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Archive for July, 2008

More on Distractions and Multi-Tasking

After an article published earlier this year in the New Atlantis, the discussion has flared up again about the negative effects that distractions and multi-tasking can have on productivity.

In response to the New Atlantic article, others have been chiming in. Nicholas Carr, whose blog we have mentioned here in the past, wrote “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” for the Atlantic Monthly. The Sunday Times this week published an article called “Stoooopid …. why the Google generation isn’t as smart as it thinks.” All of these articles complain that the way we access information is harming . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Knol Opens Up

Some time back we posted about Google’s wisdom of the crowds encyclopedia knol, the idea being that it would be useful to have experts write about what they know and authenticate the pieces by attaching their names and info to them. Google now tells us that the experimental phase is over and you, too, can contribute to the store of the world’s knowledge by either writing your own knol or by making suggestions to those of others, suggestions they’re free to accept or not, of course (a process Google has called “moderated collaboration”).

I have to say that thus . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Toronto Star Feature Series on Crime and Punishment

The Toronto Star has been taking an in-depth look at recent moves by the federal government to “get tough” on crime by increasing sentences for major offenders and by boosting the number of crimes for which mandatory minimum sentences will be imposed.

The newspaper’s multi-part series is entitled Crime and Punishment and looks at popular perceptions of crime rates, the costs of incarcerating more people, the impact of tougher criminal laws on poor and aboriginal Canadians, crime in the suburbs, etc.

It also provides links to documents used by the team of reporters and researchers to develop the series. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Web Page Construction for the Rest of Us


Remember that name – it’s a great site that permits drag and drop web site construction. You can build a website without knowing one character of HTML.

It’s the brainchild of Lex Arquette and Jeremiah Grossman, whom Slaw readers will know from WhiteHat Security.

Roxer for free has its limitations. The beta pricing for the subscribed version is $7 per month. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Trust in Librarians

I’ve spent the early weeks of Summer 2008 catching up on my reading. I’ve finally read Wikinomics, for example. I’m also trolling through my Google reader, bookmarks and photocopies of short pieces that I promised myself I would pay closer attention to “when there’s time.” In these articles and posts and books I’ve noticed a recurring theme. The idea of trust, and how Web 2.0 is changing who we trust and what we trust arises again and again.

Jordan Furlong identified trust as a challenge in the world of law firm KM, prompting me to ask the question: Do . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

France Changes Constitution

Yesterday, the French parliament approved changes to that country’s constitution by the narrowest of possible margins. The amendments are described in the International Herald Tribune story:

Under the French Constitution, tailored for the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, the French head of state has vast powers, including the right to nominate the prime minister, dissolve the National Assembly and set the voting agenda. François Mitterrand, the late Socialist president, famously referred to it as a “permanent coup d’état.”

Sarkozy’s overhaul – the most sweeping change in half a century – allows the president to address Parliament directly, a privilege he

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Fair Use, Fair Dealing, and Copyright Infringement

Ars Technica is reporting that during the course of the “tot dancing to a Prince song” trial, in which the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the tot’s mum are suing Universal for giving her “a bad-faith DMCA takedown,” Universal’s lawyer stated that all fair use must constitute infringement, and that fair use is an affirmative defence.

It’s worth noting for bloggers like us that whatever may be the legal position of fair use under U.S. law, in Canada it’s clear that fair dealing does not constitute infringement of copyright: the legislation is explicit on this point:

29. Fair dealing for the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

New U.S. Copyright Slider

American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy has put together a funky Digital Copyright Slider that helps you determine what kind of copyright is held on works within certain time periods, and whether permission is needed to copy those works or if they are in the public domain. It was designed by Michael Brewer who also developed their hard copy version.

The tool is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike License and can be copied and distributed according to the conditions set out under that license. It can also be adapted with an institution’s own branding and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Robbins Library Notes

When a shift away from law is wanted, you might take a look at Robbins Library Notes, a blog by Jason Pannone, Librarian at Robbins Library, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University.

Incidentally, his is one of the many blogs facilitated by the Berkman Center‘s offer of a free blog to anyone with a Harvard or Radcliffe email address. I haven’t been able to find a decent listing of all such blogs, but there is a page setting out the 40 most recently updated Harvard blogs, if you want to see what Crimson is up to. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Law via the Internet – 9th International Conference

The ninth International Conference on Law Via the Internet will be held this year in Florence, on October 30 and 31, and is to be hosted by the Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the Italian National Research Council. The topics to be discussed are as follows:

* Free access to law: the situation in different geographic areas
* Legal aspects concerning management, creation and filing of digital information
* Legal blogs and wikis
* Open legal archives
* Quality of legal information available on the web
* Right to legal information as a fundamental right
* Semantic

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Journal of Digital Information

The Texas Digital Library, a consortium of Texas universities, publishes the open access Journal of Digital Information. The contents of the curent issue (Vol 9, No 27 (2008)) will give you an idea of its scope, if you’re not already familiar with the publication:

  • Developing and Sustaining the Northwest Digital Archives, by Alan Kevin Cornish and Trevor James Bond
  • Tagging tagging. Analysing user keywords in scientific bibliography management systems, by Christian Wolff, Markus Heckner and Susanne Mühlbacher
  • Digital (Library Services) and (Digital Library) Services, by Jeffrey Pomerantz

[via Digital Koans] . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing