Tuesday 31 July 2007

library bookmarklet

Thanks to Pat Roncevich for pointing this one out. It's a website where you create a 'bookmarklet' for your library. You can then position the bookmarklet on your links toolbar and use it to find out if a book you want is available in Pittcat.
Go to the website called the Library Lookup Bookmarklet Generator. In the box for "Base URL
(Example: http://ksclib.keene.edu)" enter http://pittcat.pitt.edu and in the box "Library Name" enter "Barco". Check the box for "Voyager" and Hit "ENTER".
On the next page you can drag the bookmarklet link "Barco" and drop it on your toolbar.
Now the next time you're on Amazon or some other bookseller website and see a book you would like to read, just click on the Barco bookmarklet and it will look up the availability of the book on Pittcat.

gay/lesbian law pathfinder

It's been too bzzzzzzy at Barco to blog. But there are several really good new articles on LLRX this week that I want to mention. One of them provides a gay/lesbian law pathfinder created by Mark Plotkin. He pulls together a variety of disparate information resources including books, articles, and websites that address legal issues faced by gays and lesbians.

Monday 30 July 2007

volunteer opportunities for librarians

I came across this posting on Library HQ dot com: Volunteering Opportunities for Librarians. Of course we all serve the community in many ways, but these are opportunities that need our special skills as librarians.

email migration

Our migration from the "law.pitt.edu" email server to the University's "pitt.edu" is almost completed, thanks to the IT guys who worked flat out all weekend (I think Matt slept here one night.) Please everybody be patient while the remaining wrinkles get ironed out.
You can get to your email through the http://my.pitt.edu portal. Just remember - if you changed your username on the pitt system, you need to enter your new username and password to access your law school email (your old Pitt login will get you to your Pitt email but not you law school email).

Saturday 28 July 2007

The FDLP tattoo

There was an article in the New York Times a little while ago about a group of hip young librarians in Brooklyn. Mention was made of a "guybrarian" in the group who had a tattoo of the FDLP logo tattooed on his arm where it could peek out from the sleeve of his teeshirt. The govdocs librarian listserv picked up on the mention and ran with it! Messages went back and forth about the possibility of FDLP tattoos, of temporary tattoos and of GODART ( the ALA's gov docs subgroup) doing something. One group did do something. The govdocs people at the U. of Michigan got temporary tattoo paper, made FDLP tattoos and had themselves a little party - a photo is at the bottom of their webpage.

Friday 27 July 2007

Pitt Law email migration

There's a Pittlawemail wiki where anyone can post information about migrating our emails onto the University servers; for example, how to change your email information in Lexis and Westlaw. If you're prompted for a password, it's "barco".

Thursday 26 July 2007

New Westlaw interface

Westlaw has rolled out a new interface for law schools. The general look has been updated - though it's still blue. Aside from that, there were 4 changes that I immediately noticed. First, TWEN has been upgraded from an unassuming tab on the navigation bar to a GIGANTIC YELLOW RECTANGLE in the middle of the page. If you click, you get into TWEN with an updated look; but I noodled around and didn't find any big changes in the basic TWEN format.
Second, the calendar has been moved onto the home page, which is kind of nice. Third, there are "I think I know what I want" search boxes on the home page (called Research Shortcuts) that seem more flexible than the search options on the old home page; you can search for law review articles on a particular topic, for example, right from the home page. Finally, there's a brand new feature: the addition of a "Search the Web" box, called "Westlaw WebPlus (beta): legally focused Web results." I've run a couple of searches but I'm not sure what exactly the search is doing, I assume it's supposed to be like a Google that can home in on legal information. Stay tuned.

Science will no longer available in JSTOR

Inside Higher Ed. is reporting that Science, the well-known and widely-read journal of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, is pulling out of the JSTOR database effective the end of 2007.

Wednesday 25 July 2007

v. cool/useful stuff

Seems like there's an awful lot of new cool stuff to try out , is it the summertime?
- Pat told me about Quintura, a very interesting search engine. You type in your query and it displays a visual map/cloud of words or hints that are related to your query in different contexts; you find the context you want and go from there.

- Then I got the regular Steve Bass/ PC World email with a very thumbs-up review of Jing, a new video screencapture tool. "It's smart and free and a kick to use." said the review, and I have to agree. Easy too. Jing is a by TechSmith, the same people who sell SnagIt and Camtasia, the fancy/expensive screen and video capturing tools.

- Finally, PC World.com reported on a free PDF viewer called PDF-Xchange Viewer that lets you type on and mark up (stamp, draw on, highlight, attach sticky notes...) pdf files. Once you mark up a pdf file, you can save both the "clean" copy and the marked up copy. Here's the first thing I tried it on - the law school Fall course catalog.

What was the first law blog?

There's an ongoing discussion on the Law.com blog about who was the first legal blogger. The author points out the Sabrina Pacifici created a webpage with regularly updated legal content before the term "blog" was coined.

XReferplus name changed to Credo Reference

FYI: News from the ULS that the database Xreferplus is now listed under "C" for Credo Reference in the databases A-Z list. If you haven't used it, it's a collection of reference books including a handful of law reference books, namely:
Collins Dictionary of Law
Dictionary of Conflict Resolution, Wiley
Dictionary of Law, Peter Collin Publishing
Encyclopedia of the European Union
Great American Court Cases, Gale
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law
World of Criminal Justice, Gale

library and information science

Inside Higher Ed. reporter Scott Jaschik has podcast (it's an mp3 file) an interview with Loriene Roy, the new president of the ALA. In the 15 minute interview she talks about library schools, information science, and how academic programs have been evolving as information grows and changes. It's a very good interview, she does an excellent job of explaining what librarians and libraries do, and why we're important.

Tuesday 24 July 2007

Seeqpod finds "playable" files on the web

Seeqpod is a new media (music, videos & podcasts) search and recommendation website that indexes uploaded media files from around the web and lets you instantly play what you find when you search. It builds its index by crawling media-related sites, blogs, social networks –anywhere that "playable" files might be found. The technology used by Seeqpod was built in the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Labs.
But is it legal? According to Seeqpod, "Like most other search engines or social networks with content, SeeqPod does not stream or allow downloading of media. SeeqPod does not host media. SeeqPod indexes and links to submitted media its vertically targeted crawling system finds in the deepest quandrants of the internet. SeeqPod operates like a search engine technology company and social network combined. SeeqPod adheres to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). "
Katie has been using Seeqpod and highly recommends it.

website: environment and health at the US-Mexican border

The EPA has announced a new website to provide the public with current environmental news and information on the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 program. This is a bi-national 10-year initiative focused on making measurable improvements in environmental quality and health along the U.S.-Mexico border.

DOT and inconvenienced air travelers

The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) this morning that, for the first time in almost 30 years, the Dept. of Transportation is considering raising the amount of money airlines must pay to passengers who are bumped from flights. One possibility would fully account for inflation since 1978 and more than triple the penalties to a maximum cap of $624 from $200 and $1,248 from $400 - the amount depends upon how long you have to wait to get to your destination.
They are taking comments from the public. You can read the document here , which contains an abstract: "Petition of the Air Transport Association of America, Inc. for Rulemaking, requesting the Department of Transportation to expeditiously initiate two consumer-related rulemaking proceedings, the first would reexamine the maximum level of involuntary denied boarding compensation that Part 250 of the Department's Economic Regulations establishes and the second would reexamine the method by which mishandled baggage data are collected under Part 234 for the Department's airline service quality performance reports."
Submit your comments here before Sept. 10, 2007.

Harry Reid: Nevermind

Yesterday Senator Harry Reid (D NV) withdrew his aforeblogged amendment S. Amend. 2328 to the Higher Education Act (S. 1642). But it's not over yet - Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) had agreed to incorporate a modified version of Reid’s amendment into S.AMDT.2381 on which Kennedy, the bill’s sponsor, will have the full Senate vote this morning. Rumor has it that the technology requirement will be removed but the increased reporting requirements will stay; the language of the amendment isn't available yet.

Monday 23 July 2007

Controversial File-Sharing Amendment to Higher Education Act

Debate on the Higher Education Act Amendments of 2007 (S. 1462), which will renew the Higher Education Act, is scheduled to begin today and the Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that Sen. Harry Reid (D. NV) has added a controversial amendment. His amendment would require many of the largest colleges to use technology designed to prevent students from illegally downloading and swapping music and movie files. The amendment that Sen. Reid is sponsoring, Senate Amendment 2314, requires institutions of higher education to keep careful track of file-sharing, report to the Secy. of Education, and "provide evidence to the Secretary that the institution has developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."
Sen. Reid's pages on the U. S. Senate website speak glowingly of his commitment to higher education and the many benefits of the Higher Education Act but make no mention of this particular amendment.

Saturday 21 July 2007

funny patents

Some lawyers from Idaho have started a blog called What the Funny... Patents for everyone's amusement. Another blogger called Ironic Sans has published information about celebrity patents - for example, Michael Jackson's Patent #5,255,452 — Method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.

FBI installs spyware to aid investigation

The CNet News Blog reports that the FBI used a novel type of remotely installed spyware last month to investigate the identity of someone who sent bomb threats to a high school in Washington state. The software, called CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier), is described in an affadavit filed by the FBI agent when applying for a search warrant.
CIPAV is a program deployed via e-mail or Instant Messaging. The program installs itself on the target computer or on a web account such as MySpace or Google Mail and then moves on to the target computer. Once installed, CIPAV searches the entire hard disk and sends the FBI a record of the names of all running programs, browser data, operating system type (including the serial number) and all user information from the registry. It records the URLs and IP addresses visited but not the contents of communications - a point which the FBI emphasised several times in their declaration.
Apparently this is the first time that the FBI's use of spyware to uncover a perpetrator has been publicly documented. By using CIPAV, the FBI was able to determine the identity of the former student of Timberline High School who had been terrorising the school with bomb threats for days. The juvenile had been using five different Google Mail addresses to issue his threats and also a MySpace account.

Friday 20 July 2007

Second Life Info Island

There's an online bibliography that can help explain Second Life to anyone who's interested. It was compiled by Bill Sowers (SL name: Rocky Vallejo), a Kansas librarian whose other job is working on Info Island in Second Life - in fact, he's currently head of collections within the SL Libraries islands. Bill is trying to get some help building up the govdocs collection. He explains that "The gov docs collection in Second Life is pretty much a bare bonesaffair. It sits on the 3rd floor of Bell Library Tower which is situated in the southeast corner of Info Island, the main library island within the "Info IslandArchipelago" which now makes up about 30 regions, islands or sims inSL, all dedicated to library service and/or education." Anyone who is interested can contact him at ksdocs@kslib.info or sixsunflowers@gmail.com .

If you would like to read his entire message about this you can find it on the govdocs listserv hosted by Penn State (free registration is required).

library conferences

Librarian Marian Dworaczek from the University of Saskatchewan has updated her online list of library-related conferences. She welcomes any additions.

Thursday 19 July 2007

U. of Houston Law Library benefactor must pay back >$35.7 million

The Houston Chronicle reports that John O'Quinn, benefactor of the O'Quinn law library at the University of Houston, has been ordered to pay more than $35.7 million dollars to over 3000 clients he represented in breast implant litigation. The decision was reached by an arbitration panel over a class action lawsuit filed against O'Quinn in 1999 by three former clients. The lawsuit was later joined by thousands of women alleging that O'Quinn improperly took funds from their settlements for group charges they had not agreed to pay. The implants case was not decided by the County court where it was filed because O'Quinn's contract with the women required arbitration for disputes. A decision like this in a contracted arbitration generally cannot be appealed. Joe Jamail, lead lawyer for the suing women,"a victory for the bar."

A few useful sites

Mindmeister lets you create mindmaps online without having to download any software onto your computer. You can share the mindmaps too.

Doodle makes it easy to set up meetings with a bunch of people.

Screencast-o-matic makes it easy to create screencasts - you can add sound, too.

Grazr is one of several sites where you can make your own widgets.

Demo Girl checks out new stuff online and creates demos that you can watch. While scrolling through her blog I discovered Symbaloo which is a very cool way to make your own start page; it's in beta, and it's hqed in Holland, but I love it.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Wednesday fun

Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

Freedom of Speech at the Carnegie

The Tribune-Review headline reads "Flag cup with 'F' at Carnegie Museum draws complaints." As part of the citywide celebration of glass the Carnegie has an exhibit called Viva Vetro! Glass Alive! which contains The "Freedom of Speech Cup," by Richard Marquis. The cup is decorated like the American Flag and has the "F word" scrawled across it. The cup was created in 1969-70. According to the article there have been a few indignant museum visitors but the exhibit curator explained that "It's an early example of an artist using glass to make a political statement," she said. "We allow people to do that." Yes, we do.

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff that gets confiscated at the airport?

Now you know.

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Hire Google to run your website search engine

Technology Reports says that Google is now offering websites the option to buy a small customized Google search engine for $100. Currently websites can use Google as their website search engine free if they agree to allowing Google ads. If they buy this search engine option there won't be any ads and the search results will be displayed on the websites own template rather than on a Google results page.
Small Web sites should be able to customize their own search engines on Google's technology in about 10 minutes. The entire process can be completed online, as long as a Web site does not need more than 50,000 Web pages to be searched.

Monday 16 July 2007

six degrees of Cass Sunstein

I can't claim credit for the title; I read in this afternoon's Chronicle email about an actual paper on SSRN with the title "Six Degrees of Cass Sunstein: Collaboration Networks in Legal Scholarship" that brings the "six degrees" concept into legal scholarship with the jawdroppingly prolific University of Chicago law professor and legal scholar Cass Sunstein. The "six degrees" concept is used to describe an interrelated network - in other words, have you ever collaborated with Cass Sunstein (1 degree), or collaborated with someone who collaborated with him (2 degrees)... etc. The concept became a popular campus trivia game called "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" with the premise that any actor can be linked, through their film roles, to actor Kevin Bacon. The game requires a group of players to try to connect any film actor in history to the Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible.
Kevin Bacon, rather than getting annoyed by the game, has tried to turn it into something positive by establishing Six Degrees dot Org, a website where you can help your favorite charities. He explains how this works on his YouTube video.

Transparency in government: congressional travels

There's a website called "Legistorm - transparency's sidekick" where you can find out all about congressional travels, including most expensive trips, most-traveled staffers, and the travels of the 2008 Presidential candidates. Legistorm also has information on the salaries of congressional staff.

Yahoo search offers suggestions

Yahoo has introduced a new feature to its search engine called "Search Suggest". When you start typing in your search terms a dropdown box appears with suggestions for what you're looking for; it saves time by behaving like the "autofill" feature in your email or word processor. If you don't like it you have the option to disable the feature.
Wouldn't it be nice if Westlaw and Lexis offered this feature?

Sunday 15 July 2007

AALL annual meeting blog

The American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting is underway in New Orleans. To keep track of what's happening at the meeting you can visit the The AALL Second Line Blog which is maintained by Vicenç Feliú, Foreign Comparative and International Law Librarian at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center of Louisiana State University.

Is technology ruining our memories?

There's a report from the UK today about a study that seems to show technology is "dumbing down" our memories. A survey of 3000 people revealed that when it comes to remembering important dates such as the birthdays of close family relatives, 87 per cent of those over the age of 50 could remember the details, compared with 40 per cent of those under the age of 30.
Only 55 per cent of men could remember their wedding anniversary, compared to 90 per cent of women (ok, who are the other 10 percent?).
The study was conducted for Puzzler Brain Trainer magazine by Dr. Ian Robertson, a neuropsychologist from Dublin dubbed "the Mind Doctor" by the magazine.

Saturday 14 July 2007

blogosphere's 10th birthday

The Wall Street Journal has a big splash in the "Pursuits" section today celebrating the 10th birthday of the blogosphere. Well actually the actual date seems to be in question, but they figure it's about ten years: "We are approaching a decade since the first blogger -- regarded by many to be Jorn Barger -- began his business of hunting and gathering links to items that tickled his fancy, to which he appended some of his own commentary." They have a little slideshow of some well-known blogs (Blogger, BoingBoing, Drudge Report) from their genesis to the present (you need a subscription to access the wsj.com website but you can look up the old websites using the Wayback Machine.)
On the inside of the section there's a 2 page article about well-known people commenting on blogs and listing their 2 or 3 favorites. Mia Farrow lists BoingBoing; Dick Costolo of Zero-Cost Publishing (a Google project) lists Fake Steve Jobs; and Tom Wolfe, iconoclastic as ever, says that "weary of narcissistic shrieks and baseless 'information,' " he no longer reads blogs.
Golly, I don't know if I could choose 2 or 3 favorites...

PS On the editorial pages Scott Gant writes in favor of the pro-blogger Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, S 1267.

Weekend Fun - cool stuff

While I consider myself to be, by and large, a sensible person I do have one major weakness: gadgets. I've never been able to resist them. I know I'm not alone because there are websites that I keep tabs on devoted to gadgets: Gizmodo, Endgadget, and Shinyshiny to name a few. But it must be a recessive gene because everyone else in my family rolls their eyes at my gadgets - yet even though I try to resist I still manage to accumulate plenty. So here are a few gadgets that have caught my eye recently. I'm not telling if I've succumbed or not. Eyeclops, the Bionic Eye: how can you resist? If they made it with a usb plug that would display on my computer monitor I would definitely be lost. Here's a YouTube video demo.
A washable wireless keyboard: Be still my heart. This company seems to be targeting hospitals with the keyboard that can be dunked in a sinkful of soapy water and run under a faucet. Obviously they haven't seen my keyboard when the sun is shining - what is all that stuff stuck under the keys?
Plasma Pong: if you feel any nostalgia for the simple, hypnotic 70's timesuck that was Pong then check out this psychedelic version, it's like Pong meets Jimi Hendrix. Or something. It's free too, but he'll take donations.
USB drives aka memory sticks, thumb drives, flash drives: Whatever you call 'em, they're cool. Especially if someone has bothered to design them. There are all sorts of weird usb drives, even a real thumb drive.

Friday 13 July 2007

Thunderstorm? Ditch the iPod.

The same edition of Technology Review contains a warning not to use iPods if there's a thunderstorm. There have been several incidents in which the metal of iPods have drawn lightening and caused their users serious injuries. Emergency room physicians have reported treating people with burns from freak accidents while using other personal electronic devices such as beepers, Walkman players and laptop computers outdoors during storms. Apparently it's not the electronics that attract the lightening, it's the metal parts of the devices. Oh, and there's a guy who was struck by lightening while playing golf (the metal spikes in the shoes) who now keeps a website called Struck by Lightening tracking these incidents.

A new kind of Meeting in 2d Life

Now here's an interesting idea. An MIT researcher named Drew Henry is using Second Life, the virtual reality world created by Linden Labs, to design virtual spaces that don't look like copies of real world spaces, reports the MIT Technology Review. He's trying to use the non-physicalness of 2d life to imagine new kinds of spaces, rather than mimicking the real world. An example is a meeting space that he's created that doesn't look like a typical meeting room with a table in the middle. The article includes a multimedia slideshow that demonstrates his meeting space.

Campus libraries

The Society for Campus and University Planning held its 42nd annual conference in Chicago this week. The Chronicle of Higher Education has been covering the conference and today had a couple of articles about university libraries.
First was a report on a huge library renovation at Ohio State in Columbus. The University is spending $108 million, but selling the renovation to faculty members was difficult because the building will hold fewer books when finished. You can read more about it in the Chronicle's Buildings and Grounds blog.
Second was a commentary by Andrew Holleran entitled "In Search of the Perfect Library" in which he discusses how even a beautiful academic library is a gilded cage for students forced to spend time there.

Thursday 12 July 2007

ALA advocacy for the EPA libraries

The American Library Assocation is encouraging members to contact our Senators urging them to pass the Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bill which contains language ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to restore its library network and reopen the closed EPA libraries. The ALA's action alert on this topic includes a handy link that lets you email your Senator if you so choose.

Wednesday 11 July 2007

New features on Google Maps

Now you can "personalize" Google maps. Here's a video describing how.

iPhone nano?

iPhone fever is still going strong and now there's a report from Reuters that Apple is going to come out with an iPhone nano - according to their analysis of a patent application filed by Apple on July 5.

ULS website redesigned

You've probably noticed that the University Library System has rolled out a brand new design for their website. Congratulations, ULS, it looks great!

The high cost of college textbooks

The Chronicle of Higher Ed. has a story about a briefing that was held yesterday on Capitol Hill. Publishers were there to defend the cost of college textbooks, and Congressional staffers (many recent college graduates) questioned them about how expensive textbooks have become. No mention of law school textbooks in the article, but surely they aren't any less expensive than college textbooks.

the Government and technology

Two stories about government workers and technology caught my eye this morning:
1. Apparently the use of hand-held portable scanners is becoming popular with government workers, especially those who do some sort of field work and can now carry scanners with them rather than having to take papers back to the office to photocopy. This has also had the salutary effect of forcing scanner manufacturers to make the scanners more user-friendly for the average layperson.
2. Web 2.0 has got all sorts of people blogging, including plenty of "public servants", and there are some cautionary suggestions on how not to get "George Allen-ed."

Tuesday 10 July 2007

Law Hacks

This month's edition of the ABA Journal has an article entitled "Law Hacks:Ways to successfully manage your workday by getting more done in less time. " The article offers 101 tips to help lawyers work more efficiently. Some are terrific , some are fairly obvious ( #24: Stop wasting so much time read­ing blogs and watching YouTube) , some are suggestions for software, free or not, that can help unclutter your email, desk, and time (#25: Use Doodle, a simple tool that sends an e-mail polling people on when and where they are available for a meeting).
Check it out, there are some great suggestions that will work for law librarians, students, and faculty as well as practicing attorneys.

State Library of PA is back in business

Caryn Carr, director of the State Library of Pennsylvania, has informed us that thanks to the end of the government shutdown the library is once again open.

Pizza with a Purpose

Tomorrow - Weds. July 11 - the Barco law library is once again hosting a Pizza with a Purpose lunch for the summer Research Assistants and Research Fellows. Prof. Mike Madison will be joining us for an informal discussion of his current research. As always, the reference librarians will be there to help with any thorny legal research questions. The lunch will be at noon in the Fawcett Student Commons (aka the Sidebar Cafe) on the 4th floor.

Citizen queries for Presidential candidates

Computerworld's choice of the 10 funniest YouTube video questions for Presidential candidiates for the July 23 debate.

50 state database wiki project

An enterprising govdocs librarian from the Alaska state library has started a wiki project to collect and assemble databases of information that state agencies have created. In his introduction he says "In every US State and the District of Columbia, agencies are creating databases of useful information - information on businesses, licensed professionals, plots of land, even dates of fish stocking" and the wiki has the worthy goal of gathering all this information together by state. The Pennsylvania page doesn't have any information yet, but you can see what the wiki hopes to be by looking at the state of Alaska page. The idea is to list available databases by state agency - and eventually to provide subject access and federated searching.

Monday 9 July 2007

It's a big green book....

Sometimes the best way to narrow the search for a book is by the color of its cover. Now a librarian has created a search page that allows you to enter a color (by hex number) and find all the books that have covers in that color. I entered the hex color for Pitt blue, #000066, and pulled up a whole pageful of covers. You can also just search for a random color.
Dave Pattern, the librarian who created the search page, is a librarian at the University of Huddersfield in England, so he spells "color" with a u.

Sunday 8 July 2007

Librarians in the Sunday Times

I didn't have to read past the headline on the front page of the Style section of the NYTimes this morning to know the article is about us librarians. The headline reads "A Hipper Crowd of Shushers." Shushers? Sheesh. I have never shushed professionally.
But anyway it's a good article, long and favorable, about young librarians and "guybrarians" who meet regularly at a bar in Brooklyn. The article describes these librarians as being young and hip (one of the organizers is a law librarian who has a tattoo of the Federal Depository Library Program logo on his arm) as well as smart, well-read, interesting, funny people.

Friday 6 July 2007

The authority of digitized books

An English professor discusses online books and collections in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. He talks about how he slowly built up his own collection of the entire 24 volumes of the collected writings of Walt Whitman along with the nine volumes of conversations, With Walt Whitman in Camden, recorded by Whitman's disciple Horace Traubel - before the era of the internet. Now, of course, "We are in the midst of a technological revolution that will redraw the boundaries of scholarship in ways that are more profound than anything posited by the revolutionary arguments of the last generation."

The state library of Pennsylvania is (temporarily) closed

I just got the following news through PALInet : Due to the temporary closure of some state offices, the State Library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg is temporarily closed. Staff will respond to calls and requests for services when the library reopens. If you require immediate assistance, please call Caryn Carr at 717-783-5968 or e-mail her at cacarr@state.pa.us.
If you didn't know there was a state library of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, there's a webpage that recounts its history. The library was brought into being by a vote by the PA house of representatives on 5 December 1745 which "Ordered, That the Clerk send to England for the best Edition of the Statutes at large, for the Use of the House, and also for some large Maps (one of North America) to be hung up in the Assembly Room." Thus Benjamin Franklin, Clerk of the Assembly, became instrumental in the creation of the Pennsylvania State Library.

Thursday 5 July 2007

American Lawyer Media sold

American Lawyer Media has been sold to Incisive Media, a leading business information provider, for $630 million in cash. ALM owns and publishes 33 national and regional magazines and newspapers focused on law and real estate, including The American Lawyer, The New York Law Journal, and The National Law Journal, as well as Law.com, a leading online network of legal news and information. The purchase will almost double the size of Incisive Media ,a provider of specialist business information headquartered in London and owner of Legal Week.

new ULS database

I just heard from at Hillman that there's a new database available called The Music Index, an index of 775 music periodicals going back to 1976. It contains citations to book reviews, obituaries, news periodicals, and news and articles about music, musicians, and the music industry as well as link to full-text if the ULS owns the article. You can also search specifically for features such as illustrations and musical scores.

iPhone buzz

Well it's less than a week after the great iPhone release and what’s the buzz? As far as I can tell the buzz about the phone itself is all good; the buzz about AT&T as the only official phone company is not so good.
The buzz among techies is all about hacking the iPhone. “Hacking” tends to have negative connotations – you hear about hackers committing identity theft or fraud – but it isn’t necessarily bad. Imagine if a hot and sexy new car came out - auto mechanics would be eager to get a look under the hood, possibly to tweak the engine to make it even hotter and sexier. That’s how techies feel about new technologies. So hacking the iPhone is all the rage; techies want to adjust the the iPhone’s underlying programming so that, for example, it’s not tied to AT&T. Apparently that little problem was already solved a couple of days ago according to Slashdot …Meanwhile in the WSJ today Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology column today is all about accessories for the iPhone and his Q & A column Mossberg’s Mailbox is devoted to reader questions about the iPhone.

Tuesday 3 July 2007

The land of the free and the home of the brave

Happy Independence Day everyone.

S.S. Number Online Protection Act of 2007

On June 25, Sen. Chuck Shumer (D-NY) introduced bill S. 1691 to the Senate. The bill (short title: "Social Security Number Online Protection Act of 2007"), is intended to "amend title 18, United States Code, to restrict the public display on the Internet of all or any portion of social security account numbers by State and local governments, and for other purposes". The body of the bill acknowledges that the inappropriate display of social security numbers has contributed to identity theft, fraud, and other illegal activities. S. 1691 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Monday 2 July 2007


The EU now has its own channel on YouTube. So far there are 46 videos available on a variety of topics ranging from agriculture to transport.

Derrick Bell on the recent Supreme Court decision

Derrick Bell has written a lengthy opinion piece in today's Chronicle of Higher Education about Thursday's Supreme Court decision rejecting race-based school assignment.

Sunday 1 July 2007

iPhone fatigue

The iPhone may actually be bigger than Cabbage Patch dolls. I'm pretty well sick of reading/hearing about iPhones; ironically, I had an appt. at the Genius Bar at the local apple store today - busted iBook -and so got to experience iPhone mania in person.
But for anyone who's really interested, Anandtech bought one and dissected it so we wouldn't have to.

Must go watch tonight's episode of Flight of the Conchords.

EPA libraries

There's more information about the EPA library situation this weekend. If you haven't been following this story, the stripped down version is that last year the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility got the word out that the EPA was going to shut down its network of libraries due to budget cuts. In fact, the EPA began to close the libraries but halted because of a public outcry on the part of the public, researchers and librarians.
Now, according to the ALA blog , Congress has included language in the appropriations bill for the Dept. of the Interior for fy2008 (S.1696) ordering the EPA to restore the library network.