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Archive for January, 2009

U.S. Law Librarians Wish List for Obama

The Law Librarian Blog reminded readers today of the public policy statement that the American Association of Law Libraries submitted to the Obama-Biden Transition Team on December 23, 2008.

The policy wish list covers issues relating to:

  • public access to government information
  • the management of the life cycle of public information
  • the creation of a standard method for citing primary legal information in the public domain
  • government agency cooperation with the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System that has the capacity to accept, authenticate and provide continuous public access to information from all three branches of government
  • protection and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The First Internet Inauguration

The Globe this morning described yesterday’s events in Washington as the first internet inauguration. According to the story, there was a 54% spike in internet traffic during the speech, and 8,500 people changed their Facebook status through a partnership with CNN’s website as Obama was beginning his speech.

Like many in my office, after finding a site that was not blocked by our filters, I was partly responsible for the first. I had no part in the second, but can certainly attest to its general truth as a lot of my acquaintances contributed their own spontaneous status changes.

For . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Overturning Seizure of Domain Names

About three months ago there was a post on Slaw about a decision by a court in Kentucky to seize over 100 domain names used by Internet gambling enterprises, on the grounds that the domain names were illegal gaming devices. The decision has been contested by a number of different gambling websites, including – Italy’s largest gambling online resource.

This decision has just been overturned by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which prohibited the enforcement of the order. The reasons for decision (16 pages) are available from the Electronic Frontier Foundation site [PDF] (EFF was an intervenor). EFF’s preliminary . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Glen How

The Globe and Mail has a long and interesting obituary for Glen How, lawyer for Canada’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, who died December 30, 2008, at the age of 89. How will be remembered for a trio of cases involving civil liberties in the Duplessis era in Quebec:

The Boucher, Saumur and Roncarelli cases went to the Supreme Court in the 1950s. The Boucher case [Boucher v. the King, [1951] S.C.R. 265], which used truth as a defence, eliminated an archaic Quebec law defining sedition as criticism of the government and led to the dismissal of nearly 125 sedition

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Canada Needs a CTO

Canada should have a Chief Technology Officer, similar to what Obama is doing in the US. While using modern tools to deliver government services is important, the role I am suggesting for a CTO is a bit different.

It would deal with how technology inter-relates with legislation and policy.

The general idea behind a Canadian CTO would be to have someone experienced and well-versed in science and technology issues, who understands current tools and trends in technology, where those trends may be headed, and how they may affect citizens and businesses.

Understanding that would lead to better legislation and policies . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Bans Smoking in Cars When Children Present

Section 9.2(1) of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, S.O. 1994, c. 10, came into force today. The section bans smoking in cars when there is a child less than 16 years old in the car:

9.2(1) No person shall smoke tobacco or have lighted tobacco in a motor vehicle while another person who is less than 16 years old is present in the vehicle.

Given that cigarette smoking has close to zero social utility when compared against the known and suspected health risks of cigarette smoking, I say this is a good move (one presumes it may also reduce . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

People of the New Nation: Obama ’09 Inauguration Wordle

Many people are distracted today, and I thought this might be a bit of a “Tuesday Fillip”. This word cloud shows the use of terms in Barack Obama’s Inauguration speech today. The more often a word or phrase, the larger it will appear.

Source: Barack Obama Inauguration 2009 Wordle
Licensed under Creative Commons by

Link courtesy of L.J. Montserrat. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

Presidential Sites

The new U.S. President’s web page is up at There’s an animated square menu in the upper left corner that rotates through four features; and down below there are excerpts from the new blog, which you can access directly at (feed at Good to see that slick as the work of President Obama’s IT people is (and it is), they too can fluff it: the blog post Read the Inaugural Address promised but didn’t deliver the text of his speech. Doubtless it’ll be coming along with the also promised video. As you might have expected, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous


A new effort on the web, (“The Definitive Portal of Legal Information on the Internet”), is aimed at filtering the flow of blawg posts to bring you only those of quality. How does this happen? Though the effort of members, apparently. You join OverFlowLegal and:

OFL members who demonstrate an ability to identify, post, rate, categorize and comment on quality content will be invited to become Associate Editors of OFL. Associate Editors who demonstrate an ability to manage other member’s posted content may be invited to become full time staff as Editors of OFL.

As you’ll see if you . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

The LCO: A Toe in the Water of Interactive Communication

So I was thinking about what to write about: with the posts on the Martin Luther King Jr. collection made open to the public (by the way, when did he become MLK? something else I missed, obviously), the Inauguration today and hearing Oscar Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom (to be played at the Inauguration), it was tempting to add my musings to the millions of words written and spoken about how these are all interconnected, why it took someone with Obama’s background rather than the descendant of slaves to get things this far, or about the significance of transitions in democratic . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Juris Classeur – Major Encyclopedia of Quebec and Canadian Law Launched by Lexis Nexis

LexisNexis has just published the first two volumes of a major encyclopedia of Quebec and Canadian law in French – the Juris Classeur Quebec. Modeled on the celebrated series of encyclopedias that have for 100 years set the standard for legal publishing in France, this “made in Quebec” version of the classic French encyclopedia is expected to quickly establish itself as an essential and authoritative element of the practice of law in Canada.

The Juris Classeur is in fact a series of five separate multi-volume encyclopedias known as “collections”, each one dealing with one of the grand subjects of the . . . [more]

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

Taking Lexisweb Out for a Spin

Spurred by Doug Cornelius’s post on the Lexisweb beta, I decided to give the new kid a try.

I created a couple of scenarios and compared results in Lexisweb (LW) against CanLII (CL) and Google (G). Of course, I expected a certain variability in the results. CanLII has a deliberately limited scope, and Google extremely large. I expected LW to come in somewhere in the middle, as according to the user’s guide, there is deliberate selection of sources to be indexed. I’m guessing that otherwise, the process is automated, making Lexisweb roughly like MOSS or other enterprise search products.

The . . . [more]

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