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.

September 23, 2013

Guest post: Access to justice: the contribution of Public Legal Education

Guest post by Lois Gander, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta.

Deeply rooted in the access to justice movement in Canada, public legal education plays a critical role in ensuring that our laws and legal processes serve the needs of everyone, not just a privileged few. Across the country, PLE takes a variety of forms. Some activities are geared to helping individuals achieve a moment of justice in resolving a personal matter, others help organizations better serve marginalized communities, others help ensure that for generations to come, Canadians will embrace robust notions of equality, fairness, and social justice.

This is challenging work. Through a variety of diverse and innovative resources, programs, and services, Canadian PLE organizations have set high standards for what the public can expect when they want to know more about the law, how it works, how to access programs and services, and how to engage with it effectively.

A unique opportunity has recently become available for someone who wants to further explore the potential of public legal education to not only increasing access to the justice system as we currently know and experience it, but to transform that experience and the justice system itself. The current Director of the Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta, one of the largest and oldest PLE organizations in Canada, is retiring after serving in the position for the last six years or so. Working with a dynamic and experienced team of professions and volunteers, Dr. Rhyason's successor will have the opportunity of participating in provincial and national level discussions on contemporary issues facing the justice system, collaborating on research and action initiatives to address pressing social concerns, and contributing to the use of the law for progressive change more generally. For more information on the work of the Centre for Public Legal Education in Alberta or the position of Executive Director, visit

Visit the CPLEA at

Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA)
800, 10050 -112 Street
Edmonton AB T5K 2J1
Phone 780-451-1801

Follow them on Twitter @CPLEAlberta
Read their blog Blogosaurus Lex
Like them on Facebook

September 11, 2013

A lament about moving targets - New Release RSS feed

Digital information is fantastic.  It makes research tasks more flexible when you have options for the format or forum that information is available from .  One thing that hinders me, and others I am sure, is the potential for born digital information to move, merge, be edited, or disappear.

There have been laments and warnings about link rot (Link Rot in Court Decisions – Still a Problem, Fifth Annual Link Rot Report of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group, Citation by Shortened URL) and concerns about access to solely digital legislative and government information (Canadian Association of Law Libraries: Could Federal Budget Affect Access to Legislative Information? Hide and Seek – a New Paradigm for Finding Official Documents?, Government of Canada Moves to E-Printing) circulated and shared.  One major issue that hasn't been specifically addressed is the pain involved with service access point changes.

I totally understand why websites and web services have to change and evolve.  Still, it gets me a little riled up when important access points are subject to moving around and disruption with no warning, notice, or reason.  Yes, I am complaining about the Alberta Government News Releases.

Government new releases are an important source of legal information.  They are generated when there are new Orders in Council, they contain information about government consultations and legislative change and the background of why decisions are made and implemented.

In mid-August, my team was worried that our RSS readers were not working properly. Alberta Government news releases were not appearing.  Because this information is critical to current awareness services that my team provides, we investigated further and found that the news pages for the website had changed significantly.  There was no link shown to RSS feeds.

There is still no RSS feeds list easily identifiable from the site, but responsive public servants shared this news:

Our RSS feeds have been updated.  Please see the links below.
Listing of all updated feeds:
Or here is the feed to see all news announcements:


Edmonton Law Libraries Association

I believe in active participation in professional organizations. Despite this firmly held belief, until recently I have only held appointed roles for the Edmonton Law Libraries Association. For the next two years I will fill the post of Chair of the Edmonton Law Libraries Association.  I am joined by the team of Gina Linden (Dentons) as Secretary-Treasurer, Julie Olson (Alberta Law Libraries),  Member at Large, and Melissa Hathaway (Dentons) our Web Manager.

September to October each year is our annual membership drive. I hope to see many familiar faces at our September 25th business meeting where we will be discussing an initiative to identify the 'last' local print copy of legal resource material and our newly relaunched website and blog.

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