Canada’s online legal magazine.

Fair Use and Fee

In one of my recent quixotic ventures I tilted at the idea that we should put on line the tables of contents of Canadian law books. This, I reasoned, would allow them to be searched by researchers, and thus mined for the unconsidered trifles they might, and often do, contain. Accordingly I requested permission from various key publishers to get and post copies of their TOCs in digital form. Irwin was great about it, as was Emond Montgomery — whereupon I ran into one of the biggies who said no, fairly unhorsing the whole enterprise.

The reason for refusal went . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


I’m in the middle of putting up a large website for an organization and am confronting again all of the organizational difficulties that entails. I started out using an outliner to create the menu structure (architecture) of the site, so that I could get main pages, sub pages and so forth. (Somewhat surprisingly, MS Word has a decent outlining capability, though there are many beautiful small programs that do as well or better — TreePad under Windows and OmniOutliner under Mac OS X, for instance. One neat thing about Word outlines, though, is that they can be “sent” via a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


The landmark A2K conference at Yale Law School will bring together leading thinkers and activists on access to knowledge policy from North and South, in order to generate concrete research agendas and policy solutions for the next decade. This conference will be among the first to synthesize the multifaceted and interdisciplinary aspects of access to knowledge, ranging from textbooks and telecommunications access to software and medicines. The A2K Conference aims to help build an intellectual framework that will protect access to knowledge both as the basis for sustainable human development and to safeguard human rights.

Yale Information Society Project

April . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law Students Value Legal Research

Law librarian Mary Whisner (U of Washington Law) reported on the AALL Academic SIS listserv today the resulted of a survey done by The ABA Section of Litigation of law students (they apparently do regular surveys). Although the response rate is admittedly low (172), the students who responded indicated a strong vote of support for legtal research:

Which of the following first-year courses has proven to be the most valuable to you during your time in law school?

40% of respondents answered with Legal Research and Writing (with the next highest response being contracts at 17%)

Which of the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


Quicklaw/LexisNexis announced today that the Butterworths NetLetters have been transmogrified — well, they didn’t actually use that word — into the LexisNexis NetLetters “with a brand new look and style.”

Other changes:

The Aboriginal and Immigration Law NetLetters will become bilingual, meaning that they will contain both English common law and French civil law decisions when available. Summaries in both languages will also be provided where decisions are released in both languages. The Patent NetLetter will merge with the Copyright and Trade-mark NetLetter into one Intellectual Property NetLetter, which will also be bilingual.

NetLetters on the following subjects are available . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Social Software and the KM Connection

[cross-posted on the VLLB]

How closely aligned are social software tools and your KM goals? As noted by Jack Vinson this morning, Mike Gotta’s post is an excellent reminder that the two often go hand-in-hand.

I’m currently in Portal construction mode these days (why I missed my post last week), so both Jack and Mike’s comments really hit home. When it comes to delivering on the goals of KM, as Jack points out, it really is about “smoothing bumps in the path of finding, using and creating knowledge”.

I’ve always been a fan of well honed online communities (both . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Archives at York?

The Toronto Star reports today that the hoped-for announcement about funding for the York subway line extension may be just the boost that’s needed for York University to win the bid for the new location for the provincial archives. Apparently there are several competitors for the projected new building but the ease of access to be provided by the new subway line would be a major factor in York’s favour. And there’s a huge vacant space adjacent to Osgoode Hall Law School and near the Scott Library that would be just perfect for the new building. I confess to already . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Sean Hocking

This (gently self-promotional) letter from Sean Hocking, received yesterday:

Dear Slaw,

I was doing some googling over the weekend and noticed your january 06 post about myself and my blog House of Butter.

Just FYI

House of Butter was created as a blog in early 2002 after I resigned from the Australian arm of Lexis Nexis. The House of Butter title is a reference to Butterworths purchased by Lexis Nexis and then dismantled by it’s US parent I think much to the detriment of the legal publishing industry as a whole and especially any Butterworths client.

I see LN these

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Secret Law

« Le scandale du monde est ce qui fait l’offense. Et ce n’est pas pécher que pécher en silenceMolière, Tartuffe

In a post September 11 environment, one value that appears to have compromised (if not sacrificed) is transparency in the availability of legal norms. This should be an issue for all Slaw readers, not just those whose work touches on criminal law or constitutional rights.

A few examples.

We now know about the secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose minimal process was too much for the DoJ.

But now it seems that we have . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Research and Serendipity

Taking up on my colleague Laurel Murdoch’s post at the end of my Day of Destruction thread last week, she said that “the process of research… affects the final result”.

We talk occasionally about serendipity, the intersction of apparent chance on the research process. On Friday, Laurel asked whether I knew of any cases which dealt with the phenomenon of a court deciding an issue on grounds or citing caselaw completely different from what counsel had argued.

A brief reflection and a couple of calls to our Slaw colleague Eric Gertner (l) and John Swan (r), which led me to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous