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Archive for ‘Legal Information: Publishing’

Need to Weave an Accessible Web of Legislation

Great post by John Sheridan over on VoxPopuli blog: “Deeply Intertwingled Laws.”

He starts off with this comment:

“There is no other form of written texts quite like legislation, nor a form so suited to the web. In retrospect, readers of legislation had been waiting a long time for a hypertext system, such as the web, to be invented.”

Sheridan is currently the Digital Director for the National Archives of the United Kingdom and led the team that brought us legislation.gov.uk the “official home” for UK legislation from 1237 the present.

Anyone who has done any legislative history . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Curation Over Creation: Getting the Most Out of Existing Legal Information

This summer, with the support of a Donner Foundation fellowship, I developed web pages for Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) that connect Ontario nonprofits to existing legal information on incorporation, maintenance, and governance. This article is about the process of creating those pages. My hope is that others will use the process in areas of law where legal information exists online, but is: overwhelming in quantity, difficult to find, and/or scattered.

Pitching the Project: The Pragmatic and Philosophical Justifications of Curation

Before anyone can start the project, somebody needs to be convinced it’s worthy of scarce resources. Why not . . . [more]

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

An AI to Make Me Smarter

At Kobo last week, we had a guest-talk about machine learning by Sheldon Fernandez of Infusion.

After with a good grounding in deep learning systems, which mimic the human brain to a degree, we got to the interesting stuff: inscrutability, hidden factors and confounding variables. All of these pose problems to people trying to use AI, and illustrate reasons why others fear it.

Inscrutability in AIU is exactly what it is in people: an AI often cannot tell us how it arrived at a decision, or it’s description is so convoluted that it is almost worthless.

When we dig in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

LexisNexis Seeks to Turn Lawyers Into Data Analysts

We often discuss here on Slaw the future of legal publishers, especially in a digital era. Although some of them have tinkered in-house with their own technological and big data solutions, none have independently brought anything revolutionary to the market to date.

Instead, what we might expect is that these legal powerhouses will either partner up with startups, such as with Thomson Reuters and Blue J Legal last year, or will simply purchase them outright.

In some ways, these patterns are not unique. Quicklaw was first created by the late Hugh Lawford at Queen’s University in 1973. Steven McMurray . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Case for Redesigning Caselaw

To a jurist or a legal draftsperson, caselaw probably looks like a reliable, elegant way to record what legislation really means, in context.

To a programmer, it looks like a collection of bugs, for a program that was badly written in the first place and isn’t being maintained by its authors any more.

The programmer then goes looking for the bug-tracker for the criminal code and there isn’t one. At this point their head explodes.

Introduction

When a statute fails to deal with an unexpected situation, the courts fix it. This is a lot like fixing bugs in programs, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Letter on Eliminating Print Version of Statutes of Canada

Connie Crosby, President of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL), has written a letter to The Honourable Judy M. Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, explaining the many concerns law librarians have about the idea of discontinuing the paper publication of the annual Statutes of Canada.

The letter is in response to a CBC News report that the federal government might consider changes to legislation that requires that Canada’s annual laws be made available in print.

In her letter, Crosby calls on the government to take care before any move to a digital-only policy, in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation

Supreme Court of Canada Tackles Link Rot With New Online Archive

To combat link rot, the Supreme Court of Canada today launched an online archive of Internet Sources Cited in SCC Judgments (1998 – 2016).

Link rot refers to broken URLs or to URLs that direct to the original site but whose corresponding document has been removed or relocated without any information about where to find it.

From the Terms of Use:

“The Office of the Registrar of the SCC, recognizing that web pages or websites that the Court cites in its judgments may subsequently vary in content or be discontinued, has located and archived the content of most

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

Consulting With Canadians on a Federal Accessibility Legislation

Between July 2016 and February 2017, the federal government is consulting Canadians on planned federal accessibility legislation. The goal of the law would be to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of every day life. It is expected that the new legislation will incorporate many features from Ontario and Manitoba’s accessibility laws that would include the process or processes that the Government would use to develop the accessibility standards, as well as the areas or activities to which the standards would apply. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Do the Opposite

‘”The Opposite” is the 86th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld,’ according to Wikipedia. It is also one of my favourite episodes because it teaches an important life lesson. Here is a clip to refresh your memory:


Today, a Canadian company backed up by tech interests and talent announced acquisition of an important Canadian legal publisher Maritime Law Book (“maritime” here does not mean admiralty law; instead, it refers to the Maritimes—the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island—presumably because that’s where the publisher originated).

Law tech startups, attention. Your exit strategy probably involves acquisition . . . [more]

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

Of Copyright, Copyleft and the Unique Creative Commons Needs of PLEI

Unlocking Intellectual Property

Last May, Vancouver Foundation, Canada’s largest community foundation, announced it would develop and adopt an open licensing policy. This is a big deal for an organization that spends over $50 million yearly on its grantees and programs. The right policy could amplify the impact of the Foundation’s spending, and create knock-on benefits shared by other groups working for good causes. On the flip side, a flawed one could dilute the incentives (real or perceived) for grantees expected to share success, credit and perhaps even intellectual property with unknown others.

Meanwhile, Clicklaw Wikibooks, a project I . . . [more]

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

The Influence of Quebec Case Law in the ROC: The Situation and Stakes of the Translation of Judgments

Last fall, Leader of the Bar and former Chief Justice of Quebec, Mtre Michel Robert, gave a lecture on the language of judgments. His remarks were reported in the February 2016 edition of the Journal du Barreau. Upset about the lack of visibility of Quebec case law outside this province, Mtre Robert claimed that the reputations of the Quebec Court of Appeal and Superior Court suffer disastrously because their judgments are not translated.

I think these remarks deserve a closer look, one that takes into account the joint effort of the Quebec judiciary and SOQUIJ to promote Quebec case . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

LégisQuébec Official Legislative Website Now Free

LégisQuébec, the website that contains official versions of Quebec laws and regulations, this week went totally free.

The site which offers access to current and former versions of Québec statutes and regulations used to require a subscription for many of its more advanced features.

The revised site has documents in HTML, PDF or EPUB formats.

The material includes the consolidated statutes and regulations for Quebec, historic versions of legislation and regulations, the Table of Amendments to Statutes and the Table of Amendments to Regulations. Information on what period is covered by the historical versions is available in the FAQ . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation