Saturday, July 30, 2005


I've had lots of kind words about Slaw. I appreciate everyone's support, and hope you find it worthwhile. The trick will be deciding what goes here and what will go there instead!

By the way, this is a momentus occasion--my first attempt posting from a PDA. Looks like I'll be able to blog from almost anywhere now. ...if I want to, that is.

For those of you with a holiday on Monday, I wish you a fantastic long weekend!


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Introducing Slaw! Canadian Legal Research and IT Blog

I'm proud to be a part of this new initiative - Connie

Slaw is a co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and the impact of technology on it. Our audience includes practicing lawyers, legal librarians, legal academics and students — anyone, in short, who uses IT in researching the law. The aim is to share information, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.

Slaw was founded by Simon Fodden, Professor Emeritus of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, and already prominent in the blogging sphere with Xanada. Slaw operates with a core of regular contributors and a quickly expanding group of occasional contributors.

Our core contributors:
Neil Campbell
Simon Chester
Connie Crosby
Elizabeth Ellis
Bonnie Fish
Simon Fodden
Eric Gertner
Steven Matthews
Nick Pengelley
Ted Tjaden

Join us!'s Slaw!

Inter Alia: internet legal research blog

Inter Alia largely documents other law blogs, but I thought it to be interest and worthy of a look later on, so I am marking it for myself here.

Click on "Subscribe to ILRW" on the left side of the page on Inter Alia, and you can subscribe to the e-mail newsletter Internet Legal Research Weekly.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Free Headlines Services From CBC

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has a Free Headlines Service which allows for free news headlines on web sites or intranet sites. Up to three headlines per category, choosing from various news and information categories. Those interested need to apply for the affiliation program. When I read the agreement in the application form, I noted an exclusivity clause, that headlines from other news and general information services cannot be posted on the same site. I did not actually try out the service because I need to think about this clause, but would be interested in trying it.

Alternatively, there is also an RSS feed available for those who want to read CBC headlines individually.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thomson Corporation Acquires GSI (LIVEDGAR)

See today's press release: The Thomson Corporation Acquires Global Securities Information, Inc.

One failing of Thomson (including Carswell with its product WestlaweCarswell) has been the lack of transaction information for securities lawyers. This product will help bridge the gap, although they still will not have access to trade data as far as I can tell. From the press release:

GSI will become part of Thomson West, the leading provider of legal research information in the U.S. and publisher of the Westlaw® online service. GSI operations and senior management, including President, Richard Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, Phillip Brown, and Chief Technology Officer, Nick Keenan, will join Thomson West. GSI has 147 employees and is based in Washington, D.C.

The acquisition will enable West to satisfy the currently unmet needs of transactional attorneys – those involved in work such as mergers and acquisitions, real estate and securities transactions. Moreover, the acquisition will further strengthen and deepen West’s relationships with large law firms, the company’s largest customer segment.
From talking to my sales rep at GSI, I understand it is "business as usual"; there is little fall out expected from the change. For now, GSI will be run as a separate subsidiary, and it could take 18 months or more before West looks at the technology with a mind to make any changes. This puts a lot more money behind the LIVEDGAR product, so it will be interesting to see the results.

Up until now GSI was pretty much the last of the independent legal information companies. I'm starting to think the best way to get that little retirement nest egg would be to start up a terrific little company and just wait for some sugar conglomerate to come along...

Librarians Without Borders - Angolan Medical Library is First International Mission

Contact: Chris Simmons
Media Liaison
Librarians Without Borders
Tel: 519-673-7007

Librarians without Borders Kicks off first international Mission by organizing Angolan medical library Canadian university student volunteers move international community to help London, ON July 21, 2005 Librarians without Borders, a non-profit organization based in London, Ontario, has kicked off its first international mission by organizing a much-needed medical library in Huambo, Angola. The project is designed to help the country begin to build a health care system that is a basic element of any civil society.

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) was founded by University of Western Ontario student in Library Science, Melanie Sellar. After working with a graduate student from Angola named Jorge Chimbinda, Melanie was moved to action by his stories of the many problems stemming from a twenty-seven year civil war. Angola's civil war ended in 2002 but it left the country and its infrastructure devastated.

"LWB is unique from many other library-development programs because its objective is to provide essential information resources in the local languages of the country or region," said Melanie Sellar, President of LWB.

"By focusing aid on specific projects, Librarians Without Borders will give its stakeholders a clear sense of what their support is achieving by providing a detailed plan of action and continual updates about how a project is progressing. In this way, we hope to give people the confidence that their support is really effective and a sense of participation in the process of social progress."

Canadians often feel an urge to play a role in global affairs but may be cautious about donating to developing countries without a clear sense of what this aid will achieve. As an alternative to aid donations, LWB intends to build partnerships with medical textbook publishers to help develop a medical library that will assist Angola in building its medical profession.

The Angola project marks the organization's first international mission. LWB will focus on the Southern African nation¹s city of Huambo, where Portuguese is an official language. A building purchased by the Catholic Mission in Huambo has been repaired and is ready to function as a medical library for the University of Agostinho Neto, but it is lacking essential resources such as medical textbooks to stock the facility.

To learn more about LWB and to subscribe to our mailing, visit If you are interested in donating to or partnering with LWB, please send an e-mail to Heather McDonald (Chair) or Melanie Sellar (President) at

About Librarians Without Borders

Located in London, Ontario, Librarians Without Borders is a non-profit organization that gives Canadians an opportunity to assist with international development. The organization works with community organizations in developing countries to provide access to the information resources that are crucial to their economic and cultural development.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Same Sex Marriage Bill Received Royal Assent

Bill C-38, the Canadian legislation that allows for same-sex marriage, received Royal Assent yesterday. Officially cited as the Civil Marriage Act, S.C. 2005, c. 33, this statute came into force on Royal Assent. Here is the version as passed by the House of Commons: Bill C-38 (PDF, 12 pages). Since there were no amendments by the Senate, the final version should largely look the same.

See also the Yahoo! News story from The Canadian Press, Same-sex marriage bill gets royal assent, becomes law across country .

Tours of Historic Osgoode Hall

The Law Society of Upper Canada and its library, the Great Library, are housed at Osgoode Hall. If you are in Toronto, I recommend one of their tours. The history of Osgoode Hall is closely tied with the history of lawyers in Ontario (and Canada for that matter). The building itself is also very interesting.

Tours are free and take place at 1:15 p.m. each Monday to Friday from July 4 to September 2, 2005 (there will be no tour on August 1, a statutory holiday).

Tours begin inside the main doors at the front of Osgoode Hall facing Queen Street and last roughly an hour.

See Popular tours of historic Osgoode Hall back for the summer for further details.

Get Thee a Privacy Officer!

The Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner is in the news again, this time giving a warning to law firms. See yesterday's Globe and Mail article: Firms get wrists slapped over privacy breach. This is first time Canadian law firms have been named in a privacy decision.

From the article:

As part of its conclusion, the Privacy Commissioner's office recommended Stikemans implement a host of remedial measures, including enacting a firm-wide privacy policy, appointing a Calgary-based privacy officer, and conducting comprehensive in-house privacy training with lawyers and staff.

For its part, Stikemans said it regrets not blacking out the offending information before posting it to SEDAR.

"This was just an inadvertent mistake," said Karen Jackson, the firm's Toronto-based chief privacy officer.

Here is the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner decision, Investigation Report P2005-IR-005, dated July 12, 2005. (PDF, 15 pages).

Additional commentary:

The Canadian Privacy Law Blog

Michael Geist

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

US Daylight Savings Proposal - Where Does That Leave Us?

The Ontario Government is having a good, long look at the U.S. legislative proposal to extend daylight savings time by two months. The purpose of the change is meant to save energy. See the Yahoo News!/Canadian Press article: Ontario government has its eye on America's daylight savings proposal .

From the article:

Canadian business leaders fear major economic disruption if this country does not fall in line. On Tuesday, the U.S. Congress quietly adopted a provision to extend daylight hours by two months.


McGuinty says Ontario doesn't want difficulties with its main trading partner, but there are business, environment and social issues to consider before the province follows suit.

"What are the environmental ups and downs of this? What are the business pros and cons? And then what about life for families? Does it make it more or less difficult?" McGuinty said.

"We're going to have to take a look at it obviously. We're not anxious to have a disconnect between us and our chief trading partner."

Daylight savings time is currently April through October in both countries. The U.S. is proposing to run it from the first weekend in March to the last weekend in November.

Let's hope the change doesn't leave us in the dark! (Oh, I can't resist such an obvious pun).

It appears, however, they have been reconsidering. There are concerns about how this will affect scheduling of flights. See the Houston Chronicle article from this morning: Daylight-saving plan has critics burning--

Proponents figure extra daylight in the evenings will help the nation save electricity. But juggling Americans' biorhythms, lawmakers learned, transcends the energy policy debate.

Critics started complaining loudly about children walking to school in the dark, airlines struggling to schedule flights overseas and technicians scrambling to recalibrate computers.

Cameroon Travel Blog

A former co-worker is moving to Cameroon. She has started a blog to keep friends and family posted: Following my heart to Cameroon. She has made it part of the "BootsnAll Travel Network" which is very interesting. I'm posting it here mostly for my own future reference, but feel free to check it out. Her friends (myself included) have been asking her a million questions as to what her life will be like and how she will adapt. Apparently the hot, humid weather we have been having for the past 6 weeks were really meant to acclimatize her. I had my last lunch with her today before she departs, so look forward to reading along with her adventures.


When Was Your Last Vacation?

A little article from lexisONE on vacations: Are You Suffering From Vacation Deprivation?

Some pointers from the article:

1. Don't Wait till it's too Late - Start thinking about what you want to do on your holiday at least six months ahead of time. Planning ahead commits the boss - and you - to the vacation so it's less likely to be postponed or scrapped at the last minute.

2. Cross-train Colleagues - Train a colleague or two on your job so they can fill in some of your tasks while you're gone. You'll do the same for them. Cross-training is the secret to long vacations in Europe.

3. Cut the E-Leash - Set up your e-mail with an "out of office" tag, and don't let any laptops, pagers or other work devices stow away with you. If you're in touch with the office, you're not on vacation.

4. Don't Abbreviate - Push for all the time you can get. Three-day weekends are fine, but they're not vacations.

5. Unpack Before You Go - Leave behind the productive work mind set and the guilt that goes with it. Vacations are not about output; they're about input - exploring, learning, experiencing, relaxing. Don't fill time; make it fulfilling.

Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passed, Awaiting Royal Assent

Bill C-38 was passed by the Senate yesterday. It now awaits Royal Assent before it becomes law. See the Globe and Mail story: The Senate approves same-sex bill

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Features: Search Inside the Book

I have just noticed that Amazon has some new features generated by their ability to work electronically with the texts of entire books. Excerpt from the description Search Inside the Book:

a. First sentence: The first sentence of the book is displayed below the book’s title and in the "Inside this book" section.
b. SIPs: These are the most distinctive phrases in the text of the book. They are displayed below the book’s title and in the “Inside this book” section. Click on a SIP to view a list of books in which the phrase occurs. You can also view a list of references to the phrase in each book
c. Sample pages: These pages (Excerpt, Front and Back Cover, Index, Table of Contents) are displayed in the mouseover and the "Inside this book" section.
d. Citations: If a book cites two names of books or is cited by two books, then those books are displayed with the pages where the citations occur.
e. Books on related topics: We determine that two books discuss similar topics when they have the same SIP. The more SIPs the two books share, the more closely related they are.
f. Concordance: Concordance is an alphabetized list of the most frequently occurring words in a book, excluding common words such as "of" and "it." The font size of a word is proportional to the number of times it occurs in the book. Clicking on a word displays a list of book excerpts containing that word.
g. Text stats: This is a collection of fun stats including readability indices and complexity stats.

One additional feature not mentioned here is Capitalized Phrases.

Am I the only one who is noticing people (or companies anyway) are becoming more interested in parsing texts rather than reading them?

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm Back

Howdy! Sorry for the disappearance....I went on vacation but neglected to put a note here for the avid reader. I thought I would get online one last time before I went, but apparently not. More postings to come soon! We'll see what bubbles to the surface of my consciousness after this lovely interlude.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Musings of a High Tech Hick

Today I met fellow blogger High Tech Hick. The course was on information audits, and HTH, a content architect, had lots of great ideas for me.

One phrase she used which I had never heard of before: "proof of concept". It's essentially a test or pilot phase of a project to see if certain assumptions will possibly work. It is used as an initial stage before putting forward a proposal to run a full project. It's a way to move cautiously into a major project.

Envisioning Science Librarianship in 10 Years

In his blog Confessions of a Science Librarian, John Dupuis, science & electronic resources librarian at Steacie Science Library, York University, has been envisioning the future with his series of posts "My job in 10 years." See the posts thus far:

More likely to follow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Use of Keystroke Monitoring Software Goes Against Alberta Privacy Legislation

On June 24th an Alberta library had a ruling against it regarding the use of keystroke logging software. The privacy commissioner ruled the library collected personal information about the employee, going against the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

See the Canadian Press news story on Yahoo from July 6/05: Alberta privacy commission rules against library that monitored computer use - Yahoo! News.

See the Order from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta: Order F2005-003, Parkland Regional Library, June 24, 2005 (9 pages, PDF format).

See comments from Canadian Privacy Law Blog (July 9, 2005 posting); Michael Geist's analysis and postings by the fellow at the centre of it all on his blog Terremoto's Hand Picked Headline News. He has also posted additional documents.

Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici for the tip on this story.

Monday, July 11, 2005

International Coalition of Library Consortia

I am posting this for my own future reference: International Coalition of Library Consortia. They have an excellent list of participating consortia for which they have profile pages and links to their websites.

Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library - Employment Standards Appeal Decisions available

The Ontario Workplace Tribunals Library now has added decisions to its website. Decisions included:

  • Workplace Saftey and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT)

  • Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO)

  • Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)

  • Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (PEHT)

Notably under the OLRB decisions, they include the
Employment Standards Appeal Decisions from 1971 to 2002. These decisions, cited as "ESC" in Parry's Employment Standards Handbook, previously were very difficult to track down.

Health Science Information Consortium of Toronto: Journal List

The Health Science Information Consortium of Toronto has a Journal Search feature on their website. The search checks the Consortium's union list, and pulls up titles that may or may not be available for interlibrary loan. Click on the library's name in the results, and information on how to borrow from them, including information for non-consortium members, comes up.

Nicely done, and straightforward to use. Note this only searches publication bibliographic information; it does not search for the articles themselves within the journals.

Friday, July 08, 2005

AALLamo Blog - AALL Conference Blog

The AALL conference blog AALLamo Blog is now up and running!

I especially like the focus on technology with a list of wifi hot spots, and what type of access each hotel provides. Also fun is the "Beat the Heat" guide posted today.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Official Robert's Rules Of Order Web Site

For my future reference: The Official Robert's Rules Of Order Web Site. Includes a nifty message board where helpful experts interpret the Rules and give practical advice to those of us less knowledgeable in the ways of Robert's Rules.

Some things I learned:
- voting should never be done by mail
- proxy votes are not allowed
- provincial (and federal) law overrules Robert's Rules
- officers can hold more than one office (the president, for example, can also chair a committee or sit as treasurer)
- it is very good to be very clear about things in the by-laws
- avoid voting people with gavel fetishes into office
- I could have wielded a gavel this past year. Darn. That may have been my one chance, and I missed it!

Professor Ethel Auster - 1945-2005

The University of Toronto Faculty of Information Studies' Professor Ethel Auster passed away on July 1, 2005. See: "In Memoriam".

"In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto. A memorial scholarship is also expected to be set up at the Faculty of Information Studies. "