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Archive for May, 2007

Law Librarians Keeping Up

In “Keeping Current Can Be Hard to Do for Law Librarians” (May 30, 2007), Tricia Kasting discusses her efforts to keep current with new developments impacting her work, particularly the uses and impacts of various social software tools in her organization and the new features of subscription databases.

Is there anyone that can’t relate to this? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Justice Canada Gets an F in 2006-2007 Information Commission Report

In his first annual report, the new federal Information Commissioner Robert Marleau concludes that a great many Canadian government agencies show a serious lack of transparency when it comes to access to government documents under the Access to Information Act.

“Despite much progress since 1983, there remain impediments to the full realization of Parliament’s intent as expressed in the Act. Too often, responses to access requests are late, incomplete, or overly-censored. Too often, access is denied to hide wrongdoing, or to protect officials or governments from embarrassment, rather than to serve a legitimate confidentiality requirement. Year after year,

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Posted in: Miscellaneous

Connie on Web 2.0

I hope our Connie Crosby doesn’t mind me promoting her new article on this month’s LLRX.com (dated May 29, 2007): Discovering the Latest in Web 2.0 Developments is a wonderful presentation in .pdf which outlines the history of the term and concept, functionality, tips for implementation and, of course, the applications: blogs, RSS, wikis, pod/videocasts, screencasts (I liked that one, Connie), social networking, Second Life… I found the links and references particularly useful and interesting: the “REALLY New Stuff” on p. 31, and various references and web site links on pp. 38-41. Well done again, Connie! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Èducaloi

Check out the website for Èducaloi [English version], Quèbec’s legal education in plain language institution. The site is very attractive, with lots of eye-catching leads into the usual bodies of law relevant to most citizens. Something so simple as a site map is handled with style, showing again how good design facilitates good understanding. An almost comparable institution in Ontario would be CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario), which is aimed more at “low-income and disadvantaged people” than Èducaloi seems to be (and which could do with a complete overhaul of its website).

I only wish one could pronounce . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections

A colleague in the main library here at UVic brought to my attention an interesting article in D-Lib Magazine for May/June 2007 by Lally & Dunford “Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections” . The article discusses a project at the University of Washington to integrate the university library’s digital holdings by inserting links to these resources directly into Wikipedia. As the article states, they UW did this in response to a 2005 OCLC report that states, inter alia, that “only 2% of college and university students begin searching for information at a library website” This strikes me as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Vaccine Court

A story in Slate, “Thimerosal on Trial: The theory that vaccines cause autism goes to court,” by Arthur Allen, introduced me to the vaccine court. Actually, it merely used the expression, assuming I’d know what it was, and I had to turn to Wikipedia for clarification. Seems that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims was given that label after the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act created a sort of no-fault system protecting vaccine makers from full tortious liability and directing all lawsuits into that court. At present there are nearly 5000 claims about to be heard on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Jott

For those of us who don’t have a BlackBerry and who don’t like to fuss with itsy-bitsy keyboards on regular cell phones, Jott.com is interesting. The idea is simple: you phone in to Jott (on a “1-800″ number), tell the voice to whom you want to send a message; speak the message and have it sent to the recipient’s email, fully transcribed and available as a sound recording as well. You can opt to have it sent to the recipient’s phone as a text message instead; and, because transcribing, which is done by a combination of machine and human effort, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

[Jott From Simon Fodden] This Is a Post Done via Jott. for Those Who Us Don’t Have Blackberry and We Don’…

 This is a post done via Jott. For those who us don’t have blackberry and we don’t like to fuss with itchy witchy keyboards on regular cell phones Jott.com is interesting the idea is simple, we phone into Jott on 1800 number tell the voice to whom you want to send the message, speak the message and have it sent to the recipients e-mail fully transcribed and available as a sound recording as well. You can opt to have its . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Slaw Uses Google Site Search

For some time now I’ve been dissatisfied with the way that WordPress, the engine that enables us to blog, handles site searching. There was no easy way to make it search for a whole word rather than a portion of a word, and Boolean searching was only possible on the advanced search page. The results of a search were not arranged by relevance but only by date, which was often unhelpful. And only posts were searched, not any other documents on the site.

As a result I’ve substituted Google’s custom site search for the built in WordPress search function. You . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

I’ve always understood myself to be one of the most fortunate people who ever lived, no small reason for which is the fact that I’m pretty much always happy. My happiness meter seems to be set a couple of cranks higher than “C level.” But lately I’ve come to realize that this good grade in good feeling is quite widespread; indeed, it would seem that the ability to be happy most of the time is built into all human beings (else, I suppose, we might all take a hard look at each other and immediately decline to thrive). The problem, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Constitutional Dimensions of Access to Justice?

This is just an alert until the other blog gets its post up, but the SCC just ruled out broad claims to ground a right to paid legal services within the Charter.

Decision is summarized here and more media commentary is available from Kirk Makin, quoting my partner David Stratas.

Notwithstanding our sympathy for Mr. Christie’s cause, we are compelled to the conclusion that the material presented does not establish the major premise on which the case depends — proof of a constitutional entitlement to legal services in relation to proceedings in courts and tribunals dealing with

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous