Holmes and Venables "Whither the Legal Web?"

Those interested in the world of legal publishing, whether by third party publishers or via new technologies such as blogging and RSS, may be interested in a new electronic publication called Whither the Legal Web?, a set of articles written and/or edited by UK based Nick Holmes and Delia VenablesWhither the Legal Web? consists of two parts, the first on Legal Information, the second (to published in or around September) on Legal Practice.

I have had the opportunity to review Part 1 and was interested in some of the articles it contains.  It contains 5 chapters on the following topics:  (1) The Law, (2) Government, Parliament and Justice, (3) Scotland and Wales, (4) Legal Information Services, and (5) The Web.  Each chapter contains a number of articles. 

To me, the most interesting chapters are 1 and 5, on The Law and The Web respectively (others will doubtless have their own "most interesting" chapters). Chapter 1 contains these articles:

  • "Towards more accessible law" by Nick Holmes 
  • "The vision for BAILII" by Sir Henry Brooke 
  • "Current developments on BAILII" by Joe Ury 
  • "Freeing the law in Ireland" by Dr John Mee 
  • "Global legal research: WorldLII and the long-term vision" by Prof Graham Greenleaf 
  • "The Statute Law Database" by Nick Holmes 
  • "EU law and the Europa site" by Sue Pettit 

Chapter 5 contains these articles:

  • "The core web technologies" by Nick Holmes 
  • "The blogging phenomenon" by Nick Holmes 
  • "A blogging case study: the IPKat" by Jeremy Phillips and Ilanah Simon
  • "Webfeeds: pulling the news that matters" by Nick Holmes
  • "Wikis: wacky or wonderful?" by Nick Holmes 

Those familiar with the world of legal publishing will be familiar with some of the content, but in all likelihood there is content with which readers will not be familiar.  For example, the chapter on BAILII (the British and Irish Legal Information Institute) by Sir Henry Brooke makes for an interesting read. And those wanting an introduction, from a legal perspective, to blogging, webfeeds and wikis will probably find the articles in chapter 5 a worthwhile read.  The 2 page case study on the blog "IPKat" is also interesting (those who follow the IPKat will know that its two authors are prolific bloggers). 

As an aside, the authors of the IPKat case study make the statement that "you can't make money out of blogging".  I wonder whether, at least in the future, such a statement may need to be qualified.  Were it not for the IPKat, I would not have heard of its lawyer authors.  In a competitive legal market, their names are now in my mind when otherwise they would not have been;  their blogging efforts have generated some mindshare, which I would have thought is itself a valuable commodity (generally speaking that is, not in respect of a share in my mind!), and one which ultimately could generate financial reward, either through direct instructions or referrals.  It's early days for such talk because the corporate world has not yet fully awoken to blogging and RSS feed technology;  let's see what happens when it does.

To close, Whither the Legal Web? contains a timely and interesting set of articles.  My thanks to Nick Holmes and Delia Venables for the opportunity to review it.

10 Downing Street and US Defense Department adopt RSS

London's 10 Downing Street (the historic office and home of the British Prime Minister) has adopted RSS, as has the US Department of Defense.  Thanks to Nooked for the links.

With "RSS Mix", web-based RSS feed splicing is now a breeze

Thanks to a post at the descriptively named blog RSS Latest News, I just learned of a new RSS splicing/mixing service called RSS Mix.  This new service may be of interest to readers who were interested in my earlier posts:

Until now, there has been a dearth of web-based RSS splicers (i.e., tools to mix 2 or more feeds into one) which anyone can use.  There's currently Blogdigger Groups and Feedster's Feedpapers but in my experience both can be a little temperamental (I've never actually managed to get a Feedpaper to work). 

RSS Mix is exceedingly simple, as you can see from the instructions on its site:

"Create a New RSS Mix

Mix any number of RSS feeds into one unique new feed!


To create a new RSS Mix, copy and paste the URLs of the existing source feeds into the box below and hit Create!"

This new tool could be particularly useful for those with an interest in parsing RSS feeds for publication on their own sites (whether internally or externally, and bearing copyright and other IP issues in mind) - using RSS-to-javascript or RSS-to-HTML converters (some of which enable you to filter the incoming feed) - the reason being that many such converters do not accept multiple feeds.  Personally I can think of many uses for RSS Mix.  A great new RSS tool to hit the internet.


Thanks to Kevin O'Keefe for pointing us to Eric Rice/Audioblog's screencast on how to podcast using Audioblog.  I just checked this out and it looks like an excellent service for those wanting to explore podcasting without dipping their hands into any technical complexity whatsoever.  That's not to say that podcasting is difficult - it's not - but a busy lawyer, for example, wanting to create podcasts and a podcast feed quickly may well appreciate the simplicity of what Audioblog is offering.  Audioblog's monthly fee is low and its service straight-forward and user-friendly.   What's more, you don't need to have a blog or site with RSS feed to use Audioblog's podcasting service.

Let's say you're a lawyer using digital dictation with an option of recording to mp3 (which seems to be fairly commonplace these days).  You could dictate a note on a recent development or practical tip, upload it to Audioblog and, with a few clicks, create a podcast feed enclosing that file.  Simple, quick and painless.  If you don't use regular digital dictation, you can do the same thing by using Audioblog's phone-up-recording service or its web-based recording service. 

If you've a blog or other site with RSS feed and would prefer to get into podcasting for no monthly cost at all and minimal fuss, then Feedburner's SmartCast service is well worth a look.  Looks like it makes it easy for your feed to incorporate podcasts even if your regular blogging service doesn't readily accommodate them.

RSS feeds: create, aggregate, filter, scrape, modify and convert - The short version

Feedmelegal's previous post, RSS for lawyers and clients alike: (Re)searching into the future and then some, was a fairly lengthy survey of a number of RSS tools out there with which you can create your own search feeds, aggregate and filter feeds, scrape feeds, modify feeds and create email subscription offerings from feeds.  The summary of these tools, in the section "Bringing it all together", was part of the attached PDF file and for that reason did not include links to the various tools discussed.  This post reproduces that summary section and provides links to all the services mentioned.

Continue reading "RSS feeds: create, aggregate, filter, scrape, modify and convert - The short version" »

RSS for lawyers and clients alike: (Re)searching into the future and then some

(What appears below is only part of a 16 page article (because Typepad couldn't handle the whole thing).  The whole article is attached at the end of this post as a PDF file.)


There are many ways in which both lawyers and their clients can benefit from blogs and webfeeds (or RSS feeds to use the most popular term). There are even reasons why they positively need to know about them.

Most commonly one reads articles about the benefits of blogs and webfeeds for the marketing of one’s expertise, goods or services, such as The significance of webfeeds for lawyers and Weblogs: A primer for lawyers. One also reads posts about how lawyers can benefit from other people’s existing subject-specific feeds, such as Jerry Lawson’s helpful post entitled Useful RSS Feeds for Federal Lawyers, and about how blogging can help build networks and personal satisfaction. More recently there’s even been interesting talk of The Blog’s New Role in Crisis Management. These are excellent uses of the technology, but they are not the only uses, particularly so far as webfeeds are concerned. The humble webfeed has a great deal more in store, much of which is or may be relevant to lawyers and their clients.

Continue reading "RSS for lawyers and clients alike: (Re)searching into the future and then some" »

Swedish office of international law firm embraces RSS

Linklaters is a large law firm. Its Swedish office now has RSS feeds (primarily, surprise, in Swedish) for some of the pages of its website. The feeds can be found at http://www.linklaters.com/locations/Sweden/swedish/newsanddeals/index.asp?localnavigationid=928. A significant development.

Another article on the utility of RSS for lawyers

Thanks to Information Overlord for bringing to our attention the recent article in Legal Technology, Information Flood Warning. The article discusses the use by lawyers of RSS and related technology as a means of improving current awareness. It is a bit of a "taster and tempter", in that it introduces the reader in general terms to some of the technology and its benefits, but does not explain to the busy lawyer how to get it up and running.  For some nuts and bolts, watch this space.

UK based Infolaw offers Lawfinder webfeeds

UK based infolaw has a commercial, subscription-based awareness service called Lawfinder, which provides "structured access to over 95,000 UK legal documents and other resources available on the web".

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European Union Law Via RSS!

Those interested in European Law will no doubt be familiar with EUR-Lex, the portal to European Law. But those who are fresh in their exploration of webfeeds may not know that EUR-Lex offers RSS feeds.

Continue reading "European Union Law Via RSS!" »

The significance of webfeeds for lawyers

A “webfeed” is a means by which websites and weblogs can feed new site content to internet users and publish it beyond the realm of those websites and weblogs themselves. It is a fairly new online communication medium which, to date, comparatively few lawyers and firms have harnessed. In this post, feedmelegal explains:

· the nature of webfeeds and news aggregators;

· their usefulness to those wishing to access legal content (whether clients and potential clients, private practitioners, public sector practitioners or academics); and

· their implications for legal service providers.

Continue reading "The significance of webfeeds for lawyers" »

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