Osgoode Digital Commons: One Million Downloads and Still Counting!

ODCBannerOsgoode Digital Commons, the institutional repository and digital archive of Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, offering world-wide access to the research and publications of the School’s scholarly community, achieved a significant milestone when it reached one million downloads in the early morning of Monday, November 21, 2016, less than three years since its inception.

The honour of being the one-millionth full-text download from Osgoode Digital Commons goes to the article “Will Women Judges Really Make a Difference?” by the late Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson (Osgoode Hall Law Journal 28.3 (1990) : 507-522). This article is illustrative not only of the breadth of scholarship connected to Osgoode, but of Osgoode’s commitment to social justice and the engagement with the legal profession. It’s also indicative of the power of an open-access publishing platform on the web: this article, which has had over 3,000 downloads in the past year, is almost thirty years old, but enjoys continued relevancy and currency because of Digital Commons.

This map illustrates the distribution of downloads from Osgoode Digital Commons around the world and the consequent international impact of Osgoode research:

International Distribution of Osgoode Scholarship

International Distribution of Osgoode Scholarship (Click to enlarge)

 

Osgoode Digital Commons was launched in February, 2014, as the institutional repository of Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. The first publication to be posted to the Commons was the complete archive of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, the School’s flagship journal, which continues to be our most popular resource, generating half the full-text downloads. Osgoode Digital Commons has proved a successful platform for the open access publishing of journals and is now home to five of the law reviews connected to Osgoode, including the Journal of Law and Social Policy and the Supreme Court Law Reivew: Annual Constitutional Cases Conference.

But law journals are only one part of the story. Osgoode Digital Commons is the digital archive of the scholarly activities and publications of the research community of Osgoode Hall Law School. Though the Commons was created and is maintained by the Osgoode Library, it is very much a collaborative undertaking, enjoying the active support and collaboration of both the School’s research office (Associate Dean, Research & Institutional Relations) and advancement office (External Relations & Communications). With the commendable support and co-operation of faculty, the archive is comprehensive, including records of every publication, media appearance or mention, conference presentation and event for each active faculty member. Whenever possible, the record includes the full text of the publication or related documentation, including videos and image galleries. Because of this comprehensiveness and inclusiveness, our Digital Commons in not only Osgoode’s institutional repository but also, since this past September, officially the site for the personal research pages of all Osgoode faculty. If our Digital Commons has been a success, it is a reflection of the unreserved support of our faculty and the quality of their scholarship.

Osgoode Digital Commons has been a cornerstone of Osgoode’s institutional digital initiatives and research intensification activities, as well as the Library’s commitment to scholarly communication, the preservation of the School’s research archive and the provision of open access to research. It has been instrumental in making Osgoode research available not only to the wider international scholarly community but to a world of people hungry for quality information about the law, all of it free and open access. Osgoode Digital Commons has been played a significant role in enhancing the impact of Osgoode research both in Canada and internationally; in fact, two-thirds of the downloads from Osgoode Digital Commons are from people and institutions outside of Canada.

Finally, we would like to thank the technical and client support folks at bepress Digital Commons, especially Dave Seitz and Camille Peters, without whose knowledge, insights and unfailing assistance there would be no Osgoode Digital Commons.

Library Pop-Up Workshops

Please join us at the Law Library for these Library Pop-UP Workshops:

Finding Statutes and/or Amendment to Statutes on HeinOnline
Date: 9-Nov-2016
Time: 12:30 PM – 12:50 PM
Location: Law Library Upper Floor

Let’s talk about legal citation
Date: 16-Nov-2016
Time: 12:30 PM – 12:50 PM
Location: Law Library Upper Floor

See you there!

Exhibit in the Osgoode Library – Lawyers without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich

Nazis block Jews from entering the University of Vienna. Austria, 1938. Photograph from the National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, MD

Nazis block Jews from entering the University of Vienna. Austria, 1938. Photograph from the National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, MD

The Osgoode Hall Law School Library is proud to be hosting the highly acclaimed international exhibition “Lawyers without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich”. The exhibition was prepared by the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) and was translated into English and prepared for exhibit in North America by the American Bar Association. It has been shown in nearly 100 cities in Germany, the United States and other countries: the Osgoode Library is the only Canadian venue for the exhibit. The exhibition at Osgoode is sponsored by the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security at Osgoode Hall Law School.

“As important as it is to our everyday lives as a bulwark against arbitrary governance, the rule of law can never be taken for granted,” said Associate Professor and Nathanson Director François Tanguay-Renaud. “This exhibition – focusing on an insufficiently known aspect of the Third Reich – constitutes a vibrant historical testament to the importance of lawyers in holding governments to account, and the grave threats to social organization that inevitably follow when their role is undermined.

“Given Osgoode’s core mission to educate tomorrow’s lawyers and, through bodies like the Nathanson Centre, generate cutting-edge research about their responsibilities and predicaments at home and abroad, ‘Lawyers without Rights’ serves as a forceful, eye-opening reminder of what we stand for, and stand against,” said Tanguay-Renaud.

The idea for the exhibition was conceived in 1998 when an Israeli lawyer asked the regional bar of Berlin for a list of Jewish lawyers whose licences had been revoked by the Nazi regime.

“The regional bar decided not only to research a list of names but also to try to find out more about the fates behind all those names,” said Axel Filges, past president of the German Federal Bar. “Some were able to leave the country after the Nazis came into power, but very many of them were incarcerated or murdered. The non-Jewish German lawyers of those days remained silent. They failed miserably, and so did the lawyers’ organizations. We do not know why.”

After the Berlin bar transformed its research into an exhibition, other regional bars began asking whether they could show it and add their own research. “So, like a puzzle, a portrait of the fate of Jewish lawyers in Germany has emerged step by step,” Filges said.

Related to the exibit, Osgood Hall Law School and The Nathanson Centre will host “Nuremberg at 70: A Commemorative Panel on the Implications of the Trials for Legal and Medical Ethics” on Saturday, November 20, 2015. Speakers include Mélanie Deshaies (Osgoode), Eric Gertner (Ryerson/McCarthy Tétrault), Hengameh Saberi(Osgoode), and Dean Lorne Sossin (Osgoode). The panel will be take place at Osgoode Hall Law School (Ignat Kaneff Building), in Room IKB 2027, 12:30-2:30 pm.

The exhibit is on view in the Library from Monday, November 9, through Sunday, November 22. The hours are Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm; Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Art in the Osgoode Law Library (1): Roy Kiyooka, Homage to Ben Nicholson, 1967

We thought we’d start the new year with a new series of posts on the artworks that can be seen in the Osgoode Hall Law School Library. We thought we’d start with this piece, the largest in the library, which hangs prominently near library entrance, dominating the stairway between the library’s two floors.

Roy Kiyooka (1926-1994)
Homage to Ben Nicholson, 1967
acrylic on canvas
Collection of York University
Purchased from the artist

Kiyooka: Homage to Ben Nicholson

Kiyooka: Homage to Ben Nicholson (credit: Bernard Sandler, Osgoode PD)

Roy Kiyooka was a second-generation Japanese Canadian artist, poet and photographer, born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 1926. He grew up in the Prairies and studied art in Calgary and Regina. He moved to Vancouver 1959, already an accomplished respected painter. Here he challenged a generation of artists to move beyond regional styles and seek inspiration from international art currents. In the late 1960s, he rejected painting and began writing poetry and taking photographs. As a part of the rejection of a modernist aesthetic, he eventually took up performance, film, and music. Kiyooka was one of Canada’s first interdisciplinary artists and was highly influential in Vancouver’s bustling cultural scene. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1978, not only in recognition of his work as a painter but for his significant contribution as a teacher. Kiyooka died in Vancouver in 1994.

Homage to Ben Nicholson, the painting in the Osgoode Library, was among Roy Kiyooka’s last paintings. While he was painting, Kiyooka worked in the hard-edged modernism of the New York avant-garde of the time, just as the artist referred to in the title, Ben Nicholson, had popularized the spare formalism of Constructivism in Britain before him.

The painting is a triptych of three identical panels, each five square. Across the surface of the painting, slight differences in paint application distinguish the oval forms from the serene blue ground. The subtleties of colour here are typical of Kiyooka, but the punctuating orange framing the painting allows for the levitation of the blue, while reinforcing the fundamental objectivity of the painting by counteracting the use of a conventional frame. While a viewer might infer the wide blue sweep of a Pacific vista, a concern for the painting as closed formal world, rather than a system of representation, was a defining principle of the New York modernism to which Kiyooka responded. His international modernist vision in 1960s Vancouver, a city at the time overwhelmed with regionalist attention to particulars of place and landscape, secured the artist a place in the São Paolo Biennale of 1966.

A film about Kiyooka’s life was produced in 2012. REED: The Life and Works of Roy Kiyooka follows the radical times in which the artist lived, from the Beat Era to the turmoil of the 60s and redress for Japanese Canadians in the 1980s. It is an extraordinary tribute to a great artist, showing a broad spectrum of his work while revealing the personal and social history that inspired him. A trailer for the film can be viewed here.

This painting is appropriate to Osgoode for a number of reasons. The painting’s modernism is contemporary with and a reflection of the spirit that saw Osgoode move from it’s staid quarters in old Osgoode Hall on Queen Street to the new campus of York University. The painting was painted in 1967, the centennial year of Canadian Confederation and also the year the new Osgoode Hall Law School was designed. The law school finally opened at York 1969.

The painting is on permanent loan to Osgoode Hall Law School from the Collection of York University.

Kiyooka in the Library Staircase

Kiyooka in the Library Staircase

Festive Footstools and Best Wishes from the Osgoode Library

Library-Footstools

It’s the last week of exams before the New Year holiday break at Osgoode. The students are stressed. We have seen them doing jumping jacks in the group study rooms. So we weren’t so surprised when we discovered this expression of student anxiety while closing the library last night. What can it mean? I put the question to some of my colleagues and John Eaton, Head Librarian of the EK Williams Law Library at the University of Manitoba, offered the following possibility:

You may be aware (or maybe not?) of the 1984 musical Footloose!, wherein a group of exuberant youth, led by the actor Kevin Bacon, break free of the strictures of their sleepy Texas town and express themselves through dance. These are just the props for the exciting new library musical Footstool! in which stressed out law students break free of the monotony of cramming for torts and contracts by devising more inventive uses of standard library furniture.

They also look a bit like a library Yuletide tree. Other interpretations are welcome.

And a quick reminder that the Library closes for the holiday this Friday, December 19, at 5:00 pm. We look forward to seeing everyone when the library reopens on Monday, January 5, at 8:00 am. Until then, have a Happy Holiday and all the best for the New Year 2015.