Ontario Reports Announce They’re Going “Digital”

Well it may have been a quarter century or so since our friend the late Hugh Lawford put the ORs on what was then known as QL Systems, but an announcement from Lexis this morning (curiously absent from its website) reveals that:

After more than a century in print, the Ontario Reports is going digital.

Beginning in April, members will enjoy:

* Immediate access to the full content of the latest Ontario Reports

* The convenience of a digital report that looks identical to the printed version

* An innovative format that is easy to read, navigate and search

* Useful tools to share, link, bookmark and save articles

* Online access to searchable, archived issues

We look forward to seeing whether this is as revolutionary as it sounds – or whether Ontario licensees will simply get a PDF of the old paper versions in their email.


  1. For the most part—immediate access; full content; looks like print edition; easy to read, navigate and search; tools to share, link, bookmark and save articles; online access; searchable—it looks like PDFs are the chosen technology. Well, aside from the ‘innovative format’ part: that makes it look like the publisher fell victim to the temptation to try to reinvent the PDF.

    Hopefully the online edition of the ORs will be in a more user-friendly format than the digital edition of The Lawyers Weekly. The latter tells me that ‘[t]o read your publication without being connected to the Internet, you’ll need to install Google Gears’, and it is patently less easy use than a PDF (e.g., why so tightly limit the degree to which readers can zoom in?).

  2. Simon,

    Any word on whether they are going exclusively digital, or are we just going to get access to an e-version in addition to the paper?

  3. Good point Alex. The notice we received from LexisNexis didn’t actually say they were going to stop sending us those little white booklets. In all likelihood, however, they will (or else the trees of the world will unite in a massive class action).

    FYI, you can check out my blog and the FP Legal Post, which both announced the end of the printed O.R.s.

    I guess I won’t be making any more parody videos about the O.R.s ;)

  4. It’s about time. However, neither this nor any of the other posts makes any mention of whether “subscribers” to the Ontario Reports will have access to a database of the digital ORs other than commercial access on Lexis/Quicklaw. Ontario lawyers currently receive the ORs for “free” — actually paid for through their annual bar membership dues. Now that the ORs will be made available digitally, will the OR digital archive be available to them, too? Or will Ontario lawyers have to pay again (to Lexis/Quicklaw, the Law Society’s licensee) for that privilege? If they can’t access the archive, they’ll have to continue to collect mountains of little white pamphlets in their offices. And what about us in libraries — especially law school libraries? We currently pay Lexis $500 per volume for the privilege of subscribing to the ORs; at six volumes per year, that’s $3000 of public funds that could be better spent on other library resources for educating future lawyers. One wonders if the Benchers have heard of Open Access. I’m sure we’d all love to see the ORs publicly-available on the LSUC website and on CanLII, and not restricted to Lexis/Quicklaw.