Thursday, 7 March 2019

Alternative search engines

The Search Engine Watch website has an article about a new search engine alternative called Mojeek, whose developers believe " believes a truly independent and tracking-free search engine must be built from scratch."
The post also has links to a longer article from May 2018 that discusses 12 other search engine alternatives along with screenshots and a discussion of the pros and cons of each.
Why bother? Growing concerns about privacy and biased results in Google searches are making alternatives more appealing to users.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Ah, spring in Pennsylvania

Good grief. It's colder now that it ever was in December. Or January.
But don't worry, there are a few signs that Spring, if not exactly here, is right around the corner:
1. The Pitt Peregrine Falcon cam, high atop the Cathedral of Learning, has caught signs that Hope, the mama falcon, is getting ready to lay an egg. Probably not today, though. Earliest it's happened before was on a March 6.
2. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has just turned on a new live web cam in a bear den in Monroe County. A mother and several new cubs are visible- the cubs typically emerge from the den the first week in April.
3. The Pittsburgh news organizations have begun their important coverage of Lenten Fish Fries. KDKA, the Post-Gazette, the Trib... just google "2019 fish fry Pittsburgh" and click any of the links.  I rather like the "code for Pittsburgh" fish fry map.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Drop metadata from the Catalog of Government Publications?

The great geeky librarians over at the Free Gov Info blog have posted their opinions of a new GPO proposal. GPO has proposed dropping "historic URLs" from govinfo records in the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) and wants to know if this would have any negative effects. James R. Jacobs and Jim Jacobs (no relation) feel that it is a bad idea for three reasons:
1. GPO's premise is wrong
2. Historic URLs are valuable to users
3. The proposal ignores the future of govinfo
They explicate these reasons in their blogpost; but the conclusion is this:
The “historic URLs” in CGP provide information to users that PURLs do not. That information is useful to users because it will help them identify, understand, and locate copies of resources. “Historic URLs” may seem unnecessary to GPO today, but they will increase in value to users over time. Making a decision for “resources in govinfo” today fails to take into account what resources may be in GPO’s TDR in the future (including harvested content and digitizations). The proposal to drop historic URLs is short-sighted. Dropping historic URLs today would be a mistake that users would resent in the future. GPO should clarify the scope of the policy and how it would be applied in the future and evaluate its effects on users and long-term access.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Mayor Peduto's Executive Order on self-driving cars

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has released an executive order that describes the city's expectations for testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.  It designates the city's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure for leading oversight of of self-driving vehicles and developing guidelines for the vehicles as well as policy recommendations going forwards.
According to the city, the mayor's order that spells out the "Pittsburgh Principles" is the first of its kind to be issued by any city.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Win for Open Access: U. of California system cancels all Elsevier subscriptions

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that, after months of negotiations, the University of California's 10-campus system has cancelled its subscriptions with Elsevier - one of the largest academic publishers in the world. The previous 5 year contract with Elsevier had cost about $50 million.
In a press release, the UC Office of the President stated that "As a leader in the global movement toward open access to publicly funded research, the University of California is taking a firm stand by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier. Despite months of contract negotiations, Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals." A member of the negotiation team is quoted as saying, "Make no mistake: The prices of scientific journals now are so high that not a single university in the U.S. — not the University of California, not Harvard, no institution — can afford to subscribe to them all. Publishing our scholarship behind a paywall deprives people of the access to and benefits of publicly funded research. That is terrible for society.”
The University of California had asked for contract terms that would integrate subscription charges and open access publishing fees, making open access the default for any article by a UC scholar and stabilizing journal costs for the university.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Lexis news: chatbots & bubbles are coming

Bob Ambrogi reports on the news from a a Legalweek media briefing he attended- Lexis Advance will soon have "chatbots" guiding our research and "speaking" with users via a chat bubble. He has an iPhone photo of what this will look like. Mr. Ambrogi also spoke with LexisNexis product developers at Legalweek to learn more about the chatbots and how they will be used.
"When the researcher is exploring an unfamiliar area or topic of law (t)he bot can be like an electronic mentor, guiding the researcher to the sources people typically look at for that topic.
We see in the future an interaction with Lexis Advance that is highly conversational,” Pfeifer said. “You ask a question, we present results. The interaction becomes more human-like."

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania's Election Security

Pitt Law Prof. David Hickton has just shared the Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Pennsylvania's Election Security (72 page pdf) which he chaired. From the announcement:
The 2016 elections revealed the vulnerability of the U.S. election system. This is especially true in Pennsylvania, where the vast majority of the voting systems are simply unable to provide the assurances of security and reliability our citizens deserve.
We formed this commission with the belief that with study and practicality, we would be able to identify achievable solutions for the Commonwealth’s election security. Solutions that ensure that all of us—regardless of precinct or party—can have faith in our elections. After an eight-month study and consultations with a range of experts and the public, we have done just that.
Implementing the recommendations in this report will allow Pennsylvania to be better prepared to manage the cyber threats that targeted us in the past—and anticipate the ones of the future. We urge officials throughout Pennsylvania to address the policy and funding aspects of these risks in a clear-eyed manner.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Access to government info during the shutdown

Over on the Free Government Information blog, James R. Jacobs posts an excellent article about the information access problems caused by the federal government shutdown. He notes that "There are at least two reasons why users cannot get the documents they need from government servers during the shutdown. In some cases, agencies have apparently shut off access to their documents. (This is the case for both NIST and CSRC.) In other cases, the security certificates of websites have expired — with no agency employees to renew them! — leaving whole websites either insecure or unavailable or both."
But he goes beyond this explanation to say that the loss of access was forseeable and avoidable because libraries, especially FDLP libraries, make decisions about how we select and preserve government documents.
"...too many libraries have chosen to adopt a new model of “services without collections.” GPO proudly promotes this model as “All or Mostly Online Federal Depository Libraries.” GPO itself is affected by this model. Almost 20% of the PURLs in CGP point to content on non-GPO government servers. So, even though GPO’s govinfo database and catalog of government publications (CGP) may still be up and running, during the shut-down GPO cannot ensure that all its “Permanent URLs” (PURLs) will work.
This no-collections-model means that libraries are too often choosing simply to point to collections over which they have no control — and we’ve known what happens “When we depend on pointing instead of collecting” for quite some time. When those collections go offline and users lose access, users begin to wonder why someone hasn’t foreseen this problem and put “all those publications somewhere public.”

Entire editorial board of Elsevier journal resigns

Nature has a story titled "Open-access row prompts editorial board of Elsevier journal to resign: "The board of the Journal of Informetrics has launched a new open-access publication." The International Society for Informetrics and Scientometrics has more:
Over the last few years, the editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics (JOI) has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Elsevier’s actions and policies. While some of those have specific effects on our field—such as Elsevier’s refusal to participate in the Initiative for Open Citation (I4OC)—others are affecting all fields of science—such as its restrictive open access policies and prohibitive subscription costs. The editorial board of JOI expressed these concerns to Elsevier on numerous occasions, with no success. Given the inability of Elsevier to address these issues, the editorial board unanimous resigned on January 10th 2019. As of January 12th 2019, names of associate editors and editorial board members have been removed from the website of the Journal of Informetrics."
You can read the entire resignation letter here. The group of editors that resigned has launched a new, freely available journal called Quantitative Science Studies (QSS). It is being published by MIT Press.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A font to help you remember...

WIRED magazine has an article titled "Can't Remember What You Read? Blame the Font, Not Forgetfulness." The font, named "Sans Forgetica," was developed at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia. According to their website,
Sans Forgetica is a font is a downloadable font that is scientifically designed using the principles of cognitive psychology to help you to better remember your study notes. It was created by a multidisciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists from RMIT University.
WIRED says that "Sans Forgetica is purposefully hard to decipher, forcing the reader to focus. One study found that students recalled 57 percent of what they read in Sans Forgetica, compared with 50 percent of the material in Arial, a significant difference. No word yet on the retention rate of Comic Sans." You can download it for free from the RMIT website. There is also a Chrome extension that you can download and use to display any text on the web in the Sans Forgetica font. Here's what it looks like:

Monday, 17 December 2018

article: "Law Schools are Bad for Democracy"

There is a lengthy article in the Chronicle of Higher Education Review today authored by Samuel Moyn, a professor at Yale Law School, with the title Law Schools are Bad for Democracy: They whitewash the grubby scramble for power.
The author spells out a number of shortcomings of what law schools do; he says "Law school allows for doing well. But does it allow for doing good?"
He then suggests that there are "two especially imperative fixes" that can help law schools change for the better:
The first involves how law schools prove to their newest entrants that the institutions really are the pluralistic spaces they nervously claim to be, rather than factories for mass conversion of pliant subjects into large-firm lawyers.... And for the sake of our national life, law schools must take up the duty of inculcating in their students and in the public a critical attitude toward the operations of "the rule of law" in general — including a critical attitude toward the routine exaltation of the judiciary...What is lacking in public discussions about law school is attention to what it means for legal elites to serve the democratic conversation about how the people rules itself. Rather than burnishing the credentials of law and its royal judicial stewards, we should insist on the centrality of the people in a democratic legal order."

Friday, 14 December 2018

University of California takes on Elsevier journal subscription fees

Both the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education have stories about how the University of California system is trying to leverage its massive amount of research output - almost 10% of the research output of the United States - to negotiate fees with academic publishing giant Elsevier. The UC system's five year subscription contract with Elsevier ends on December 31. In a letter to faculty, "campus officials asked faculty members to consider declining to review articles for Elsevier journals until negotiations 'are clearly moving in a productive direction.' The letter also asked professors to consider publishing research elsewhere, including in prestigious open-access journals. The California system wants to fundamentally alter how it pays for journal content from publishers like Elsevier and to accelerate open-access publishing in the process.

Data visualization: world population

The Pudding is a blog that uses visual essays to explain ideas debated in culture. A recent post is titled "Population Mountains" and looks at the population of the world in a 3D format so that big cities look like tall mountains. It's a very interesting perspective. As the author says, it can be "eye-opening to see how the world’s population is so unevenly distributed... What stands out is each city’s form, a unique mountain that might be like the steep peaks of lower Manhattan or the sprawling hills of suburban Atlanta. When I first saw a city in 3D, I had a feel for its population size that I had never experienced before."

hat tip: Pat Roncevich

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Lexis announces Context on Lexis Advance

According to the announcement,
Context is a new kind of analytics tool that expands the power of legal research using industry-leading AI, language processing and data-mining technology to capture and analyze millions of case law documents so users can pinpoint the exact language a judge will find convincing and uncover an expert’s strengths and weaknesses through a few clicks versus hours of research.
And faculty now have early access to Context to check it out - in the hope that when faculty see how it works they will want to integrate it into the curriculum. Lexis suggests possible uses include advanced legal research, legal technology and skills related courses, clinics, judicial internships, moot court, and summer associate or prepare to practice workshops. Students will get access in January.
To access Context, sign in to Lexis Advance and select Context from the product grid in the upper left-hand corner. For an overview, you can download this flyer or watch this short video about the product on the Lexis YouTube channel.
In addition, Legaltech News has a review of Context with more info.

Friday, 16 November 2018

FDSYS WEBSITE WILL BE RETIRED ON DECEMBER 14

GPO plans to retire GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) website and replace it with govinfo on Friday December 14, 2018. When the FDsys website is retired existing links will automatically redirect to govinfo. Other GPO websites will not be affected by the FDsys retirement.
There's more info about the transition on the govinfo website.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Laws on Erasure of Online Information.

The Law Library of Congress has just published a report titled Laws on Erasure of Online Information (62 page pdf). This report describes the laws of twelve jurisdictions that have some form of remedy available enabling the removal of online data based on harm to individuals’ privacy or reputational interests, including but not limited to defamation. Six of the countries surveyed are within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area, and therefore have implemented EU law. Five non-EU jurisdictions are also surveyed. A comparative summary is included. From the Summary:
"The right to erasure (right to be forgotten) forms part of the right to personal data protection, which is a fundamental right in the European Union. It is codified in article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulation, which intends to update and clarify the right to erasure for the digital age...The right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right and must be balanced against other fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression and information."

Friday, 9 November 2018

A few Veteran's Day resources

Word War I documents from the Government Publishing Office (GPO):
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized the 17-volume set, United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the end of the conflict, and made it available on govinfo. Published in 1948, this publication compiles key documents, maps, and records for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) from the start of the American involvement in World War I through the occupation of Germany. This publication offers a glimpse into the organization and operations of the AEF through primary source documents compiled by the Historical Division, U.S. Army.
WWII Office of Strategic Services maps website:
At Stanford University, the Branner Earth Sciences Map Library has mounted an exhibit about the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) maps that were created during World War II. the exhibit includes scans of 770 OSS maps as well as several reports and background and history regarding the OSS map making activities. The Office of Strategic Services was formed in June 1942 in response to the entry of the United States into World War II. This was a time of codification of efforts around the collection of intelligence information in order to more effectively understand and respond to the events of the day. This effort brought together a number of experts, many from academia including a large number of cartographers. These cartographers created maps on demand that either stood alone or were part of reports. The maps were eventually distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program to libraries throughout the United States. The best estimate is that 5,753 unique maps were produced of which Stanford Libraries holds over 700.

hat tip: James Jacobs

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

GPO statute compilations

The FDLP has announced that the "Government Publishing Office (GPO) has released an initial set of 40 Statute Compilations as a pilot on govinfo, GPO’s website that offers public access to Federal Government information."
These are compilations of public laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S. Code that has not been enacted into positive law. Each Statute Compilation incorporates the amendments made to the underlying statute since it was originally enacted.
When legislation cites or amends a statutory provision that is not part of a positive law title of the U.S. Code, the citation or amendment must be to the underlying statute, not to the U.S. Code. Statute Compilations are a useful drafting aid in these circumstances; however, they are not official documents and should not be cited as evidence of the law. The official version of Federal law is found in the United States Statutes at Large and in the U.S. Code, the legal effect of which is established in sections 112 and 204, respectively, of title 1, United States Code.
 Some public laws have more than one “short title” by which the law may be cited. In such a case, it may be necessary to scroll through a Statute Compilation to locate the portion that corresponds to the short title by which the Statute Compilation is listed in this collection.

Caselaw Access Project launched

From Adam Ziegler: "Thrilled today to announce the launch of https://case.law , a free public access point for 6.4M+ state and federal court decisions spanning our nation's entire history! The Caselaw Access Project (“CAP”) expands public access to U.S. law." 
The goal is to make all published U.S. court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library, with the help of Ravellaw.
At https://api.case.law you'll find a browsable API that offers open access to descriptive metadata for the entire corpus. API documentation is at https://case.law/api/ -- written to be friendly to experts and beginners alike.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Webinar on Presidential Research Resources

The librarians at "Help! I'm an Accidental Government Information Librarian" are offering a new webinar on Presidential resources.  The webinar will discuss digital and archival resources for Presidential Research with librarians and archivists from the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and Seton Hall University. The presenters will include Rebecca Baird, Archivist, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (MVLA), Sheila Blackford, Librarian, Scripps Library, Miller Center, University of Virginia, Lisa DeLuca, Social Sciences Librarian, Seton Hall University, and Katherine Hoarn, Special Collections Librarian, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. The webinar is on Weds. Nov. 7th from noon to 1:00 pm. Registration is free; register here.

Friday, 26 October 2018

A win for the open law movement

The ABA Journal reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has unanimously ruled that Georgia’s official annotated state code is not copyrightable and belongs in the public domain. The case was an appeal by well-known open law advocate Carl Malamud and his foundation Public.Resource.org. In 2017 an Atlanta federal judge in the Northern District of Georgia had ruled that the state of Georgia can copyright annotations to its official state code and that Public.Resource.org cannot print those annotations on its website without a license (244 F. Supp. 3d 1350). The 11th Circuit court overturned that ruling. From the opinion:
Today, we are presented with the question of whether the annotations contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), authored by the Georgia General Assembly and made an inextricable part of the official codification of Georgia’s laws, may be copyrighted by the State of Georgia. Answering this question means confronting profound and difficult issues about the nature of law in our society and the rights of citizens to have unfettered access to the legal edicts that govern their lives. After a thorough review of the law, and an examination of the annotations, we conclude that no valid copyright interest can be asserted in any part of the OCGA.
we conclude that the annotations in the OCGA are sufficiently law-like so as to be properly regarded as a sovereign work. Like the statutory text itself, the annotations are created by the Case: 17-11589 Date Filed: 10/19/2018 Page: 4 of 58 5 duly constituted legislative authority of the State of Georgia. Moreover, the annotations clearly have authoritative weight in explicating and establishing the meaning and effect of Georgia’s laws. Furthermore, the procedures by which the annotations were incorporated bear the hallmarks of legislative process, namely bicameralism and presentment.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Open Access Week

To celebrate "Open Access Week," several events are scheduled at Pitt this week and next. Open Access @ Pitt will be hosting a number of events, beginning tomorrow with a program on “Preprints and the Future of Scholarship” at 4 pm. . On Tuesday of next week, another open access event, “Human Rights and Info Access in a Digital World,” will feature Mike Madison and two other distinguished panelists.
What is it? From the Open Access Week website:
"Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review. OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered."
The website also has resources and materials of anyone interested in Open Access available in useful handouts:
What Faculty can do to support Open Access
What Librarians can do to promote Open Access
What Research Funders can do to promote Open Access
What Universities and Administrators can do to promote Open Access.

New Pitt Print Station in the law school!

Pitt Law's IT Department has announced that a new Pitt Print Station is coming to the Lobby of the Barco Law Building. Good news for students - especially since it will be able to do both B&W and COLOR printing!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

IPUMS webinar

There will be a live webinar on Friday, October 26 at 10 am titled "An Introduction to IPUMS." Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) provides census and survey data from around the world integrated across time and space. IPUMS makes it easy to study change, conduct comparative research, merge information across data types, and analyze individuals within family and community context. The webinar was organized by the Organized by the Government Publications Librarians of New England government information group in partnership with IPUMS and the Government Publishing Office (GPO). No registration is required; you can just log in here.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Students in CA draft legislation to tackle textbook costs

Inside Higher Education has a recent article about a class project by political science students at California Polytechnic State University. "They drafted legislation to see if they could get it passed by the state Legislature. The bill became law this past summer. In the process, the students learned how lawmaking works and got invaluable experience on using the political process to push for change -- even if it's only incremental change -- on a higher ed issue close to their hearts."
The issue they tackled was the high cost of textbooks. Initially, the students wanted to write legislation that would prevent publishers from publishing new editions of textbooks unless they genuinely contained new material. The class decided instead to draft a bill urging publishers to specify the differences between textbook editions and to do so prominently on their websites. Their proposal was an update to an existing bill urging publishers to take steps to reduce costs for students.
The result was California Assembly Bill 2385, which was unanimously approved by the state legislature and signed into law at the end of August.
The professor who taught the class acknowledges that the impact of the bill may be small because there aren't legal consequences for publishers who don't comply. On the other hand the bill lays out best practices for publishers and nudges them towards greater transparency.

FDLP : the Patent Office and Its Publications

The FDLP Academy recently held a webinar, “The Patent Office and Its Publications.” The webinar discussed the modern utility patent document and its architecture, as well as USPTO historical publications and open source patent search tools. The PowerPoint slides and a helpful visual "Patent and Trademark Documents Timeline: A visual History of Major United States Patent and Trademark Office Documents" handout are both available from the FDLP.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Congress.gov Browser Extension

New from the Law Library of Congress: an experimental, open source Google Chrome browser extension that will provide you with enhanced access to Congress.gov from third-party webpages, such as news sites. The extension was created by Syed Tanveer, an intern at the Library of Congress, and it does two things:
and it does two things.spacer 1. If you highlight a bill citation on a webpage (ex. H.R.5515), it links the citation to the bill summary landing page in the current legislation collection of Congress.gov.
2. The extension also allows you to highlight text and export it to search against a Congress.gov collection of your choice. For example, you could highlight “John McCain” in a news story, click the “c” in the top, right-hand corner of your browser, and then search that text in the member’s profile page collection in Congress.gov.
You can add the extension to Chrome Browser by following the simple instructions on the LOC Labs page.
And the Law Library of Congress is soliciting feedback on this project; they would like to know whether this makes accessing primary source legislative data more convenient for you, and which features you would like to see added to the extension in the future.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Serial Set on HeinOnline

HeinOnline has announced the release of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in HeinOnline (Phase I). The Serial Set is a bound series of over 14,000 volumes containing nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of numbered congressional reports and documents published since 1817. The numbered documents and reports include many executive branch and legislative branch publications and until 1953, the Serial Set also included the official House and Senate journals. HeinOnline is releasing the Serial Set in phases because it is such a massive collection. The content in Phase 1 includes part of the serial set that is in the HathiTrust digital library. Specifically, the content of Phase 1 includes:
• Complete indexing of the more than 17,000 volumes of the Serial Set;
• Forty years (1978-2018) of content archive in HeinOnline’s image-based PDF format;
• Complete coverage of the American State Papers;
• 86% of the Serial Set in HeinOnline or via HathiTrust Digital Library;
• 27% of the volumes in HeinOnline’s image-based PDF format.
Pitt users also have online access to the Congressional Serial Set  from Readex, which covers the time period from 1817 through 1994. 

Paper: Adding transactional law to the 1L curriculum

Tax Prof Blog has a link to an article on SSRN titled "Transactional Skills Education: Mandated by the ABA Standards." The author, Tina L. Stark, who is a Professor of Practice at Emory Law School, discusses the ABA Standards requirement that law schools provide every student a foundation to practice transactional law. She recommends that law schools add a credit or credits to the 1L Contracts course:
"I suggest that if a school were to add a credit or credits to the Contracts course, professors not use the time to teach interpretation, negotiation, and drafting. Instead, I propose that we allocate that time to teaching foundational knowledge that builds the infrastructure for additional transactional education...
1. students should learn about contract structure and the commonality among contracts.
2. Students should learn the translation skill, the ability to determine which contract concept or concepts should be used to memorialize a business term. This core analytical skill undergirds all deal work."

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Big changes at Bloomberg BNA

Jean O'Grady at Dewey B Strategic has the scoop on happenings at Bloomberg BNA. There have been noticeable changes in the past year as Bloomberg began to incorporate BNA into Bloomberg Law and the old BNA platform for the many BNA Reporters is phasing out. Now it seems that they are completely reorganizing the BNA news business resulting in layoffs of 46 staff. A link to a news article that reprints the email sent out by the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg BNA describing the reorganization. The email says that they are "creating an exciting team focused on redefining how we tackle case summaries, court opinions and the daily decisions that our customers need most, across all our legal beats" and "entralizing our Insights commentary for BLAW." With the 46 layoffs, the email says that "Those teams will be lean and mean and focused on creating new ways to do what we do." There will be five teams of reporters and editors focused on the 4 areas of labor & employment, healthcare & benefits, securities, bankruptcy & trade, IP & privacy, and one "first move" team that will "masterfully produce all the newsletters and highlights for BLAW in one umbrella group." A few years ago BNA was publishing up to 100 different legal news reports online; these are all being streamlined into just a few major areas.
Editor-in-chief Cesca Antonelli concludes the email by saying "Our journalism – whether it is scoops or case-law analysis or investigative work – has to be indispensable. I am excited that we are moving the newsroom to the next level after a long and storied history."

Friday, 5 October 2018

2018 Faculty Services Handbook is online

The Barco Law Library 2018 Faculty Services Handbook is now available online through the Pitt Law website. Users will need to authenticate through the Pitt authentication system; the Handbook is a pdf that is stored in Box.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Women much less likely to ask questions in academic seminars

Inside Higher Education has an article titled "Women Ask Fewer Questions Than Men." It discusses a new study that reveals a stark disparity between male and female participation in asking questions during academic seminars, and offers recommendations to ensure all voices are heard. The study, by a researcher at Cambridge University, observed 250 talks at 35 institutions in 10 countries. The study also reported significant differences in self-reported feelings towards speaking up in seminars. Women rated ‘internal’ factors such as ‘not feeling clever enough’, ‘couldn’t work up the nerve’, ‘worried that I had misunderstood the content’ and ‘the speaker was too eminent/intimidating’, as being more important than men did, which may help explain the difference. Alyssa Croft, one of the co-authors of the study, said “While calling on people in the order that they raise their hands may seem fair, it may inadvertently result in fewer women asking questions because they might need more time to formulate questions and work up the nerve.”
The study concludes by making a number of recommendations for "r creating an environment that makes everyone feel more comfortable to ask questions, thus promoting equal visibility for women and members of other less visible groups."

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Chronicle of Higher Education webinar on Open Educational Resources

The Chronicle of Higher Education is hosting a webiner on Oct. 11 at 2 pm called "Helping Students Get Access to Textbooks." From the blurb:
"As textbooks become more expensive, academic leaders are turning to inclusive-access deals and open educational resources (OERs) to reduce costs for students... learn more about these new approaches to textbook access and explore how to implement them on your campus. We will discuss:
• How to negotiate access deals with publishers at the institutional and class level
• What it takes to get faculty and students on board with new textbook arrangements
• The opportunities OERs provide to cut costs and craft materials for individual courses."
The webinar is free; you can register here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

New, updated FDLP Academy training repository

GPO has announced that they are pleased to bring you the new FDLP Academy Training Repository.
Features include:
* Subject and agency tags (to assist in finding training by subject or presentations by Federal agencies)
* Recordings in MP4 format (no longer requiring a plugin to view)
* Sorting options (by date and title)
* A search box
* Conference recordings and webinar recordings in one location
Past webinars, webcasts, and conference recordings are still being migrated from the old FDLP Academy Webinar Archive platform to the new repository. All conference events will eventually be migrated; however, recordings for webinars from FDLP community and Federal agency presenters will only be retained in the new site for up to two years. LSCM staff have identified older content that is in need of refreshing and will be reaching out to individuals to revisit the content.
This new repository was created in response to Depository Library Council Recommendation # 3 from the Fall 2017 Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Dickinson/PennState law review confusion

The latest issue of the weekly Current Index to Legal Periodicals includes indexing for 122 DICKINSON LAW REVIEW, NO. 2, WINTER, 2018. The only problem is that the links to HeinOnline, WestlawNext and Lexis Advance don't take users to the Dickinson Law Review, they all go to the Penn State Law Review, which is now a separate publication but (confusingly) uses the same numbering as the Dickinson Law Review. Searches for the recent Dickinson Law Review in all 3 databases turn up nothing but links to the Penn State publication. This is presumably the result of the mixed-up history of Dickinson & Penn State law schools and their law reviews(?). If you would like to access the Dickinson Law Review, for now you need to go to their website where you can find all the articles published in Volume 122 of the Dickinson Law Review.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Purdue blocks video streaming during classes

Inside Higher Education reports that Purdue University in Indiana has a "pilot program" that blocks access to several popular video streaming sites in specific lecture halls during classes.
The reason? "The new restrictions are an attempt to free up much-needed bandwidth in four lectures halls... A 2016 study of internet use (in the lecture halls)...revealed that 4 percent of internet traffic went to "academic" sites, 34 percent went to sites that were "likely non-academic," such as Netflix, Steam and Hulu, and 64 percent went to "mixed" sites like Google, Apple and Amazon."
When the pilot program was begun, users noticed "immediate relief" in the speed and bandwidth of the wireless network.