Friday, 2 December 2016

Gender differences in law schools

Bloomberg Law blog has an interesting post that looks at gender differences in law school attendance. They point out that although almost half of law school students today are female, this is a national average and conceals an interesting gender divide. "Female law students outnumber men at schools with weak reputations while men dominate class rosters at the most prestigious schools." As am example they point to Yale where just 46 percent of students are female. At Duke University and the University of Virginia, also highly ranked law schools, women make up only 42 percent of the student body. The school with the highest percentage of women students (65 percent) is low ranked Charlotte School of Law. "This relationship between law school rank and the percentage of women students isn’t just anecdotal: across all ABA-accredited law schools, it reaches a sizable (and statistically significant) correlation of .381. Schools with a better rank, on average, enroll a substantially smaller percentage of women."

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Cornell Law offers "legal research clinic" opportunity for law students

Cornell Law School has a new legal clinic called the "Cornell Legal Research Clinic," a three credit course offered through their Law Library. Students enrolled in the clinic help local residents, nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs who have specific legal research questions but do not require full legal representation. Students also work with public-interest lawyers who need legal research assistance, and regularly staff tables at local Startup locations. The Cornell Chronicle has an article with more information about the clinic.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

MIT report on the future of libraries

Inside Higher Education reports that MIT has published a preliminary report that is the culmination of a yearlong initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study "how the MIT libraries ought to evolve to best advance the creation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge; and to serve as a leader in the reinvention of research libraries. "The MIT libraries should focus on its four "pillars" -- community and relationships, discovery and use, stewardship and sustainability, and research and development -- to reimagine itself as an "open global platform," according to a preliminary report published Monday. Chris Bourg, the MIT Libraries' Director, says “What the report and the work of the task force say is that libraries aren’t just about buildings, and they’re not just about books. Providing access to credible information and the tools to assess, use, understand and exploit it is what libraries, librarians and archivists have always done. It’s more important than ever now.”
The full report is available on the MIT website (28 page pdf).

Monday, 28 November 2016

BIG changes at the GODORT State Agency Databases Project

Daniel Cornwall, who initiated the State Agency Databases Project back in 2007, has announced a number of changes in the website. The project is managed by volunteers from the government documents section of the American Library Assn. Daniel says:
"We have instituted two major changes that I think will benefit you, your patrons and anyone else who needs to deal with publicly searchable databases from US States.
 1) We are migrating to LibGuides! We feel this will allow for easier reuse of our material and will give us better usage statistics and control over how things look. Effective immediately please use the following URLs: a. Main Project Page b. State Blue Books/Encyclopedias
 2) Our state pages are now being organized by subject, rather than by agency. This change has also allowed us to offer more cross-state subject guides - though these are embryonic at the moment.
 To see how the subject organization looks in LibGuides, visit the Alaska page.
The switch to move all content from the GODORT Wiki and organize it by subject will take a while. We anticipate being finished by 3/31/2017. You can follow our progress on our migration dashboard at http://godort.libguides.com/statedatabases/dashboard. We will also offer periodic updates on our progress. We have set all LibGuides content to share with the entire LibGuides Community, so please let anyone you know working on LibGuides that our content is available for their use. Permission not required, attribution appreciated.
 Finally, we'd like your help in deciding whether to keep several of our current subject guides. If you care about cross-state guides in history and related fields, please visit this page and vote whether these should  be moved into LibGuides or let go. Voting will continue until 2/1/2017. To be migrated into LibGuides, a subject guide must receive at least 50 votes and a majority of those votes have to be yes. "

Friday, 18 November 2016

New Director of University Library System

Pitt News Service has the announcement:
"Kornelia Tancheva, associate university librarian for research and learning services at Cornell University Library, will be Pitt’s Hillman University Librarian and director of the University Library System effective May 1 of next year, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson announced today.
Tancheva, whose association with Cornell University dates back to 1993, holds a PhD in American drama and theatre from Cornell as well as three master’s degrees—one in library science from Syracuse University, one in history and theory of drama and theatre from Cornell, and one in English language and literature from Sofia University in Bulgaria.
Her career has included planning and implementing a number of key projects and initiatives, including partnership programs within Cornell and beyond."

hat tip: Pat Roncevich & Tracey Olanyk

ABA puts law school on probation

The ABA Journal reports that The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is placing the Charlotte School of Law on probation and publicly censuring Valparaiso University School of Law because both schools were out of compliance with ABA accreditation standards. The two schools were disciplined for violating ABA admissions rules by failing to maintain sound admissions policies and admitting students who "(do) not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.” Law.com reports that "The ABA has now publicly sanctioned three law schools for violating admissions rules since August, unusual moves considering such actions historically are rare. Ave Maria School of Law is the other campus that has run afoul of the rules."

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

PACER revenues

The Free Law Project blog has a post titled "How much money does PACER make?" and answers the question with statistics that are quite eye-opening: PACER has brought in $1.2 billion over its 21 year existence, including $145 million in 2015 (the latest year available). Which leads the Free Law Project to conclude that:
"These are remarkable numbers and they point to one of two conclusions. Either PACER is creating a surplus — which is illegal according to the E-Government Act — or PACER is costing $135M/year to run. Whichever the case, it’s clear that something has gone terribly wrong. If the justice system is turning a profit selling public domain legal documents through its public access system, that’s wrong. If the judicial branch needs $60M/year to run a basic website, that’s gross waste, and that’s wrong too. Something needs to be done to rein in PACER, and again we ask that public citizens, Congress, journalists, and the courts work to develop a solution."

Statutes at Large from the LLoC update

Jennifer Gonz├ílez on the In Custodia Legis Blog From the Law Library of Congress informs readers that two years ago the LLoC “added historical Statutes at Large to our Digitized Material page. Years 1789-1950 have been available there in a large PDF download, but we have been working steadily to add more functionality to the website. We continue to add details to each Congress page that show the titles and dates of each statute, along with a smaller download for just that statute. Currently, we have years 1826-1919 (Congresses 19-65) available with chapter details. Years 1919-1923 (Congresses 66 and 67) will be posted by the end of 2016. And then we will continue to fill in the gaps in our coverage…”
hat tip: Pat Roncevich

Friday, 11 November 2016

Government Accountability Office (GAO) transition app

“To help make the upcoming presidential and congressional transitions as informed as possible, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has launched a new mobile app that provides users easy access to the watchdog agency’s priority recommendations for improving government operations."  The app is available free of charge in the App Store or Google Play. GAO has a webpage about the Presidential and Congressional transition with links to the App and other information.
hat tip: beSpacific

President Elect website now available

Monday, 7 November 2016

Beyond Google - Another Look at Finding Government Information

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) through its FDLP Academy is hosting a webiner this Wednesday, November 9th at 2:00 pm called "Beyond Google - Another Look at Finding Government Information." This webinar will cover intermediate and advanced searching techniques, deep web search engines, and ways to find and use "hidden" resources. During the webinar, sample searches will be for statistics, born-digital, and digitized historical publications. You can register for this free webinar here.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Moving to Office 360 email

If you're paying attention you have probably received several notices, both via email and snailmail, about the move to Office 365 email that is going to occur for Pitt faculty and staff really soon.
If you haven't paid much attention, you can get all the info you need at pi.tt/mypittemail, a site that  CSSD has set up. Basically the move should happen seamlessly and there's no need to worry.
Plus Office 365 email is going to be "An improved email experience" with 50 GB of email storage (!) etc. etc. etc. and a new feature called Clutter: "Clutter will be activated for your Inbox. It automatically moves less important messages into a new Clutter folder."
Sounds interesting.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

LLRX updates website

The LLRX.com website was recently redesigned with an all new look. LLRX is a free, independent, one woman published Web journal dedicated to providing legal, library, IT, CI/BI, marketing, communications, Congressional, legislative, academic and administrative professionals, as well as students, with the most up-to-date information on a wide range of web research and technology-related issues, applications, resources and tools. It has been edited and published for 20 years by Sabrina I. Pacifici, pioneering member of the online legal community.

Burgh's Eye View tracks and locates Pittsburgh data

The City of Pittsburgh has launched a new website/app called "Burgh's Eye View" that contains information and maps about Pittsburgh including crime statistics, building code violations and 311 service requests about broken sidewalks, graffiti, potholes and excessive noise complaints. The app contains data the city supplies each night to the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, a website that contains public information, much of which was previously accessible only through Right-to-Know requests.
According to the website, "At first glance, Burgh’s Eye View might seem like some­thing from the dreams of our most “neb­by” neigh­bors... but...We think of it as neb­by for the great­er good." Burgh’s Eye View is an initiative of the Department of the Innovation & Performance’s Analytics & Strategy Team. Who, by the way, say they would "love to hear (via email) your feedback, ideas, and hopes for the future of data in the City of Pittsburgh."

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Charleston Conference live streaming Nov. 3&4

The 2016 Charleston Conference, an informal annual gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston S.C. is running this Thursday, Nov. 3 2016 through Saturday. If you aren't planning to attend the conference in person they will be live streaming several plenary sessions on the conference website, available here.
The events that will be available are:
Thursday, November 3  
8:30 – 9:15 am: You Can’t Preserve What You Don’t Have – Or Can You? Libraries as Infrastructure for Perpetual Access to Intellectual Output. (Anja Smit, University Librarian, Utrecht University)
9:15 – 10:00 am Libraries as Convener, Enabler, Distributor, Advocate, and Archive in the Future Knowledge Economy (Jim Neal, University Librarian Emeritus, Columbia University)
Friday, November 4
8:30 – 9:10 am Reimagining Our World At Planetary Scale: The Big Data Future Of Our Libraries (Kalev Leetaru, Senior Fellow, Center for Cyber & Homeland Security, Georgetown University)
9:10 – 9:55 am Hyde Park Debate – Resolved: APC-Funded Open Access is Antithetical to the Values of Librarianship (Rick Anderson, Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication, University of Utah; Michael Levine-Clark, Dean and Director, University of Denver Libraries; Alison Scott, Associate University Librarian for Collections & Scholarly Communication, University of California, Riverside).
Recorded video from the sessions will be made available on the Conference website in January.

webinar: International Government Survey Data: How to Find and Use It

"Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian," the webinar series hosted by the Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association, has announced its next installment: International Government Survey Data: How to Find and Use It. The webinar will be held on Monday, Nov. 14 from noon- 1 pm Eastern time.
From the description: What is the difference between international government statistics, aggregate data, and microdata? What is "unit-level" data? How does one discover, evaluate, and utilize microdata produced by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations? This webinar will introduce the user to tips and tricks for finding, evaluating and using international microdata, and explaining how these sources differ from the statistics and aggregate data many users are more accustomed to working with. Major discovery services will be explored, as well as the essential skills needed to interpret data documentation, study descriptions, and the formats in which these data are provided.
Presenter Jim Church is the librarian for economics, international & foreign government information, global poverty, and political economy at the University of California Berkeley. He serves as the Chair of the IFLA Government Information and Official Publications Section and is also active in the ALA Government Documents Round Table where he writes the international documents column for the journal DttP. His primary areas of interest are in economic development and international and nongovernmental organizations.
You can register for the program here. The webinar will also be recorded and available after the live session from the NCLA GRS web page and on their YouTube channel

Friday, 28 October 2016

New Census.gov data dissemination beta testing

The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing a new "enterprise dissemination tool" for the giant mass of data gathered by the Census. Currently there are a bunch of data sources/finding aids for the US Census, and this new tool is meant to centralize and standardize data into a single platform. The Census Bureau held an online webinar this week that gave an overview and demonstration of this new Census site. The webinar was recorded and is available online through the FDLP Academy program at the US GPO; the powerpoint presentation and a transcript of the audio are also available through FDLP.
The Census Bureau is determined to make this as userfriendly as possible, and the beta test, called "data.census.gov preview", is now open to all. The Census Bureau would like people to use the preview and then submit feedback to improve the platform as it evolves into the permanent Census data source.

Kluwer study guides subscription updates

For your information: Kluwer has just updated all the study guides in our subscription to the most recent editions. There are also two new titles included in the subscription: "Inside Adjudicative Criminal Procedure: What Matters and Why," and "Inside Torts: What Matters and Why."
The Kluwer study guides are very helpful and we encourage Pitt Law students to make use of them as we head towards final exam time.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Internet of Things at CMU

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article titled "The Internet of Things Faces Practical and Ethical Challenges" about studies being done up the street at CMU. The IoT, as it’s known, works through a network of internet-connected devices, such as wireless sensors and smart products like phones, speakers, tablets, and watches. The sensors, many of which are about half the size of an iPhone’s screen, can be placed virtually anywhere — including on toasters, coffee makers, doors, windows, and walls. Thousands of sensors have been placed across the CMU campus for a research project funded by Google. "You can start to get answers to questions that would’ve taken a fairly significant effort to figure out by yourself," Anind Dey (director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at CMU) says. For instance: Why is my office so cold? Is my colleague in her office right now?
Meanwhile, Wired magazine, in a report on the massive internet outage last Friday, says that "initial reports indicate that the attack was part of a genre of DDoS that infects Internet of Things devices (think webcams, DVRs, routers, etc.) all over the world with malware. Once infected, those Internet-connected devices become part of a botnet army, driving malicious traffic toward a given target."

Monday, 24 October 2016

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports online

The Congressional Research Service, a component of the Library of Congress, conducts research and analysis for Congress on a broad range of national policy issues. Congressional Research Service reports have traditionally only been available to Congressional offices. Now EveryCRSReport.com provides access to every currently loaded CRS report in Congress’s internal website. The site contains over 8,200 reports, but this changes as reports are added or updated. Each report includes a revision history that reflects changes over time. The site offers topical browsing, keyword searching, email alerts, and RSS feed capabilities. EveryCRSReport.com is a joint effort between Demand Progress and Congressional Data Coalition.
The website says "We’re publishing reports by Congress’s think tank, the Congressional Research Service, which provides valuable insight and non-partisan analysis of issues of public debate. These reports are already available to the well-connected — we’re making them available to everyone for free."

hat tip: Kirstin Nelson, AALL CRIV blog

Bar passage standards set to get tougher

The ABA Journal and Above the Law are both reporting that last Friday the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved a proposal to tighten bar passage rate standards for ABA-approved law schools. Under the proposal, 75% of the graduates must pass a bar exam within a two-year period; the current rule is a 75% passage rate within five years. The proposal is expected to go the ABA House of Delegates in February 2017.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Pitt Law: Fall 2016

In case you missed it, the Fall 2016 issue of Pitt Law Magazine came out this week and is available online. The cover feature is about Prof. Jules Lobel and his work with prisoners in solitary confinement. There are also stories featuring Prof. Tomar Brown and the Health Law clinic she directs at Children's Hospital; the Pitt Law Legal Incubator; and lots more. Kudos to our Communications Department for an excellent publication.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Of books and library stacks

There's an interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled "It's Not Too Late to Save the Stacks." Author Ann Michael, who is a poet and writing coordinator at DeSales University in eastern PA, says "I would like to make a plea for the value of keeping libraries as physical spaces — as actual, rather than virtual, edifices — and as buildings for housing books and encouraging the conversations between human beings and physical textual materials." Librarians are familiar with the various sides of this issue, but students and scholars should be aware as well.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

New from Bloomberg Law: Litigation Analytics

Bloomberg Law has announced the launch of Litigation Analytics, a new resource from Bloomberg Law that can help lawyers shape litigation strategies and understand the potential impacts of different judges and courts. Litigation Analytics gathers and uses intelligence about law firms, courts, judges, and industry to enhance decision-making. It is available in all of Pitt Law's Bloomberg Law accounts, under the "Litigation & Dockets" tab on the orange menu at the top of the page.

Uber: the Pittsburgh experiment

MIT Technology Review has an article titled Your Driverless Ride is Arriving, about the Uber self-driving car experiment in Pittsburgh. Uber is using Pittsburgh to test how well driverless cars can do in an urban environment. The articles author gives a detailed description of what it's like to ride in one of the test cars in Pittsburgh, and talks to CMU robotics faculty who are also working on the autonomous car concept. His conclusion: "Uber thinks its self-driving taxis could change the way millions of people get around. But autonomous vehicles aren’t any­where near to being ready for the roads."

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Cybersecurity through a legal lens

Pittsburgh's World Affairs Council has announced a luncheon event called "Exploring Cybersecurity through a Legal Lens." What international laws are broken when cyber attacks are committed across borders? What legal obligation does a country have to respond? Should individual companies and corporations have the authority to hack back?
The event will be held at the Rivers Club in Oxford Center on Weds. Oct. 26 at noon.  Panelists include David Hickton, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, J. Keith Mularski, Supervisory Special Agent Cyber Squad FBI - Pittsburgh Field Office, and Matthew LaVigna, President and CEO, National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance. There is a $50 registration fee for members and $75 for non-members.

Friday, 14 October 2016

New and Different SSRN website changes

SSRN has updated their website, with a very different look for the home page. According to the announcement on the SSRN blog, they are delivering on their promise to improve "the SSRN experience. With new resources for design and development, we are reimagining SSRN’s possibilities. First, we implemented our long-awaited full-text search which had been requested by many of you. Now we’re delighted to present our new Home Page. This is just the first of many design improvements we hope to deliver before the end of the year."

hat tip: Karen Shephard

A Westlaw question & a clever answer

We had 1L Westlaw training this week, and afterwards one of our students emailed the Westlaw rep with this question: How can we use Westlaw to find things like definitions or elements of basic legal concepts such as the element of consideration in contract law. Samuel Berbano, our Westlaw rep, created this video, titled "Law School Study Blues? Try the Jury Instructions!" to answer the question.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

The American Assn. of Law Libraries and BU Law are hosting a National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials on Dec. 2, 2016 at the BU College of Law. The conference will feature keynote speaker Corynne McSherry, lunch speaker Sarah Jeong, and a full slate of copyright experts on three panels: legal status, operational issues, and advocacy and inspiration. Panelists include librarians, lawyers, law professors, technologists, and practitioners. The draft agendahas been posted; it includes speaker names and more information about the panels. The cost is $75; you can register here.

Pitt Cyber Security Symposium

The University of Pittsburgh will hold the third annual Cyber Security Symposium on Tuesday, October 25th, in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Rohyt Belani, CEO and co-Founder of PhishMe, Inc., will deliver the keynote address. The event is free to all University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and students.
Registration is required. Please register here.

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