As I write this column, 2013 is winding toward its close. Like most years in the 21st Century, it was filled with innovations in information. The changes accelerate as time passes. Current undergraduates view the world before the coming of WiFi, iPhones and social media like for those born after electricity was brought to the masses. How did people live before the change? Who cares? Much is being gained, much is being lost. As Charles Dickens put it, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I will recap the year with one gray story, . . . [more]
Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns
It used to be that either a decision was “reported” (i.e. published in a print reporter) or it wasn’t (an unreported decision). Unreported decisions were hard to find; generally, you needed to get a copy from the court or from one of the parties involved. The situation started to change as publishers began to offer summaries of cases:
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The WLP Decisions, along with the All-Canada Weekly Summaries led to the rise of ‘unreported decisions’ being readily available for lawyers to use in their research. The heyday of print law reports as the only official record of legal decisions had peaked,
During two weeks in mid-December the U. S. Government Printing Office (GPO) held a virtual meeting, “Expanding the Forecast Framework: Engage & Discuss,” which focused on ways to map the future of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). GPO has been distributing federal documents to a variety of libraries, including law libraries, since the program was established by the Depository Library Act of 1962. Currently there are over 1,200 libraries participating in the program.
Over the years the FDLP has shifted from distributing only print publications to some microfiche and finally to digital formats. Now print distribution is limited to . . . [more]
Where Will Old, Expensive, or Unexpected Legal Information Come From When Libraries All Downsize Together?
I am interested by recent discussions I have had with librarians at various law libraries about how they make decisions about what materials to keep, cancel, or discard. Many are looking at the holdings of other libraries and relying on them to provide access to less commonly used materials rather than maintaining them locally. This is understandable, but it is only a viable decision if the lending libraries continue to maintain their collections. Instead, this appears to be done without formal agreements among the libraries about retention of materials, consideration of whether it is within the supplying libraries’ mandates to . . . [more]
As you may recall, I promised to report back on my efforts to get organized and deal with all that information overload. I would like to say that I can report a near 100% success rate. My system is working pretty well, but I feel I am not there just yet. Going through this process though, I have been reminded of a couple of pretty simple lessons, and I hope you will not mind my repeating them.
You have probably heard the old adage, give a job to a busy person if you want to get it done. I don’t . . . [more]
There is endless discussion on how we go about preparing the lawyers of tomorrow to be well armed for the expectations their clients will have of them. Many law schools in all countries are trying varied approaches to achieve the best for their students, as well as for the working world with which they will have to engage. The downturn in the legal market, the decline in enrolments in the law schools, and the questioning of the value and relevance of an expensive law degree are issues faced by law firms, educators and regulators.
Now and then there is the . . . [more]
[I]l est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du temps, enivrez-vous sans cesse! – Charles Baudelaire
[T]his is a case about beer and a case of beer is a serious matter. – San Miguel Brewing International Limited v. Molson Canada 2005, 2013 FC 156, Phelan J, February 14, 2013.
People are really serious about their beer. In ancient days, you were flogged in the public square if you sold bad-tasting beer. Bad beer was considered to be “a fraud and a hazard to health”. In Germany in the 15th & 16th centuries, those . . . [more]
A refuge remains for the printed page. Herewith the tale:
Ross Davies, one of my culture heroes, has published a fascinating article which goes by the salubrious title “The Increasingly Lengthy Long Run of the Law Reviews: Law Review Business 2012—Circulation and Production” in Volume 3, No. 2 of the Journal of Legal Metrics (2013). Professor Davies is an accomplished scholar at George Mason Law School who produces excellent scholarship in the usual mode for a legal scholar. But it does not stop there. He also has an endearing fixation on the mechanics of legal information and a love of . . . [more]
Most legal libraries subscribe to a number of online services, so library users frequently have to search multiple electronic resources as part of their legal research, and trust that they have not inadvertently missed any relevant resources. Researchers need to know what electronic products they have access to, what materials these products contain, and how to best to search them. Other challenges related to online research include the duplication of resources (some materials can be found in multiple online services) and cost containment.
University libraries have been dealing with precisely this problem for a while now. Discovery tools (such as . . . [more]
I did not to go to Law via the Internet 2013 held on the Island of Jersey September 26 and 27, because the dates were not close enough to my planned trip to England in October to be able to do both. You can get a taste of what the conference was about from their web page and this statement:
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It is 11 years since the Declaration on Free Access to Law was signed at Montreal and the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) was founded. Since then the movement has grown to include organisations from more than 50 countries
[This is the first of a two-part column on open access and public access to Canadian legal scholarship within the free law movement. This week (October 21-27, 2013) is International Open Access Week. This annual global event, now entering its sixth year, is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to promote the goals of Open Access to the public generally but especially within the academic and research communities, to demonstrate its benefits and to inspire wider participation in making Open Access a new norm in scholarly publishing. The . . . [more]
… am an Information Addict. Information overload, also known as infobesity or infoxication, is a constant in my life. How about yours? Both conferences I attended this summer had sessions on time management, organization, workflow, productivity; topics that are directly related to how well we cope with the amount of information in our lives and the work that we produce using it. So I know I’m not alone on this island.
My quandary exists in that I want to get the most out of both my professional and personal life. Each feeds the other, and yet it is extremely important . . . [more]