Canada’s online legal magazine.
Rogers OutRank
Canadian Bar Association

Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Crowdsourcing Lawmaking With LexPop

A key trend in eGovernment today is enabling more public participation in policy- and law-making. One very meaningful way to increase the public’s involvement in lawmaking is by crowdsourcing the drafting of legislation, as the Brazilian Câmara dos Deputados has done through its e-Democracia platform.

Now, crowdsourcing of legislation has come to the U.S., through LexPop, a new wiki created this month by Matt Baca and Olin Parker, both students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. [Baca is also a law student at New York University.]

As its first effort, LexPop is hosting the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Kicking Into (Over)drive

A storm broke on February 26th when word got out that publisher HarperCollins had unilaterally decided to limit the “shelf life” of its ebooks catalogue. Overdrive, a major distributor of ebooks in the public library world, found itself caught between the publishing powerhouse and a furious library community when it was announced that library loans of ebooks would be capped at 26. After that, the book will disappear from the library’s collection automatically. If the licensing library wished to keep the title, another virtual book would have to be purchased.

I was attending Podcamp Toronto at the time, so learned . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

PL 111-314 Rocks My World

On December 18, 2010 with a stroke of his pen, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law Public Law 111-314, creating Title 51 of the United States Code. Title 51 gathers together all in-force federal law on the topic of National and Commercial Space Programs. Since the Title was enacted as a single piece of legislation, it serves as positive law. There will be no need to refer back to the underlying publication of the statutes that make up its component parts in the Statutes at Large. Though I have had difficulty finding colleagues who find this event as earth . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Future Ready Libraries?

Everyone’s talking about the future. From LegalTech New York, where the closing keynote was the practice of law in 2020, to IT’s role in the library of the future, and SLA’s FutureReady365 blog. It’s interesting to be reading about predictions on where our profession may be going. One document I came across a while ago was the Association of Research Libraries’ 2030 Scenarios : A User Guide for Research Libraries. I started reading it (it’s 92 pages!) to see if it had any application for a law firm library.

Can you imagine the world in 2030? I can’t, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Finding Foreign Criminal Procedure Codes

Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law, recently posted an entry on his blog about a criminal defamation charge lodged against him in France for publishing a negative book review. [See also Libel Accusation from a Book Review on Slaw] That post got me thinking about how one would go about finding a criminal procedure code of a foreign country. It’s good to know in case someone charges me with a crime because of any of the book reviews I’ve written.

Image from The Life of Emile Zola

Discovery Tools

To find a foreign code . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Managing eBooks in Smaller Law Libraries

In a previous article, I discussed some issues with loose-leaf subscriptions and suggested that a number of them might well be replaced by eBooks. The term ‘eBook’ is used for electronic material produced in a wide range of formats. These formats include, but certainly are not limited to, HTML, PDF, AZW (Amazon’s proprietary format for the Kindle), EPUB (an open e-book format used by the iPad) and Mobipocket. Not all these formats are compatible with all devices. Wikipedia has an excellent list of the various formats, along with a table showing which format will work on what device. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Rebuilding a Law Library, Part 4: Past as Prologue

[This is the fourth in a series of articles about the trends, theories, principles and realities that have influenced the redesign of the new library of Osgoode Hall Law School – part of the renovation and rebuilding of the School currently underway.]

A law library is different from other libraries not just in its collections, but in its function and especially in its role within its parent institution. In a law firm, the library and the librarians are an integral part of the firm’s practice. The librarians bill their time when working on client files. Increasingly, the library supports the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Citizen Lawmaking and Technology: What’s New and What’s Ahead?

Exciting developments in citizen lawmaking and technology have enlivened the last several weeks. These efforts suggest that in the coming year, more and more of the Web’s democratic promise may come to fruition:

Respecting ePetition and eConsultation:

Posted in: Legal Information

Choose Your Own Adventure

 In the business cycle of the Legislative Library, the planning process has begun once again. In the dark days of winter, it’s time to plant the seeds of the future. 

 “Innovation” has emerged as an important theme for our management team, and it has featured prominently in our discussions. We’re challenged by our senior executives to scan the horizon, to detect emerging issues and suggest possible responses. Exciting stuff! Our clients, on the other hand, expect the information infrastructure to remain intact. If the division doesn’t carry out its core functions: providing information management, IT and library services – we’ve . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Why Is There Such a Dearth of Reporting on the Legal Publishing Industry Outside North America ?

In what seems like another age I wondered about the same question and decided to start publishing an online newsletter that most readers of this article will be aware of, Law Librarians News.

Then to keep up with trends and technology I also started publishing the House Of Butter blog and subsequently a Law Librarians News Twitter both of which appear, I hope, to be popular with an online readership.

It might appear that I’m doing my utmost to blow my own trumpet but it has always been somewhat of a surprise that it’s only those from the U.S. and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Bodleian’s New Book Storage Facility

The relative size of library collections was once a source of pride for institutions, a tangible means of measuring their scholarly worthiness. In the 1990’s this gradually started to change, as the growth of collections continued well beyond the ability of the libraries to house all their books, either on open or rolling stacks. Libraries started to plan off site storage for the lesser used collections, and often collaborated via consortia arrangements to afford the construction and ongoing maintenance costs of the storage facilities. In some instances ‘last copy only’ schemes were devised to avoid duplication, and the methods of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Finding Canadian Materials on Google Scholar (Sort Of)

We’ve discussed Google Scholar on SLAW before. Google Scholar allows you to search legal opinions and journals for free, and while the coverage is primarily American, there are a significant amount of Canadian materials available. Not everything in Google Scholar is available in full-text; in some cases only the citations are included.

Google Scholar supports most of Google Search’s advanced operators (e.g. “phrase search”, + and -). It also allows users to limit their searches by date with the caveat that “that some web sources don’t include publication dates, and a date-restricted search will not return articles for which Google . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information