Monday, 12 September 2016

Typography and Law

Slaw has an interesting post titled "Typography and Legal Information" that talks about how law looks - i.e. how font style and size affects readability. Apparently the typography and style used for the Canadian statutes online was changed this year, according to an announcement on the Canadian government website. The author says that "Studies that show typography affects retention of information and perception of the quality of information," and notes that one study found that readers who read a statement in Baskerville font "were more likely to agree with it."
And if you are fascinated by typography you might also enjoy this article from Vox Almanac that tells the history of Wingdings fonts.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

9/11 Commemoration Digital Collection

To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Center for Homeland Defense and Security has assembled a digital collection to honor those who lost their lives, remember important lessons learned, recognize progress in protecting our communities, celebrate the dedication of public safety officials, and challenge leaders to think critically about the future of homeland security. The collection includes reflective essays, recorded audio personal stories, and a collection of key 9/11-related resources published since 2001.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

HeinOnline adds UNC Press publications

HeinOnline has announced that they recently added over 120 titles from the University of North Carolina Press to their online collection - at no additional cost. The announcement says "The UNC Press has a national and international reputation for publishing quality books. Established in 1922, the UNC Press was the first university press in the South and one of the first in the entire nation. These UNC Press publications cover a variety of timely topics and include both current and historical titles." You can see all the titles on the HeinOnline website.

Friday, 9 September 2016

United States Treaties Added to the Law Library of Congress Website

The Library of Congress has announced that they have added the 13 volume United States Treaty Series compiled by Charles Bevans to the law library digital collection. The collection includes treaties the U.S. signed with other countries between 1776 and 1949. The LOC says that "One of the most interesting things in these early treaties is the different countries with whom the United States signed treaties, especially those that no longer exist. In these volumes you can find treaties the U.S. signed with the Republic of Texas and the Hawaiian Islands before they became states. The U.S. also signed treaties with the Orange Free States, Sardinia, Lagos, Algiers, the Ottoman Empire, and the German Republics before Germany unified."

Thursday, 8 September 2016

More on what color is your CFR...

There's a post on the Federal Register blog about how they choose the new color that the CFR will be every year.  It's from 2015 so it's talking about the 2015 color, Pantone 355U green. 2016's is blue but I don't know the Pantone code for it...

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Seen in Oakland...

This morning one of the Uber self-driving cars was spotted on Forbes Ave. in Oakland.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Something completely different from CALI

CALI - Computer Assisted Legal Instruction - has just published a coloring book that reinforces legal research skills titled "What Color is your C.F.R.?" You can download your own free copies at CALI's eLangdell Bookstore.

Updated LexisNexis Law School home page

Just in time for the new school year Lexis Nexis has "refreshed" their Law School landing page.  According to Lexis, "The new intuitive design is easier to use, provides quicker access to content, and offers responsive design on mobile devices."
Note the access points to key products including Web Courses and Lexis Learn are located at the top of the page. Teaching tools, mobile apps, and other products are listed under Resources. Also note quick links along the right side of the page. The student home page looks very similar and includes the same menu up top.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

New PLI online treatises for July 2016

To find these titles, just go to our PLI search page and enter the title in the top search box.

TREATISE UPDATES:
• Anti-Money Laundering Deskbook: A Practical Guide to Law and Compliance Release #2,
• Corporate Political Activities Deskbook Release #4
• Financial Product Fundamentals: Law, Business, Compliance (2nd Edition)
• Friedman on Leases (5th Edition) Release #31
• Mutual Fund and Exchange Traded Funds Regulation (3rd Edition) Release #9

ANSWER BOOKS:
 • Health Care Mergers & Acquisitions Answer Book 2016
• Telecommunications Law Answer Book 2017 Edition

NEW TITLES:
 • A Starter Guide to Doing Business in the U.S.
• Privacy Law Answer Book 2017 Edition

The Life of a Document


We can all relate to this video about document versions from Iowa Filmmakers and Workiva.

Hat tip: Sam Berbano

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Pokemon Go legal issues?

The ABA Journal has an article titled "Pokemon Go spurs lawyers to stop and consider legal issues." If you have been caught up in the Pokemon Go craze, there are several legal issues raised in the article; and  the article also mentions the general problem of wandering around through the physical world while staring through a phone screen.”

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

SBA book exchange group re-started

The Pitt Law Student Bar Association is reviving a book exchange group to help reduce the cost of law school books for students. You can sell your 1L books to new students or buy books for this year on the cheap.  Check out the information on the SBA Book Exchange Facebook page

Friday, 1 July 2016

New Westlaw rep for Pitt Law

We recently heard from Westlaw that they have appointed a new law school representative for Pitt Law:
"I am pleased to announce that your new Westlaw Academic Account Manager is Samuel Berbano. Samuel is a graduate of Drake Law School. While at Drake, Sam argued criminal appeals with the school’s appellate clinic and was a Westlaw Student Representative. After graduation, Sam continued his career with Thomson Reuters first as an Inside Account Manager. His next position at Thomson Reuters was Senior Associate of Product Management and Editorial. Sam brings a wealth of product knowledge to his new role in Academics. Sam also brings energy and expertise. Sam’s first day with Academics was Monday, June 27th. For the next few weeks Sam will be in training. I hope to fully transition Sam to his schools by mid-July. Many thanks to Erica Hines for her coverage and continued support as we make the transition."


Sam also has a LinkedIn profile

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

new app for mapping the world

The Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog has 2 posts, here and here,  about a new project to create memorable "addresses" for every (3 x 3 meter) spot in the world.  It's called what3words and the project is dividing the world into 3 x 3 meter square blocks and then giving each a unique 3 word name or address.
Sounds pretty crazy, but it turns out that Mongolia is now adopting the system and using it for its postal system.
You can register to use it and then download the app. And pull up a map that will give you a three word address for your location. For example, "the Capitol Rotunda is in “shall.spider.bake” and the Empire State building in “heaves.wipes.clay.”

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

free webinar from GAO

A free webinar, "GAO Podcasts and Social Media," will be offered on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Jacques A. Arsenault, Digital Communications Manager, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) will take you through GAO social media initiatives, including their great podcast GAO Watchdog Report. Jacques will also offer tips on how to set up a podcast.
This webinar is brought to you courtesy of the U.S. Government Publishing Office's FDLP Academy. Register here

Monday, 13 June 2016

CMS can help identify students needing help

Inside Higher Ed has a story today titled "Logging Off, Dropping Out." The story reports that knowing how often students log onto course management software sites is "one of the best ways to predict whether they will stick with their studies or drop out." A study looked at how often students logged on to their course management system (such as Blackboard or TWEN) during the first two weeks of classes. It found that the student "persistence rate" (percent of students who remain enrolled after their first year) was 98% for students who used their CMS at least five days during the first two weeks; for students who used the CMS one day or fewer the persistence rate was 48%, meaning more than half did not continue in college. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

New PLI titles

Listed below are the Practicing Law Institute Course Handbooks published in May 2016; these are available via Barco's PLI subscription:
 CORPORATE LAW
• 21st Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute 2016
• Antitrust Institute 2016: Developments & Hot Topics
• Enforcement 2016: Perspectives from Government Agencies
• Financial Services IT 2016: Avoidance of Risk
• Fourth Annual Institute on Corporate & Securities Law in Hong Kong 2016
• Leveraged Financing 2016
• The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and International Anti-Corruption Developments 2016
• The Volcker Rule 2016: What it Means for Financial Institutions and Markets
• Venture Capital 2016: Nuts and Bolts
 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
• 10th Annual Patent Law Institute
 • Fundamentals of Patent Litigation 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

ProQuest training

For those of you who are interested in our trial of ProQuest's Reguatory Insight, they are offering a training Thursday June 9, 2016) at 1 pm with the always excellent Andrea Sevetson. You can view this and other upcoming webinars, as well as recordings of past webinars, here.

Twitter search tips

The Digital Inspiration blog, by Amit Agarwal, has a post titled "The best Twitter search tricks." The post provides a list of search operators that will help you "search Twitter like a pro."

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

North Carolina helps faculty publish diy textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Educations reports that the University of North Carolina Press recently opened an Office of Scholarly Publishing Services that will assist faculty with editing, layout, distribution and seed money for creating their own course materials - rather than using expensive textbooks. The article says that this new role for the UNC Press is " an opportunity for professors to seek advice on various materials they may have kept tucked away but would like to publish online or digitize...(and) as a way to collaborate on open educational resources." The Press's website has a list of FAQ's, as well as easy-to-complete forms for faculty who are interested in publishing a book or an article.

Friday, 27 May 2016

HeinOnline to add UNC Press titles

HeinOnline has announced that they are adding more than 100 titles published by the University of North Carolina Press to their Core collection. Hein says ". A new collection will be created to house these titles, and they will also be added to subject-appropriate collections. For example, more than 50 of the titles relate to slavery and the law."

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Legal Research Basics presentation

The North Carolina Library Association continued its excellent webinar series "Help! I'm an Accidental Government Information Librarian" last week with a presentation titled "Legal Research Basics Redux." The presenter was our friend Jennifer Behrens, a law librarian at Duke. Her presentation was well-organized and very engaging. And though okay - we should all be familiar with the basics of legal research- it doesn't hurt to have a refresher.
If you missed it, the NCLA has helpfully provided an online recording of the webinar, as well as the powerpoint slides from the presentation.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The GSU case and copyright monitoring

Prof. Pamela Samuelson has published an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled "Colleges Shouldn't have to Deal With Copyright Monitoring." She discusses the lawsuit against Georgia State University by several academic publishers that is now in its eighth year. The trial court has recently ruled that "...of the 48 claims remaining in the case, only four uses, each involving multiple chapters, infringed. The question now is, What should be the remedy for those four infringements?" The publishers involved in the suit are asking the court for a permanent injunction that would impose new duties on GSU and require close monitoring of the content of all online course websites, including giving the publishers access to the online course system. Eventually this would affect course content in course websites at all US colleges and universities. Samuelson outlines the specifics of the proposed injunction, and argues that "If the overwhelming majority of the university’s uses were fair, it doesn’t make sense to impose substantial and costly compliance measures on it."

Monday, 23 May 2016

WIRED on PACER

WIRED magazine has published an article about PACER titled "Here's the problem with the Feds profinting from court filings." The article explains how PACER works and the costs of using it and summarizes the problems with PACER. It looks at the class action lawsuit filed against PACER recently, with the claim that PACER profits far outweigh costs.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Robot Lawyer

Gizmodo reports that "A Major Law Firm Will Soon Be Using A Robotic Lawyer" , aka an "artificial intelligence attorney." The "robot" is named ROSS and was created using technology from IBM's Watson. It acts as an advanced legal research tool, providing more elaborate and intuitive advanced searching. The law firm Baker & Hostetler announced that they will use ROSS in their bankruptcy division. But the article adds that ROSS won't be appearing in court anytime soon.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Alliance for Justice sues over PACER fees

The ABA Journal reports that the Alliance for Justice, along with the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the National Consumer Law Center, has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court accusing the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts of illegally charging excessive fees to access court records through its online Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. The lawsuit charges that the Administrative Office is in violation of the E-Government Act of 2002, which mandated that the fees to access court records online cannot exceed the amount needed to maintain the system itself. The lawsuit (15 page pdf) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A press release announcing the lawsuit says “Faith in our judicial system depends on transparency and uninhibited access to court documents for all Americans, regardless of the ability to pay. It’s particularly disturbing that the courts themselves are violating a plainly written law, especially one designed specifically to promote public confidence in the judicial system.”

Friday, 22 April 2016

Update on the baby Bluebook

Another event in the Carl Malamud and Baby Blue saga.. the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog reports that Carl Malamud has alerted the Harvard Law Review Association that his alternative version of the Bluebook has been renamed  "the Indigo Book ."  This should avoid any confusion over the use of the word "Blue." 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Short fast books

The EBook Friendly website points out that "Reading for 6 minutes can reduce stress by 68%. It's three times more effective than video games... Reading a book, even for a couple of minutes, can increase self-worth and trigger imagination" (no argument from librarians). The site has a helpful infographic with "24 Books You Can Read In Under An Hour"...  all by respected authors like E.A. Poe, Annie Proulx, R.L. Stevenson, Nick Hornby and Nikolai Gogol. So no excuses, get reading!

Authors Guild v. Google: the end

Inside Higher Ed reports that a United States Supreme Court order issued today ends a more than a decade-long legal battle between Google and the Authors Guild. At issue was whether Google's book digitization project, in which millions of copyrighted books are being scanned without the authors' permission, is legal. The Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, allowing the Second Circuit's opinion of the case to stand: see Author's Guild v. Google, Inc., 804 F. 3d 202, 2015. The scanning project is considered "fair use."

LLOC signs on to Perma.cc

The DigitalGov blog posts that the Law Library of Congress is now using Perma.cc as the solution to the problem of "link rot" in all its reports. The blog post says "The Law Library’s discovery regarding the extent of link rot in its own reports led to the search for an archiving solution that would allow readers of those reports to access linked content in real time, as they were reading, without having to jump out of the report to search a database of archived material. The exploration of options ultimately lead to a solution known as Perma.cc, developed specifically for the legal community by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Perma.cc allows authors to archive documents referenced in their work as they are writing and simultaneously generates a permalink to the archived document for inclusion in the work." The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Barco Law Library is, of course, also a "member" of Perma.cc.

hat tip: Karen Shephard

Saturday, 16 April 2016

For faculty, 37 ways to use technology in teaching

John Mayer, the director of CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction), has posted an article titled "37 Free Ways to Use Tech in Your Law School Course."  A few of the ideas do involve using CALI tools - which anyone at Pitt Law can do since we are a member of CALI. But there are many other ideas that may be useful in law school teaching - worth a look. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Con Law Prof scolding

Above the Law has a (somewhat amusing) post titled "Con Law Professor Has Meltdown In Email Blast To Students", with a story about a law professor at Wayne State who sent a scolding email to his students. It sounds more like a scolding than a "meltdown" - there is only one word that might possibly be considered a swear word (and it isn't pinkeye). Hopefully students will take it to heart and attend all the remaining classes of the semester.

Twitter and hashtags

The RIPS Law Librarian Blog (RIPS stands for research, instruction, and patron services) has an interesting post that discusses Twitter and, more specifically, the use of hashtags on Twitter. Author Christine George says "I’ve found that there are some definite benefits to Team Hashtag. Using institution-wide hashtags helps build relationships with other units. They become aware that you are active on social media and can sometimes come through when you need to get the word out. Using trending hashtags—as appropriate, of course—can help you gain new followers that might not have been aware of you otherwise."

hat tip: Karen Shephard

Friday, 8 April 2016

Country by Country Guide to Foreign Law Research from the Yale Law School Library

Yale Law Library recently updated their excellent country by country foreign law guide; it will help get you started on foreign law research by connecting you to the best research guides and databases for each country.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Coral Project working to make comments better

The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard has a post about The Coral Project - "a joint effort between The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Mozilla Foundation, and The Knight Foundation." The project is developing an app called Trust, aimed at building communities around journalism by using the "Comments" section of user-generated contributions to journalist articles.

hat tip: Karen Shephard

2015 Justice Dept. report available

The Justice Department's Office of Information Policy has posted Justice's 2015 Litigation and Compliance Report (25 page pdf), detailing the department’s efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA, and listing of all FOIA litigation cases received and decided in the prior calendar year. Once of the things they did this year was produce an FOIA infographic as a training resource for all government agencies.

Monday, 4 April 2016

ABA Peeps in Law contest update

You can see the 2016 gallery here.

Update: Georgia State copyright case

Inside Higher Ed reports "Publishers Dealt Another Blow in Copyright Lawsuit." This is the continuing story of the case Cambridge U. Press, Oxford U. Press, Sage Publications v. Mark P. Becker, President of Georgia State University, commonly known as the Georgia State copyright case or e-reserves case. In the decision, a federal court has once again found that Georgia State University’s use of digitized course readings known as e-reserves is protected by fair use. This is an ongoing case in the Northern District of Georgia in which three publishers, Cambridge University Press, SAGE Publications, and Oxford University Press, are suing Georgia State University for copyright infringement, claiming that Georgia State University engaged in "systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works" through its e-reserves system. Georgia State asserted that its system did not infringe copyright because its uses were fair use.
The original case is Cambridge Univ. Press v. Becker, 863 F. Supp. 2d 1190 (N.D. Ga. 2012). The judge's 220 page ruling is available here.

massive Doc leak from Panamanian/international law firm show global tax dodging

BBC News and The Guardian, among many other news sources, are reporting on the "Panama Papers" - millions of papers leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Among the stories are pieces on Vladimir Putin’s $1 billion in offshore holdings; the Prime Minister of Iceland’s shady dealings with a private company, which served as a tax haven for his private wealth; and FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, whose members also appear in the documents. The papers were first leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a part of the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. The Süddeutsche Zeitung has a full report on this fascinating story in English as well as German.