Category Archives: TechTips

ideas for using the web and/or technology to make your life and work easier and more fun.

social media as space of meeting

For all my dear friends and colleagues who are mystified, delightedly mystified, i think, about social media,


This is mainly generational, but not completely, you should know.  Friends who cheerfully call themselves luddites, colleague/friends who relish their self label of dinosaur (you know who you are! Yes. You.).  So this post is not to proselytize.  I don’t for a second think that everyone can or should do this stuff.  BUT, perhaps those folk might be interested in a little illustration of how these things work, that is, the ways in which they are not simply about the technology, but about different modes of sharing ideas.

I think of myself as a person who loves technology, but not for it’s own sake. I want it to help me do what i want to do or give me new ideas about what i want to do.  I usually don’t want to be a “early adopter” – I would prefer that someone else sort through the growing pains, wait till it becomes cheaper and better, and then I want to get in on it.  Otherwise it is too much wasted initial effort of getting up to speed and too many closets full of devices quickly abandoned or “upgraded” (you know who you are too).

For instance, technology helps me procrastinate more passionately.

But it isn’t all that. And “social media” as a subset of technology, enables connections that you might not otherwise be able to make.  Allow me to illustrate with a short collection of tweets between strangers.  Do not be alarmed – this will only take a minute. And it is easy because wordpress allows simple embedding of tweets! Ignore that last sentence if you find it bewildering, or too much information.

I was messing around searching what pops up on twitter if you search #ff (which stands for follow friday, but designates a Tweet in which someone is recommending another twitterer) & feminist (I do this sometimes during moments where i’m “watching” kids movies and shows with my kids, this is a kind of multitasking that, in my view does no harm, because if the show gets problematic, I can hear that happening, demand a pause, force a discussion of the problem, and then get back to my internet messing around). Anyway, this did:

So, i went to check out the Ladydrawers, because that sounded interesting, doesn’t it? Main ladydrawers site here, and the fashion race sex gender project here.
The tweet and the comic made me think (kids also wanted to see them, which obviously is better than TV, so yay for multitasking). On twitter, I said:

(referencing @beatonna is me “tagging” one of my favourite comic authors, Kate Beaton, the artist/author behind Hark, A Vagrant (book & blog) – remember strawfeminists? She will get a little notice that she was mentioned and who knows maybe she is interested and if not easy enough for her to ignore).

@sambradd, whose #ff started this for me, immediately sent me a tip about another artist I should check out, in the process alerting that artist to the conversation by putting her twitter name into his tweet:

And the @ladydrawers folks noted:

And then @makerofnets, the artist Kara Sievewright, also chimed in

You should have a look at her things –
for povnet

Every Tool Shapes the Task from PovNet Society on Vimeo.

her blog is here

Finally, (or at least finally for now), I thought I might have something that these artists might be interested in, and so I wrote

That is me sending all the people in the conversation a link to the IFLS post on Mikimosis and the Wetiko, (“project by the Indigenous Law Research Clinic (Faculty of Law, University of Victoria), the Indigenous Bar Association and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and funded by the Ontario Law Foundation.” see here for the project website), because given the conversation thus far, and the fact that both Bradd and Sievewright are located in BC, they might be truly interested and curious.

So that’s in a nutshell what I get out of it. the possibility of tossing out ideas, making quick connections, sharing the excellent work of others. Whether this turns into anything (possible collaboration on knowledge dissemination a la Mikimosis & the Wetiko, or Feminist Legal moments in graphic form) is another story – but that is always the case with these connections, isn’t it, even the ones you make at the coffee table at CLSA. And browsing through the work of the artists here – really fabulous.

tentative benefits
1. Fast (though it definitely takes time & needs discipline to not take all your time, the interactions described above happened relatively quickly – it’s the volume of what you might do on social media is the problem.
2. doesn’t have to be intellectually vacant
3. allows connection with similar interests across disciplines and outside the academy
Hope you enjoy/understand. If you already understood social media, you probably aren’t still reading.


Make Law more Appealing? Law Design Tech & Margaret Hagan at Stanford

Ok, make law VISUALLY appealing?

Over at Stanford, they have started a program in Legal Tech & Design. Law Design Tech | The Program for Legal Tech & Design I like this for a variety of reasons – i do love visualizations, there are clear teaching/learning possibilities, but mainly because of the possibilities for public legal education.    Here are 5 things i liked (some of the links below are to Margaret Hagan’s personal site – she’s one of the main movers behind the Program).

Cool visuals

1.  I love this one (there were a set of them and taken together they really give you a sense of the process).

Law Design Tech | The Program for Legal Tech & Design visualization of So's Immigration Journey
Created by participants in the Stanford Program for Legal Tech and Design hackathon. Click through to tumblr post.

(see below at #5 for more from this series)

2.  And who can resist these “Drawn Law Cases” (by Margaret Hagan and on her personal site)?


3  Margaret Hagan offers her vision of law flowcharts.  Whether instructor or student generated, these fit so clearly with my own learning method for doctrinal information.  I torment my students with very sober looking flowcharts (made with xmind), but imagine if I could make them look like this! [this one is US tax law based, because I know that the tax people don’t think I spend nearly enough time on tax in my posts]

visualization of US tax rules on whether an employee discount is taxable as income
by Margaret Hagan click through for original post

4  The PLTD does have a legal design toolbox, here.  Lots of information, tools, suggestions.

Law+Design for Public Good

5. The PLTD hosted a hackathon on immigration law: that produced the “immigration story” above.

Hagan mentored a team:

Our goal was to create a visualization app that would empower immigrants to tell their personal story in a share-able, if not viral way.  The point was to make the complicated (if not, outright broken) immigration system visible, and in human terms rather than in cold, formal, legalistic ways.

Read more from Hagan’s account here

See more “hands on design events” from the Centre, here.  including one about making wikipedia’s new draft trademark policy more user friendly, and a class which will take on the task of visuals for end of life planning.

Bonus: Flicking through Margaret Hagan’s tumblr led me to this post – describing a “role playing game” called “Accused” based on real techniques of psychological coercion.  Try clicking through to the game.  I can’t say you’ll like it, but you definitely learn something!



NIP: Breakups by Deborah Tuerkheimer in Yale J. of Law & Feminism & how to use HeinOnline Table of Contents Alerts

Fascinating abstractice.

This Article identifies an overlooked criminalization gap. While
the existence of a private sphere in which violence is allowed has been formally
repudiated, a subtler form of legal immunity persists. Relationship status-that
is, whether or not a couple is involved in an ongoing relationship-continues to
construct crime. Though physical violence between intimate partners is
categorically outlawed, patterns of controlling behavior that encompass
physical violence may or may not be lawful. These patterns of controlling
behavior are legally permitted when two people are together. Yet these same
patterns become illegal if, and only if, the couple separates. The law thus
prohibits behavior that it permits before the breakup. I call this the de facto separation requirement and offer a conceptual framework that explains its
endurance. On analysis, the differential treatment of pre- and post-breakup patterns cannot be justified.

Available on SSRN here, or Heinonline (not open access) here.


This came to my attention because i get some email alerts from Hein Online, via the MyHein service.  Again, all of this  is only for those who have access to Hein, but it can be a useful service, if you can control the number of alerts you subscribe to…:

You can create an eTOC alert for one or more titles which will you send you an email every time the
title(s) you selected have been updated. To do this, browse to a title and click on the Create eTOC Alert
link. You will then receive a message that says the title has been added to your “eTOC alerts”.

What you get is an email with the Table of Contents for the new volume and clickable links to all the articles.  Handy, fun, efficient.

Women, Gender and the Law eJournal: Subscribe on SSRN

This SSRN e-Journal distributes:

…working and accepted paper abstracts that relate to the relationship between women and the law, and gender and the law. The eJournal is interested in a wide range of topics with the focus of the eJournal being critical examinations of gender and the law. Interdisciplinary work is invited, as is research on legal education and the scholarship of law teaching as it relates to women and gender.

Believe it or not, this is another Kim Brooks production.  SSRN is such a useful service – it sends many gems my way.

Wondering what SSRN is?

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a world wide collaborative of over 183,000 authors and more than 1.3 million users that is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research. Founded in 1994, it is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences. Each of SSRN’s networks encourages the early distribution of research results by reviewing and distributing submitted abstracts and full text papers from scholars around the world. SSRN encourages readers to communicate directly with other subscribers and authors concerning their own and other’s research. Through our email abstract eJournals we currently reach over 400,000 people in approximately 140 different countries.  From the SSRN FAQ page, here.

I subscribe to a small number of the eJournals and Women, Gender & the Law is one.  Here are all the abstracts from this eJournal, and if you are signed up for SSRN (open to all) you can subscribe here.


I’ve just pasted in the latest 10 articles from this eJournal, so you can see how interesting this journal can  be!
Incl. Electronic Paper Two Mothers in Law and Fact
Robert Leckey
McGill University – Faculty of Law
Date Posted: April 07, 2012
Working Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Mediating Multiculturally: Culture and the Ethical Mediator
MEDIATION ETHICS, Ellen Waldman, ed., San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2012-26
Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Georgetown University Law Center
Date Posted: April 05, 2012
Working Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Undermining Congressional Overrides: The Hydra Problem in Statutory Interpretation
Texas Law Review, Vol. 90, 2012, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 202
Deborah A. Widiss
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Date Posted: April 05, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

DOMA’s Bankruptcy
Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 79, pp. 1-28, 2011
Mark Strasser
Capital University – Law School
Date Posted: April 04, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Discriminative Provisions of Islamic Law of Inheritance Against Women
Sukanya Narain and Rameshwari R. Rao
National Law University Jodhpur and affiliation not provided to SSRN
Date Posted: April 03, 2012
Working Paper Series

Nonconsensual Insemination: Battery
Journal of Law and Social Deviance, Vol. 3, 2012
Carmen M. Cusack
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Date Posted: April 03, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper The Women Violence in Pakistan: Evidence from Rural and Urban Areas
European Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 267-274, 2010
Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri and Naheed Abrar
affiliation not provided to SSRN and affiliation not provided to SSRN
Date Posted: April 03, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

Escaping Battered Credit: A Proposal for Repairing Credit Reports Damaged by Domestic Violence
University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Forthcoming
Angela K. Littwin
University of Texas School of Law
Date Posted: April 01, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Have Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Helped Remediate Human Rights Violations Against Women? A Feminist Analysis of the Past and Formula for the Future
Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL), Vol. 20, No. 1, p. 143, 2011, Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05
Peggy Maisel
Florida International University College of Law
Date Posted: March 31, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

Incl. Electronic Paper Law, History, and Feminism
FEMINIST LEGAL HISTORY: ESSAYS ON WOMEN AND LAW, T. Thomas & T. Boisseau, eds., NYU Press, April 2011, U of Akron Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05
Tracy A. Thomas and Tracey Jean Boisseau
University of Akron School of Law and University of Akron
Date Posted: March 30, 2012
Accepted Paper Series

New digital resource: Black Women Writers (Alexander St. Press)

Black Women Writers  is a digitized collection of more than 100000 pages put together by  Alexander Street Press.  Access is available through the Yorku Library system (sorry, it’s not universal) and has an amazing range of items, historical and contemporary.  I am particularly interested in the range of non fiction Caribbean items (e.g. Writing Rage: Unmasking Violence Through Caribbean Discourse, by Paula Morgan and Valerie Youssef. (Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies, 2006))  but the fiction titles are very tempting. Poetry too!


H/T Osgoode Librarian Yemisi Dina.