Tuesday 29 July 2008

More Wall Street Journal added to Proquest

The archives of the Wall Street Journal, 1889-1990, are now available as part of ProQuest Historical Newspapers. This resource can be accessed from Databases A-Z, Pitt's e-journals list, and PITTCat.

LexisNexis Academic updates

LexisNexis Academic has added American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, which will be available through 2010 under the rules established when it was acquired by its current publisher. They will be adding AmJur to the dropdown list on the Law Reviews search form to make it more convenient to access. They are also beta-testing a subscriber page that lets you create permanent links and view the latest additions to content (click "Reports").

JSTOR and African digital library unite

JSTOR has announced that it is uniting with Aluka (an international, not-for-profit initiative building an online digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa) in order to improve and broaden online access to scholarly resources in Africa and develop a multi-national archive of materials.

historic patent/inventor database

Wright State University has announced the Miami Valley Historical Inventors database, containing over 1800 patent documents and more than 4000 individual names, some with historical notes. The database covers the years 1814 to 1875 and concentrates on the Miami Valley of Ohio, birthplace of the Wright brothers.
Speaking of patents, a post on the Chronicle's Wired Campus Blog says that a patent application made by Apple details software that would capture video and slides from college lectures and automatically edit them into video podcasts. Hope it works.

Monday 28 July 2008

Steelers games via online streaming

The Sports Business Journal reports that NBC is going to make 17 NFL football games available "live" on the internet via online streaming, a first for the NFL. The online video will consist of NBC’s broadcast feed, with the call by Al Michaels and John Madden. The Wall Street Journal WSJ says that The NFL approached NBC wanting to make a deal to stream its games partly because NBC's nationwide broadcasts, which averaged 15.9 million viewers last season, make for a clean test of whether online availability will boost or shrink viewership. Steelers games that will be available:
  • @ Browns Sunday Sept. 14, 8:15 pm
  • @ Jaguars Sunday Oct. 4, 8:15 pm

New search engine launched by former Googlers

Techworld reports that a new search engine called Cuil - that's pronounced cool - has been launched by some former Google employees. It features a superclean interface - even cleaner than Google - but the background is black instead of Googly white. Included on the search page is the number of webpages it has indexed - 121,617,892,992 as of this morning. Cuil claims to go beyond traditional approaches by analysing the context of each page and the concepts behind each query so it can provide better rankings by content rather than popularity (semantic web). It organizes similar results into groups and sorts them by category and offers tabs to clarify subjects, as well as suggestions on how to refine searches.

Spam law effectiveness

Infopackets has an article about the effectiveness of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 - aka the CAN-SPAM Act . They report that the amount of email spam now is 5 to 10 times higher than in 2003 when the CAN-SPAM Act first went into effect. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcement of the law and while investigations are allegedly underway, and there is the occasional arrest (the last was SPAMmer Alan Ralsky in January of this year) little has been done. In May, the FTC approved four new rules (text from the CFR here) in an attempt to tighten up enforcement; the rules went into effect this month so the effects aren't yet known.

Database: Sports spending & gender equity

The Chronicle of Higher Education has issued its annual report on athletics spending and gender equity in college sports , which includes an online database containing data from all NCAA institutions. Data were taken from files submitted by colleges to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Postsecondary Education. Under the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act of 1994, colleges must make this information public every year.

Friday 25 July 2008

Pitt Cancer Center: Cell Phone Caution

A researcher at the University of Pittsburgh issued a warning to limit cell phone use because of possible cancer risks. The warning came from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Some of the points made: Electromagnetic fields from cell phones are estimated to penetrate the brain especially in children. The most recent studies, which include subjects with a history of cell phone usage for a duration of at least 10 years, show a possible association between certain benign tumors (acoustic neuromas) and some brain cancers on the side the device is used. The warning recommends 10 precautions to take with your cellphone.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

US News Rankings taken to task

An article in the National Law Journal by the dean of Case Western Law School is titled "Say 'enough' to 'U.S. News'. The article was prompted by an announcement by US News that they are considering an adjustment in their calculations. To date, one way to keep your ranking up has been to admit students with sub-par LSATs and GPAs into the part-time program only, since those students’ so-called entering credentials will then be excluded from the U.S. News rankings calculus. But now U.S. News is considering revising that calculus to include part-time students’ entering credentials. The Wall Street Journal law blog has a post about the article with plenty of comments.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Very cool new search engine

Snaps to Mary Ellen Bates for pointing us to Searchme, a cool new search engine. According to their press release, Searchme "uses visual search and category refinement. We think it will help you find what you’re looking for, faster, with a lot less spam. It’s a new way to search that takes advantage of the size and bandwidth of today’s Internet and the increasingly visual way that we all interact online. The idea for Searchme came when Mark Kvamme, Searchme’s chairman, got tired of looking through a bunch of unrelated results for articles on motocross. He suggested to founders Randy Adams and John Holland that they create a search engine that sorted results into categories."
I've only used it a little but I'm impressed so far, and Mary Ellen Bates always has excellent tips.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Second Life CLE

Check it - the Wired Campus Blog reports that the California Bar approved a CLE that takes place in Second Life, the virtual world and is sponsored by the Second Life Bar Association. According to the blogpost there were 25 avatars in attendance at the first session.

Friday 18 July 2008

Center for Economic Document Digitization

The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has established a new center, called the Center for Economic Documents Digitization (CEDD), to recognize and emphasize their commitment to digitizing economic documents and the FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) project. The collection contains historical economic statistical publications, releases, and documents including U.S. government publications, Federal Reserve publications, photographs, manuscripts, and multimedia formats.

Thursday 17 July 2008

Digital Copyright slider

The Chronicle's Wired Campus blog has a post pointing readers to the "digital slide rule" developed by the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy. Is a work in the public domain? Do you need permission to use it? When does copyright expire? Find the answers using the digital slider. This is a great tool for librarians, teachers, artists, students, researchers, attorneys and anyone who needs clear, concise information on copyright terms and conditions. The slider was created by Michael Brewer, a librarian at the University of Arizona and an OITP Copyright Advisory Committee member.

Most Prolific Law Schools

Science Watch reports on the five most prolific law schools, 2003-2007 Based on each institution's percentage of the 10,127 papers published in Thomson Reuters-indexed law journals between 2003 and 2007.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

AALL Portland 2.0

Another beautiful day in Portland as the conference winds down. The first meeting of the day is at 7 am which means getting up around 5:30- so I've been trying to keep my body clock on Eastern time. The Computer Services group has been very busy and active for this year's conference, there's a lot of interest in Web 2.0, online research and digital libraries. We had a very successful Web 2.0 presentation - 600 people in attendance! Some of the Barconians are heading back to Pittsburgh tonight, so at least a few of us will be back on the job on Thursday.

Monday 14 July 2008

AALL Tuesday

So many interesting discussions, so little time! My schedule is packed but there are still talks that I'm missing. We are trying to cover all the important sessions between us and taking lots of notes. Today I started at a talk where I learned several new online tricks - will share when I get back and have a chance to try them out. Roundtable discussion about using technology to teach, someone showed how they had edited CALI lessons to customize them for their class. Another person talked about his successful integration of the Westlaw TWEN polling feature into a legal research class. Then had lunch with my "students" for the Web 2.0 Challenge at a very nice coffee bar/ lunch spot called the J. Cafe.
Weather perfect. We're all enjoying Portland, at least what we are able to see of it when we get away from the convention center. I think I missed the "Law of Beer" Presentation, but I hear that Brian Hare was going to attend so ask him!

Sunday 13 July 2008

AALL in Portland

All the Barco librarians are in Portland OR at the annual AALL conference along with about 2,000 other law librarians from around the country. The plenary this morning at 9 am (yes, on a Sunday). The plenary was this morning with keynote speaker David Pogue who blogs about technology for the New York Times at Pogue's Posts. He was informative, interesting, entertaining and got a standing ovation (partly because he saved us all a lot of money on our phone bills. Also his sendup of the RIAA, to the tune of "YMCA", was inspired.)
After the plenary there were so many informative sessions my head is throbbing. And any free time in between sessions is spent talking with friends from other law libraries. Hope my notes are good. More later.

Google makes up

On the heels of the Wired Campus Blog post about librarian complaints abt Google, Google has posted a new librarian newsletter.

Thursday 10 July 2008

Google played us?

Today's Wired Campus Blog at the Chronicle of Higher Education has a story entitled "Librarians Accuse Google of Using and Discarding Them". Apparently the Library Stuff blog has a posting that accuses Google of making nice to librarians until it got what it wanted - the library books for the Google Books digitization project.

Wednesday 9 July 2008

A history of Congressional committees

The Law Librarians' Society of Washington D.C. has added a new publication to its Legislative Sourcebook page. The publication , a 22 page pdf, is entitled "An Overview of the Development of U.S. Congressional Committees" and it gives a informative history of these committees from 1789 to the present.

Google Lively

Google has debuted anew service called Lively in which three-dimensional software enables people to chat in 3D. "Lively," is Google's answer to "Second Life," where people deploy animated alter egos known as avatars to navigate virtual reality. Google thinks "Lively" will encourage even more people to dive into alternate realities because it isn't tethered to one Web site like Second Life, and it doesn't cost anything to use. After installing a small packet of software from lively.com, a user can enter Lively from other Web sites, like social networking sites and blogs. Google already has created a Lively application that works on Facebook and is working on a version suitable for MySpace. Lively lets users create avatars and digital environments. The rooms in Lively can include a large-screen television that plays clips from YouTube.

Call for white papers: Web 2.0 best practices

Pike & Fischer (a BNA company) has announced an opportunity to share Web 2.0 best practices at their upcoming Legal Risk Management Forum. They are calling for submission of white papers covering relevant topics including content infringement, privacy, reputation preservation, and other critical issues facing Internet businesses. Qualifying papers must be non-commercial titles formally published within the last year and must be submitted by Friday, September 5, 2008. Submit papers to customercare@pf.com.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Guidelines for Fair Use

The Chronicle's Wired Campus Blog has a story, including a video report, about researchers at American University who have published a study of fair use in copyright law. The study, Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video, by Center for Social Media director Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, co-director of the law school’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. The online report includes links to examples of videos and argues that many uses of copyrighted material in today’s online videos (think YouTube) are eligible for fair use consideration. The study points to a wide variety of practices—satire, parody, negative and positive commentary, discussion-triggers, illustration, diaries, archiving and of course, pastiche or collage (remixes and mashups)—all of which could be legal in some circumstances.

Legal Research in a Nutshell links

The University of Virginia law school has a webpage with links to websites referenced in Legal Research in a Nutshell by Cohen and Olson. The links are listed by chapter - chapter titles include "Constitutions and Statutes", "Legislative Information", "Case Law Sources" and "The Law of Other Countries".

WPA Historical Records Survey digitization project

Yesterday there was an interesting post on the govdocs listserv about a potential digitization project at the University of Missouri. Their library has been given what appears to be a complete set of WPA Historical Records Survey books. Originally part of the WPA Federal Writers' Project, the Historical Records Survey was devoted to inventorying and indexing historically significant record collections in state, county and local archives. Among their accomplishments were indexes of vital statistics, book indexes, bibliographies, cemetery indexes and newspaper indexes, the American Imprints Inventory, the Atlas of Congressional Roll Calls Project, a historical index of American musicians, surveys of portraits in public buildings, maritime records, a history of grazing, a food history project called America Eats, and a necessary survey of the federal Archives. According to the Government Documents Librarian, the strength of the work is in the wonderfully detailed annotations which accompany each individually listed record set.
The University librarians are considering digitizing the complete collection (all states) for the University of Missouri Digital Library . They are soliciting any information about whether this collection has already been digitized and made freely available online to help them with this decision.

Nature offers free archiving of scholarly articles

The Nature publishing group has announced a new service that it will provide to scholarly authors : to deposit authors’ papers in free online repositories, in order to to help fulfil funder and institutional mandates. Nature will be the first publisher to offer the archiving service whose publications are not themselves open-access journals. The Nature journals allow, and now will facilitate, archiving that goes public six months after papers are published

Sunday 6 July 2008

Federal court order raises privacy concerns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has blogged about their objections to the latest development in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube. A federal court order that requires Google Inc. (owner of YouTube) to provide information about videos watched on YouTube is renewing concerns about online privacy. YouTube has a database that records each time a video is watched and pairs that with two kinds of information about people who viewed it.
People who put videos on the site, or want to comment on videos or email or embed videos have to sign up for a Youtube account. Under the judge's order, Google must deliver the log-in names that users created to sign up for those accounts. For the people without accounts, Google stores - and must now provide - IP addresses of user computers that some privacy experts fear can be linked with individual users.
The case is being heard in the Southern District Court of New York, docket number 1:07-cv-02103-LLS Viacom International, Inc. et al v. Youtube, Inc. et al Louis L. Stanton, presiding.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Survey on Lexis v. Westlaw

The advanced legal research instructors at Stanford law school have blogged about the results of the Westlaw v. Lexis survey they conducted; a full report is posted on their page of publications as a 183 page pdf.

Differences between Macs and PCs

Walt Mossberg's column today spells out the basic differences between Mac and Windows and is very helpful for anyone considering switching from one to the other.

AARP.com's Old Timey Techie Blog

This doesn't remind us of anyone we know. ;-)
Hat tip to Barco's youtuberina - Katie Nye.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

McAfee publishes results of spam study

McAfee has just released a report of a study it conducted about spam email. Participants in the study, 5 people from 10 different countries (including a US housewife) were told to answer every spam email message and every popup ad for one month.
Some of the results:
The most popular subject received was financial spam.
UK participants received 23% of the Nigerian email scam spam
The top 5 spam-receiving countries were the United States, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and the UK.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Northwestern offers a JD in 2 years

Northwestern University Law School has announced that it is offering an "accelerated JD" program for highly motivated students. Students accepted into the program will begin their studies in May and take 86 hours of course credits (the same as other JD students) in 5 semesters. In order to qualify for the program students must have at least 2 years of "substantive" post-college work experience.
Hat tip to Valerie Weis.

Minerva Research Initiative for social science research

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the National Science Foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dept. of Defense to work together supporting social science research of interest to the Pentagon. The NSF will review project proposals submitted to the Minerva Research Initiative - the title of the new project - for grants on specific topics. The full announcement (22 page pdf) including grant proposal submission requirements is on the Army Research Lab website.

Rand report on pre-war Iraq planning

Rand has released a report called "After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq."
The report examined activities through June 2004 and part of an 8 volume collection of reports that the RAND Arroyo Center undertook to prepare an authoritative account of the planning and
execution of combat and stability operations in Iraq. Six of the volumes are classified. The other unclassified volume is being finalized.

Demographics in Europe

The Sunday N.Y. Times magazine had an interesting article that explored the dramatic demographic change occurring in Europe. Entitled "No Babies?", the article presents data and discusses the impact of the “lowest-low fertility” phenomenon.

Vermont Law bars military

Vermont Law School has barred the military from its campus, according to a post on the WSJ law blog. The school is protesting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and will lose somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 in federal funding as a result.