Library Boy on Hiatus During Month of August
Back after Labour Day.
Legal research news from an Ottawa law librarian
It is sometimes assumed that a book that is being read on an electronic device does not need an index, as readers can use the search function instead. Although word search is a useful tool, it does not replace the index, since it fails to distinguish between irrelevant mentions of a word (e.g. “this chapter will not discuss SEARCHTERM”) and lengthy discussion of the subject (...)
There have been experiments in automated indexing, but these have not been as successful in producing indexes as those produced by humans. Human indexers are still better at understanding how readers look for information, and how the various terms used relate to each other.
A poor index (or no index at all) impedes the research process. Giving the increasing number of e-books out there, publishers may think that they can omit the index as it is no longer necessary, but, as has been mentioned above, this is not the case. The index remains a valuable tool for researchers no matter what the format of the publication.The blog on the SOQUIJ site (the public sector Société québécoise d'information juridique) noticed Tredwell's Slaw post, adding that the principles she outlines also apply to the classification plans, taxonomies or indexes of legal research databases:
"Les moteurs de recherche permettent certes de repérer tous les documents où le mot recherché est utilisé. Toutefois, un travail d’analyse, d’indexation et d’uniformisation par des juristes spécialisés garantit une recherche intelligente, qui couvre les documents où des synonymes et des concepts similaires sont utilisés et où les documents les plus pertinents sont mis en vedette."Ain't that the truth. Quality resources will always have some form of professional indexing.
"Foreclosure involves lengthy legal proceedings taken in the Court of Queen’s Bench and is governed by several statutes, including The Land Contracts (Actions) Act (the LCAA). The LCAA is consumer protection legislation intended to protect borrowers by requiring lenders to obtain leave of the court before starting foreclosure. The protection is provided as time: time to bring the mortgage up to date, refinance, or sell the property before foreclosure or judicial sale or, if that is not possible, time to find alternative accommodation. The LCAA is 70 year old legislation, having been enacted in 1943. This Final Report considers the steps required by the LCAA for non-farm land mortgages and recommends reforms to better protect borrowers in current conditions."The report looks at other Canadian jurisdictions, including B.C., Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador.
"The police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of crime, declined 9% in 2013 compared with 2012. This was the 10th consecutive decline in the index. The CSI was 36% lower than 10 years earlier."
"The traditional crime rate also declined in 2013 compared with 2012, falling 8%. It continued its long-term downward trend that began in the early 1990s, reaching its lowest level since 1969. Since 1962, the traditional crime rate has measured the volume of crime, but does not take into account the severity of crimes (...)"
"Most offences were down in 2013. The decline in the CSI was specifically attributable to declines in breaking and entering and robbery. Decreases in some of the less serious but very frequent offences, such as theft of $5,000 or under and mischief, also contributed to the drop in the CSI."
"However, some offences were up in 2013. In particular, police services reported more incidents of extortion, child pornography, aggravated sexual assault (level 3), sexual violations against children and identity fraud."
"How would you describe your job to other people?The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.
The Law Library of Congress provides legal research and reports to Congress pursuant to their requests, and it often entails some aspect of comparative law. It also receives requests from other parts of the federal government, and from private patrons. As an intern with the Global Legal Research Directorate, I conduct research and write reports in response to requests. Under the supervision of Foreign Law Specialist Nicolas Boring, I cover not only Canadian law but also French civil law jurisdictions including countries such as Mali, Cameroon and Burundi. Ultimately, I come into work every day ready to take on whatever task needs to be done!"
"Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
For any young lawyer, the opportunity to be surrounded by such an immense and vast collection is remarkable. Not only is the collection impressive, but what is equally impressive is having the research information analysts, experts in their own field, able to help refine searches and find materials. This collection, combined with the possibility of working with lawyers from across the globe, made me want to be a part of this remarkable team."
"I also appreciate the public service aspect of working for government and being able to provide reference answers to citizens. The ‘Ask a Librarian’ service is open to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The range of questions we receive is quite astounding. It is exciting to face a new challenge every day and constantly learn about legal traditions across the globe."
"Understanding how and why different courts operate can be a time-consuming, headache-inducing task."
"It doesn't have to be, though. We've done the legal legwork for you and crammed it all into an easy-to-read 59-page eBook, Court Structures of the Common Law World."
"Download your free copy and discover:
- The judicial hierarchy of 20 jurisdictions, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and Jamaica – all illustrated in handy diagrams
- The historical and political backgrounds to these case studies
- How key cases have laid the foundations for constitutional change"
"The law surrounding data sharing is complex. Powers to share data are scattered across a very large number of statutes and may be set out expressly or implied. In addition, there are common law powers."
"In this scoping project we considered the following questions:
"We consider that the project could usefully include consideration of the functions of the Information Commissioner in relation to data sharing, including the Commissioner’s enforcement role. The work of other bodies providing advice and guidance should be explored to improve the consistent application of data sharing law across government and in public service delivery more widely."
- Are there hurdles to effective data sharing between public bodies (including private bodies engaged in public service delivery)?
- Are those hurdles inappropriate?
- How far do problems in data sharing stem from the law?
- How far do problems in data sharing stem from other causes, such as a lack of training or guidance, organisational incentives and disincentives?
- Would law reform solve or mitigate the problems? (...)"
"The investigation should also include consideration of 'soft law' solutions such as codes of practice, as well as advice and guidance, training of staff, and ways of sharing best practice in the management of data sharing between public bodies."
"WestlawNext is a new version of Westlaw that is being rolled out –or has already been rolled out— to subscribers. On WestlawNext, users can now add their own notes or highlighting ('annotations') to a decision, case, or journal article. For example, a lawyer can annotate a paragraph of a decision to say, 'Note to self – the damages aspect of this discussion could be useful for my closing arguments for XYZ case'."
"The issue is that annotations are stored on servers in the United States and therefore subject to the Patriot Act."
"The decision on how to deal with annotations will ultimately come down to your organization’s answers to the following questions:"
"If the answer is yes, then:"Is it problematic that annotations are stored on servers located in the United States?"
Is it enough to remind lawyers not to record confidential information in the annotations in WestlawNext, or must this feature be supressed so that users can’t see it and use it at all?"
"Following the release of the Action Committee’s ﬁnal report, Access to Civil & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change (Final Report), a series of locally organized access to justice events were held across Canada to introduce the Final Report to local stakeholders and justice leaders, encourage action-oriented responses for reform, and provide focus and encouragement for local access to justice initiatives. Held primarily throughout the Fall of 2013, these local events culminated in the national Action Committee Colloquium, which took place on January 27-28, 2014 in Toronto. The purpose of the colloquium was to bring together leaders in the ﬁeld of access to justice from across Canada to share “best practices”, showcase examples of successful and innovative programs and reforms, discuss common challenges, and begin developing action-oriented access to justice initiatives. Over the course of two days, delegates worked together in plenary and small breakout sessions to workshop strategies for reaching the goals laid out in the Final Report."
"This report on the Colloquium provides an overview of the Colloquium discussions and a summary of the key messages of those who participated in the two-day event. It attempts to capture the comments, suggestions and major points of dialogue. In addition to providing an overview and summary of the major discussion threads, it also highlights examples provided by participants of initiatives, programs and innovations that are currently working in various jurisdictions."
"Our hope is that the ideas and collaborations born at this Colloquium and recorded in this report will serve as the ﬁrst of many future collaborations and projects that bring together justice stakeholders at all levels, from across multiple jurisdictions, to move forward a Canada-wide discussion on innovation and action in access to justice."
"In this report we have considered the question of long-term investment with particular reference to pensions, where liabilities will typically be incurred over a long period (...)"
"We conclude that trustees should take into account factors which are financially material to the performance of an investment. Where trustees think ethical or environmental, social or governance (ESG) issues are financially material they should take them into account."
"We also conclude that, whilst the pursuit of a financial return should be the predominant concern of pension trustees, the law is sufficiently flexible to allow other, subordinate, concerns to be taken into account. The law permits trustees to make investment decisions that are based on non-financial factors, provided that:
- they have good reason to think that scheme members share the concern, and
- there is no risk of significant financial detriment to the fund."