SubTech, day two

by Paul Maharg on 01/07/2006

The conference proper took place in the magnificent and recently-restored Law Faculty’s nineteenth century building.  It began with an intriguing analogy by Herbert Burker (St Gallen) between data protection and the Flying Dutchman.  Thomas Bruce, Cornell Legal Information Institute, gave us a witty international overview of the work of LIIs (‘LIIs and their parents: What could law schools learn from public legal information providers, and why won’t they?’), asking the question posed by local man, Ibsen, ‘are we in hell?’

Lunch was hosted by Lovdata, a legal information foundation linked to Oslo University’s Law Faculty that is funded from both private and public sources, and their interesting work was presented after the lunch.

Barton, Bloxham, McKellar, Maharg presented — see UK legal education & ICT: state of the discipline, state of the art… under ‘Publications’ opposite for the PP file.  I’ll let others comment on that; but PM, with uncharacteristc Scottish optimism, took the opportunity to reverse Tom Bruce’s question — are we in heaven?

Later, we were bussed off to the Folkmuseum, on the outskirts of Oslo — a memorable visit, taken round examples of house and church styles c.1000 – 1700 by two guides dressed in authentic costume, who sang songs for us at various points of the tour.  It sounds like something out of a Garrison Keillor short story, but actually it was the detail of the tour that provided the moving content.  The sophistication of housing technology was impressive — it reminded me of much earlier sites in Orkney (Skara Brae), and the way this is interpreted.  But it was the wealth of archaeological detail our guides gave us, and their intelligent enthusiasm that was so different from the way we present interpretations to the public in Scotland.  If Maes Howe had been a Norwegian site, for instance, I get the impression it would have been much more sensitively, interestingly and complexly interpreted than it is at present.

Conference dinner was, for the Zeugma group, the opportunity to draw up the Reseach Napkin, ie a list of papers, projects, publications, etc.  Traditionally, Paul writes this out then loses it and has to reconstruct it from memory.  Rather remarkably, he discovered it still in his pocket the next morning, and it will appear on the blog once he’s deciphered it.

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