Canada’s online legal magazine.

No to Legal Information – Yes to Work Process

In an interesting profile in the Star-Tribune for November 15, entitled On Business: Thomson West becomes the go-to firm for online legalese the company’s strategy is clearly away from simply being in the information provision business. Indeed it’s so wedded to content and process, that Thomson West is more like an integrated information and software company. Some of this was becoming clear in its early and ambitious Westworks, whose birth is lauded at The ASP Approach: Experience Equals New Products and whose obituary can be found at WestWorks Melds Into ProLaw

The new West vision is shown at On Business: . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Getting Spoiled by Google

At December’s Toronto Knowledge Management lunch, there was a brief discussion of how user expectations (particularly non-expert searcher expectations) have been raised by the ease and seeming reliability of the Google ease of interface. So I was interested to see how Freshfields developed their user interface for KM.

The article is called
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Launches Next Generation Knowledge Management System

International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has launched ‘Athena’, a fully integrated legal know-how system.

The new application will standardise knowledge management (KM) working practices, enabling even faster client service delivery by providing access to the latest legal expertise . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law Books and Development

What to do with core legal texts? One English charity has a good idea

Legal Profession and Publishing Industry Launch International Law Book Facility

The International Law Book Facility, a unique charitable and publishing industry initiative, has been launched by the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice John Thomas, Judge of the Court of Appeal and ILBF Trustee.

With the support of Book Aid International, this important new initiative has a simple goal: to provide printed core legal texts to legal professional bodies, pro bono groups and law schools involved in access to justice in common law jurisdictions of Africa, Asia and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Note-Taking Tools

There are a couple of note-taking tools I use when I’m using my browser to do research, and I thought I might mention them here in case there’s a Slaw reader not familiar with them.

I use Firefox, now in the recently released version 1.5. There’s simply no contest in my mind, when it comes to browsers: Firefox beats Internet Explorer hands down, for a whole host of reasons that I urge you to explore (if you’re not already a Firefox user). Firefox lets you plug in extensions that can be downloaded from their site; these add to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Researchers in the Year 2020 . . .

A number of discussions arose at a meeting with colleagues today on the future of law firm legal researchers given changes in technology. It was hard enough twenty years ago (when I was still typing my law school papers) to imagine the impact of the Internet, the scope of online law-related information and other technologies that support legal research (e-mail, laser printing, scanning, etc.) [although twenty years ago I did have a Commodore computer that used a cassette tape deck as its memory – you had to fast forward the tape to get to different spots on the memory!.] Could . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The History of Citations and Indexes

In reviewing the work of Eugene Garfield (of whom more anon) two points were fascinating.

Firstly that the idea of citation databases in the sciences came from Shepards Citations. See his 50 year old article Association of ideas techniques in documentation: Shepardizing the literature of science. I’d assumed that the legal documentation theorists drew from the mathematicians and information scientists, not the other was round. His article is worth reading.

Second the history of information science used to assume that techniques of organizing information were essentially from the Enlightenment, and the founding of the great national libraries, like the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Empowering the End User

The web democratizes information. But I just stumbled on a fascinating site with case law and articles for authors considering suing publishers. Check out which presents a model for decentralized subject specific information.

In a different more academic vein, we had occasion to look at restitutionary remedies on Friday and my colleagues were delighted with the depth of UCL’s restitution site at
What other subject specific hoards do we use? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

WikiBooks, Sony DRM & a Changing IP Culture?

We’ve all heard of Wikipedia, the freely editable online encyclopedia, but have you heard of its sister site WikiBooks?

Wikibooks is a collection of open content textbooks, manuals, and other texts, with supporting book-based texts that are being collaboratively written. This site is a wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can edit any book module right now by clicking on the edit this page link that appears in every Wikibooks module. Set up in July, 2003, volunteers have written around 12,294 book modules in a multitude of books.

I fully admit I am no expert in IP, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Dissent on Open Access

The Royal Society urges caution over open-access publishing. See
Polly Curtis, education correspondent, Thursday November 24, 2005, Guardian Unlimited

One of the most prestigious scientific academies today warned against a rush to “open-access” publishing, saying a change to the current system of releasing research could have “disastrous” consequences for science.
The Royal Society today published a position statement urging caution against radical reform, in a move which will anger academics and universities who have been pushing for a replacement to the current costly system.

The row over how to publish research centres on the role of the biggest academic publishing

. . . [more]
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WestlaweCarswell Certification

There is a good article in the most recent issue of the CBA National for October-November starting at page 31 called the “Legal Research Roundtable”, in which SLAW is given as one of the websites.

At the same time as I was reviewing this article, which stresses the importance of legal research skills for law practice, I received notiifcation from WestlaweCarswell about their new certification programme:

I use this as a refresher for upper-year law students. I’d be interested in hearing about other experiences and uses of the ecarswell certificate.

nc . . . [more]

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