by Canadians in victimization surveys. However, firearm-related violent crimes represent a larger share of the most serious crimes—such as homicide, attempted murder, robbery and aggravated assault—and gang-related crime."

"Firearm-related violent crime can have major detrimental impacts on the affected persons and communities. These of course include the physical injuries, often more serious or lethal compared to crimes committed with other types of weapons. Exposure to firearm-related violence is also known to impact mental health (...) These physical injuries and the impacts on mental health can result in significant costs for the healthcare system. In addition, firearm-related crime can adversely affect the perception of crime and safety, particularly because of the extensive media coverage that these incidents sometimes receive. Further, it has been established that an increase in or high level of firearm-related crime can have a negative impact on a community’s economy and well-being (...)"

"As a result, firearm-related violent crime remains a major concern in terms of public safety and justice, and the challenges associated with gun control regularly fuel public debate. Over the past few years, various legislative changes, funding mechanisms, and programs aimed at reducing and preventing this type of crime have been proposed or implemented (...)"

"Using data from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey and the Homicide Survey, this Juristat article examines the latest trends in firearm-related violent crime, as well as certain characteristics of these incidents, the victims and the accused persons."

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Sunday, January 28, 2024

Canadian Bar Association Podcast Episode on AI Use at PricewaterhouseCoopers

The most recent episode of Modern Law, a Canadian Bar Association podcast hosted by Yves Faguy, features a conversation with Amanda Chaboryk and Alex Hawley from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on how their firm incorporates artificial intelligence tools into the organization's work:

"In the field of law, there are several crucial areas where generative AI demonstrates considerable promise – namely in the efficiencies it can create in contract generation, document review, legal research, and predictive analytics. So it’s expected to become an indispensable productivity tool across the legal profession The question then arises: how can this technology be effectively integrated into a legal practice or department? (...)"

"Last year, PwC announced an exclusive partnership with the legal startup Harvey, a platform built on AI technology from OpenAI."

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Another Librarian Profile, This Time From Australia

This is a follow-up to 3 recent posts about profiles of people in the library and information field.

The Australian Law Librarian, the journal published by the Australian Law Librarians' Association, regularly runs profiles of members "down under".

In the December issue of the journal there is a profile of Miz Brmbota, Manager Collections and Reader Experience, Law Library Victoria.  Victoria is a state in southeast Australia. Melbourne is the capital city:

"When did you become a law librarian and what was your first law library job?
I  majored  in  legal  studies  in  my  undergraduate  degree  and  have  always  had  an  interest  in  the  law.  After  I  completed  my  Grad  Dip,  I  applied  for  a  job  at  Middletons  Lawyers  (now  K&L  Gates)  as  a  Research Consultant and got the job. They were looking to get away from terms such as ‘Librarian’ in their job titles, and I got to have this cool job title (so I thought). It was a steep learning curve, but I loved it."

"Getting research queries from the lawyers on obscure topics was exciting. I enjoyed scouring all the legal databases and searching the internet. Some days you found nothing and were totally defeated. Other days were glorious, and you basked in the kudos from the lawyers for having found something they and their teams could not. Everyone at Middletons worked hard, and they celebrated wins pretty hard too. It was a fun time to be there (...)"

"Do you have a favourite library?
The  State  Library  of  Victoria  is  great.  The  La  Trobe  Reading  Room  is  spectacular.  The  Supreme  Court of Victoria Library building is also special. Every time I walk in, I look up at the dome and around at the portraits and think, wow. It was built with gold rush money and is totally ostentatious, with incredible wood panelling and gold ornaments. If you haven’t come in and seen it, you really need to. I know this is all a bit Vic- centric, but if you’re an avid bibliophile and come to Melbourne for a visit, they are both a must see."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:45 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Upcoming Webinar on How to Create a Respectful Land Acknowledgement Statement

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. EST on How to Create a Respectful Land Acknowledgement Statement:
"Understanding and committing to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is an important function of all leaders. Learning the history of land acknowledgements is an important step in the path to reconciliation to help deepen our knowledge of other calls to action and can help to move reconciliation forward. Members will learn how to draft a land acknowledgement that is both thoughtful and aligned to their organization's role in the reconciliation process."

The speaker will be Jaimie Kechego, the Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy Project Coordinator for the Centre for Teaching and Learning. She is Anishnaabwekwe from Deshkaan Ziibing (the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation reserve) located near London, Ontario.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

2024 NELLCO Symposium

NELLCO, an international consortium of law libraries, will be holding a virtual symposium Tuesday, March 19 - Friday, March 22, 2024.

There will be sessions on:

  • Accessibility and Your Institutional Repository
  • Generative AI, Angel and Demon: What not to worry about
  • Law Technical Services Librarians as Teacher Librarians and Change Agents
  • Lights, Camera, Action: Transforming library engagement through short-form videos
  • Managing Neurodiverse Employees in the Law Library
  • Providing Legal Reference via Zoom
  • Teaching FCIL Research with a Global South Perspective
  • Teaching Workplace Success Skills in Legal Research Classes
There will also be roundtables of interest groups on access services, acquisitions and collection development, inter-library loans, and reference.

The Supreme Court of Canada Library, Dalhousie University Law Library, McGill Law Library, University of British Columbia Library, the University of Ottawa Library, the University of Victoria Law Library, the University of Toronto Law Library and York University Osgoode Hall Law School Library are Canadian members of NELLCO.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:08 pm 0 comments

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Article on Reference Chatbots in Canadian Academic Libraries

We have been trying out a chatbot at my place of work so this article in the journal Information Technology and Libraries attracted my attention, Reference Chatbots in Canadian Academic Libraries by 4 University of Calgary co-authors:

"While the use of chatbots for reference service in academic libraries is a topic of interest for both library professionals and researchers, little is known about how they are used in library reference service, especially in academic libraries in Canada. This article aims to fill this gap by conducting a web-based survey of 106 academic library websites in Canada and analyzing the prevalence and characteristics of chatbot and live chat services offered by these libraries. The authors found that only two libraries were using chatbots for reference service. For live chat services, the authors found that 78 libraries provided this service. The article discusses possible reasons for the low adoption of chatbots in academic libraries, such as accessibility, privacy, cost, and professional identity issues. The article also provides a case study of the authors’ institution, the University of Calgary, which integrated a chatbot service in 2021. The article concludes with suggestions for future research on chatbot use in libraries."


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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:54 pm 0 comments

Interview With Alysha Try Information Management Specialist, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada

This is a follow-up to 2 recent posts about profiles of people in the library and information field.

Another source to get to know information professionals is the website that runs an occasional series known as Freshly Minted.

In the most recent instalment, the website interviews Alysha Try, Information Management Specialist, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada:

"What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Simply put, it’s most important to maintain a learning mindset and to know how to find information. Technology changes rapidly, so being a quick learner as well as being adaptive to change are huge assets."

"Any advice for the many MLIS students who will be soon graduating and looking for their first professional position?
Get as much practical experience in your desired field as you can, whether that involves using specific software programs, volunteering at a desired institution, or doing paid work. Don’t discount the transferable skills you have gained from work outside the program. Networking is also important; I have found that many folks working in LIS are happy to share their knowledge and experiences!"

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Thursday, January 18, 2024

American Association of Law Libraries Member Profile: Heather Joy

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) regularly publishes member profiles.

The most recent one is about Heather Joy, a reference librarian at Stanford University, Robert Crown Law Library in Stanford, California:

"Why Did You Join AALL As A Member?
I joined AALL on the excellent advice of those same librarians at Boley (Portland, Oregon), and in part because I was lucky enough to be a short drive from Seattle where the AALL Annual Meeting was held the year  I decided to pursue law librarianship. Everyone in Seattle was so welcoming and fun, I felt like I had found my people."

"What One Member Benefit Is Most Valuable To You?
The learning and resources available from my fellow members, both informally and in structured opportunities, like conferences and the work of special interest sections ..."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:29 pm 0 comments

Law Library of Congress Interview With Sarah Bandini, Foreign Law Intern

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has posted an interview with Sarah Bandini, a foreign law intern in the institution's Global Legal Research Directorate. She is originally from Ravenna, Italy.

It is part of an ongoing series of interviews about the kinds of work staff do behind the scenes:

"How would you describe your job to other people?
At the Law Library, I carry out research for the Global Legal Research Directorate (...) My role consists of assisting in conducting comparative studies and researching the law of the European Union (EU) in response to requests from Congress, federal agencies, the courts, and private patrons. I write articles for the Global Legal Monitor on new regulations and the latest legislative proposals from the EU and EU member states. My contributions will hopefully enhance the knowledge of the members of Congress and the public in general (...)"

"What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
I recently came across an interesting tidbit that I would like to share. The Library of Congress does not just host millions of books, but it also finds itself as the focal point of a narrative in one. In Margaret Truman’s Murder at the Library of Congress, the Library transforms into a hub of mysteries and homicides that bury terrible secrets."

The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of almost 3 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January 2024 Issue of In Session E-Bulletin of Canadian Association of Law Libraries

The January 2024 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. 

In this issue, there is information about: 

  • the awarding of a Canadian Law Blog Award to CALL's Canadian Law Libraries Review 
  • the 2024 annual conference in late June in Montreal
  • upcoming deadlines for association scholarships and grants
  • the CALL Strategic Plan

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:14 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

January 2024 Issue of Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World

The Governance and Recordkeeping Around the World newsletter, published by Library and Archives Canada, highlights issues pertaining to government and recordkeeping practices in the public and private sectors around the world.

The January 2024 issue has just been published. 

It includes:

  • news items from Canada and around the world
  • announcements of upcoming Canadian and international events (meetings, conferences, seminars)
  • project and product news in areas such as digitization, archives, open source, e-government, access to information etc.
  • listings of papers and readings (white papers, presentations, reports)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:03 pm 0 comments

Thursday, January 11, 2024

University of Windsor Guide on Artificial Intelligence Regulation

Annette Demers, reference librarian in the law library at the University of Windsor, has created a new LibGuide on Artificial Intelligence Regulation.

It has sections for Canada, the US, Europe as well as a global resources section.

The Canadian section covers government policy statements and guidelines, court practice directions, legislation and bills.

The Global Resources section includes an OECD dashboard, describing itself as "a live repository of over 1000 AI policy initiatives from 69 countries, territories and the EU".

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Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Nominations for the Next Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is accepting nominations for the next Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

The award honours a publisher (whether for-profit or not-for profit, corporate or non-corporate) that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website, or electronic product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship. Legal content in all information formats is welcome.

Members as well as non-members of CALL can make nominations. 

Nominations can be sent to the CALL National Office by January 31, 2024.

The award will be presented to the recipient during the 2024 CALL Annual Conference, which will be held in Montreal June 25 - 28, 2024.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder of Quicklaw.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:33 pm 0 comments

Monday, January 08, 2024

Canadian Bar Association Podcast Episode on State of AI Regulation in the U.S.

The most recent episode of Modern Law, a Canadian Bar Association podcast hosted by Yves Faguy, features a conversation with Boston-based privacy expert Woodrow Hartzog about the regulation of artificial intelligence:

"We've been talking a lot about AI on the podcast and on CBA National, and one of the issues that keeps coming up is the challenge for a country like Canada in selecting the right approach to regulating AI risk. "

"It's not as if there's a single model out there. The EU is trying to set the gold standard for the world, much as it did with its GDPR privacy regulation. The US is contemplating various bills, but for the most part, it is applying existing laws and regulations through regulators like the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Board, and the US Department of Justice. These agencies have been instructed by the White House's executive order in October to follow eight guiding principles for AI safety. Meanwhile, China's approach is to ensure that all information generated by AI aligns with the state's interest. All are key players to watch as we try to understand where the future of global AI governance is headed. And today, we are going to take a closer look at a perspective coming from the US."

"International privacy expert Woodrow Hartzog discusses the state of AI regulation in the U.S., his thoughts on the global dynamics at play, and his concerns surrounding the normalization of surveillance and our reliance on half-measures to save us from the potential harms of AI."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:48 pm 0 comments

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Winners of 2023 Canadian Law Blog Awards

The winners of the 2023 Canadian Law Blog Awards (known as the Clawbies) were announced on New Year's Eve.

The Clawbies exist to reward the best and most innovative Canadian blogs, podcasts, videos, legal newsletters, and other forms of online commentary. 

The 2023 Fodden Award recognizing a single, outstanding publication went to the Blogue du CRL:

"This year, we are excited to be honouring one of the country’s longest-running and most successful group blogs: Blogue du CRL, published by the Jeunne Barreau de Montréal’s Research and Legislation Committee."

"For well over a decade, Blogue du CRL has been the go-to current awareness tool for Quebec professionals, publishing an ample and steady stream of case summaries and legislative developments."

"The scale of the blog is huge, with more than 50 volunteer writers, and also featuring case summaries from SOQUIJ and occasional contributions from Jeune Barreau’s other committees."

There are awards in many categories.

The Clawbies are organized by Stem Legal, a B.C.-based strategy firm.

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