Build on Legal Information

I saw tweets go out this morning that the Canadian Department of Justice had released a public version of Charterpedia.  It’s like an online treatise for people interested in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights.  It is a resource used in-house by the Government’s lawyers.  And as I skimmed through it, I could tell.  It’s a good example of how law libraries could help enhance publicly available legal information.

[UPDATED:  I finished an e-book on the first 14 sections of the Charterpedia content.  You can download it for free, and see my thoughts on the workflow if you’re curious,  here.]

More Links

The first thing I noticed was how much stuff isn’t hyperlinked.  I expect it’s because the lawyers already know (or no longer need to refer) to certain documents.  But there were a lot of cases and both Canadian and foreign primary documents that could benefit from a link for the curious.  There were loads of lower court opinions that are publicly available and readily identifiable on CanLII.

An example of what Charterpedia might look like with more links

More Formats

The second thing that occurred to me was how, while a web version is nice, it would be great to have an e-book version that someone could, literally, page through.  Using a tool like Pressbooks, you can easily build an online publication that can be exported to PDF and ePub formats.  I use the open source version of their WordPress plugin to create sample e-books.  Here’s the one I’ve started this morning with Charterpedia in it.  I appear to have toggled off the export function so it’s web only for now, but I’ll come back to this post in the future – once I’ve fleshed out the sections and finished linking them up – and post the ebook.

Download the unofficial Charterpedia

[not made in association with the Canadian government or, frankly anyone, not for commercial use or re-use, although you should feel free to redistribute it as much as you like]  If you are using Microsoft Edge, you may need to right-click the link and choose Save As, since Edge is an ePub reader.