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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


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

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

Hear his 700 names for a hobo on your iPod:

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 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

PubSub Community Lists

PubSub, using their Linkranks method of analysis, has just opened up a series of community lists to help gauge popularity within different blogging communities.

And probably thanks to Steven Cohen, two of the first lists available are The Librarian List and The Law List. Steven is the editor for the Librarian list, and Kevin O’Keefe for the Law List.

I don’t see Slaw on either list yet, but all things in good time I suppose. :-) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Australian Colonial Project

I would like to draw attention to a fascinating and very useful online resource that most Canadians, at least, are not aware of. It’s a project run for a number of years now by Professor Bruce Kercher at Macquarie University in New South Wales. The project collects, and makes available online (via AustLII or Professor Kercher’s website) hundreds of decisions, plus related documentation from the early days of the Australian colonies. These decisions are culled mainly from newspaper files and hitherto unpublished records, such as those kept in the offices of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The value . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Reference Libraries of Toronto

What do the Great Library, the Legislative Library, the Toronto Star Library, Hydro Library and the County of York Law Library have in common? Well they were once open to all.

By serendipity, in searching for sources on the Riddell Collection at the Great Library, I stumbled upon a 78 year old overview of the libraries of Toronto, which is quite fascinating in the extent to which private collections were prepared to welcome patrons. See the Annual Programme for the SLA in 1927 at pages 13-20:

I haven’t seen a more recent listing. Can anyone provide one? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Commercial vs. Free Databases

I’d like everyone’s feedback on an issue that arises from time to time when I talk with other research lawyers in Calgary. Until recently, it was our view that the free websites (eg. CanLII) were not very useful; their search capabilities were clumsy, their coverage was limited, and/or the scope and coverage of the database was not known. While it is likely the free databases of legal materials are improving, it is my impression, and my practice, to use the commercial databases for most of my comprehensive legal research. I would like to know what others are doing in their . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous