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Archive for June, 2010

If America Was Going to Be a Great Legal Country, It Needed to Have Its Own Legal Reports.”

The oldest law reports in North America were originally written by Josiah Quincy Junior (1744-1775), recording the cases of continental America’s oldest court, the Superior Court of Judicature of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. That is the direct ancestor of today’s Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which has been in continuous existence since 1692.

My friend Daniel R. Coquillette, former Dean of Boston College Law School has edited a new edition of the law reports published this month.

Quincy’s court reports offer a rare legal insight into life in the American colonies prior to the American Revolution, and cover such

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The End of an Era

As per the subject line, today marks the end of an era. After 18 years at the Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto and then 12 years at the Sir James Dunn Law Library at the Schulich (nee Dalhousie) School of Law at Dalhousie University Ann Morrison is retiring. Ann is a veritable legend in the field of law librarianship, with a list of achievements that I could not do justice to with a Blog post. While I am sad to see her leave us, Ann’s retirement is well-earned and Ann has truly had a lasting impact . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Miscellaneous

Birth-Wrap Agreement

We constantly see commentary on frivolous lawsuits, and cases that poke holes in limitation clauses in contracts of various types. Perhaps everyone should have some sort of basic understanding of who is responsible for what. So I propose (in jest of course) that everyone be subject to the following agreement.

By being born, you agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement, even you you have not, or can not, read them. 

You are responsible for your own actions. Stuff happens in life, and you should look to yourself before you blame others. 

Stuff will happen that may . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Proposal for Citation Analysis Research (Noting Up)

Are any members of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries doing any recent bibliometric analysis of case law citation and noting up? I know of several such efforts in the past (see the Research Databank of their Committee to Promote Research).

There is also of course the study done by Greg Wurzer, Aleksandra Zivanovic and Rhonda O’Neill (“Canadian Electronic Citators: An Evaluation of their Accuracy and Efficiency” (2004) 29 Can. L. Libraries Rev. 68) and various citator comparisons done by American colleagues a few years back in the Law Library Journal.

However, I think the time has come . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Westlaw Canada – Added Search Features

Westlaw Canada has added some search features:

1) Did you mean? If you misspell your keywords in a search (e.g., “fiducary”), the system will prompt you to see if you meant the correctly spelled word (e.g., “fiduciary”). Interestingly enough, the misspelled “fiducary” still had 5 results which raises the issue if one should always truncate the term to “fid!” (this recalls a library school exercise I used to assign in the old days prior to there being online citators for UK cases – the exercise had students “note up” the famous Jarvis v. Swan Tours decision. I had one student . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Cyberbullying in the News

This is a short note with some links related to cyberbullying, starting with one to the June 27th New York Times feature article, Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray. Reporter Jan Hoffman details how American school administrators are dealing with the pressure to intervene in cyberbullying cases despite challenging questions about the scope of their power to deal with “off campus” student conduct.

The pressure for intervention is understandable because the prospect of taking on a cyberbully through the courts can be daunting. Whether this cost should be mitigated by protective orders is the issue in a Nova . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

Fair [And Educationally Sound] Dealing
in Canada’s Proposed Revisions to the Copyright Act

On June 2nd, 2010, the Canadian federal government introduced a new copyright bill intended to “modernize Canadian Copyright law,” as Tony Clement, Minister of Industry put it in the press release. I want to join the healthy welter of blogging around this latest attempt to “modernize” our act. Now before you read any further, let me say that the one to read in these matters is Michael Geist, especially as he is all over the most draconian aspect of this new bill, namely how the digital lock provisions trump all other rights.

For my part, I want to pick . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Happy Law Students and Happier Lawyers?!?

♫ Baby no need for false pretenses
Baby just shock me to my senses
Everything that you do feels right…♫

Lyrics and Music by Ryan Tedder, recorded by Jennifer Lopez “Do it Well”.

In an article entitled: How Law Schools Can Produce Happier Students and Satisfied Lawyers, posted by the ABA Journal on Jun 22, 2010 and written by Debra Cassens Weiss, it is stated that:

Law schools need to do more than teach the legal basics—they also have a moral obligation to produce healthy and satisfied lawyers, a recent law grad asserts in an opinion column.

While many . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Collaborative Family Law Agreement Fraud Evolving and Becoming Even More Convincing

The following is the text of a Fraud Alert sent by LAWPRO to Ontario lawyers on June 29, 2010. Due to the response we received from our previous alert on June 17 we felt it was important to make lawyers aware of new details we’ve learned about this scam.

Last week’s fraud warning e-blast on the collaborative family law agreement fraud prompted dozens of calls and emails to LAWPRO. At least 30 Ontario lawyers indicated they had been recently targeted or were in the middle of dealing with a matter involving this exact fraud. These calls and emails have helped . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet

Possibilities of Barcodes

At the OLITA workshop Digital Odyssey 2010 – Going Mobile, Sally Wilson from Ryerson University Library and Archives gave a great overview of QR codes and some innovative ways in which they can be used in libraries to provide timely services and information. Some innovative examples include:

  • Using QR codes in the catalogue’s bibliographic records. Students can have the record information sent to their mobile devices.
  • Add QR codes to current periodicals on the shelves. The QR codes will tell students what the other holdings are in the catalogue.
  • Add them to the library staff’s business cards. They will
  • . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Cellphone Tracking

The good thing is that your cellphone lets others know where you are. The bad thing is that your cellphone lets others know where you are — whether you want it to or not.

Every few seconds your cellphone checks in with either a relay tower or a GPS system, which is how it’s able to perform the wonders of geolocation on Google Maps or Yelp or whatever apps you use to tell you where you are and what’s available around you. Of course, all this checking in leaves electronic records with those who provide or manage the connections, records . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The State of Digitization of United Nations Documents

Almost two decades have passed since the United Nations began digitizing its documents. The UN started the Official Document System (ODS) as a pilot project in 1992, and officially launched it in 1993. Since then, there has been an explosion of UN documents and publications available in electronic format from a variety of sources, for free and via subscription. I recently checked the current status of UN documentation online, and here’s what I found. And what I expected to find, and didn’t. And some worrisome developments.

Discovery Tools

UNBISnet, the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library bibliographic information system, indexes e-versions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information