Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Legislative Research webinar series

ProQuest is hosting a series of webinars on "Using Legislative History to Find Legislative Intent" using the Congressional database meant especially for law students. This 90-minute session is designed for the summer associate, judicial, law firm or government agency law clerk, intern, extern or research assistant. You will learn how to use ProQuest Congressional to:
1. Develop an understanding of the legislative process both procedurally  (how did the language read as first proposed, what committees considered the proposal, when were amendments made and where was the proposal when it was amended)  and as an adversarial process (who was lobbying in support of the proposal and what were they trying to accomplish, who was active in opposition what were their objections, who was responsible for amendments to the proposal).
 2. Become familiar with the documents available pertinent to your issue.
3. Identify where in the process the changes you care about occurred – this provides a mechanism to narrow the scope of your search for explanations for why the language was changed;
4. Learn how to identify both direct and circumstantial evidence of intent.
The live webinar will be held on 6 different dates; click the link to register:
Fri. April 25  10 am
Thurs. May 1 1 pm
Fri. May 16 1 pm
Thurs. May 29 1:30 pm
Thurs. June 12 1 pm
Fri. June 20  9 am

New from the GPO: Baseball!

We just got the latest monthly list of New Titles from the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.  One of this month's new eBooks published by the GPO is Baseball: the national pastime in the National Archives.  It's got a lot of interesting factoids for baseball fans (did you know fan is short for aficionado?).  It also has images of the patents for  the first baseball bats, gloves and balls, filed by John Hillerich of Louisville Ky (his bat company is the maker of the Louisville Slugger); George Rawlings (baseball glove patent from 1885) and Benjamin Shibe, known as the Edison of Baseball (a baseball with a cork center in 1909).  There are also lots of historic photos.  

Monday, 14 April 2014

Heartbleed hints: do you need to change your passwords?

"Heartbleed" is a recently discovered internet security threat that has affected many websites.  Mashable has published a list of popular sites and information about whether you need to change your password for these sites. For example, Facebook: yes. LinkedIn: no.  

Friday, 11 April 2014

End of year hours

Remember that the law school's calendar is longer than the University's calendar. The University's final exam period is April 21-26; the law school's is April 24-May 7. For the university, the week of Sunday April 27 through Sunday May 4 is called "Interim" and the campus computer labs are all closed except the one in Hillman which has limited hours. So student printing can be an issue if you're not careful. The Barco printer will be working throughout our exam period.
On Sunday May 4 at midnight all the student print quotas reset so our students should have plenty of print quota for last-minute papers etc.  And Barco Law Library begins our summer hours on Thursday May 8; closing at 6 pm M-Th, 5 pm on Friday, open Saturday 9-5 and CLOSED on Sunday.  

Digital Preservation at the LOC

The Digital Preservation Blog on the Library of Congress website posted yesterday about a presentation on the National Agenda for Digital Stewardship and on using the Levels of Digital Preservation (1 page pdf) that have been developed by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance. The National Agenda integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions to provide funders and executive decision‐makers insight into emerging technological trends, gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and key areas for funding, research and development. The Levels of Digital Preservation is a tiered set of recommendations for how organizations should begin to build or enhance their digital preservation activities. It is intended to be a relatively easy-to-use set of guidelines useful not only for those just beginning to think about preserving their digital assets, but also for institutions planning the next steps in enhancing their existing digital preservation systems and workflows.
The LOC also has a helpful webpage on "Personal Archiving: Preserving Your Digital Memories" with basic information about best practices for saving your digital photos, audio, video, email, and records.

Replacing Windows XP

For anyone who has a computer that still uses the Windows XP operating system: an interesting article in PC World, titled "Don't Waste Your Money trying to upgrade your Windows XP PC". The author says that basically even IF your computer meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, you are still better off just buying a new computer.
And while you're thinking about XP, here's an interesting little newslet about XP's default wallpaper, called "Bliss"...which is an actual, unretouched, unphotoshopped photograph taken by photographer Charles O'Rear in Pittsburgh  Napa Valley.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Flipped Classroom

Last week there was an interesting post on the Chronicle's Wired Campus blog about flipped learning and the flipped classroom, ideas that are slowly making their way into law school education.  This week Robert Talbert, the educator who wrote the post, has another post  on the topic - because the original post elicited a great deal of commentary.  Most of which made him angry.
It's interesting and points to a divide in faculty attitude towards students.  

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

April Fool's: funny federal publications

The GPO's Government Book Talk blog had an April Fool's Day post listing the "top ten" funny titles of federal documents. OK, they're only moderately funny.  But still. They're trying.  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

NEW database: the Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926

The Barco Law Library now has access to "The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926", a dataqbase that provides digital images on every page of 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law published from 1800 through 1926. Full-text searching on more than 10 million pages provides researchers access to critical legal history in ways not previously possible.

New HeinOnline library: Women and the Law

HeinOnline has announced a new library in its collection: Women and the Law (Peggy), a collection that brings together books, biographies and periodicals dedicated to women’s roles in society and the law. This unique collection of materials provides a platform to research the progression of women’s roles and rights in society over the past 200 years. Also included are more than 70 titles from Emory University Law School’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project which provide a platform to view the effect of law and culture on the female gender.

Business Intelligence Resources

The Law Library Resource Exchange (LLRX.com) has published a portal to business resources this week. Titled Business Intelligence Online Resources, it has annotated links to free content and subscription content. The free content includes facts collected by government agencies, news in various forms and categories, consumer opinions, technology guidance, professional standards, biographical information, and much more. The subscription content tends to be specialized directories and people finders.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

ProQuest Congressional Webinars: Cross Search

Cross Search is a new feature on ProQuest Congressional. It’s all about context: Cross Search ties existing newspaper and historic newspaper subscriptions with Congressional content. So it puts the government documents in context of what the newspapers were saying about the event at the time. With cross search, users can see newspaper articles about government scandals (such as Teapot Dome, Watergate, and Iran-Contra), wars (the Civil War, the Philippine Insurrection, and Vietnam) and disasters (including the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, or the Titanic sinking).
ProQuest is hosting 4 webinars to show how this feature can be used. Each webinar has a slightly different focus (and you can attend more than one). The first is Monday March 31, 2014, at 1 pm eastern when product manager Andrew Laas will talk about something near and dear to his heart, meat regulations. Description: Introducing Congressional Cross-Search - where we highlight the new ability to search from Congressional to the historic newspaper collections. This session, the Meat Inspection Act of 1906: from The Jungle to Inspection Regulations, will look at the materials in ProQuest Congressional and the Executive Branch Documents and review the materials there, and also look at how the cross-search with the newspaper articles of the day adds context for users.
ProQuest has some Legislative Insight and Executive Branch Documents webinars coming, as well. Beginning in May, we also have the popular series, Legislative Histories for summer interns especially for those law students with summer internships. There is a complete listing on the proquest calendar. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

2014 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction accepting entries

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird, and to honor former Alabama law student and author Harper Lee, The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal partnered together to create the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in 2010. The prize, authorized by Ms. Lee, is given annually to a book-length work of fiction, published in the preceding year, that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change. Past winners include The Confession by John Grisham, The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, and Havana Requiem by Paul Goldstein. The 2014 prize will be awarded in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, in conjunction with the Library of Congress National Book Festival. The winner will receive a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee. The 2014 Harper Lee Prize Selection Committee will choose three finalists, who will be announced in May 2014. The public will be invited to vote on the finalists on the ABA Journal website.  The deadline for entries is April 7, 2014 - the entry form and details are online

Friday, 21 March 2014

Interesting librarian job...

Harvard’s rare books library is hiring a Wikipedian-in-Residence. They are looking for someone who can serve as a kind of liaison between Wikipedia and the academic, cultural, and intellectual institutions whose source material its entries rely on. In this case, Harvard. The Wikipedian in Residence will, according to the job announcement, help to "expand coverage on Wikipedia of topics relevant to Houghton collections." He or she will add sources for existing Wikipedia pages and create new pages "on notable topics." The person will also "provide appropriate formatting and metadata (and OCR cleanup in the case of texts) to upload public domain content to Wikimedia and Wikisource, and facilitate the use of such materials by other Wikipedia users."

hat tip: Sallie Smith

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Women don't cite themselves as frequently as men

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting report showing that "even as citation rates become a key measure of productivity, 
women don’t refer to their own research nearly as often as men do." An analysis of 60 years of JSTOR articles shows that men are 56% more likely to cite their own scholarly work - and over the past decade, the figure is considerably higher, with men citing themselves 64$ more.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

"Type Ahead" on Westlaw

Recently, WestlawNext improved a current tool, type ahead, to assist with finding cases and dockets. type ahead begins to display suggestions after the third character you type in the global search box. Begin typing a party name or citation to find a case. Or, type a party name or docket number to find a docket. Type ahead displays the top five results for content type, case and docket. Type ahead’s suggestions become more refined as additional characters are added. Type ahead also highlights the characters you have entered in the global search box to help you quickly identify your case or docket. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Is there a "Hysterias R Us" legal lemming movement?

The ABAJournal reports on an article by René Reich-Graefe of Western New England Law School titled "Keep Calm and Carry On" (the link is to SSRN). In the article Prof. Graefe criticizes the panicked reporting about a lack of jobs for law school graduates, which he attributes to “misleading math” and “reckless logic”. Rather, he says, "Over the next two decades, the legal profession market is moving statistically into the direction of almost guaranteed legal employment for all law school graduates".

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom article

Colleague  Rich McCue of the University of Victoria law library has published a thoughtful and interesting article titled Does a Blended Learning, Flipped Classroom Pedagogy Help Information Literacy Students in the Long Term Adoption of Research Skills?   He takes a comprehensive look at  flipped classroom pedagogy, how it may be used and the need for more studies on how it works in different disciplines. 

New: Qualitative Data Repository

There's an interesting article in the Chronicle about a new data repository called QDR, which stands for Qualitative Data Repository. Headquartered at Syracuse University, QDR) is a dedicated archive for storing and sharing digital data (and accompanying documentation) generated or collected through qualitative and multi-method research in the social sciences. QDR provides search tools to facilitate the discovery of data, and also serves as a portal to material beyond its own holdings, with links to U.S. and international archives. QDR offers a range of guidance and resources to facilitate and encourage the storing and sharing of data, and to help scholars who engage in qualitative and multi-method research to effectively use archived qualitative data. The site is currently in Beta mode, and registration is currently free for individuals from educational institutions.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

2013 report on the Federal Courts

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has just released the 2013 Judicial Business of the U.S. Courts, an in-depth look at the federal court caseload for 2013. 2013 saw an increase in the district court caseload and in the number of persons under supervised release.Filings in the courts of appeals and bankruptcy courts fell in FY 2013. The report describes some factors at play in the increase and decrease in caseloads nationwide, and includes statistical tables by type of case, offense, and type of court. Sections address the probation and pretrial services system and other components of the federal Judiciary.  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

New book on the Serial Set

Have you ever wondered about what, exactly, is in the US Congressional Serial Set? The United States Congressional Serial Set began in 1817 as the official collection of reports and documents of the United States Congress. Now Andrea Sevetson has edited a new book titled "The Serial Set: Its Make-up and Content", which should answer all your questions. It is published by ProQuest, and all proceeds will be donated to GODORT, the Gov Docs group of the American Library Association. You can view a pdf of the Table of Contents online.

Openlaws EU project

This project comes recommended as "one to watch" from the Legal Information Institute: openlaws.eu aims at opening access to existing legal information systems and proactively involving and integrating our target groups, i.e. communities of individuals and businesses, legal professionals and public bodies. Open innovation, mass customization, big data analysis, social features and social networks are already highly successful in other markets and we want to introduce them in the legal domain on a European scale. Based on open data, open source software and open innovation principles we are adding a “social layer” to the existing “institutional layer” of legal information systems.

Constitute: the World's Constitutions

Constitute: The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search and Compare is a website offering access to the world’s constitutions that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics — using a modern, clean interface. The website, built by the Comparative Constitutions Project, has tagged passages of each constitution with a topic — e.g., “right to privacy” or “duty to pay taxes” — so you can quickly find relevant excerpts on a particular subject, no matter how they are worded. You can browse the 300+ topics in the expandable list on the left of the page, or see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries). You can also limit your results by country or by date.
The Comparative Constitutions Project  is directed by Zachary Elkins (University of Texas, Department of Government), Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago, Law School), and James Melton (University College London), in cooperation with the Cline Center for Democracy at the University of Illinois. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation

Monday, 3 March 2014

Historical Statutes on Westlaw

Legal research often requires us to find prior versions  laws. Westlaw's Legal Solutions Blog recently posted a helpful tip on finding historical statutes in Westlaw. The tip explains several methods for browsing  historical versions of federal or state statutes.  Each  method for browsing will bring you to a Statutes Annotated – Historical page where you will see links to the individual years that are available.  

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Law 360 now in Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance updates last week include the addition of Law 360 to our law school accounts. Law360® is a current-awareness tool providing recent breaking news in over 30 practice areas. According to their publicity, "It is the only news source that covers the entire spectrum of practice areas every single business day". The Lexis website provides instructions for setting up Law 360 email alerts using your Lexis Advance account.

PacerPro provides easier access to PACER dockets

A free service, PacerPro helps you find and manage Federal Court cases and documents. However, you need to have a PACER account to use it.  If you find the PACER interface complicated, difficult to use, confusing... you will be a fan of PacerPro, which offers all these features that PACER lacks:

  • Simultaneous searches. (Search across one or more district courts in real time.) 
  • Aggregated results. (Say goodbye to wading through multiple web pages to see complete results. )
  • One-click download. (Download the entire docket with a single click.) 
  • Freebies. (Previously downloaded documents are free). 
  • Automatic PDF labeling. (PacerPro saves you time by sensibly labeling your documents. )
  • Bookmarking. (Once you’ve found a case on PacerPro, you’ll never need to search for it again.) 
  • One-click docket update. 
  • Advanced docket search tools. (Locate the right record with robust search options, including boolean and proximity searching.)

You will need to provide your email address and PACER account information, and then you are ready to go. Note that you will still be charged PACER fees for the documents you download, via your PACER account. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Telephone Interpreting Program in the US Courts

The Telephone Interpreting Program (TIP) provides remote interpretation for court proceedings where certified or highly qualified court interpreters are not reasonably available locally. The Third Branch News on the website of the United States Courts has an interesting article about the program, noting that From 2001-2013, fifty-six U.S. district courts in 102 locations used TIP for approximately 42,000 events, saving an estimated $14 million for the Judiciary in travel and contract costs. Since 2009, the average number of events per year has been approximately 3,900, for an estimated yearly savings of over $1.5 million. The story gives the history of the program and you can listen to an audio clip and watch a video about telephone interpreting in the federal courts.

Monday, 24 February 2014

HeinOnline and Fastcase

Caselaw from Fastcase is now integrated into our HeinOnline content.   Which means that Hein now provides federal and state case law powered by Fastcase to HeinOnline subscribers via inline hyperlinks, along with providing the option to retrieve case law by citation. Fastcase is a legal research resource that is competing with the big legal databases by providing legal content with more flexible subscription terms and pricing. A number of Bar associations provide Fastcase to their members because it is a useful service for smaller and solo law firms.
In addition, HeinOnline announced today that future plans include a "Fastcase Premium" option which will have additional Fastcase and case law features, including searching and ScholarCheck enhancements, integrated.  Furthermore, Hein is in the process of working with Fastcase to integrate both databases to create a seamless transition between the two to "create the best possible research experience". 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Interlibrary eBook lending

There's an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled "Library Consortium Tests Interlibrary Loans of e-Books".  As the title suggests, it's about the problems that libraries have with lending eBooks via Interlibrary loan, something that isn't currently allowed because of technical and licensing restrictions.  But a pilot project called Occam’s Reader will test software custom-built to make it both easy and secure for libraries to share e-book files while, they hope, keeping publishers happy. The software was developed by Texas Tech University and the University of Hawaii- Manoa, and is being tested by a consortium of 33 academic libraries called the Greater Western Library Alliance. Springer publishing is allowing their ebooks to be involved in the test.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Yale Law Library online exhibit: 350 Years of Rebellious Lawyering

In conjunction with the 20th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference at the Yale Law School, the Law Library's Rare Book Collection has a new exhibit, "350 Years of Rebellious Lawyering." The exhibit showcases nine historic examples of public interest lawyering, ranging in time from William Leach's The Bribe-Takers of Jury-Men Partiall, Dishonest, and Ignorant Discovered and Abolished (London, 1652) to Mr. Natural in Bailed Out, an underground comic published by Boston's Legal Defense Group in 1971. Also are on display is Clarence Darrow's 1920 defense of Communist labor organizers, a notorious 1854 fugitive slave trial, and Thomas Pearce's The Poor Man's Lawyer (1755). The exhibit was curated by rare book librarian Mike Widener and is available on the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Gale's Making of Modern Law

The Barco Law Library has trial access to six databases from Gale's Making of Modern Law collection.  The trial access is available for students, faculty and staff of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law through April 25.  Access is via IP range, which means you need to be in the Barco Law Building to use these database trials.  The databases are:

MAKING OF MODERN LAW FOREIGN PRIMARY SOURCES PART 1
Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative, and International Law, c. 1600-1926
MAKING OF MODERN LAW: LEGAL TREATISES 1800-1926 US & UK MODULES
MAKING OF MODERN LAW: PRIMARY SOURCES, 1620-1926
MAKING OF MODERN LAW: PRMARY SOURCES II, 1763-1970
MAKING OF MODERN LAW: TRIALS 1600-1926 DIGITAL ARCHIVE
For a description of the content of each database, click on the link è click the Proceed button è click the “Help” link located in the center of the black logo bar at the top of the page è click the link to “Product Description”.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Statistical DataSets and Ready Reference

Our subscription and the links to Statistical Datasets have been updated to reflect that the database is now owned by a company called Data-Planet.  It is available campus-wide via IP address. 
You may recall that Statistical Datasets, prreviously owned by Lexis and then ProQuest, is a very complex database with a sophisticated interface.  Data-Planet has done a nice job of providing a set of libguides to help navigate.
Another helpful thing that Data-Planet has done is to create a separate database for us to use called Statistical Ready Reference, also available campus-wide. They have created a series of datasets (191 page pdf)  that may be frequently used by reference librarians with accompanying charts and graphs for quick access. They also provide libguides for Statistical Ready Reference. 

Lexis Advance updated this week

Wecome news for law school users: LexisNexis has "rolled out" a major update to Lexis Advance. There's no info on precisely what changes were made, but one improvement is that your searches will no longer get "stuck" in a particular database. Law 360 should now be included in your results when you search "news". There is also a new "Faculty Tip of the Week" program: For 8 weeks, beginning February 10, a weekly email will link you to a 1-2 minute faculty video tip on an important resource or tool on Lexis Advance, including Verdict & Settlement Analyzer, Law360, Legal Issue trail, and more…If you view all 8 short videos you will receive a $25.00 Amazon.com gift card.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sell your privacy?

Technology Review reports on a startup called Datacoup that is running a beta trial in which people can earn $8 a month for allowing access to their personal data, including not only Facebook etc. data but also information on credit card purchasing.  The company hopes that the information they collect can be especially useful to advertisers because few data providers can combine traces of a person’s online activity with a record of their spending activity.

Google Glass at Yale library

The Yale University Bass Library has announced that Google Glass is now available for faculty and student groups to borrow.  The Glass is being provided in cooperation with Yale's Instructional Technology Group and the Student Technology Collaborative as a joint program to develop and use Glass in a library and classroom setting. Google Glass, of course, is a wearable computer with an augmented reality visual display that is being developed by Google[x], Google’s experimental lab. Yale Library IT is also working to help develop library-specific uses for the new technology, such as a “first-person scanner” Scan and Deliver application which would allow library staff to fulfill patron scanning requests directly from the library stacks, as well as using Google Glass to assist library patrons with disabilities.

New database: National Geographic Archive

Thanks to the University Library System we now have access to Cover to cover access to National Geographic magazine from 1888-1994.  You can browse all the magazines by date, or there is an excellent search facility. The magazines have the beautiful photos for which Nat Geo is justifiably famous, and also include all the map inserts that have come with the magazine over the years. Watch out, it can be a serious time-suck. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Bloomberg Law and SCOTUSblog’s Supreme Court Challenge

BloombergLaw and SCOTUSblog have announced the third annual Supreme Court Challenge. The object of the competition is to predict how the Supreme Court will decide 6 merits cases and six cert. petitions in April 2014. Students can form teams and compete against other law students around the country. First prize is $3500, with an additional $1,500 if the team also beats the experts at SCOTUSblog. Second Prize is #2500, 3rd is $1500, and the top team in each region will receive $200. You must register for the competition by March 22, 2014.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

GPO AND LOC INCREASE TRANSPARENTCY TO CONGRESSIONAL INFORMATION

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has partnered with the Library of Congress (LOC) to make House of Representatives bill summaries available in XML format for bulk data download from GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Bill summaries are prepared by the LOC’s Congressional Research Service and describe the most significant provisions of a piece of legislation. They also detail the effects the legislative text may have on current law and Federal programs. The bill summaries are part of FDsys’ Bulk Data repository starting with the 113th Congress. Making House bill summaries available in XML permits data to be reused and repurposed for mobile web applications, data mashups, and other analytical tools by third party providers, which contributes to openness and transparency in Government. GPO already makes House bills as well as the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, and other documents from the executive branch available in XML format for bulk data download. You can view the House bill summaries on FDsys here.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Law Library of Congress Report on Bitcoin virtual currency

Foreign law specialists and analysts at the Law Library of Congress recently completed a report that highlights the emerging global discussion around approaches to regulating virtual currencies, particularly Bitcoin. The report, titled "Regulation of Bitcoin in Selected Jurisdictions" (25 page pdf), surveys 40 government jurisdictions and the European Union to compare Bitcoin regulation. The report notes that "Of the countries surveyed, only a very few, notably China and Brazil, have specific regulations applicable to bitcoin use..." and that "Bitcoin system’s possible impact on national currencies, its potential for criminal misuse, and the implications of its use for taxation” concerns many governments. The LLOC's report concludes that “Overall, the findings of this report reveal that the debate over how to deal with this new virtual currency is still in its infancy.”

Law Library of Congress offers webinar on Congress.gov

The Law Library of Congress is offering a webinar about Congress.gov on Tuesday March 11, 2014 and again on Thursday May 15, 2014.  Congress.gov is, of course, the successor to Thomas.gov, the federal government's website for all information about what's going on in Congress. The webinar will highlight new features of Congress.gov. The webinar is free but you need to register using an online form.  

Yelp fingerpointing lawsuits result in no damages for either side

You may have heard about the Yelp defamation lawsuit. A woman in Virginia wrote a scathing review of her home contractor on Yelp and Angie's List. The contractor sued for defamation and asked for an injunction against past and future statements from the woman. The woman accused the contractor of defamation in online posts responding to her reviews. And so on.
Well, a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia recently returned a verdict on the case: the two had defamed each other but neither would get a cent in damages.  The case has received lots of attention in the media, you can read the full story in the Washington Post.  

Friday, 31 January 2014

Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978

The Barco Law Library has added a new database to our collection.  Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 is part of the Making of Modern Law series.  contains official court filings from the final years of the court’s fourth chief justice, John Marshall, through the first 10 years of the court’s 15th chief justice, Warren Earl Burger. Some cases consist of a few documents, while others may include dozens of documents. The collection does not include the Court’s rulings, opinions or decisions, but focuses on the legal documents and records presented to the court. includes famous briefs written by leading attorneys (many who later became judges and associates of the Court) such as Louis D. Brandeis, Abe Fortas, Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It also contains briefs written by institutions, corporations, and advocacy groups, including NAACP, the ACLU and The New York Times, It covers cases whose landmark decisions have become an essential part of American law, politics and history including Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Early help with your digital New Year's resolutions

If your plans/hopes for 2014 include getting some control over your digital stuff,  two articles published today can help. Does this sound familiar: "most people have a growing inventory of storage sitting around their homes. Typically there’s a drawer of 1GB and 2GB USB flash drives—it seemed like a lot of space at the time—camera cards, old CDs and DVDs, and usually a few external drives. What’s on those drives? Can they still be read? Are they safe to throw out?"  Note that the author doesn't even mention the piles of floppy disks stuck on a shelf somewhere.  In "How to Cope with an Expanding Data Closet", from MIT Technology Review, Simson Garfinkel gives extensive advice on how to "create your own personal storage management plan" and organize all that data.  
Meanwhile, ProfHacker, a blog of The Chronicle of Higher Education, has a post titled "Lighten Your Inbox in 10 Minutes with Unroll.Me".  I confess I haven't had time to test it out yet, but just the thought of a service that helps cope with the barrage of daily emails makes me feel hopeful.
Here's to a neatly organized 2014.

Vendors of legal research databases: who bought whom in 2013

Greg Lambert at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog has an interesting post titled "Review of 2013 Legal Research Vendors' Mergers, Acquisitions and Partnerships".  Thanks, Greg. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The legal aspects of drones

There's been a lot about drones in the news lately.  And just in time, CALI has a new lesson titled "Drones: Unmanned Aircraft Systems" which explores the legal aspects of drones in both military and civilian settings. This lesson looks at the following legal issues relating to the use of a UAS:
1. FAA proposed and current regulations;
2. Military uses and the ethics of such use. Military uses include using drones as a decoy, or as a target simulating enemy aircraft, or in reconnaissance providing battlefield intelligence, or in combat attacking or killing people;
3. Law enforcement use and the search and seizure implications; and
4. Other commercial purposes and privacy considerations.
Note: you will need to be registered for a CALI account before taking the lesson.