Canada’s online legal magazine.

What If?

What If: computing as we know it were wiped out tomorrow? As electronic legal information has become entrenched over the last several years, this question has occured to me as it relates directly to legal research. For the purpose of this mental meander let’s say that a particularly virulent piece of malware passes through the world’s computer systems, rendering them all but useless. What would legal research look like? (Let’s assume that we are ignoring the riots going on outside of our offices)

As of this point, I think the legal community could recover from such a catastrophe, legislation, journals . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Research Tools That Fit You Like a Glove

Sunday’s NYT described an innovation at NCSU which permits patrons to construct personal portals that know their habits and interests and sets up personal alerts for the publication of favourite journals.

Which seems like something that we should have had for a while. Why shouldn’t my search engine on CANLII know – and remember – that I’m a lawyer, in Ontario, practising in a big national firm with interests in a number of specific subject areas? Why can’t I programme a bot or some sort of RSS feed to deliver me a sort of personalized law report.

My friends in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Microsoft, Standards and the Way Forward

There is an old joke that goes something like this: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They just define darkness as an industry standard. You can find this joke in many forms on the web.

There are two news items this week of note on the Microsoft / standards front.

First, Microsoft appears to have decided to seek an endorsement from the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) for its Office XML Reference Schema (the new file format for it’s Office productivity suite). This seems to be in response to efforts by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Law Library Review

As Features Editor of the Canadian Law Library Review I’d like to solicit articles from readers and contributors to SLAW for next year’s issues. There are so many interesting topics developed here, many with potential for great articles and I just know that many of you love to write. I’d particularly like to see some articles on cutting edge topics like the practical uses of RSS, blogging (the whys and wherefores), but really am open to anything. Email me! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Confederation Research (II)

Thanks to everyone who replied (in such depth) to my question about sources for Confederation research – there’s certainly far more there than I realised. It got me thinking that there’s really a need for some form of publication or research guide (linking to online sources). It’s something I’d like to put on my ‘to do’ list at Osgoode and get started over the next year – creation of a Web-based guide to Confederation research – that would link to online sources, but also to the scanned text of the various works (many of which, as has been pointed out, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hein Online Continues to Grow

I don’t want to seem too promotional of any single vendor of legal research products since I use all of them and obtain no financial reward for my recommendations, but I continue to be amazed by HeinOnline, who recently announced they have over 1,100 law journals participating in their online collection (requires a subscription, for a fee). Their journal collection is easily browsable, and although there is keyword searching, I tend to use it only as a source of an article to which I already have a citation. What is nice about their journal collection is that most journal . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

KM Gurus Davenport & Prusak Are Now Blogging!

For the interest of the other KM inclined Slawsters… Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak, two of the biggest names in KM, are now blogging at The Babson Knowledge Blog.

Here is a link to the inaugural post, and a link to the RSS Feed.

Connie has also published a great set of notes from Tom Davenport’s keynote at KM World and Intranets 2005. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Information, Law, the Future, and Other Stuff

What lies on the other side of the link below is a maundering ponder on information and its place in the scheme of things, now that technology has wedded itself to the right side of that previously innocent word, and on how legal information differs from the other kinds, if at all. It’s a subject that fascinates me but one about which I know very little, and so this essay, if it can be said to rise that high, is my way of starting a thought process aimed at letting me learn. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Yale Conference on Searching and Regulation

Regulating Search? is the first academic conference devoted to search engines and the law. The symposium will bring together technologists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, executives, lawyers, computer scientists, and activists to discuss the emerging field of search engine law. It will examine trends in litigation involving search engines, identify the interests that are implicated by the increasing legal control of search, and discuss appropriate public policy responses.
Regulating Search: A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy
December 3, 2005

Looks interesting. But not nearly as interesting as when I thought it was going to be about searching for and within . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

It’s Not Easy Being Green

A news story on today’s (Nov 22nd) email noted that apparently 58% of Am Law 200 firms use the colour blue in marketing their firm (“conveys a feeling of authority of royalty, as well as a sense of calm”). Only 2% use green (“perhaps, the study suggests, lawyers may want to shy away from such stark allusions to money.”) The impact of other popular colours (red, gray, brown) is also discussed.

Does legal research (as opposed to law generally) have a “colour”? As I survey the limited number of law books in my office and browse some legal content . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous