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Awards Season.

It’s that time of year again. The red carpet is being rolled out, outfits are being coordinated, after parties are being planned……

You guessed it, it’s the Stellas! What are the Stellas? The Stellas are named in honour of Stella Liebeck who infamously sued a fast food chain after she spilled coffee on her lap and burned herself because the coffee was too hot; she was subsequently awarded 2.9 million in damages. From that lawsuit the Stella awards grew; in their own words: “(e)ver since, the name “Stella Award” has been applied to any wild, outrageous, or ridiculous lawsuits — . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

EFF Pioneer Award Goes to Michael Geist

Huge tip of the Slaw collective headgear to our friend Michael Geist for being one of the winners of the Electronic Frontier Foundation 2008 Pioneer Awards: three awards, to the Mozilla Foundation and its Chairman Mitchell Baker, University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist, and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein.

Michael’s stance on the threat to community implicit in copyright change was one of the major reason’s for his win:

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa. Last year, he led the public protest to proposed Canadian copyright law changes that would have

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

U.S. Bluebook Online

The American uniform citation handbook, the Harvard Bluebook, is now online. You will need an account to access it, either a paid account of your own or an account of your subscribing institution.

We’ve talked at Slaw about the need for a free online Canadian uniform citation guide — indeed, even offered the services of our members to the McGill Guide folks, who declined our help. How hard would it be for us to produce a basic online guide that could then be improved over time?

[via Jim Milles on law.librarians] . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Legal Citation Guides – Online Versions?

One of the more frequently asked questions I would receive when I was at the Faculty of Law at U of Toronto was: “Is there an online version of the McGill Guide (the Canadian guide for legal citation)? (The answer of course was “no”).

Two posts just now by LawyerKM and Jim Milles indicate the American equivalent – The Bluebook – is now online for a very reasonable annual subscription fee.

I hope Carswell is considering doing the same for the Canadian McGill Guide (print version details available on Carswell’s site here). One of the better, free online guides . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Ten Emerging Technologies 2008 – MIT Tech Review

MIT Technology Review has released its list of the 10 technologies that it thinks are most likely to change the way we live. Some of the more interesting ones include:

  • Offline web applications: Programmers using Web technologies to build desktop applications that people can run online or off.
  • Reality mining: Using data gathered by cell phones to learn more about human behavior and social interactions.
  • Wireless power: Moving towards a world of wireless electricity.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Libraries, Research, and Books

We just added a couple of links to our homepage to help with research. You can download a plugin that lets you search our catalogue from your toolbar. You can also search for any other catalogue or database, or make your own. Its all here.

It might help you come to grips with complex research tasks, which are described helpfully in a couple of recent ACRL blog posts, here, and here.

Finally, if none of that helps, try what this guy tried. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

New Paper on Collegial Decision-Making at the Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Andrew Green and Benjamin Alarie have posted a new paper on the Social Science Research Network entitled Should They All Just Get Along? Judicial Ideology, Collegiality, and Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada:

“Over the past 25 years, the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada have not exhibited the divergent policy views along party lines that have been characteristic of the justices of the United States Supreme Court. This apparent lack of partisan polarization in Canada may at first give rise to smugness about the appointments process in Canada; after all, our

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions


LinkBunch is a site that lets you put in a list of links and hands you back a single, small URL, which goes to a page where you’ll find your hotlinks. Handy, perhaps, for making a temporary web page with a collection of resources or targets. Would be better if it permitted link text rather than, or as well as, the actual URLs.

[via law.librarians — you do subscribe to law.librarians, don’t you?

— in turn via Emily Chang’s eHub] . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario School Libraries to Benefit

There was a small victory for literacy this week when the Ontario government announced it will be providing additional funding for school libraries across the province (link and link). The funds are apparently enough to hire 160 new library staff. An interview on CBC’s Metro Morning today with a school librarian can be listened to here.

I’m not sure how great an effect 160 people can have in a province with millions of students, but any steps to increase kids’ familiarity with libraries is a step forward. After making it through an undergraduate degree with friends who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information


PdfMeNot is a service/tool that converts PDF files into Flash files on the fly. This means that you’re able to view them inside your browser, if you don’t have a decent PDF viewer plugin, and needn’t download PDF files or call up Adobe software to view them. You can zoom in and out and proceed page by page through the file, but you can’t search within the file using the PdfMeNot viewer.

The tools page gives you a bookmarklet that turns every PDF link on a web page you’re viewing into a link to the target in the Flash viewer . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Signal to Noise?

It’s Family Day in Ontari-ari-o, and reading week in at least some of the faculties in some of the universities, so I’m sure that explains the lack of traffic or the decrease in the denominator in the signal to noise ratio. Or both. So, there’s room for me to add some noise.

For the geeks among us (or within us), you know that Vista SP1 is around the corner for the common folk. The tech gurus have been playing for some time. In that vein, here’s something from ZDNet

Vista SP1 vs. XP SP2 – Benchmarked

Looking at the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology