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Commercial vs. Free Online Databases Survey Results

Two weeks ago when I’d last posted, I’d asked for replies on your use of commercial versus free online databases for legal research, with a breakdown between legislative, caselaw and legal commentary issues. My own practice is predominantly using commercial databases over free. The response I received from others on Slaw, and from some colleagues at my firm, were instructive:
*Use of commercial ($) db’s rather than free: Legislation: 50%: 4
<50%: 3
50%: 1

*Use of $ db’s rather than free: Caselaw: 50%: 7
<50%: 0
50%: 1

*Use of $ db’s rather than free: Legal commentary: 50%: 7 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Personal Library

Books do furnish a room. Books map the brain of a reader. Our choice of books and our arrangement of them have meanings that tell stories and reveal patterns of thought.

Think about Walter Benjamin’s lovely essay in Illuminations on Unpacking a Library and how his books establish patterns and relationships. (If you have an Amazon account, look inside the book “Illuminations” at page 59.)

In the law I remember at the start of my career working with lawyers who had the luxury of extensive shelves, the curiosity to acquire books and the possibility posed by cheaper prices than today . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Echo / Écho

Documentation juridique. ServiceDoc Info - Blog Juridique - L'archivage électronique de l'histoire du droit:L’archivage électronique de l’histoire du droitlundi 14 novembre 2005Bonne idée et bonne pioche que Simon Chester a produit pour le compte du site collaboratif canadien slaw.ca.A partir de l’annonce de l’accord British Library / MSN largement relayé dans les médias, il constate avec anxiété que les ouvrages juridiques sont peu ou mal représentés dans l’offre actuellement disponibles.Mais il en profite pour lancer une sonde systématique sur les contenus en testant sur quelques grands classiques. Bonne occasion de repérer des sources ou des titres indispensables.De fait, il n’en trouve pas beaucoup, mais il constate avec amusement que la montée des néo-conservateurs rendaient certains ouvrages plus disponibles (“Funnily it was the rise of the neocons that make some of this material available”)Ce qui est fort intéressant dans ce post, c’est qu’il a déjà obtenu une réponse très détaillée proposant de nombreux liens très riches sur les projets de numérisation du droit canadien, dont notamment le répertoire des projets canadiens de numérisationVoir en ligne :Slaw, A Digital Archive of Legal History ?
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Soquij for the Chopper?

The biggest story in Canadian legal research and information tools all year and Slaw’s sitting on the sidelines. Shame on us for being so passive.

There’s a battle being waged over the largest official law reports in the country, the pioneer in the delivery of online legal information to the legal profession, now threatened with closure by a government that thinks that there’s no need for law reports with court websites and that editing and headnotes are relics from a quaint distant time.

I’m talking about the Charest government’s plans to close Soquij – even though it’s financially self-sustaining and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New: Google Base – Opportunities for Legal Researchers?

CNN’s top technology news story today was the beta launch of Google Base, which is an online database hosted by Google to which anyone may upload data. The site includes the following description:

Google Base is a place where you can add all types of information that we’ll host and make searchable online.

You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on the relevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Scholarly Electronic Publishing

The [Houston Library] Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography (SEPB) presents selected English-language articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet.

This may not be of wide interest to readers of Slaw, but it could be a helpful resource for those who are looking for material on IP or DRM, for example. There’s a decent table of contents to the bibilography and the ability to subscribe to a RSS feed for updates. As well, you can search the bibilography. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hello From San Jose!



Ocean Beach

Originally uploaded by ConnieC.



Hello from San Jose!

I am learning a lot and connecting with a number of people, so I am finding it to be quite worthwhile so far. Last night I discovered the official conference wiki. It uses Social Text wiki software which people seem to like. It includes a link to photos on Flickr which include the conference tag. At this point they will look pretty familiar if you’ve checked out my blog since so far I’m the only one who has added anything in. It helped that I was already using . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Go Connie Go!

For those of us who watched Connie Crosby as she blogged & photo-blogged both last year’s CALL & SLA conferences, well… She’s baaa-aaaak! :-)

Live from San Jose at the KM World and Intranets 2005 conference, Connie is pushing her way through the exhibits and taking many photos and session notes along the way.

You too can follow along at home! And really, short of attending, Connie’s conference blogging is fast becoming the next best thing! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google on CBC

CBC Radio’s “The Current” for November 7th had a segment about Google’s digitizing libraries project. There was also a brief discussion about a class action lawsuit in the US that is trying to stop this projects.

You can listen to the archived broadcast at:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2005/200511/20051107.html

Scroll down the page to “The Current Part 2: Google”
About halfway down the page you will see a link to the streaming video for this segment of the programme. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Australian Law on the Web

I have been surprised lately to see a growing number of postings by Canadian law librarians on both Canadian and Australian listservs, seeking help in locating specific Australian cases, often prefaced by the statement that their library does not subscribe to relevant commercial databases. These message are usually responded to by Australian law librarians pointing to AustLII. AustLII is a terrific free resource that provides full-text access to decisions from all Australian courts and tribunals (many of them comprehensive in coverage). It was in fact the progenitor for most of the other “LIIs”, many of which it hosts and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Job Postings at Osgoode

I know that SLAW wasn’t created with the idea of being a venue for posting job advertisements, but as the readers and contributors of SLAW
are just the sort of people we would hope to attract, I hope to be forgiven. Osgoode Hall Law School has vacancies for two full-time librarians, a Head of Public Services who will undertake a major rebuilding of that area here, and a reference librarian. These are the first of several positions that will be advertised over the next two years. Full details on the York University website. (search on “librarian” or “osgoode”). I . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Google Searches Used in Evidence

Thanks to Alan Gahtan’s blog for the following juicy story: don’t google for an article on “22 ways to kill a man with your bare hands.”

Google Searches Used at Murder Trial
November 12th, 2005

Techdirt has a blog referencing a CRN article regarding use by the prosecution at trial of a murder suspect’s Google searches. Aside from other digital evidence discovered on the defendant’s hard drive by the prosecution’s forensic expert such as emails and incriminating websites that were visited, authorities claim that the defendant looked up the depth and topography of a lake where the body of his

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous