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

Some Old Insights Worth Re-Examining

With all of the preoccupation we have today with organizing the millions of files and documents we collect in our firms and organizations and on the web — and rightfully so, in my humble opinion — I often refer colleagues to a paper: THE SECOND COMING — A MANIFESTO By David Gelernter. In this paper, published a few years ago, David challenges many of the norms and mental models on which our current computing platforms are based.

Whether you agree with him or not on all or any of his 58 points, it is worth the read. David challenges . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

What Next Google?

Where to from here? First, Google becomes a verb — as in: ‘I googled him/her/it’. Indeed, being ‘googled’ has its own meaning in today’s common language. Then like many great brands (such as Kleenex™) that become synonymous with the product they represent (e.g tissues) ‘Google’ has become synonymous with ‘search’.

Even the Merian-Webster dictionary and Wikipedia have definitions for the verb ‘Google’. Now we have a new use for the word. Google has been used as a name for a kid in Sweden born September 12th (Source: Googleblog). Oliver Google Kai was named by his search engine consultant father, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

LII and Cornell Launch Wex!

The Legal Information Institute and Cornell Law School are announcing Wex, “a collaboratively built, freely available legal dictionary and encyclopedia“.

From the Wex FAQ:

WEX is a collaboratively-edited legal dictionary and encyclopedia. It is intended for a broad audience of people we refer to as “law novices” — which at one time or another describes practically everyone, even law students and lawyers entering new areas of law. No doubt purists will be quick to point out the differences between a dictionary and an encyclopedia. We deliberately blur the distinction, as we are interested in providing

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Digital Archive of Legal History?

The British papers are full of the British Library’s deal with Microsoft to digitize 25 million pages of material (100,000 books) that is outside the period of copyright protection: see http://news.zdnet.com/2102-9588_22-5933033.html?tag=printthis

I was surprised at how little the classics of the law are available from the regular search engines on the open web.

I did a small experiment on Google, Google Scholar, and Google Print, looking for the five great treatises of the English common law: Glanvill’s Treatise on the laws and customs of the realm of England, Bracton, Littleton’s Tenures, Coke and Blackstone, together with Sir John Fortescue’s De . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Through Thick to Thin

“Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men and, such as sleep o’nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much, such men are dangerous.”
 

The coming thing in technology is “thin clients.” Bill Gates is worried that Microsoft will be left behind, and his hungry competitors
are legion, all of them investing like crazy in thin.

This might not be such a good thing for lawyers, having nothing to do with whether the wallets of the clients who come in the door are fat or lean. A thin client is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

SLinks

As you know if you read Slaw with any regularity, on Fridays I compile a list of links used during the week by posters and those commenting. This is not as easy to do as it ought to be, and I’ve used various methods all of which are somewhat tedious. Then I happened across a “bookmarklet” — i.e. a small piece of Javascript that gets used like a bookmark, usually from the bookmarks or favourites toolbar — that went some way to easing the task. It strips links from a page and puts them, along with their associated text, into . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cola Spills on Laptop Keyboards – What to Do

Although not directly related to legal research, this post is related to technology and a phenomena I am surprised, in retrospect, did not happen to me earlier. Last week, I spilled a glass of cola on my keyboard and sort of panicked. Set out below is what I learned after the fact that I should have done in response to the spill. In case this information might benefit someone else, read on if interested. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

What’s on Your Home Page?

What’s on your browser’s home page? I use a customized page that resides on my hard drive that has the following major links: case law, legislation, books (catalogues), search engines/reference tools, government, news, and international. There are also a number of frequently-accessed links, including links into library catalogues, journal indices, the commercial database login pages, the Oxford English Dictionary (via U of Toronto’s e-resources, password required), and CNN, CBC and BBC.

I imagine many lawyers make their law firm’s intranet their browser’s home page; if not, I recommend customizing your own. It is way more convenient than using “bookmarks” or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

False Information Is So Much More Fun Than True

Looking for material on negotiating deals and contracts, I stumbled on a talk of that name broadcast as one of The Little Gray Book Lectures: Lit.Gr.Bk.20050202 available at http://www.littlegraybooks.com/hear.html

The talk is massively entertaining though it won’t tell you anything about contracts.

Hear his 700 names for a hobo on your iPod: http://www.areasofmyexpertise.com/hoboes.html

John Hodgman, the creator of the series and a keen blogger has just published “The most important book in human history” (the author announces modestly).

Why should an almanac be true? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Current Awareness Angst

A recent paper part of the Ontario Reports contained a new practice direction – correction – contained a brief summary of a practice direction along with directions to a website for more complete information. While lawyers are certainly used to accessing information on the web (SEDAR and eLaws are obvious examples), I had thought that there were certain information flows which were immune from “webinization”. I may have been wrong.

What is the best balance between “paper” and “electronic”? Electronic delivery of information is becoming more and more popular. With the daily flood of email, however, email notification of new . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Why Should Lawyers Care About Blogs

Nice easy Powerpoint by Ron Friedmann at
http://www.prismlegal.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=94 which would explain to anyone what the phenomenon is about, and why lawyers should care.

I’m planning to devote my next Ontario Bar Association column on The Lawyer’s Desktop to the three magic words, Blogs, Wikis, and RSSs.

Anyone got any recommendations for sources? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous