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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Less Publishers, More Information About Them… Eventually!!

It’s been a bit of a up-and-down month in the world of legal publishing and I could choose to write yet another piece on the expected demise of LexisNexis or those lawyers taking Westlaw to court but we all know that those records are getting a bit worn.

But…… thinking about this issue and the amount of articles that have appeared on both these subjects since the new year has made me realize that in the past decade of publishing my pdf newsletter “Law Librarians News” and then subsequently my House of Butter blog ,we’ve all made huge leaps when . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Centre De Recherche en Droit Public Celebrates Its 50th Birthday.

The Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), the oldest research center of the University of Montreal, was established in 1962. To my knowledge the CRDP is also the oldest research center in law in Canada. Beyond its longevity, CRDP’s merits are numerous. I just want to mention here those which relate to legal information and legal informatics.

  • In the sixties, the DATUM project was conducted at the Faculty of Law with researchers from the CRDP. DATUM researchers developed one of the first automated retrieval systems for legal information in Canada. Professor Ejan Mackaay’s name is associated to almost all
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Professional Publishers Working With Institutes and Similar Bodies

I have long believed, certainly before we spoke so much about “communities”, that if a professional publisher is to achieve its best, by all the relevant measures, it has to engage closely, intimately, regularly and consistently with the key member institutes, associations, societies and representative bodies in the market. In its efforts to reach and understand the members, as well as to build trust with them, to circumvent the membership route is unwise and can be a recipe, to some extent at least, for failure. That said, it is not necessarily an easy route for the publisher . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

U.S. Research Works Act Leads to Elsevier Journal Boycott: What Is to Be Done?

This January, Silicon Valley got political, and effectively so. The giants of the valley were soon credited with saving the Internet from the threat of Hollywood-inspired legislative clamp-down on online piracy. Google – “End piracy, not liberty” – as well as Facebook and Wikipedia, actively opposed two draconian bills Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) that were seen to pose threats to the free flow of information that opened the door to censorship. The bills were effectively “defeated” by the corporate and non-profit outcry.

However, what was left standing is the Research Works . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Context of Legal Information

What does context mean for legal information? “Context” is one of the latest buzzwords in the world of publishing. In a new online collection of essays, Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, Brian O’Leary exhorts us to consider context when we are developing content. He defines context as “tagged content, research, footnoted links, sources, and audio and video background, as well as title-level metadata”. Although his focus is trade publishing, his ideas apply to legal publishing as well.

Christine Kirchberger, lecturer and doctoral candidate at Stockholm University, is working on a doctoral dissertation entitled “Legal information as a tool—Where legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Innovation and Case Law Reporting

 Matt Ridley wrote a book titled The Rational Optimist that was published in 2010.

Ridley is an English journalist with an education in science. In his book he is concerned with the origins of the prosperity that exists in the world, arguing that the road to prosperity began with exchanges that resulted in a benefit to both parties, including barter, a method of exchange that can be done without money. In many exchanges both parties may feel that the other is overpaying. Over time increases in exchanges resulted in specialization followed by innovation. Ridley states that the ever-increasing exchange of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

CALL and the Index to Canadian Legal Literature

The 2012 Conference in Toronto will mark the 50th annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries and provide an occasion to highlight many of the accomplishments of the association and its members over the decades since its creation. One of many accomplishment worthy of note is the Index to Canadian Legal Literature for which CALL provided both the inspiration and the support required to create a Canadian publication that met international indexing standards.

The Proposal for a New Index

In December 1983, The Canadian Law Information Council and The Canadian Association of Law Libraries developed a proposal to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Legal Publishing

Surprising Survey Results

Last November, Lexum proceeded to survey the users of its Supreme Court of Canada decisions web site ( The results of such surveys are rarely shared; they can indeed have high commercial value or simply be embarrassing. The ones communicated here are not embarrassing and they are, at times, surprising. At least, they were not the ones Lexum was expecting. For instance, respondents are less eager to access legal content on mobile platforms than Lexum had initially assumed and their appetite for social web-related services appears much more limited than anticipated. In a more foreseeable way, respondents confirmed how the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Another year gone and in the world of legal content / publishing I’d like to suggest it’s been one of the most important we’ve had since the mid 90’s and the advent of the CD Rom.

Although most of 2011 has been fairly quiet with the usual round of product developments, upgrades and rejigs. The last quarter of the year has more than hinted that the upheavals of 2008 / 2009 have now filtered through to the core modus operandi of the companies whose job it is to distribute legal content through to the professions, business, government and the wider . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Attawapiskat and Social Media

You can’t have missed the recent coverage of the housing and governance crisis in Attawapiskat. The story certainly captured my attention. I’ve been watching news of the situation travel over the Internet.

Social media played a key role in the coverage of this story. What particularly interests me is that the quality of some material published about Attawapiskat through social media is as good as or better than high quality legal information available through traditional legal publishing channels. And this caused me to consider again: what is the role of social media in legal publishing?

I first became aware of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Show Us the Numbers: Occupational Results

The tents are gone. The communal food kitchen, the library, the media center, the mic checks, too. Occupy Wall Street has been swept away, from Zucotti Park, off Wall Street, to the Vancouver Art Gallery. The incipient movement is now a matter of sporadic occupations, port blockades, and a media campaign. It may just be me, but the mainstream media attention that has followed in the aftermath seems to reflect a sense of wanting to hold on to this moment.

Certainly, I felt myself wanting to believe that here was a social movement that was showing some promise of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Law and the Cultural Commons

What is the Cultural Commons?

The cultural commons is a vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past. A commons is a kind of property in which more than one person has rights. A commons is a social regime for managing a collectively owned resource.

In writing about art and ideas, Lewis Hyde, in his book titled, Common as Air (2010) states at page 214 “art and ideas, unlike land and houses, belong by nature to a cultural commons, open to all”.

In Imperial China, 900 to 1800, to copy the work . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing