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Archive for November, 2008

Taking the Long View: Guédon and Changing Technologies

Perhaps many of you have already received your complementary copy of the most recent Academic Matters, a product of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. What you may not have noticed is the excellent, illuminating, accessible, and far-sighted article in it by McGill’s Jean-Claude Guédon: Digitizing and the Meaning of Knowledge. I cannot recommend this too highly to anyone who would like to understand, in 2000 words or less, what is happening with scholarship, the web, universities, and libraries.

The comments he devotes to the position of libraries are very insightful, and they apply to law . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip

What kind of blog am I…?

Thanks to librarians Judith A. Siess and Karen Sawatzky, I learned about Typealizer, an online service that offers to type your blog along Myers-Briggs (i.e. Jungian) lines. Unsurprisingly, Slaw comes out as a “Duty Fulfiller,” or an ISTJ (inroverted sensing thinking judging) type.

The two paragraph description of a duty fulfiller reads as follows:

The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Where There’s a “Will”…

There’s an interesting exchange over at AdamsDrafting between blogger Ken Adams and a couple of lawyers from Cassels Brock, John Gillies and Kathleen Hogan. The issue is the use of “shall” and “will” in business contracts, having, of course, to do with the expression of obligation and futurity, and vexed by a possibly differing practice of interpretation of the legislative use of these words.

How do you use these two tricky words in contracts? Do you define them in the contract or leave their meaning to interpretation?

I shall be interested in what you will have to say. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Making Legal SaaS Trustworthy

One of my more recent clients is Clio, a Vancouver-based SaaS (Software as a Service) company built for web-based law practice management.

Clio’s target market is clearly set at solos and small firms, and feature wise they’re incredibly strong. They know who they want to serve, and what they want to deliver. However, like other SaaS companies, and especially within the legal market, the biggest challenge they face is how create an environment of trust.

This concept of trust is extremely important for clients both when establishing a sales proposition, but perhaps more important, in maintaining a strong . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Secondary Sources

I’ve noticed that librarians, like lawyers, have a language of their own.

When I get together with another library person and we are talking about textbooks, we never say textbooks, we always say secondary sources. Secondary sources?

The Collections Canada Learning Centre provides a great definition of primary and secondary sources in the context of archival research. Wikipedia also has a well worded definition:

secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere

Secondary sources involve generalization, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, or evaluation of the original information

Since a systhesis of a topic that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Toronto Opinions Group Makes Memos and Precedents Available

Slaw is pleased to announce that the Toronto Opinions Group (TOROG) has agreed to make public on Slaw memos and precedents that may prove to be helpful to others. The Toronto Opinions Group consists of a group of lawyers, primarily practising with the Toronto offices of the larger Canadian law firms, with an interest in third party (or transaction) opinion practice. TOROG meets regularly to review current opinion issues with a view, where appropriate, to discussing problems, assessing best practices and developing common approaches to opinion issues and opinion language. It does not involve itself in specific transactions or opinion . . . [more]

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

Now We Know What’s Open:
Google Scholar Identifies Open Access Versions of Research Articles

When I first noticed this new aspect of Google Scholar, well over a month ago, I initially didn’t get it. What were these new tags marking up what are already pretty busy entries in the search results? Some entries had a green marker pointing at the title of the article. Others had the marker pointing at a URL that followed the title. And before or after the title or URL came a square bracketed tag that read [PDF] or [HTML].

Of course, this was Google. No explanation, no announcement. Then it hit me. Google was identifying a version of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

CRTC Rejects Internet “throttling” Complaint

The CRTC has just released its decision in the complaint brought by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers against Bell regarding Internet “throttling” or “traffic shaping”. It rejected CAIP’s request, which turned on the specific wording of Bell’s wholsale service agreement. However, it has also announced that it will launch a proceeding to examine Internet traffic shaping as a question of policy, to determine whether new rules should be imposed.

The news release is here; the decision on the CAIP complaint is here. The public notice regarding the new proceeding does not yet appear to have been posted, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Canadian Government Throne Speech Vague on Justice Initiatives

The federal government’s Speech from the Throne was delivered today by Governor General Michaelle Jean in the Senate Chamber.

The Speech from the Throne outlined the recently re-elected Conservative government’s legislative agenda for the 40th Parliament.

As expected, the speech concentrated almost exclusively on the current worldwide economic crisis. Details of what the government plans to do about the slowdown will be unveiled next week by the Finance Minister.

Not that the government is relegating hot button law and order issues to the back burner.

The speech did mention justice initiatives, including added penalties for offences related to youth crime, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Newser

Newser seems interesting. It is a news-gathering site that requires free registration if you want to comment, contribute or receive email alerts.

Its “take” is as follows:

At Newser a team of editors and writers culls the most important stories from hundreds of U.S. and international sources and reduces them to a headline, picture, and two paragraphs. It’s the Newser guarantee: we can take any report or column or video and pack what you need to know into 120 words or less. Newser’s short-form aggregation, visual format, and unique information tools help you get more of the kind of news

. . . [more]
Posted in: Uncategorized

Google Hosts Life Photos

Google is in the process of hosting the archive of photographs owned by Life magazine, making them available via Google Images search. At the moment about 2 million photos are online, with another 8 million to come, some dating back to the 1860s and the birth of photography.

This has no direct relevance to law, of course, and so is off-topic for Slaw. But the publication of 10 million images from America’s past might be of general interest to our readers. As well, this move has Google entering the publishing field in a big way.

There’s a ton of stuff . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Copyright Laws Weaving a Wicked Web

That’s the title of my Free Press article from Monday. As it seems to be getting a large number of hits on my own blog, I thought it worthwhile to post it here as well.

I can’t reproduce it here for contractual reasons – the full article is here.

The gist of it is that in both the Canadian and US elections, there were instances where those running for office were frsutrated by the very laws they enacted or positions they took on proposed legislation.

McCain complained to Youtube that they took down content based on allegations of copyright . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous