Wednesday, 1 April 2020

COVID-19 Projections: hospital resource use

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) website has a good visualization of hospital resource needs through August. Note that you can use the dropdown menu to see state by state information.

Monday, 30 March 2020

The legal minds behind stay-at-home orders

Law360 has an interesting article titled "The Attys And Legal Logic Behind Stay-At-Home Orders" (login required), discussing the attorneys who are helping local governments draft unfamiliar and unprecedented orders requiring citizens to stay at home to slow the coronavirus' spread.

"Drafting those orders is akin to tiptoeing through a legal minefield. Government attorneys must balance constitutional rights like freedom of assembly with public health concerns. The orders can’t be so loose that they’re useless, but they can’t overstep local authority and open themselves up to a legal challenge."

Tax issues related to the Coronavirus

Tax Notes, a Barco Law Library subscription from Tax Analysts, now has a designated page for tax issues related to the Coronavirus.
Please note that this page is outside the TaxNotes pay wall and available to everyone.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Zoom sends iOS user data to Facebook

In an article in the online ITPro magazine, the reporters says that "The video conferencing platform Zoom is sending iOS users’ analytics data to Facebook without explicit consent, even if users don’t have an account with the social networking giant... According to the analysis, Zoom notifies Facebook when an iOS user opens the app, and then provides details on the user’s device, including the model, as well as their time zone, and city they’re connecting from.Zoom also sends Facebook information about their mobile network operator, and the unique advertiser identifier created by the device, which is primarily how companies target users with adverts... Many of the scores of people joining the video conferencing platform may be unaware their privacy is being undermined in such a way."

Friday, 27 March 2020

Pittsburgh Legal Journal free during Coronavirus crisis

The Pittsburgh Legal Journal is freely available until April 14. From the Allegheny County Bar Association website:
"The Daily Pittsburgh Legal Journal is being published as an electronic PDF only – and on two days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays – until April 14, 2020, due to the Coronavirus crisis. Each issue will be in a PDF, and the most recent issue can be found on this page at “Quick Links” below; click on the last item, The Daily Pittsburgh Legal Journal. During this time, the Pittsburgh Legal Journal is available to the public and no subscription is required. The changes were made in accordance with a March 20, 2020, court order by President Judge Kimberly Berkeley Clark, Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, that decreed the Pittsburgh Legal Journal shall be published as an electronic PDF through April 14 'in the interest of public health.'”
hat tip: Pat Roncevich

OCLC lists free online resources during COVID-19

Information from OCLC about online resources that are offered free during COVID-19:
"Many content providers have offered free access to e-content collections to help you maintain online services during the COVID-19 crisis. OCLC is actively partnering with global content providers to ensure access to these valuable resources through OCLC cataloging, discovery, and resource sharing services  Content providers are using a variety of models to open access to different types of content, including no-charge access to existing collections and special collections of information relevant to the current pandemic. In many cases, existing collections in the WorldCat knowledge base already contain the content newly available at no charge during this crisis. In other cases, we will work with a content partner to create needed knowledge base collections that can be configured for MARC record delivery or access through services such as WorldCat Discovery, WorldCat.org, WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, Tipasa, and ILLiad. OCLC is maintaining a growing list of this freely available content at oc.lc/covid19-partner-content which includes recommended options to access through OCLC services. We will continue to update this list as new information becomes available."
As of this writing, there is a list of 63 publishers/providers offering free access to some or all of their content during the COVID-19 crisis, including the University of Michigan Press, Proquest, the New England Journal of Medicine, EBSCO, Edward Elgar, and Cambridge University Press. The list continues to be updated by OCLC.

Bloomberg Law Dockets disruption

The dockets in Bloomberg Law are a popular feature. But courts are shutting down and not all dockets are going to be available. Here's what Bloomberg has to say:
"Because of the coronavirus pandemic, courts are closing or restricting access. As a result, our researchers are unable to access some court facilities. We are temporarily unable to offer Breaking Complaints for the following courts:
For your convenience, we are tracking court closures and disruptions. We will keep you apprised of additional significant developments."

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

U.S. Documents Masterfile free access through June

Paratext is offering free access to the U.S. Documents Masterfile (USDM) to all Institutions through June 2020. From the blurb:
"USDM has millions (upon millions) of links to full text so they should assist you and your researchers in getting to needed text from wherever you may be. U.S. Documents Masterfile brings together foundational government document indexes and full-text collections to create an easy-to-use single index to governmental publications. USDM includes 15 million citations with 10 million links to full text, making quality primary research easier and enabling a single search for indexes and records for nearly 250 years of United States federal information."

Monday, 23 March 2020

Off-campus access for all Pitt Law databases

With the excellent assistance of Pitt Law IT and Pitt's IT department the Barco Law Library now provides access to all our databases for the Pitt Law community whether working in the building or from home or other off-campus location. The links to all our databases are on the Barco Law Library A-Z databases list page. If you are a Pitt Law student or faculty and have any problems with your off-campus access please contact the eResearch & Technology Services librarian for help.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Pandemic Information from the Government Publishing Office

Through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic, GPO staff members are working to provide Federal depository librarians with information they need to assist patrons and administer their depository services, both in person or virtually. We are continuously updating the FDLP.gov homepage with links and resources, and we are adding resources each day as more become available.


·         GPO’s Government Book Talk posted a new blog today, Coronavirus Pandemic: Reliable Government Information Resources: https://govbooktalk.gpo.gov/2020/03/19/coronavirus-pandemic-reliable-government-information-resources/. In the blog, a wide variety of trustworthy Government resources on COVID-19 are presented, including information ranging from COVID-19 symptoms to look for to proper handwashing techniques.


·         GPO’s govinfo now includes a new web page that offers legislative, Presidential, and regulatory documents on COVID-19: https://www.govinfo.gov/features/coronavirus.


·         FDLP LibGuides is featuring the Hot Topics: Coronavirus, which includes several Guides on the topic created by the FDLP community: https://libguides.fdlp.gov/c.php?g=1005541.

·         COVID-19 Guidance for Federal Depository Libraries:

o   March 9, 2020: Guidance for FDLs: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4423-covid-19-guidance-for-federal-depository-libraries

o   March 13, 2020: Additional Guidance for FDLs: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4429-additional-covid-19-guidance-for-federal-depository-libraries

o   March 17, 2020: FDLP Shipments Temporarily Suspended: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4430-fdlp-shipments-temporarily-suspended

o   March 17, 2020: Temporary Closures and Changing Library Operations: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4431-temporary-closures-and-changing-library-operations-due-to-covid-19

o   March 17, 2020: FDLP eXchange Review Periods Increased: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4432-fdlp-exchange-review-periods-increased

o   March 19, 2020: FDLP Academy Continuing Education During COVID-19 Pandemic: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4437-fdlp-academy-continuing-education-during-covid-19-pandemic



·         Other Popular Resources for Patrons:

o   CDC website for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

o   CDC Protects and Prepares Communities: https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132777

o   What to Do If You Are Sick with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132740

§  Spanish: https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132749

§  Chinese: https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132746

o   What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132738

§  Spanish: https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132744

§  Chinese: https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo132743
You are also invited to register to attend the live training webinar, "Coronavirus Frauds and Scams: What You Need to Know,” taking place Wednesday, April 8. Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, will discuss the frauds and scams that play on fears surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). She will explain the scammers’ lures, warning signs of scams in general, and how to avoid them. She’ll also touch on other prevalent scams, frauds related to charitable giving in times of crisis, and how to donate wisely. Register: https://www.fdlp.gov/news-and-events/4436-webinar-coronavirus-frauds-and-scams-what-you-need-to-know
Thank you for all you are doing to help keep your library staff and patrons safe and informed.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Understanding social distancing and coronavirus

Yes, we're all getting inundated with information about the coronavirus. That said, this article in the Washington Post has an excellent series of visualizations of how viruses spread and how different methods can slow the spread.
Please practice social distancing and stay safe!

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Webinar: NLM Resources for Librarians

EVENT CANCELLED
The FDLP is hosting a free webinar on Weds. March 25, 2020, at 2 pm, called "Pandemic! NLM Resources for Librarians to Assist Researchers and the Public in Understanding the Coronavirus and Influenza."
Speakers: Andrew Plumer, MLA, and Eneida Hatcher, PhD, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Learning Outcomes: Following this webinar, participants will be able to: Locate and navigate the consumer health resources in MedlinePlus on Coronavirus and influenza. Locate and navigate NLM’s disaster health resources on the Coronavirus Disease 2019. Describe the types of data freely-available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) resources for the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 so that they can guide researchers to the most relevant information.
Register here.

Chronicle of Higher Education offers virtual forum on "colleges & the coronavirus"

The Chronicle of Higher Education has announced that it is hosting a virtual interactive forum this Friday, March 13, at 2 pm, called Colleges and the Coronavirus.
From the announcement:
"The spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 is a quickly evolving situation, and campus leaders across the country are scrambling to devise policies, communicate updates, and plan for different scenarios moving forward... The forum will be the first installment of a time-limited series that runs every week until the need for advice, networking, and news abates. Sessions will be hosted by Bryan Alexander, a prominent higher ed thinker who hosts the Future Trends Forum, along with Karin Fischer, a Chronicle reporter who has been covering the emergency. The video chat forum will use Shindig, a participatory video chat platform. Similar to an in-person event, participants have the opportunity to ask a panelist questions as well as share and discuss the proceedings in a private chat with one another. There's no download or account registration required, and mobile users can attend using the Shindig App and participate fully. Forums will be recorded and archived, but space in the live event is limited to the first 1000 attendees – complete your registration now to secure a spot. Here’s what to expect during Friday's session:
 • An update about the latest news colleges need to know about the emergency and its effect on higher education.
• A discussion on how to transition academic programs online during the outbreak.
• An open forum with participants to ask questions of the panelists or moderators."

Monday, 2 March 2020

Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available on Congress.gov

The FDLP has just announced a new webinar: Congressional Research Service Reports and the Constitution Annotated - Now Available on Congress.gov," to be held on Monday, April 6 from 2 - 3 p.m.  The webinar speakers are Barbara Bavis, Bibliographic and Instruction Librarian, Law Library of Congress, and Robert Brammer, Legal Information Specialist, Law Library of Congress.
From the description:
Learning Outcomes: The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has provided expert, non-partisan analysis of legal and policy issues for Congress for over a century. Now, in an attempt to expand access to its resources, it has made two of its products available through Congress.gov. First, CRS Reports, or the reports and research projects provided to Congress as part of CRS’s duty to provide timely, objective, and authoritative research and analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, are now available at https://crsreports.congress.gov/. Second, the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (Constitution Annotated), which provides a summary of U.S. Constitutional provisions and the leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions that interpret them, is now available at https://constitution.congress.gov/. This presentation will provide an overview of the features and navigation of CRS Reports and the Constitution Annotated available via Congress.gov."
You can register for the webinar here.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Hurrah! CILP and SmartCILP are back!

After a 5-month hiatus, we just received a new SmartCILP email dated February 28, 2020. (The last one was August 30, 2019). We are grateful to HeinOnline for helping the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library bring CILP and SmartCILP back.  

Monday, 10 February 2020

New Lexis Digital Library interface

The Lexis Digital Library website has relaunched with a major redesign to make it much more user-friendly and easy to use from any sort of mobile device as well as your regular desktop computer. Our subscription includes many primary sources and treatises in ebook format including a collection of Pennsylvania law treatises as well as standard legal treatises such as Moore's Federal Practice, Chisum on Patent, Bender's Forms of Discovery, Adoption Law and Practice, and The Fundamentals of Life Sciences Law.
From the promotional materials:
  • Now your digital library eBooks are available with or without an internet connection. Download the app on your phone or tablet for an easy reading-on-the-go option (Available for iOS and Android).
  • Your home page populates recently read eBooks, and your personal annotations and tags, so you can easily return to your work.
  • Work inside the eBook or in your personal workspace. Easily organize and sync your annotations and highlights across sessions and devices.
  • It's easy to do: download the LexisNexis Digital Library App from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Use Library Code: when prompted for you library code and then sign in with your ID and password.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Good news from HeinOnline

HeinOnline announced several items of good news recently. The one that gives us the most joy is that they "are excited to announce that William S. Hein & Co., Inc. has acquired the rights to the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library's Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP). Although this publication was recently suspended in Fall 2019, we are actively working on reinstating the product. We expect to have access to new material available within the upcoming weeks, and we will continue to publish new content on the previous schedule of most Fridays of the year. HeinOnline will continue to include all features and benefits CILP previously offered, and is additionally seeking new ways to improve the product." We have missed CILP and are looking forward to the continuation of this valuable resource.  

Friday, 10 January 2020

Government Information Online service

The govdocs listserv had a posting today that was a reminder about the Government Information Online Service. This is a project of the Education Committee of GODORT, the government documents group of the Association of American Libraries, and it "is available to handle the toughest (government document) reference questions and requests for copies of documents." Their website says,
"Through Government Information Online (GIO) you can ask government information librarians questions on almost any subject from aardvarks to zygomycosis... GIO is a free online information service supported by libraries that participate in the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Federal Depository Library Program... Government information librarians with a specialized knowledge of agency information dissemination practices — as well as expertise in how to use government information products, resources and or publications — answer all the questions submitted to GIO. These librarians are dedicated to helping users meet their government information needs."

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Tax Notes offers brief online trainings

In honor of Tax Season, Tax Notes (a Barco subscription) is offering 10-minute webinar overviews of their resources. In addition, they offer webinars on using Tax Notes for Low Income Tax Clinics and a webinar called "Life of a Tax Reg," which shows you "how to track a tax reg from its announcement in the priority guidance plan through release of a proposed reg, public comments, the public hearing, and release of the final reg."
Tax Notes is also promising an updated research platform that will move their primary tax law resources - the Internal Revenue Code and regulations - outside their paywall so they will be available to anyone. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

WK study aids updates coming soon...

For the New Year, Wolters Kluwer has announced some updates to the Study Aid Library that should be available by the end of this week:
• Ability to choose either ePub or PDF when reading online/offline
• Only titles available in your school’s subscription will be visible
• More than 200 short videos on fundamental concepts of law
• Ability to save favorite study aids for easy access
In early February, they promise to have:
• 200+ audio lectures and text-to-speech capabilities for all books
• Updated MARC records delivered through our new partnership with OCLC.
If you have any questions about accessing these study aids at Pitt Law please contact the eResearch & Technology Services Librarian.  

Friday, 3 January 2020

Free casebooks for law students (?!)

Inside Higher Ed has an article today discussing how an increasing number of law professors are publishing their own casebooks at little or no cost to students. The examples they give are from NYU Law: "Barton Beebe, a law professor at NYU, published the sixth edition of his trademark-law textbook last year. Fellow NYU professors Jeanne Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman also published the first edition of their copyright-law textbook in 2019. Both titles are available to download electronically at no charge."
Interestingly, the article points out that these free books are not necessarily considered to be Open Educational Resources (OER): "Definitions of OER vary, but many advocates agree that OER content must be openly licensed to make clear that users can revise and remix the content however they desire. Creative Commons licenses requesting that users provide attribution to the original author, or preventing them from selling the work commercially, are common for OER materials. But licenses stating “no derivatives” are not. These licenses prohibit users from sharing content they have modified without prior permission, even if their changes improve the original material."

The article does NOT discuss Harvard's Berkaman Center H2O Open Casebook Project, of which Pitt Law's Barco Law Library is a member. H2O is an OER platform for creating, editing, organizing, consuming, and sharing course materials; it helps law faculty create high quality, open-licensed digital textbooks for free. 

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Bloomberg Law discontinuing law reviews/journals

Bloomberg Law has announced that they will no longer have law reviews and law journals in the database collection. The announcement said:
"I am writing to inform you that Bloomberg Law will discontinue our limited collection of law review and journal articles. Law reviews and journals, currently available under Secondary Sources in the Browse Menu and from within Practice Centers, will be removed 12/31/2019.
We believe that removal of these materials will have a limited impact on our academic users. Law review articles are among the least used resources available on Bloomberg Law, and are readily available from other sources. Our editorial and product development teams are always primarily focused on producing highest quality practical guidance, analytics, and legal news, and this decision reflects a reallocation of resources to that end."

Monday, 9 December 2019

HeinOnline updates

Two recent additions to HeinOnline that may be of interest:
• The U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library collection in the U.S. Presidential database includes Pres. Trump and access to the "whistleblower" documents.
• In the past month alone, more than 500 volumes and nearly 320,000 pages were added to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. And the HeinOnline Blog includes a regular post called "Secrets of the Serial Set."  In the most recent post, readers can explore the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and its resulting investigations

Friday, 6 December 2019

North Carolina Supreme Court adopts universal citation format

The NCAPB (North Carolina Appellate Practice Blog) reports that the North Carolina Supreme Court has officially made plans to change the citation format for NC appellate court opinions to the universal citation format.  ("universal citation",sometimes called a "media-neutral" or "vendor-neutral" citation, is one that is media-neutral and does not depend on being located in a print edition of a book).
The change will become effective at the beginning of 2021. The announcement from the courts says that:
..."opinions filed on or after 1 January 2021 will have an immediate, permanent, and medium-neutral ("universal") citation the moment they are issued. Because a universal citation is medium-neutral, it does not point to an official publication of the opinion. Opinions of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals that are filed on or after 1 January 2021 should be cited using this format: [Case Name], [Traditional Citation to the Bound Volume and Page Number of the Court's Official Reporter], [Universal Citation to the Year, Court, and Opinion Number], [Pinpoint Paragraph Number].
e.g., State v. Smith, 375 N.C. 152, 2020-NCSC-45, ¶ 16.
State v. Smith, 255 N.C. App. 43, 2020-NCCOA-118, ¶ 23."

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Georgia v Public Resource in the Supreme Court

Public.Resource.org, the organization founded by Carl Malamud with the motto “Making Government Information More Accessible," has been involved in litigation with the state of Georgia and its Code Revision Commission for several years. At issue is whether states like Georgia can claim copyright ownership over certain legal texts, specifically the official annotated versions of the Georgia statutory code. Public.Resource.org made the law of Georgia freely available online. Georgia objected. Georgia’s official code contains more than just the letter of the law. That extra content – like summaries of relevant court decisions – creates the legal question: can the whole book be freely-published online?
In CODE REVISION COMMISSION and State of Georgia v. PUBLIC.RESOURCE.ORG, INC., 244 F.Supp.3d 1350 (2017), the United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division decided that the annotations in the Code were copyrightable, and the alleged infringer's use was not a non-infringing fair use.
Public.Resource.org appealed, and in Code Revision Commission for General Assembly of Georgia v. Public.Resource.org, 906 F.3d 1229 (2018), the 11th Circuit Court overturned the lower court's ruling and held that "held that annotations editorially created for the annotated compilation of Georgia statutes, while not having the force of law, were sufficiently law-like so as to be regarded as sovereign work constructively authored by the People, and thus were not copyrightable."
The Code Revision Commission of Georgia appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in June the Supreme Court granted certiorari in GEORGIA, et al., petitioners, v. PUBLIC.RESOURCE.ORG, INC. 139 S.Ct. 2746 (June 2019) (note that this link goes to Westlaw). The case was argued before the Supreme Court on Monday, December 2. If you are interested in following the case, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued, under the authority of the state and via Internet, a transcript of oral argument prepared by HERITAGE REPORTING CORPORATION Official Reporters.

Fastcase news

Fastcase and ROSS Intelligence have announced a new partnership in which they will share content, research and development in order to allow both Fastcase and ROSS to innovate more quickly. According to the announcement, "As a result of the Fastcase partnership ROSS has achieved data completeness within its platform, which now contains case law, statutes, and regulations across all 50 states. Fastcase and ROSS will be progressively developing additional product integrations and joint features, to be released in the coming months."
Bob Ambrogi, on his Lawsiteblog, calls it a "unique partnership." He interviewed Ed Walters of Fastcase, who said that they are "jointly committing to work together on some collaborative new research projects going forward." Jean O'Grady, in her Deweybstrategic blog, calls the partnership a "paradigm shift," saying that "Fastcase is clearly positioning the company to play the disruptor."

Friday, 22 November 2019

Friday: Is this good news?

In the "things that make you say hmmm" department: The Library of Congress has announced that they "are excited to share out a dataset of 1,000 random (PowerPoint) slide decks from U.S. government websites." If this appeals to you, you can download the entire 3.7 GB dataset of all the actual files (as a zip file).

Elsevier and CMU publishing agreement

Carnegie Mellon University , our neighbor up the street, has announced an agreement with publishing giant Elsevier that "marks an open access milestone." According to a story in Inside Higher Ed, the agreement will "radically change how the institution pays to read and publish research." The agreement prioritizes free and public access to research done at the university. "Instead of paying separately to access Elsevier’s catalog of paywalled content and publish open-access articles in Elsevier journals, Carnegie Mellon will pay one flat fee for both. The deal means that starting on Jan. 1, 2020, all principal investigators publishing in Elsevier journals will have the option of making their research immediately available to the public, at no additional cost. The “read-and-publish” deal is a first with a university in the U.S. for Elsevier and is the result of nearly yearlong negotiations."
To help Carnegie Mellon scholars navigate this agreement and its impact on their work, the University Libraries have created a website with helpful information for the community and answers to frequently asked questions.

Friday, 15 November 2019

A UX review of the PACER website

Medium.com has an interesting post reviewing the usability of the Federal Court system's PACER website. The review tries to be fair and not overly critical of the site, but they also give constructive ideas on how the site could be more user-friendly. They focus on the main sections of the site:
  • The public landing page, originally designed in the early 2000's. The review says that there is too much clutter on the landing page, with key space taken up by secondary information - this could be cleaned up. Also, the page doesn't comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in that the text does not have enough contrast and could easily be adjusted. 
  • The User Login and Dashboard is just a headache, with a lengthy registration process and unclear explanations for what is required. Once a user manages to get a login un and pw there are three different options for logging in and after logging in there are too many clicks to get to the case search screen.
The article goes on to critique the Search Results and the Case Record Detail. There is even a video of a particularly confusing web interface. The best part is that the article offers easy fixes for all of PACER's problems with graphic representation of what it could look like.

webinar on Legal Information Archive project

The Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) has announced that they are hosting an informational webinar on the Legal Information Archive Project hosted in conjunction with Preservica, the digital archive provider for LIPA, on Tuesday, November 19th at 11 a.m. (Eastern)/8 a.m. (Pacific). During the presentation, we will provide an overview of the project and answer any questions for members who may be interested in joining and preserving through the Legal Information Archive.
 In addition, Preservica will also cover how they:
 • Manage and safeguard institutional content and other legal resources.
• Enable you to easily upload and ingest new content into Preservica.
• Ensure permanent access to vital legal information through online publication.
You can register here for the webinar. 

Saturday, 9 November 2019

HSDL Critical Releases in Homeland Security: The Crisis of Social Media

The most recent posting by the Homeland Security Digital Library includes a link to an interesting article titled Freedom On The Net 2019: The Crisis of Social Media (32 page pdf). It is subtitled "What was once a liberating technology has become a conduit for surveillance and electoral manipulation." (The report was prepared by Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.) Freedom on the Net is a comprehensive study of internet freedom in 65 countries around the globe, covering 87 percent of the world’s internet users. It tracks improvements and declines in internet freedom conditions each year. The countries included in the study have been selected to represent diverse geographical regions and regime types. From the document:
"Internet freedom is increasingly imperiled by the tools and tactics of digital authoritarianism, which have spread rapidly around the globe. Repressive regimes, elected incumbents with authoritarian ambitions, and unscrupulous partisan operatives have exploited the unregulated spaces of social media platforms, converting them into instruments for political distortion and societal control. While social media have at times served as a level playing field for civic discussion, they are now tilting dangerously toward illiberalism, exposing citizens to an unprecedented crackdown on their fundamental freedoms. Moreover, a startling variety of governments are deploying advanced tools to identify and monitor users on an immense scale. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2019."

Friday, 8 November 2019

Internet Archive & Better World Books are preserving books online

Against the Grain has a story about a partnership between Better World Books and the Internet Archive. It seems that BetterWorld Books is now owned by a non-profit affiliated with Internet Archive, called Better World Libraries. The Internet Archive will acquire, digitize, lend, store and digitally preserve millions of deaccessioned library books that go to BWB. At the same time, they will be sharing a major dissemination program for their digitized books through clickable citations in Wikipedia articles in 8 different languages. And any book that does not yet exist in digital form will go into a pipeline for future digitization, preservation and access.

Hat tip: Pat Roncevich

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

1,300 Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 now available on govinfo

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has announced that it has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo. This project is part of a multi-year effort to digitize a collection of nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings from Kansas State University Libraries; and is one of a series of recent projects in which GPO has worked to expand free public access to Congressional information in digital formats.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Society for Empirical Legal Studies questions ULS News plans

Inside Higher Ed reports that the Board of Directors of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies has written a 5 page letter to U.S. News & World Report to "express concern" about its plans to create a law school "scholarly impact" ranking based on HeinOnline data. The letter says that
"HeinOnline’s present citation-measurement system has three principal problems: (1) it is biased against interdisciplinary legal scholarship; (2) it omits all book manuscripts and chapters; and (3) it systematically undervalues the academic contributions of junior scholars, which would inhibit law schools from recruiting diverse faculties."
They add that "For instance, Google Scholar’s database of citations includes nearly all academic publications, including books. It can also be tailored in different ways, such as giving more weight to recent publications. While Google Scholar currently contains some attribution errors, so does HeinOnline, and data scientists are already developing ways to clean and harvest more accurate citation data from Google Scholar."

Friday, 18 October 2019

State government publications and copyright

Works of the federal government are in the public domain and free for anyone to use according to 17 U.S.C. § 105. What about States, territories and the District of Columbia? Harvard Library has a State Copyright Guide online that makes it easy to look up the copyright status of state documents. The site says: "It turns out that figuring out whether state documents are copyrighted is a tricky question, and we've created this website to help identify the relevant laws in each state."

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

NASIG webinar of interest to librarians

NASIG is offering a Webinar titled "Designing for Accessibility" on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 1 pm EST. The webinar is not free but is $35 for NASIG and NISO members, #50 for non-members. Description:
From online course materials to documents and presentations, we all share some responsibility when it comes to creating accessible content. This session provides a brief introduction to designing for accessibility: the importance of accessible design and high-impact practices digital content creators can apply to create documents, images, audio, video, and web content accessible to users of all abilities.
Webinar participants will:
Discover the importance of accessible design
Explore common accessibility challenges and solutions
Identify resources for creating accessible content.
You can find out more and register at the NASIG website.