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IBM’s “Many Eyes”

IBM is returning to an industry leading position in software. One of the things that is helping in this revival is their commitment to research labs in various places around the world. The IBM Watson Research Center at Cambridge (Mass.) houses the CUE Group (“Collective User Experience”), which is exploring, among other themes, interactive visualization. They’ve developed a Java app called Many Eyes, which is available through IBM’s Alphaworks, a point of release for trial software (and well worth visiting regularly).

From the “about” page:

Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Customized Search Tool for Canadian Law School and Legal Research Websites

This is related to Ted Tjaden’s Slaw post Custom Google Search Engine to Search Major Canadian Law Firm Websites.

Over the weekend, I also played around with Google Coop, which allows anyone to create a custom search engine that will search only sites or subsites specified.

I have come up with 2 search tools for Canadian legal material. Both are fully bilingual:

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Three Major Cases and the Media

The media often have a difficult relationship with the law. Complexity, ambiguity tedium – all combine to prevent readers from fully coming to terms with a case.

Within the last 48 hours, however, I’ve witnessed three contesting approaches.

The first is this week’s Macleans which is unprecedented in giving over 50% of its space to People v. Conrad Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, the major criminal trial taking place this month in Chicago. Of course it’s factually a juicy case with larger than life protagonists.

For me one of the most interesting parts was the sharp contrasts drawn between . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Custom Google Search Engine to Search Major Canadian Law Firm Websites

I have created a rudimentary Custom Google Search Engine for searching major Canadian law firm websites. As many of you know, there are often excellent newsletters and other bulletins on the law firm websites, especially on new or recent areas of law or important court decisions.

Readers of SLAW are encouraged to try it and provide feedback (make it a “Favourite” or a “Bookmark”). If anyone is willing to work on improving it, let me know and I can “invite” you as a contributor. Ideally, one of our colleagues in an academic law library in Canada would take ownership . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

RSS and Lawyers – What’s Real and What’s Not

I try to read (or at least skim) SLAW postings daily, along with 3 other BLOGS whose daily updates arrive by an email in my Outlook in box. Although our firm uses an enterprise RSS aggregator (which allows us to either display RSS feeds in the context of our portal or to show the RSS feeds as folders in Outlook), I personally don’t seem to have the discipline to check either of these locations on a periodic (ie daily or twice daily) basis. I am forced to admit that without the daily emails, I would miss a lot of useful . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Bilingual Blogging – What Application?

This question came up in a recent meeting I attended, and now I am curious: for those tackling bilingual blogging, is anyone using bilingual software? That is, software that has the navigation available separately in both French and English.

Most popular blogging applications were created in the U.S. and are in English only. I have had a look at the Drupal website. Drupal is Open Source and is available in quite a number of languages now. Has anyone tried to use Drupal for more than one language simultaneously?

Inquiring mimes want to know. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lossless… Maybe

For some reason the vulnerability of today’s documents came to mind repeatedly this week. It’s a serious and continuing problem for everyone — archivists, librarians, private citizens… and law firms. The email files, the CD-ROM’s (remember them?), WordPerfect files, PDF files, Polaroid photos, all have an uncertain life span, and all are produced with a proprietary technology that will almost certainly have an even shorter life span than the fruit it bears. The anxiety is that in some future we (or our children) will be looking at flaking, curling, crumbling, or unresponsive and cryptic physical objects, and at character strings . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Corporate Blogs

Always on the lookout for hints on how to successfully build and maintain a corporate blog, I stumbled across these 2 helpful articles:

“As blogging grows, so do its do’s and don’ts”,, February 20th
Focuses on what you should and shouldn’t do to ensure your corporate blog is legally compliant.
-monitor content regularly
-train employees on how to comply with relevant corporate blogging policies and laws
-establish clear objectives for the blog(s)
-allow employees to post corporate trade secrets or patentable information

“Five ways to improve your corporate blogs”, Special Libraries Association Information Outlook, January 2007 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supreme Court Advocacy Institute Launches Website

A new training organization called the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute has launched its website.

The Institute will “provide pro bono, non-partisan advocacy advice to parties appearing in an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada”.

Litigants will be able to apply to appear in front of a panel of senior counsel, former Supreme Court law clerks, and professors of law who will critique their presentation and advocacy skills.

It will be a bit like a moot court session that will simulate the experience of appearing before the Supreme Court.

The National Advisory Committee is chaired by former Supreme Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Communities of Practice, Social Networks & Knowledge Networks: Get in the Game!

Joel Alleyne, whom we haven’t heard from in a while here at Slaw (busy man!), was the moderator at the Ark Conference I participated in last week. The conference had the unwieldy but search-engine friendly title Best Practices & Management Strategies for Legal Library & Information Service Centers. I heard Joel speak a few years back to the Toronto Association of Law Libraries on Communities of Practice so I was quite surprised at how much the discussion has changed. In a Web 2.0 world, social media has made it even easier for communities to come together.

Without giving . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous