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Archive for November, 2007

In Defense of Cataloging

Thomas Mann, author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research, has recently written a good article called “The Peloponnesian War and the Future of Reference, Cataloging, and Scholarship in Research Libraries” (PDF).

Colleague Clare Mauro brought this article to my attention after a discussion we had regarding my naive conclusion after reading Everything is Miscellaneous that the “magical search engine” just around the corner will solve all of our information needs and reduce or eliminate the need for “second order” control over information through controlled vocabularies.

Mann’s article reminds us of the power of “second order” precoordinated . . . [more]

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

The Role of Legal Research Lawyers in Law Firms

What goes around comes around. It seems that two years ago almost to the date, I mentioned here on SLAW the discussions of an informal group of Toronto research lawyers surrounding the role of research lawyers in law firms.

At our meeting last week, the same discussion arose again, albeit in a slightly different context. Our discussion this time around focused on the frustration some research lawyers still feel in their role not being fully understood by others in their law firm or by clients. This frustration manifests itself in a number of ways:

1) There is a mistaken belief . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Gathering in Support of the Defenders of the Rule of Law

The notice below went out to lawyers in Ontario and their staff; a similar event took place Sunday in Ottawa.

Show your support for the rule of law

In response to the situation in Pakistan, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Bar Association invite you to attend a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

One Laptop Per Child: Give One Get One Extended to December 31st

Previously reported here on Slaw, the One Laptop Per Child program’s Give One Get One promotion has now been extended to December 31st. So, you now have until the end of the year to order yours if you are in Canada or the U.S.!

Thanks to Chris Brogan for the tip and the additional discussion of the program. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Indian Bar Opposes Foreign Lawyers

The Bar Council of India and the state bar councils have together urged the central government not to alter laws to permit the entry of foreign law firms into the practice of law in India. has the story. In this they’re backed up by the British Indian Lawyers Association, which represents Indian lawyers practising in the United Kingdom and which argues that such a change should be reciprocal, happening only when the U.K. allows Indian firms in. The Economic Times has that aspect of the story. The Times adds it’s voice to the controversy in “India — the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Another Browser-Based Word Processor

We’ve covered a couple of different browser-based tools in the past here, including Zoho, ThinkFree, Buzzword, and Adobe Share. A new competitor, Live Documents, has now entered the fray.

If you think the name sounds suspiciously similar to what Microsoft calls all their products, well, there’s a reason for that. The program is built to integrate closely with Microsoft Office. The interface of its web application is very similar to that of Office, but this online suite goes further. It integrates into your desktop copy of Office (by installing its own toolbar) and allows you to share and collaborate . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Nec Piscatorm Piscis Amare Potest

Maybe so, but another fish sometimes learns. 

Sometimes one doesn’t end up where one intended, but once one is there, it’s worth visiting.



or its sub-site for a useful collection of Latin proverbs with commentary.

Non sine causa sed sine fine laudatus? 

Maybe. But if so, who cares?



1. The device in the picture (borrowed from the site) – a reel-to-reel tape recorder – is, for those too young to remember, an archaic precursor of the MP3 player and the IPod.

2. The English translations of the quotations is:

The fish . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Miscellaneous

From Snails in Bottles to Nails in Law Library Canteens

Keen readers of the Daily Mirror ((No not that Daily Mirror – the one from Colombo ))will have smiled at the following story:

Nail-biting lunch

By S. S. Selvanayagam

A senior lawyer claimed that he underwent a traumatic experience at the Colombo Law Library canteen while he was having his lunch.

He ordered a plate of rice with vegetables and sat down at a table close to the main counter of the canteen. A little later one of the waiters brought him a plate of rice with vegetables.

As he was partaking of the food, to his astonishment and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous

A Chief Justice for the Charter

The announcement of the death of Chief Justice Antonio Lamer is a significant passage. I can’t think of a single Supreme Court Justice who has had a more profound influence on the criminal law ((Arguably G. Arthur Martin, JA of the Ontario Court of Appeal may have had a more sustained impact on the day to day conduct of the criminal trial)).

Here are the tributes from the Prime Minister ((I can’t find a tribute from the current Chief Justice)), the Minister of Justice, the Globe, the Star, the CBC, the National Post.

Although Lamer . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Proposed Legislation

Everybody has heard of the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code and Youth Criminal Justice Act that have recently been introduced, but what of the other new bills before Parliament. I decided to take a look and see what lesser known but nonetheless, interesting pieces of legislation are in the works.

The first is Bill C-5: An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident. Which specifies that in the event of a nuclear accident the operators of said plant can be held liable up to 650 million dollars. Summary. (As a sidebar, $650 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

NE2007: Libraries Without Borders – Presentations and Audio Available

I have been remiss in pointing out that our big law librarians’ northeast regional conference “NE2007” a.k.a. Libraries Without Borders held in Toronto last month has PowerPoint and audio files available from the Proceedings page on the website.

The University of Toronto has kindly been hosting this for us. We hope to keep the site up indefinitely; the audio recording was kindly paid for with a grant from the AALL/BNA Continuing Education Grants Program and from LLAGNY, the Law Library Association of Greater New York. A copy of the audio will also be made available from the member section of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Tim Bray on Communication

Tim Bray over at Ongoing does some light speculation about how we should understand the accelerating growth in ways we communicate with each other. He starts with the timeline you see to your left and then goes on to play with ways of comparing and charting the means at our disposal today, wondering where the holes in the map might be that could reveal the spaces for new forms.

Tim, who happens to be Canadian, is director of web technologies at Sun Microsystems and has a background in search technologies. He should do more speculating in public about such things. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology