A fantastic development out of the United States last week – Harvard Law School and Ravel Law plan to make access to the school’s entire library of reported U.S. case law available for free on Ravel’s website. In a multi-year effort and at a cost said to be in the millions (exact details not known), some “40,000 books containing approximately forty million pages of court decisions” are being digitized and uploaded to Ravel’s platform, where anybody will be able to search, read and use the material at no cost. This is an incredible advance in open access to law and . . . [more]
Archive for ‘Legal Information: Libraries & Research’
Poo-pooing Wikipedia’s citeworthiness has a rich and honoured tradition, and not just among academics. The authoritative quality of crowd-sourced wisdom is a well-flogged heel for those in legal circles too, often trotted out in judgments like some Karl Von Hess to be beaten up by proper prudent legal authority. Wikipedia was first knocked about in Canadian jurisprudence in Bajraktaraj v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 FC 261, a decision of the Federal Court which set the tone for dealing with the pariah:
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… the quality of the sources relied upon by the applicant, including an article
Quebec lawyers are reminded that they need to prepare for upcoming changes to the Quebec Code of Civil Procedures passed into law on February 20, 2014. These significant changes are in effect January 1, 2016, and will improve overall access to justice. . . . [more]
With the federal elections coming up on October 19th, many organizations have been producing lists of priorities, demands and positions on issues relevant to them and canvassing the major political parties to respond.
The legal community is no exception.
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has produced an Election Engagement Kit that will “put equal access to justice on candidates’ radar and publicly call for enhanced federal leadership in this area”.
The Kit includes tips for members on how to:
- Ask questions when candidates come knocking on your door.
- Attend and raise these issues at all candidates’ meetings.
- Contribute to the
Many local public libraries as well as law libraries are actively involved in access to justice initiatives.
In a recent post entitled Justice at your library? on the website of PLE Learning Exchange Ontario, Michele Leering, the Executive Director with the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre in Belleville, Ontario, writes about one such project, the Librarians & Justice partnership in southeastern Ontario.
She also provides a link to a page about PLE for librarians [PLE = public legal education]:
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“Library staff in Ontario are ideally placed to serve as key intermediaries in distributing legal information and referrals to library
Ever since mid-August I have been thinking about what to stop doing. It is easy to write about eliminating low value asks from your work day but in practice it is really quite difficult. Does personally stopping something mean that I am passing that work to another? If stopping something is not delegating, but rather truly ending the service provided, how do I make a rational decision aboutwhat to NOT do.
Law librarians reading this will all know the sick feeling when someone asks for that textbook that they deselected, eliminated from the collection, recycled, tossed, weeded, in all otherways . . . [more]
Scott Frey, Reference Librarian, at the Western State College of Law, Fullerton, California, has written a nice Delorean free article that takes a look at the future of law libraries from the perspective of law librarian’s opinions from the past. It’s called, “A History of the Future of Law Libraries: Lessons in Forecasting from Law Librarians” Predictions of the Past,’ and was published in the June issue of AALL Spectrum.
Frey drops us back a hundred years ago to 1915 and then moves up to the present day citing a number of interesting predictions from law . . . [more]
CanLII has a new friend. Its name is Lexbox.
It’s a product from Lexum — the Montreal-based company responsible for the undergirding technology of CanLII — which first emailed me and a clutch of other legal research types back in late March with an invite to help test the experimental tool when it was still in a closed beta phase.
We were told then that the aim of Lexbox (and you can read a lot more about it here) is to simplify how lawyers store, monitor and share online legal information. Having kicked the tires over the past . . . [more]
Reading Susan Munro’s post about some of the interesting products and services she learned of at the CALL conference got me thinking. Susan noted:
Countervailing forces (for example, the common use of Google as a first stop for all kinds of research) pull us away from deep-dive research. I keep hearing about the legal research habits of law students and newer lawyers: they start with Google and often go no further.
It is interesting to step back and think about what patterns exist for legal research. If most often a legal research need is fulfilled by a surface scrape, what . . . [more]
National Aboriginal Day was on June 21. The Library of Congress celebrated this event by providing access to Canadian aboriginal law on the Indigenous Law Portal. This is the first time the Indigenous Law Portal has provided coverage that extends beyond the United States.
The Indigenous Law Portal: Canada is organized in three regions: Northern Canada and Arctic, Eastern Canada and Western Canada. The information can also be searched alphabetically or by province. Jennifer Gonzalez has written a nice introductory blog post including information about the origins of Canada’s National Aboriginal Day.
For more information . . . [more]
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) many calls to action that focus on the information management community (museums, Library and Archives Canada, archivist associations, vital statistics agencies, etc.).
Earlier this month, the TRC released its findings after its years-long investigation into the many abuses against Aboriginal children at Church-run Indian Residential Schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
This week, the ActiveHistory.ca website published an article by Krista McCracken, Archives Supervisor at Algoma University’s Shingwauk Residential School and Wishart A. Library.
It is called The Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation: . . . [more]
Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent at the Telegraph, reports that the Director of the British Library Roly Keating thinks this could be the case. In a nice piece on the future of libraries Keating says the following:
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“I was surprised, and continue to be, how many smart people ask me in all seriousness ‘do we really still need these library things in this age of smart phones, search engines’ and so on? … Our commercial partners in the information delivery space do wonderful things and we couldn’t live our lives without them. But the time frame we think