Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

April 21, 2011

Expired regulations

Jane Symons expressed an interesting event this week as a mystery rolled up in a conundrum.

She provided a regulation to somone and it was later discovered that the regulation expired. Jane's search was appropriate - she had the cite and was looking for a specific document which she found. Regulations in Alberta frequently have expiry clauses in order to fulfill Premier Ralph Kleins promise, I believe in the 90s, that government red tape would be reduced and government policies would be regularly reviewed. At least that is what my memory of the time is telling me.

Regardless, when you are looking at a regulation, check for an expiry date clause. These should be at the end, where you would otherwise find special in force dates (other than the usual "when filed with the registrar of regulations" silent default).

In this case, the regulation was the Surface Rights Act Rules of Procedure and Practice Alta. Reg. 190/2001. after investigating the expiry of this regulation, Jane determined that there is a new procedure on the boards website that takes over after the expiry of the regulation.

There is a legislative trail for this in the act where the board was given the power to make its own rules (section 8, Surfact Rights Act, RSA 2000 - amended by SA 2009, c.31, s.5). Another clue is the list of regulations made under the act in the most recent Index of Regulations - this old regulation is no longer listed there.

These tricky bits of legislative research are always interesting to share

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April 15, 2011

Improvements to SSRN

SSRN - the Social Sciences Research Network is a host site for in publication and published academic content - including some really great legal articles. I am happy to share this note that came from SSRN today:

We have been working on extracting references from all SSRN papers for 5 years as part of the CiteReader™ project that SSRN has undertaken with our development firm, ITX Corp. We have created a system to extract references and footnotes from PDF files on SSRN and to have that extracted data proofread by human beings. While this project is not yet complete, we are now announcing the release of over 6.7 million references extracted from the reference sections of over 182,000 papers on the SSRN site as well as over 4.2 million citations that we have linked to SSRN papers.

– The references from each SSRN paper (where we have been able to extract them) can be found on the REFERENCES tab on the public abstract page for each paper.
– The citations we have matched to each SSRN paper are available on the CITATIONS tab on the public abstract page for the paper.
– These reference links provide an excellent way for any reader to go back in the literature in any area, and the citation links provide an excellent way to go forward in the literature.

Data on the Current State of SSRN's CiteReader™ Project

– Papers with Resolved References: 182,645 out of the 270,109 full text papers on SSRN
– Total References Resolved: 6,689,847
– SSRN Papers with Resolved Citations: 180,339
– Total Citation Links between the Cited and the Citing Paper: 4,277,354
– Papers with Resolved Footnotes: 60,721 (we are giving footnote extraction priority to papers with no reference section)
– Total Extracted Footnotes: 6,899,585

NOTE: References in those papers on SSRN that do not have a Reference section have not been fully extracted as yet. We are working on this. These papers (primarily law papers) have their references in footnotes. This means that citations from law papers are currently dramatically undercounted in SSRN citation statistics.

SSRN is now extracting footnotes from all papers while giving processing priority to those papers with no reference section. We have extracted over 6.9 million footnotes from over 60,000 papers with no Reference sections thus far. These footnotes and the references we extract from them will also be appearing in tabs on SSRN's abstract pages. SSRN is now perfecting the algorithms for extracting references from these footnotes. The undercounting of citations from and to law papers will be resolved over the next year as our algorithms are perfected and references from papers with no reference section are extracted from footnotes and linked to the papers being cited.


Michael C. Jensen
Social Science Research Network

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