Feeding Our Research Needs

I’d like to use my last entry of 2014 to highlight a few worthy potential recipients of your charitable spirit. Depending where you live, and to whom you contribute, you may also still have a few hours left to earn a 2014 charitable tax credit or to see your donation doubled for the recipient.

If, like me and other old and not-so-old people, you continue to rely on good old email, you likely are still seeing a steady stream of last-minute 2014 donation appeals from one charity, non-profit, or political group or another.

A recent lesson in giving reminds us that sustaining and building the resources of a strong, experienced core of active charities is a sound approach. Many of us choose this time of year, if we can, to top up monthly contributions to those such charities we support.

As you’ve undoubtedly seen, many in our legal information and research fields are also seeking support, and those of us who are able may wish to consider support to one or more of these organizations also. The short list below is of course not exhaustive; rather, it reflects those that recently reached me via email or in my web travels and that come to mind today. (Please add your own suggestions in the comments.)

  • Wikimedia Foundation, for Wikipedia—which, as a researcher and librarian, I appreciate at least as much as anyone.

wikipedia appeal

  • Internet Archive—which the organization I work for helps to build and which, again, as a law librarian and researcher, I regularly use and recommend to students searching for the moved and removed of the web, as well as possibly something from the vast store of books.

internet archive appeal

  • Legal Information Institute, the grandparent of them all—which, as an articling student, research lawyer, and library school student I relied on from nearly its beginning, which inspired many in the wide sphere of public legal information sites, and which I still teach and use as a law librarian and law school teacher.

lii appeal

If you can, please join me in helping any of these or other worthy organizations—if not today, then when you can.



  1. Great column. But if the thinking is that “charity work” is really important, why not do away with the very ineffective, highly selective and terribly inefficient “cap in hand” and “whiny solicitations” and – propose an increase of tax rates and base the increase on a progressive tax system ? In Canada and many other parts of the world (Europe) it is a commonly held belief and value that the state/government should be responsible for collecting and distributing “charity”. It seems that government and their supporters are not fond of that idea. It seems that as progressive taxation was being dismantled that the charity burden shifted to the “civil society” as opposed to where it had been prior to the last 250 years: ie. poor houses, work houses – rather than state funded social security, old age security, UI/EI, federal transfer payments, etc. The political move to the state taking responsibility for charity was in large part because raising money and funds was so terribly inefficient and distribution so arbitrary. It may be a sign of the times that “civil society” or at the very least those who have profited from the transfer, would sooner go back to the poor houses, beggars, etc. Over time this bred insurrection, or as it is said – nothing left to lose, let’s riot. But given the intensity of the current fundraising for charity it seems that the average joes are not keen on handing over increasing amounts of money to dubious groups: Loblaws, LCBO, etc. As frequently suggested the “consumer” should read the fine print and caveat emptor. Where is that social contract ?