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Current Awareness Techniques for Legal Researchers

A question arose today among colleagues how best to stay “current” with law-related information without becoming overwhelmed.

Certainly, technology has a role to play but I also suspect there is no “one size fits all” solution for every person. For example, I find my information-seeking habits and needs now (as an academic law librarian) are quite different from when I was a practicing research lawyer. Set out below are some of the various techniques I have used, along with a list of some of the standard websites I would ordinarily visit on a regular basis. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

IP Source on WestlaweCARSWELL

I only just noticed now that WestlaweCARSWELL has added “IP Source” as one of its “modules” – perhaps it has been there for awhile but I only noticed it now (by default, the system only appears to accept a maximum of 6 tabs and adding IP Source to existing tabs results in 7 tabs, so you would need to drop one of your other tabs).

I don’t want to seem too “promotional” here but the IP Source looks interesting for IP practitioners/researchers and includes a number of Carswell-authored IP texts, including those by Fox/McKeown, Joliffe and Dimock, in addition to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Copyright Act Amendments – AUCC Speaks Out

In an October 24, 2005, op/ed piece in the Hill Timesavailable for free on the website of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) – AUCC President Claire Morris accuses Access Copyright of distorting the position of Canadian educators who merely want the right, as educators, to access material that is “publicly available” on the Internet. An important piece in the debate on Canadian copyright reform and an eloquent plea for a balanced approach. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Windies – Where Are You?

Stray thought on a Sunday night. One of the most difficult places remaining in the Commonwealth, in legal research terms. is the West Indies. There are now more requests for assistance on law librarian listservs for assistance for materials from Caribbean jurisdictions than anywhere else – whether it be tax legislation from Jamaica or cases from Barbados. The region is not as well covered as most African or Pacific jurisdictions which, given its location on the North American doorstep, is inexplicable. And this is the case with respect to both free and paid services as far as I am aware. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

World Trade Online

This is an unashamed plug for one of my favourite online databases – World Trade Online. I’ve set up access from every law school I’ve worked in (Monash, UofT, Queens, and now Osgoode Hall at York) and it occured to me while arranging access here just now that there may still be some out there who have not heard of it. If you or your library users are interested in world trade issues you can’t beat this resource. As well as the online version of Inside US Trade it includes a vast array of reports and special analyses on aspects . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Thomson Links to AUSTLII

Thomson Announces New Alliance with AUSTLII Thomson Legal and Regulatory is pleased to announce a new strategic alliance with AUSTLII, (the Australasian Legal Information Institute), which expands and enhances the provision of full text legislation content to our online customers.... The new alliance with AUSTLII enables Thomson to significantly improve the range of services that are enriched with hypertext links to legislation, and to expand jurisdiction coverage to cover the States and Territories, as well as the existing Commonwealth coverage.... When a user clicks a link to a particular section of legislation on Lawbook Online, a new window will appear containing the full text of the relevant section of legislation.
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Slaw Has PageRank!

The Google Toolbar PageRank (PR) has finally been updated, and Slaw has received a PR5! To see this for yourself, you must have the Google Toolbar installed, and have the PR bar indicator ‘checked off’ under ‘Options…’.

Google PR is updated on a continual basis, but the only glimpse we get into this algorithm factor is via the Toolbar. It’s also important to note that PR is only one of over a hundred estimated elements in how Google calculates the search results. In reality, it’s not a great indicator of how a website will rank in the SERPS (search engine . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Lighter Side of Google

For anyone who doubts the accuracy of Google searching, here is a wee challenge from cyberspace:

1.) go to www.google.ca

2.) type in “failure”

3.) press the “I’m feeling lucky” button (instead of the Google search one)

4.) laugh

5.) Forward to others before the Google folks fix this!

I did a bit of sleuthing and found this is not actually a mistake, but clearly explained in this Google Blog post. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous