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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Oregon Claims Copyright Over Laws

Boing Boing gives us Carl Malmud’s report that U.S. free access sites Justia and Public.Resources.Org have received take-down letters from the Oregon Legislative Counsel in connection with their publishing of Oregon’s laws. Apparently West Publishing, which has also reproduced Oregon’s laws without a licence from the state, will not receive a similar demand.

I know that Canada and Ontario claim Crown copyright in our laws but explicitly permit copying if the material is reproduced accurately and that copyright is acknowledged. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Computer-Generated Literature?

Like all of us, I sometime lament the state of legal writing, particularly of the academic sort. It is often so laden with detail (each one meticulously footnoted) that the reader can’t find the main point. But I think I may finally have stumbled on the culprit.

Philip Parker, a business professor, has developed a computer program that crawls through the internet gathering information from publicly available sources, and puts the information into book form. He then prints the books on demand and sells them through So far he’s generated more than 200,000 books.

Not surprisingly, the reviews . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Harvard College Thesis Repository

Not long ago we reported Harvard faculty’s important decision to make all their members’ research open access. Now some students are joining the movement. The Harvard College Thesis Repository, just established, allows those undergraduate students who wish to upload their senior theses to a database accessible by everyone. At the moment there are perhaps a dozen theses there all told; but I imagine that in time this could prove to be a useful source of research in a variety of academic fields (none of which is law, strictly speaking). If you haven’t read a senior thesis from a good . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Future of Legal Academic Publishing

What is the future of legal academic publishing in Canada? I ask for two reasons. First, as the leading publisher of Canadians legal casebooks I’d rather be on the cutting edge than on the trailing edge of new developments in publishing. I’d like even less to fall off the edge! Smart companies must anticipate changes in the marketplace and position themselves accordingly. That means, not being too far in front (remember, it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese) and not being too far behind. Secondly, as a law professor I reflect often on how to improve the student learning . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Cornell Fillip

This is my last working day at Cornell. I’ll continue to post next week on a few more of the outstanding aspects of this law library that I’ve had a chance to see close up, but I thought a bit of a fillip might be in order. So here are some interesting quirks and bits I’ve discovered at Cornell:

The faculty was established with the start of the university in 1886, and the law building was erected in 1932. It is a charming and imposing structure, incorporating a variety of scales and degrees of formality. The main building has been . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Napoleonic Series

What appears to be a personal effort by Robert Burnham, the Napoleon Series website offers some legal material from around the turn of the 18th century that will be of interest to historians and and others perhaps. On the Government and Politics page, for instance, there are links to essays on diplomatic missions and treaties, plus translations of select treaties, declarations and conventions written between 1799 and 1815, essays on some laws passed by the British Parliament during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras, and the whole Napoleonic (i.e. Civil) Code in a 1805 translation. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

SharePoint and XMLaw

I am always leery of using SLAW to mention the services or product of a particular company, but I have been impressed with the earnestness at which XMLaw focuses on delivering practical solutions for law firms in delivering Intranet solutions to their users using the SharePoint platform (I am currently attending a conference they are sponsoring in Boston for their [primarily) law firm customers; my positive comments on their company have nothing to do with the boat tour of Boston Harbour and the open bar they just sponsored . . . .).

They seem to “get it” by their focus . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Cornell’s LII

The groundbreaking history of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII) and the resources it makes available (for instance the Supreme Court decisions) are too well known to Slaw regulars to detail, but it is puzzling how absent the LII seems to be from the consciousness of other OA law projects. The most recent example is the release of CC US court decisions by In a press release the CEO of the group Carl Malamud claims that “The U.S. judiciary has allowed their entire work product to be locked up behind a cash register” which is misleading. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

New: Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy

Osgoode Hall Law School has launched its first fully online journal, the Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy. Edited by students and offering student articles for the most part, the Review will also publish in each issue articles on law or policy by practising lawyers or academics. This is the table of contents of the first issue [(2008) 1 Osgoode Hall Rev.L.Pol’y]:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Digitization at Cornell

My time at Cornell is flying by ((My first week was too busy to allow time to post, but I have several items in the works)), and I’ve put together lots of notes on the law library. However, today I’m going to post about how Cornell University Libraries has developed a wonderful system for creating digital resources. The Digital Initiatives page provides access to the their many projects and partnerships. Central to the operation is the Digital Consulting and Production Services unit (DCAPS). . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Library of Congress Subject Heading Browser

For me, the Library of Congress subject headings have been a source of bafflement, perplexity — and to a lesser extent, wonderment — ever since I wandered into the stacks, way back in university. I suppose the creature is a little like you and me, the product of evolution’s twists and unexpected turns working on a legacy laid down when the world was a very very different place to produce a working, if sub-optimal, just-so animal. Now, should you want to use the subject headings to actually find something, you might find a little help quite useful. Bernhard Eversberg at . . . [more]

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