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8th International Law via the Internet Conference: Take-Away Thoughts

Last week I was fortunate to attend the international conference Law Via the Internet held in Montreal, hosted by the good folks at LexUM who bring us our CanLII system.

Law Via the Internet coincides with the annual meeting of the Legal Information Institutes (or LIIs) from around the world.

Here are some of my take-away thoughts from the conference:

  • free public access to law is key to helping developing countries eliminate poverty. Simply put, making the law accessible allows lawyers in a country do their job representing people, helping fight for people’s rights. Furthermore, organizations wanting to financially support
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Wiki Wha Hae – the Scots Are Here

Today’s Glasgow Herald reports on a new service called CaseCheck, which is built on an open source blog platform. The service sprang from an innovative on-line dispute resolution service.

CaseCheck is a free online archive of decisions by the Scottish courts and industrial appeals tribunals launched on October 1. What makes it unique is the ability of readers to annotate the summary report of each decision, commenting on utility and coherence ((Family lawyers in Canada will remember that this was the service that the late J.G. MacLeod of UWO performed as he edited the RFLs)).

The next step is

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology


Mind42 (“for two” — the notion being collaboration) is an online mindmapping tool that manages to capture pretty much the best of all the features of mindmapping. You can create any number of child or sibling nodes, move them around by simply dragging them, attach files and notes to them, use images for node text, and set up chat channels associated with nodes. When you’re done, you can share your map with a few or many. Or, as I’ve done below, embed it in your webpage via an iframe:

You can also export it to Freemind, Mindmanager and RTF (although . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Discordant Takedown

Almost two weeks ago the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), a volunteer-run wiki administered and housed in Edmonton, received a takedown notice from Aird & Berlis LLP acting for Universal Edition AG, the publisher of works by Bartok, Mahler, Schoenberg among others. The letter referred to the fact that some of the 15000 scores available on IMSLP were still under European copyright, though they were now in the public domain here in Canada. In Europe copyright persists for 70 years after the death of the composer; in Canada the post-mortem period is 50 years.

Care had been taken to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Everything Is Miscellaneous – a Must-Read Book

David Weinberger, author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined (2002) ((Weinberger, D. (2002). Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.)) and one of the four contributors to the Cluetrain Manifesto (Levine, Locke, Searls, & Weinberger, 2000) ((Levine, R., Locke, C., Searls, D., & Weinberger, D. (2000). The Cluetrain Manifesto : The End of Business As Usual. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books.)), published a new book this year: Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder (2007). ((New York: Times Books.)) The central argument for the book is that a new order in organizing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

The Dumbification of …. Or, as the Elephant Grunts

A recent article  on a San Francisco-based web site has this this caption

American kids, dumber than dirt
Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history

 The article states:

No, my friend takes it all a full step — or rather, leap — further. It is not merely a sad slide. It is not just a general dumbing down. It is far uglier than that.

We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Print Function in Slaw

You may notice that now, beneath each entry, there’s a link that invites you to “Print this post.” Clicking it will take you to a page containing a stripped down version of the relevant entry and a list of links referred to in that entry; if it’s what you want, the print button at the bottom of the page will send it on its way to your printer. I’d been meaning to install this for some time and was finally kicked into action by a kind email from a reader who pointed out how unsatisfactory the results of the browser . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw


In trying to get into the Halloween spirit, I have conducted a small search for ghouly related material in various Canadian legal fields. However; the only mention of Halloween in Canadian Legislation is in the Proclamation Declaring October 31st of each year to be “National UNICEF Day”. Vampires do get mentioned in the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations but there is no mention of werewolves, zombies, mummies,or dracula. Mummy’s do get mentioned quite often in caselaw but that is a different type of mummy than what is associated with Halloween. Some of the other ghoulies mentioned previously come . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip

I have to be brief this week, because I’m posting this from the LexUM conference in Montreal, while listening with one ear to the translated words of a speaker on the issue of information overload.

I’ve noticed lately that I have trouble hearing the occasional word. I think it must be because the people I hang out with are getting older and so have an increasing tendency to mumble. This can be frustrating, but it can also be fun when I find my brain supplying an amusing word or phrase to replace the blur. The classic instance of this is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

More From the LexUM Conference, Law via the Internet

Here’s a short list of links that came up in presentations yesterday and that might be of interest generally:

Droit francophone

Droit francophone, le portail de diffusion libre du droit de l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie donne accès à :

* Un portail de plus de 4100 hyperliens juridiques évalués et commentés
* Des collections juridiques nationales et régionales
* Un moteur de recherche du Web juridique francophone

Neil Campbell pointed us to this some time ago, but it seems that the URL has changed since then to the one used above.

Biblioteca Juridica Virtual
In Mexico

El Instituto de

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Thought? for the Day

“You can’t do much without a brain. Decapitation is, in most instances, associated with a decline in IQ.” (my emphasis)



Never mind.

On the other hand (so to speak)

Still, I’m going to assume that the emphasized phase shows that the writer-author of this bon mot has been in court recently. A tip of hat, so to speak. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Information Management, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Facebook and SharePoint – a Dynamic Duo?

KM Space, the excellent BLOG of Doug Cornelius, has a post today on the Microsoft purchase of a 1.6% interest in Facebook.

It’s easy to stop at the fact that this purchase values Facebook at $15 billion. Discussions with colleagues have yet to reveal the importance of Facebook in the business world (admittedly, I also thought that the internet would never last.) On what basis did Microsoft come to the conclusion that this investment makes sense?

Doug’s post suggests that an enterprise version of Facebook, delivered on the SharePoint platform, may be the goal. While SharePoint doesn’t have the name . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology