Tuesday, 22 September 2020

All-Virtual 2020 FDLP Conference in October

The (free) 2020 Federal Depository Library Conference is going to be all-virtual this year and will be held on October 20-23, 2020. Register here. The final schedule shows the dates and times of events and the agenda has information about the presenters and presentations. There are lots of interesting presentations scheduled, including the Keynote Address: Enhancing Access to National Archives Collections and Services During the Time of COVID by David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. Also an introduction to persistent digital identifiers titled "DOIs, PURLs, URIs Oh My! " by James Jacobs, and a discussion of FOIA requests:

"The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) FOIA Advisory Committee recently issued a recommendation encouraging agencies to release FOIA documents to the public on their FOIA websites and through FOIA portals in open, legible, machine-readable and machineactionable formats. Meanwhile, there is a flood of documents released every month in response to public requests. There are some superstars out there that are helping to make FOIA’d documents and other unpublished records more publicly accessible."
There's also going to be a joint presentation from GPO and the Library of Congress about digitization of the Serial Set as well a talk about new govinfo Content and Enhancements.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The ascendance of worker bees?

Have you noticed shifts in who takes on leadership roles during the WFH pandemic? The BBC has an article on "leadership" titled "The surprising traits of good remote leaders."
"Strong in-person leadership skills don’t necessarily translate to being a good virtual leader. Instead, organisation and competency reign supreme."
They cite a study that shows virtual teams often trend to accepting leadership from workers who are organized, dependable and productive, rather than the usual "ambitious workers" in the "executive suite." The basis of the article is a report from the Journal of Business and Psychology titled "Who Emerges into Virtual Team Leadership Roles? The Role of Achievement and Ascription Antecedents for Leadership Emergence Across the Virtuality Spectrum" (link goes to SpringerLink).

Constitution Day 2020 - African-American Members of Congress and the Constitution During Reconstruction

The Law Library of Congress and the Library of Congress have announced the annual Constitution Day lecture for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. This year's lecture will be an online lecture given by Michael J. Murphy, a Historical Publication Specialist in the Office of the Historian for the U.S. House of Representatives, entitled“The Bulwark of Freedom”: African-American Members of Congress and the Constitution During Reconstruction. Registration is free, but required in order to attend the online event. From the blurb:

"Mr. Murphy explains that in 1870, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first of 14 African Americans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives before the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Following the Civil War, Congress amended the Constitution to outlaw slavery, extend civil and political rights to African Americans, and expand the power of the federal government. Rainey and the small cohort of Black Representatives who served alongside him were all elected from southern states and many were formerly enslaved. They saw the Constitution as a battleground in the debate over Reconstruction and the future of the country, arguing for an expansive vision of citizenship and legal equality. For Rainey, the Constitution was “the bulwark of freedom,” designed to provide “protection to the humblest citizen, without regard to rank, creed, or color.” During the 1870s, Black Members embraced the Constitution—the founding document which had long denied them their very personhood—as a tool to redefine American democracy and fully realize the promise of representative government."

Another interesting webinar from FDLP Academy

FDLP is offering another interesting, free, webinar, "Legal Instruction and Resources at the Law Library of Congress: Recent Developments." The webinar will be on Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 2-3 pm Eastern time. Register here.

"This webinar will introduce attendees to new and developing resources at the Law Library of Congress: the Legal Research Institute, Legal Gazettes, and Legal Reports. The Law Library provides instruction on legal research and on how to use its vast collections, and these services have been enhanced through the introduction of webinars on the Legal Research Institute website. Participants will be oriented to the Legal Research Institute site and discover the instruction offered on U.S., and foreign and comparative law. In addition, participants will learn of how the Law Library is making available its extensive collection of legal gazettes collected from around the world and of the legal reports that are created in response to Congressional inquiry. Furthermore, participants will receive an overview of the efforts to make available foreign legal gazettes and legal reports that are prepared by Law Library staff for Congress."

Monday, 14 September 2020

Webinar: Subject Headings Behind the Scenes

The FDLP and GPO are offering another free webinar called "Subject Headings Behind the Scenes." The webinar will take place on Wednesday, October 14th, from 2-3 pm Eastern time. From the blurb:

Have you ever wondered how subject headings are chosen for catalog records or why they are worded the way they are? This session will dispel mysteries about how GPO selects and applies Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT). Topics include headings and terms commonly used for Government information dissemination products; how to interpret headings; quality control measures at GPO; and tips for searching the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (GGP).
Register for the webinar here.

Nostalgic for sounds of the office?

 MIT Technology Review has an article titled "People who really miss the office are listening to its sounds at home." It tells of an audio engineer who gave in to many requests to make "office sounds" available for people working at home. So he created "Calm Office," a soundstream with volume sliders where users can adjust the volume of office-like sound effects: clackety keys, fax machine whirrs, and distant strains of conversation. The Calm Office tagline: "The office noise, without the boss yelling at you."

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

More copyright history

 The Copyright blog from the Library of Congress has a post titled "Historic Court Cases that Helped Shape Scope of Copyright Protections." From the post:

"As the Copyright Office celebrates its 150th birthday, we can look back more than 240 years through the history of copyright protections in the United States to see how the law has changed in response to changing technologies and economics... The federal courts have been crucial in looking at creative media and setting the boundaries of what is protected and what isn’t. This is a look back at some of the most important court rulings on what is and isn’t protectable throughout the years under U.S. copyright law. These cases reflect some of the landmarks for American courts for defining the scope of copyright protection: (1) Is a system of accounting and its ledgers protected? (2) Is a photograph protected when the law doesn’t explicitly mention photographs? (3) Is an advertisement protected? And (4) Is a creative work incorporated into a useful article protected?"

Webinar: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Federal Campaign Finance Law

The FDLP Academy is offering a live training webinar, "The Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Federal Campaign Finance Law." The webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (EDT).  Recording and closed captioning are available. The speaker at the webinar will be David Garr, Communication Specialist, Federal Election Commission The webinar will discuss the history of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and its role administering and enforcing Federal campaign finance laws. You can register for the free webinar here

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on Coronavirus on Campuses

The Chronicle of Higher Education has been providing excellent coverage of how colleges and universities are handling COVID-19. They have an article "Here’s Our List of Colleges’ Reopening Models" that presents the reopening models of nearly 3,000 institutions, in useful graphical format. They also have an article that is updated frequently "Live Coronavirus Updates: Here’s the Latest," with news from all over of COVID effects. You need to have access to a Chronicle of Higher Education subscription to see these; the links in this post will take you to the University of Pittsburgh's subscription so Pitt users can authenticate.

HeinOnline adds sports law publications

 Database HeinOnline has announced that they have added additional Sports Law publications to their legal journals collection. These are published by Hackney Publications, and "provide in-depth legal analysis of sports law issues, mission-critical information to sports industry professionals, and practical advice..."

Note, however, that "All titles are included in HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library with an embargo;" meaning that indexing only is available for the most recent journals. The title list, however, is interesting, and includes:

  • Legal Issues in Collegiate Athletics
  • Professional Sports and the Law
  • Concussion Litigation Reporter
  • Sports Facilities and the Law
  • ESports and the Law
  • My Legal Bookie
  • Sports Medicine and the Law
All of these titles are available in our HeinOnline subscription but you must be a Pitt user to access.

Monday, 7 September 2020

150th Anniversary of the US Copyright Office

The latest edition of the Library of Congress Magazine is a celebration of 150 years of the U.S. Copyright Office or "150 years of promoting creativity and free expression through the administration of the nation’s copyright laws." Since it's founding, Congress has passed two major revisions of copyright law: the Copyright Act of 1909 (President Theodore Roosevelt) and the Copyright Act of 1976 (President Gerald Ford). The magazine goes on to say that "The 1976 act is still in effect today, with several amendments, including the landmark Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act of 2018."
Articles in this issue of the LOC Magazine have some great historic images: early workers in the Copyright Office; the copyright submission from French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi registered his “Statue of American Independence” (aka the Statue of Liberty) on Aug. 31, 1876; blues singer Bessie Smith's submission for copyright for the song "Wasted Life Blues;" and many others. The magazine says.

"Copyright deposits capture milestones, even if they aren’t recognized as such until years later. The Copyright Office holds the unpublished deposit for a 1980 “Star Wars” Christmas album that marks the recording debut of Jon Bon Jovi, who sang lead vocals on “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” (Sample lyric: “If the snow becomes too deep, just give a little beep. We’ll go there by the fire and warm your little wires.”) They reveal new dimensions to famous folks — an unpublished composition by a 14-year-old Aaron Copland, for example, or unpublished plays written by Tennessee Williams and Zora Neale Hurston. The Manuscript Division holds 13 such plays by Mae West, the actress and sex symbol whose ability to impart suggestive meaning to any line onscreen is immediately apparent in her writings, too."

There is a treasure trove of information and stories about copyright in the United States in this edition of the LOC magazine.  

hat tip: Pat Roncevich 

Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Information Hub: A COVID-19 Research Project

Everyone who works in or uses libraries is concerned about how to handle library materials during the COVID-19 pandemic. OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle are conducting research on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums. This cooperative project, called the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums or REALM Project, has issued 4 reports on tests conducted with library and archival materials infected with the COVID-19 virus. The reports are available on the REALM news page. The most recent report, from Project Test 4, tested stacked hardback books, softcover books, protective covers, and DVD cases. Test results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. In previous tests, where the materials were not stacked, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Opening America Up Again cdc.gov

The CDC had created a 60 page + document on reopening, titled "CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again" for public distribution (62 page pdf). According to the document: "This document briefly summarizes CDC’s initiatives, activities, and tools in support of the Whole-of-Government." response to COVID-19.


Hat tip: the GovDocs listserv and Ben Amata, govdocs librarian at Cal State Sacramento

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Cambridge Legal Studies freely available

Cambridge University Press has announced that in honor of the 40th volume of their publication Legal Studies, they are offering free access to the most recent issue until June 15.
Highlights from this issue include:
 Contextual review: the instinctive impulse and unstructured normativism in judicial review by Dean R Knight *Winner of the SLS Annual Conference Best Paper Prize 2019
 Anti-money laundering regulation and the art market by Saskia Hufnagel and Colin King
 A vindicatory approach to tortious liability for mistakes in assisted human reproduction by Andrea Mulligan.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

GPO Webinar Offerings

SUMMER LEARNIN’- HAD ME A BLAST: FREE WEBINARS FROM GPO

Check out these free, upcoming educational webinars from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). There's something for everyone. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

2020 Law Graduates: access to Lexis, Westlaw and BloombergLaw

Law school graduates have extended use of Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg. Here's the specific info for each database:
  • Lexis Advance: Graduates have continuing access to their law school accounts until Dec. 31, 2020. Graduates who log on after July 5, 2020 will receive an offer for extended access to selected Lexis products (e.g., Law360, Lexis Practice Advisor). 
  •  Westlaw Edge: Graduating students may extend access through TR’s Grad Elite program. Registered students will get 60 hours per month full access for 6 months post-graduation through Nov. 30, 2020.
  • Bloomberg Law: 2020 graduating law students will have unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law® through June 1, 2021.

Monday, 4 May 2020

US Supreme Court to livestream oral arguments

Today, Monday May 4 at 10 a.m., the justices of the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com and for the first time will livestream the oral arguments. Click to tune in to the live audio stream from CSpan.

Friday, 1 May 2020

US Supreme Court rules in favor of PublicResource.org

The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Carl malamud's Public.Resource.Org in its case against the state of Georgia. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 that the state of Georgia can't claim copyright over its annotated code. State publications are now unambiguously in the public domain. The opinion is available here.
The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. There were two dissenting opinions: one authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Alito and Breyer, and the other authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and joined by Justice Breyer.
At issue in the case was the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated, published exclusively by LexisNexis. The sate contracts with LexisNexis to publish the Georgia state code as well as to write and publish the annotations under the supervision of Georgia’s Code Revision Commission. The state of Georgia argued that the annotations are copyrightable.
The majority of the court found that the involvement of the state commission in overseeing the annotation process means that annotations can be considered a product of the legislative process and, in a sense, to be authored by legislators. “Although Lexis expends considerable effort preparing the annotations, for purposes of copyright that labor redounds to the Commission as the statutory author,” Roberts wrote. He concluded that “whatever work [a] judge or legislator produces in the course of his judicial or legislative duties is not copyrightable.”
The decision is an important win for PublicResource.org and for the open government movement. But, a Law360 article on the decision adds, "What is guaranteed is that publishers who work with governmental representatives will be looking closely at their contracts and relationships, with the court's new ruling in hand, to assess the structure and incentives that surround the creation of annotations, summaries and other analysis of the law."

Thursday, 16 April 2020

CRS Report on Remote Voting

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has just published a new report titled Constitutional Considerations of Remote Voting In Congress. From the report:
COVID-19 has had an impact on almost every facet of American life. Congress has not been spared. Largely because the risk of transmission of the disease is highest in concentrated groups, there have been calls to alter the internal operation of the two chambers to introduce “social distancing” into the legislative process.... The prospect of remote voting has given rise to many issues and concerns, ranging from its impact on the deliberative nature of Congress to the technological and security hurdles inherent in its implementation. But there are also constitutional questions.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources from WK

From Wolters Kluwer:
"Our primary goal during this time is to be proactive regarding the health and safety of our customers and our employees. We also remain committed to providing you with the same high level of service you have come to expect from us without interruption. We are making COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources for legal, health and compliance professionalsavailable - at no charge – to support our customers and the legal community."
They then provide a link to their "Cheetah COVID-19 State & Federal Compare Smart Chart™." To use the smart chart, you first select a topic or topics and then select which jurisdictions you would like to compare, then click "see results." For example, you can compare the COVID-19 Recommendations that have been published as Executive Orders from the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to see how they compare and when they made these orders.

hat tip: Pat Roncevich

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.