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Government 2.0: Open Data in the City of Toronto

Today and tomorrow, Toronto Innovation Showcase is bringing together City of Toronto staff, City leaders, and various groups of citizens to discuss the Open Government movement and what it should mean to the City. The question being asked is:

“How can we strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative?”

Part of the Showcase will be the Open Data Lab, taking place this afternoon 1:00 – 4:15 p.m. ET. This will be a unique opportunity for citizens to engage with City government. Today’s Open Data Lab will be led by consultant . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This past week was fantastic for Toronto biotech. We hosted the 50th Anniversary of the Gairdner Awards, the OGI-IDT Synthetic Biology Symposium and Canada’s first Science Policy Conference. These events provided the opportunity to hear some big names do some big thinking… and the opportunity to reduce all those big thoughts to 140-character tweets @crossborderbio. Here are a few items from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog that got in on the fun as well:

  • Bruce Alberts, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Science, served for 12 years as the head of the U.S. National Academy for Science, an
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Substantive Law

Speaking Out

At the end of September, four members of the Ontario Government Libraries Council (OGLC) presented a workshop at Showcase Ontario, the Ontario government’s enormous technology and information conference. The session was about how to use non-traditional media such as blogs and Twitter for current awareness, and included two practical case studies from the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Registrations for the session topped 400. Since then, various members of the panel have been asked to make presentations to other audiences, to contribute content to articles reporting on social media use in government, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Berring, CanLII and Kobe Beef

I saw the last installment from the West series showcasing Bob Berring. Bob Berring is no stranger in this field. He significantly contributed to the law librarianship over a quite long career. His decade long professional connections with West Publishing are also well known. All this said, this short video constitutes nice blog stuff. Simon’s reference to it is an irresistible invitation to prepare a first posting on Slaw. I intend to seriously contest the premature obitary for the free access to law initiative. Here are some of my points.

The market and the production of social goods

Berring’s first . . . [more]

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

Google Mobile GPS Services With Crowdsourcing

Just like Google’s Street View feature, which followed a Canadian launch after being tested in the American market, Google introduced this month traffic levels for major Canadian cities after almost three years of use in the U.S. In the past week the service was extended from mobile devices to web browsing as well. has offered much more limited traffic features for several years, but nothing even close to the level of detail or interactivity provided by Google.

Late this summer Google had expanded the service to include arterial roads, which was a major complaint among American users. They also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

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