Slaw – Canada’s Online Legal Magazine
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Good News for Law Reform

Today Ontario’s Attorney General announced a new law reform commission for the province:

January 4, 2006 16:00 Attorney General To Establish New Law Commission Of Ontario Commission To Make Justice System More Accessible

TORONTO, Jan. 4 /CNW/ – The McGuinty government intends to establish a new Law Commission of Ontario, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced today at the Opening of the Courts ceremony.
“We will pursue discussions with the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario’s law schools, and the legal community,” said Bryant. “The goal is to create a modern, relevant and responsive commission . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Geist on Canadian Copyright

In case any readers of Slaw are not receiving the posts by Professor Michael Geist on copyright law and his recent posts on political fundraising donations allegedly being made by the pro-industry/copyright owners lobby to Canadian politicians directly involved in affecting copyright policy, his postings are worthwhile reading. One of his most recent is called “Cleaning up Copyright” and proposes that politicians take a pledge to not serve as Minister of Canadian Heritage or sit on relevant committees if they have taken financial contributions from copyright lobby groups. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

More on Wikipedia Reliability – Nature Comparison

Thanks to the Stephen’s Lighthouse blog entry on January 3, 2006, for pointing out the December 14, 2005, online article from Nature magazine by Jim Giles comparing Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Brittanica. According to the comparisons of 42 entries/articles undertaken by Nature, both encyclopedias had errors, with the Wikipedia entries averaging about 4 errors per article and the Encyclopedia Brittanica entries averaging about 3 errors per entry. The online article from Nature goes into a lot more detail about the nature of the comparisons and the types of errors caught. The ultimate conclusion you likely draw as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Blocking Search Engine Spiders?

Most websites can’t resist the traffic that Google, MSN and Yahoo provide, but there seems to be a new trend developing where large sites of destination are denying the Search Engines (‘SE’) indexing access.

A month or so ago, Brett Tabke of Webmasterworld (by far, the largest webmaster forum on the internet) pulled access to all SE spider bots. There was much speculation on why Brett had done this, and more specifically, many were wondering if he was testing his website’s dependency on the SEs. If any content based website could pull this off, this was one of them. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

WSJ Law Blog

The Wall Street Journal has a law blog:

Our mission: to scour the universe for compelling stories in two related areas: business and law, and the business of law. Law and business is a broad intersection, encompassing such current news as the Enron trial, the Merck litigation and the RIM patent dispute. The business of law is focused on law firms and in-house law departments. We’ll write about industry news and legal trends, with a sprinkle of good old-fashioned gossip.
Law Blog [Via Law Librarian Blog.]

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Technology for a New Year

My 11 year old son thought that it was important that, as the partner in charge of technology at my law firm, I “walk the talk” so I am now the proud owner of a sleek black iPod Nano. I tried downloading a song from iTunes last week (while on holidays) and concluded that downloading on a dial up line was not worth the effort. Any and all suggestions on what I should be downloading (now that I am back in the land of high speed access) are welcomed.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Nano will . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Alouette Canada Project

While I was home on holidays the last two weeks, I managed to catch this item on CBC radio on December 29th, under the heading:

Canadian Libraries join race to digitize books

I can’t find any more information out about this project on the CARL webpage, so if you have any more information let me know, otherwise I’ll keep looking.

A major effort to digitize millions of books and other documents at libraries is beginning across Canada.

Canadian research libraries have formed a digitization alliance called Alouette Canada to get their books online.

The process involves scanning the millions of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Research Around the World

Happy New Year, all.

I thought I would take advantage of the international nature of Slaw’s contributors and readers, to search out an answer to a question that occupies my mind from time to time. Across Canada, “legal research” is conducted by lawyers, at the courts and in private practice. By “legal research”, I mean to include the finding of relevant law on a given issue; the analysis of the state of the law; and the application of the law to the given problem/file/issues. In our firm, the reference librarians will find law if given the parameters such as the . . . [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

100 Things You Didn’t Know Last Year

The BBC’s Technology magazine has one of those end of year lists that someone must have obsessed over:

I particularly liked the following factoids:

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it’s possibly because religious people have less fear of death.
11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed.
14. It’s possible for a human to blow up balloons via the ear. A 55-year-old factory worker from China reportedly discovered 20 years ago that air leaked . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Phil Epstein Assumes Jay McLeod’s Mantle

I missed the Carswell announcement just before the holidays that the weekly newsletter that Professor Jay McLeod published on family law has now become Epstein & Madsen’s This Week in Family Law. The great thing about McLeod’s family law scholarship was the personal voice, the willingness to articulate a strong and sometimes ideosyncratic view of where Canadian family law was going. Simply having an intelligence wrestling with the issues, rather than doing a paraphrase of judgments was welcome in itself.
Let’s hope that Phil will be as willing to stick his neck out.

His manifesto is: “We intend . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Gender and Internet Research

Just as we thought it was getting quiet again, along comes the latest Pew Internet Survey to suggest that

* Women are catching up with men in overall web use. They differ from men in using online to deepen connections with people.

* Compared with women, online men are more likely to: check the weather, get news, get do-it-yourself information, get political information, get financial information, do job-related research.

* Compared with men, online women are more likely to: use email, get maps and directions, look for health and medical information, use web sites to get support for health or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous