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Archive for August, 2008

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

Collaborative Search

As law schools explore more team learning (though they’ve a long way to go to get to the Business School small group culture), the possibility of collaborative tools becomes more important. Remember the line from Google’s Joe Kraus that “”the nature of information discovery is changing … from a solitary activity to a social one”.

That’s why a posting on the Italian blog v6.0 beta caught our attention. A post on a tool for group collaboration, describing a free Internet Explorer plug-in that allows groups of people to collaborate on Web searches . The features include include group query . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Pipl Search: Online Directory for Searching for People

A column by Randolph Hock in this month’s edition of The CyberSkeptic’s Guide to Internet Research alerted me to Pipl (apparently pronounced “people”). It does not appear to have yet been discussed on SLAW so I thought I would mention it now.

It is a search engine to find people. What’s makes it different, according to the site, is that it searches various (presumably free) databases on the Web that are part of the “deep” or “invisible” web:

Unlike a typical search-engine, Pipl is designed to retrieve information from the deep web, our robots are set to interact with searchable

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Expertise Management and Networking – an Emerging KM Challenge

When the subject of “finding experts” comes up in most groups of legal KM professionals, the discussion often polarizes into two camps – either automated solutions or self-declared solutions. Indeed, some of this is fueled by early solutions that either tried to mine email, document and other work product to determine who the experts were (based on frequency, but not depth or quality, of conversation) or systems that allowed an individual to tick off the boxes indicating their self-declared expertise or interests in particular areas. But the landscape is more complex than that. It is simply not an “either / . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Easy Money?

♫ There ain’t no such thing as easy money…♫

Words and Music by Rickie Lee Jones. in an online article dated August 26, 2008: Lawyer falls prey to Pricey Internet Scam has reported that at least 7 lawyers in the USA have fallen prey to a collection scam that targets lawyers acting on collections. Details of how the scam works are set out in my blog from an entry in May, 2008:

US lawyers are not the only ones affected; Canadian lawyers have been caught by a similar scam. Fraud attempts against lawyers appear to be on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Mapping Canada’s Law Firms

Inspired by the map that “Mr. Peabody” made of law firm locations in Manhattan, I’ve started to map the location of Canadian law firms, starting here at (my) home, Toronto. Thus far I’ve only got 30 or so mapped. If anyone spots a mistake, please let me know. If your firm is missing… read on.

I’ve opened the project to anyone who wishes to collaborate with me on this. Think of it like doodling: nothing much to do at that meeting? add a firm or two. It’s actually easy to do, and if you find yourself having difficulties, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet