I’d like to share a bit of research I put together over at my new blog. Last week I re-assembled The Lawyer’s 2006 global 100 law firm websites, and then re-ranked the list by the number of pages indexed within the search engines. I then posted some commentary on law firm content strategy, and what we might read into a list like this.
Reading online is not a perfect experience. Many folks won’t tackle long documents at all and print whatever needs to be read. Whether or not new paper-like paper-thin monitors will change text readability in the future, there are a few things we can do now to improve online readability of text — and one new technique that may or may not prove useful.
Old hat first:
- Increase the type size to suit your vision (all modern browsers let you do this easily).
Take a look at this page if you’re uncertain how to make a font larger, either on the
Yesterday I had one of those “What did we do in the old (i.e. pre-web) days?” experiences, as, I suspect, did many others who were similarly trying to access information from some particular government web sites. The Ontario ministry site from which I was seeking some information was down and had been for a while. I thought I’d make some phone calls instead, but where to find a phone number? Of course, the online government directory – but it was down as well. Then I remembered the blue pages in an “old-fashoned” phone book – but of course no phone . . . [more]
Those of you who use Firefox may want to take a look at a new add-on, Firedoodle. It provides a toolbar that lets you annotate any web page — that is, treat that page as though it were a whiteboard — and then save the annotations. You can draw in various colours of variable opacity; you can frame a portion of the page (see the linked thumbnail pics below); and you should be able to place markers at chosen points in the page and leave sticky notes on the page (though I’ve had trouble getting the former to work). . . . [more]
The English language Walter Owen Book Prize is awarded every other year by the Foundation for Legal Research to the author(s) of a book which “represents an outstanding new contribution to Canadian legal literature and which enhances the quality of legal research in Canada.” For those who might have missed it, the 2007 prize was awarded at the CBA in Calgary this past weekend. This year the judges’ panel split the prize between John Swan for his new Contracts text, published by Butterworths, and Ari Kaplan for his book on Pension Law which is published in the Irwin Law Essentials . . . [more]
In a piece in the Science section of today’s New York Times, Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom opines that there’s a better than 20% chance we’re “living” in a computer simulation. It seems that because we’ll soon — by 2050, let’s say — be smart enough to get really, really good at this Second Life stuff, and because there’s always someone who’s into nostalgia, a game of life in the past might be created.
Your move. . . . [more]
The Christian Science Monitor reported today that both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are considering getting rid of their paid subscriptions and providing free access to all of their content. This caught my eye, as the Journal has long been admired as one of the few media outlets actually able to make money off of their online content. Their columnist suggests that “If both the Times and Journal abandon the idea of pay-to-read content, it is essentially dead for the time being on the Web.”
As part of a younger generation (well, sort of anyways) of . . . [more]
Google has just introduced a feature whereby those who are “participants” in a news item pointed to by U.S. Google News may submit a comment on that story. According the Google News Help page, “Participants are people mentioned in a story or related to organizations in a story.”
Comments show up in a news search and are marked with a small speech bubble graphic, thus:
Link to the actual comment
The Google News Blog, announcing the experiment, says that comments will be published in full and without editing.
Here is an interesting piece from the Legal Times about which I wanted to blog for while. It is of particular interest for the librarians (and lawyers) out there regarding the need of a paper library. Really? What about the paperless lawyer in me?
Even if the article refers to the experiences of our southern friends, the conclusions are applicable across the border and abroad. Primary sources of law being now available from different paying services and free public Web sites providing access to resources as well, what will happen of librarians? . . . [more]
As a result of the recent kerfuffle with our comments, I’ve taken another look at our comment spam filters and found that it’s very difficult to achieve the results I’d like through the use of filters alone. Therefore, I’ve introduced reCAPTCHA.
As most of you will know, “captcha” is a means of requiring a would-be commenter to enter a word or letters read off a graphic before being allowed to comment, the notion being, of course, that machines which pump out the spam can’t decipher graphics.
Introducing a captcha system does produce a slight disincentive to commenters, which is why . . . [more]