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Grotius, Selden and 400 Years of Controversy

How young has a major contributor to the law been? I’d argue the case of a brilliant 21 year old Dutch student.

Over at the Yale Law Library Blog, a great exhibition on the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of Hugo GrotiusMare Liberum, (“On the Freedom of the Seas“) – or Huig de Groot if you dislike Latinization. Originally published as a pamphlet, it produced the first effective argument for the freedom of the seas and, with Grotius’s more mature work, De jure belli ac pacis (1625), lent substance and prestige to the idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

萬維網 – a Web That’s World Wide

Or even والشبكة العالمية

The language of tomorrow’s web won’t be English – nor will the script.

ICANN’s website has a video that explains the system of Internationalised Domain Names.

The Press Release states:

Seoul: The first Internet addresses containing non-Latin characters from start to finish will soon be online thanks to today’s approval of the new Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers board.

“The coming introduction of non-Latin characters represents the biggest technical change to the Internet since it was created four decades ago,” said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

The Friday Fillip

Have you any idea how hard it is to find a Jack O Lantern carved in the image of a lawyer? I’ll tell you how hard: impossible. That’s how hard. You’d think “lawyer” would be perfect, right? Scary for most people… often seen wearing long black garments… heard to spout strange rituals in a strange language… But no.

It’s just part of the trials of working in a profession that deals in abstracts: there’s a paucity of images to symbolize us, hence the proliferation of those silly little wooden hammers that only belong in the U.S. and those silly big . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Table of Public Statutes Nevermore

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak October, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost print source - For the rare and radiant index whom the angels named Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers - Nameless here for evermore.
Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Metadata as Record

Tip of the hat to my friend and partner Stan Freedman, the Supreme Court of Arizona en banc this week held that if a public entity maintains a public record in an electronic format, then the electronic version, including any embedded metadata, is subject to disclosure under our public records laws.

The case involved an employment discrimination action by a Phoenix policeman David Lake who suspected that there had been some backdating or manipulation of his employee file. He moved to see access to the metadata.

As the Phoenix paper reported:

A suspicious Lake requested the metadata from the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Internet in 5 Years

Google’s Eric Schmidt on how things might look in 5 years:

A nice except from his talk at the Gartner Symposium, provided by the NYT.

Among his points:

It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

More interesting points at source, as well as a link to the whole talk… . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Laundry Law: Stringing a Line

credit: martcatnoc – flickr

A recent opinion piece in the New Scientist, “‘Right to dry’ could wean Americans off consumption,” by Alexander Lee, talks about how much energy could be saved if we dried our clothes on a line rather than in a tumble dryer, and about the various property rules and regs that restrict or outright forbid clotheslines. Lee runs Project Laundry List, which estimates that dryers are responsible for 10 to 15 per cent of the energy consumed by U.S. households.

This reminded me that we reported on Ontario’s ban of clothesline banning about a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Two Toronto Events

For folks in or around Toronto, a couple of Osgoode Hall Law School events are coming up that might be of interest.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 30, 12.30 – 2.00 p.m., Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein will be speaking on intellectual property, in particular on patentable subject matter and business method patents. The talk will be in Room 102, Osgoode Hall Law School. (Anyone attending who would like to blog or live blog the talk, let me know.) RSVP to

Friday, November 6, 10.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m., IP Osgoode and the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies will joint . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law

Is There a Research Analysis Problem?

One of my favourite tasks as a firm librarian is to provide training (formal) and mentoring (informal) to articling students on gathering materials to answer legal research problems. Another favourite task is identifying trends (industry trends, process trends, changes in the use of language, emerging technologies) that will affect legal practice at my firm. I have noticed some interesting crossover lately.

  • The Legal Education Society of Alberta is hosting an Advanced Legal Research and Writing seminar on December 3 in Calgary and they recently offered a basic Legal Research session
  • A DVD on Advanced Legal Research by Bonnie Fish is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Los Angeles Adopts Gmail

Yesterday, Los Angeles city council voted to become the largest city in the United States to rely entirely on Google’s gmail to run its e-mail system. The city’s 30,000 employees will now have their e-mail managed and stored by Google.

There are certainly concerns with handing over this type of function to a third party. Any gmail user will know that it sees its downtime, like any other service. I would guess, though, it’s probably no more often than any other employer-provided e-mail I’ve ever had.

Naturally, security is a huge concern. After all, it was just weeks ago . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

UK Law Reports Get Their Own YouTube Channel

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) in the United Kingdom, the people who bring us the authoritative and official Law Reports, have their very own YouTube video channel.

Videos include interviews with the Law Report editors, a history of the ICLR, a video on the process of how a case goes from trial to official report, and a brief introduction to case law research using both online databases and hard copy reference works.

And check out their wonderfully produced video A Tale of Two Citations:

“This short featurette featuring two barristers. One of them serenely competent

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions