Thursday, January 29, 2015

Magna Carta to Tour Canada in its 800th Anniversary Year

In June of this year, the Magna Carta will be travelling to Canada.

Considered a foundational document outlining fundamental rights, it was signed in June 1215 by King John of England.

The Magna Carta, along with its companion document from 1217 known as the Charter of the Forest, will be exhibited in Ottawa/Gatineau at the Canadian Museum of History from June 11 to July 26, 2015, before making stops in Winnipeg, Toronto and Edmonton.

The Library of Parliament has prepared a "HillNote" on the Magna Carta's legacy:
"The idea that a legal document could set out the basic rights of citizens and limit the powers of a ruler was taken up again in England with the Bill of Rights in 1689. The Magna Carta was an influence on the drafting of the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and Constitution (1787) ... Similarly, France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789) states: 'No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law'."

"Also, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: 'Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law'."

"The legacy of the Magna Carta is also reflected in the 'Legal Rights' section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 guarantees the 'right to life, liberty and security of the person.' It adds that a person shall only be deprived of this right in accordance with 'the principles of fundamental justice'."
A major 10-week exhibit of the document finished earlier this month at the Law Library of Congress in Washington. It featured numerous lectures, articles and symposia.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:10 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Statistics Canada Article on Twenty-Year Decline in Crime Rate

Statistics Canada has started a series on "Megatrends" that highlights some of the sweeping changes that have had a lasting impact on Canadian society.

The most recent Megatrends article is Canada's crime rate: Two decades of decline:
"Since crime was first measured uniformly across the country, fluctuations have been noticed in the crime rate from year-to-year, but a major trend has been observed. From 1962 to 1991, the crime rate increased steadily, and then started to decline. This trend is most notable for property crime, but it is also the case for violent crime and other Criminal Code offences (...)"

"In 2013, the police-reported crime rate was at its lowest point since 1969. Experts have not reached a consensus on why crime has been declining since the 1990s, but several factors have been cited as possible explanations. These factors include an aging population, changing policing practices and strategies, the rise of technology, shifts in unemployment, variations in alcohol consumption, neighbourhood characteristics, or changing attitudes towards illegal and risky behaviour."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:37 pm 0 comments links to this post

Interview With Newly Retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louis LeBel

The National, the magazine of the Canadian Bar Association, has published an article based on a recent interview with Justice Louis LeBel who retired from the Supreme Court of Canada on November 30, 2014:
"Many of LeBel’s former colleagues describe him as a distinguished and sharp-witted legal intellectual. Marie Deschamps, who sat with him for almost 20 years on the Court of Appeal of Quebec and later on the Supreme Court, said, 'He’s an intellectual resource for his colleagues. More importantly, he’s someone who can write on any matter that comes before generalist courts like these'."

"Their former colleague Michel Bastarache described LeBel as industrious and thorough, but agreeable and extremely cultivated. 'His intellectual curiosity is boundless,' said Bastarache. 'He has more than 2,000 books at home, which he has actually read — they’re not decorations like they are for a lot of people. He’s very interested in history and culture and has read a lot of biographies, so when we travelled together, he always knew all kinds of things'."

" 'In terms of the law, Louis is the smartest man I know,' said Québec lawyer Henri Grondin, who was LeBel’s law partner for 20 years. 'He’s a quick learner, but on top of that, he’s got the memory of an elephant. He can read something and retain it. For him, deliberating is easy because he remembers everything'."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:18 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ABA Journal Top Blawgs in 2014

The ABA Journal chose its favourite 100 law-related blogs in November and gave readers until December 19, 2014 to vote for their top blawgs in 13 categories.

The results are now in. The publication states that there were some 10,000 or so votes cast.

The top vote-getter in the category for Legal Research/Legal Writing is In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 26, 2015

English Law Commission Launches Project to Codify Sentencing Procedure

The Law Commission of England has launched a project to develop a single sentencing statute to bring clarity and coherence to current sentencing practices:
"There seems to be near unanimity from legal practitioners, judges and academic lawyers that the law in this area is in urgent need of reform. The courts have repeatedly complained about the complexity of modern sentencing procedure. There is strong evidence that the high number of unlawful sentences being handed down is a direct result of the inability of judges to find their way through the relevant provisions. This undermines public confidence in sentencing and costs a great deal of public money to rectify on appeal."

"Our aim in this project is to introduce a single sentencing statute that will act as the first and only port of call for sentencing tribunals. It will set out the relevant provisions in a clear and logical way, and ensure that all updates to sentencing procedure can be found in a single place. It is not the aim of this project to interfere with mandatory minimum sentences or with sentencing tariffs in general. Those will remain entirely untouched, but the process by which they come to be imposed will be streamlined and much improved."
The Commission intends to produce a series of consultative documents over the next 18 months and a draft Bill by the summer of 2017.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:20 pm 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, January 25, 2015

American Association of Law Libraries Releases Report on Economic Value of Law Libraries

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has released a report on the Economic Value of Law Libraries:
"Occasioned by a widely shared sense that law libraries are undervalued by their organizational owners, the study examined current practices among law librarians for reporting on library services and activities. The study confirmed that commonly used methods offer room for improvement based upon the evolving role of the law library. There may not be a 'silver bullet' solution that will heighten organizational stakeholders' appreciation of the library's value, but it behooves the librarian to measure the right things and communicate appropriately — in ways meaningful for decision makers — about their services and the impact those services have. The study presents 20 best practices. Four strategies for communicating qualitative measures and five strategies for communicating quantitative measures are defined. In addition, the study identified five actions librarians can take to enhance the likelihood of being heard by decision makers."

"Briefly put, the overall takeaway from the study is: 'It's not about the library. It's about the relationship the librarian has with those who do or could benefit from the library'."

"Specifically, library directors must assert their leadership and proactively implement strategic processes that align with the institutional mission and goals. Library directors are responsible for identifying opportunities, shifting services, and demonstrating law library contributions to institutional goals and stakeholder priorities."
Jean P. O'Grady, the author of the blog Dewey B Strategic, has written a critical post about the report. The title Long on Rubrics-- Short on ROI makes it easy to guess what she thinks.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Justice Canada Report on Federal Investment in Criminal Legal Aid

In the most recent Weekly Checklist of federal government publications,  there is a link to a recent report written for Justice Canada by the research firm Prairie Research Associates entitled Maximizing the federal investment in criminal legal aid:
"The purpose of this study was to explore and identify innovations/best practices in criminal legal aid that will enable the federal government to maximize its investment in criminal legal aid and help ensure that Canada’s system of justice remains accessible, efficient, and fair, particularly for economically-disadvantaged Canadians. The innovations/best practices can include efforts to promote greater efficiency (e.g., streamlining processes; reducing costs in some areas through use of new technology or using other legal practitioners or professionals to deliver services; enabling people to assist themselves for simple matters), or improved access to justice by increasing the scope, accessibility, and quality of criminal legal aid services."

"The study focused on the federal investment in criminal legal aid. However, innovations/best practices that did not directly address criminal legal aid but promoted more effective, accessible, and efficient legal aid service delivery and operations, regardless of the type of legal aid, were also considered relevant to this study."
Appendix C examines criminal legal aid in Australia, New Zealand, England/Wales, and Scotlan.

The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of titles made available by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada to the Depository Services Program for distribution to a network of Depository Libraries in Canada and abroad.  

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:43 pm 0 comments links to this post

Roundup of SLA Twitter Chat on Honing Interpersonal Skills

Last month, the international information professional organization SLA (Special Libraries Association) held a "Twitter Chat" on soft skills like interpersonal communication and professional relationships.

The conversation on Twitter covered topics such as networking, influencing, managing people and projects, etc.

The SLA has now published the contents of the event on the Storify website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:33 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Special Libraries Association Series on Tasks for Modern Info Pros

The SLA (Special Libraries Association) published a report in 2013 called The Evolving Value of Information Management that identified 12 key tasks that information professionals must develop.

The President of the SLA and other association members blogged about those tasks in late 2014:
"On 31 October 2014, then-SLA President Kate Arnold kicked off a new series of blog posts on the 12 tasks for modern information professionals. The 12 tasks (...) provide a concise and actionable summary of the ways that information professionals create value for their organizations."

"Following Kate’s posts, four SLA members discussed the ways they have embodied the 12 tasks in their work and provided tips for taking similar actions (...)"
They addressed issues such as:
  • understanding the business of your institution and colleagues
  • proactively creating solutions
  • the importance of networking and connections
  • the challenge of working with reduced resources
The SLA will begin publishing a series of new blog posts on the 12 tasks next week.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:02 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Call for Chapters for New Book on Government Information in Canada

University of Alberta Government Information Librarian Amanda Wakaruk and University of Toronto Government Information Librarian Sam-chin Li have put out a call for collaborators interested in contributing chapters to a book with the working title Government Information in Canada.

They are interested in "overviews, comparative studies, research papers, and case studies" on topics related to:
  • the current state of major federal library services such as departmental libraries, the Depository Services program, Library and Archives Canada
  •  provincial publishing, depository systems, and access structures
  • digitization initiatives
  • communities of practice
People interested in contributing are being asked to submit a 300 to 500 word abstract of the chapter being proposed by April 1, 2015.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:45 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Yorker Magazine Profile of the Internet Archive

The January 26, 2015 issue of The New Yorker includes a profile of The Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based website launched in 1996 that seeks to capture and archive as much of the vast treasures of the Net as possible.

Quite a fascinating read.

Earlier Library Boy posts that mentioned the Internet Archive include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:13 pm 0 comments links to this post

Monday, January 19, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries Member Profiles

I have written posts about the CLA Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network series of librarian profiles called 13 Questions With... as well as the interview series by the Law Library of Congress in Washington with members of its staff.

The Membership Development Committee of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) quietly launched its member profile series called Five Questions With... last September.

So far, it has published profiles of the following prominent CALL members:
  • Judy Harvie, Library Services Director, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
  • Bronwyn Guiton, Librarian – Lawson Lundell LLP
  • Annette Demers, Acting Law Librarian and Sessional Lecturer, Paul Martin Law Library, and President of CALL
  • Connie Crosby, Crosby Group Consulting

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:51 pm 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 16, 2015

Statistics Canada Article on Family Violence in Canada

Statistics Canada's publication Juristat this week published an article on Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2013.

From the highlights:
  • In 2013, police reported that there were 87,820 victims of family violence in Canada. This represents a rate of 252.9 victims of family violence for every 100,000 individuals in the population.
  • Spousal violence was the most common form of family violence in 2013, with nearly half (48%) of family violence occurring at the hands of a current or former spouse (married or common law). 
  • Following spousal violence, victimization by a parent was the next most common form of police-reported family violence, representing 17% of family violence victims.
  • In 2013, more than two-thirds (68%) of all family violence victims were female.
  • The risk of family violence varies with age and overall, tends to be lowest for seniors, followed by young children (9 years and under), and highest for adults in their 30s. While this pattern was generally similar for male and female victims, female rates of family violence peaked at age 30 to 34, whereas for males, rates were highest from age 15 to 19.
  • Common assault was the most frequent form of family violence reported to police, experienced by over half (58%) of victims, followed by intimidation offences (17%), such as criminal harassment, indecent telephone calls or uttering threats.
  • More than half (55%) of family violence victims suffered no physical injury. For those that sustained injuries, the vast majority of these injuries were minor, calling for no professional medical treatment or first aid only. When injuries were sustained, they were much more likely the result of the use of physical force (84%) against the victim, rather than the use of a weapon (16%).
  • Charges were laid more often in police-reported family violence incidents (56%) than in violent incidents that were not family-related (46%).
  • Trend data indicate that police-reported incidents of family violence have decreased in recent years. From 2009 to 2013, rates for the most prevalent form of police-reported family violence, physical assault, dropped 14%, spousal victimization declined 17% and incidents involving other family members fell 10%.
  • Rates of homicides committed by family members continue to fall for both male and female victims.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:46 pm 0 comments links to this post

Supreme Court of Canada 2014 Year-in-Review

Someone send this to me earlier this week. Wow, we really did all this.

Supreme Advocacy LLP, an Ottawa-based law firm, compiled a Supreme Court of Canada 2014 Year-in-Review in mid-December 2014:
"This special year-end review is a complete legal snapshot of all the law from the SCC in 2014, and includes:
Each section is arranged in alphabetical order by area of law so you can more easily find the decisions relevant to your practice. We have also included direct quotes from judgments or headnotes in some cases if they provide a useful summary for the reader."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seeking Nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) is accepting nominations for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher (whether for-profit or not-for profit, corporate or non-corporate) that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

Members as well as non-members of CALL can make nominations. Nominations can be submitted to Cyndi Murphy [cmurphy AT stewartmckelvey.com], past president of CALL, before February 15, 2015.

The award honours Hugh Lawford (1933-2009), Professor of Law at Queens’ University and the founder of Quicklaw.

The award will be presented to the recipient at a reception during the 2015 CALL Annual Meeting in Moncton.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:42 pm 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CLA Government Library Network Interview With Supreme Court of Canada Reference Librarian Cheryl Murphy

The CLA Government Library and Information Management Professionals Network, part of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), has been publishing 13 Questions With..., a series on its website that regularly profiles a member of the Canadian library and IM community.

This week's interview is with Cheryl Murphy, Supreme Court of Canada Reference Librarian and a colleague of mine:
"How do you stay current in your field?
Participating in webinars and reading the literature related to my field, as well as taking courses when given the opportunity."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:23 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

70 Documents to Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations

The Dag Hammarskjöld Library at the UN Headquarters in New York has prepared an online exhibition called 70 Years, 70 Documents to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations:
"To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library is presenting an exploration of the seventy key documents that have shaped the United Nations and our world. "
"Each month we will add new documents honouring the historic breadth of the Organization's work in the areas of peace and security, humanitarian assistance, development, and human rights. "
The exhibit begins with preparatory documents from the 1941-1945 period that served as the foundation of the organization.

The UN's birthday is on 24 October 2015.

Earlier Library Boy posts about the UN's history include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:04 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Canadian Association of Law Libraries - Applications for Diana M. Priestly Memorial Scholarship

The closing date for applications for the Diana M. Priestley Memorial Scholarship is February 1, 2015.

The Scholarship. which is handed out by the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL):

"is intended to support professional development in the field and is awarded to a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant:
  • who has previous law library experience and will be enrolled in an accredited Canadian Library School during the next academic term/year; or
  • who has a degree from or is currently enrolled in an accredited Canadian Library School and will be enrolled in an approved Canadian Law School during the next academic term/year; or
  • who has a degree from or is currently enrolled in an approved Canadian Law School and will be enrolled in an accredited Canadian Library School during the next academic term/year; or
  • who will be concurrently enrolled in an approved Canadian Law School and an accredited Canadian Library School during the next academic term/year. "
"One scholarship will normally be awarded each year in the amount of $2,500.00. It is non-renewable except in exceptional circumstances. The award may be withheld or cancelled for lack of suitable candidates or upon termination of schooling. The money will be disbursed to the successful candidate upon supplying proof of enrollment."
The application form is available on the CALL website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:30 pm 0 comments links to this post

University of Toronto to Reoffer MOOC on Library Advocacy

The iSchool at the University of Toronto will be reoffering its popular MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, Evidence, Action starting in February 2015:
"How can we strengthen libraries and librarians in the advancement of knowledge, creativity, and literacy in the 21st century? Though libraries have been loved for over 3,600 years, their relevance in the digital age is being questioned, and their economic and social impacts are poorly understood. What is really essential about libraries and librarians, today and tomorrow? How can library members and all who support the mission of 21st-century librarianship raise the profile and support of these timeless values and services, and ensure universal access to the universe of ideas in all our communities? This course is based on what works. We’ll take an inspired, strategic, evidence-based approach to advocacy for the future of strong communities – cities, villages, universities and colleges, research and development centres, businesses, and not-for-profits."
Wendy Newman, a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at UofT’s Faculty of Information, will lead the 6-week online course being offered through the EdX consortium in partnership with the Canadian Library Association and the American Library Association.

The class, whose first version last year attracted 5,200 students, of which 43% came from outside North America, includes videos, online discussions, quizzes, and video interviews with guest experts.

Earlier Library Boy posts on MOOCs include:

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:39 pm 0 comments links to this post

Canadian Library Association Statement on Terrorist Attacks Against Chalie Hebdo

The Canadian Library Association (CLA)  issued a statement yesterday regarding the terrorist atrocity committed against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo:
"The CLA condemns this and all acts of violence against the freedom of expression and against those who exercise free expression, regardless of who considers it unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable anywhere in the world ."

"The CLA affirms that libraries in Canada and in every democratic country have a fundamental responsibility to collect, curate, preserve, and provide access to the widest variety of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity that is essential to the moral health and intellectual development of our societies and that forms the bedrock of democratic culture, social and economic improvement , innovation, and civic engagement. Our work celebrates and reinforces diversity, supports lifelong learning, and contributes to the development of just and equitable communities. Our libraries and the civic interests we uphold serve as the foundation for modern democracy and human advancement."

"The CLA encourages libraries to resist all efforts to limit the exercise of free speech while recognizing the right of criticism by individuals and groups."
The library at my place of work. like all libraries I have ever visited or used, no doubt has many books that are sure to deeply offend people of all beliefs and backgrounds: pro-feminist, anti-feminist, pro-gay, anti-gay, pro-Charter, anti-Charter, pro-secularist radical, pro-religious radical, pro-federalist, pro-separatist, atheist, moderate run-of-the-mill believer in God, Marxist, conservative, socialist, liberal and the just plain confused. Thank goodness.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 3:16 pm 0 comments links to this post