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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Report from ABA on race and gender bias in law

The ABA Journal has an article about a new report titled "You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Racial & Gender Bias in the Legal Profession." The report is based on a survey by the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco on behalf of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. It discusses the widespread bias that women and minority lawyers continue to face in the legal profession.From the report:
"The first part of this research report details four main patterns of gender bias, which validate theories that women lawyers long have believed and feelings they long have held...The second part of the research report offers two toolkits, one for law firms and one for in-house departments, containing information for how to interrupt bias in hiring, assignments, performance evaluations, compensation, and sponsorship. Based upon the evidence derived from our research, these bias interrupters are small, simple, and incremental steps that tweak basic business systems and yet produce measurable change. They change the systems, not people... Through sharing, we are reminded that we are not alone in our experiences in the workplace, and that is an important first step in making the work environment more inclusive and welcoming."

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Print or Electronic textbooks?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article titled "Hard Copy or Electronic Textbooks? Professors Are More Concerned About Keeping Them Affordable," that discusses this frequent topic of conversation in light of the recent textbook price kerfuffle at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. A student in an accounting course there discovered that the hard-copy version of the course textbook and the access code for online materials would run about $250 in the university’s bookstore - but the e-book version of the text, available through the online learning portal WileyPlus, was priced at $999. The university tweeted that it was all a misunderstanding. The Chronicle reports that faculty have mixed feelings about etextbooks. Some use them, especially if they are less expensive, though "Online texts are often cheaper than hard-copy books but can come with other challenges." A variety of professors interviewed by the articles author offer their opinions.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Scheduled Maintenance on GPO Websites This Weekend

The United States Government Printing Office (GPO) has announced that it will perform scheduled IT maintenance on Saturday, July 28, 2018, between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET). During the maintenance period, the following GPO services may experience brief, intermittent downtime:

  • FDLP.gov 
  • The Digitization Projects Registry 
  • Ben’s Guide to the U.S Government

Monday, 23 July 2018

New Lexis webinar on "Ravel View" feature

LexisNexis is hosting a free webinar on the new Lexis feature called "Ravel View" on Friday, July 27, 2018 from 12:30-1:00 pm.
According to the announcement, "Ravel™ View is a visualization technology that allows you to bypass hours of scanning search results lists and reading case summaries to find the case law you need. Ravel View does the laborious work for you by visually surfacing the most influential cases from your search results by court level, citation frequency and Shepard’s® treatment—helping you extract the case law you need to support your argument. Join the webinar to see how Ravel View can change the way you research."
You can register here if you would like to attend the webinar.

Friday, 6 July 2018

LLMC adds state legislative journals to digitized content

The Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC), of which Barco is a member, has announced that they have completed a 6 year project to digitize the legislative journals of all 50 states. The project was completed with the help of the Center for Research Libraries. Included in this digital collection are the Pennsylvania Legislative Journal of the Senate from 1827 to 1988 and the Pennsylvania Journal of the House of Representatives from 1826-1942. This is good news for any researchers interested in Pennsylvania legislative history.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

HeinOnline has much new content

HeinOnline's latest update says: "We’re pleased to provide our subscribers with another monthly update containing more than half a million pages of new journals, government documents, legal treatises, and other exciting material!"
• Updated databases: 51
• New titles: 1,798
• New volumes: 2,378
 •13 new journals, including six journals from Cambridge University Press and three journals that are indexed in Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP).
 •A new volume of Hague Academy Collected Courses Online / Recueil des cours en ligne has also been added with three new titles in the volume. 
•The Legal Classics Library received 105 new titles this month, 
•Religion and the Law received 27 new titles
 •Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law grew by 22 new titles
•The Session Laws Library indexing project continues: all 50 states are already indexed to the chapter or act level from 2000 to date. In 2017, we announced an amended tactic: states would be indexed back to inception one at a time, beginning with the most accessed states. Last month, the indexing for Minnesota was completed back to inception. Other states that have been indexed back to inception include California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Texas. Moving forward, the focus will be on Pennsylvania.
 • U.S. Statutes at Large has been updated to include Public and Private Laws of the United States. The addition of these laws combined with the U.S. Statutes at Large bound edition now provides comprehensive coverage from inception to date of all Public and Private Laws of the United States.
*AALL attendees: "the Hein team will  be announcing an exciting surprise about the U.S. Congressional Serial Set at the meeting. Stay tuned for details! "

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

President Trump announces intent to nominate new GPO Director

The White House has announced that President Trump intends to nominate Robert C. Tapella of Virginia to be Director of the Government Publishing Office. "Mr. Tapella serves as professional oversight staff of the Committee on House Administration of the United States Congress with expertise in the areas of printing, publishing, and security credentialing. Mr. Tapella led a review of Title 44 of the U.S. Code, which outlines the role of public printing and publishing of documents in the Federal government, as well as the Federal Depository Library Program. Mr. Tapella served as the 25th Public Printer of the United States under President Bush and continued his service under President Obama. He began his career as calligrapher, illuminator, and bookbinder, and later ventured into print brokerage and direct mail businesses. Mr. Tapella, a 1991 graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in graphic communication, was designated as an honored alumni in 2008 and presently serves as chairman of the Dean’s Council on the library, and is also a member of the graphic communication department advisory board."

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group report

The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group consisting of federal judges and senior Judiciary officials was set up last December at the request of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. after an Appeals court judge was accused of sexual harassment. The group examined the procedures to protect the judiciary's 30,000 employees from inappropriate workplace conduct and has now issued its Final Report, with an Executive Summary. The group found that "Inappropriate conduct is not pervasive in the federal judiciary, but it also not limited to “a few isolated incidents... There is room for improvement in terms of both accessibility and transparency, but the most significant challenge to accountability lies in the understandable reluctance of victims, especially law clerks and other temporary employees, to report misconduct.”
The report's recommendations include clarifying workplace standards and communications about how employees can raise formal complaints, removing barriers to reporting complaints, providing additional and less formal avenues for employees to seek expert advice and assistance on workplace conduct issues, and utilizing enhanced training on these subjects for judges and employees.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Full Watergate coverage available online

The Library of Congress and Boston public broadcast station WGBH announced that gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings of 1973, donated to the Library by WETA Washington, D.C., has been digitally preserved and made available online. Produced by the National Public Affairs Center for Television, the hearings were taped during the day and rebroadcast every evening on public television for 51 days in 1973, from May 17 to Nov. 15. These broadcasts became one of the most popular series in public broadcasting history. For the first time in 44 years, those  historic moments  are available to the American public through an online presentation-"Gavel-to-Gavel: The Watergate Scandal and Public Television"-on the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is a collaboration between the Library and WGBH to preserve and make accessible significant at-risk public media.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Free online films from the LOC

The Library of Congress has films from the National Film Registry available for free online. The collection is available on the LOC website and is also available for streaming on YouTube. All of the films have been preserved because of their cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and are in the public domain. The collection includes:
“Memphis Belle” (1944)—William Wyler’s remarkable World War II documentary about the crew of a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber
“The Hitch-Hiker” (1953)—a gritty film noir directed by Ida Lupino
“The House I Live In” (1945) starring Frank Sinatra in a plea for religious tolerance that won an honorary Academy Award
"St. Louis Blues" (1929) Legendary blues singer Bessie Smith finds her gambler lover Jimmy messin' with a pretty, younger woman; he leaves and she sings the blues, with chorus and dancers.
"A Corner in Wheat" (1909) D.W. Griffith's short silent film about a greedy tycoon who tries to coerner the world market on wheat.
You can read more about the marvelous LOC collections featuring the performing arts- including theater and music - in the May/June issue of the Library of Congress magazine.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

University of Virginia library renovation plans include stacks reduction; faculty concerned

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article  describing how faculty members are circulating a letter asking the University's Board of Visitors to withhold approval of plans for a $152.5 million renovation because the plan calls for a  40 percent to 70 percent reduction in the library’s shelf capacity. The letter says that the proposed reduction "would directly undermine our core mission as a nationally recognized research university." Where will the books go? They will "most likely be stored at the Clemons Library next door, and at the university’s Ivy Stacks storage facility. That’s an unsatisfying solution for the open-letter authors, who say being able to browse the stacks is a crucial part of their scholarship."

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Zotero bibliographies in Bluebook format

New! ZoteroBib is a new free, tool from the makers of Zotero. It’s like EasyBib but quicker, more powerful, and sans the obnoxious ads. As you’re researching, just enter in your url, isbn, doi, etc., and click cite. It automatically grabs the citation and adds it to your list in just one click. Like Zotero, it supports Bluebook and many other citation styles. And ZoteroBib works on any device.

hat tip: Karen Shephard and Bonnie Shucha

Friday, 11 May 2018

smartphone travel tips

If you're travelling this summer, the NY Times has a helpful article about what you need to do before you leave to prepare for travelling with a smartphone. They include a checklist

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Graduate access to Lexis and Westlaw

Here is the information for students who are graduating.
LexisNexis Graduate program
Lexis has created this program for recent law school graduates, who can sign in as usual with their Lexis IDs and passwords. On July 1, graduates will see changes on the LexisNexis Law School Home Page. Graduates have:
 • Access to the top legal news from around the web and Law360®
• Career tips to help  build your resume, interview smarter, and network
• Resources to sharpen research skills and start a practice
• A valuable graduate gift to help  start their careers.
Graduates have free access to Lexis Advance through December 31, 2018.
 BTW—Be sure to redeem  LexisNexis Rewards points before they expire on June 30, 2018.
And please note, there is a way to redeem your Lexis points and use them towards your hotel for the bar exam should you choose to.

Westlaw
Graduates have access to Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, for six-months after graduation.  “Grad Elite” access gives  60-hours of usage on these products per month to gain understanding and build confidence in  research skills. While it can't be used in situations where you are billing a client, Thomson Reuters encourages grads to use these tools to build  knowledge of the law and prepare for the bar exam. In addition, graduates get access to job searching databases on Westlaw and TWEN for 18-months after graduation for 1-hour a month. Students must extend access by logging into http://www.lawschool.westlaw.com .

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

New Law Deans

Tax Prof Blog reports that there have been 18 new Deans of law schools appointed recently, and that 61% of them are women, including Pitt Law's Amy Wildermuth. The numbers come from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Visualizing census data: upcoming workshop

On Friday, May 11, Andrew Batt of the UCONN-based State Data Center will lead a streaming workshop on visualizing Census data (both American Community Survey data and National Historical Geographic Information System data) with the Tableau Public software app. Tableau Public is free for PC or Mac. The streaming service is being offered through FDLP Academy. You can access login 15 minutes before the webinar starts (appx. 10:15am EST) at this link. The workshop is expected to run for about 90 minutes. You can see some of the visualizations that the presenter has created for Connecticut here.

Friday, 20 April 2018

New database in HeinOnline: McGill Air and Space Law

Our HeinOnline subscription contains a new database: McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Publications. It includes complete coverage of the Annals of Air and Space Law, nearly 50 titles and 50,000 pages. The McGill Institute and Centre of Air and Space Law is a leading authority on air and space law: the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) is the world’s premier academic setting for teaching and research in the dual disciplines of international air law and space law, and the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL) publishes leading literature in both disciplines including the Annals of Air and Space Law (founded in 1976), treatises, monographs, and occasional papers. The Annals, which began publication in 1976, is devoted to fostering the free exchange of ideas and information pertaining to the law applicable to aerospace activities. The Annals publishes original articles, drafted in English or French, covering the entire spectrum of domestic and international air law and the law of space applications. The contributors are academics and leading practitioners from all parts of the world.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Federal Register digitized in entirety by GPO

The Government Publishing Office and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register announced that they have digitized every issue of the Federal Register back to its beginning in 1936, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued the first document, an Executive Order.  The complete digitized set is available at the govinfo website.
The announcement included some highlights from the early issues of the Federal Register:
  •  The first Executive Order published in the Federal Register on March 14, 1936, enlarged the Cape Romain Migratory Bird Refuge in South Carolina. 
  • The first war related Presidential proclamations following the Declaration of War on Japan was published in the December 10, 1941 Federal Register issue. 
  • The August 25, 1958 issue contains the Executive Order outlining changes to the flag following the admittance of Hawaii as a state.

Friday, 6 April 2018

ABA announces major restructuring

The ABA journal has an article titled "Massive restructuring at the ABA will rehouse entities under 9 centers" that outlines the soon-to-be effected changes in how the organization is structured. The ABA website still reflects the "old" structure: click on "ABA Groups" and you see a list of links to commissions, committees, task forces etc. But Executive Director Jack Rives says:
“Our current structure of divisions, committees, commissions, task forces, working groups, and other creatively named entities makes the Association extraordinarily difficult to access and costly to manage,” Rives wrote. “Our organization’s complexity has also impeded effective resource allocation. We must live within our means; we must prioritize; we must focus our resources on the programs and issues that matter most to our members, the profession and society.”

The new structure has nine centers organized around the four goals of the ABA: serving members; improving the profession; eliminating bias and enhancing diversity; and advancing the rule of law. The restructuring will help the ABA operate more efficiently and cheaply; staff cuts will occur by the end of April.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Court says PACER fees misused

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued an opinion in the class action case National Veterans Legal Services Program, et. al., v United States (docket available here). In her opinion, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said that the federal judiciary misused millions of dollars in PACER fees to fund programs that are not allowed. However, she wrote that "the Court rejects the parties’ polar opposite views of the statute." She rejected the plaintiffs' reasoning that PACER fees can only be used to cover the "marginal cost" of running PACER, but also rejected the government's "other extreme" reasoning that the E-Government Act allows PACER fees to fund any dissemination of information through electronic means. Under her reasoning, the federal judiciary must return approximately $200 million to people who paid PACER fees from 2010-2016.
The Freedom to Tinker blog has an extensive discussion of the decision:
"The law says that the Judiciary “may, only to the extent necessary, prescribe reasonable fees… to reimburse expenses incurred in providing these services.” The lawsuit centered on the meaning of terms like “only to the extent necessary” and “these services.” During the litigation, the Judiciary provided a spreadsheet showing how PACER fees were spent across different categories (categories invented by the Judiciary). About a quarter of these fees were spent on things that related to public access tangentially at best (for example, “courtroom technologies”). The judge decided that these were illegal. About 15% of fees were under a different heading: “Public Access Services.” The plaintiffs did not allege that these were illegal even though ~$25m per year seems an awful lot for serving digital documents to the public. Only the middle set of categories—about $100m per year—was seriously in dispute."

Friday, 30 March 2018

CRS Reports to be made available to the public

The GPO reports that a provision called "Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports" is included in the Consolidated Appropriations Ace of 2018. The provision makes all non-confidential Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports freely available online to individuals, schools and universities, researchers, and libraries. According to the GPO announcement, "The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall establish and maintain a public website containing CRS Reports and an index of all CRS Reports contained on the website." This is big news for librarians, as distribution of CRS reports was historically limited to members of Congress, and were outside the scope of the Federal Depository Library Program. According to GPO, "Once CRS Reports begin to be publicly-disseminated, these reports will be in scope of the FDLP. These reports will then be cataloged and made available via the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) with links to the CRS website."
Vermont Business Magazine has more information on the provision which was sponsored by Vt. Senator Patrick Leahy, and which has been an issue that Leahy and Sen. John McCain of Arizona have worked on for 15 years.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

More on "The FDLP Moderization Act of 2018"

The Government Publishing Office today published the GPO Statement on H.R. 5305, The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018." The statement says that "The GPO is pleased to support the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018. We appreciate the consultation the Committee engaged in with us as well as with other key stakeholders during its development. The bill affirms the principle that the free flow of Government information is fundamental to the health of our democracy, and acknowledges the important role Federal depository libraries play in ensuring free public access to that information."
On the other hand, the Free Gov Info blog has some misgivings about the bill that are summarized here under the heading "Loopholes.":
1. Fugitives
2. Agency Websites and
3. A Digital FDLP.
Free Gov Info suggests that Congress can make the bill even better; the meeting to discuss the bill is scheduled for Thursday April 12 at 11 am.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Title 44 big news

The announcement came from the Government Printing Publishing Office (GPO) today:  On March 15, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives filed H.R. 5305 IH, the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018, the amend Title 44, U.S. Code. They included a link to the FDLP's Title 44 Revision Page which has links to the Depository Library Council's Title 44 recomndations, Congressional testimony, and other related resources.
As you may know, concerned gov docs librarians have been writing about the proposed amendation of Title 44 for several months. Two of the best-known gov docs librarians, both named James Jacobs, have published an article in Library Journal discussion their concerns. They also encourage interested readers to check out a special issue of Against the Grain titled Ensuring Access to Government Information to read up on the issues involved.

Pennsylvania congressional redistricting

There's an excellent blogpost titled "Exploring Pennsylvania's Gerrymandered Congressional Districts" that provides very detailed, granular geospatial data to illustrate the congressional district issue in Pennsylvania. The blog is hosted by Azavea, a Philadelphia-based company that makes "geographic data more valuable by creating beautiful and scalable web and mobile applications, and by creating analytics that uncover insights in your data."

hat tip: Pat Roncevich, our Pitt Law geospatial expert

Friday fun...

If you're bored there's a fun online game called "Click That 'Hood Pittsburgh" - it tests your knowledge of where all the neighborhoods in the 'burgh are located.