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Archive for August, 2012

Big Data: How It Will Be Used

Here’s a fascinating description of the 50,000 foot view of “big data,” and its potentials. MIT professor Alex Pentland is one of the most prominent experts in the field, and in this interview he outlines what big data is: evidence of our behaviour (bank transactions and location logs), as opposed to records of our consciousness (as in facebook content). Deeply embedded in social realities and institutions, our behaviour reveals a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Thus, big data invites, and even requires (by virtue of its granularity) new approaches to the construction, maintenance, and revision of markets, transportation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Happy New Year!

Working in Academia, the day after Labour Day always feels far more like New Year’s Day to me than Jan 1. That being the case the Friday before Labour Day weekend is like New Year’s Eve and my tradition for academic New Year’s Eve is to take a look at the incoming class of law students to see what their mindset is and try to figure out how to relate to them (I dropped my Dragnet reference with regards to legal writing
“just the facts” years ago, which was a shame because I really liked that one). One of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The Friday Fillip: Talk of Origins of Talk

It’s surprising to me what a powerful an interest we have in our origins, surprising because we all have the same ultimate origin in fact (the African genesis of all people seems to be holding up), and surprising, too, because the sorts of things that concern us don’t make any difference. History’s done and dusted, so to speak. And while it might be a good thing to know the past so that in politics we don’t repeat our mistakes more than a few hundred times, there’s nothing we can do about who we are as individuals, as tips of branches . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Might Like … a Moment or Two With Dock Ellis, Oliver Sacks, Golden Worms, Dead Glaswegians, Small Arms, and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

A Few Good (Email) Lists

I thought electronic discussion groups or listservs were pretty much dead back in August 15, 2005 when I retired my “Law Lists” guide. Sure, a few good email lists were still thriving, but so many more had disappeared or become virtually useless. I became interested again in the state of listservs when Greg Lambert questioned their 21st century relevance in his June 2009 AALL Spectrum article: Where Do Listservs Fit in a Social Media World? The networking tool of the 90s is starting to show its age. Greg concluded that we shouldn’t retire listservs yet because, while they have . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Report Calls for Major Overhaul of British Columbia Criminal Justice System

Vancouver lawyer Geoffrey Cowper today released his final report into reforms to improve the British Columbia criminal justice system:

“In his report, A Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century, Geoffrey Cowper, QC, chair of the Justice Reform Initiative, offers recommendations to government and the judiciary on ways to achieve overall timeliness, improve court and judicial administration and improve the experiences of victims and the community.”

“Included in the review and also released today is a report from the Legal Services Society examining legal aid funding and a review of B.C.’s charge assessment process submitted by Gary McCuaig, QC.”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Foundation Before Innovation

I got to tell you. It’s tough being on the same posting day as Mitch and Yosie these days. The bar can sit pretty high when my coastal time zone mind wakes up to see what they’ve posted each Thursday. Such is the evolving quality of Slaw, I suppose — which, of course, makes for great reading.

Case in point, Mitch’s post below shares a wonderful vision for how KM can evolve to be more effective, more business-centric and drive new innovation. Simply fantastic. Please don’t take the rest of this post as a critique of Mitch’s ideas.

One difference . . . [more]

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

Longing for a New Age in KM

I missed the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference, which wraps up today in Washington D.C. So my thoughts are turning not only to envy, but also to some of my own KM thoughts mixed with those emanating from conference tweets.

Too often Canadian law firms see KM as nothing more than a repository of documents and clauses: Matthew Parson’s so-called “information landfill.” And because KM is seen as nothing more than a landfill site, firms see KM as nothing more than a software solution to assist lawyers sift through the debris.

What a terrible waste!

But, what if . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Other Amendments to the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

Amendments to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (Ontario Regulation 191/11) to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities also include proposed minor technical amendments under the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Proposed AODA Built Environment Standard for Public Spaces Released for Public Consultation

The Ontario government has released part of the Built Environment Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) for public review and comments until October 1, 2012. This is the fifth standard enacted under the AODA.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Legal Claims and Third-Party Privacy

Recently I published here a case comment on a Quebec tribunal decision involving the admissibility of social media evidence.

One particular element of the argument surprised me, and I would be interested in your views.

In the case, an employee brought a complaint before a labour tribunal against her employer, claimed that the employer had created, or allowed to continue, an atmosphere of harassment. As evidence, she brought printouts of comments made by her work colleagues on the Facebook page of another colleague who was also (for a while) a Facebook friend of the complainant.

The employer objected to this . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Customize Your Own “global” Databases on CanLII

Although I suspect someone on SLAW has likely already commented on what follows, I couldn’t easily find a post (although Simon Fodden’s post here in 2008 discusses CanLII’s Database Search).

I realized yesterday that if one selects a number of databases on CanLII from the Database Search screen (e.g., all decisions from labour and employment tribunals or all decisions from human rights tribunals), the resulting URL when clicking on “Search” with a “blank” search is a stable URL that can be sent to a user or linked on an intranet to, in essence, create a customized “global” database search . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research