LawTop Updated

Thanks to a number of helpful suggestions from Slawyers, I’ve made some changes to LawTop — the Canadian law-related news aggregator I blogged about on Tuesday.

Most important, I’ve added another layer of manipulation, using Yahoo! Pipes to filter for Canadian content. Canadian news sources report on law-related stories from around the globe, but my true aim was to keep the focus as much as possible on Canadian events or stories directly related to Canada. This isn’t simply possible, given the lack of a sophisticated context identifier (Google’s “location” filter in the advanced news search isn’t really useful in this exercise), so I turned to “canada,” provincial names and the names of urban centres as filter terms. I would have liked to use the abbreviations for provincial names but Pipes saw them as admitting any word that contained the letter cluster.

One difficulty with this approach is the fact that two of the newspapers that are named using city names — the Toronto Star and the Montreal Gazette — structure their RSS feeds in such a way that all of their law-related stories passed through the filter. In the case of the Star I opted to remove it as a news source rather than give up “toronto” as a filter term: Toronto is well enough served by the Globe and Mail and the National Post. But I retained the Montreal Gazette and the filter term “montreal” despite the fact that this combination lets non-Canadian stories through, because the Gazette is a critical English-language source for Montreal. As well, the filter term “canada” is over inclusive, but is also crucial to a sensible filter.

I’ve also added a few sources —, Canadian Business, and the Winnipeg Free Press.

And I’ve altered the Creative Commons license to allow all and any use, so long as proper attribution is given. Connie suggested that this might free it up for use on law firm intranets, which sounds like a great idea.

Involving Yahoo! Pipes meant fiddling with the feeds that produce the LawTop pages. This seems not to have caused problems. But it may be that those who subscribe via RSS or email will notice problems. If so, please let me know right away.

And keep your suggestions coming in, please.


  1. Simon, I subscribed to LawTop this week, I read it through RSS and it works like a charm. Thank you!