Canada’s online legal magazine.

Happy Birthday Canlii

Our friends at Canlii are celebrating eight years. Yes August 29, 2000 it all started.

Now CanLII publishes over 140 databases, gets nearly 25,000 visits per day, 2,500 new cases are added every week and 11 statutory databases are updated monthly.

The announcement has links so you can look back at what it used to look like.

Long may it thrive. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

The Friday Fillip

Today’s fillip merely pokes a stick — well, a baton, really — at a very large and fabulous creature, one that would take all the Fridays in an era to get to know properly, if such were ever really possible. I’ve touched on music before, that non-verbal language that satisfies as well as, or better than, the abecedarian kind. Today I want to play a bit with what I’m calling “the player and the piano,” though, these fillips being the associative rambles that they are, I’ll go beyond even that general limit.

What got me going this time was a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Blogging and Legal Ethics

Blogging lawyers are not like ordinary bloggers. Most bloggers don’t have to worry about the issue of conflicts of interests and client confidentiality. Lawyers, on the other hand, have to worry about legal ethics. Since I started blogging more than three years go, it’s been an issue that I’ve always had to keep in the back of my mind every time I even think about a blog post. With the plethora of blogging lawyers, I am surprised that I haven’t seen much discussion on the topic. (If there has been, please point me to it!)

I blog primarily in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Law Librarians and Virtual Worlds

While we’ve had discussions from time to time about Second Life, but we missed telling you about a novel virtual workshop on innovative forms of library services through virtual worlds. The workshop explored the benefits and challenges of operating a virtual world law library program, leading to practical advice on how to create and present a program or topical resource within Second Life.

The website noted that a legal community is developing in Second Life: over 65 lawyers and firms have an official Second Life presence, the “Second Life Bar Association” has 200+ members, and the ABA has recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, Technology

Board and Tribunal RSS Feeds

I am occasionally surprised by really great service.

Here is an example: In the spring I sent an email to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board to let them know that even though their news releases were available through the Alberta Government RSS feeds, I thought it would be a good idea if they had their own RSS channels so that if someone only wanted their material, it would be available. I was happily surprised this week when I received an e-mail saying they had their own RSS feeds.

A quick check tells me that there are a couple of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Digital Identity and a Chilling Term…

The Law Librarian blog has an interesting entry this morning, “Is it time for a uniform digital identity?”. Some of the content is a tip to a longer article by Erick Schonfeld on Techcrunch, but the Law Librarian blog riffs off his ideas, and is worth seeing as well.

I was particularly struck by a term used in the post- “Omnivellance”. Pretty easy to suss out what is meant here, and a little depressing. I thought that our privacy contributors might be interested, and look forward to reading their thoughts. no pressure . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cognition for Legal

The race is on to make (and sell to users) the first truly good search engine that deals well with concepts, such that a search for “dog bites man” would include results without the word “dog” or “bites” but that include “Pomeranian” and “attacks,” to give a very simple example. Natural language processing — or NLP — is not easy for machines to learn, of course. Not only must they have a decent thesaurus, but as well they should be able to parse a document and derive some sense of context so that the results of a “dog bites man . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Mozilla’s Ubiquity

It’s still summer, if only barely, and there’s a long weekend ahead of us, which might mean that you could make some time to play around with a new piece of software. Let me suggest Ubiquity. Mozilla has released this program in alpha, and I haven’t been this excited about an application since… I can’t remember when.

In a nutshell: it’s a Firefox 3 plugin that lets you issue commands from within your browser to web apps even when they’re not currently open. I can, for example, highlight something on a web page, call up Ubiquity (hot-key: alt-space, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario Justice Portal

Chris Bentley, Ontario’s Attorney General announced today a new one-stop “Justice Ontario” Website And Hotline to provide access to legal information

Justice Ontario is billed as providing

An online door to the justice system including easy-to-use information on family law, criminal law, lawsuits and disputes, human rights, estate planning and tickets and fines

Easy access to legal resources such as lawyer referral services and family law information centres

Toll-free telephone access to the same information in 173 languages at 1-866-252-0104.

The Press Release states that “Improving access to justice for all Ontarians begins with better, easy-to-use legal information,” a point . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

What Lawyers Can Learn From Apple

A recent Techdirt (one of my favourite blogs) post referred to a NY Times article noting a return to having even software and internet developers practice building physical things as well, in part just to get them to start thinking outside the (computer) box when thinking about how to design digital things. Think of it as cross-training for the digital developers mind.”

The article gives several examples of tech companies having workshops for its employess where they create things in the physical world.

At Stanford, the rediscovery of human hands arose partly from the frustration of engineering, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

An Online Law Library – Sunbury PA Politicians Have Their Doubts

Cost of online law library criticized

MIDDLEBURG — Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz doesn’t understand why county leaders last year tossed hundreds of law books into the garbage.

Last October, officials heaped the county’s law library into a green Dumpster behind the Snyder County Courthouse, leaving the county to swap paper and ink for software.

While the books did require periodic updates, Kantz said Snyder County now is shelling out $10,000 each year to maintain its online law library — a sum at which he scoffed Tuesday. “That was a pretty good waste of taxpayer dollars if you ask me,” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information