The on-Line Ontario Reports

The electronic format of the Ontario Reports is the worst of both the print and electronic worlds; it is dreadful. I cannot read the “two-page” format as the print is too small and, if I go to the single-page format with the type at a size I can actually read, I can’t go from the bottom of one page to the top of the next. My effort to contact the electronic publisher, not LexisNexis, to get its help was ignored.

As I have mentioned before on Slaw, we now desperately need some real effort to be made to deal with the transition from the world of the physical book to the electronic presentation of the information that used to be in books. The electronic O.R.’s are a vivid example that one can’t simply reproduce the look of a book, publish it electronically and expect it to be read like a book.

Those who publish electronically (and those who print the labels on shampoo, conditioner, etc., bottles in hotels) should remember that one of two things is certain: either you will reach my age (with its attendant infirmities) or you will be dead.


  1. Hear, hear!

    Given my previous comment, I am somewhat mollified that a PDF download option is now on offer in addition to what is presented by the horrible online viewer. (See the ‘Download’ button at the top of the screen.)

    However, I agree that this electronic roll-out remains an example of what not to do when trying to migrate a long-standing paper publication away from paper.

    It seems telling that a self-published advert in the latest edition acknowledges that thousands of lawyers have not returned to view the digital ORs after their first view. (The advertisement on page xxi in this week’s edition offers some statistics about uptake of the digital edition to date. Assuming that there are 40 k lawyers in the province, accepting that “nine out of ten lawyers have accessed the digital version to date”, and assuming that “more than 75% return visitors” means that roughly 20% of viewing lawyers are not “return visitors”, that seems to work out to more than 7000 lawyers that have looked at the digital ORs only once.)

  2. Gary P. Rodrigues

    The comments set out above on usage by lawyers of the Ontario Reports are quite revealing. Advertising rates in the Ontario Reports are on the high side and are based on the premise that the advertiser is reaching every lawyer in Ontario every week.

    The number of visits to the digital edition is a real number, tabulated week by week. These numbers may demonstrate that the actual number of lawyers reached is significantly less than advertised. In such circumstances, advertisers can be expected to demand discounted advertising rates if they are to advertise in a digital only edition of the Ontario Reports.

    Addressing the issues raised by Angela Swan, Owen and many others may be the only way to ensure the future of the Ontario Reports as the primary vehicle by which Ontario lawyers communicate with one another.

  3. David Cheifetz

    Download the pdf and read it offline in one’s pdf reader. It’s tolerable.

    I expect it’ll be even more tolerable read on, say, an iPad or, at least, Kindkle. Now, that’s an idea.

    The Law Society should provide one or the ohter to all Ontario lawyers prepared to receive only the digital version of the ORs.

    Those of you (us?) who’ve (recently) who’ve bought their own iPads or Kindle’s would receive an equivalent credit. For Addvocate Society members, the credit could be applied as a partial payment on the mortgage required for an AdvSoc CLE excursion to suitable winter locations.

  4. I don’t mind the digital version, although I do not necessarily read ever decision, unlike others, so understand those with a preference for the convenience of the hard copy.

    when it was print only, I had the habit of “tearing” out pages I wanted (either advertisements for new books or cases I thought I should read when I had more time). With the online version, I merely print the pages I want, something which has the benefit of avoiding jagged, ripped out edges.

    I commented elsewhere that it formats slightly differently on an iPad when viewed by clicking on the link and I found it too slow to go from PDF page to the next, although I suspect that may be a 3G issue and not an issue with the publication.

    I may try it as an entire PDF document download next time.

  5. With regard to the estimated 20% of those who aren’t return visitors to the ORs, perhaps they had visited primarily out of curiosity; just perhaps these 20% were tossing the weekly issue aside on a regular basis (there was no way of keeping track). However, for them the lack of interest or disengagement may not pertain to the format, i.e., whether print or electronic, but in the content. Before jumping to conclusions maybe the question that should be asked is: why? In other words, is it the format or the content, or both?

  6. David Cheifetz

    Lawyers who practice in province seemingly not reading the law reports for that province? Egad … who’d have believed that could ever happen?

    However, since I’ve asked: Wilson v. Bobbie, 2006 ABQB 22 at para. 42.
    I’m sure there are other examples.

    On the other hand, it is possible that many people are now keeping current by, for example, regularly checking the ONCA’s website, itself, or a few days later through CANLII or Westlaw/Carswell.