CanLII’s Law, Government and Open Data Conference & Hackathon

I had the opportunity to speak about linked data at the Canadian Legal
Information Institute‘s Law, Government and Open Data Conference &
Hackathon in Ottawa this past weekend. My presentation was entitled Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources and my slides and speaking notes are available on York Space.

F. Tim Knight

F. Tim Knight, Head of Technical Services, Osgoode Hall Law School Library

It has a fantastic event which began with the Information Commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault, speaking about the need to update our antiquated Access to Information Act which came into effect in 1983.

Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada

Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada

She emphasized that the Actmust be modernized” to meet the current expectations
concerning access to information in the 21st century and needs to be extended to cover administrative aspects of parliament, ministers and court administration.

Since government is the largest consumer of its own information, improvements in this area would also improve the overall operation of government. She feels it’s an important debate to initiate so that issues surrounding access to information, transparency, secrecy, and national security can be publicly reviewed and discussed.

Other highlights included an introduction to CanLII‘s recently released web API and a few demonstrations of the API in action. An overview of some of the challenging processes behind CanLII‘s receipt of case law from the many jurisdictions involved was also provided.

A hackathon was held on the second day and I had a wonderful opportunity to shoulder surf and learn some valuable Ruby programming techniques from Matt Leduc.  We worked on pulling information from the CanLII API and converting the metadata to RDF/XML for potential inclusion in a legal linked data cloud.  Very close to success on this one.  Thank you Matt!

Details on the rest of the conference and hackathon programme are available here. And
the sessions were recorded and are available via CanLII and YouTube.  And for those of you using Twitter you can also check out the tweets from the event.

This was the first event of its kind in Canada and the participants are hoping that CanLII will be able to make this an annual event.



From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda

For anyone interested in a sneak preview of this new book edited by Michael Geist, you’ll find the introductory chapter available on the Irwin Law website. From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda will be issued by Irwin Law this month and we should have a both a print and electronic copy in the library shortly.

This book represents an effort by some of Canada’s leading copyright experts to shift away from the sloganeering that has marked the debate to date by moving toward an informed analysis of Bill C-32 and the future development of Canadian copyright law.

Among the collection of papers is Osgoode professor Carys Craig‘s, Locking Out Lawful Users: Fair Dealing and Anti-Circumvention in Bill C-32. This looks like a fantastic contribution to copyright law in Canada.

The Google Book Search Project and Canada: Cross-Border Legal Perspectives

Centre for Innovation Law and Policy, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law is presenting a one-day conference on The Google Book Search Project and Canada: Cross-Border Legal Perspectives. This all day event will take place on May 28, 2010 at the Bennett Lecture Hall, Flavelle House, 78 Queen`s Park and will “consider possible Canadian solutions for the copyright challenges presented by the mass digitization and reuse of works“.

The Google Book Project in general, and the proposed settlement reached by Google and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against it in particular, have already generated a great deal of controversy. Most of the debate, however, has focused on US law and policy, whereas very little attention has been given to the implications of the settlement for Canadian readers and authors. This one-day conference will begin filling this gap and explore the implications of the Google Book Settlement for Canada“.

The conference is free but requires registration and will be available as a live webcast, hopefully recorded and available to watch after the event.

(via Scott McLaren)

Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, v. 52, no. 3 Now Available

The latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice/La Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale is now available online.

Volume 52, Number 3 / June 2010 includes the following articles:

Digitization of Publications Relating to the Parliament of Canada

This report describes the digitization efforts of the Library of Parliamentary and was recently posted to their web site and blogged about yesterday by “Library Boy” (aka Michel-Adrien Sheppard, Supreme Court Reference Librarian).

The goal [of the working paper] is to help inform the development of a coherent strategy amongst the various stakeholders to digitize, make available and preserve over the long term, the corpus of Canadian publications relating to the operations of Parliament since 1867.

This working paper provides a “… ‘snapshot’ of the state of digitization of papers relating to the Parliament of Canada as of March 2009“, with an overview regarding:

  • which published papers relating to the operations of Parliament have been digitized;
  • by which organization;
  • where the digitized works are housed;
  • who is permitted access;
  • plans for future digitization.